Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Come to the Mediterranean Wine Festival Tonight!

September 30 - 06:30 PM to 09:00 PM

1st Annual Mediterranean Wines Festival and Classes ($69)

Whittemore House (WNDC) - Metro: Dupont Circle

1526 New Hampshire Avenue, NW

Washington, DC 20036

Tired of Bordeaux, California or Burgundy wines? Ready for the next big wine adventure? Want to re-live your vacations on the Mediterranean Sea?

Come join us to explore the largest wine region in the world, where wine is an integral part of lifestyle and diet. Explore red varietals such as Grenache, Tempranillo, Cinsault, Mourvedre, Syrah, Monica, Primitivo, Nero d’Avola, Xinomavro, Plavac, Mavrodaphne. Discover white varietals such as Rolle / Vermentino, Bourboulenc, Marsanne, Roussane, Assyrtyko, Athiri, Malagousia, Muscat, Xarel-ho.

You will have the opportunity to taste over 30 wines from 11 different countries accompanied by light Mediterranean mezzes and tapas such as grape leaves, falafel, spanakopita, sambousik, cured olives, hummus as well as Mediterranean desserts such as baklava.

Wine Regions covered include:

Spain: Priorat, Penedes, Valencia,

France: Languedoc-Roussillon, Cotes du Rhone, Provence

Italy : Sardinia, Sicilia, Apuglia

Greece: Macedonia/Naoussa, Peloponnesus, Santorini

Turkey: Anatolia

Lebanon: Beeka Valley

Israel: Galilee, Judean Hills and Golan Heights

Morocco: Guerrouanne

In addition, you will have the opportunity to take one of these classes with your ticket price: (else, main festival starts at 6:30pm)

6:00 – 6:45 pm (Sold Out!): Olive Oil: Taking the Mystery Out and Pouring the Profit In. A class and tasting lead by olive oil expert Bill Sanders who trained at the UC Davis Olive Oil Sensory Evaluation Program and at the Grappolini Olive Oil Evaluation Center in Tuscany. Bill blogs about wine and olive oil at Crush and Press. During this presentation, he will focus on Mediterranean olive oil (95% of the world’s production) and address the following questions:

o How to determine the quality of what you are buying (grades, extra-virgin, cold pressed, estate, etc,…)

o How to taste olive oil (nose, tongue, throat)

o How to use olive oil (cooking, dressing, drizzling, pairing)

o Tasting of olive oils from Spain, France and Italy

7:00 to 7:45 pm (10 seats left!): From Romans to Americans – the War on Terroir in the Mediterranean Basin. An educational and entertaining presentation about the different wine regions of the Mediterranean Basin. We will talk about the soil, grapes, blends and wine making techniques of the different wine regions. Laurent Guinand will lead this presentation. His experience combining management consulting for wine companies with wine education will provide you with unique and fascinating insights into this region and the challenges at stakes. Tasting of 3 wines during the class. Laurent is one of the contributor to the new blog Wine at Lunch, wine blogging in the afternoon

8:00 to 8:45 pm (12 seats left!):Bringing the Mediterranean Diet to your Plate”. A class on the general principles of the Mediterranean Diet follow by a cooking demonstration, both lead by Capital Cooking TV Show Host Lauren deSantis. Through her TV show, Lauren has presented numerous aspects of the Mediterranean Diet. She will discuss main food families, the use of olive oil, wine and especially herbs in cooking, how meals are structured, and the different regional differences. Lauren also blogs at Capital Cooking Show.

Call GiraMondo Wine at 301.841.7609 for our Corporate Wine Suites available during the event to entertain your friends, clients or employees.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Thank you Cuisinart!

Thank you Cuisinart for your continued support of Capital Cooking! The new Cuisinart 7 Quart Stand Mixer is beautiful and we can't wait to use it on the next episode of the show. What a fabulous surprise!!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Wedding Food and Fun

September is the perfect month for a wedding. I get to celebrate my anniversary on the 2nd and my birthday on the 26th. Two weddings this month and lots of fabulous food. Allison got married in my hometown of St. Louis. We spent the weekend eating lots of delicious Midwest food.

Bridesmaid Brunch. Groom and Chef, Brian Pease, made all of the bridesmaids a special brunch with french toast and quiche. The girls got to chat while Brian worked hard in the kitchen. What a great hubbie!

The rehearsal dinner was at Schlafly Tap Room. Yummy cheese platters and vegetable dip. Lots of tasty greens with dinner and their famous sticky toffee bread pudding. More dancing with Hazard to Ya Bootie! Check out the pumpkin beer!
Schlafly Tap Room on Urbanspoon
Wedding at the Coronado Ballroom serving 360 people. Allison looked as pretty as a princess. We enjoyed filet Mignon and halibut with seasonal vegetables and potato gratin. We danced the night away with tunes from the Fabulous Motown Review!
Coronado Ballroom on Urbanspoon

Beautiful Brunch on the Sky Terrace at the Four Seasons. They had a delicious omelet station and Bloody Mary Bar. The mimosas were made with fresh orange juice. All of this tasty food and great views of the arch.

Cielo on Urbanspoon

Monday, September 21, 2009

Check our Pork Barrel BBQ on Fox!

Heath and Brett are on a roll...opening a new restaurant, appearing on ABC's Shark Tank and appearing as special guests on Fox! Pork Barrel BBQ is off to a fantastic start. Be sure to check them out on Capital Cooking's new episode: Thrill of the Grill. Coming soon! Congrats Heath and Brett!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Let me know what you think of Capital Cooking's new opening

Rough Cut of Show Intro 9-16 from Capital Cooking on Vimeo.

Filming and editing by Nick Szpara. Music by Jazzy Blu. Make-up by Ame Cosmetics: Tammy Hargrove and Lauren Killip.
Special Guests: Sarah Charnes, Audra Heagney and Rachel Pryor

We had a great time filming the new opening around DC and visiting the farmers market on 14th and U.

Last night the class was a huge success! 15 student learned the art of Moroccan Cooking and we had lots of fun. Thanks to Alili for contributing the Argan Oil and Preserved Lemons!

Monday, September 14, 2009


Social opened its doors as the newest restaurant in a bustling and vibrant neighborhood. The partners behind Social were eager to unveil their gem, and pleased to serve well over 300 new customers on Columbia Heights Day. Now, the owners are ready to welcome guests from all over the District. Situated on the southwest corner of 14th Street and Meridian Place NW, Social is just four blocks north of the Columbia Heights Metro making it an easily accessible dining and drink locale.

Reminiscent of a comfortable District residence with dark-espresso leather couches and high-back dining room chairs, Social provides a “vibe” that was noted by many over the opening weekend as second to none. The main dining room, familiarly called the Family Room, is accented with textured plaster walls, rich wood floors and wine inspired carpet. Photography from Jonathan Zuck, a family photo wall, and classic artwork ornament the venue. After dinner, guests can enjoy a cocktail seated at the bar or lounging on an ottoman in the Cellar. The furnishings, from Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams, create a relaxed and open space in the two combined former row-homes, while vast windows allow people watching over the bustling 14th Street Corridor.

Complimenting the innovative design concept, Social will provide a fresh dining experience. The plates are as interesting and diverse as the beverage selection. The Shareable menu items such as the Poké Stack, an Ahi tuna sashimi dish, or the Baby Lamb Lollipops topped with cilantro pecan pesto are available in Intimate, Social, or Gala micro-dining sizes, allowing any size party to mix and match menu items to their taste. If sharing is not your forte, European-style Pan Roasted Crispy Chicken and other items on the Self Indulgence menu provide a tasty individual experience.

“We take the beverage approach to dining,” according to owner AJ Guy, “When you go out for drinks you never order them all at once. In the same way, our menu is designed to be leisurely perused by our guests.”

Partners AJ Guy, Scott Hammons and Tim Korzep have a history with headline hospitality projects. Their combined experience in operations and development includes Kimpton Hotels and Restaurants, Houston’s Restaurants, and the Ian Schrager Company, providing the team with a wealth of hospitality knowledge. Urban hikes, exploring unsung neighborhoods of the District, inspired the owners and in the end Columbia Heights proved the perfect canvas for a neighborhood destination. Unique dining and entertainment should not be exclusive to Georgetown or Downtown. Social creates an unrivaled experience at the apex of a burgeoning foodie scene in Washington, D.C.

Social is open seven nights a week and soon on Saturdays and Sundays for brunch. To create an unrushed and comfortable environment, Social does not take reservations.'

Haven't tried it yet, but hoping to make it there soon.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT: Ghana Cafe has a new home at Thomas Circle.

GHANA CAFE moves to the neighborhood.

1336 14TH STREET, NW
202.387 3845

LOCATION : 4 blocks from 14th & K St., NW
Next to 7 Eleven.
The opening date is re-scheduled mid-SEPTEMBER.

Looking forward to checking it out.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Weekend: Cooking, Eating and Drinkng

Friends came for a visit from my hometown of St. Louis and we took them around Washington, DC for a good time. We started at Tabaq on U Street. When we got there our reservation wasn't ready, but they did give us a house glass of champagne while we waited. The service wasn't great this time and they even served us a warm bottle of white wine, but the food was good.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Review: Acadiana

You really can't go wrong with the Passion Food restaurants. Acadiana is Louisiana style and the flavors do not disappoint. The only downside of this restaurant is the atmosphere is missing feels more corporate than charming. The biscuits will melt in your mouth. We tried the Louisiana seafood gumbo with jumbo lump crab, shrimp, craw fish, oysters, red fish, mahatma rice. We also loved the New Orleans Style barbecue shrimp with garlic butter, black pepper, Worcestershire sauce, warm bread. Acadiana is a fun place to go with a group in my old Chinatown neighborhood.


(202) 408-8848

901 New York Ave NW
Washington, DC 20001
Acadiana on Urbanspoon

Friday, September 4, 2009

Review: Anniversary dinner at Citronelle

I recently celebrated my third anniversary and my husband surprised me with reservations to Citronelle. Overall, the food was fabulous. We left feeling extremely full. The atmosphere of this Georgetown restaurant is somewhat stuffy with a predominantly older crowd. Citronelle has two levels, with the bar area on the first level and the dining room in the basement. There is a large wine cellar behind tinted glass walls in the basement. The tables are much larger than the average DC restaurant and spaced comfortably apart from each other for a more intimate feel. We opted for the three-course menu priced at $105 per person. The menu doesn't provide much description for the dishes so we ended up asking our French waiter lots of questions. We went with the VICHYSSOISE and LOBSTER “BEGULA” PASTA for our appetizers. The Vichyssoise is a creamy leek soup with crispy potato shavings. The Lobster dish was a squid ink risotto that looks like begula and presented in a caviar tin with chunks of lobster and a poached egg. The lobster dish was our favorite. Four our main courses, we went with the HALIBUT, lobster saffron broth, english peas and CHATEAUBRIAND, pearl vegetables, yukon gold gratin, syrah sauce. The Chateaubriand was perfectly cooked with rich flavor from the first-class wine reduction sauce . Even though we had no room for dessert, we managed to indulge with the BLUEBERRY CHEESECAKE with dulce de leche sauce and the PASSION-FRUIT SOUFFLÉ. At the close of our meal, we asked the waiter to take a photo of us because it was our anniversary. He obliged and brought out a sparkler to the table. We thought that was a nice gesture until we saw it added to our bill. This was a little disappointing considering the the fact that we had just spent a decent amount of money for the meal. While we enjoyed the food, it is almost like you are paying for the name more than cuisine. My favorite is still CityZen. Thank you for a special night Corey!

3000 M St NW
Washington, DC 20007

Citronelle on Urbanspoon

Spotlight: Dean Gold of Dino

Meet Dean Gold, the owner of Dino Restaurant in Cleavland Park.

Tell us about your cooking background.
My only formal cooking training was a class with the originator of Hamburger Hamlet's Omelet program. She ran a restaurant after leaving the Hamlet called the Egg and the Eye. I took a class there while my mom went across the street to the Art museum. We could either learn to make omelets or color and do art. I wound up cooking omelets for my classmates.

My next foray into cooking was cooking through Julia Child's The Art of French Cooking. I got to about page 300. Since then I have been self taught with a lot of reading and historical research, as well as much eating of Italian foods right from the source.

How did you decide to open Dino?
I hated having free time and money and Dino took care of both. Owning a restaurant was always my dream, and when I no longer was happy working for Whole Foods, we decided to open Dino. The actual decision was made eating gelato in Saturnia, Italy. I was having a low blood sugar attack and I still had to go to the gelateria across the street to see what kinds of gelato they had in case theirs looked better!

How long have you lived in DC and how did you end up here?
I have been in DC almost 10 years. I came to DC through a promotion at Whole Foods.

Who are your culinary inspirations?
I have many...
Current Chefs: David Chang of Momofuku Ssam Bar in NYC is probably my number one right now. A recent meal at Bar Pilar was superb and reminded me of the value of simplicity at a time I needed it. Ken Frank in LA was an original inspiration.

In Italy, Fiaschetteria Toscana and La Frasca in Venezia, La Rosetta in Roma and Giglio in Montalcino are all inspirations. Roberto at La Solita Zuppa in Chiusi is as fabulous a food historian as host and cook. All of these are family-owned restaurants (several with multiple generations
of the family working together in pursuit of their dreams) where the quality of the ingredients and integrity of the cooking come before the latest trend.

As much as chefs, I also have specific meals that are culinary inspirations: for example a dinner with 4 winemakers of Brunello di Montalcino at on of their houses and a chance to see true Montalcinese home cooking really influenced my current direction in cooking. Meals at Iron Horse where the winery chef was able to walk through the kitchen garden (all 80 acres of it!) to select his produce minutes before cooking it.

Finally, seeing many foods produced in artisan facilities has had a major influence on me. Getting to stick my finger in a barrel of real 30 year old balsamico, seeing and helping (or getting in the way of) making Reggiano & prosciutto at small facilities using old fashioned techniques, visiting cheese makers and agers, etc. all have inspired me to seek out top ingredients and then present them as simply as possible.

What is the most enjoyable aspect of your job?

Talking to people who have enjoyed the food, the wine and the experience at Dino. Working with the professionals on my team to create a product we are very proud of.

How do you de-stress after a long day of working?
Single Malt Scotch and playing bubble spinner or posting on food boards.

Do you have a favorite cookbook?
Marcella Hazan's Italian Cooking. She unlocked the secret to an approach to food for me. The recipes were watered down as there were so little Italian ingredients available, but the stories and context are still with me today.

What are your most exciting challenges right now?
Trying to get the word out on what we are doing right now. When I opened Dino I had a vision of the food and yet was never able to have it executed by the chefs I hired. When my last chef had to leave for personal reasons, I took the plunge and took over the running of the kitchen. Stephan Boillan had left me a very well trained team and I was able to take them in the direction I wanted. It took us a while to get on track and yet for the last 6 months or so, since my last trip to Toscana, we have finally become the restaurant I wanted us to be. We are not for everyone: if you need fancy presentations and exotic techniques, there are scads of places that do that. But if you want a personal interpretation of rustic Italian cooking, the kind you find
mostly in the countryside or small towns where grandma or grandpa is cooking, then that is what we are trying to do. Folks seem to like it and we are growing at a time when many are not. I am fortunate to have the team I do around me executing all the crazy ideas I have.

Anything else that you’d like to convey to the readers?

There is a trend today where style and presentation trump everything else for some dining experiences. We don't need more chemistry sets to make food wonderful, just good simple ingredients picked at proper ripeness and served in a way that lets their flavors shine.

Photo courtesy of Dino

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Check out the U Street Video on Style

I always like when my neighborhood is featured. Check it out here. U Street offers style and great food.

Capital Cooking guests will be on Shark Tank this Sunday!

Be sure to watch Pork Barrel BBQ's Heath Hall and Brett Thompson battle with the Sharks on Shark Tank on ABC Sunday, September 13th at 9pm EST/8pm CST! To learn more about Pork Barrel BBQ, visit

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Review: Cafe Divan

My friend Rachel recommended Cafe Divan and we decided to check it out. We enjoyed our table for 4 although the table space is slim. This charming Turkish cafe has a stylish feel. We tried the Meze Platter with Sigara börek, crisp feta-cheese-filled cylinders of phyllo pastry; hummus; feta cheese and more. Corey tried the sucuk pide, a bubbly, boat-shaped flatbread with rounds of spicy, aromatic sucuk sausage. You can enjoy these and many other Turkish delights. Thanks Rachel and Nick for a fun night!

Cafe Divan

(202) 338-1747
Georgetown 1834 Wisconsin Ave NW
Washington, DC 20007
Cafe Divan on Urbanspoon
Happy Anniversary Corey!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Capital Cooking September Showtimes

Looking for a way to spice up dinnertime at home? On the newest episode of Capital cooking, Lauren DeSantis teaches how to cook an exquisite Moroccan Meal filled with Morocco’s famous spices and flavors.

Lauren will start off with the famous, Chicken Tagine, a chicken entrée based on a Moroccan spicy stew that simmers in a special pot called the tagine. The stew will consist of tomatoes, garlic, onion, preserved lemons, and chicken stock that makes this Moroccan dish authentic. As a complement for the Chicken Tagine, DeSantis will make cous cous with chicken broth and some of the juices of the tagine.

As the chicken dish simmers, Lauren will teach how to bake the famous Moroccan Serpent Cake. This famous Moroccan dessert is a crescent-shaped pastry coiled like a snake and made of an almond paste finely rolled up in filo dough. Lauren will also show how to make Amlou, a typical Moroccan breakfast dish that consist of a roasted almond paste spread over pita bread. DeSantis will bring it all together by serving these dishes with the Casablanca Cocktail, a distinctive Moroccan drink.

Don’t miss the opportunity of spicing up your kitchen with famous Moroccan recipes and tune into Capital Cooking with Lauren DeSantis. Capital Cooking is the first television show of its kind: a series exploring the culinary and cultural riches of our nation’s Capital.

Capital Cooking highlights cooking traditions of regional cuisine from all areas of the country as well as international dishes. Throughout the series, DeSantis will incorporate entertaining tips into the shows, will cook with local chefs, and will demonstrate how to make recipes with ingredients that viewers can find at local grocery stores and farmers’ markets. Visit for more information on upcoming events and for daily updates

Some of the September Showtimes


Taste of Morocco

Time slot during the 4th week of the month, Mon@1130p, Thurs@930a, and Wed @4am.

KDHX Charter Cable Channel 21 in St. Louis, Missouri

Every Wednesday at 1p.m.

Food Blogger 1

ETV: Meet me in St. Louis

NLTV: American Classics

PCTV: Ethiopian

Columbia Access Television

Monday Wednesday Friday 5 p.m.

Photo by Shauna Alexander