Weekly Blog Round Up

Weekly Blog Round Up

Tomatoes local 600The *sigh* heard 'round the Beltway. That's what you witnessed Wednesday night after Top Chef's DC favorite, Carla Hall, was officially pronounced out of the running by head judge, Tom Colicchio. Prior to the airing of the final episode of season 5, Carla spoke with DCist. When asked about plans for her career after TC, Carla noted that she would like to open a kitchen in DC, with catering in the back, and a chef's table in the front where she could also hold classes. Additionally, Carla spoke about her enthusiasm for the diversity of cultural cuisine in the DC area, and the "huge and beautiful farmers market scene". If you find yourself at the Silver Spring Whole Foods, or the Dupont farmers market, shout out a  "Hootie" and see if you get a "Hoo".

This week, Bright Young Things published an interview with Chef Jamie Leeds of CommonWealth and Hank's Oyster Bar. At CommonWealth's Columbia Heights location, BYT and "disarmingly funny" Chef Leeds sat down for a Q&A. Chef Leeds discussed why she decided to open a gastropub, 5 must have ingredients, and what she thinks everyone should know how to make at home. Head over to BYT for the interview and terrific photos.

The Mediterranean Market was the subject this week in a post by Eat Washington. EW tells readers "Go at lunch and join the line for Gyro, Shawarma, Kofta, and other Middle Eastern favorites [made] to order, as well as various pizzas, including the unexpected Spinach version. You can  eat in at tables in the window." You can also read about the grocery side of The Mediterranean Market, which carries among other things, canned snails, stuffed olives, meat and spinach pies, and an Egyptian cheese, called Rumi.

If you like Martinis and Manhattans, but can't decide which one to imbibe in, order a Martinez, suggests Kelly, of Kelly's Grape Times. Found at The Gibson (and made by Derek Brown), Kelly describes the cocktail as "a precursor to the Martini made with Old Tom Gin (sweeter than most gins), floral Maraschino liqueur, sweet vermouth and orange bitters, and garnished with a flamed orange peel."

Kelly also wrote about other hot spots in and around 14th Street for DC Magazine. You can read the article here.

Finally, do you eat tomatoes in winter? Metrocurean raises this question vis a vis an article in Gourmet magazine, entitled "The Price of Tomatoes". Personally, I get through winter buying Campari tomatoes from Costco. But, this has me thinking--and doing my homework. Where do these tomatoes come from, and is there a human price being paid by virtue of the fact that many people, including me, buy them?


Weekly Blog Round Up

Barton seaverChef Barton Seaver is reportedly resurfacing in DC. According to the Going Out Guru's blog, Chef Seaver will be partnering with Eli Hengst (Sonoma, Redwood) at Blue Ridge in Glover Park. The space formerly occupied by Busara will be a 200 seat "neighborhood" restaurant, and is scheduled to open April 1. True to Seaver's local-sourcing style, the burgers will be Virginia grass-fed beef only.

Chef Seaver was recently a guest on the Kojo Nnamdi show, where according to Tim Carman's Young and Hungry blog, he discussed sustainable seafood and illegal trafficking in rockfish. Carman asked Chef Seaver for his thoughts on a recent Washington Post article regarding said rockfish. You can learn about his insights here.

Did you vote for Chef Seaver as DC's Most Crushable Chef over at Capital Spice?. Along with Seaver, Teddy Folkman, Katsuya Fukushima, Johnny Monis and Spike Mendelsohn were also in the running. Personally, my favorite is Teddy Folkman, 'cause I like a man with muscles mussels.

Having a good record of "scuttlebutt" being true, the Prince of Petworth reported this week on rumors (from a "very trusted source") that the forces behind Marvin on 14th St. will be opening another location in Petworth. Thoughts of a truly neighborhood restaurant anchoring Georgia Ave. brought tears of joy to the optimistic blogger. Marvin 2--can it be true?

DC Foodies congratulates Clay and Zach of The Bitten Word for being named one of The World's 50 Best Food Blogs. This comes on the heels of being profiled in Washingtonian's Blogger Beat. In it, you can find out what kitchen appliances they can't live without, and their favorite ten-minute desserts.

DC Foodies also congratulates one of our favorite local chefs, José Andrés, for garnering a rare four stars from LA food critic S. Irene Virbila, for his LA restaurant, The Bazaar. "Los Angeles has never seen anything remotely like this exciting restaurant from Spanish chef José Andrés.", Virbila reported in the LA Times. 

Early reports on Robert Weidmaier's BRABO in Old Town Alexandria are positive. Reports Husband on Don Rockwell, "My wife had the best dishes with the cod-pork belly dish for starter and the Turbot w/gnocchi main." Ema noted "Brabo has all bottled beers, unlike Beck, which always have several choices on draft. I asked if they plan to have some beer on draft in the future and they said no."

Finally, you can read Jordan Wright's (Local Kicks) interview with Chef Weidmaier, where the chef shares his charitable work, his memories of his culinary roots in Alexandria, and what excites him about being back in Old Town.

Weekly Blog Round Up

Mussels sharp 250 Following up from last week's WBRU, the new Rays The Steaks (Court House) opened last Tuesday as planned, but with a small glitch in the ventilation hood system. Despite the restaurant briefly filling with smoke, ardent diners continued to eat the venerable steaks and sides. "Guests with asthma were leaving the restaurant choking. Other guests were getting up from their tables, eyes-watering and coughing, to get enough fresh air to be able to go back and get another bite of steak", wrote owner Michael Landrum on Don Rockwell. Another DR member, xcanuck, reported "The new dining room is gorgeous. Huge mirrors on the walls make the already large dining area seem even larger. The pirate flag is prominently displayed."

Former 2941 chefs Jonathan Krinn and Jon Mathieson recently opened Inox in Tysons Corner. Washingtonian's Best Bites Blog featured an early look at the restaurant (with menus), and reported that the modern spaces has 126 seats in the main dining room, 130 seats in four private areas, with additional bar seating for 30. Diners can look forward to starting their meal with the same house-made breads which were served at 2941.

The District Domestic describes Krinn and Mathieson as having "a unique synergy" which wins acclaim from media and diners. This week, TDD interviewed the pair to discover their thoughts on kitchen gadgets, overrated food techniques and customer pet peeves. Note to diners-arrive on time to ensure an exceptional service experience.

DC Foodies congratulates local blogger Tiffany of The Garden Apartment. Tiffany is an avid farmers market fan and conjures up delicious meals with her market bounty. Recently, Tiffany got her own page at the DC Examiner on-line as DC Farmers Market Examiner. Today she shared ideas for spending Valentine's Day with your someone special-at a farmers market. "Start your morning/ afternoon with the Market Lunch in the South Hall or a crepe from Crepes at Market", she suggests.

Local bloggers are responding to the previously reported ban on Roquefort cheese (due to a whopping 300% tariff) which will take effect in March. The Houndstooth Gourmet promptly went to Cheesetique to buy Roquefort (which by the way, sold 26 pounds in three days!) for a dish of mussels made with white wine, Roquefort, bacon and spinach. Sound familar? It's Granville Moore's Teddy Folkman's recipe which beat Bobby Flay's in Throwdown Moules Frites. Well, she used with Roquefort instead of blue cheese, but you get the idea.

Local co-blogger Cheese and Champagne is sponsoring Ode to Roquefort: Cheesy Poetry Contest. Submit your best cheesy poetry for a chance to win a "Free Roqefort!" t-shirt, and perhaps some bragging rights.

Finally, isn't everything better with bacon? Metrocurean shared a link to a URL that will slap a piece of bacon onto any site you want. Just add  http://bacolicio.us  before any web address, and you'll be drooling in no time.

Weekly Blog Round Up

Michael landrum 175 This week, Michael Landrum (The Ray's Restaurants) guest hosted Grill Warren, the Thursday chat forum for Northern Virginia Magazine's food critic, Warren Rojas. Landrum fielded questions about the opening of Ray's The Steaks new location in the Court House neighborhood of Arlington. The new location will open February 10th at 2300 Wilson Blvd., and will take reservations for a 45-seat section. There will also be a 90-seat "first come-first served" section (with a call ahead wait list), and a private area for 15-20 people. The new location will also offer a bistro special for $23.95, M-F.

As for the old Ray's The Steaks location, Landrum stated that it will become Rays:The Catch-a seafood restaurant with incredible value. "The prices at Ray's: The Catch will be so low that they will completely subvert the very concept of restaurant pricing in the DC market.", Landrum reported in the chat. It is expected to open later this month.

Congratulations to local food blogger, Mango and Tomato. She entered a Foodbuzz contest to win an opportunity to represent our area in Share Our Strength's Touring Dinner Series at Charlie Palmer. M&T's winning essay stated in part "I am passionate about all of my involvement. This project in particular inspires me to not only educate the Foodbuzz readers, but to motivate them to get involved in whatever way possible to reduce hunger."

In this weeks WaPo Food section, an article entitled "It's Sign-Up Time For CSA Delivery" reminded readers to support our many local food producers. Foodie Tots made a rich but healthy Organic Carrot Risotto, using sweet carrots from her CSA delivery via Potomac Vegetable Farms. Foodie Tots also reminds readers to look for organic rice, because rice can be heavily treated with pesticides, ranking right up there with the "dirty dozen" foods.

As part of her Wednesday's Delicious Deals series, Metrocurean filled readers in on Perry's, where dinner for two costs a mere $25 on the first Tuesday of every month. This incredible deal includes an appetizer, entree and a glass of wine. Can't wait until March? Check out Perry's "Recession Lunch" on Saturdays, where everything on the menu is $7 or less.

Holy bacon, Batman! Recently we had the "Bacon Explosion" rock our salty-pork world thanks to the New York Times and well, most every news outlet. Capital Spice was so moved that he made a version of it in his Big Green Egg. Now enter the Bacon Chocolate Chip With Candied Bacon Cookies from local blogger, Pete Bakes. Pete was inspired to make candied bacon by watching David Lebovitz, who combined it with ice cream. The result of the cookies? Pete remarked that "what results is a very subtle bacon flavor that teams up with the chocolate chips to elevate the cookies - sweet and salty never disappoints." Now if he can only convince his friends to try them!

Weekly Blog Round Up

The war on Roquefort cheese. Here it is in a nutshell, or a cheese wheel--if you (The European Union) are not willing to buy our hormone-laden meat, then we're effectively banning your wholesome, natural and unique Roquefort cheese (among other European luxury products) by imposing a 300% tariff on said cheese. This story was written up in the Washington Post this week and quickly spread throughout the foodie blogosphere. The story moved Jill Erber, owner of Cheesetique in Del Ray, to write a response on Cheesetique's website. Erber stated "Obviously, Roquefort is a TEENY TINY portion of imported food in the US, so why pick on this poor little cheese and, by association, the 600-person town of Roquefort? It’s called symbolism, my friends. Roquefort, like foie gras and truffles, simply says, “France”.

Erber is also responding by offering Roquefort cheese for $20.00 a pound, effecting her own culinary protest of sorts. She will carry Roquefort as long as supplies last which is "only a matter of time".

It appears the the Obamas get to have their cake and eat it too. Well, they get to retain Executive Chef Cristeta Comerford, while bringing on their own personal chef, Sam Kass. Tim Carman posted this story in his Young and Hungry blog this week, and speculated that it could be one shrewd move on the Obama's part. They won't be the ones to fire the first female White House chef, yet they have on staff a talented chef who knows how to please their palettes while emphasizing healthy eating and local foods.

This should indeed please Alice Waters, who voiced concern over retaining Comerford in lieu of hiring a White House chef more aligned with the local food movement.

Speaking of eating local, D.C. food blogger and writer Ed Bruske (The Slow Cook) wrote a 2 part series on the merits of community gardens where he muses "are they obsolete?".  Bruske argues that "gardening is more than picking flowers; gardening should be taken seriously". Gardening, specifically community gardening, can be a way of fulfilling one's civic duty by utilizing the sparest of spaces to produce food that feeds a community, including those with limited access to fresh, healthy food.

Not sure what you'll be chowing on for the Super Bowl game on Sunday?  Take a look at what some local bloggers have been making. The Bitten Word has the Ultimate Superbowl Meatfest Menu, including Buffalo Chicken Dip, Simple Ribs and Cheater BBQ Pork. Capital Spice made turducken in a Big Green Egg, and Pete, of Pete Bakes, made delicious-looking Sausage Stuffed Mushrooms.

Finally, a big Hooty-Hoo shout out to our favorite local Top Chef Season 5 cheftestant, Carla. Carla's dish in the elimination challenge put season 5 in the winner's circle, beating the "All Stars" of prior seasons, including Spike. Spike hosted a viewing party at his own Good Stuff Eatery, and Mike Bober (Capital Spice, DC Foodies) was there to report on the action - and reaction of Carla's husband when he found out (along with everyone else there) that he was going to the Super Bowl!

Weekly Blog Round Up

Cheese and apple Better late than never for Washington DC's Winter Restaurant Week 2009. With reports estimating that businesses in the city pulled in a whopping 1 billion dollars on Inauguration Day, it makes sense that DC postponed Restaurant Week until Feb. 16th-22nd. The news was announced this week on blogs (Washingtonian's Best Bites) and boards (Chowhound).

Stay tuned to DC Foodies for ongoing updates on participating restaurants, menu offerings, extended deals, commentary and recommendations.

Local food blogger, Colleen, of Foodie Tots (locavorism, environment, family), along with a foodie friend from Minneapolis, has launched a new blog, called Cheese and Champange. From their website:

Cheese & Champagne is a joint project by two cheese-obsessed friends tasting our way through the Wine Spectator “100 Great Cheeses” list.* One in the ‘burbs of Washington, D.C., and one in Minneapolis, MN, we are sharing our tasting notes here twice a week.

Be sure to check out their reviews and beautiful photos (photo above credited to and courtesy of Cheese and Champagne).

The Going Out Gurus reported that The General Store in Silver Spring, Md. is expected to open Saturday for take-out (limited menu) only  business (for now) until parking issues can be squared away. Expect "Cracker Barrel with good food", states Robin Smith, partner of Gillian Clark.

According to the Chinese Zodiac, 2008 was the Year of the Rat. In the DC area, it was the year of the cupcake vendor. Now it's your turn. If you can bake a mean cupcake, Lauren De Santis of Capital Cooking (the Capital Cooking Show) would love to hear from you. She will be filming an episode called "Crazy for Cupcakes". You can submit your favorite recipe for a chance to appear on her show.

Since I mentioned it, 2009 is the Year of the Ox. Chowhound's DC board has a nice thread on where to go to celebrate, beginning January 26th.

I've been a fan of Where In DC's blog for a while now. I like the formula for reviewing restaurants-an honest synopsis of the food, service and atmosphere, followed by location, hours and contact information. Recently, WIDC visited Pollo Granjero in Adams Morgan (not your best bet for rotisserie chicken), and Huong Viet in Falls Church (decent Pho). The site is updated often with reviews and recipes.

Weekly Blog Round Up

Capital_prep_for_inauguration_500 Opening this evening with a full menu is Next Door, next door to Ben's Chili Bowl, according to Don Rockwell. Rockwell visited owner Nizam Ali's new restaurant, and stated "I felt like I had walked into Bourbon Steak, or maybe Gibson." Chef Rock Harper (who won Gordon Ramsey's Hell's Kitchen season 3) will be heading up the kitchen. According to Daily Candy, Chef Harper will be serving Southern-inspired dishes, such as Shrimp and Grits with Tasso Ham Gravy, along with Ben's classic half-smokes.

DC Gastronome has put together a list of Inaugural Eats which spans the Potomac. Events and offerings include the Burger Ball at Spike Mendelsohn's Good Stuff Eatery, the "First Lady Marmalade" cocktail at Firefly in Dupont, and a Lincoln-inspired menu at The Grill at Morrison House in Old Town. Additionally, Metrocurean reported that Artisan Confections has made the words "hope" and "change" something you not only say, but savor; in chocolate. For even more Obama-inspired epicurean picks, check out CampusProgress.org for "inaugural-themed desserts, drinks and dishes."

If you would like to make your own treats, check out local blogger, Food Rockz. He's an aspiring chocolatier and recently made confections such as Lavender and Earl Grey and Fig and Balsamic Vinegar Home-Molded Chocolates, and a good-looking rendition of Michel Richard's Gourgeres.

DCist reported on "District Dining: Two Very Different Takes." While Politico contributor Marian Burros attempted to find 10 DC area restaurants that could compete with NYC's finest, although only 8 cut Gotham's mustard. In contrast, Kim Severenson of the NY Times illuminated DC's developing neighborhood restaurant scene. In Tim Carman's Young and Hungry Blog, he described Burros' article as a "velvet-wrapped hatchet job", and reprinted local blogger Mike Bober's (Capital Spice) response letter to Politico. In it, Bober states "I can assure you that it is possible to celebrate the best of Washington’s dining scene without even mentioning New York - and this would have been a far more positive piece if Ms. Burros had kept the focus on DC."

Finally, baby it's cold outside! Local bloggers have shared recipes for roast pork-perfect this time of year. Dish-trict made Balsamic and Honey Mustard Marinted Pork Loin, while The Bitten Word paired pork loin with a fig and Port wine sauce.

Weekly Blog Round Up

Eat_more_chicken_250 The Weekly Blog Round Up is back for 2009! With new restaurants, butchers, bakers and charcuterie makers, this year looks like it's going to be a feast for foodies.

Metrocurean reported that local cheflebrity and Made in Spain book author, Jose Andres, made an enthusiastic appearance on the Martha Stewart show last Thursday. He featured a few recipes from his book, including Potatoes Rioja-style with Chorizo. If you haven't seen his show, also Made in Spain, check it out on PBS. His exuberance will made you want to get on a plane and head straight to the Basque Region of Spain, eat Pintxos and drink some hard cider with the locals. Or, you can follow his recipes in your own home.

Last year, the Weekly Blog Round Up highlighted the local blog The French Laundry at Home. Intrepid, witty, and perhaps a little obsessed, Carol Blymire has closed the final chapter on that blog and has moved on to start another- Alinea at Home. Recently featured in the Washington Post, Blymire talked about tackling the recipes of Grant Achatz, and trying them out on friends and family. It's always a good read.

Melissa McCart of Counter Intelligence wrote an article featured in this week's WaPo Food section, entitled A World of Bargains: Asian Supermarkets Attract Chefs and the Budget Minded. Local foodie and frequenter of boards such as Don Rockwell, Yoon-Hee Heather Choi, led McCart on an insightful tour of the Super H-Mart in Fairfax City. Check out the article and video to learn how to pick the best squid for calamari, and save money to boot!

This week, The District Domestic brought us an interview with Chef Massimo De Francesca of Domaso, in the Hotel Palomar in Arlington. Chef De Francesco dished about his favorite kitchen gadget, customer pet peeve and what he likes to make at home-a peanut butter and nutella sandwich.

Not surprisingly, New Years Resolutions were a popular subject this week. "Eat more fish/seafood" and "lose weight" were common themes, and a familiar conundrum to foodies. While we vow to "make my own pasta" and "make my own bread", we also want to look good by summer when merciful sweaters need to be shed. Which is why, in my household, my husband and I have blown the dust off of the StairMaster and I am walking all three of my dogs daily-one at a time. For now.

DC Foodies wants to know what your Culinary Resolutions are for 2009. Do they include a side of exercise, or a dash of guilty pleasure? Perhaps both? Let us know in the comments section.

Weekly Blog Round Up

Hummingbird_500 Heard around the DC Foodies blogosphere this week...A little birdie told me is an apt way to describe the revealing piece that Jason Wilson wrote in the Washington Post this week about D.C.'s new clandestine and movable drinking establishment, Hummingbird to Mars. Some might apply the Ecclesiastes 10:20 derivation of the phrase "for a bird of the air shall carry the voice, and that which has wings shall tell the matter". Others might say that the Dutch Er lif t'el baerd, meaning "I shall betray another" is the shoe that fits.

You can read more reader thoughts on Wilson's article here at the Free Range on Food chat (where Wilson was a guest and responded), and Don Rockwell. For more on the Hummingbird to Mars experience, read Metrocurean's blog entry here.

Fish gotta swim, birds gotta fly, and journalist have to...abide by rules, or write the (whole) story? Tell DC Foodies what you think.

D.C. food writer Monica Bhide (A Life of Spice) probed what is good about eating animal fat with author Jennifer McLagen for Salon.com. The article, entitled Why You Shoud Eat Fat (I like it already), tells readers how delicious and much maligned animal products can be used for homemade meals that are not as time and cost involved as one would think. And best of all, eating animal fat does not necessarily cause waistline expansion. Bone marrow tacos, anyone?

Speaking of expansion, two restaurants made some buzz this week with plans to open additions. First, Michael Landrum of Ray's (insert restaurant here) will be adding Ray's the Net to his restaurant family. In keeping with his them of approachable and affordable food, Landrum told the Washingtonian  that he will present seafood as simply, freshly and cheaply as possible. See the Best Bites Blog for more detail on Landrum's plans.

Second, Cafe Pizzaiolo in Crystal City is opening a second location in Del Ray. Food boards are reporting that the new location will be in the Calvert Buiding on Mount Vernon Avenue, adding to the spicy Bombay Curry Company and simple southern cuisine at Del Merei Grill. Cafe Pizzaiolo has been noted as one of the best places for pizza in the D.C. area, and made the 2008 Cheap Eats list in the Washingtonian magazine.

Dining out for a cause is always a good reason to get out of the kitchen and enjoy good food. This week, Capital Spice tells readers about A Literary Feast, where you can attend one of over 30 literary-themed dinners, hosted by Hill residents. The dinners are inspired by the book's story, setting and food. The event is held October 25th and benefits the DC Arts and Humanities Education Collaborative.

In Alexandria, The Houndstooth Gourmet tells readers about Dine Out and Shop in Alexandria for the Walk to Fight Breast Cancer. Alexandria restaurants including Taqueria Poblano and Southside 815, and shops such as Let's Meat on the Avenue will be donating part of their proceeds on October 21st.

Weekly Blog Round Up

Heard around the DC Foodies blogosphere this week...Back in the day (read-my day) we let our fingers do the walking. Now, they do the talking via boards, blogs, chats and Twitter. From noun to verb, as a plate went from something you ate your food on to artfully placing your food upon the plate, as Google is a search engine and the act of using said search engine, Twitter is at once a microblog and the act of microblogging. With Twitter, you can tell your readers what you are doing at every waking moment of the day. More and more, food lovers and food critics alike are using Twitter to note what they are eating and where they are eating it at.

This week, Adour, the new Alain Ducasse restaurant in the St. Regis Hotel, was Twittered about by Todd Kliman of the Washingtonian. Over the course of a 4-hour meal, Kliman gave a real-time restaurant review, tweeting "The baguette: thin, perfectly airy, with a great crumb" and "Gala apple souffle. A touch undercooked, with a wonderful vanilla ice cream".

You can read the bite by bite account of Kliman's dinner here, as did Ducasse himself. In real time, of course. We're curious what people think of this. Should one wait until the end of the meal to pass judgment, or is every thought as we're eating a meal relevant?

Once word spread about Michael Landrum's newest restaurant, Ray's The Heat, Don Rockwell members began posting in earnest with heightened anticipation. Landrum's newest restaurant, scheduled to open in Spring '09, will be located in a strip mall at Minnesota Avenue and Benning Road in NE Washington DC. According to Landrum (as reported in the Washingtonian's chat this week), the menu will focus on "soulful" cooking with dishes such as Nashville Hot Chicken and Maryland Stuffed Ham on Sundays.

The District Domestic reported on her guest appearance on Emeril Green, episode: Lovin' Lamb. Filmed at the Whole Foods in Fairfax. Sarah learned how to turn her tough inedible lamb into a spectacular dish.

Busy blogger Where In DC continues to dish out recipes and restaurant visits. This week, WIDC tells readers that John, the Burrito Man at 15th and K is back in business. Via text, he tells WIDC "I will make (friends) the BEST and FRESHEST burrito they have ever had. Don't forget the GOOSE sauce!" Goose sauce?

Who knew there is a whole month to celebrate fungi? This week, Metrocurean gives us 7 ways to celebrate Mushroom Month, including PS 7's 5-course mushroom tasting menu (available all month) and the mushroom tasting trio during happy hour at Nage.

Finally, you can rate your "foodie-ness" according to Synesthesia and Capital Spice. How many of The Omnivore's Hundred have you eaten..or would you eat?