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Hello there!

We are so excited to announce that we have officially signed a lease to launch the first brick-and-mortar shop of Chaia, our seasonal vegetable taco business. Our new home will be at 3207 Grace Street, NW in the heart of Georgetown, one of Washington, DC’s most beautiful, historic neighborhoods.

The shop will continue to provide the same simplicity, freshness and flavor that led to the long lines at DC’s Dupont Circle and White House FreshFarm Markets for the last two years, but will include a larger selection of vibrant vegetarian taco combinations — all still served in freshly pressed and grilled corn tortillas. There will also be a variety of carefully crafted sides and natural drinks. Chaia will stay committed to offering all customers an artisanal product at an affordable price point, elevating DC’s local food experience.

We wanted to say a big “thank you” to all of you–our loyal Loulie’s subscribers–for supporting us over the last eight years. We developed Chaia because of our love for cooking seasonal, flavorful and healthy food for our families and friends and sharing our cooking tips and recipes with you on Loulie’s. Inspired by our personal experiences — Bettina’s from New York City and Suzanne from rural Ohio — we wanted to take our seasonal cooking offline to create the unique relationship between farmers and urban, street-style food to offer a new culinary experience: “farm to taco”.

Whether you’re based in the Washington, DC area or live elsewhere, we hope you, your family and friends will come visit our shop at 3207 Grace Street NW. We plan to serve lunch Tuesday-Friday, brunch Saturday and Sunday and dinner Tuesday-Sunday. Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest for updates on our shop!

Wishing you a healthy and happy holiday season,

Bettina and Suzanne

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Easy Breezy Summer

July 15, 2014

littleneck clams

We’ve been working really hard. It might not seem that way because we haven’t posted here for awhile, but things are cooking along with Chaia and we can’t wait to share. In the meantime, summer means longer, lazier days and – more than likely – less time in the kitchen. Here is one of our favorite go-to recipes that can be adapted to any season, but is particularly pleasing right now:

Summer Steamed Clams with Herbs

Serves 4-6

Garlicky and delicately delicious, all you need are a freshly-baked loaf of bread (or one pound of cooked linguine) and a yummy salad.

6 lbs. littleneck clams, scrubbed well under cold water to remove sand and grit
Good olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 c. chopped fresh cilantro (or parsley or tarragon, add some chives if you prefer)
Zest of 1-2 lemons
Crushed red pepper flakes, to taste
4 Tbls, unsalted butter
Juice of 2 lemons

In a tall, large pot, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add garlic and herbs and cook for a couple of minutes

Stir in clams and cover the pot. Cook until clams open, about 7-10 minutes.

Using a slotted spoon, remove the clams and distribute among individual serving bowls (or place in one big serving bowl, if you prefer). Discard any clams that do not open.

Add herbs to the cook pot, along with lemon zest and red pepper flakes. Whisk in butter and lemon juice until sauce thickens slightly.

Spoon sauce over clams and serve straight away.

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jeweled rice, by loulies

Last week we attended the Les Dames d’ Escoffier Celebrating Food Symposium and provided a tasting of our Chaia tacos. There were many delicious foods to try and lots of foodies and chefs to talk with and learn from. A highlight of the event was a Persian Jeweled Rice dish made with orange peels, almonds, barberries and pistachios by local chef Najmieh Batmanglij. As a wedding dish, it represents gold, rubies, emeralds and pearls. The recipe can be found in Najmieh’s latest book Food of Life . We picked up a copy at the event and decided to make a few things this weekend for a guest coming to DC. Note: We highly suggest getting the book, but similar recipes can be found online. Najmieh also teaches cooking classes in her Georgetown home, for those of you who are local.

Early Spring Menu

Cucumber and Pomegranate Salad
Persian Jeweled Rice
Saffron Chicken Kabab with Grilled Cherry Tomatoes and Lavash
Easy Berry Crisp

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From Najmieh Batmanglij

Juice of 1 lime
3 Tbls. pistachio or olive oil
1 tsp. salt
freshly ground black pepper
½ c. chopped red onion
½ c. chopped fresh mint
about 6 Persian cucumbers or 1 long seedless English cucumber
seeds of 2 pomegranates
2 Tbls. slivered pistachios (optional)
¼ c. crumbled feta (optional)

Whisk ingredients for dressing and add to salad. Toss and season with more salt, lime juice and olive oil to taste. Tip: This salad can be made ahead of time and left on the counter until ready to serve.

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winter sunrise, by wendzday

Passed on to us by a loyal Loulies reader, a quick winter breakfast we have come to love is one cup cooked oatmeal mixed with a tablespoon of each – unsweetened almond butter, chia seeds, flax seeds and a drizzle of maple syrup. It is good for morning energy, satisfies hunger for hours and is perfect for this time of year when our bodies crave something warm and satisfying. Avoid the pre-packaged oatmeal, which is often packed with sugar and salt. And, yes, oats are naturally gluten-free.

Tips for Perfect Oatmeal – We love the toasting tip.
Chia Seeds and Flax Seeds – Both chia seeds and flax seeds can be found at most grocery stores. For the flax seeds, we prefer the finely ground seeds as opposed to whole.
Maple Syrup – Grade A or B

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Cover Recipe

January 10, 2014


This month’s Bon Appétit has a delicious!!! cover recipe that is simple and requires little, if any, adaptation. We are big noodle fans and love the comfort of a steaming bowl of Asian noodle soup. If eating healthy is a central part of your New Year’s Resolutions, then you will love this recipe – comfort food without the guilt. Other than omitting the fish sauce, we followed the recipe to a tee. The recipe suggests trying it with turnip greens too. We really like that idea.

Friday Link: Asian Noodle Soup with Spicy Pork + Mustard Greens

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chocolate bark copy

This easy kitchen project won’t take much time at all. It’s delicious and a nice gift for anyone on your list. We used Ghiradelli chocolate from the baking section of the supermarket and Safeway Selects “Almond Orchard Delight Trail Mix” that includes roasted almonds, cranberries, pistachios, raisins and cherries.

Nutty Mexican Chocolate Bark

16 oz. bittersweet chocolate
2 c. mixed nuts and dried fruits
Maldon sea salt flakes (or any other finishing salt)
Ancho chile powder

Prepare a baking sheet by lining it with parchment paper or a Silpat mat. Spread out most of the nut and fruit mix on the sheet (reserving some to decorate the top). Sprinkle with flaky finishing salt. Set aside.

Place chocolate in the top portion of a double-boiler. Melt slowly, stirring occasionally, until it is completely melted. Pour chocolate over the nuts and fruits in an even layer. Press extra nuts and fruits into the top. Sprinkle evenly with chile powder.

Put in the fridge for about one hour to cool. Break into smaller pieces and store in a sealed container in the fridge.

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This book is on our gift-giving list this Christmas. The reviews claim it is smart, non-intimidating and pragmatic. But, no Amazon ordering (OUT OF STOCK); which is probably a good thing, as you are forced to keep your shopping local.

Click here to learn more about author and wine columnist Katherine Cole. And, by the way, this is our 1,001 post at Loulies – maybe WE should do a curated book?

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recipe i want to try, the kitchen

To celebrate her beautiful new book, The Art of Simple Food II, Alice Waters will be at Buck’s Fishing & Camping restaurant tomorrow night for an event co-sponsored by Politics & Prose and James Alefantis – friend, book lover, and owner of Buck’s. Along with a few other local chefs, we will be cooking for Alice (a little nervous and very excited). The feast will include appetizers and a four-course meal with wine pairings, and each guest will receive a signed copy of Alice’s book. Admission is $350 ($345 for members) for one ticket and a book, or $650 ($645 for members) for two tickets and a book. All ticket proceeds will be donated to The Edible Schoolyard, whose mission is to promote an edible education curriculum for kindergarten through high school.

Click Here to Purchase Tickets

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A Delicious Dinner

November 16, 2013

risky fishing, by jobarque

We had a version of Portuguese fish stew for a Friday evening “girls night out”, then another good friend served something very similar at a dinner party the next night. The following week, Bettina decided to give it a try mid-week for out-of-town guests visiting overnight. It is a delicious dinner option that may be the answer (at least for right now) to the everlasting question What to cook? Make it at home for friends or family and keep it loose, every version will likely be a bit different depending on the type of fish you decide to use.

Here is a link to the recipe that was sent to us from our girlfriend Katherine. We made a few adaptions: we used clam juice instead of making fish stock, we found canned tomatoes worked fine, smoky-sweet paprika is a must, and monkfish was a wonderful addition to the seafood selection.

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