Small Plate Recipes you can make at home!

By now you might’ve figured out that we at PetitePlatesDC (myself included) love small plates. It’s also not a surprise that we are a group on a budget – living the grad school life.

If you are in a similar financial situation or just like saving a few bucks, we feel your pain (no really, we do) but you don’t have to miss out on the great taste of tapas or the fresh, crisp flavors of mezze if you’re on a budget – just make your own! There’s literally nothing you can’t create with a trip to the grocery store and an hour in the kitchen.

So, I’ve collected a few recipes that are easy to make and delicious to eat – by yourself or with friends!

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There is such a thing as too much good food

Like a lot of people, I research restaurants online before visiting. Looking up reviews on Yelp or reading about a place in a local newspaper or magazine can give a pretty good idea of what to expect, and if it’s worth your time (and money). There’s nothing more disappointing than anticipating a delicious meal out only to be disappointed by the food and/or service.

Such was the case with Lincoln. Located near McPherson Square, it serves seasonal American small plates with ingredients locally sourced from farms in neighboring states. Recently, Lincoln updated their menu for the spring season so I took to the Internet to see if it was worth checking out for the blog.

Lincoln has been featured on numerous lists for its food as well as its bar that comes complete with the city’s first moonshine menu and its own infusion room is run by master mixologists. Being on these lists adds to the notoriety of the establishment, and puts a stamp on the quality of the menu.

The reviews on Yelp were mixed, but I figured that was to be expected. I understand that online reviews should be taken with a grain of salt because I feel as though what one person thinks is amazing another might think of as boring or rude. Everyone has different tastes. Most of the bad reviews had some kind of complaint about the service, but all said the food and drink were good. From the reviews, the highest rated feature of Lincoln was its décor.

Another way I judge restaurants before visiting is through Facebook. How many likes does it have? If the establishment is relatively new it might not be a good indicator, but since Lincoln opened in 2011 and has over 3,000 likes – I figured they must be doing something right.

Ultimately though, hearing personal recommendations is what I listen to most. When I mentioned Lincoln to a friend who’s a self-described foodie, she said I had to try it – especially since Southern food is my favorite.

I’d enlisted my two roommates to check it out with me on a Wednesday night (got to celebrate hump day!). The dining room was full of families, couples and groups of friends, so I was glad I’d made a reservation in advance.

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the floor at Lincoln. Nice touch!

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Honest Abe looks over the dining room at Lincoln.

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American food with a twist

EatBar is one of the bright spots in Clarendon for small plates. Voted one of the Best Bars of 2013, EatBar offers up modern small plates without a big price tag.

The seat-yourself restaurant and bar has an atmosphere that’s cozy and candlelit, but noisy enough that you don’t feel like you have to whisper.  The gastropub lists wine and beer options drawn on chalkboards. The cushioned booths will make you feel comfortable hanging around a while and probably ordering more food until you’re in a food coma.

EatBar features contemporary American food with a few twists that keep the food interesting.

Classic American foods get upgrades with the use of different spices and sauces from different cultures. Like the chicken wings in Korean BBQ or chili lime sauce. My group gotthe Korean BBQ, and we ate everyone single morsel.

 

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