Sunday: Shooting my Olay campaign, enjoying lunch with Sung and FINALLY seeing Avengers!
I was SUPER excited to tackle the day because I had plans to meet up with Sung Shin! He’s one of my besties, and I haven’t seen him in AGES because he’s been really busy with work [insert sad face here]. I met up with him around 10AM to shoot a quick beauty campaign at his house before heading to Rockville for lunch. We went to Cava and got salad bowls because we’re healthy AF. Not gonna lie though, the Halal Guys there was calling my name.
Afterwards, I went to Starbucks – btw, their strawberry acai drink was everything – to catch up with another friend I haven’t seen in a while. David’s the food and beverage director at Horseshoe Casino so we talked a bit about their new restaurant concept, GDL Italian. He invited me to their pre-opening dinner service so you’re definitely gonna want to keep reading for deets.
I went home and worked straight until the early evening. I had plans with my buddy Uly-o to see Avengers so I was rushing to get through my to-do list. I was worried the film wouldn’t live up to the hype, but it totally did. I was actually really surprised with the crowd. It was Sunday evening, and the theater was PACKED. I thought everyone was there to see Deadpool 2, but I guess Avengers is where it’s at…even still… after weeks of being out, ha. I don’t blame them though because I’d honestly see it again. Two words: Chris Hemsworth. ’nuff said.
Monday: a delish influencer tasting at Hersh’s, hosted by the wonderful Like the Tea Eats!
Another day, another tasting. I’ve never been to Hersh’s so when Rachel (aka Like the Tea Eats) invited me to join her and a handful of other influencers for dinner, I happily obliged. Located on 1843 Light Street in Baltimore, the restaurant’s run by the Hershkovitz siblings and they specialize in kickass Italian food. We got the following dishes and shared:
- Pimm’s Punch Carafe ($35): Hersh’s twist on the classic with fresh cucumber, mint, lemon & lime
- Smoked Lamb Meatballs ($11): drizzled with yogurt and topped with fresh dill
- Wood-fired Octopus ($14): served with crispy potatos, cilantro salsa verde, roasted red peppers and lime aioli
- Ravioli ($18/24): housemade ricotta, local asparagus, crushed pistachios, and parmigiano broth
- Pan-fried Soft Shell Crab ($21): accompanied by farro, romesco, and shaved asparagus
- Market Pie ($14): housemade mozzarella, local peas + asparagus, lemon, garlic and crushed red pepper
- Salsiccia Pizza ($17): housemade italian sausage, soppressata, housemade mozz, provolone, and roasted red pepper
Everything was good, but my favorites were the smoked lamb meatballs and the ravioli. I’d definitely go back to get more of their housemade pasta. Their spaghetti carbonara is calling my name…if I can resist their ravioli, ha. I deeply enjoyed the flavors of the pies as well, but they were a bit too soggy in the middle, and my toppings slid off. I did like the chewiness of the crust though. The center was just a bit too thin, at least for my taste. Regardless, I had a really great time, and their patio was gorgeous. A perfect place for happy hour or a fun dinner out with friends!
Tuesday: Makeup lessons + a fab tasting at Giada’s new restaurant at Horseshoe Casino!
I was supposed to meet up with Dan Ahn to try Ekiben and shoot some pics, but it was raining hardcore so we decided to raincheck…literally. I still had to drive up to Baltimore though – I had a long day of makeup lessons + a tasting at GDL (as mentioned above). Teaching was fun as always, but I don’t really have anything interesting to tell you guys so let’s skip to noms.
GDL Italian is Giada De Laurentiis’ latest restaurant concept, and damn, the food’s good. The space is stunning and it’s flooded with light, which I love. Whoever did the interior deserves a slow @$$ clap because they got some serious skills. Anywho, Rachel and I were really excited to try their food so we got a bunch of different plates to taste. Here’s everything we got, from apps to desserts:
- The Italian “Crab Cake” ($16): jumbo lump crab arancini with old bay aioli
- Meatball Trio ($13): orzo meatball, crispy turkey meatball, chicken marsala meatbal
- Local Oysters with Prosecco Mignonette ($16): with pink peppercorns
- Burrata Caprese ($12): basil pesto, roasted tomatos, and crispy breadcrumbs
- Chitara ($18): with lemon and pea alfredo
- Giada’s Chicken Parm ($25): pomodoro, mozzarella, arugula, and shaved fennel with crispy breadcrumbs
- Piccante Pizza ($16): mozzarella, espositos spicy sausage, sopressata picante, and calabrian chili paste
- Crispy Parmiagiano Polenta ($9): with basil pesto
- Lemon Smashed Potatoes ($9): with parmigiano
- Brownie Sundae Affogato ($9): dark chocolate brownie with espresso fudge and white coffee gelato
- Cookie Duo ($9): lemon ricotta and double chocolate chip
…yeah, we pretty much went all out. It’s tough to pick favorites because everything was so bomb, but here’s what I’d recommend. Definitely get the “crab cake” – think tons of crabmeat cooked to crispy perfection, accompanied by the perfect dipping sauce.
The oysters were also phenom. Now, that’s a HUGE compliment coming from me because I’m not big on them to start with, but these were so fresh and so clean [cue the music]. I highly recommend trying them! It was a refreshing way to start the meal. Also, the burrata app was everything – a must for cheese lovers everywhere. For $12, you get a nice chunk of this creamy perfection.
For entrees, the chitara was heavenly. It was quite possibly one of the best pasta dishes I’ve ever had, and I’m definitely going to get it again the next time I go. My only complaint? I wish the portion was slightly bigger, but that’s just me.
The chicken “parm” was also very tasty. It’s unlike any chicken parm I’ve ever tried, and I’m totally ok with that. It’s almost a healthy version of the dish, but I don’t mean that in a bad way. I actually preferred it TBH – the chicken was SUPER juicy, and it had lemon undertones with I loved. The crispy breadcrumbs elevated the texture and everything was perfectly balanced.
Where my spicy eaters at? If you enjoy hot food (and thin pizza), their Piccante Pie is a must.
And of course, what’s dinner without dessert? You can’t go wrong with either of the aforementioned goodies so go with whatever your heart desires. The double chocolate chip cookies are what dreams are made of though. Just sayin’.
Sorry my pics from here were so weaksauce. I wasn’t on my game today, but hopefully my other food pics will make up for it!
Wednesday: Covering Iron Gate and The Partisan for Nomtastic Foods!
Yay for more foodie adventures! I spent the majority of the day shooting content for Nomtastic Foods with the beautiful Rose Collins and had a blast. We started our day off at Iron Gate, and the food was to die for as always. Iron Gate is one of my FAVORITE restaurants of all time. Chef Anthony Chittum and pastry chef Paola Velez can do no wrong in my book. Seriously. If you haven’t gone yet, drop everything you’re doing and drive to DC stat! Request to sit outside because their patio’s beautiful right now.
I got to sample a bunch of new menu items, but I’m not going to spill the beans on EVERYTHING just yet because I’m planning on writing a detailed recap on the food blog within a week or so. Here’s a sneak peek though! First up, their Millefiori and Walk the Lime cocktails. The former’s made with civic vodka, st. germain, don ciccio figli ce ra sum, and hibiscus soda, while the latter’s made with mezcal, rhum agricole, house lime toasted coconut cello, lime, bergamot, and egg white. And yes, everything tasted as good as it looked.
Here’s a shot of Chef Tony’s sesame crusted feta served in vin cotto and earth + eats honey. I seriously wish I had more of this right now – the honey complemented the creaminess of the cheese beautifully, and the sesame seeds added great texture to each and every bite.
Now for some epic dessertporn – chef Paola sent out 3 fabulous dishes, and everything was SO on point. First up: Paola’s Popsicles! You can totally share this (or not, ha) with friends or family. The flavors were as follows: passionfruit, strawberry banana and cinnamon.
Andddd onto my personal favorite, Paola’s flourless chocolate brownie served with caramel gelato, sorghum and whiskey fudge. We’re talkin’ deliciousness on epic proportions here, folks! A definite must-try when you come to get your nom on at Iron Gate.
Also, can I just take a second to tell you guys how awesome it is that Paola and I have become friends through instagram? I know there are some downsides to social media, but the good outweighs the bad by far IMHO. My favorite thing about blogging has always been meeting great people, and I feel so blessed for these new friendships.
After our first lunch (ha), Rose and I carpooled to the Partisan and had more noms there. Located on 709 D Street NW, they’re fused with Red Apron (a butcher shop) so you KNOW their meat’s gonna be good. Try their triple stack burger ($14) for serious foodgasms: double beef and chorizo patties, american cheese, bacon-braised onions and tomato aioli.
And don’t forget to get an order of their beef fat fries ($6) – seasoned with roasted garlic, rosemary and served with a side of ranch aioli.
Thursday: Fashion shoots at Brookside Gardens with the beautiful Arayllaa!
I finally gave my stomach a break and had a fashion photoshoot instead of a food shoot, haha. I met up with the gorgeous Maggie (aka Arayllaa) at Brookside Gardens to shoot a few looks and we had a blast…even though it was hot AF! I was gross and sweaty afterwards but hey, you do what you gotta do. Here’s a sneak peek of what’s to come, friends!
Friday: Shoots on shoots on shoots! Another fashion shoot + exploring Artechouse’s new exhibit and hitting up THREE different restaurants for DMV foodie fun.
Quite possibly the craziest day of all, lol. I woke up hella early to meet Andrew (aka LAFlicks_) at the National Arboretum to shoot a look before my epic day with DCNomster. We worked for a good two hours before I had to meet Alex at Union Market. We started our adventure off at Artechouse, and IMHO, it was their coolest exhibit to date – in case you missed it, I blogged about their “Spirit of Autumn” and “XYZT” exhibits on here a while back.
Anywho, It’s called “Naked Eyes” and it’s “an audiovisual presentation that’s comprised of simple geometric forms.” It explores the relationship between time, space and the perception of reality and these installations “aim to disconnect the viewer from reality and allow a moment of pure experience.” There were four galleries, but I only took a video of 3. My personal favorite was the pitch black room with the crazy lines (starting at :05), lol. It was straight up hypnotizing, and we spent a good amount of time in there just soaking it all in. I almost felt like I was in some kind of alternate reality…or a sci-fi movie, ha! It was smart to link everything with sound because it truly enhanced the experience. I highly recommend checking it out for yourself – you only have until June 30th so go ASAP.
Afterwards, we drove to Chinatown to grab lunch at Reren Lamen & Bar. Located on 817 7th St NW, their food was pretty damn good. We wanted to try a bunch of different dishes so we got a giant spread…you guys know the drill by now, lol. Like Iron Gate, I’m planning to cover this restaurant on Nomtastic Foods so I’m gonna keep things short and sweet. My two favorite dishes were the ChengDu Spicy Wontons ($8) and their Dan Dan Noodles ($13).
The wontons were stuffed with pork, topped with chopped scallions and sesame seeds, and served with chili oil. I could’ve easily devoured another plate of these babies! The Dan Dan Noodz were perfectly cooked and tossed with ground pork, organic wild veggies, scallions and peanuts. Each bite was super flavorful, and the portion size was ginormous, like two people could share this and leave full. Have any of you guys been? Let me know where you get your asian food fix in the DMV area by leaving me a comment below.
Afterwards, we hit up Moxie’s and Sugar Lab for dessert! We got ice cream sammies and then bubble waffles because we’re fatties. For those of you interested, Sugar Lab’s a new dessert place in Georgetown. It opened a few weeks ago – on my birthday actually, lol – and it’s Vietnamese run. Definitely make sure to check them out if you have a sweet tooth!
They’re currently offering 50% off everything so take advantage while you can. I recommend the lemon sorbet – it was really refreshing and it had bits of lemon rind, which I loved. Their gelato’s on the sweeter side so keep that in mind when ordering. They let you sample whatever flavors you want so that’s a plus – they have a nice variety so I can pretty much guarantee you’ll find something you like.
Anywho, that’s it for today guys! I hope you enjoyed reading about my week. What have you guys been up to? Did you all have a nice Memorial Day weekend? To read more about my adventures, make sure to check this tab out! I’ll be in Pittsburgh/NY for the next few weeks so make sure you guys follow me on instagram – I’ll be updating stories as much as possible so it should be a fun time. Sending hugs!