Sette Osteria

 

Sette Osteria

1666 Connecticut Ave NW, Washington 20009

202-483-3070

Saturday marked my third or fourth visit to Sette–but the first time I ordered a pizza. I was told by a reliable source that there are only a handful of certified Neapolitan pizzerias in the city and Sette is among them. Also among them are Pizza Paradiso and 2 Amy’s.

So what is Neapolitan pizza?–I am not entirely sure. I know it involves a wood-burning oven and the colors of the Italian flag (red-tomato, white-cheese, and green-basil). But back to the nitty-gritty–Sette’s Pizza.

I ordered my typical–four-cheese pizza and marinara sauce on the side. The pizza arrived covered in gorgonzola, fresh mozzarella, pecorina campano, and grana. I expected such an outrageous use of strong cheeses to be too overwhelming on one pizza, but to my surprise the combination was nothing less than incredible. But let’s put aside the cheese for a moment and talk about the crust. The crust was hands down the best I have ever eaten. It was crunchy on the outside with a moist, almost egg-y quality, on the inside. In places where the crust was thin it had bubbled up in the heat of the oven (but wasn’t burnt on the bottom like Pizzeria Paradiso). Imagine the innards of a french cruller–this was the texture of the bubbled dough. The pizza by itself was incredible but before finishing the review, I had to dip the crust in the marinara. I couldn’t quite figure out what it was that I tasted in the sauce. I had to dip several times–not because I liked the sauce, because frankly I didn’t, but because I was trying to figure out if there was a dairy product in the marinara. For my tastes, the marinara was bland, but it had an odd creamy quality that I couldn’t put my finger on. I asked my wait-person and she asked the chef. The chef came to my table to explain the ingredients. In a strong Italian accent, the chef proceeded to tell me that it wasn’t cream but carrots, onions, and basil that I tasted. He said that the Neapolitan spices were much more subtle than the American (bastardized) version of marinara. Well…I am on a quest to find the “best pizza Americana”–and Sette is very, very close to the best…sans the marinara. The marinara is just too Italian I guess.

Exxon-Mobile: Evironmentally evil empire (EEE)

Tonight I will put up two posts, this one, encouraging you to read the sierra club article rating oil companies and another on the pizza at Sette Osteria. The reason for the prologue is, while having a lunch at Sette by myself, I overheard another table talking about the billions of dollars that Exxon made this year and some of the atrocities committed by the company. I love this city! I had to intrude on their conversation. Only a week or two ago my friend and colleague Soumya sent me an article posted by the Sierra club rating Exxon-Mobile as one of the leading environmental and social offenders. Unfortunately, we are so dependent upon oil that if it were to run out tomorrow we would be faced with utter chaos. In fact, it would be the greatest national disaster of all time. Given that we now measure fossil fuel in DECADES, we, as a nation, should be very, very concerned. But until the gas-guzzling cars are permanently parked, perhaps we could at least choose to fuel our car through an oil company where the executives make a few responsible choices and a few less egregious assaults on the environment–the lesser of the evils, if you will.

Ahhh…Wonderous Juice

At the end of November, pre-compact days, I splurged and purchased a juicer on Ebay. I diligently researched and found a super powerful juicer; one that will eat carrots in one bite, shred beets and expel the ruby liquid in mere seconds! And the purchase could not have been a better one. I love this beast of a juicer.

Since that fateful day of delivery, Josh-wa and I have been experimenting with a number of different juices. The results of our experimentation has led us to discover that juicing more than 3 or 4 vegetables and fruits creates an indecipherable medley of flavors, or worse, a hodgepodge of clashing flavors. We have also discovered that green apples make every other fruit or vegetable taste better. Take for example Josh-wa’s favorite: asparagus, celery, and green apples. You can literally smell the green. This is a wonderful diuretic because of the asparagus and celery and the apple gives the juice a nice sweet zing at the finish. I can not imagine what this would taste like without the apple.

My favorite isn’t much different from the aspara-cel-apple: green apple and celery. This is similar to eating a salted apple. The celery adds saltiness and the green apple adds mouth pucker.

Pictured is a beet, apple, and navel orange combo. The flavor is sweet with an earthy nose. The beet, however, does scary things to one’s excrement. Be aware that sipping on this concoction leads to purple poop within a day.

Don’t forget to add the pulp to your composting pile!

juice-glasses.jpg hand-of-pulp.jpg the-beast.jpg

 

 

Pizzeria Paradiso

Stepping in for the Mighty P, I (Josh-wa) am writing the pizza reviews in lieu tonight. Pizzeria Paradiso is not the pizza I remember from my youth in the Bay Area, but for DC it is pretty damn good. Read the rest of this entry »

January accounting: New Year’s resolutions

So far I have stuck to the New Year’s resolutions pretty well. I thought I would catalogue my successes and missteps so far:


Environmental Efforts

Successes

· Taken public transportation at least once a week, sometimes as many as 3 times a week

Read the rest of this entry »

More on overpackaging of food

In response to “Buying and Eating Green”, my friend David sent article from the Independent.  It is so timely, that I thought I would post it (or you can read it at The Independent).  It goes to show that we Armarikens are not alone in the fight against overpackaging.

Supermarket packaging: How you can fight back

By Andy McSmith

Published: 25 January 2007

So you think that there is nothing you can do, as a lone consumer pitted against powerful commercial interests, about the annoying, wasteful and environmentally damaging volume of packaging you bring home with your shopping? But you are not alone. The Government is on your side.

Britain runs the risk of huge EU fines unless it reduces the amount of waste it buries in landfill sites. Trading standards officers also object to excessive packaging because too much padding can give buyers a false impression of what they are buying. Here, then, are a few things you can do: * If it is over-packaged, don’t buy it. That the first and simplest advice from the professionals. If consumers won’t buy it, suppliers will have to stop selling it in all that wrapping.* If you do buy it, rip the packaging off and leave it on the counter. This suggestion was made by the Environment Minister, Ben Bradshaw. Supermarkets have to accept that if the packaging stays in their shops, it’s their responsibility.* Complain. But remember it is probably not the store manager’s fault: the goods will have arrived over-packaged. The culprit is the company whose brand name is on the label.* Ring 08454 040 506. That is a line operated by Consumer Direct, a government-funded organisation run by the Office of Fair Trading. They will want your contact details, and details of what you bought and where, and will pass the complaint to trading standards officers.* If you run a small business involved in packaging goods, there is a number to call for free advice. Envirowise is a government-funded service that is dedicated to helping small and medium-sized businesses to waste less. They can be reached on 0800 585 794 and their website is at www.envirowise.gov.uk. 

Recycling. Your house!

Recycled school bus, WV

 

If you are interested in ideas for recycling around your house–for renovations or even new construction, check out some of these great websites:

Green Home building

Green building

Global green

And check out some of the houses made out of recycled goods by my favorite architect and inspiration–Samual Mockbee.

 

Buying and Eating Green

 

In stark contrast to research suggesting that a reduced calorie diet may lead to a longer life, since 1970 the U.S. department of agriculture estimates that we Armarikens (Americans with an accent) have increased our per capita food consumption 16 percent, or by 523 calories, and the percentage of overweight Americans has skyrocketed as well. But regardless of how much we eat, we women (sorry fellas) spend a large percentage of time buying and preparing food.

A primary purpose of this blog is to express my thoughts and feelings on two seemingly different topics–the environment and on culinary experiences and experiments. The two do, in fact, come together. And while your ecological footprint is certainly higher if you are not a vegetarian or vegan, you can still behave as an environmentalist by becoming more aware of how and where you purchase our food and what you do with the by-products when you are done.

The store…

Paper or plastic?

What about choosing neither? This is such a simple way of reducing the amount of landfill waste and CO2 production–take your own cloth bags to the store with you. Of course you can recycle, but the simple act of bringing your own bags reduces the need to a) produce more bags and b) use energy to recycle–both of which ultimately increase the production of greenhouse gasses through energy consumption. By the way, it is also incredibly gratifying to walk out of the grocery store with your own cloth bags.

Buy from local farms and co-ops

There are a number of reasons to purchase from local farmers or from co-ops that stock shelves using local producers. First and foremost, for the purposes of this *green* blog, the closer to home that your produce was harvested, cows were milked, and your eggs were laid, the less fossil fuel needed to bring you those tasty morsels. Buying locally also helps sustain local farmers, promotes the local economy, and creates a link between the food supply and the community. If you are interested in finding local farms that bring produce, dairy or meat to your area, check out “local harvest” or for co-ops check out the community gardens link.

If you are unable to buy from a local farmer or co-op, consider choosing produce that is locally grown. Many of the large chain stores do not advertise where food stuffs come from, but Whole foods, albeit expensive, makes it their practice to label the origin of all of their produce–giving you the option to choose.

Reuse or recycle

Recycling is great, but I try to make that the last resort. I am perpetually trying to think of creative ways that I can reuse the packaging from food items. I have come up with a few:

1. Milk cartons

Cut off the bottom and the 1/2 gallon size milk container makes a nice scoop for your pet food or cut off the top and it makes an easy organizing container

2. Cereal boxes

Cut out diagonal pieces from the front and back about 2 inches from the bottom of the box and use to neatly store magazines

3. Yogurt containers

These make great cheap Tupperware for dry foods or organizers for small items.

But let’s face it–we can only use so many magazine organizers. An alternative to retooling and recycling is simply purchasing foods with less packaging. If you have come up with ways of using old packaging, I would love to hear about it.

Composting

I have the great fortune to know Josh-wa who is a composter–so I am able to add the pulp from my juicer to his compost pile. But until I met him, the only means of disposing of my vegetable scraps was via garbage disposal or waste container. Composting is a way of creating your own natural, nutrient-rich “peat” to mix in with top soil while at the same time reducing the number of bags of waste produced by your family. Leaves and vegetable scraps heaped in a ventilated container and occasionally turned will decompose, ferment, and eventually become fertilizer for your veggie or flower garden. Your local hardware store will carry outdoor containers for composting and you can read more about composting on line.

 

If you **really** get into the environmentalist/composting frame of mind, perhaps you can install a composting pooper at your house.

For you apartment dwellers, like myself, I don’t have simple recommendation for composting. My advice is to make environmentally friendly friends who compost or don’t mind you creating a compost pile in their yard or find a community garden space (sorry DC, there isn’t a comprehensive list of community gardens).

Happy Greening!

 

 

Yum! Jello…

For Christmas Josh-wa bought me a used Jello cookbook. I am sure that this gift was meant as a joke, but I was lured in by all the colors and shapes. Did you know that you can make a 5 course dinner from jello?! In fact, I think my next potluck will be a jello-themed dinner party. Really, what isn’t appealing about colorful, giggly hunks of sweet, tangy goodness?

Well this beaut took about 3 hours, 5 packs of jello, and a 1/2 pint of sour cream. The trick is to use 1/2 the amount of water called for in the recipe to get the right consistency to layer.

Jello

Zios Pizza

Zios Italian Restaurant 

9083 Gaither Road

Gaithersburg, MD 20877

 

Zios is a regular lunch time destination for my coworkers and me. Read the rest of this entry »

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