Every year since living in DC, I make my sister her all time favorite dessert- Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting. Every year I try a new recipe hoping it will be better than the last. This year according to my sister “Was the best yet!” Mission accomplished. Recipe is at the end of this post. We also have a tradition of going out to a restaurant of the birthday person’s choice (as I am sure many people do. So far we have hit up- Thai x-ing, Little Serow, Komi, Barcelona, Roses Luxury, Ambar, and I am sure I am missing a few but all have been fantastic! This year Steph picked a spot none of us had been to before, Sally’s Middle Name.
Located on H st. in DC, Sally’s has been open since June 3, 2015. Owner and chef, opened Sally’s along with his wife and good friend. The name is a homage to Sam’s older sister, Sally. Growing up she was jealous of his middle name (which is Ulysses). When Sam was only 11 he promised her that when he opened his own restaurant he would name it “Sally’s Middle Name.” Sam got his first chef knife when he was 7, so this was a pretty serious promise for him, and lucky for us, we can reap the benefits of his soulful, unpretentious cuisine.
A bookcase overflowing with classic and noteworthy cookbooks greets you as you walk in, no host stand in sight but we were greeted promptly and sat immediately. The dining room is small, with a simple contemporary vintage feel. Small tea cups line the wall, a large bar overlooking the kitchen, different vintage dinner plates set on the table. It has a laid back feel, with good food and a changing menu that focuses on seasonal small plates. I love the menu is written on the chalkboard wall, it cuts down on waste and the menu changes easily and often, so you know it’s always something a little different.
The dishes offered are great for all types of diets, everything is labeled for easily identifying gluten-free and diary-free options. They also have an array of delicious vegetarian options that will not leave you wanting. It was suggested by our server we order about 3-4 small plates per person but we got 4 plates between the 3 of us plus dessert and felt content (although I am sure with hungry men 3-4 would be a good assumption). They have wine and Prosecco by the glass- all offered by the bottle for 4 times the price, which was interesting but just fine. Also a variety of microbrews to choose from.
The staff was knowledgeable and friendly. As I walked in with cake in hand the host offered to take it from me and bring it out as a surprise when the time was right. We ordered the vanilla bean ice cream to accompany the cake, it was absolutely delectable! Velvety and creamy consistency bursting with real vanilla bean flavor, some of the best I have tried (and I have tried my fair share).
The chicken breast was juicy and flavorful, although we were told it was large enough for 3 of us, so we were a little surprised by the portion. None the less it was fine because we had plenty of other delicious additions to our meal. Including:
Pork fried rice – this was Hannah and Stephs favorite, it had Szechuan pepper flakes to give it a nice kick of heat.
Mashed potatoes- AMAZING! Rich, savory and slightly chunky, exactly what I want at my table next Thanksgiving. The gravyish sauce was not too thick and was a match made in heaven for the chicken.
Roasted carrots and parsnips with harissa, cilantro and dill. My personal fav. Bursting with fresh herb flavors and a subtle heat of harissa. The carrots were roasted just right, a bit of char, slightly underdone so not to get overly mushy.
None one said it better than Julia Child “A party without cake is just a meeting.“
Carrot Cake with Salted Bourbon Caramel Cream Cheese Frosting
Adapted from Flour
For the Frosting: