Archive for the ‘Restaurant’ Category
I Got My Piggy On..
Cochon 555 in DC..This event is not just about the Pig..it’s also about the drink, the chef, and the Foodie..maybe even the Foodie Groupie (did I make that up??)..
I attended my first Cochon 555 on Sunday, April 7th, 2013 and it was all that I expected and even more..More pig combinations,
Cochon 555 is a celebration of life – just as everyone must eat, some of us eat to fulfill our passion or maybe it IS our passion. If I was going to explain this event to someone from outer space, I would say that man was once a primitive animal that lived primarily in caves or on the savannah. Over a period of thousands of years, he formed civilization and started culture (she too!)..but the need to satisfy those primitive urges never disappeared – thus Cochon 555!
Heritage Pigs – well, ever since modern industry took over the majority of our food system, food has been “designed” to fit consumer lifestyles – thus was created the modern pig – it gets fat fast, needs little space to roam (or it may need it, but it doesn’t get it!) and it has lean meat..Why lean? We food consumers (actually, I should change that to “industrial pig consumers” – forgive me if you’re Vegan..) read a study in the 70′s that suggested that eating too much fat, especially animal fat, caused heart disease and will shorten your life..it seems to make sense right.. I mean ever since the times of Henry VIII, only the wealthy could afford meat on a regular basis, and all of them were rotund and had gout – so obviously the study is right – I mean, surely if you eat Fat, you get fat, the fat becomes fat around your belly and thighs and of course there’s cholesterol in the fat, and that fills your arteries and you die young.. right??
No way – bad study, bad logic, but smart companies taking advantage of the reality of modern life: sell the benefit, not the product..it’s easy to convince people that fat = fat = fat..it’s total nonsense, but hey, who has time to even thing about such stuff??
Conclusion: these Heritage pigs with their thick covering of serious fat are actually healthier for the environment, healthier for the pig, but most of all – THEY WILL MAKE YOU HEALTHY – Eat Them!
Chefs competing for Prince of Pork in Washington, D.C. are Mike Isabella (Graffiato), Haidar Karoum (Proof / Estadio), Kyle Bailey (Birch & Barley), Jeffrey Buben (Vidalia), and Bryan Voltaggio [Volt, Range, Family Meal].
2013 marks a culinary milestone: The fifth anniversary of Cochon 555, a one-of-a-kind traveling culinary competition and tasting event created to promote sustainable farming of heritage breed pigs. Arriving in the nation’s capital on Sunday, April 7 at The Newseum, the pork-centric tour gathers together five chefs, five pigs and five wineries at each event – ultimately touching down in 10 cities across the country and bringing its message of nose-to-tail cooking, breed diversity and family farming to food enthusiasts nationwide.
Each Cochon 555 event challenges five local chefs to prepare a menu created from the entirety of heritage breed pigs for an audience of pork-loving epicureans and celebrated judges. Chefs competing for Prince of Pork in Washington, D.C. are Mike Isabella (Graffiato), Haidar Karoum (Proof / Estadio), Kyle Bailey (Birch & Barley), Jeffrey Buben (Vidalia), and Bryan Voltaggio [Volt, Range, Family Meal].
Guests will be treated to an epic pork feast alongside wines from five small family-owned wineries including Sandhi Wines, Scholium Project, Elk Cove Vineyards, Westport Rivers, and Silver Oak plus special tastings from Rhone Valley Wines, Anchor Brewing, Crispin Ciders, Illegal Mezcal, and Blue Coat Gin. Twenty judges and 400 guests help decide the winning chef, who is crowned the Prince of Pork and will compete against other regional winners at the finale Grand Cochon event at the FOOD & WINE Classic in Aspen on Sunday, June 16.
Also included in the evening is a preview of the new Heritage BBQ event in which John Critchley of Bourbon Steak will roll out family meal – an additional whole hog cooked barbecue-style immediately preceding the awards.
VIP guests receive early access to the event and special offerings including a special tasting with three competing chefs. The VIP hour is filled with experiences that will not be found on the main floor such as access to “Punch Kings” – a new cocktail competition featuring Breckenridge Bourbon and six local bartenders, a VIP-only gift bag, the all-new Tartare Bar, Rappanhannock River Oysters, and reserve wines and spirits. Guests can enter for a chance to win a roundtrip ticket from Southwest Airlines, Official Airline for the “Cochon US Tour”.
In addition, to celebrate five years of Heritage Breeds, Cochon added five bourbons to the lineup! All attendees will get samples of Breckenridge Bourbon, Eagle Rare, Templeton Rye, High West, Buffalo Trace and Four Roses in addition to the Perfect Manhattan Bar showcasing Luxardo and Eagle Rare. New to 2013 is also the Chupito/Mezcal Bar, a tasting experience featuring Mezcales de Leyenda, Pierde Almas and Fidencio. The infamous Craft Cheese Bar sees a facelift featuring a local cheesemonger, Cypress Grove Chevre, Vermont Butter & Cheese, Spring Brook Farm with an exclusive tasting of blues from Rogue Creamery, and favorites from Kerrygold. Everyone can commemorate the experience by visiting the City Eats photo booth and voting for the best bite of the day.
The fun continues with a butcher demonstration presented by Zwilling / MIyabi with Chris Fuller from Alleghany Meats and a raffle to benefit the student volunteers, ice-cold brews, Fernet Branca digestifs, Taza Chocolate pork-spiked desserts, Champagne toast, award ceremony, and of course, the after party will immediately follow.
Sunday, April 7, 2013
4 p.m. (VIP); 5 p.m. (general admission)
555 Pennsylvania Ave NW
Washington, DC 20001
Cochon 555 Tickets: $125 (general admission) and $200 (VIP); to purchase tickets, visit www.cochon555.com
ADDITIONAL EVENT: CHEFS COURSE DINNER
To kick-off the 5th Anniversary Weekend Celebration, Cochon 555 will curate an intimate “Chef’s Course” Guest Chef Dinner on Friday, April 5 at The Source by Wolfgang Puck hosted by Scott Drewno, two-time Cochon winner. The 5-course dinner will feature great chefs, including past participants, friends and judges paired with a winemaker, distiller or brewer. Go behind the scenes with Team Cochon for this amazing dinner and meet the folks driving the flavor train. Tickets to this dinner are $110, all inclusive and reservations can be made by calling the restaurant at (202) 637-6100 and please reference Cochon555.
Guests can enter for a chance to win a roundtrip ticket from Southwest Airlines, Official Airline for the “Cochon US Tour”.
Please invite your facebook friends to this event. Invite over 75 friends, show us screenshot proof, and get a $25 discount code for being a partner to responsible agriculture.
The Craft Brewer’s Conference Beer & Food Experience..
So what happens when a couple thousand or so Brewer’s and their beer-loving cohorts come to DC to partake in a 3 day Conference around Beer? Total Chaos! OK, it wasn’t that crazy (I skipped alot of the Shenanigans..), but it started off for me with a serious beer dinner at Birch & Barley on Monday, March 25th, 2013 – Charlie Bravo Charlie (which stands for Craft Brewer’s Conference..get it??) Rare Beer Dinner: Volume #1
Let’s take you through the menu and beers..
Dish #1: Ahi Poke Tartare (Soy-Mirin, Tobiko, Wasabi Peas, Wonton, Sesame)
Beer Pairing: Maui Ginger Saison by Maui Brewing Co., Hawaii
Dish #2: Seared Shad Roe (Lemon Puree, Braised Escarole, Sherry-Bacon Sauce, Arugula)
Beer Pairing: Surly Smoke Lager by Surly Brewing Co., Minnesota
Dish #4: Roasted Squab (Toasted Farro-Marcona Almond, Fresh Radish, Roasted Sunchokes)
Beer Pairing: Barrel-Aged Ghouls Night Out by DC Brau, Washington, D.C.
Dish #5: Fourme D’Ambert (Cream Sherry-Plumped Dark Raisins, Rosemary, Hazelnut Butter)
Beer paired – Firestone Walker (CA) XV
Dessert: Vanilla Bean Cheesecake (Citrus Segments, Blood Orange Sorbet, Ginger-Cardamom Pound Cake, Basil)
Beer Paired – Hunahpu’s Imperical Stout (FL), Cigar City
Digestif: Odic Equum (Co) Avery Brewing
Guest Post by Christina Portz “Just the Bottle”
Miner Family Winery Dinner – Tuesday, February 26th, 2013
Because one can never have enough wine, I had a glass of Chandon in the Lounge before the event. There was an interesting assortment of characters in the lounge including a gentleman who used to frequent the restaurant when it was The Jockey Club and two conservative women arguing about Obama. My bartender had lived in DC since the 1980s and used to live on 17th street.
After I finished my glass, I checked in to the wine dinner. I found out I was seated at table 40 – with the winemaker. That’s how important I am (or that I like to think that). The restaurant has been renovated, but still maintains the old school/old DC decor. There was a lovely display set near a bar area of the wines featured for the evening.
2011 Miner Simpson Vineyard Viognier
For the reception the viognier was poured. It really is the perfect aperitif. It was incredibly aromatic with the honey suckle notes strongest on the finish.
The general manager spoke briefly, thanked everyone for attending and introduced Gary Brookman, Winemaker, Miner Family Winery.
Gary spoke briefly about the 2011 Miner Simpson Vineyard Viognier and presented the 2010 Miner, Napa Valley Chardonnay and 2008 Miner Wild Yeast, Napa Valley Chardonnay.
He provided background and history as to the winery, the use of solar panels at Miner and the incredible amount of varietals planted.
I was surprised at how Gary was down to Earth and incredibly pleasant. Besides speaking to the group at large, he frequently walked around to speak individually to the attendees.
Mango and Avocado Salad, Coriander Cilantro Oil
The first course was paired with 2010 Chardonnay and 2008 Wild Yeast Chardonnay. The plating on this and all dishes was spectacular. The buttery notes in both wines went incredibly well with the lobster and avocado notes. There was a creaminess that as a person who normally hates avocado (yes I hate it and no, don’t try to change my mind) was incredibly harmonious.
I was excited to speak with Gary about these wines especially the wild yeast. Apparently, he likes using wild yeast and giving up that control.
He was quite entertaining explaining how wild yeast can start the fermentation and give up or burn out quickly. I imagined little yeasts partying too hard and then dying off as they made this amazing chardonnay.
The 2010 chardonnay did not spend any time in oak, but did go through some malolactic fermentation. The wild yeast had spicer notes on the finish and was more viscous.
Red Wine Lacquered Quail
Arugula, Roasted Shallot Vinaigrette, Toasted Pinenuts
2010 Garys’ Vineyard Pinot Noir, Santa Lucia Highlands
Garys’ Vineyard is a 50 acre vineyard that was planted in 1995 by friends and growers Gary Franscioni and Gary Pisoni.
I love anything that incorporates an egg especially quail egg. The quail was perfectly cooked and seasoned. The pinot noir and quail worked well together bringing out additional flavors.
Gary and I discussed the concept of masculine and feminine pinot noirs. I used to have a boss who hated that description. Gary felt that this pinot was more masculine due to the body.
It was somewhat bright with big cherry notes on the nose with some plum on the finish.
Pepper Crusted Virginia Bison
Wine Sauce, Horseradish Cauliflower Puree, French Beans
2009 Stagecoach Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon
As you can see, I really wanted to try this amazing dish and forgot to take a photo before diving in (d’oh).
The 2009 Stagecoach Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon is almost entirely made of cabernet sauvignon with about 5% cabernet franc and 5% merlot blended in. It was aged for 21 months in 60% new French oak. Definitely exhibits some of that almost toasty, vanilla notes on the nose.
The wine was silky with a lushness that went well with the pepper crusted Virginia bison. This was my favorite wine of the evening.
Buttermilk Panna Cotta
Fresh Berries, Blood Orange Sabayon
2008 “the Oracle” Meritage Blend
The Oracle is a Meritage Blend utilizing Bordeaux style grapes (cabernet franc, cabernet sauvignon, malbec,merlot and petit verdot). It spends 21 months in 55% French oak. It was incredibly balanced and full bodied. There were hints of cassis and blackberries.
I was surprised (like others) that this wine was paired with the dessert. But, it totally worked! I think worked best with the top layer of the dessert – blood orange sabayon.
The Chef, Chef Ferrier, and some of his staff thanked us at the end of the night. They also answered questions regarding Virginia bison. I think some people were becoming more difficult and drunk as the night wore on.
In the end, this was an amazing experience with spectacular food, wine and service. I would highly recommend attending a future wine dinner at the Capital Wine Festival.
Editor’s Note: here are some upcoming Wine Dinners in the DC Area on TasteDC:
-6-Course Texas Wine Dinner on March 2nd (This Saturday Evening) $70, http://www.tastedc.com/event/6-course-texas-wine-dinner-mayfair-pine
-Patz and Hall Wine Dinner (March 5th), $125, http://tastedc.com/content/4-course-patz-hall-winery-wine-dinner
-Pio Cesare Wine Dinner (March 12th), $125, http://tastedc.com/content/4-course-pio-cesare-wine-dinner
-Wine and Soul Wine Dinner (March 19th), $135, http://tastedc.com/content/4-course-wine-and-soul-wine-dinner
-Tres Sabores Winery & Calder Wine Company Dinner (March 26th) $125, http://tastedc.com/content/4-course-tres-sabores-winery-calder-wine-company-wine-dinnerine Company Dinner (March 26th)
I love dumplings..actually, I love any starch covered meat/seafood/vegetable whether it’s fried, boiled, steamed or sauteed! I attended a really unique and fun cooking class organized by AIWF’s DC Chapter with Executive Chef Scott Drewno at The Source in downtown DC on Saturday, February 9th, 2013. Here are the highlights and some photos – you WILL salivate when you see the dishes..and honestly, I just can’t forget the mouth-watering aromas of ginger, garlic and soy in so many wonderful combinations..in some ways you really need your sense of smell to appreciate this post!
1)Layout – very unique and maybe a bit daunting at the beginning, but there were 3 separate seating areas with 3 individual cooking demonstration stations. It was sort of like theater in the round, with the main Chef Scott Drewno in the middle station (he’s on the far left in the photo above) with his “Madonna” headseat on and 2 separate chefs demonstrating on opposite/perpendicular sides of the stage – I guess you could call it a 3-Chef C-Stage Cooking Demonstration. Unusual, but it worked mainly because of the entertainment value and also because you could watch your own chef – a very creative use of a space that actually is difficult to layout for classroom style events!
2)The Menu – I usually have a pretty low expectation of a cooking class that is simple food like dumplings, but then again, I know chef Drewno notoriously is an impressive foodie and he couldn’t (wouldn’t) let us down. Here’s the menu and dish photos are below:
Chinese New Dumpling Class Menu
-Chinese Spare Ribs, Black Bean Glaze
-Sea Scallop Sui Mai, Curried Lobster Emulsion
-Pork Belly Pot Stickers, Black Vinegar, Chili Oil
-Szechuan Style Green Beans, Candied Walnuts
-Crystal Chive Dumpling, Kurobuta Pork, King Crab
-Chilled Cucumber Salad, Toasted Sesame, Togarashi
-Szechuan “Dan Dan” Dumpling, Organic Chicken, Peanut Sauce
-Millet Congee, Red Braised Pork Belly, Pickled Butternut Squash Relish
3)The Process – we sat down at various dining room tables and actually got some hands-on hand-rolling of 2 kinds of pork dumplings, we each had 2 wrappers of each kind to roll. Now we got a complete explanation and demo of how to roll, and then we rolled up our sleeves, dipped our finger in the egg wash and wrapped up the mini-balls of meat into dumplings. Some people were good, some were ok, and some simply had falling apart dumplings, but hey, we weren’t going to eat these anyway – the meal was prepared for us. Primarily a demonstration cooking class, I found myself talking to my fellow Foodies more than actually listening to the class – I probably could have learned more, but honestly the vibe in the room and the amount of alcohol being served (sparkling wine and that tasty Dragon’s Fire Cocktail with Tequila!) kept the noise/buzz omni-present – if this had been my first cooking class, maybe a bad thing, but for experienced Foodies it was actually a really fun event.
4)The meal – served primarly family style (except for the Millet Congee and the dessert), it was fun to share with 3 other people at my table. My Foodie Buddie Bruce Miller (who has attended at least 200 TasteDC events or more in the past) was very experienced at these events. I actually prefer the family style method of serving – it helps create rapport and camaraderie. By sharing food, I learned more about my newfound fellow foodies than if everything had been individually plated. Some specific comments: the variety of dishes, proteins and vegetables was very thought out – from garlicky clams to
rich pork belly and braised pork belly, back to the Sea Scallops Sui Mai and then finally to the deliciously syrupy dessert (I forget the name!). Also the Chilled Cucumber Salad helped to cool my palate and acted sort of like an Amuse Bouche between dishes – actually the Cocktail did the same with it’s Tequila and grapefruit – a very smart way of using a drink to refresh the palate!
5)Service – I was really impressed by the Source’s staff and presentation and service – they cared..something that you don’t always get with service nowadays, but each server was focused and putting in effort. There were many parts too – the hot hand towels which came out twice, the initial layout of the wrappers on a small granite plate with a moist towel on top to protect the integrity of the dumpling wrappers, the pouring of sparkling wine, the making and serving of the cocktail, and the actual serving of the food which was primarily family style. There was one obliteration of glassware episode – and I mean ExPloDing glass – but luckily it was to the side, and the server quickly cleaned it up – no harm, no foul..in fact, maybe an extra plus for handling a delicate situation so well!
6)Overall Impression – very professional presentation and staff, but not stiff – I felt like things were being taken care of without pretense. This event was very much theater in the round and in fact, there were two un-affiliated groups of people present – the AIWF DC Chapter and a list of Chef Scott Drewno’s contacts/Foodies. I thought the cooking layout of 3 chef demonstration stations although unusual, it created some theater and a chance for more discussion – and it was the best use of the available space which is awkwardly broken up by an atrium/stairwell. The space is actually quite visually pleasing with the extensive windows and the wine wall next to the stairwell. Chef Drewno is also a very good presenter and entertaining and answered questions clearly from the audience – Scott knows his Asian ingredients – oh, and this WaPo article will give you some background on that. Really curious about ethnic food? Then Check Out Tyler Cowen’s Ethnic Dining Guide
Charlie “I Drink on the Job” Adler
6 Courses of Pleasure Champagne and Sparkling Wine Dinner – A Celebration with Mayfair & Pine and Thibaut-Janisson
This dinner showcased how sparkling wines make flavors shine..
The meal began with an aperitif which was the sparkling wine served also with the first course – Virginia Fizz. It’s a good starter wine which is light, crisp and not too minerally and with a touch of sweetness to get your taste buds going! The first course was a delicious slightly sweet pumpkin soup that Chef Sprissler said was “like pumpkin pie in a bowl”..it also had a nice aromatic touch of truffle oil, this was a very nice starting dish. Afterward we had the goat cheese which were little balls (I thought they were quail eggs!) like Mozzarella bocconcini with a spicy tomato almost salsa which contrasted nicely – creamy/sweet to spicy/savory..and of course those little toast squares! The third course was Chef Emily Sprissler’s own take on the bar food she ate when she worked as a chef in London and had little money for food – The samosas had handmade puff pastry (once a rarity, but great chefs like Sprissler are really starting to raise their game – one of the things Foodies can credit to both the TV show Top Chef and the fact that chefs travel the world to perfect their craft). The first 3 courses were paired with Virginia Sparkling Wines by Thibaut-Janisson – the speaker for the first 3 VA wines was owner Claude Thibaut who explained about the challenges of growing grapes and making wine in Virginia’s climate vs. in the Champagne region of France.
The last three dishes were paired my Manuel Janisson who is the Champagne side of this wine producer – as you may or may not know, Champagne is actually a region and unlike American wines, the French tend to label according to region/appellation (like Bordeaux and Burgundy). Interestingly, it was difficult to tell the wines were French vs. Virginian – although acidity levels and minerality tend to be higher in the cooler region French Champagnes, these winemakers are so expert that they know how to make great wines from their respective vineyards.
6-Course Champagne Dinner Menu
Tomato Goat Cheese Napoleon
Thibaut-Janisson Cuvee d’etat 2008, Virginia
Janisson et Fils Tradition Brut NV, Champagne
Chocolate Pear Tart
Janisson et Fils Brut Rose NV, Champagne
I attended a LivingSocial sponsored event “Wine + Cheese at Black’s Bar & Kitchen” (Bethesda, MD) on Saturday, November 17th, 2012 from 1 – 3 pm – actually, it was the first event I had attended through LivingSocial even though I had purchased many restaurant deals from them in the past. The event had 2 flights of cheeses, 12 cheeses in total and wines were paired with them, a total of 8 (See list of wines and cheeses with Photos below). It was a seated event and guided tasting with main presenter Chef Mallory Buford speaking about the cheeses and Black’s Sommelier Anderson Plunket discussing the wines. Chef Buford was very knowledgeable about cheese, but each cheese producer also had their own representative/distributor to talk about each cheese’s qualities. It was a nice combination of class and chance for people to talk amongst themselves – I would call it “lecture light” and more of a chance for people to try everything and make their own conclusions. This restaurant is really known for seafood so it’s kind of interesting that they decided to try a cheese and wine event – my understanding is that all of these cheeses are on their existing menu, so that makes sense..but don’t ask an Italian – they claim that seafood and cheese should never go together!
There were 12 cheeses and 8 wines:
1st Cheese Flight:
1)Cherry Glen Farms Monocacy Silver – Soft-Ripened Goat’s Milk
2)Cherry Glen Farms Monocacy Ash-Soft Ripened Goat’s Milk with Ash Rind
3)Vermont Butter & Cheese Bonne Bouche – Ash-Ripened Goat’s Milk
4)Vermont Butter & Cheese Coupole – Aged Goat Milk
5)Vermont Butter & Cheese Cremont – Aged Goat and Cow’s Milk
2nd Cheese Flight:
6)Jasper Hill Farm Weybridge – Organic Cow’s Milk
7)Jasper Hill Farm Cabot Clothbound Cheddar – English Style Cow’s Milk
8)Jasper Hill Farm Landaff – Semi-Firm Raw Cow’s Milk
9)Beehive Creamery Promontory – Irish Style Cow’s Milk
10)Beehive Creamery – Espresso and Lavendar Rubbed Cow’s Milk
11)Beehive Creamery – Cayenne Rubbed Cow’s Milk
12)Jasper Hill Farm – Raw Cow’s Milk Blue
1)Prosecco, Tenuta S. Anna, NV (Italy)
2)Sancerre, Paul Prieur 2010 (Loire, France)
3)Pinot Gris, Elk Cove 2011 (Williamette Valley, Oregon)
4)Chardonnay, Windracer 2007 (Anderson Valley, CA)
5)Pinot Noir, Domaine Carneros 2010 (Carneros, CA)
6)Merlot, Truchard 2008 (Carneros, CA)
7)Cabernet/Syrah Blend, Treana 2009 (Organic) (Paso Robles, CA)
8)Riesling, Poet’s Leap 2010 (Columbia Valley, WA)
Charlie “I Drink on the Job” Adler
26 Beers..26 FULL-SIZED Beers..26 Beers and 26 Bars..
The Crawl Begins..I attended the Inaugural DCBeerathon which was held in Washington, D.C. on Saturday, November 10th, 2012. I really had no idea what to expect – first time event in DC, but a record in NYC..we would see.. Let me give you the bottom line: it’s a beer tasting/crawl that takes almost super-human stamina and for some reason, I even believed I could visit all 26 bars and finish all the beers! Note to self: next time, skip the bars with Mega-commercial beers and go home after 14 or so stops – my body/brain was so overwhelmed just past the midway point, that frankly I’m not sure what I said or did!
I started the event a little before 1 pm at James Hobans Irish Pub just off Dupont Circle, and found a group of local beer crawlers who were willing to put up with me for a few stops. Since there were 4 different egistration bars, there was only a small crowd of people waiting to go on the tour – a group of guys wearing Uncle Sam costumes were at the front of the line, but they were really the exception to this event – most people were just regular un-costumed beer lovers, or people looking for a good excuse to try out all of these bars. I didn’t see anyone in running costume..during any point in the event..OK, it’s NOT a running event (at least in DC).
<Note: Rather than list all 26 bars and beers, I’m including the Event Course at the Bottom of this Post – click on the photo and it will be easier to read.>
Starting from Hoban’s (Beer 1: Guinness Black Lager), we left to go south on Connecticut Ave. and began cruising at a good pace with my fellow imbibers: Max, the Golfing Floridian, his wife Ammi (she wasn’t drinking — only with us for moral support!), Brent the Commercial Real Estate Wheeler Dealer, and a gentleman I’ll just call Mr. Navajo..I found out late in the experience that he was 100% Native American Indian..I may have said something about this, maybe something I shouldn’t have said, but frankly I don’t remember, and he was a fun guy to hang out with! The Floridians were relatively new to DC, so I was sort of the local guide – we had a course map that was frankly very well detailed, and having lived in DC for over 20 years..well, we didn’t get lost..at all..Our basic route was south from Dupont to Science Club, Mackey’s and then north up Connecticut Ave. and all the way up to Adams Morgan (The Reef was our high point..literally, we were on the roof after the walk up 18th St.)and then we hopped on a taxi and decided to go from the south part of 14th St., starting at Stoney’s and move our way north to 14th and U which had multiple stops on the same block..this is also where our cohesiveness as a group began to fade..I guess I wore out my welcome, but who knows!
Here are just the “Lessons I Learned” and Highlights:
-Our pace quickened as time went on – At our 2nd stop at Science Club, we sat down, chatted a bit and I learned about my fellow drinkers. The Floridians were just getting into the food scene here in DC and were curious about local customs. I told them about how craft beer was booming in the DC Market and how only just over a year ago our first brewery DC Brau opened up, and how many more had followed afterward. Once we all got to know each other (Wheeler Dealer and I both talked real estate for awhile – I once was a commercial real estate broker in DC in a former life until I Drink on the Job ), we stopped sitting down at each bar – rather, we would walk in, show our badge (which got clicked), get our beer, down it, and move on..efficiency is the game!
-Beers with more flavor became easier to drink as we went along as our taste buds became bored with flat commercial-style beers. So I’ll probably never get Annheuser Busch to sponsor my TasteDC business..oh well, I think it’s better to be honest..American style lagers begin to taste flat and almost like “lite” beer along the way as your palate becomes a bit fatigued. I also noticed that “hoppier beers” like Starr Hill Northern Lights IPA revive your palate and wake up your senses – almost like a cold splash of water in the face. Other beers of note – I had my first 3 Stars Beer – the Pandemic Porter at Stoney’s, very flavorful and not too creamy, more refreshing – DC Brau Public Pale Ale - I had this when playing Bocce at Black Jack (first-time – I beat Mr. Navajo, and he was Pissed!) – the hops really revived me and gave me needed energy!
-You Have to Eat Along the Way. I had mixed feelings about eating and drinking beer – this tends to put me right to sleep, so I ate lunch before I left. Still, in the spirit of sharing, everyone bought food and shared like the Sliders that Mr. Navajo provided to us at BGR’s – grease is good, and BTW – their onion rings are HUGE and real vidalia onions..some of the best I’ve ever had! We also all grabbed a big slice of Pizza once we were on 14th & U – that was good and needed sustenance..
-After the first few beers, I began drinking a few swigs out of the glass, often leaving half the beer. Hey, it was impossible to stay sober, but why waste yourself with bad/boring beer? I began to notice that beer was tasting like water near the end – which was around 10 pm when everyone split-up – and the final beer I had, a PBR (1905 ran out of Kona..I think?)..couple sips..need I say more?
-At some point, a certain mental lunacy sets in where you stop really being aware, and go on instincts.
Even good people go looney after 15-20 beers, multiple bars, and 10 hours on your feet. I think it was at Alero on U St. where the volume went way up on the music and Wheeler Dealer starting hitting on a woman, and her girlfriend laid into him – this is why Saturday nights are a really bad time to go drinking in bars – it seems that everyone holds back the whole week to let go..I think this is when the group lost cohesiveness and I said some things I shouldn’t have said ( who me??) and the group split up.
-The point of DCBeerathon is to have fun – it’s not a game to win. Considering that I spent over 9 hours walking, talking, drinking, and eating with 4 people I barely knew, it’s amazing that we all got along..and had a pretty good time at it! My conclusion is this is a fun event for people who enjoy beer, a little partying, but also a unique way to see DC our city. Everyone wants to experience a city in their own way, and I would definitely do Beerathons in their other cities which now include Houston, NYC and Savannah, Georgia..maybe this could be done with wine and whiskey too, who knows – Cheers!
Charlie “I Drink on the Job” Adler
P.S. Almost forgot..I actually completed “getting” 24 beers out of the 26 stops AND I actually stopped at the 25th stop which was JoJo’s, but I never got a beer – the place was so crowded from the band, so I just hung out and sobered up a bit..oh, I missed The Codmother, which would have been 26..
The Tequila Journey Begins..
I hadn’t been to Top Chef Mike Isabella’s newest restaurant – Bandolero at 3241 M St., NW in Georgetown, so I decided to try it out at a special 5-Course Espolon Tequila Dinner offered by CityEatsDC “Exclusive Eats”. The Thursday, November 8th, 2012 pairing dinner was a chance for me to attend my 2nd Tequila Dinner ever – the first one had been in Aspen, CO many years ago as part of the Aspen Food and Wine Festival. This time, all I had to do was make the Reservation and walk about 5 blocks from my townhouse which is also in Georgetown!
Actually, this event was more of a Cocktail Pairing Dinner because all of the Tequila was served in 5 separate cocktails that were paired with the meal. Tasting events like these are no longer unique and unusual – in fact, I guesstimate that DC has at least 20 dinners every week with pairings of craft beer, wine, whisky or other spirits. What they all tend to do is have a quality speaker – and Phil Piper of Skyy Spirits/Gruppo Campari which owns the Tequilas (Espolon and Cabo Wabo) spoke and also introduced the Master Distiller of Espolon, Cirilo Hernandez who spoke about the differences of Espolon’s Silver, Reposado and Anejo. Cirilo was a really charming guy and very authentic – his English was pretty good, but his spirit and passion (over-used, but true this time!) really set the tone for the event – it felt very much like this Master Distiller enjoys making his product and taking pride in ownership. I hope the Campari people bring him to more tasting events – he really had an energy to him that just plain seemed “Real”..
As sort of a side note to this event – I sat next to Tom Brown who with his brother Derek Brown own The Passenger/Columbia Room in Washington, D.C. which is a haven for serious Cocktail aficionado’s. Tom told me that they are planning to open a Tiki Lounge concept nearby – still a bit hush,hush, but he confirmed that the lease had been signed..more details soon. Derek wasn’t at the event because he as in China doing some kind of drink promotion – which tells you how much the cocktail culture has become part of the international scene – food and drinks are hot – I guess everyone has to eat and drink!
The 5-Course Tequila Dinner Menu:
I have really great news for DC Fundraisers and Foodies in our Nation’s Capital – DC has reached Foodie Destination! OK, so maybe there are still quite a few events with poor food and bad drinks, but after recently attending the Capital Food Fight, the Washingtonian Brunch & Bloody’s event and Wednesday, October 24th’s Chef’s For Equality event, I noticed many of the same restaurants and chefs showcasing different sides of their culinary ability. The bad news is I didn’t get a list of dishes from last night’s event – I was spending too much time tasting, drinking and a bit of hobnobbing – but let’s just say there wasn’t a bad dish! What made this event extra Foodie was that there was also a Cocktail focus and some of the top Mixologists in our region like Todd Thrasher and Adam Bernbach went all out to impress the crowd.
The Evening’s cause was to raise awareness and votes for Same-Sex Marriage Rights in Maryland – since I support same-sex marriage but I’m really focused on Food and Drink Events, here are the details on the politics of the event from the Human Right’s Coalition. Also, Washingtonian had a nice article with some Chef gossip and the details on the political cause. Other Articles include the Washington Blade which mentions MD Gov. O’Malley’s speech at the event, Tim Gunn from Project Runway was a speaker at the event as well, you can read more at MyFoxDC’s Coverage. I’m all for political causes and fundraisers, but I feel it’s my duty to stay focused DC’s culinary experiences.
Below is a list of participating chefs and Mixologists as well – I was able to copy the links to most of the restaurants so it’s also a nifty way to find out more about each establishment. I’ll try to update the dishes if I can get a list of them, but alas, this is mostly a Publicity post right now – I REALLY like to include more food information – Cheers!
Find out more about DC’s top culinary chefs participating in this special event.
- Victor Albisu, Taco Bamba – is currently holding Pop-ups at
- José Andrés, ThinkFoodGroup
- Sebastien Archambault and Peter Brett, Blue Duck Tavern
- Cathal Armstrong, Restaurant Eve
- Jon Arroyo, Founding Farmers
- Kyle Bailey, Birch and Barley
- Ian Bens, Juniper
- Justin Bittner, Bar Pilar
- Jeff Black, Pearl Dive Oyster Palace
- Danny Bortnick, Firefly
- Devin Bozkaya, Westend Bistro
- Amy Brandwein, Chef AmyB
- Erik Bruner-Yang, Toki Underground
- Jeff Buben, Woodward Table
- RJ Cooper, Rogue 24
- Logan Cox and Alison Reed, Ripple
- John Critchley, Urbana
- Travis Croxton, Rappahannock River Oysters
- Noah Dan, Pitango Gelato
- Scott Drewno, The Source
- Enzo Fargione, Elisir
- Teddy Folkman, Granville Moore’s
- Mark Furstenberg, Bread Furst
- Georgetown Cupcake
- Spike Gjerde, Woodberry Kitchen
- Dean Gold, Dino
- Todd and Ellen Gray, Equinox
- David Guas, Bayou Bakery
- Thomas Hall, 901 Restaurant
- Scot Harlan, Green Pig Bistro
- Michael Harr, Food, Wine & Co.
- Jerry Hollinger and Zena Polin, The Daily Dish
- Mike Isabella, Graffiato
- Jim Jeffords, Evening Star Café
- Haidar Karoum, Proof / Estadio
- Billy Klein, Café Saint-Ex
- Ris Lacoste, Ris
- Jamie Leeds, Hank’s Oyster Bar
- Andrew Little, Sheppard Mansion
- Tiffany MacIsaac, Buzz Bakery
- Jody Manor, Bittersweet
- Dennis Marron, Poste Moderne Brasserie
- Jon Mathieson, BLT Steak
- Cedric Maupillier, Mintwood Place
- Aaron McCloud, Cedar
- Harper McClure, The Federalist
- Raynold Mendizabal, Fujimar
- Clayton Miller, Wit and Wisdom
- Mary Lee Montfort, Mary Lee’s Desserts
- Wes Morton, Art and Soul
- Terry Natas, Carmine’s
- Kaz Okochi, Kaz Sushi Bistro
- Nelson Paz, The Ritz-Carlton, DC
- Padua Player, Susan Gage Caterers
- Christophe and Michelle Poteaux, Bastille
- Nora Pouillon and Todd Woods, Restaurant Nora
- Leslie Poyourow, Fancy Cakes by Leslie
- Beau Ramsburg, Rettland Farm
- Michel Richard, Central
- Kimberly Robinson, Makin’ Whoopie
- Omar Rodriguez, Oyamel Cocina Mexicana
- Craig Rogers, Border Springs Farm
- Lara Stuckey, Fluffy Thoughts Cakes
- Peter Smith, PS 7’s
- Alli Sosna, Allison Sosna Group / Microgreens
- Emily Sprissler, Mayfair and Pine
- Nicholas Stefanelli, Bibiana
- Vikram Sunderam, Rasika
- Zoe Tsoukatos, Zoe’s Chocolate Company
- Jeff Tunks, Passion Food Hospitality
- Bryan Voltaggio, Volt
- Rob Weland, Cork Wine Bar
- Robert Wiedmaier, Marcel’s
- Paul Yeck, Jaleo DC
- Steve Yoon, Sushi Rock
- Demetrio Zavala, Lincoln
- Adam Bernbach, Proof / Estadio
- Derek Brown, Passenger / Columbia Room
- Gina Chersevani, Hank’s Oyster Bar
- Jeff Faile, Fiola
- Matt Ficke, Columbia Room
- Jon Harris, Firefly
- Corey Polyoka, Woodberry Kitchen
- Michael Searles, Virtue Feed & Grain
- Rachel Sergi, Jack Rose
- Andrew Shapiro, Green Pig Bistro
- Colin Sugalski, Toki Underground
- Bryan Tetorakis, Rogue 24
- Owen Thomson, Volt
- Todd Thrasher, TNT/PX Restaurant/The Majestic/Society Fair/Virtue Feed & Grain
- Ari Wilder, Fujimar
- Rob Yealu, The Federalist
Charlie “I Drink on the Job” Adler
Washingtonian Brunch & Bloodys – Spicy!
I attended the Washingtonian Brunch and Bloody’s event on Saturday, October 20th, 2012 at the lovely Long View Gallery on a perfect day in Shaw, Washington, D.C. This was a very well-laid out event and although it was sold out, there was plenty of room to get to the tables and taste unabated..and the mimosas flowed like, uhh, wine! Let’s put it to you this way – if you left this event hungry, then you were probably just drinking, and with over 10 medium-sized Bloody Mary’s to try, you probably would have rolled out! Having said that, I’ve noticed that the restaurants and chefs at these events are getting extremely good at preparing slightly exotic dishes and pushing the envelope on how to serve 250+ people without a regular kitchen behind them.
The Bloody Marys featured Belvedere Vodka and the bar served champagne, mimosas, and bellinis featuring Chandon. Like I said – no one went home hungry, but not thirsty either..there was plenty to drink and I was most impressed that they served the mimosas in glass Champagne flutes..and of course, there was the lovely smashing of glass at the beginning of the event- sort of like a Greek wedding.. or maybe it’s a Jewish wedding, but back to the event..
This event was based on the Washingtonian’s list of the 50 Great Breakfast and Brunch Spots from Washingtonian – and it was double smart of them to invite the infamous bloggers the Bitches who Brunch to the event to judge the Bloody Mary’s.
Here’s their own marketing pitch from the CVent Website (interesting that they used such a high-powered registration system for this event – maybe a touch overkill for a 1-time event, but they sold out, so it worked!) Introducing The Washingtonian’s premier “Brunch & Bloodys” event! Enjoy delicious brunch bites from restaurants featured in The Washingtonian’s October cover story “50 Favorite Brunch Places.” Participating restaurants will also compete in the Bloody Mary challenge, in which guests and a panel of judges (including Washingtonian editors, the Bitches Who Brunch, and Jeff Faile from Fiola) will vote for the best.
Here’s the List of Restaurants that participated and the dishes they served (I put my own comments after the dishes):
Art and Soul – ?
Black Market Bistro / BlackSalt – Black Market’s pancakes and BlackSalt’s Bloody Mary
Brasserie Beck – Mini quiche Lorraine with Micro Herb Salad & Bloody Mary & Jumbo Lump Crab Meat Shooters
Busboys and Poets – Coffee, Sweet Potato Pancakes with 100% Pure Vermont Maple Syrup from Coombs Family Farms, Vegan Tuna & crackers – they served a Vegan yellow tomato Bloody Mary which I remember because they were the only restaurant to use non-red tomatoes. The Sweet Potato pancakes were very good with the maple syrup – they didn’t even ad pads of butter because this restaurant is promoting their Vegan/vegetarian dishes.
Chef Geoff’s/ LIA’S – Mini Vegetarian Quiches and Brunch Bread
Eatonville – Gumbo (crab, rock shrimp, andouille sausage, fried okra, white rice) and mini pulled beef short ribs sandwich – I only had the short ribs sandwich, but I have to admit – simple comfort foods seem to show the best at these kind of events.
Founding Farmers – Mini Yogurt Parfaits with Housemade Granola; Corn Muffins; Bacon Lollis – The Bacon Lollipops were alot of fun – essentially a sugar-coated piece of bacon that reminded me of putting bacon on my pancakes with maple syrup – a real winner!
Howard Theatre - Shrimp and Grits, Breakfast berry parfaits - I didn’t know the Howard Theatre was serious about food, but these were some flavorful Grits with a bit of Jerk seasoning to give them a kick.
Jackie’s - Maple-Chai Doughnuts – They served these donuts glazed and you could put your own toppings on like cocoa and sprinkles – Yummy!
Maple Ave Restaurant - Chawanmushi – Chinese Steam Egg with carmelized kimchi
Mintwood Place – “Croque Madames”" featuring veal tongue” – This sounds exotic, but it tasted like really good ham and melted cheese together – fancified comfort food, this was very good.
Poste - Smoked Trout Rillette with citrus crème fraiche and trout roe on a waffle chip – One of the more “Foodie” dishes with layers of flavor – I liked this alot, but I’m always a big fan of caviar/fish roe – I love when the little eggs pop in your mouth!
The Greenhouse at the Jefferson - Quiche with Caramelized Onion, Bacon, & Gruyere and Quiche with Broccoli & Cheddar
The Hamilton – Steak and Eggs Burr-naise and Bloody Alexander
The Source - “Sambal Goreng” Spicy Hangover Eggs, Braised Short Ribs, Chesapeake Mary, Jumbo Lump Crab, Gordy’s Pickle
Overall, this event was very well run and had plenty of food, drinks and space to make it enjoyable. Since everyone could taste every dish and drink relatively quickly, the event was full and mostly empty within two hours of the start – it was a Saturday, and everyone nowadays likes to make multiple plans on the weekend, so that was another plus. The key to these events is to give the chefs/restaurants space and let them do their magic – the organizers understood this and even the Bloody Mary judging took backseat to the food. Hopefully this becomes a regular Foodie Event on the DC Food and Drink Event Calendar, and if so, I’d like to see how trends in Brunch change over time – Cheers!
Charlie “I Drink on the Job” Adler
P.S. Here’s a Recap of the Bloody Mary Competition by the Judges from the Bitches Who Brunch.
Washingtonian Took Some Great Pics too – and Yep, I’m in one of the photos!