Weekly Blog Round Up

Weekly Blog Roundup

Squash bunch Heard around the DC Foodies blogosphere this week...by now, most of you know that Teddy Folkman will not be The Next Food Network Star. That’s ok, you can still enjoy his cooking at The Capital Lounge. Now, we have more area chefs to root for in another reality TV cooking show - Top Chef Las Vegas. Bryan Voltaggio of Volt in Frederick, MD, will be joining the TC cast for season 6, which premieres August 26th. Mike Isabella from Zaytinya will also be representing DC, and Jesse Sandlin (Abercrombie Fine Foods) will be hailing from Baltimore, MD. Adding heat to the competition will be Votaggio’s brother, Michael, who is Chef de Cuisine at The Bazaar by Jose Andres in Los Angeles.

Looking for a delectable hamburger besides Ray’s Hell Burger? Michael Landrum, the self-proclaimed improprietor himself, suggested that you try the burgers at Palena, Central and Vidalia while waiting for the lines to die down at his presidentially-graced establishment (perhaps when hell freezes over?). Joining the burger buzz this week was Spider Kelly’s in Clarendon, which is churning out their 100% beef burgers for half-price on Tuesdays. Don Rockwell noted, “stopped in last night for a half-price 100% Beef Burger (now $8, discounted to $4 on Tuesday nights, cheddar $1, bacon $2, (condiments not discounted), (grilled onions and mushrooms free), and I thought it was one heck of a burger for $7. I agree with mdt that the fries are some of the best I’ve had in a long time...” If you’re in a stay-at-home-mood, try Landrum’s suggestion to “ fire up the Weber, pulse some 50-50 Chuck-Sirloin blend in the Cuisinart, and then spend the time waiting sipping on some Rolling Rocks”. Sounds good to me. 

This week, Todd Kliman of the Washingtonian twittered while dining at J&G Steakhouse on opening night. The Jean-Georges Vongertichten restaurant in the W Washington, DC Hotel opened last Wednesday to a hip and eager crowd. Most notable from Todd’s tweets were “ interesting wines by the glass, especially the whites”, and “ you can go through the entire meal without even considering a steak”. The food critic and prolific writer’s initial impressions were overall favorable, but he pondered in conclusion “The question is, what will J&G be like in 3 months, when the reviews are out and some of the staff goes back to NY?.” 

Congratulations to Clay and Zach of The Bitten Word for being featured this week in the Washington Post’s Wednesday Food section. The WaPo highlighted canning/preserving, and those among us who do it well. For the piece, the duo made Cucumber Gazpacho with Grilled Parmesan Croutons, using tomatoes that they canned over a long and laborious weekend. A lot of work and mess? Yes. Will they do it again? Absolutely. 

The Arugula Files also wrote about preserving this week. Inspired by the recently released movie, Food, Inc., TAF was determined to show “that evil monolith known by some as “Big Food” who is boss in her kitchen. Honest Blueberry Jam was made from hand-picked blueberries and made on top of her stove. TAF provided a simple recipe and method for canning local summer berries. 

Finally, Best Bites Blog accompanied Chef Barry Koslow (Tallulah) to Arlington’s Courthouse Farmers Market, where Koslow gave suggestion on how to use garlic scapes and cook collard greens. You can watch the video for more pointers, and check out the blog post for Koslow’s recipes for Bread and Butter Pickles and Grilled Rattatoille.

Weekly Blog Roundup

CherriesHeard around the DC Foodies blogoshere this week...word quickly spread this week about the temporary closure of The Breadline for numerous health code violations. Founded by Mark Furstenberg, he responded "I was disappointed when I heard the news". Young and Hungry Blog detailed the 19 violations and the speedy remediation which allowed the lauded lunch spot to reopen its doors.

"Value-oriented" and the Ritz Carlton brand are an unlikely pairing, unless you consider ENTYSE in the Tysons Corner location. The bar and lounge will offer small plates, along with 3 and 4 course menus, according to Gut Check. "Wine'd Down Wednesdays", a weekly happy hour, will feature wine pours and a seafood bar where a variety of crustaceans and mollusks will start at $1 a pop.

Speaking of Tyson's Corner, Chef Geoff's opened a Northern Virginia location, according to Sauce on the Side, who attended the opening and benefit celebration this week. The former Colvin Run Tavern space seats 200, and is open for lunch and dinner daily. Summer specials include Cuban Salmon with Mojito Vinaigrette, and can be ordered with a Grey Goose cocktail named after the chef's wife, Nora O'Donnell.

Bart Vandaele, chef and owner of Belga Cafe in Capital Hill, grew up in the food and restaurant business in Flanders Belgium, reported Eat Washington. Practically raised by the Maitre d' at his parent's cafe, he attended cooking school in Bruges at the tender age of 12. In the RAMW nominee's restaurant, you can choose from Belgium bistro classics, or fine dining fare. Just pick of side-of the restaurant, and the menu.

Finally, here are a few recommendation for your weekend cooking. Dish-trict made a lovely Shrimp Noodle Curry-a combination of her favorite dishes at Regent Thai in DC. The Houndstooth Gourmet made a refreshing Shell Pea with Mint Soup, using peas from the Dupont Market, and Two Yolks used local strawberries to make Strawberry Lemon Marmalade.

Weekly Blog Roundup

Spices Heard around the DC Foodies blogosphere this week...DCist took a first look at U Street's new restaurant addition, Eatonville. Described as "eclectic" and "channeling its namesake's southern roots", Eatonville is not to be mistaken with Busboys and Poets, a sibling restaurant across the street. Highlights at the one month old eatery are reportedly the oyster po'boy and fish and grits (catfish on that particular visit). You can read more about Eatonville's style of blending history, tradition and soul food, here.

The Washingtonian's Best Bites Blog also took an early look at Eatonville, here.

Nothing says summer in our region like sitting outdoors, cracking open crabs on a butcher-paper lined table, and chasing the feast down with cold beer-lots of it. But, where to do this in DC? Art and Soul on Wednesday nights, reported Metrocurean. Crab and Beer Wednesdays will run from 5:30-10:30 on the patio, until it closes for the season. Crabs (3 jumbo per platter) will sell at market price.

On Wednesday, A Life of Spice's Monica Bhide was a guest on NPR's Kojo Nnamdi show, during which she spoke with guest host Rebecca Roberts about how to bring Indian cooking into the American kitchen. Bhide offered, "learn the spices first...see what happens when you sizzle cumin in oil."  Or, try cumin dry-roasted, and sprinkle it over yogurt.

Sauce on the Side reported on tomorrow's Food & Wine Festival at National Harbor. In fact, SotS will serve as Master of Ceremonies on the Viking Culinary Stage. Hopefully, sunny skies will prevail for this event, where Barton Seaver will speak about sustainable seafood from Alaska and prepare Alaskan Sockeye Salmon with Raisin-Herb Salad and Broiled Broccoli with Pine Nuts. A trio of veteran Top Chef contestants (including Spike and Carla) will also be there demonstrating summer recipe favorites.

Finally, check out these seasonal dishes, perfect for a homemade meal, or even for entertaining friends. First, make The Bitten Word's Soy-Glazed Flank Steak (Martha Stewart, May 2009) and perhaps add grilled local asparagus on the side. Then, finish with The Garden Apartment's Coconut Layer Cake with Strawberry Filling and Coconut Buttercream Frosting.

Weekly Blog Roundup

Honey Heard around the DC Foodies blogosphere this week...The latest food buzz from the Fairmount Hotel in DC's West End isn't coming from the kitchen-it's coming from the roof.  All We Can Eat reported this week that 3 hives serving as home to over 100,000 bees are expected to produce 300 pounds of locally- flavored honey for the restaurant. So far, the honey's fruity top notes are thought to come from area Magnolia trees.

Cork Market is coming to 14th St., wrote Metrocurean this week. From the husband and wife team who own Cork Wine Bar, Cork Market is expected to open in the fall, and be "our neighborhood market" which will offer delivery. The store will offer a wide (price) range of wines, along with beer, gourmet foods and an open kitchen in the back featuring everything you would need for a picnic.

Continuing on his intrepid foodie quest, From Komi to Marvin reported on a convivial visit to Mini Bar this week. The 28-course meal offered dishes that "..are inventive without being pretentious, and don’t strive to be more than good food on a plate." However, some construed offerings missed the mark for FKtM, such as the Cotton Candied Eel.  To paraphrase: bbq eel + cotton candy= not good. To quote: "the whole dish reeked of some stoned chef thinking up the weirdest flavor combinations he could." Is he glad he went? You bet.

DC Foodies congratulates You Gonna Eat All That? on her 10th wedding anniversary. The happy couple celebrated at Corduroy, and were treated to great service and terrific food. Fortunately, they brought their camera along to capture their meal, including Chilled English Pea Soup, Roast and Confit Guinea Hen with local Baby Leeks and Shitake Mushrooms, and Baked Chocolate Sabayon.

Finally, The District Domestic "Imbibed in Old Town" at Jackson 20 [in the Hotel Monaco], the "King of Cocktails" on King Street. Her favorite drink is the Cuzmopolitan, "a sangria-like mixture of Plymouth Gin, Absolute Peach, Cointreau, fresh squeezed lemon juice, muddled pineapple and a floater of pinot noir." To eat, try the bucket of fried chicken-something that this girl from Buffalo couldn't get enough of.

One more note on TDD's recommendation- Tuesday and Thursday evenings are Doggy Happy Hour (seasonal) in the courtyard of the Hotel Monaco-so bring your pooch along while you dine and unwind.

Weekly Blog Roundup

U market patrons Heard around the DC Foodies blogosphere this week...This week, Arugula Files takes on the love/hate relationship we foodies have with Lauriol Plaza. Even in a restaurant where "the cooks turn over quicker than pancakes", Arugula Files points to the Masitas de Puerco- Cuban pork with bitter oranges as one of her favorite dishes. Also not to be missed are the Enchladas de Mariscos, and the tortillas. And, don't go on a Friday or Saturday night, as "that's just asking for trouble."

"14th and P is slowly turning itself into quite a foodie destination", notes Brightest Young Things, referencing the opening of Pitango Gelato, which opened this week in DC. The Baltimore-based gelataria gets their dairy from a farm in Pensylvania, and uses organic, fresh, local (whenever possible) ingredients to craft each flavor. DCist reported that the dairy was built by owner Noah Dan, to ensure that the raw milk (which is pasteurized) he uses as the base for his gelatos is the highest quality possible.

Recently, District Plates penned "In Summer, You'll Find Me Putting On the Dog" for the Washington Post. In it, he noted that summer officially starts when " teeth snap through the natural casing of a juicy, fresh-from-the-grill hot dog and my nose fills with the sharpness of mustard and pungent onion." If you're not outfitted to make dogs yourself, District Plates recommends Zwiegles hot dogs (available at Wegmans), and Martin's potato buns. As for condiments, District Plates offers a recipe for Spicy Beer Mustard that will "take your breath away."

Lucky Ms. Cavanaugh Goes to Washington met with Chef Todd Gray, of Equinox, to learn how to prepare a regional specialty- soft shell crabs. Fortunately for readers, she shares one of her favorite dishes of Chef Grays; Soft Shelled Crab with Vidalia Onion Puree, Rappahanock Spinach and Equinox Bacon. For cleaned crabs, Ms. Cavanaugh recommend buying from Whole Foods, or Black Salt in Palisades.

Finally, for your foodie pleasure:  this week in her regular feature "Market Mash Up", The Food Scribe took rather late-in-the-season-ramps and paired them with first-of-the-season-tender-zucchini in a side dish complimenting halibut. While strawberries are going strong at the farmers markets, try The Bitten Word's Strawberry Citrus Salad, or pick up farm-fresh asparagus for Roasted Asparagus with Red Pepper Puree and Microgreens from The Garden Apartment.

Weekly Blog Roundup

Dupont-lamb-collage-500 Heard around the DC Foodies blogosphere this week...From obits to nasty bits; here we go! Closing are Bebo (shocked!, shocked!), Farrah Olivia (moving to Crystal City and DC), and Mark and Orlando's in Dupont. This raises the question; are you patronizing restaurants more to help support them in this economy? I am trying to do my part. Although farmers markets and cooking at home are more my thing, and aside from my weekly Chinese/Thai take-out, I'm trying to make an effort to patronize some of my favorite places.  I'm also trying new restaurants with a particular emphasis on independents, or "mom and pops".

This week, Counter Intelligence spoke with Chef Mike Isabella, of Zatinya. If you were lucky enough to have attended the Dupont farmers market last Sunday, you may have sampled Zatinya's spit-roasted lamb. For Greek Easter, Chef Isabella will be preparing two whole lambs a day, through April 26th. CI noted, "But the crowd pleaser is the mini gyro. Drizzled with olive oil, the open faced sandwich is leg meat from a spit-roasted lamb, served with tzatziki, pickled onion, mint and chives." 

I sampled the lamb last Sunday (seen above), and can tell you that it was tender and succulent, finished with a pinch of chunky salt and a drizzle of olive oil. Go for lunch, go for dinner, or just get a sandwich to eat at your desk if you can. Just go! (why can't I get the Simpson's out my head right now?)

Most folks lucky enough to score tickets to the White House Easter Egg Roll go to roll eggs. Foodies like Foodie Tots go to see what's cooking, and what's growing. She reported that Sam Kass, assistant chef and gardener, proudly shared freshly-plucked rosemary with inquiring families, while Jose Andres extoled the virtues of fresh tomatoes while making gazpacho.

"Sadly perhaps, I have come to expect to be gouged for alcohol. I do NOT expect to be gouged for soft drinks or coffee." wrote "Washington, D.C." this week, in a thoughtful missive to Tom Sietsema during his weekly Wednesday WaPo chat. Agreed, WDC. To wit; Sauce on the Side is reporting that throughout the month of April, Taberna del Alabardero is offering over 100 wines at retail cost. You can enjoy the 2004 Maria Casanova Rose for $50 (usually $90), or the 1998 Torres Reserva Real for $195 (usually $350). For more on tasting notes, and sommelier Gustavo Iniesta, check out SOTS's full report.

Dish-trict reports that Post Brasserie will be re-opening their courtyard, "The Garden", on Earth Day, April 22nd. Benefiting FreshFarm markets, a $5 admission fee will allow you to sample regional wines, cheeses from Cowgirl Creamery, and a host of treats from The Garden's small plates menu.

Finally, Tim Carmen (Young and Hungry Blog) gave readers an inside look at his afternoon with celeb chef and TV host Anthony Bourdain. You probably caught the No Reservations D.C. episode, where Bourdain toured eateries in the Eden Center with Carmen, and also wasted precious minutes talking spy crap over mediocre food and brew in G'town. Well, those minutes could have been spent boasting about our region's true Irish Chipper - Eammon's in Alexandria. Carmen linked to the lost Eammon's segment which was not shown in the U.S. (but was shown overseas...why??).  The segment shows Bourdain swilling a fish-topped Guinness and consuming bites of all good things fried, along with Chef and co-owner Cathal Armstrong. If anything, the segment is worthy, not because I drool at the thought of Eammon's cod and chips, and my God, I didn't even realize they serve "chipwiches" loaded with real butter, but because Armstrong deftly described Ireland's liquid gold as "angels pissin' on your tongue".

Weekly Blog Roundup

Chef v Heard around the DC Foodies blogosphere this week..."this city could really use another steakhouse", Metrocurean sardonically penned this week. She was alluding to the new restaurant, J&G Steakhouse, set to open later this year in the new W Hotel.  This will be the second J&G Steakhouse by star Chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten.

Michael Landrum, owner of Rays the Steaks (and the Ray's group of restaurants) responded on Don Rockwell, "In my opinion, even more disturbing (sad, really) than the proliferation of steakhouses is the continued fixation and slavish, unquestioning adulation in the local media on absentee chefs who sell-out their names in what basically amounts to a licensing scheme that funnels profits out of the local economy. Haven't they grown tired of being duped yet, just hoping for Eric Ripert to send a pout in their direction? Or worse, aren't they tired of serving as the agents of said duping?"

As J&G Steakhouse comes to fruition, just next door, a local institution is closing. The elaborate Willard Room at the Willard Hotel is closing, and will be used for private events only. If you have made a Mother's Day reservation there, you had better start typing "Open Table".

Adding to the list of shuttering restaurants is Le Paradou, with Chef Yannick Cam. During a phone interview with  Washington City Paper's Tim Carmen, Cam blamed exorbitant rent which was not negotiable. Cam stated that he will be looking for another place, possibly in McLean, VA.

If winning DC's Most Crushable Chef contest is any indication, Chef Teddy Folkman should have the competition sewn up on the next season of The Next Food Network Star. The master of mussels at Granville Moore's will be turning up the heat, and the charm. Stay tuned starting June 7th.

Congratulations to local food blogger Mango & Tomato for becoming the DC Cooking Examiner. M&T is excited to be able to share her "recipes, inspirations and cooking advice with a wider audience."

This Spring, local farmers markets are ramping up with, well, ramps! Dishtrict Plates reported that the odorous Appalachian weeds are fetching $4.50 for a small bunch at the Dupont Farmers Market, and $20 a pound at Alexandria's The Butchers Block(Brabo). You can read a hilarious account of growing up in W. Virginia, and recommendations for sage ways to use ramps.

Weekly Blog Roundup

Heard around the DC foodie's blogosphere this week... At least for a short time, you can enjoy Barton Seaver's cooking from the kitchen of Sonoma in Capital Hill. The seafood-minded chef offered an arctic char that was "worthy of him", according to Banco at Don Rockwell. Rockwell speculated whether Sonoma was a temporary stop for Seaver until Blue Ridge opens.

"If the Best of D.C. issue would have been released next week, I would have selected another place as Best New Restaurant. Unfortunately, I dined at Eventide too late for deadline." This is what Tim Carman of Washington City Paper's Young and Hungry blog reported after enjoying dishes including the bison carpacio, rendered from Chef Vaden's capable kitchen. Carman later posted that he agreed with Don Rockwell's assessment; the bar and the lounge at Eventide are two separate entities and should be entered into with the expectation for two different dining experiences.

Chef Amy Brandwein of Fyve restaurant in the Ritz-Carlton Pentagon City would likely offer a Thai-centric menu if she were to open a restaurant with different cuisine. "So many interesting flavors!", Brandwein reported to The District Domestic earlier this week, as part of her From the Kitchen of:series. One of my favorite questions that TDD asks is "what is your biggest customer pet peeve?". Apparently for Brandwein, it's sauce on the side. Dippers beware!

DC Foodies would like to wish local food blogger Food Rockzman a speedy recovery after taking a spill off of his bike last week while riding in D.C. He'll be on hiatus as his broken right arm heals. Ouch! We'll be looking forward to FR's return to making great food, and taking great pictures.

Capital Spice gave readers a pre-opening peak inside Potenza, an Italian trattoria that opened in Downtown D.C. this week. CS described Chef Bryan Muscatello's menu as Rustic Italian, with options such as a raw bar as well as pies and flat breads cranked out of a 6000-pound pizza oven. Vaunted D.C. baker Mark Furstenberg will be overseeing the bakery, which will sell retail to customers.

Weekly Blog Roundup

White house garden large This week, news of Mark Slater's departure from Citronelle was first reported on Don Rockwell. "This evening, March 14th, 2009, marks the end of Mark Slater's illustrious tenure at Citronelle. The great sommelier, who accepted the national 2007 James Beard Award for Outstanding Wine Service, has chosen to take the next step in his long and storied career.", wrote Rockwell.

The next step for Slater is Director of Wine and Service at the Ray's family of restaurants. Michael Landrum, proprietor of Ray's, wrote "..first let me enthusiastically state how proud and happy I am to have the opportunity to work with one of the most accomplished, passionate and knowledgeable wine experts in the world, as well as one of the most gracious and most genuine individuals I know. Our goal is nothing less than to create the most radicalized and subversive wine program in the country".

Local foodies and gardening aficionados will be lining up to volunteer at the newly-announced White House garden. According the the New York Times, our children's nutrition has been prominent on Mrs. Obama's agenda, as she seeks to send a powerful message regarding eating healthy, fresh foods in an effort to combat our nation's childhood obesity problem.

The Slow Cook, local champion of urban gardens and educating children about food has urged the Obamas to adopt nearby school gardens. He pondered on his blog today, "Could it be that the White House was listening?"  Perhaps, as a cohort of fifth graders from nearby Bancroft Elementary School will help to dig the 1,100-square-foot garden, planting, harvesting and cooking the bounty that it will reap.

Is Roquefort getting a reprieve? Maybe, reports Counter Intelligence in her Wednesday "Five on Food" series. According to the LA Times, the 300% tariff, set to take effect on March 23, is being pushed back one month by the Federal Trade Commission as the Obama administration tries to negotiate a settlement that benefits our beef industry.

"Bring on the Butcher Shops" wrote Warren Rojas, on his Northern Virginia magazine blog, Gut Check. Rojas noted the relatively new infusion of butchers and charcuterie makers across the Potomac, including Nathan Anda, formerly of Tallulah/Eat Bar. Anda is shopping around for a storefront location for his Red Apron Butchery to sell his "homemade sauces, gourmet foodstuffs and exotic proteins", according to Rojas. Also mentioned is the soon-to-be-opening of The Butcher's Block, Robert Wiedmaier's shop which is situated next to Brabo in the Hotel Lorien and Spa. Included in TBB's inventory will be wild game. Kangaroo? perhaps not, but you can find the marsupial meat at Stephen Gatward's Let's Meat On The Avenue in Del Ray.

Finally, Metrocurean reported this week that Sunday Suppers are alive and well. Cases in point include a family style meal at West End Bistro for $29 per person, CommonWealth's Sunday roast for around $20 per person, and the Majestic, serving Nana's Sunday dinner that costs $78 for 4 people.

Weekly Blog Roundup

Carrots 500Local farmers market fans are surely familiar with the name and face of Bev Eggleston, founder of EcoFriendly Foods. This week, Metrocurean wrote about "The Bev Effect" and how many of Eggleston's products are being featured on menus from the D.C. area to NYC. You can read more about Metrocurean's "Bev" at Momofuku in NYC and EcoFriendly's work in helping small family farmers get their meats to our Arlington and Dupont farmers markets here.

How does an evening of food from our area's finest restaurants, drinks from talented mixologists and even a chance to meet Top Chef contestant Carla Hall sound to you? Top it off with benefiting childhood hunger and you have the Spring 2009 Taste of the Nation. Brasserie Beck, Vermilion, CommonWealth, Founding Farmers, The Gibson, Central and James Beard award winning Chef Chair R.J. Cooper, will be among the participants in this gastronomic event, which is being held at the historic Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium. For ticket and event information, check out the website.

Muffin tops are not just a sad fashion statement. According to The District Domestic, they are the best part of the oft sweet treat, so why eat the bottoms? Now, you don't have to with the Original Muffin Top Tin that conveniently cuts your muffin short. In a good way. If you're more into cupcakes. TDD recommends Elinor Klivan's Cupcake Kit, complete with colorful cupcake liners.

In this economy, frugality is essential. This week, Foodie Tots took inventory of her pantry, freezer and fridge to participate in the "Eating Down the Fridge" challenge. Her goal is to use up at least 10 of her food items in one week, and find inspiration along the way. Many of us could us a good spring cleaning, so thank you FT for inspiring us.

Yesterday, Dish-trict posted about Hank's Oyster Bar's second annual Oyster Fest, to be held April 18th, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tickets are $65 per person, and include oysters from the East and West coast, onion rings, fries, beer, and a chance to meet local oyster farmers. The event will be held at the D.C. and Alexandria locations.

To carb or not to carb, that is the question. D.C. blogger, The Slow Cook, is cutting carbs and documenting his weight loss and health changes to share with readers. With well-researched information, TSC is eating protein-rich, quality meals, including a breakfast of poached eggs, sausage and braised greens. He might be on to something, as he has lost 8 pounds in 8 days. Great job Ed. Please keep sharing your knowledge and experiences with us.

Finally, DC Foodies would like to welcome Lunching in the DMV to the blogroll. That's DMV, as in The Disctrict, Maryland and Virginia. This week, DMV reviewed The Great Sage, a vegetarian restaurant in Clarksville, Md. The Falafel Griddled Cakes were described as "crunchy" and "healthy", while the Sante Fe Salad with marinated tofu and cheddar cheese was proclaimed "delicious". On the Oaxacan Tamale, she wrote, "It was actually really good for having no meat in it because the mole and green chili sauce were very fragrant and tied the whole meal together." You can check out DMV's full review, along with photos here.