Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Review: RedRocks Restaurant

Initial thoughts:

* Design and Decor:  Small restaurant with nice patio outdoor seating.  Casual feel.
* Wait: No wait on Sunday afternoon
* Food: Delicious. The Burrata melts in your mouth.
* Drinks:  Solid beer list
* Price: Not bad.  Lunch/Dinner for 2 under $50 with drinks.
* Service: Friendly
* Would I go back? Yes.

RedRocks is a cute Columbia Heights neighborhood spot that is great to enjoy some outside patio time.  The brick oven pizza is outstanding.  We had the Cipolla with fresh mozzarella, caramelized onions, and house fennel sausage.  I loved it.  You can't go wrong with the Burrata di bufala - baby arugula, tomato, olive oil & house-baked bread.  I think RedRocks is better than 2Amys.  The pizza dough has so much flavor and the crust is perfect with a slightly charred bottom.  I can't wait to go back for more Neapolitan-style pizza.


RedRocks Firebrick Pizzeria on Urbanspoon
(202) 506-1402

Monday, August 30, 2010

Book Review: Will Cook For Sex - Again, Again... And Again

Although the title might sound racy, "Will Cook For Sex - Again, Again... And Again," is a great guy's guide to cooking.  My friend, Rocky Fino, breaks down the cooking process into easy numbered steps to get rid of the intimidation.  This isn't Rocky's first attempt at authoring... he previously released "Will Cook For Sex - A Guy’s Guide to Cooking" and "Will Mix For Sex - 21 Classic Cocktails to Set the Mood," and sold over 12,000 copies.

Rocky and I first met at the Philadelphia Food and Wine Show last year.  When he told me he lived in St. Louis, we immediately became friends.  Rocky and I also recently co-taught a cooking class together in St. Louis at the Kitchen Conservatory called, "He Said, She Said."  Rocky has a fun take on cooking and it shows.  The class loved it!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Win a copy of The Carb Lovers Diet Book

YOU can win a copy of the book! "Like" Capital Cooking with Lauren DeSantis, post your favorite cooking tip on our wall, and voila you will be automatically entered to win. 

Today’s headlines are often marked with news of the next over-hyped diet plan that promises pounds lost fast. And for years, the diet industry has told you that carbohydrates are simply not good for you and they make you fat. The truth is that we have all been duped into believing the notion that carbs are bad. Finally, from the editors of Health magazine, the leading authority on healthy living, comes THE CARBLOVERS DIET: Eat What You Love, Get Slim For Life (Oxmoor House; August 2010; Hardcover; $24.95; ISBN 978-0-8487-3370-4). This book shows the reality: carbs make you thin and keep you satisfied!

THE CARBLOVERS DIET is much more than a diet book; it’s a life plan that unveils the truth – eating carbs is the only proven way to get and stay thin!  Written in collaboration between Health magazine’s Editor-in-Chief Ellen Kunes and Senior Food; Nutrition Editor Frances Largeman-Roth, RD, the book reveals how to enjoy these formerly forbidden foods. Imagine enjoying Coconut French Toast or Homemade Scones for breakfast, hefty Pesto Turkey Club sandwiches for lunch, and Pasta Primavera or Salmon with Parmesan Potatoes for dinner? With the CarbLovers plan, it’s the reality. And while other diets forbid between-meal nibbles, CarbLovers actually requires two snacks a day … and by “snack” we mean Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, a bag of potato chips, or a foamy latte! 

THE CARBLOVERS DIET also offers readers the following:
  • Why a breakthrough ingredient called Resistant Starch can keep you satisfied for longer and which are the top Resistant Starches that you should be eating everyday;
  • What foods you should keep in your pantry and how to stock your CarbLovers kitchen;
  • Why you’ll feel happier and more energized when you include the carbs you crave in your diet;
  • A step-by-step 7-Day CarbLovers Kickstart Plan developed by registered dietitians on the Health staff and a 21-Day Carb Immersion Plan with 75 simple recipes; and 
  • How to trim up to 3 inches a month from your belly, hips, and thighs with the CarbLovers Workout

Friday, August 27, 2010

Complimentary Peroni & LOCAL 16's new wood burning pizza

Complimentary Peroni & LOCAL 16's new wood burning pizza menu to benefit
the LEDC from 6-9pm.

The (LEDC) is a community-based economic development organization. working with Latinos and other groups that are underserved and under represented in the decision-making processes that impact our communities to help them navigate the formal US financial systems and manage the conditions that impact their financial stability. Learn more... at www.ledcdc.org

Tuesday, August 31st from 6-9 p.m.

D.C. State Fair: August 28, 2010

It's about time D.C. have a state fair or "district" fair! Luckily, Amelia Showalter of Gradually Greener, Jenna Huntsberger of ModernDomestic, and Ken Moore of The Indoor Garden(er) agreed. 

Back in August 2009, Amelia Showalter discussed the possibility of D.C. having it's own state fair.  Fast forward to August 2010 and this idea is now a reality. Although the planning did not begin until July of this year, Ken Moore states, "In that short amount of time and with the amazing relationships we have developed, we've been able to surpass our small, manageable vision and create something truly worthy to be called DC State Fair!"

The D.C. State Fair is partnering with Columbia Heights Day, which attracts 5,000 people on average on its own. Moore is confident the new partnership will attract even more attendees. With this being the first D.C. State Fair, the planning committee does not have a concrete number of guests attending. By looking at the number of contests entries ("more than 115 entries in the various contests being held on Saturday, not including the dozens of entries in the Homebrew competition the night before or the 120 entries in the Photography contest"--as of 1 p.m. Thursday), it is sure to draw large crowds!

Asked if the community is being receptive to the D.C. State Fair, Moore replied, "The community has been amazingly receptive to DC State Fair--and the gentle political rub of the name hasn't been the focus of people's support. DC State Fair has partnered with many DC-based organizations, businesses, and individuals who are interested in getting this celebration of urban agriculture and food off the ground." Some of those organizations include: ACE Hardware, DC Shorts Film Festival, Kid Power Inc., Casey Trees, Fat Man After Dark, Smorgie, Girl Meets Food, Zipcar, and Glittarazzi.  

The schedule of events is below. If you are interested in entering an event, please click here.

The D.C. State Fair will be held on Tubman Elementary Field (11th and Irving Streets NW). 

The D.C. State Fair is from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday, August 28th.

Volunteers are always needed! If you are interested in helping out on the big day, fill out this form with your contact information and availability.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Cashion's Eat Place Closed for Renovations Until August 30th

Cashion's Eat Place will be closed for renovations until Monday, August 30th. Dining service will resume on Tuesday, August 31st. Tim Carman of Young & Hungry reported the news earlier this morning.

According to Carman's article, Cashion's Eat Place is making some minor cosmetic changes (i.e. new floors and paint). 

Cashion's Eat Place is a favorite for local area residents, as well as a favorite for Capital Cooking. You'll remember Sarah Smith from Cashion's Eat Place made a Salad of Green Farro from Anson Mills with Steve's local Melon's, Cucumbers, Blue Boston Mint, Lemon and Laconian Olive Oil for The Capital Cooking Cookbook launch party in May. 
Cashion's Eat Place is located at: 
1819 Columbia Rd NW
Washington, DC 20009


Cashion's Eat Place


Photo Courtesy of Shauna Alexander

DC on Heels Happy Hour this Friday!

Come party, network and "get happy" with Markette and Vanessa of DC on HEELS in their first official Happy Hour! The party gets started this Friday, Aug. 27 from 5 to 8 pm at THE PARK... the upscale nightclub featured on The Real Housewives of DC!


RSVP to dconheels@gmail.com by Thursday, Aug. 26 to get on the guest list (which includes FREE admission and complimentary hors d'oeurves).

Alexandria Restaurant Week

Normally people loose weight in the summer but with D.C. Restaurant Week and Alexandria Restaurant Week, that is becoming more difficult!

It's not too late to book reservations for some of your favorite Alexandria restaurants. For a full list of participating restaurants, click here. Unlike D.C. Restaurant Week, restaurants in Alexandria have the opportunity to offer either a $35 prix-fixe menu or a $35 dinner for two. Local sweet shops are also offering special treats for $3.50.

Alexandria Restaurant Week ends August 29th.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Plum Deal: $20 Rodman's Gift Card for $14!

Plum District, a new daily deal site for DC Area Moms and Families, has a terrific deal for those who love gourmet wines and food.

For $14 you can purchase a $20 gift card for Rodman's, a discount gourmet store. Rodman's has three convenient locations in the DMV:
  • 5100 Wisconsin Ave NW, Washington, D.C. 
  • 4301 Randolph Rd, Wheaton, MD
  • 5148 Nicholson Lane, Kensington, MD
Hurry! This deal ends tonight at midnight.

Spotlight: Rivka of Not Derby Pie


Rivka and I first met at a Food Blogger dinner with Food Buzz.  She brought an amazing camera with her to dinner at Central and I could tell she was an awesome photographer!
Tell us about your blog:
The goal of Not Derby Pie is to prove that there's no sense in having kitchen fright. So many people are afraid to experiment, afraid to improvise, afraid to even step foot in the kitchen.  The recipes I make are often just loose adaptations of ones I've seen or read elsewhere, and improvisation is what makes cooking as fun for me as it is.  Do I suffer the occasional dud? Of course. But that's when I learn the most. In writing the blog, I'm trying to communicate to my readers that the space between each of us and making a really good meal is much smaller than it may seem.

How did you get into blogging?
I had just moved to DC, I had a boring job that left me with hours of free time each day, and I started to get into food blogs. I was reading them like a maniac, for hours at a time.  One day, it clicked: if they could do it, why couldn’t I?  I started the food blog about an hour later, taught myself enough html and css to build the website slowly over the next 6 months, and the rest is delicious history.
Photo by Emily Clack

Favorite ingredient?
Butter.  The good stuff, from the guy at the farmers’ market. What does butter not improve?

Happy Hour Review: Jaleo

Recently, some friends and I went to Jaleo in Bethesda for happy hour (or Jaleo Hour--yes, it really is called that). Featuring red wine sangria for $4 a glass and small plates for also $4, Jaleo is a great place to relax and enjoy the early evening. While I found the sangria to be bland, the small plates were delicious. My favorites were the Croquetas de pollo (chicken fritters) and the Gambas al ajillo (shrimp in garlic sauce). Jaleo has numerous locations throughout the DMV, so grab some friends and head on over!

Jaleo Downtown
480 7th Street, NW
Washington, DC 20004

Jaleo Bethesda
7271 Woodmont Avenue
Bethesda, MD 20814

Jaleo Crystal City
2250 A Crystal Drive
Arlington, VA 22202

Jaleo

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Did you get yours? Free Cupcakes at Hello Cupcake!

I got the 24 Carrot.  Yum!

There's No Place like Home: Kitchen Conservatory

There's nothing better than taking a trip back to my hometown, St. Louis.

This trip was especially cool because I got to teach a cooking class with my friend Rocky Fino at the Kitchen Conservatory

Kitchen Conservatory is an awesome spot in Clayton to pick up some cooking tools and take a cooking class.

There is such a great selection of products.  Rocky and I taught a class, "He Said, She Said."  The class highlighted our different styles of cooking and we had a blast teaching it.

She Said:  Blackberry Lemonade Cooler

He Said:  Seared Scallops with a Mango Puree

She Said: Heirloom Tomato and Watermelon Salad

Monday, August 23, 2010

Free Cupcake tomorrow in Celebration of Hello Cupcake's Second Birthday

Hello Cupcake is celebrating its second birthday tomorrow. The shop is giving every customer one free cupcake on Tuesday, August 24th – until supplies run out. Doors open at 10:00am.


I hope to see you tomorrow at the Dupont Circle shop at 1361 Connecticut Avenue, NW!

Capital Cooking Clip from Great Day St. Louis!

Review: Estadio

Initial thoughts:
  • Design and Decor:  Loved it!  Traditional Spain with a modern feel.  I also love the huge windows.
  • Wait:  Way too long...(over 2 hours)
  • Food:  Delicious.  My favorite dish is the Hanger Steak.  The flavor was all there and I loved the heirloom tomatoes and croutons.
  • Drinks:  Yummy Sangria!
  • Price:  Pretty pricey
  • Service:  Friendly
  • Would I go back?  Yes.
Estadio offers tapas which are no longer unique to Spanish cuisine in DC (Small plates:  Cork, Masa 14, Policy, Cava, etc.).  I've heard many complaints about the small plates partially because these restaurants are popping up everywhere around town forcing people to order around 3 dishes and paying a pretty penny or leaving hungry.  For me, I'm a fan because I love to get a taste of as many dishes that I can on the menu.  I get bored with one over-sized plate of food.  

This place is HOT right now.  Lots of people and volume...fun!  Great drink offerings including "slushitos".  Our server recommended the tortilla espanola and we weren't disappointed with the perfect egg potato combo.  I also really liked my deviled egg with a Russian salad on top.  Overall, we had a fun experience and we are happy that Estadio joined our neighborhood!

Estadio on Urbanspoon

(202) 319-1404
Logan Circle
1520 14th St NW
Washington, DC 20005
www.estadio-dc.com

D.C. Food Blogger Happy Hour

Calling all food bloggers! Don't miss the Food Blogger Happy Hour at Poste on September 1st at 6 p.m. This is the one year anniversary of the Food Blogger Happy Hour, so it's going to be a good time!

This month's happy hour is hosted by Gradually Greener and Modern Domestic.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Help District Taco Get 10,000 Followers on Twitter!

Your efforts will not be wasted! If you help District Taco reach 10,000 followers on Twitter, they will serve free tacos with chips and salsa for one day! Sounds muy sabrosa. Follow @districttaco.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Food News Friday

Tim Carman of Young & Hungry reported on Wednesday that R.J. Cooper, formerly of Vidalia, is set to open his first restaurant, Rogue 24, in winter 2011. Rogue 24 is a reference to Cooper's tasting menu at Vidalia. To make things more interesting, Cooper will be opening his restaurant in former auto body shop located on Blagden Alley of Mt. Vernon Square. We wish him the best of luck!

R.J. Cooper is not the only chef opening his tasting-menu only restaurant. Carman reports former Teatro Goldoni chef, Enzo Fargione, will be opening Elisir at 427 11th Street NW. Diners will have the option of choosing from an 8 course menu to a 12-14 course menu. A la carte options will also be available.

The much anticipated Red Hook Lobster Pound truck finally rolled onto the streets on Thursday. Numerous photos of the line at Farragut Square popped up on the Internet, making me wonder how people had that much time to take off work to stand in line for a lobster roll. Being California, I don't think I'll ever be able to understand the East Coast's desire for lobster.

If you are looking to try a new bar tonight, stop by the Fruit Bat Bar located at 1236 H Street NE. This new bar offers fruit cocktails and tapas.

Prince of Petworth reports Panera Bread is occupying the former Lawson's Deli space in Dupont Circle.

Today was the launch of DC Beer week! From August 20th-28th, beer lovers and hangers on will be able to attend numerous Beer Week events throughout the city. For a full list of events, click here.

Capital Cooking on Great Day St. Louis

How to Make a Homemade Indian Dinner

Last Saturday, our good friend Riaz made us a traditional Indian dinner. Of course it was phenomenal and I am now begging him to make dinner for us every night! We dined on Samosas, Kabobs with yogurt and parathas (a combination of naan and tortillas). The Kabob recipe is below.  

Ingredients:
-2 lb of ground beef
-1 packet of Shaan Seekh Kabob spice mix
-1/2 onion (chopped)
-2 slices of bread worth of bread crumbs. I like to actually take bread slices and break them into pieces by hand.
-1/2 cup of garlic ginger paste
-Some chopped cilantro, I used about a third of a bunch from the store.

Steps:
-Hand mix beef, spice mix, chopped onions, bread (broken into crumbs), garlic ginger paste, and cilantro in a medium sized pot. Mash it all together like dough until it's thoroughly mixed.
-Put in fridge and let marinate for at least 6 hours but not more than 24 hours
-Fry in skillet with moderate amounts of vegetable oil. Pieces can be hand molded before frying into any size desired.

Riaz notes: "It tastes really good if you do the final step right as you eat it. You can always cook it and then refrigerate it, but then it becomes so-so. The yogurt mix is simply 1lb of plain lowfat yogurt with 1/2 tsp of the chaat masala spice mix. You can also add chopped onions and chopped tomatoes just to make it more interesting."

Not all grocery stores sell commonly used Indian spices. Lucky for you, DC is home to some of the most diverse cuisines and ethnic grocery stores. To find the ingredients for the Kabobs, make your way over to Patel Brothers. With three locations in the DC area (Rockville, Hyattsville, and Fairfax), Patel Brothers is your one stop shop for all things Indian. Riaz also purchased the parathas and samosas from Patel Brothers.

I can still taste the spices and tenderness of the Kabobs and I don't think I can wait for Riaz to invite us over for dinner again!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

The Secret Sherry Society Presents the Sherry Cocktail Competition 2010

Ever since the launch of a fantastic new website last year, The Secret Sherry Society has succeeded in making Sherry "cool" again. 

Last year they held a competition for the best Sherry cocktail and this year the competition is back.

If you think you have the most delectable tasting sherry cocktail, please follow the guidelines below and see if you are a Sherry champion! 

Competition Guidelines 
You may use any style of Sherry, from any bodega in Jerez, Spain. 

You must tell them: 
The precise recipe
The proper garnish
The ideal glass

You must explain in writing: 
Why your cocktail is great
When to serve and how
The exact preparation method and steps of assemply
The perfect bar food match and why

You must provide: 
A copy of the cocktail menu of the bar/restaurant where the cocktail is placed and being served
A photo of the drink (jpeg is best)


The deadline to submit your recipe is Friday, September 17th, 2010. 


Submissions should be sent via email to: winegeek@akawinegeek.com. 


The winner will receive an all expenses paid trip to Jerez, Spain and a full scholarship to Beverage Alcohol Resource 5-Day program. Of course the winner will also be featured in numerous media outlets announcing their win.


 

Restaurant Review: Blue Duck Tavern

In case you have not heard, it's DC Restaurant Week! This presented the perfect opportunity for me to sample some of the best food in DC, some of which is found at The Blue Duck Tavern.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Don't Miss Lauren in St. Louis!

WHO:             Lauren DeSantis, the host of Capital Cooking, joins Rocky Fino, the author of Will Cook for Sex, for a night of culinary fun and learning with He Said, She Said on Thursday, August 19th.

WHAT:             He Said, She Said—Kitchen Conservatory in St. Louis, MO. He Said, She Said is a hands-on cooking class offered exclusively at the Kitchen Conservatory. Learn the different cooking styles of men and women and have some laughs along the way with these two St. Louis natives. Register for the class at: http://www.kitchenconservatory.com/CookingClasses.aspx. Cost of the class is $75.00.

WHERE:             He Said, She Said—St. Louis, MO. The Kitchen Conservatory has served the St. Louis community for over 25 years and is the premier cooking store of the area. With regular cooking classes and the finest products, the Kitchen Conservatory is a must for any cooking enthusiast.

WHEN:            He Said, She Said—Thursday, August 19th from 6:00 pm-8:30 pm.

WHY:             This summer has been one of constant activity for Lauren DeSantis. With the release of her first cookbook, The Capital Cooking Cookbook, and the growing popularity of her show, Capital Cooking, He Said, She Said is a fantastic opportunity to see Lauren’s skills first hand. Learn how to create some tasty home cooked dishes and thirst-quenching drinks, like blackberry-lemonade coolers, pan-seared scallops on mango puree, heirloom tomato-watermelon salad, grilled vegetable ratatouille, fire-roasted pork with cilantro-horseradish dipping sauce, plus a special dessert. Love what you tasted? The Capital Cooking Cookbook is for sale at the Kitchen Conservatory and is also available online at: https://www.createspace.com/3374156.

Unable to attend He Said, She Said? Don’t worry, you can watch Lauren on Great Day St. Louis and see why this Missouri native is a favorite among the cooking scene. Watch Great Day St. Louis on Channel 4, KMOV on Friday, August 20th at 10:00 am.  One of St. Louis’ newest talk shows, Great Day St. Louis highlights the best of the city. Lauren will be making a St. Louis Cardinals Cocktail and Warm Prosciutto and Mozzarella Bruschetta, both available in The Capital Cooking Cookbook.

SEI and OYA Raise Their Glasses With Exclusive Summer Drink Options

Lauded restaurants offer epicureans innovative liquid choices to cool down with on their prix fixe menus.

Anything but the mainstay, the Capitol's famed OYA and SEI, are pouring and mixing during D.C.'s Summer Restaurant Week, offering unique drink options and upscale selections on their expanded year-round prix fixe menus.

Downtown's OYA takes Eurasian cuisine to the next level with its prix fixe fusion-centered menu, featuring John Robert Eppler Late Harvest Zinfandel 2006, Alexander Valley, California and Horton Vineyards 'Xoco' Chocolate Dessert Wine, Orange County, Virginia.

SEI takes a modern twist on classic American with Asian flair in a prix fixe menu filled with awe-inspiring dishes, mixing in innovative first course Liquid Wasabi Cocktail or freshly-squeezed Orange Citrus Cardamom Soda and sweet course Cooper Vineyards ‘Noche’ Chocolate Ice-Style Wine NV, Louisa County, Virginia choices.

OYA and SEI offer both lunch ($20.10) and dinner ($35.10) three-course prix fixe menus during Restaurant Week. For more information on the event or to make reservations, visit http://washington.org/restaurantwk


OYA serves an innovative menu that fuses the finest Asian ingredients and French techniques in a spectacularly designed space. Located at 777 9th Street, NW in Washington DC, the Penn Quarter Neighborhood restaurant features a 2.5 ton chain curtain, 20-foot long waterfall that separates the dining room from the kitchen, 12 foot long fireplace in the main dining room, red crocodile bar with white marble fireplace and cozy lounge areas with ultra-comfortable high-backed white banquettes. www.oyadc.com 202-393-1400
Oya Restaurant & Lounge on Urbanspoon

SEI, a White House favorite, puts a modern spin on classic Asian cuisine. Located at 444 7th Street, NW in Washington DC, SEI never ceases to amaze patrons with its distinctive cuisine, offering dishes such as the signature Fish and Chips with flounder, malt vinegar, french fries and wasabi tartar and Kobe Beef with daikon, shiso, kelp and red wine soy sauce. The choice of Nigiri includes hard to find at most restaurants items like Hamachi Toro (fatty yellowtail) and Oo-to (premium fatty tuna). The lavish décor adorns the intimate space with white and red leather croc walls and antique gold textures. www.seirestaurant.com 202-783-7007

Spotlight: Olga of Mango and Tomato


Tell us about your blog.
Mango and Tomato is a place where I share my obsession with food. Everything is a fair game: recipes I invent, restaurants I visit, food products I like, food events in DC area and any food related traveling.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

St. Louis Cardinals Cocktail on W-USA 9



I re-edited the clip because it looked a little fuzzy before.  I'm in luck because I get to go to the Cards game in St. Louis this Saturday night with one of my BFFs, Erin.  Fun times!  But that's not all, I get to go again next weekend in DC when the Cards take on the Nats.


St. Louis Cardinals Cocktail
Featured on the Meet Me In St. Louis Episode

1 shot 360 Lemon vodka
1 shot Three Olives cherry vodka
4 shots of sprite
Splash of Grenadine
Cherry
Ice

Martini Glass
Shaker
Shot Glass

We’ll take our shaker and fill with ice. We’ll put one shot of citrus vodka, one shot of black cherry vodka, a little sprite and a splash of grenadine. Give it a good shake and pour it into your glass and garnish with a cherry.

Review: Faccia Luna

Faccia Luna is a decent pizza joint in Clarendon offering a nice selection of beers. This restaurant is family friendly. You can add on toppings to your pizza to suit your taste, for an extra charge. I read some reviews calling Faccia Luna "trendy," but I didn't get that vibe during my dining experience. I prefer Matchbox or We, The Pizza. If you're looking for a casual pizza spot in Virginia to enjoy a couple of beers, check out Faccia Luna...but don't expect it to be trendy.

(703) 276-3099

Clarendon
2909 Wilson Blvd
Arlington, VA 22201
www.faccialuna.com
Faccia Luna Trattoria on Urbanspoon

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Happy Birthday Julia Child!

Today, August 15th, Julia Child would have been 98 years old.


In celebration of this culinary matriarch, Sur la Table displayed antique European cookware that was discovered on a recent trip to Paris. Some pieces dating back to the 18th century. Checkout the beautiful photos here.

I decided to pay homage to Julia Child by going to Praline, a French restaurant in Bethesda, for brunch. While the intentions were good, the food was not and I am certain Julia Child would have been in tears.

After living across the street from Praline for almost a year, my boyfriend and I decided it was time to try out this French restaurant we walked by almost every day.

We were extremely disappointed. The decor and seating were comfortable and the service was prompt; however, the food was not acceptable. My boyfriend ordered the chicken pot pie. Perhaps I am used to Midwestern cooking because in my mind a chicken pot pie is supposed to have a flaky crust surrounding the contents inside. Praline's version of a chicken pot pie was essentially a bowl of chicken soup with a hard and dry pastry top. The contents of the chicken pot pie were good and the chicken tender but we could not get over the lack of crust that is essential for any pot pie.

I ordered the Belgian waffle, which came with homemade whipped creme and strawberry sauce. The whipped cream lacked flavor and the strawberry sauce tasted old. The waffle was not buttery and was overcooked. I ate only a couple of bites before pushing my plate away because I could not justify eating something that tasted so horrible.

My suspicion is that the food we received was not made to order. Our food came out only five minutes after ordering, making it seem like they merely heated up our dishes in a warming tray.

The pastries are not bad and I would recommend the bakery to anyone looking for a unique dessert.

Praline is located at:
4611 Sangamore Road
Bethesda, MD 20816

View Larger Map

Praline Bakery & Bistro

To make up for a severely disappointing meal, I plan on watching Julie & Julia. I'm sure even Meryl Streep could make a better meal than what was served to us today.

"I was 32 when I started cooking; up until then, I just ate."
~Julia Child

Friday, August 13, 2010

Food News Friday

  • First it was cupcakes, now it is burgers. In case you have not noticed, there appears to be an influx of burger restaurants in D.C. Shake Shack, a NYC chain, is taking over the former Fuddruckers in Dupont Circle (1215 18th Street NW). 
  • Prince of Petworth reports that Busboys and Poets will be making its way to Harlem.
  • The Washington Post published an interesting article about how the Georgetown Cupcake mania is affecting neighbors of the popular cupcake establishment. After seeing the line, it's no wonder these people are annoyed!
  • SPOILER ALERT! It was a hard week for Top Chef: DC viewers. We said goodbye to Kenny. He was unfairly eliminated. We continue to wonder why Alex or Amanda is still on the show.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Get your Tomato Recipes Ready!

We're very excited to announce the 1st-Annual Mid-Atlantic Red Fruit Festival and recipe contest!

Mid-Atlantic’s top chefs, restaurants, farmers, community gardeners and local growers will celebrate with a stellar food and wine pairing on Friday, September 24th at the Ronald Reagan International Trade Center.

This year’s red fruit? Plump, juicy tomatoes. From sauces to salsas to tartes, this luscious red fruit is ripe for celebration.

How can you participate?

15 of our Featured Home Chefs will be awarded prizes in 5 contest categories and have a top area chef cook their winning recipe. Festival attendees will get to enjoy 15 tomato-inspired dishes paired with wine on The Woodrow Wilson Plaza among Washington DC’s most storied monuments and rich history.

How it works:
1. Create a recipe that includes locally-sourced tomatoes. Tomatoes must be procured no further than 25 miles from your home kitchen.
2. Submit your recipe, a picture of the tomatoe(s) used and a picture of the finished dish via email here: wineandfoodeventsdc@gmail.com no later than 5PM EST Monday, September 6th. Please make sure to identify the local resource for your tomatoes.
3. The Wine and Food Festival team will select a total of 15 delicious, extra-creative and expertly-executed recipes to win in the following categories: Soups; Salsas, Beverages, Tartes, Pies; Quick Breads, Sauces, Salads.

If your recipe is selected, your dish will be prepared at the Mid-Atlantic Red Fruit Festival by a renowned Mid-Atlantic Chef.

4. The Wine and Food Festival team will award one Top Prize per category and recognize two Runner Ups per category. The team will also ask the festival attendees to vote for their favorite dish which will be awarded the festival’s Grand Prize during the event on September 24th.

5. Please note: if your recipe is selected to be demonstrated at The Mid-Atlantic Red Fruit Festival, you will be required to be present at the festival and available to meet with the media.

So start thinking all things-tomato and start cooking!

The International Wine and Food Festival team will announce the recipe contest winners no later than Monday, September 20th!
Photo by Mary Diaz

Overview: Ristorante Piccolo

  We recently treated our palates to the dining pleasures of Ristorante Piccolo in Georgetown.  
This cute 120-seat restaurant is the perfect romantic date spot featuring 3 working fireplaces.  
Beautiful Milano glass light fixtures.


We began our meal with a first course:

Melanzane al Formaggio di Capra
grilled eggplant with caramelized onions, sun-dried tomatoes
and Balsamic vinegar, topped with goat’s cheese
***My favorite!!

Mozzarella di Caprese
fresh buffalo mozzarella, sliced sun-ripened tomato and basil, drizzled with extra virgin olive oil

Portobello Gratinate
fresh portobello mushrooms stuffed with crabmeat and spices, baked in a light mushroom demi-glace



Paired with Martini & Rossi Prosseco
Yum!

Second Course: 

Piccolo Antipasta      
a rustic Italian cured meat platter of aged Prosciutto di Parma,
Salami, Soppressata, marinated roasted peppers, olives & Pecorino

The Third Course was Paired with Pinot Grigio, Santa Margherita, Veneto


Fourth Course: 

Trio of:
Gnocchi Spampinato
hand-rolled potato dumplings tossed with a basil pesto tomato sauce and parmesan cheese

Ravioli Aragosta
fresh ravioli stuffed with lobster meat, served over a lobster bisque sauce with chunks of lobster meat

Agnolotti ai Porcini (Taste of Georgetown winning entrée!)        
hand-rolled fresh ravioli filled with porcini mushrooms & lightly sauteed w/ fresh sage leaves & butter, sprinkled w/ black truffle oil

 I especially liked the mushroom ravioli.  The texture was so silky that it melted in my mouth.

Fifth Course: 

Duo of:
Pollo Piccata
sautéed chicken breast with garlic in a lemon caper sauce

Vitello Marsala
sautéed scallopine of meal and mushrooms simmered in Marsala Wine Sauce
We were getting super stuffed, but I loved the veal.
Sixth Course: Paired with, Merlot, Canyon Road, California

Dentice all Griglia con Spinaci
grilled fresh red snapper filet, served on a bed of steamed
fresh spinach with vegetables

Salmone Ripieno con Granchio
fresh filet of Atlantic salmon topped with crabmeat and baked in a
lemon grappa sauce, served over a risotto cake with sautéed spinach

Dessert: Paired with our house made Grappa (best I've ever tasted) and Limoncello

I always save room for dessert!!
II Tiramisu alla Tuscana West
Classic ladyfinger sponge cake soaked in espresso layered with a mascarpone mousse
*So light and airy

Torta di Ricotta
Traditional Italian ricotta Cheesecake

Torta al Cioccolato con Mousse di Capuccino
A succulent Chocolate Cake with a cappuccino mousse

Panna Cotta
a delicious softly set and creamy Italian custard, topped with fresh fruit
**Lovely!!!

Ristorante Piccolo also has some amazing deals right now.  Be sure to check out this intimate spot for a lovely evening.
 
Photos by Emily Clack
(202) 342-7414
Georgetown
1068 31st St NW
Washington, DC 20007
www.piccolodc.com
Ristorante Piccolo on Urbanspoon