North East Eats: Fiume - Washington

Fiume is a bit of a Washington institution.  Growing up in good old Washy, Fiume was pretty much the only restaurant in the whole town, so obviously the whole of Washington has eaten there time and time again. Over the years, Washington got itself a whole host of new eateries, popping up all over the place, but good old Fiume has stood the test of time.  I have to admit, I haven't set foot in the place in a good ten years, in fact I think one of my first dates with Kris was in Fiume when we were but children, so I couldn't wait to go back and bask in the nostalgia.

The restaurant has changed a bit since last I visited, a facelift for the old girl. Gone are the worn down carpets and battered bar for a new, sleeker finish.  We visited on a Tuesday afternoon, bang on 12pm, I've just finished up with a tattoo removal appointment so I was famished and ready to eat.  We were instantly escorted to our table by the friendliest waiter ever, Miguel, if you happen to get served by him you're in for a delightful evening.  Drinks order taken we perused the Festive menu.

To start I spotted a blue cheese and mushroom bruschetta, there was no way I was letting that baby pass me by! It was bloody delicious, what's not to love, blue cheese and mushrooms on a hunk of toast. Hells to the yes!  Kris opted for the old classic, ham hock terrine.  I'm not a huge terrine person so I just let him dig into that one but he assured me it was lovely.

I settled on a good old turkey dinner with all the trimmings, you can't go wrong.  The dinner came with pigs in blankets, mountains of pork stuffing, the fluffiest roast potatoes I've ever tasted, chestnuts (I love chestnuts so this was a welcome surprise) and oddly, a dish of roasted Mediterranean vegetables. This was a very strange addition to a Christmas lunch and I'd have much rather been presented with good old broccoli and carrots, and I don't even like carrots that much.  The best thing about this meal, it came with an extra helping of gravy, no need to ask. That's a winner in my books, I like my roast swimming in gravy.

Kris opted for a fillet of cod in a tomato, chorizo and cannelini bean sauce, and those roasted Mediterranean vegetables again, although I think they went with Kris' dish way more than mine.  the sauce was a wee bit bland, I think it needed a little dash of paprika or something to give it some real depth but it was still very pleasant. 

At this point I was stuffed to the point of bursting but since we'd ordered dessert at the beginning of the meal it would be rude not to have a go.  Mine was a lime panacotta with blueberry compote and a pistachio crumble while Kris went for chocolate tart with salted caramel ice cream.

My panacotta was delicious, so so zesty and the blueberry compote was so delicious I could have ate that on its own. Sadly I was told the chef couldn't get his hands on any pistachio crumble (?!), isn't that just smashed up pistachios? Oh well! 

Kris chocolate tart was delicious, it was exactly what it said on the tin. Dark and rich with creamy caramel ice cream. Yum!

I sat back and rubbed my tummy, fit to burst, when Miguel tottered back over and asked if we'd like to see their new gin bar, Acqua. I accepted, of course, always keen to see what my home town has in store.

Hidden away at the back of the restaurant, it's a bit of a secret destination. If you don't know, you don't know kinda deal. The bar offers a range of gin based cocktails, mixology masterclasses and can host private events.  I can really see this becoming a buzzing part of the Washington bar scene. I for one can't wait to check out Acqua in full swing next time I find myself tottering about my home town.

*I was invited to Fiume for a complimentary meal in exchange for an honest review. 

Gift Guide for Foodies


Food lovers, gather round for I have found the cutest bunch of gifts to adorn your, or your food loving nearest and dearest's present pile. Read on if you'd like to know my picks for the perfect foodie Christmas.

Every kitchen needs a good quality pestle and mortar, I've been struggling along with a crappy IKEA number I got in a kitchen starter set when I first moved in with Kris... 11 years ago! I think it's about time I upgraded and this beautiful pink salt number would look amazing in any ones kitchen.

Imagine this, the girls are round, the prosecco is flowing and the good times are being had. The cheese has came up to room temperature desperate to be cut and you bring out a butter knife. Oh the humanity! Good cheese deserves a good cheese knife and this with this feather handled knife you can be the smug hostess with the mostess. 

See above, you can have the lovely cheese knife of your dreams but if you've got your cheese arranged on a stained and scratched chopping board then you might as well be serving it on the bottom of a stinky shoe.  I honestly think if I don't own this stunning agate cheeseboard I will never be truly happy. My cheese and I deserve it.

I don't know how I'd function without my Kitchenaid Stand Mixer. Sure, they're a big investment but they'll last you a lifetime and you'll grow to love it more than your actual family. I'm not even kidding. I just adore this Candy Apple Red version, in fact it's sitting on my kitchen bench right now. The classic colour goes perfectly in any kitchen but if red's not your jam, they come in tonnes of different colours. This is one investment you won't regret.

I've fancied a set of stemless champagne glasses for a while now, I just think they're so stylish. Speaking of stylish, can you get better than these gold spotted Kate Spade numbers? 

I'm utterly enamoured with this glorious gift set from the Glutenous Gardener. This is one for the gin lover in your life (cough cough), the beautifully boxed set comes with a young Juniper berry plant bearing dark berries just dying to liven up your nightly g&t, not only that but you get some seeds to grow Angelica and Coriander, both perfect additions to your tipple. To get you started on your gin infusing adventures you get a bottle of SW1 gin included. Chin chin.

Are you even a blogger if you don't own a bar cart?! Extra kudos if it's covered in copper cocktail equipment. If, like me, you can't live without a shiny copper pineapple ice bucket then Oliver Bonas has us covered. It's sitting in my shopping basket right now (along with an actual shed load of other stuff, oops).

I've blogged about this book before and I can tell you, I still love it. I use it all the time, the recipes are just delicious and innovative. I love the little tips to alter the meals to your diet, be it vegetarian, flexitarian or meat eater, this one is perfect for all.

Are you even a blogger if you don't own a monogrammed mug from Anthropologie? This gold version with have you the envy of the blogosphere. What are you waiting for, sip your tea in style.

These little animal ceramics from Quail are darling. I love this little kitty egg cup, it looks just like Muffin cat. Too cute for words.

These stacked cactus glasses add an instant pop of green fingered style to your kitchen. Now you can sip your cactus water from your cactus glass while tending to your cactus garden. Ultimate hipster points.

Another staple of the well functioning kitchen, a marble rolling pin. These pins are super heavy meaning it makes light work of rolling that fresh from the fridge pastry, not only that but the marble stays super cold. We all know that the art of pastry is keeping the bugger nice and chilly, well this does most of the work for you. You'll notice an instant difference in your pastry making.

I have to admit, I like this one just because it looks awesome in photos. I have a large and a small version and they're the ultimate food styling prop. I do use them from time to time, they don't half keep your tea nice and warm. This version comes with a tea infuser right inside, perfect for the loose leaf lovers among us.


Travel: New Orleans - Photo Diary

The second leg of our American journey took us to New Orleans, Louisianna.  I've been enamoured with New Orleans for as long as I can remember. I'd gobble up anything with the vaguest hint of Nola, films, books, TV shows, I was obsessed.  For some reason I always thought it out of reach, somehwere that would forever remain on my travel bucket list.  When we were booking our adventure we originally planned to fly across to New York and drive up to Boston after our Vegas visit but out of curiosity I did a little search for New Orleans and couldn't believe my eyes. Not only was it affordable, it was cheaper than what I'd settled on.  That was that, I was finally going to visit a place I've held in my heart for some many years. To say I was excited was an understatement.

One thing I can say about planning a multi city holiday, check your dates then check them again. One more time for good measure.  I say this because I, the massive doufus that I am, accidentally booked an extra night in our Vegas hotel and one less in our Nola diggs.  That meant we were without a bed for the first night we arrived in New Orleans. I know, right?!  Luckily I noticed my mistake and quickly booked an Air BnB for one night in Midtown and boy was I glad I did.  Midtown was such a cool, chilled out neighbourhood that boasted the best scarehouse in the whole state, did I mention it was right across the street from our room? Score one for Katie.  We left the camera at home for fear of dropping it in terror but trust me when I say it was scary as hell and hella fun!

before we got to New Orleans I began to think I may have over romanticised my view of the city. Maybe it wasn't going to be like the movies, maybe there wouldn't be jazz pouring from every street corner, maybe there wasn't going to be weeping foliage studded with strings of shiny beads and maybe the people weren't going to be the friendliest people I've ever met.  

Well, let me tell you dear reader, everything I dreamed of was true, and more.  Music floods through this city, the sound of trumpets carries on the breeze like floating magnolias. Beads left over from Mardi Gras celebrations hang from every surface, twinkling in the sunlight and the people were just about the greatest humans you could ever dream of meeting.  New Orleans, you have my heart and if you ever fancy dropping the 98% humidity levels, I'd move in lickety split.

Obviously, being a big fan of Disney's Princess and the Frog, I simply had to take a trip down the Bayou swamps.  I felt like I was in a dream. Everything about this place is breathtaking, every photo I took was like a work of art in itself. I could have spent all day floating around those swamps, watching aligators soaking up the afternoon sun, racoons bouncing through the trees and swamp hogs snuffling for treats in the muddy banks. Our tour was through Cajun Adventures and I can highly recommend the experience, our guide was knowledgeable and super friendly.

Next up is Memphis and probably the highlight of the holiday, Graceland. Did you know I'm a die hard Elvis fan? Well, I am, and bloody proud of it.   Have you ever visited New Orleans? I'd love to know what you thought of my new favourite city.
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