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February 2010

January 2010

22nd Annual Chocolates Galore and More!

Many of you may not know much about the YMCA outside of being a member of one the local YMCA gyms, but the YMCA is one of the worlds biggest community outreach, non-profit organizations that exist. They work with thousands of local schools, hospitals, and youth agencies to help local communities across the world.

The YMCA hosts an event every year called "Chocolates Galore and More." It is happening again this year for the 22nd time on February 19 from 7:00 pm - 11:00 pm at West Belmont Place at The National Conference Center in Lansdowne, Virginia. The event's proceeds support the YMCA’s Loudoun County’s Building Bridges annual giving campaign, which provides essential scholarships and much-needed funds to local Loudoun County families who turn to the YMCA for help. 

People who attend will indulge in luscious chocolates, exquisite desserts and mouth-watering hors d’oeuvres prepared by the area’s finest restaurants and caterers, sample a specially selected tasting of Tarara Wines and coffee from Central Coffee Roasters.All food prepared for the event will be judged in a competition by three guest judges: Melissa J. Harris, Publisher of Flavor Magazine; Bryan Voltaggio, chef and owner of VOLT Restaurant in Frederick, Md; and Josh Short, Executive Pastry Chef, Buzz Bakery in Alexandria, Va.

Tickets can be purchased online at, or contact the YMCA Loudoun County at 703-777-9622. Ticket prices are $60 for general admission and $70 for reserved seating (of which $50.00 is tax deductible).

While this event isn't necessarily a "DC" event, I'm hoping that you will be willing to make the trip and help out our Virginia neighbors. 

Don't call it a comeback! Chicken wings on the grill, Super Bowl on the TV

DSCN4830 Next week's game has all the makings of being the best Super Bowl since 2002. Both the Saints and Colts have great story lines and last weekend's championship games point to a fantastic match up in the works. (With all the connections to Louisiana, a pot of gumbo and a case of Abita wouldn't be a bad call.)

So what better time to restart the old grilling column? I've been a bit busy lately with beer bar profiles, homebrewing and expanding the family. As a result, I haven't cranked out a grilling column since Oktoberfest. Shameful, I know. But I'm sure everyone has been dutifully grilling throughout the college and NFL seasons, right? Right??

If not, it's time. This is the Super Bowl, people, so let's get back on the horse. And what better way to get back on the horse than with chicken? (That made a whole lot more sense when I wrote it.)

As we all know, chicken wings have become the official food of football. The people who argue that pizza or nachos are the preeminent game food are the same people who argue that baseball is still America's pastime. Ignore these people.

DSCN4838 The beauty of grilling chicken wings this time of year is you don't need to spend that much time outside with them. Toss them on, glaze the hot wings a couple times when they're nearly done, and pull 'em off. That's it. I'm a proponent of year-round grilling, but I hate spending time outside during the winter. (Well, winter up here. If I were writing this post back home in Tampa, I'd be outside in shorts. Your winters suck.)

For this post, I did the wings two ways: buffalo style, or hot wings, and jerk. For the jerk, you marinate the wings over night. For the hot wings, you glaze them on the grill and prepare a blue cheese sauce while they cook (but it'll be better if you make it the night before). Most importantly, this is all stuff you can do while drinking beer. I know, I did.

So skip the bars, buy a couple packages of chicken wings and make sure you have propane in the tank (or charcoal in the bag). This is the Super Bowl, so it's time to do it right. And the only way to do it right is to do it on the grill.

(This is the point I usually make a beer recommendation. Not this time. As I mentioned, I've been homebrewing, so I'll be drinking my own during the big game. I will say this: with all the pre-game analysis, festivities and what not, and then the game, Super Bowl Sunday is a marathon, not a sprint. While I'd love to spend the day sucking down Hopslam, the 10 percent beer would lay me out before kickoff. So shoot for something a little lighter, like Oskar Blues' Mama's Little Yella Pils, Abita's Turbodog, or Clipper City's MarzHon. All three are great beers that will treat you right all day long.)

Grilled Jerk and Hot Wings
(makes a lot of wings)

Hot Wings

DSCN481820-25 whole chicken wings (I don't separate the drummette and the wingette. Life's short, give everyone a whole wing.)
1 large 10 oz. bottle of hot sauce (I buy something cheap and relatively mild. In this case, I used Tapatio.)
3 tbs. honey
1/2 stick of butter (room temperature)
Salt and pepper to taste
Vegetable oil

Blue cheese sauce

1 pint of Greek yogurt
1/2 cup of soft, crumbled blue cheese
2 tsp. of garlic powder
2 tsp. of onion powder
1/4 oz. of lemon juice
1 tbs finely chopped fresh chives
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Jerk Wings

20-25 whole chicken wings
1 onion, chopped
2/3 cup of green onions
1 tsp. thyme (dried or fresh)
2 tsp. salt
3 tsp. allspice
1 tsp. nutmeg
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tbl. crushed red peppers
2 Serrano or jalapeno peppers, chopped
2 tsp. black pepper
2 tbs. soy sauce
1/2 cup of vegetable oil
Several dashes of Tabasco

DSCN4804 The night before, marinate the jerk wings and put the blue cheese sauce together (I know I said you could do that while the chicken cooks on the grill, but the sauce will be better if it has a night to come together.). For the jerk wings, combine all the ingredients except the chicken (if I didn't point that out, someone would have) in a food processor. Pulse until the ingredients form a very loose paste. Spoon the ingredients onto the chicken wings -- making sure to coat them thoroughly -- cover and refrigerate overnight.

For the blue cheese sauce, add all the ingredients except the chives into the Greek yogurt, taste and adjust the seasoning as necessary. Cover and refrigerate. Scatter the chives on top before you serve.

An hour before you're ready to grill, remove all the chicken from the refrigerator, as well as the butter. Brush the chicken you're using for hot wings with a light coat of oil. Season with salt and pepper.

DSCN4812 Whether you're using a gas or charcoal grill, set it up for indirect cooking (charcoal: hot spot on one side, cool on another; gas grill: two outer burners on, two inner burners off). When the grill is hot, put all the chicken on and close the cover. Grill the chicken for 30 minutes. Open the lid and flip the chicken. Also, swap the pieces of chicken that are farthest from the heat with the pieces closest to the heat. Close the cover and keep grilling for another 30 minutes.

During this last half hour put the wing sauce together. In a sauce pot, combine the hot sauce, butter and honey. Simmer over medium heat until the ingredients coalesce. After the wings have been on the grill about an hour, start brushing the sauce on the chicken.Close the lid and cook for 5 minutes. Add another coat of the wing sauce and grill for another five minutes.

Pull all the wings off the grill, get the blue cheese sauce out of the fridge and go watch that game.

The Return of Hopslam

HopslamBottles Last year, around about this time, I extolled the virtues of a hero. Born in the mystic land of Kalamazoo, forged with grain and honey, and tempered to a fine hoppy edge, this hero came each year at Winter's height, and banished the Demon Cold with balance and grace, and brought great cheer to the peoples. This hero's name was Hopslam. And yea, there was great rejoicing, and more than a little revelry, until he again he disappeared, only to return when he was most needed. Well, he hath returned friends, to beat back the storm and cold... but lo! I fear he doth look a bit less vigorous than when last we met, and oh what a tribute he now demands!

The Hopslam has been one of the most praised beers of the past several years, and you can count me as one of its greatest supporters. This Imperial IPA from Bell's Brewery — flavored with a combination of heavy hops and honey, and weighing in at an explosive 10% abv — is widely considered one of the best spring seasonals and practically flies off the shelf. Having been a bit swamped with personal and work obligations, I kinda lost track of the spinning of the beer world and was thus happily surprised when I saw the fave in a Dupont area market last Wednesday. Thoroughly elated, I picked up a sixer and all but skipped to the register. "Oh, you found the Hopslam," said the elderly cashier with a wink. "Just came out today! That'll be $24.00, plus tax."

Now, I am the first to admit that I spend way more than is sensible on my beer and wine budget, but even for me, $24.00 a six pack is pretty freakin' steep. Sure, Hopslam was never what you would call cheap, but I rarely saw it for more than $20.00 on the shelf last year, and usually it was closer to $15.00. Curiosity overcame frugality; I left nearly $30 poorer and anxiously cracked a bottle as soon as I got home.

HopslamDraught This year's Hopslam pours a hazy golden orange, with a full head and long-lasting lacing. Spicy and bready notes head up the nose, accented with notes of grapefruit, honey, and ginger. Lots of honey and bitter hops lead to a full, citrusy, slightly sour mid-palate. The minute-long finish features an interesting melange of sweet honey and bitter hops, along with an odd, vaguely soapy quality. When sampled on draught, the Hopslam was a) very similar, if a bit sweeter, with more grapefruit on the nose, and b) also a good deal more expensive than it had been last year, selling now for $8.00 per 10 oz snifter.

Don't get me wrong, the Hopslam is still a pretty damned good beer, and the flavors match up pretty well with what they've always been. This year, though, a little something seems to be missing; the beer seems less full and less beautifully balanced than it used to be. I don't know, maybe it's the new pricing that is subconsciously turning me off, or maybe that merciless bitch Time has made me older, and therefore, more jaded and cynical. Any way you cut it, the bloom is off the rose.

Supplies were extra limited this year, so if you want to give it a whirl, better act fast. I have seen the Hopslam for sale at Cairo Liquor, Schneider's of Capitol Hill, One West Dupont Wine and Spirits, and Wagshal's (all in the $20 to $25 range), and you can be pretty sure that area Whole Foods got themselves a healthy supply.

UPDATE - 01/22

Wow, regardless of how I felt about it, this stuff went fast. Cairo Liquor was out of stock when I swung by today, Chevy Chase Wine and Spirits (one of DC's premier beer outlets) appeared to be out, and Schneider's was down to less than a case. If you still want it, you'd best grab it when you see it!

BOE Social Club White: Wine From Brooklyn?

BOE1 I love wines from strange places -- I've had domestic wines from Idaho, Wisconsin, North Carolina, and you've heard about my experience with Chinese and Japanese wines. But one thing I had never had was a wine from a major metropolitan area. Grapes are sensitive little things that do not respond very well to pollution, and in a place where a studio apartment can run ya $2,000 a month, a vineyard might not be what you'd call 'economically viable.' Thus was my interest piqued when I saw the Brooklyn Oenology Social Club White 2007 at a local wine shop; could this wine really be from one of NYC's five boroughs?

Umm, not so much... but the BOE (as in Brooklyn OEnology) is still a damned fine wine! Though based in the Williamsburg area and featuring labels by local artists of local landmarks, BOE is made at a host winery on Long Island's north fork by winemaker Alie Sharper. The winery produces a series of wines, including a couple high-end Merlots and Chardonnays, in addition to the modestly priced Social Club series. The 2007 White is a stainless steel fermented, lightly oaked Chardonnay. The wine pours a pretty pale lemon color and has a full, fruity nose, featuring apricot, orange and lemon. On the attack the wine is slightly fizzy, with more orange and pear flavors, and a flinty, stony edge. Dried fruit and a smoky, earthy quality emerge on the mid-palate, leading to a dry, stony, pleasantly acidic banana and lemon flavored finish.

BOE2 The Social Club White has that quintessential NY State rocky profile, backed up with ample acidity, a great full body and abundant fruit. Certainly a great pair with creamy cheese (we enjoyed is with St. Andre), this wine would also compliment shellfish, lighter chicken dishes, and most mildly spicy fare. I picked this one up at Screwtop in Arlington (more on them in the future), for a very reasonable $13.99. Though not yet widely available, I know the wine is also available at Planet Wine in Del Ray and The Wine Cabinet in Reston. If this sounds like a wine you would like, or know a friend who would get a kick out of it, ask your neighborhood shop to order you some from distributor Siema Wines.

Restaurant Week January/Winter 2010 Menus

Better late than never...I guess.

For those of you that wait for us to post this every DC Restaurant Week, I'm sorry for getting this up so late. You'll find later that the full list, but first, here is a list of restaurants I think you should try for DC Restaurant Week if you have not already. 

  1. Dino - Dino is always a good choice for restaurant week. Especially if you can go on one of the wine madness days during Monday through Wednesday. They are offering the deal all month, so take your time.
  2. Willow - Willow really makes it worth the trip during DC Restaurant Week. They always have excellent service and the food is wonderful. There is still plenty of availability next week and the week after.
  3. Firefly - Firefly is offering a good portion of their menu and is another restaurant that makes it really worth the trip.
  4. Tallulah - I went to Tallulah and had a really nice meal. I think it's worth everyone checking it out.
  5. PassionFish - For those of you in Reston, I eat here for lunch pretty often and it's always very good.

Here are the Restaurants that are extending restaurant week.

1789 - January 11th through the 31st
2941 - January 11th through January 29th
Art and Soul - January 11th through January 24th
Bastille - January 11th through January 23rd
Bangkok Joe's - January 11th through January 31st

Chima Brazilian Steakhouse - January 11th through January 21st
Circle Bistro - January 11th through January 24th
Co Co. Sala - January 11th through January 20th
Darlington HouseJanuary 11th through January 24th
Kinkead's - January 11th through January 22nd
- January 4th through January 31st
NageJanuary 11th through January 24th
Notti Bianche - January 11th through January 24th
Oyamel -January 11th through January 24th
PolicyJanuary 11th through January 24th
Jaleo - January 11th through January 24th

Cafe Atlantico - January 11th through January 24th
Perry's - January 11th through January 31st
RedwoodJanuary 11th through January 24th
Restaurant 3 - January 11th through January 24th
Spezie - January 11th through January 23rd
Tuscana West - January 11th 
Willow - January 11th through January 23rd
Zaytinya - January 11th through January 24th
ZengoJanuary 11th through January 24th
Zola - January 11th through January 24th

And finally, here is the fill list of DC Restaurant Week Menus

15 RIA - Lunch and Dinner
Lunch and Dinner Menus

1789 Restaurant - Dinner Only
Extending their DC Restaurant Week offering until January 31. There are two menu options, one for $35 and one for $50, which kind of defeats the purpose of Restaurant Week, but I'll let you make the call on that.

2941 Restaurant - Lunch only
Extending DC Restaurant Week until January 29th.
ENDIVE SALAD - Bartlett pear, Fourme d’ ambert blue cheese, truffle vinaigrette
BUTTERNUT SQUASH SOUP - apple cider gelée, spiced apple compote
SALMON TARTAR - cucumber carpaccio, yuzu aioli, wonton cracker

GRILLED ESCOLAR - pomme rosti, citrus beurre blanc, steelhead caviar
BURRATA CHEESE RAVIOLI - fricassée of mushroom
ROASTED DUCK BREAST - quinoa-farro risotto, Swiss chard, blood orange marmalade

GUAYAQUIL CHOCOLATE CAKE - blood orange segments, crunchy praline rice, earl grey tea, ice cream
MEYER LEMON POUND CAKE - lavender syrup, ricotta cheese mousse, poppy seed shortbread

701 Restaurant - Lunch and Dinner
Check their web site under "Events" then click on "Restaurant Week".

Acadiana Restaurant - Lunch and Dinner
Lunch and Dinner menu

Adour at St. Regis Hotel - Dinner Only
Dinner Menu

Againn DC - Lunch and Dinner
Curried Cauliflower Soup  
Beetroot Salad

House Made Corned Beef Sandwich 
Loch Duart Salmon with French green lentils, braised greens

Sticky Toffee Pudding  
Brown Bread Ice Cream 

Celery Root Soup  
Beetroot Salad

Loch Duart Salmon with French green lentils, braised greens 
Tamworth Pork Belly with Anson Mill’s white grits, mustard greens, smoked tomato broth

Sticky Toffee Pudding  
Brown Bread Ice Cream

Art and Soul - Lunch and Dinner
Extending DC Restaurant Week an extra week until January 24th.
Lunch and Dinner menus for DC Restaurant Week are here.

Bangkok Joe's - Lunch and Dinner
Extending DC Restaurant Week to January 31st.
 Lunch and Dinner menus are on their web site.

Bibiana - Lunch and Dinner
Seems like their DC Restaurant Week menus will be here but are not posted yet.

Bistro Bis - Lunch and Dinner
Bistro Bis is offering their full menu for Restaurant Week. See their web site for their current menu.

Bistro Lepic - Lunch and Dinner
Lunch Menu
Dinner Menu

Bombay Club - Lunch and Dinner
Menu is on their web site. Click on "events" and then "Restaurant Week".

Bourbon Steak - Lunch Only
Lunch Menu

B. Smiths - Lunch and Dinner
Lunch and Dinner menu

Café Atlantico - Lunch and Dinner
Lunch Menu
Dinner Menu

Cafe Du Parc - Lunch and Dinner
Lunch Menu
Dinner Menu

Café Promenade - Lunch and Dinner
Menus will be posted here.

Café Soleil - Lunch and Dinner
Lunch and Dinner Menu

The Caucus Room - Lunch and Dinner
Menus will be posted on their web site. See if you can find it in the mess of flash...

Cedar Restaurant - Dinner Only
Their Restaurant Week menu will be found here when it is ready.

Ceiba - Lunch and Dinner
Lunch and Dinner Menus

Charlie Palmer Steak - Lunch and Dinner
Lunch and Dinner Menu

Chef Geoff's Downtown, New Mexico Ave, and Tysons Locations - Lunch and Dinner
Offering their full menu according to their web site

Chima Brazilian Steakhouse - Lunch and Dinner
Offered their full salad bar and meat options until January 21st for DC Restaurant Week.

Circle Bistro - Lunch and Dinner
Extending DC Restaurant Week and additional week and offering their full regular menu.

Co Co. Sala - Lunch and Dinner
Co Co. Sala is extending DC Restaurant Week until January 20th.
Lunch and Dinner menus

Coeur de Lion - Lunch and Dinner
Menus should be available on their web site

Darlington House - Lunch and Dinner
Extending Restaurant Week until Jan 24th.
Lunch and Dinner menus.

DC Coast - Lunch and Dinner
Lunch and Dinner Menu

Dino - Dinner Only
Offering Restaurant Week the entire month of January!  Full menu will be available with some upcharges and includes a splash of moscato, grappa, limonsardo or house infused -cello 

They will also be offering Wine Madness as well so wines $50 and over are 33% off. During the official Restaurant Week, January 11 thru 17, they will not be offering free corkage (normally Monday through Wednesday) or Menu della Sera. For more details, look here.

Dish + Drinks - Lunch and Dinner
Dish is offering their full regular menu and is extending DC Restaurant Week until January 24th.

District Chophouse - Lunch and Dinner
Menus were posted to their web site last restaurant week. Keep an eye out. 

Farmers and Fishers - Lunch and Dinner
Guests that come to Farmers & Fishers for Restaurant Week in parties of 2 or more receive a free 3-cheese Farmhouse pizza on the house as a starter course in addition to the normal 2 or 3 courses for lunch and dinner.
Lunch Menu
Dinner Menu

Filomena - Lunch and Dinner
Lunch and Dinner Menus

Firefly - Lunch and Dinner
Menus for Lunch, Dinner, and Brunch are on their web site.

Fire and Sage - Lunch and Dinner
Lunch Menu
Dinner Menu

Georgia Browns - Dinner Only
Menu for dinner is posted on their web site here.

Geranio - Lunch and Dinner
Lunch Menu
Dinner Menu

Hook - Lunch and Dinner
Lunch Menu
Dinner Menu

Hudson Restaurant - Lunch and Dinner
Lunch Menu
Dinner Menu 

I Ricchi - Lunch and Dinner
Details on their DC Restaurant Week offering are here.

Jackson 20 - Lunch and Dinner
Dinner menu

Jaleo - Lunch and Dinner
Lunch Menu
Dinner Menu

KAZ Sushi Bistro - Lunch and Dinner
Lunch and dinner menus are available here on their web site.

Kellari Taverna - Lunch and Dinner
Lunch Menu
Dinner Menu

Kemble Park Tavern - Dinner Only
Dinner Menu

Kinkeads - Lunch Only
Extending through January 22nd
Lunch menu is on their web site under menus and "Promotional Menu"

Kora - Lunch and Dinner
Offering Restaurant Week the entire month of January. If your entire table orders off the Restaurant Week menu, all bottles of wine you order are half price.

La Chaumiere - Lunch Only
Lunch Menu

Le Chat Noir - Dinner Only
Offering their full menu. See their current dinner menu on their web site

Lia's - Lunch and Dinner
Lia's full menu will be available. For more details, click here.

Logan Tavern - Lunch and Dinner
Offering their full menu for lunch and dinner for the entire month of January. Dinner includes a glass of wine. See full details on their web site.

Marrakesh Palace - Lunch and Dinner
Lunch and Dinner menu.

Mie N Yu - Lunch and Dinner
Lunch/Brunch Menus
Dinner Menu

The Monocle on Capitol Hill - Dinner Only
Dinner Menu

Nage Restaurant - Lunch and Dinner
Extending Restaurant Week and additional week. Lunch and Dinner menus are on their web site.

New Heights Restaurant - Dinner Only
Dinner menu is posted on their web site

Neyla - Dinner Only
Dinner menu is posted on their web site

Notti Bianche - Lunch and Dinner
Extending DC Restaurant Week through January 24th and offering their full menu.

The Oval Room - Lunch and Dinner
Menu is posted on their web site  - click "Events" and then "Restaurant Week Winter '10"

Oya - Lunch and Dinner
Lunch Menu
Dinner Menu

Oyamel - Lunch and Dinner
Extending Restaurant Week until January 24th. 
Lunch Menu 
Dinner Menu

PassionFish - Lunch and Dinner
Menus are posted on their web site

Perrys Restaurant - Dinner Only
Extending Restaurant Week until January 31st - Menu is posted on their web site.

Petit Plats - Lunch and Dinner
Lunch and Dinner menu are here.

Policy - Dinner Only
Policy is allowing guests to choose any 3 entrees from their regular menu as well as a dessert.
Their current menu is here.

Poste - Lunch, Brunch, and Dinner
Lunch Menu
Brunch Menu
Dinner Menu

Potenza - Lunch and Dinner
Offering their full menu, check out their latest menu on their web site.

The Prime Rib - Lunch and Dinner
Lunch and Dinner Menus are on their web site

Rasika - Lunch and Dinner
Menus are on their web site - go there at your own risk.

Restaurant 3 - Lunch and Dinner
Extending Restaurant Week until January 24th
Lunch Menu 
Dinner Menu 

Ris - Lunch and Dinner
Menus are now on their web site.

Sou'Wester - Lunch and Dinner
Lunch Menu
Dinner Menu

Spezie - Lunch and Dinner
We have no details on the menus, but we know that Spezie is extending Restaurant Week until January 30th.

Taberna del Alabardero - Lunch and Dinner
Lunch and Dinner menu

Tallulah - Dinner Only
Tallulah is quite enjoyable since Barry Koslow took over the kitchen. They are offering their full menu for Restaurant Week. Click here for their current menus.

Teatro Goldoni - Lunch and Dinner
Lunch Menu
Dinner Menu

TenPenh - Lunch and Dinner
Lunch and Dinner Menus are on their web site.

Tuscana West - Lunch and Dinner
Lunch Menu
Dinner Menu

Vermilion - Lunch, Brunch, and Dinner
Lunch Menu
Dinner Menu
Brunch Menu

Vidalia - Lunch and Dinner
Unlike previous years,Vidalia is not offering their full menu according to their web site.

Vinifera - Lunch and Dinner
Lunch Menu
Dinner Menu

Volt  - Bwah??
Good luck getting a reservation...there months from now, let alone next week.

Willow - Lunch and Dinner
Willow is extending Restaurant Week for an extra week until January 23rd. Their menu is on their web site. Willow is a personal favorite of mine.

Zaytinya - Lunch and Dinner
Extending until January 24th.

Zola - Lunch and Dinner
Offering their full menu for DC Restaurant Week.

Zengo - Lunch and Dinner
Lunch - Offering the Zengo Bento Box plus dessert
Dinner - Guests will have a choice of 3 items off of our Latin-Asian dinner Menu: choice of any one Ceviche/Tiradito/Sushi Roll/Antojito & Dim Sum/Soup & Salad, choice of any one Large Plate, choice of any one Dessert