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This weekend was jam packed with lots of good memories and tasty eats, thanks to a bachelorette dinner and a wedding banquet. One of my closest childhood friends got married last month. I was a bridesmaid for the wedding…..and have the unforgiving blue satin dress to prove it. Now, the banquet is happening, about a month after the wedding ceremony. It’s typical in Chinese culture to have a traditional Wedding Banquet (sometimes in lieu of a “white” wedding, though my friend had both a traditional Christian ceremony and a banquet).

The eve before the banquet, the bride and a group of our closest gal pals spent some quality bachelorette (not technically since she’s already married) time together. First, we stopped by Sweetgreen. I hadn’t had a veggie juice in a while, so I think my body automatically craved one of their juices as soon as I saw it! Though I was tempted, I had it in me not to get one. The bottles were quite small and were about 6 bucks a pop.

Instead, I got a regular fro-yo with strawberries, blackberries and pecans.

Sweetgreen’s locations are mostly in DC, MD, VA so I wasn’t too familiar with them (i ❤ 16 handles and Culture) but OMG. Those pecans, which are, of course, on the other side of the photo, are so delicious. They must roast them? I’m not sure. Has anyone else had them? Please tell me there’s a NY froyo place that can come close, please?!

After our froyo fix, our group headed out to Ricciutti’s, a restaurant that aims to create an “impressive and positive dining experience” while adhering to responsible ecological business practices. Highlighting locally grown and seasonally inspired dishes, the Ricciuti’s menu features locally grown produce, free range chicken, pastured beef, lamb, pork, and sustainable seafood.

I think it’s great that you can learn about the local sources (read that here) of the food that you eat at their restaurant. While it might not make the food tastier (let’s be honest — you can make some really unsavory dishes out of locally, organically grown products) knowing that they support this ecologically sound food philosophy makes me want to support them and give them my patronage more often.

It was a beautiful evening!

After driving all the way out to the restaurant, we learned that for a table our size, the wait would be over 2 hours! Yea, ultimate fail on our part for not making reservations ahead of time. With our stomachs already grumbling, we opted not to wait but decided to put our names down just in case there was a reservation cancellation, and then headed to alternate (and less exciting) dining plans. We were really disappointed about it all because some of us were really anticipating eating here. Lo and behold, a few minutes after leaving, we got a call saying someone had cancelled their table and that they had an immediate opening for us!

After getting settled, I glanced at the cocktail menu but settled on a glass of Chardonnay, which I sipped while perusing the menu. My apologies for the poor quality of the photos; lighting was very dim!

Before we ordered our entrees, warm, doughy bread was brought out. Like I said, we were starving by this point. I must have eaten an entire loaf on my own.

Me and carbs are BFF’s. For real.

The table shared an order of arancinis to start. For my main, I decided on the Maryland Crab Cake which came with shoestring potato strings and green beans. A winner!

The crab cake was filled with tons of crabmeat, had a good sear on it, and the potatoes were crispy and salted just enough. I just wish there were more of that tartar-like sauce on my plate. I am a big sauce person. More is usually better for me.

I got to taste a lot of the other dishes at my table, including the sweet potato black bean chili (with roasted acorn squash and grilled polenta):

…as well as the Wood Oven Cioppino, a tomato stew with mussels, clams, bass, calalmari, fennel and vegetables. No photo of that. While the sweet potato chili was a bit bland, the Cioppino was fantastic! Great tomato flavor and chunks of seafood.

Finally, it was time for dessert!

Our group had been anticipating dessert ever since we walked in, and had looked at the dessert menu before we even ordered drinks so we had enough time to think about what we wanted. Yea, we’re a biiiit crazy into desserts. I think each of us ordered a different dish, so we pretty much ended up ordering one of everything on their dessert menu and had ourselves a big dessert sampling! I ordered the Honey Poppy Seed Bread Pudding, which is baked with chocolate, apples and whiskey caramel sauce. It was pretty tasty though in the photo it looks like a carnivorous dream…doesn’t it look like a slab of meat?:

Others at the table got the Paw Paw Ice Cream (with apple pancakes and rosemary caramel sauce), the chocolate pizza (dessert pastry with raspberry preserves, milk and white chocolate and various fruits), a Butter Pecan Bourbon Sundae (butter pecan ice cream, caramel rum sauce and bourbon foam), and an Apple tart with vanilla bean ice cream.

The bread pudding and bourbon sundae were definitely my favorites. Both were the only ones with alcohol, so, read into that what you will…..Needless to say, we were all in dessert heaven and all started wondering how the hell we were going to fit in our shiny, unforgiving blue satin beautiful bridesmaids dresses the next day. Yikes! By the end of the meal, we lingered a bit, hoping our food comatose would wear off. No such luck, as we still felt like we had to be rolled out of the restaurant when we left.

I’m blogging while on the road, and am feeling the effects of motion sickness, so I’ll recap the wedding banquet in a separate post. Stay tuned!