Follow the culinary adventures and misadventures of the Cooking Agents (Ray and Katie). Watch as we eat/cook our way into adulthood.
This past winter, I left my fear at the door, armed with two baby sized tubs of shortening, I got a little crazy with Mr. E… in the kitchen. It’s become a tradition of ours to get donuts at Craigie every Sunday, which proves miracles happen since I’m not the size of a house. I had to run and knock on the nearest piece of wood after typing those words.
We vowed to be more active members in our own kitchen and I’d been whipping up healthy eats during the week with some little cheat meals on the weekends. To jump start us, we forewent our typical Sunday donuts. Instead, we shuffled to the mall Saturday afternoon, picked up a donut cutter ready to make our donuts for the next morning. Mind you, I’m aware this was not a healthy move, but we were taking baby steps. Our impatience got the better of us and we headed to the store late Saturday night for some cider donut fixins.
I have such a wonderful memory associated with cider donuts. Earlier in last year toward the end of September, Mr. E and I drove up to Apple Crest Farms in New Hampshire for their fall festival and ate hands down the most amazing cider donuts.
Piping hot and super cidery from Apple Crest Farms
Seriously, game over. All other cider donut makers, just hang your hats and go home. I figured if we were going to make donuts, it would have to be the apple cider variety. Now I’ll admit, the amount of shortening you need to use is not for the faint of heart. Shortening really does improve the grease factor of fried goods, as I’ve learned with fried chicken. Just think as it sits, the fat solidifies back to its room temperature form so you’re not left eating an oil sponge.
A whole lotta’ shortening
Going at the dough
Cinnamon sugar and cider glazed cider donuts!
Ready to fry the remaining donut holes
For the dough, I used a minimal amount of concentrated cider that boiled down to about 1/4 of its original volume. In hindsight, I should have pureed apple to pump up the apple flavor. If I’m eating a cider donut, I’d like to know I’m eating a cider donut. That being said, I thought we made a pretty solid showing for our first time. Will I be making donuts on a regular weekly basis? Absolutely not. Let’s leave that to the experts. Craigie on Sundays and Apple Crest in October. See you guys there.
The NY Times article I read a few years back first put Portland, Maine on my radar as a dining destination, but back then, I already moved out of Boston and was adjusting to the more French and Southern inspired DC dining scene. When I moved back this winter, I made a goal to take a trip out with Katie and Krissie and as of this past weekend, I could cross it off my list. Sadly, we did not make it to any of the restaurants mentioned in the list, although Duckfat was by the same people who created Hugo’s.
What is the deal with women and brunch? I don’t not like brunch, I just don’t understand the obsession women have with brunch. What makes it so much better than breakfast, lunch and dinner? Is it the option of sweet and savory? Coffee with your meal? Alcoholic beverage in the first meal of your day? Symbolism of the weekend? Whatever the reason, I think it’s weird.
I like brunch because it’s a symbol of the weekend and starting the day with a meal out. The ability to get breakfast foods past noon also holds high appeal as I know there are others out there that have been screwed by the likes of McDonald’s when the breakfast sandwiches are no longer available a minute past 10 or 10:30. I’ll blame corporate America’s love of operational efficiencies over customer satisfaction on that one.
My whole rambling on brunch started when my friend had a change of heart the night before our lunch reservation at J&G Steakhouse for restaurant week. Her argument was the limited menu and pretty much paying for a pricey burger, both of which were legit. She suggested brunch and I immediately rolled my eyes, but luckily she was on the other side of a g-chat conversation. I knew I was going to be out late (slept at 4am) and needed to wake up at 9am to be first in line at brunch since we didn’t have reservations.
The brunch location was actually one of the first places I wanted to visit in DC when I moved here 2.5 years ago, but didn’t get to try it out until today. The restaurant is part of The Tabard Inn and is popular among locals for brunch. One of their specialties is fresh house made cinnamon sugar donuts with a vanilla whipped cream for $1.50 each or $9 for a half dozen. I’m not afraid to admit that if placed in a room alone with a fresh batch of those donuts, they’d be gone in under 15 minutes. I wouldn’t even feel bad about it. It would have been the right thing to do.
Choose Wisely. Mmmm Donuts.
In addition, the bread basket came with a few mini muffins, which we liked, and didn’t bother with the rest of the generic bread basket bread. I ordered the scrambled eggs with cream cheese and chives (it works) with home fries, a house made breakfast sausage and biscuit. The biscuit was probably my favorite piece of the ensemble, followed by the eggs, home fries and sausage, though I pretty much cleaned up. My friend ordered the fried oysters with cheesy grits and poached egg. We both agreed that it was a good dish, though I would have stuck with more breakfast items on the menu.
Muffins! Get That Other Junk Outta Here
Carbs, Protein and Fat.
Easy and Cheesy as Grits
The Tabard Inn Restaurant met my inflated expectations and gives brunch a good name, though I still think women over hype brunch. “There are people who like food, and there are people who like brunch.” -Some restaurateur or chef who doesn’t like brunch.