Flourless Chocolate Waffle


At some point during the early 90s in a used bookstore in Northern Virginia, I discovered a book that I believed would yield the key to all the secrets of life. It was a cookbook, but not any cookbook! No. I can’t recall the title of the book, but it was filled with copy cat recipes from “America’s favorite restaurants.” As a young, and mostly ignorant child, I was highly curious as to how my favorite restaurant fare tasted so darn good.

I hadn’t really discovered food at that point and I had no intention of making anything in the book, but I did want to know the secrets. Like KFC’s 11 herbs and spices.

Flourless Chocolate Waffle |

Now that I’m older and wiser slightly less ignorant, I realize a few things about restaurant food:

1.  There’s no good reason to re-create chain restaurant food at home. Why spend two hours in my own kitchen making KFC fried chicken when I can drive down the street and buy it in less than five minutes? Plus, we’re a Popeyes household…

2.  The secret to good restaurant food is generally fresh ingredients and a lot of butter.

So, although we’ll often come back from vacation with the desire to recreate a dish, we normally aren’t aiming to recreate something verbatim with the intentions of adding it to our regular rotation.


There has been one dessert that we’ve yearned to replicate for many moons: A flourless chocolate waffle to be found at pretty much all of the Great American Restaurants (GAR). The restaurant group runs a chain of restaurants in the Washington, DC metro area. This isn’t a review for their restaurants (all of which are, as the name would suggest, great). This is an homage to a fantastic dessert that is the source of MANY cravings. And one that reportedly won a $5,000 nationwide dessert competition (for good reason).

Although we don’t live that far from a few of their locations, none are super-convenient at 9:00 pm on a Tuesday night when a chocolate waffle craving strikes.

Chocolate Star |

It’s gluten free. It’s chocolatey. It’s got crunch from almonds. Fresh whipped cream? Sure. Ice cream. Chocolate fudge and a toffee syrup.

Candied almonds |

I kid you not, there have been times that we’ve eaten at a GAR restaurant solely so we can get THIS for dessert.

This isn’t their exact recipe (which they keep sealed away in an under-ground vault guarded by fire-breathing dragons), but it’s pretty darn close. Instead of toffee we used salted caramel and although their almonds are super crunchy, ours are more candied. They also use a chocolate sauce in the middle of their waffle, which we did not.

Nothing will replace the original creation and we highly recommend you visit one of their restaurants to try it (I love Ozzies!), but it’s nice to have a back up plan for those late weeknight cravings.

Flourless Chocolate Waffle |


Chocolate Waffle Ingredients (makes about 3-4 waffle quarters):

  • 4.50 oz of dark chocolate chips
  • 4 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter
  • 2 XL Eggs
  • 2 Tablespoons Milk
  • Pinch of salt

Candied Almond Ingredients:

  • 3 Cups Sliced Almonds
  • 1 Egg white, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 Cup White Sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt

Other Ingredients:

  • Fresh Whipped Cream (Check the whipped cream recipe in our Chipotle Pumpkin Cream Pie post).
  • Caramel Syrup
  • Vanilla Ice Cream
  • Confectioner’s Sugar

For the Candied Almonds:

1.  Preheat oven to 300 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

2.  Beat the egg white until peaks form, then stir in almonds until well moistened. Add the sugar and mix.

3.  Spread almonds on the baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes. Then, remove from oven, stir, and turn oven down to 250 degrees. Return to oven and bake for an additional 10 minutes.

4.  Remove from oven, stir and allow to cool to room temperature.

For the waffles:

1.  Whisk the eggs and milk together in a medium bowl and set aside.

2.  Combine the chocolate chips and butter in a small bowl and microwave for 1 minute at 40% power. Remove and stir, then microwave for another minute at 30% power. Remove and stir, then microwave for a final minute at 40% power.

3.  Add a small amount of the warm melted chocolate/butter to the egg mixture, tempering the eggs. Slowly add the rest, continuing to mix until the two are fully combined.

4.  Turn on your waffle iron (we use the Presto Flip Side Belgian Waffle Maker) and when pre-heated, spray with nonstick cooking spray. Pour about a 1/4 cup of the batter into one of the waffle quarters. We’ve found that given the waffles are a bit fragile, it’s easier to cook each quarter at a time, rather than doing an entire waffle.

5.  Cook for approximately two minutes, then remove. Repeat for the remaining waffles.

6.  Serve with fresh whipped cream, ice cream, caramel syrup, candied almonds, and confectioners sugar.


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#100DaysOfFoodBlogging, Recipes, Reviews

Chef Roy Choi’s Cheesy Ramen: Weirdly Delicious

cheesy ramen roy choi |

[This is post #011 towards #100DaysOfFoodBlogging, our goal to do 100 posts in 100 days as part of The 100 Day Project.]

Instant ramen and processed american cheese.

Confused? Good.

Now, watch the Tasting Table video below with Chef Roy Choi.

A co-worker of mine sent me that video a few months ago and my first reaction was, “Cheese and ramen?” Cheese is the last thing that comes to mind when I think about Asian food. But after watching the video a few times, I started to think “This could actually be awesome…”

For whatever reason I never seemed to have the right combination of ingredients to give it a try and I forgot about it.

Until TODAY:

cheesy ramen roy choi |

cheesy ramen roy choi |

Consider my mind blown. (And my mouf.)

Normally, I’ll try a new recipe and it will be good, but I might not necessarily make it again. But THIS? THIS is how I’ll be making my ramen from now on. The cheese coats the noodles and thickens the broth, making this a rich, salty, creamy bowl of comfort. And although seemingly minor, the green onion adds an element of freshness that pairs brilliantly with the cheese.

I added a little hot sauce to give it a kick, which then made it taste almost like a Mexican queso dip. It was so freaking good!

It makes me a little sad to think about all the times I’ve eaten ramen, but without the cheese. So many wasted meals. This will definitely be the first meal I teach my children. They are the future and I want them to be well-prepared.

There’s no excuse for you not to try this right now. Do it. Go!

Oh, you need the recipe?

You can find the recipe online here or in Chef Roy Choi’s book, L.A. Son: My Life, My City, My Food.

Also, while you’re here, check out Loco’l to Globo’l: The New Fast Food, a look at Chef Roy Choi and Daniel Patterson’s new fast food concept.

cheesy ramen roy choi |

#100DaysOfFoodBlogging, Thought Nuggets

Orange Extract Revolution

[This is post #010 towards #100DaysOfFoodBlogging, our goal to do 100 posts in 100 days as part of The 100 Day Project.]

Why does vanilla extract get all the attention? Seems like every single recipe calls for a teaspoon or so of this tired brown liquid. No disrespect to vanilla, but–wait. I take that back. Disrespect indeed. This King of Extracts has ruled for too long, and for what? An assumed flavor enhancement that we all just accept, even though if you taste the darn liquid straight up it burns like a bitter earthy fire in your mouth.

I know that when “science” comes into play its supposed to make food like cakes taste better, but have you ever forgotten to add vanilla and then truly missed its presence? Probably not. So, why are we stuck worshiping this nepotism-fueled pantry staple?

Well, turns out in 1875 it was actually part of the law set down Queen Victoria, which stated, “Every baked good shall thee include thy vanilla extractacus.”

Okay, that didn’t happen.

But this isn’t a historical blog and right now there’s no need to look at the past, because the future is here:  Orange Extract (or as her supporters are calling her, Orange-X).

Before we get into what Orange-X can help enhance, I encourage you to just taste it straight up (or with ice if you prefer). Not bad, right? I’m not going to be drinking it by the glassful, but it tastes like it should.

I have no allegiance to orange extract brands and nobody has paid me to endorse any, so any type will do. OR if you like the idea of bottles filled with orange rind and vodka sitting around your house for a few months you can follow these instructions from the just-making-noise blog and make it yourself. I do want to try making my own at some point, or I’ll gladly sample someone else’s homemade orange extract.


1. Orange French Toast / Pancakes – Many recipes call for vanilla extract, so just swap it out with your new BFF, Orange-X. I think the hint of orange is small change that helps breakfast feel new. Vanilla who?

2. Orange Maple Syrup – If you’re going to spice up French toast or pancakes, you can’t use REGULAR maple syrup. Boring. Add a splash of Orange-X to your favorite syrup. I’ve actually started to like this better than regular maple syrup because it helps cut the sweetness a bit with the citrus tang.

3. Orange Yogurt – You could buy orange yogurt, but what if you wake up one morning and you have a ridiculous craving for something orangey and yogurty? (This is based on a true story, by the way.) All you have in the refrigerator is Noosa honey yogurt, but you do have Orange-X (because it’s now a staple in your cupboard). A few splashes later you’ve just satisfied your craving. Here’s the kicker: Noosa doesn’t even make orange yogurt, so it would be impossible to buy this!

4. Orange Coffee – Even though I like my lattes sweet and creamy like dessert, I’m not a huge fan of flavored coffees. There’s always an overwhelmingly manufactured taste that steps on the coffee flavor. For the most part, I like my coffee to taste like coffee (albeit with copious amounts of milk and sugar), but occasionally it’s a real hoot to try something new and adding a few drops of Orange-X is a nice change. Breakfast often includes OJ and coffee, so why not sort-of-combine the two?

5. Orange Whipped Cream – I love the combination of chocolate and orange. I love the combination of chocolate cake and whipped cream. If only there were a way to combine those two statements into a an easy dessert that my whole mouf will enjoy… Most of the time when making fresh whipped cream, I toss that wretched vanilla extract in, so a quick substitution of Orange-X helps pop a bit of orange into an otherwise pedestrian meal. Just wait for your mother-in-law to be all like, “Is that…do I taste…ORANGE?”

You get the point.

Any other ideas on how we can bring down the Vanilla Extract Empire from our lives and make room for Orange-X?

Orange Extract revolution

#100DaysOfFoodBlogging, Reviews, Videos

Tastemade Video: Nathan’s Dairy Bar – Manassas, VA

Nathan’s Dairy Bar

[This is post #009 towards #100DaysOfFoodBlogging, our goal to do 100 posts in 100 days as part of The 100 Day Project.]

Among MANY attributes that I share with our dog, Cooper, nothing compares with our love of Nathan’s Dairy Bar. As much as we complain about having no restaurants to eat at in the ‘burbs, Nathan’s is by far the exception. This is one of those iconic places that people who leave the area will crave. This is the type of soft serve that you will tell your grandkids about. This is the type of ice cream joint that you wouldn’t mind eating on a cold winter day (although they are closed for part of the winter…and that ends up being a really hard time for us).

And it’s such an inexpensive pick-me-up! After a bad day of work, a strawberry-banana shake from Nathan’s makes it all better. For Cooper, there’s nothing that makes his tail wag harder than a “pup cup” from Nathan’s. Tina’s instant-happiness is found in a Tiger’s Blood shaved ice with vanilla soft serve. I’m smiling just thinking about all these…

Although not available on the day we shot the Tastemade video above, one of their most interesting flavors is Captain Crunch. It tastes exactly like it should, but its smooth and creamy….you can taste the happy, Michael. It will make you feel like a kid again and it will also make you want to come back EVERY day after work. Aside from the cap’n, I’m also partial to their fresh strawberry and fresh banana flavors. I’m emphasizing fresh because these flavors aren’t made with artificially flavored syrups and dyes, and you can tell. I’ll take ten pints, please.

Follow Nathan’s on Facebook to keep up-to-date with daily specials (like Captain Crunch and Nutella) and discounts.

Enjoy the video, but more importantly enjoy good weather, some ice cream, and your favorite four-legged friend.

Subscribe and we might let Cooper send you emails:

Nathan's Dairy Bar on Urbanspoon


#100DaysOfFoodBlogging, Thought Nuggets

The Recipe for Writer’s Block


[This is post #008 towards #100DaysOfFoodBlogging, our goal to do 100 posts in 100 days as part of The 100 Day Project.]

As Tina and I have just rounded out the first eight posts towards our goal of #100DaysofFoodBlogging, blogger friend, Emma @ Fork and Good recently posted “Curse of the blogger’s block,” an honest look at why she hasn’t been posting as much recently due to her war with writer’s block. Let’s hope blogger’s block isn’t contagious…after all, we do have 92 more posts to go!

Emma’s post inspired me to think about my own run-ins with that evil block of the writer. Historically, I haven’t dealt with the same “staring at the blank page” form of writer’s block that most people describe. Rather at my worst, I haven’t even gotten to the point of staring at the blank page, because I’m too busy “working on the idea in my head.” Likely story.

Over the years, I’ve been able to mostly quiet the demon, simply by understanding it. And the best way to understand it, is to know where it comes from; i.e. what’s the recipe for writer’s block?

Get it? Food blog? Recipe? Okay, it is a stretch…

In my experience, writer’s block is simply a way our subconscious works to avoid failure. For example, if I don’t write this post, then I don’t risk someone hating it, and therefore I cannot fail. AND I can use that free time for working on more ideas in my head. See, win-win!

This fear of failure is a result of not believing what we’re writing is good enough, and is a created by a desire for perfection. The late and great author / screenwriter / TV producer Stephen J. Cannell talks about this in the video below:

Cannell says it perfectly when he states that writer’s block is caused by “the desire to be perfect.”

With this desire to be perfect comes self-censorship. We start judging everything we write and before long we’re simply not writing, because by not writing we can’t write something imperfect. And if we don’t write something imperfect we can’t fail.

Once you realize what’s causing writer’s block, it’s much easier to fight. The solution is to create an environment that welcomes–and even encourages–failure.

Hence, our #100DaysofFoodBlogging challenge to ourselves. Because we’re cranking out posts everyday, there’s an unspoken idea that by putting out a post day after day for 100 straight days, it would be impossible to expect that every single one will be perfect. The goal isn’t to have 100 perfect posts. It also flips around the definition of failure, because by the nature of this thing we only fail if we don’t do 100 posts. Thus, 100 awful posts is still a success. It’s a pretty sweet deal that ends up stopping writer’s block before it starts.

It also helps to remember that…

You are NOT out of good ideas.

You will NOT never write again.

You have written before and you will write again.

You will fail.

And you will fail again.

And then 30 more times before you succeed.

 That’s okay, because failing is fun

…and perfection is boring.

(And if you need proof that failing is fun, check out Emma’s Food Photography Blunders series. Failure never looked so good.)

#100DaysOfFoodBlogging, Ethnic Confusion, Recipes

Spicy Shrimp “bánh mì” Tacos

Spicy Shrimp banh mi tacos

[This is post #007 towards #100DaysOfFoodBlogging, our goal to do 100 posts in 100 days as part of The 100 Day Project.]

Yes, this is an Asian taco post. No, this isn’t 2009.

This taco isn’t inspired by a food truck. It’s not a gimmick post in search of clicks. We’re not the first people to do a Vietnamese taco and we won’t be the last.

So, what’s the deal with these tacos (which might be my favorite recipe we’ve posted)?

Spicy Shrimp "bánh mì" Tacos

Over the weekend we encountered what can only be described as a “perfect storm” of culinary crossroads:

  • It was 70 degrees and sunny.
  • Our grill was begging to be used.
  • There was a significant lack of bánh mì eating in our lives.
  • We were seriously craving spicy shrimp tacos from Oscar’s Mexican Seafood in San Diego.

We were torn between what we thought were several different options. Breaking out the grill meant an infinite number of possibilities from BBQ chicken to a thick burger (stuffed with bacon of course). Shrimp tacos would help calm a craving that had been stuck with us since last fall. And it’s hard to really beat a homemade Vietnamese bánh mì on crusty bread, which always seems to find that perfect combination of sweet, salty, spicy, and tangy.

Spicy Shrimp "bánh mì" Tacos |

Choosing one meant leaving the other options on the table and with only one day of the week that we can entirely dedicate to cooking, we didn’t want to squander the opportunity. Like Spider-Man’s uncle said, with great power, comes great responsibility. He was definitely talking about food.

So, as we pondered over this Sophie’s Choice, Tina had one of the best ideas in the history of our kitchen: Grill the shrimp, make the do chua (pickled daikon and carrots), and serve it on a taco with Awesome Sauce, and queso fresco. A Spicy Shrimp “bánh mì” Taco.

If we weren’t already married, I would have proposed on the spot.

Spicy Shrimp Bahn Mi tacos

Actually, if we weren’t already married, I’d propose to these tacos.

Spicy Shrimp Bahn Mi tacos

Or at the very least, I’d take them behind the middle school…

Spicy Shrimp “bánh mì” Tacos

Makes between 6-8 Tacos

Shrimp & Marinade Ingredients:

  • 1 lb Raw Shrimp, peeled & deveined (30-40 count)
  • 1/4 Cup Fresh Cilantro
  • 1 Garlic Clove
  • 1 Jalapeño w/ seeds
  • 1 Green Onion
  • 1/4 Cup Tamarind Concentrate
  • 2 Tablespoons Soy Sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon Sriracha
  • 1 Tablespoon Vegetable Oil
  • 1/4 Cup Hoisin Sauce

Do Chua (Pickled Daikon) Ingredients: 

  • 2 Medium Carrots, peeled
  • 1 Medium Daikon, peeled
  • 1 1/2 Cup Rice Wine Vinegar
  • 1/2 Cup Sugar
  • 2 Cups Warm Water
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher Salt
  • 1 teaspoon Sugar

Taco Accoutrement Ingredients: 

  • 3 sprigs of Cilantro
  • 6-8 Corn Tortillas (12-16 if you’re doubling up)
  • Queso Fresco
  • Awesome Sauce (recipe)

Do Chua (Pickled Daikon & Carrots)

1.  Chop the daikon and carrots into matchsticks and place into a bowl with the 1 teaspoon of sugar and 1 teaspoon of salt. Knead them with your hands for approximately three minutes to pull out some of the water. Afterwards they should have more flex and be bendable. Rinse the daikon and carrots under running water to remove the salt and sugar.

Pickled Daikon & Carrots

2.  Place the daikon and carrots into a resealable plastic container. In a separate bowl, dissolve the 1/2 cup sugar in the warm water and add the vinegar, now you got yourself a pickling liquid. Pour the pickling liquid into the container with the daikon and carrots and refrigerate. Let sit for at least two hours before eating.

Spicy Shrimp Marinade

1.  Blend the tamarind concentrate, hoisin sauce, soy sauce, garlic clove, green onion, cilantro, jalapeño, Sriracha, and vegetable oil in a blender or food processor.

2. Pour the marinade on the shrimp and let sit at least two hours

Shrimp Grill it, dude

Taco Time

1.  Skewer the shrimp and grill until you have a nice char. Cooking time will depend on how hot the grill is; hotter and faster is better. Test a few to get the time right. You can also cook the shrimp on the stove with a cast iron skillet, but I wouldn’t recommend a non-stick pan.

2.  Heat up the tortillas on the grill, in a microwave, or on the stove.

3.  Now build your tacos any way you want! We used 4-5 shrimp per taco, topped with the pickled daikon and carrots, crumbled queso fresco, Awesome Sauce, and garnished with fresh cilantro. If you want more heat, slice up another jalapeño and throw those on, too.

Spicy Shrimp Bahn Mi tacos

HEY! Let’s be electronic pen pals:

#100DaysOfFoodBlogging, Recipes

Buffalo Wing Tacos

Recipe: Buffalo Wing Tacos

[This is post #006 towards #100DaysOfFoodBlogging, our goal to do 100 posts in 100 days as part of The 100 Day Project.]

Are you tired of burning your precious fingers on scalding hot chicken wings?

Have your health insurance premiums skyrocketed as a result of accidentally swallowing too many buffalo bones?

Is your wife threatening to leave you because your buffalo-sauce finger prints are clashing with her white herringbone throw pillows?


Every year, millions of lives are ruined as a result of unpredictable buffalo wing consumption. That’s why I recommend Buffalo Wing Tacos.

The tortilla acts as a barrier between your hands and all that is evil, while serving as the perfect transportation to your mouf. And the best part is that the integrity of the original product  isn’t lost, as it still tastes like a buffalo wing.

It’s not fusion food, it’s making the world a better place one taco at a time.


If you’re looking for a tried and true recipe to feed your family tonight, you might want to try Google. However, if you’re looking for something to do with all those leftover buffalo wings in your refrigerator, you’ve come to the right place! Improvisation is not only encouraged, but mandatory.

Makes ONE taco. Sharing is optional.

  • 4 Buffalo Wings (preferably flappers and not drummies)
  • 1/4 Celery Stalk
  • 2 Tablespoons Ranch or Bleu Cheese Dressing
  • Two Corn Tortillas
  • Grated Cheese
  • Lettuce

1.  Warm up the chicken wings in a microwave and de-bone them. You can de-bone before heating them up, but I find the meat and skin come off easier if they’re warm.

2.  Dice the celery, mix with the dressing, and set aside.

2.  Heat up the tortillas, then build your taco.

And if you really want to make these awesome, add a little AWESOME SAUCE.

#100DaysOfFoodBlogging, Recipes

Awesome Sauce

awesome Sauce

[This is post #005 towards #100DaysOfFoodBlogging, our goal to do 100 posts in 100 days as part of The 100 Day Project.]

A couple years ago we had a Korean taco potluck at my office–Yes, I work in one of those offices where the ratio of food-to-work talk is generally 90/10. It’s fantastic.

Everyone signed up for different parts of the potluck with the usual fillings and accoutrements like bulgogi, spicy pork, tortillas, etc. I wanted to bring a sauce to top them with, but wasn’t sure what would actually be in the sauce. So, I just wrote down AWESOME SAUCE.

Not realizing that I had zero plans, co-workers began stopping by my office to inquire about this self-proclaimed sauce of awesomeness. I lied and told them I couldn’t divulge any info (’cause I didn’t have any) and that all I could tell them is that the sauce would indeed be awesome.


On the day before the pot luck the mythology of the Awesome Sauce had grown so much that I started to worry that I was about to let down the entire office. I even had people calling me from The Washington Post on a daily basis. Technically it was about my cancelled subscription, but I didn’t answer all the calls, so it is entirely possible that one of the calls was a reporter calling to investigate the sauce.

By now I at least vaguely knew what I wanted the sauce to be like, but I still wasn’t sure what was going to be in it. I wanted it to be creamy, a little bit spicy, and have some sort of an Asian flair to tie into the Korean taco theme.

I considered blending a bunch of stuff up in a blender like cilantro, jalapeños, sour cream, and avocado, but then, luckily, the lazy part of my brain woke up from its daily nap and said, “Hey, why don’t you just mix central american crema and Sriracha?”

sriracha crema

Trumpets played in the background, while white doves flew past my window as the clouds parted and I was finally able to see my Awesome Sauce glowing from the heavens.

Fortunately, our extended family is not only represented by multiple Asian countries, but also a few central American places as well. So, my lazy brain soaked up some international condiments and was waiting for this very situation.

So, did it live up to its name?

It tasted like liquid awesome. Somehow it miraculously lived up to the hype. Almost every co-worker stopped me to for the recipe. Several confirmed the name was 100% accurate.

awesome sauce

The most awesome part about the sauce? It only has two ingredients and there’s no measuring involved. Central American Cream/Crema is essentially a combination of sour cream, cream cheese, and heavy cream, so it’s a rich, smooth base for your sauce. And unless you’re reading a food blog for the first time EVER, you already know what Sriracha is. Combine the two and you shall unleash ultimate condiment powers.

awesome sauce


  • 14 oz bottle of Central American Cream – You might have to go to an international supermarket to find this.
  • Sriracha

1.  Mix about half the container of cream with a few squirts of Sriracha. Taste it and adjust the Sriracha to your personal spice preference. Boom. Done. Put it on tacos, eat it with tortilla chips, or squirt into your mouf.

WARNING:  Sometimes Sriracha bottles can become a little bit pressurized, so when you open them they will explode small drops of red onto the nearest white chair.

Since everyone is awesome, let’s be email buddies:


awesome sauce

All of your other condiments will want to be BFFs with the sexy new guy.

#100DaysOfFoodBlogging, Travel, Videos

#DCTravelBlogger Brunch – Jaleo Crystal City

Jaleo Crystal City  

[This is post #004 towards #100DaysOfFoodBlogging, our goal to do 100 posts in 100 days as part of The 100 Day Project.]

If you’ve ever wondered what it’s like to attend a blogger meet-up, I’ve got the dirty secrets right here in this very post. Yup. It’s like General Hospital up in this crazy blogger world. Betrayal, murder, paternity tests…

Okay, aside from maybe stealing someone’s sangria, there wasn’t any soap opera drama.  And kinda hard for there to be any secrets when everything is tweeted or Instagramed the second it happens. Such is life for a blogger.

Anyway, Jessica at The Dining Traveler was kind enough to set up a brunch at Jaleo Crystal City for DC/VA/MD-based bloggers. Most of the attendees have travel blogs, but a few of us food bloggers snuck in and there were even a few fashion-focused folks as well. It was a great mix and I’m happy to have made some new friends in the local blogging community. I’ll get to Jaleo’s phenomenal food in a second, but it goes without saying that the people are what made the event successful. For fear of leaving someone out, I’m not going to attempt to list everyone, so check out the hashtag #DCTravelBlogger on Twitter or Instagram to find the folks who partook in the fun. 

It was great to share stories of gumbo, DC traffic, blog traffic, DC weather, cocktails, food, Tastemade, home ownership, New Orleans, food photography, day jobs that pay the bills, upcoming vacations, California, wine, dog hair, old phones, and #DCFoodPorn. 

Speaking of food porn…

So what’d we eat? I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves. Speak is probably too weak a word, as the food at Jaleo sang to us at every course. And the service was SPOT-ON. Our sangria glasses were never empty and the staff welcomed the insanity of our selfies, food pics, and blog videos. 

Jaleo Crystal City #DCTravelBlogger

‘Ferran Adrià’ liquid olives – Like a delicious science experiment in your mouf.

We were even lucky enough to get a demonstration on how the liquid olives were made by Head Chef, Domenick Torlucci:

Jaleo Crystal City #DCTravelBlogger

Smoked salmon on cristal bread with hardboiled egg, goat cheese and capers.

Jaleo Crystal City #DCTravelBlogger

Yes, we even ate our veggies…because Chef Torlucci and his team made them taste amazing.

Jaleo Paella Crystal City

Vegetable Paella – Fun Fact: This paella pan was bigger than my Mazda.

Jaleo Crystal City #DCTravelBlogger

Sweet-soaked Spanish toast with caramelized bananas and rum whipped cream.

There might have been a selfie stick involved…

And of course we made good use of said selfie stick…

Being a blogger and living on Twitter and Instagram, it’s easy to forget that there are REAL people behind all the pictures and tweets. It was nice reminder that the pictures and stories we share online are nothing without anyone to share it with. So, Salud! to new friends and future meet-ups.

PS:  Don’t take my word for it. Check out the links below to some of the other bloggers’ experiences at the event. There are a TON of great pics, so prepare your eyes for mucho #foodporn:

Jaleo on Urbanspoon

#100DaysOfFoodBlogging, Recipes

Beet-Pickled Deviled Eggs

Beet-Pickled Deviled Eggs

[This is post #003 towards #100DaysOfFoodBlogging, our goal to do 100 posts in 100 days as part of The 100 Day Project.]

Pickled eggs are an odd thing. Eggs. Just swimming in an unmarked glass jar. Pickling away.

And what’s odder is that I have fond memories of eating them when I was a kid. I remember going to a this small general store, and picking out pink eggs from a jar on the counter. And yes, there was also a jar of thick dill pickles on one side and a horror-film level creepy jar of pigs feet on the other.

The reason that’s odd (at least to me), is that I grew up in a decent sized suburban area. Not a small town. We didn’t have fishing holes and there was no Aunt Bee to make you lemonade. It wasn’t Mayberry by any stretch (although this general store was directly across the street from a police station…). For some reason though, this little general store existed in our community. I don’t remember getting pickled eggs from anywhere else, so had it not been for this one little seemingly misplaced store located in suburbia, I’d have zero memories of pickled eggs.

Reminiscing about pickled eggs from a general store? Oh, so this is what it feels like to be old.

Anyway, I had mostly forgotten about all those briney eggs I had eaten as a kid. At some point or another that store shut down, so I was pretty much accepting of the fact that I’d probably never get to taste them again. For most of my adult life, I hadn’t really thought much about those eggs.

But then something happened…

Last year, Tina started seeing beet-pickled deviled eggs pop up on blogs and social media.  Always wanting to make our food look prettier (and being a beet-junkie), she was adamant about trying them.  I’m more of a “deviled egg purist” and not a huge fan of beets, so I wasn’t very excited. And at this point I wasn’t thinking about my previous love affair with pickled eggs as a child.

Beet-Pickled Deviled Eggs

After tasting the the first beet-pickled deviled egg, I was instantly reminded of the giant jar of floating eggs at the general store. I could see myself sitting in the backseat of my parent’s Datsun, cramming my mouf with the tangy pink eggs. They were delicious then, and these pink deviled eggs are delicious now.

Since then, the beet-pickled deviled eggs have made their way into our regular rotation of egg-making. We’ve finally set on a recipe that seems to work well every time and is a nice change of pace from classic deviled eggs. They’re tangy, creamy, eggy, and a little bit spicy. And as a bonus, you don’t have to reach into a giant jar to eat them. Score one for sanitation!



  • 2 15 oz Can Sliced Beets
  • 1 Cup Vinegar
  • 1 Cup Sugar
  • 1 Dozen Hard Boiled Extra Large Eggs
  • 1 Cup Mayonnaise – It has to be Hellmann’s brand, no deviation allowed (trust me, we’ve tried and it makes a huge difference)
  • 1 Tablespoon Sriracha
  • 1 Tablespoon Yellow Mustard
  • Kosher Salt and Pepper to taste
  • Chives for garnish


1.  Make Hard-Boiled Eggs. By now you should know how to do that, but no worries if you don’t. Check out our classic deviled egg post for tips!

2. Mix the vinegar, beets, and sugar in a resealable mixing bowl and stir until the sugar dissolves.

3. Place eggs in pickled beet mixture ensuring they are completely covered. Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours. For best results, stir halfway through.

4. Remove eggs from pickled beet mixture and allow to dry slightly. Slice the eggs in half, lengthwise and place the yolks in a separate bowl.

5.  Mash the yolks up with a  spoon until you have a fine powder, or until your arm goes numb. We like a smooth, well-blended filling without any “pockets” of dry yolk. Stir in the mayonnaise, mustard, and Sriracha until well blended. Add salt and pepper to taste.

6.  Use a pastry bag/piping tip and fill each egg up to perfection.

7.  Garnish with chives.