I went nuts at the mango madness sale on Friday and bought nearly 30; a bit excessive but hey, when a gal's excited about mangoes and they're $.67/each, what's she to do. So yesterday, I made 9 jars of citrusy mango butter, have encouraged the kids to eat as many as possible and incorporated this luscious fruit into last night's dinner.
When T and I finally sat down, it was 8:30 and getting dark out but our porch light and a starry sky drew us outdoors anyway. Our first al fresco dinner of 2014. Amen! It was fabulous: soft music; cold drinks; no bugs; and a heck of a meal. I made coconut-cardamom rice which I tossed with chopped mango, fruit salad, grilled asparagus and yogurt-crème fraîche-cardamom marinated chicken which T then grilled. I am telling y'all what: you simply must mix Greek yogurt with crème fraîche, add salt and cardamom if you like, marinate chicken and then cook it how you like. It was so easy and so good. The crème fraîche adds the greatest tang!
Today is another spectacular one, and as a fam -Jack dressed as Luke Skywalker and Ol as Darth Vader- we went to the farmers market and ate our way through it. First stop: Pleasant Pops. Oliver was in the midst of a serious yen for a Chongos (Mexican cream-n-cinnamon; insanely awesome) yet sadly it was not on today's menu. Instead, he invited T to mosey over to Bonaparte in search of a chocolate éclair, while Jack decided to try a grapefruit-rosemary popsicle which was quite good. I've been circling Chaia DC for two weeks now because their tacos look absolutely scrumptious but I hadn't had breakfast yet so first bought two muffins at Atwater's: Coffee Cake Pecan (Jack's request) & Bran Apricot. Both were fairly disappointing, so after a few bites, we retired them to a crumbled paper bag.
Meanwhile, Darth and T had bought an éclair and a coconut macaroon; in typical Ol fashion, that éclair was gone by the time he rounded the first corner after Bonaparte. We wandered around a bit more, and I then decided I simply must try the tacos. Back to Chaia where the team was pressing balls of masa between a tortilla press, grilling the rounds until lightly charred and fragrant and dishing up three different options: mushrooms with feta and red sauce; kale and potato with poblano sauce; and winter squash with chevre. I ordered one each of the first two and waited with eager, lip-smacking anticipation while Darth and Luke battled on a nearby grassy knoll.
These were totally worth waiting for, and my only regret is not attempting to take a better photograph. I just couldn't wait to dig in, so snapped a quicky and got to town. My favorite was the mushroom-feta taco though the kale-potato one was no slouch. They were so layered and tasty and wonderful that I briefly considered asking if I could be a no-salary intern in the Chaia kitchen for a while, just to pick up and tip or two about how I can even start to make anything like these at home. Seriously tasty and well executed. There are multiple Chaia locations, so keep an eye out and get ya' some!