Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Spotlight: Colleen Levine of Foodie Tots

Meet Colleen.  She is currently a government affairs consultant by day, and mom to an almost 4-year-old budding foodie with another on the way. 

Tell us about your blog.

FoodieTots highlights local, seasonal food with family-friendly recipes and an emphasis on DC-area farms and farmers markets. (I also co-write a cheese-focused blog,
How did you get into blogging?
When I was pregnant with my son, I started learning more about sustainable eating. After a while, I started the blog to share local food discoveries and the recipes I created to use up all the great food I was bringing home from the farmers markets. 
Favorite ingredient?
Fresh summer fruit! Especially rhubarb, cherries and peaches. 

How would you describe DC Cuisine?
It's very diverse, obviously, but I'm particularly excited about all our local chefs who have embraced the "farm-to-table" movement and are leading the way in sourcing locally and ethically-produced ingredients. 
How long have you lived in DC and how did you end up here?
It's coming up on 11 years. The typical story: I was a government major and came to DC to find work after college.  

Who are your culinary inspirations?
People like Alice Waters and Jose Andres of course, but also Chef Allison of DC Central Kitchen and others who are working to teach children to appreciate real food.  
What is your favorite local restaurant and why?
Is that a trick question? For an all-purpose, anything from family-friendly brunch to happy hour with girlfriends spot, Jaleo.  
What is your favorite Food Network Show?
I prefer shows that show actual cooking, like Barefoot Contessa or Nigella. I'm less interested in food as competition, though of course I'll be watching Top Chef DC. 
Do you have a favorite cookbook?
In the summer, Jack Bishop's "Vegetables Every Day" is my go-to book on how to cook all the produce we get in our CSA share. 

What are your most exciting challenges right now?
We just planted our first garden, so I'd have to say attempting to keep things alive long enough to harvest something.

Any recipes to share?

Peaches, tomatoes and corn will be arriving at the markets soon, so here's one of my favorite simple summer recipes:

Tomato Peach Panzanella
4 slices day-old hearty Italian bread or corn bread
2 large very ripe tomatoes
2 large very ripe peaches
2 ears corn, shucked
several basil leaves, thinly sliced
4 ounces aged white cheddar, cubed (can also use feta or mozzarella)
1 tablespoon white balsamic vinegar
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
Instructions: Toast the bread slices and cut into 1/2-inch cubes. Cut the tomatoes and peaches into 1/2-inch cubes as well. Cut the corn kernels off the cobs. In a bowl, layer the bread, tomatoes, peaches and corn. Whisk together oil, vinegar, salt and pepper to make vinaigrette. Sprinkle vinaigrette and basil over salad and toss gently. Stir in cheese and let stand for 10 minutes before serving to allow flavors to blend. Makes 4 servings. Enjoy!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

More about the Capital Cooking Cookbook on DC on Heels

We had fun with the CW's DC on Heels on Sunday.  I showed them 2 cocktail recipes from the Capital Cooking Cookbook and a Greek dip.  The videos will air soon.
We made a Mango Margarita with Herradura Blanco Tequila.
The best part of cooking is eating.
Vanessa and Markette will be raffling off a copy of the Capital Cooking Cookbook here. 
Photos courtesy of DC on Heels.

Free Best of Washington Happy Hour

Join Washingtonian this evening from 6-8 at Redwood in Bethesda for their free Best of Washington Happy Hour. There will be free food and drinks, as well as cupcakes from Best Of winner Georgetown Cupcake. A shopping party will be held with Best Of women's boutique winner Urban Chic.

The rain date for this event will be June 30th.

Redwood is located at:
7121 Bethesda Lane,
Bethesda, MD

View Larger Map

Monday, June 28, 2010

Lauren Catches Up with DC on Heels

Looks like Lauren had a fun weekend with TzazikiTo read the full article, click here. Also be on the lookout in the next few days for the full interview, which will also be posted on

If you would like to win a free, autographed cookbook, then log in to Facebook, "like" DC on Heels and post your favorite cooking tip on their wall. You will automatically be entered into win a free cookbook from Lauren.

Photos courtesy of DC on Heels.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Food News Friday

According to WaPo, the 14th Street NW Borders is to become a Clyde's. The new restaurant will most likely open in 2011.

Levi Mezick was selected by Michel Richard to carry out the menu for Richard's new restaurant, Michel at the Ritz-Carlton Tyson's Corner.

The Petworth Market opened its season today. The market will be open every Friday from 3 pm-7 pm until October 29, 2010. The market is located at the 4100 block of 9th Street NW.

Devouring DC lists several food events for this weekend. Some of which include the National Capital BBQ Battle, Cocktails for Critters, and Northern Virginia Summer Brewfest.

In Top Chef DC news, Jacqueline Lombard was told to pack her knives and go after she added two pounds of sugar to her dessert. Keep in mind, the challenge was to create a healthy school lunch.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

National BBQ Battle

Don't miss the Safeway18th Annual Safeway National Capital BBQ Battle this weekend, June 26-June 27.

$10 for adults
$5 kids 6-12
Free for children under 5

Tickets are available online or at the gate. Admission includes a donation to the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Washington. To date, $1.2 million has been raised through the event.

Free samples will be given out at the event. Open from 12 to 6, the Safeway Sampling Pavilion offers tastings to all guests but prepared to stand in line. Other exhibitors will also be handing out free samples.

Don't miss celebrity chefs and cooking demonstrations occurring throughout the weekend. Numerous bands will also be performing, such as Chuck Brown and Cyril Neville.

The event is being held on Pennsylvania Avenue (between 9th and 14th Streets).

For more information, visit BBQ Battle website.


Free empanadas from 11 am – 1 pm to mark opening day

Empanadas, the favorite Latin American treat, come to Dupont Circle June 25 when Panas Gourmet Empanadas opens at 2029 P Street NW.  To mark the opening day owner Federico Garcia Lopez will offer one free empanada from 11 am until 1 pm.
Panas specializes in Latin fusion gourmet empanadas, the crescent-shaped turnovers, stuffed with a variety of well-seasoned meats, vegetables, spices, fruits, and sweets. Signature recipes are inspired by the Latin Fusion cuisine; a culinary concept that combines traditional and modern gastronomic techniques with different ingredients from across the Americas.
The term “panas” is a unique abbreviation for the word empanadas. Coincidentally, the term “panas” also means “friend” or “buddy” in several Latin American countries, which is befitting to the Panas concept of friends coming together and eating empanadas.
The 1,100 square-foot restaurant is tiny with just 13 seats and bright with a mustard colored wall highlighted with green field turf. Serving in-restaurant, carry-out and delivery the Panas menu includes $2 empanadas ranging from meat, pork, chicken and ham filled delicacies like the Chipotle Steak with shredded sirloin steak, onion and chipotle sauce to vegetarian selections like the Popeye with sautéed spinach, onions, raisins and goat cheese. Side salads with a Latin flair are also on the menu – the primavera with red pepper, corn, cilantro and black beans is a favorite as is the jicama salad with lettuce, mango and carrots.

PANAS GOURMET EMPANADAS  2029 P Street NW, Washington DC 20036
202-223-2964      Open 7 days, 11 am – 11 pm, M-Sat; 11 am-9 pm, Sun. Free delivery!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Spotlight:: Jason Foodgeek of DCFüd

I first met Jason Foodgeek at the Capital Cooking Cookbook launch party last month.  DCFüd is an Online Magazine devoted to the food and food lovers of the Washington, DC area; it launched in 2004.  They currently have 4 main writers and many guest writers, but are in the process of recruiting several new writers.
 Jason Foodgeek at the Capital Cooking Cookbook launch 

Photo by Duane Heaton

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Film Review: I Am Love

I know what you're thinking. A film review? On a cooking/food blog? Yes, it is strange to see a film review on our blog but this film kind of, sort of, maybe touched on cooking. From the trailer to the brief synopsis (both of which are below), one would assume cooking and the power of food are significant influences in I Am Love; however, these previews led us to the film under false pretenses.

Is there a chef in the film? Yes. Does Tilda Swinton's character cook? She is seen in the kitchen for a moment or two. Is there talk of opening a restaurant? I won't deny it.

Despite these references to food, I failed to see the connection between food and love. Since Emma (Tilda Swinton) and Antonio (the chef) barely spoke to one another, their love seemed more like an infatuation. Furthermore, it did not seem plausible to me that an individual would be willing to sacrifice everything simply because she ate his food one time. The filmmaker clearly wanted the audience to draw emotion out of food's ability to unite all but the theme felt contrived and drawn out. Maybe if I had gotten popcorn, the food/love relationship would have been clearer to me.

In addition, there are references in the film to Emma's life in Russia and the changes that occurred after she moved to Italy to be with Tancredi, her husband. She made the decision to move and marry into a wealthy family and until she met Antonio, she never gave the impression of emotional suffering. Perhaps the script began to loose momentum towards the end and they needed to insert a too often used excuse. Again, it lacked originality and believability because the film failed to portray a history of these feelings.

There is one twist in the film, which of course I will not give away but it does wake you up towards the end of the two hours.

If you are interested in seeing I Am Love, it is playing at the E Street Cinema in D.C. and at the Bethesda Row Cinema in Bethesda, MD. Let me know what you think, I am always open to different opinions. In particular, if anyone sees the food/love connection, I would love for you to show it to me.

I AM LOVE tells the story of the wealthy Recchi family, whose lives are undergoing sweeping changes. Eduardo Sr., the family patriarch, has decided to name a successor to the reigns of his massive industrial company, surprising everyone by splitting power between his son Tancredi, and grandson Edo. But Edo dreams of opening a restaurant with his friend Antonio, a handsome and talented chef. At the heart of the family is Tancredi’s wife Emma (Tilda Swinton), a Russian immigrant who has adopted the culture of Milan. An adoring and attentive mother, her existence is shocked to the core when she falls quickly and deeply in love with Edo’s friend and partner Antonio, and embarks on a passionate love affair that will change her family forever.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Book Review: Substituting Ingredients

Substituting Ingredients: The A to Z Kitchen Reference (June 2010) by Becky Sue Epstein is a cute little reference guide that could be useful in a pinch.  Author and senior editor at Intermezzo magazine, Becky Sue Epstein includes more than 1,000 healthy, A to Z, easy-to-find, and cheap substitutions. Most good cookbooks should give you substitution ideas, but sometimes they don't.  This is a great gift idea for a new cook.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Experience the ‘Thrill of the Grill’ as Capital Cooking takes on the Beer, Bourbon, and BBQ Festival

Join Lauren DeSantis, host of Capital Cooking and author of the Capital Cooking Cookbook, as she teams up with Heath Hall and Brett Thompson of Pork Barrel BBQ to present the “Thrill of the Grill” on Saturday, June 19th at 1 p.m. at the Beer, Bourbon, and BBQ Festival. Learn the art of grilling shrimp and pepper skewers, peaches topped with homemade mascarpone cream and vegetable ratatouille.

As seen on ABC’s Shark Tank, and most recently on Fox and Friends, Pork Barrel BBQ is fast becoming one of the nation’s favorite barbecue sauces and spice rubs. Pork Barrel BBQ’s products will be used exclusively throughout the demonstration.

All of the recipes featured in the demo can be found in the Capital Cooking Cookbook, which will be for sale after the demonstration. Festival guests will also have the opportunity to meet Lauren and have their copy of the cookbook signed.

The best things of summer all rolled into one weekend, the Beer, Bourbon, and BBQ Festival returns to National Harbor for its 2010 tour. From June 18th-19th, visitors will enjoy over 60 beers, 40 Bourbons, and enough barbecue to last the entire summer. The festival has made some improvements from last year, including more bars and more tent space. Designated drivers will receive a discounted entry ticket of $20. In addition, kids 12 and younger are free; however, this is not a child-focused event. For more information about the Beer, Bourbon, and BBQ Festival, please visit

Capital Cooking is the first television show of its kind and now airs in more than 20 million households on Dish Network through CoLours TV. 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.
Photo by Shauna Alexander

Book Review: The Sharper Your Knife, the Less You Cry

Walk into any bookstore and you will see the shelves lined with popular titles, such as Eat, Pray, Love and Julie and Julia (both of which have been turned into feature films). Due to the undeniable success of these two works, bookstores have become over saturated with authors recounting their journeys to overcome adversity by following their dreams. Although I love to hear of individuals discovering their true calling in life, some stories are better than others. To help you sort through the many tales of personal triumph, I recommend Kathleen Flinn's The Sharper Your Knife, the Less You Cry.

Similar to Eat, Pray, Love and Julie and Julia, The Sharper Your Knife, the Less You Cry focuses on the life of Kathleen Flinn, a former manager in a large corporation. After losing her job, she cashes in her savings, moves to Paris, and enrolls at the famed Le Cordon Bleu, the Alma Mater of Julia Child. Taking the storyline of Julie and Julia a step further, Flinn directly follows in the footsteps of Child by graduating from the culinary institution, despite being in her mid to late thirties and without much knowledge of the French language.

Wanting to cook from an early age, Flinn embraces the opportunity to fulfill her dream and takes the biggest risk of a lifetime. The book follows Flinn throughout Basic Cuisine until her graduation from Le Cordon Bleu. Highlighting the ups and downs of Parisian life, as well as the struggles that come with being a culinary student, Flinn creates a situation that makes it impossible not to root for her.

In addition to her vignettes, recipes that correspond to each chapter theme are included. From banana-nutella crepes to more complicated, classical French recipes, readers and food lovers are sure to appreciate the opportunity to further experience the book by cooking along with the author.

The Sharper Your Knife, the Less You Cry is available wherever books are sold and also on Amazon.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Limoncello Review: Ventura Limoncello

I've been testing recipes to get ready for upcoming show on Tuscan cuisine and I'm working on the perfect Tuscan Lemon Drop.  The Ventura Limoncello arrived tonight and I opened a bottle to get a taste before my recipe development.  Ventura Limoncello has the smooth lemon flavor without the bite.  It is the best limoncello I've ever tasted and is wonderful without mixing.  

Tomorrow I'll start trying it with the vodka, rosemary and lemon juice that I as imagining for the cocktail.  Limoncello is the perfect Italian after dinner drink that helps your meal settle.  Like me, the Carlings are Italian-American with a passion for their heritage.  They took Manuela Zaretti-Carling's nonna's family recipe and created a masterpiece.  California is the perfect place to create this lemon liqueur because of the year-round summer.  The Ventura Limoncello is 100% natural and hand-crafted in small batches in Ventura County.  Beautiful packaging...can you tell I'm already a huge fan!  Stay tuned to see it on our upcoming Tuscan show with Dean Gold from Dino's in Cleveland Park.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Spotlight: Amanda McClements of Metrocurean

Washington, D.C.-based food writer Amanda McClements has trailed celebrity chefs through Iceland, picked birdshot out of quail on a South Carolina farm, and dined on tripe, tongue and crickets, all in the pursuit of good food. A native North Carolinian who counts herself in the "eastern" NC barbecue camp, she has cultivated her love of all things culinary by reviewing restaurants and reporting on food news and trends for various publications in the past 8 years. Her work has appeared in Food & Wine, The Washington Post, and DC Modern Luxury, among others. Amanda's site Metrocurean is a must-read for DC food lovers.

Monday, June 14, 2010

More on the Capital Cooking Cookbook from Greg's List

Photo courtesy of Greg's List.
The Capital Cooking Cookbook is being featured this week on Greg's List, a great website that keeps Washingtonians in the know. For the full article, click here.

"Lauren DeSantis, host of the nationally televised show Capital Cooking and author of a well-recognized DC-area blog, recently released her own softcover volume, titled “Capital Cooking Cookbook” ($29.99 on Amazon or save 15% until Fathers’ Day by using discount code UGUKMJF7 here). The cookbook includes over 90 recipes from some of the DC-area’s favorite chefs as well as simple but delicious recipes for home cooking. Many of the featured chefs/restaurants dished up samples of their recipes at the cookbook’s recent launch party and book signing, including Pork Barrel BBQ’s succulent Oven-Smoked Pulled Pork (p. 66) and Embassy of Panama chef Ana Victoria Mas’s light and refreshing Shrimp and Fish Cerviche with Pixbae (p. 43).

Lawyer by day, TV host and cooking instructor by night (okay, maybe weekends), Lauren epitomizes the dual-hatted nature of many of us who cover the DC dining/food scene. You can catch Lauren’s show “Capital Cooking with Lauren DeSantis” on Comcast Channel 95 and RCN Channel 10 in DC, Cox Cable Channel 10 in Fairfax/ HCTV in Herndon, Access Montgomery TV 19 and 21 in Maryland, Dish Network Channels 9407 and 9396, and on a variety of local cable carriers, including Time Warner, Comcast, Insight, and NCTC. Capital Cooking airs every Thursday at 6 p.m. or online. Lauren also will be doing a cooking demo on Saturday at this weekend's Beer, Bourbon, and BBQ Festival."

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Bar Review: Chi-Cha Lounge

What is it with some bars and restaurants around town that act like the customers are doing them the favor by walking through the door?

I went to Chi-Cha for the first time 2 weeks ago and had a great time with no complaints.  This weekend we decided to go back again and it was a different story.  There was an open table that we tried to sit in and were told it was reserved and that if we wanted to sit anywhere it would be a minimum of $20 for each person.   This policy wasn't in place the week before.  We were treated very rude by the blonde at the door and the manager.  They said we could wait at the bar.  2 hours later, there still wasn't anyone at the table and we had to go to them again to ask to be seated.  It is a shame that this happened because we did have fun the time before, but this place shouldn't treat their customers like they are dispensable.  There are plenty of places in DC where we can go to spend our money.  Unfortunately, Chi-Cha Lounge will no longer be one of them.

Chi-Cha Lounge on Urbanspoon

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Bar Review: ChurchKey

Fresh from it's recent RAMMY wins, ChurchKey was certainly the place to be on Friday night. The ultimate beer haven, ChurchKey takes a step back in time as it feels as if you are in a dark and sultry bar in 19th century Paris. The bar itself stretched the entire wall and sported numerous beers on tap.

Although we had a large group of people, the bar staff were very attentive and made sure we received our drinks without an aggravating wait. Not much of a beer drinker, I opted for the Weston's Cider. If there was an "adult apple juice," this would be it--a perfect drink for a humid summer's night. Most sipped on the Sierra Nevada Summerfest, a subtle hop beer, while those who desired a malt beer chose the Hop Head Red Ale.

If you can manage to grab a table, the food looked and smelled delicious. Seeing all the plates pass by definitely made me want to come back. Has anyone else tried the food? Was it great or just typical bar food? I'd love to know.

1337 14th Street
Washington, DC 20005


Friday, June 11, 2010

Food News Friday

With many openings and closings, the D.C. food scene has been buzzing this week.
  • From the owners of Russia House, Biergarten Haus opens its doors today. From their website, "The 7000 square foot area includes 2 spacious outdoor patios, 3 bars, and 2 special outdoor 100 inch projection screen televisions. The casual atmosphere is complimented by a style reminiscent of old world Germany. Specialty crafted and imported artisanal furnishings sit alongside hand laid cobblestones making one believe they may actually be in Munich or Frankfurt."
  • Pizzeria Orso of Falls Church, VA is now open for business. Featuring Neopolitan style pizza, the restaurant is a collaboration between 2 Amys' Edan MacQuaid and 2941.
  • The Wall Street Journal confirmed yesterday that Disney will be closing numerous ESPN Zones around the country. These include those in D.C. and Baltimore.
  • The Washingtonian provides a detailed account of the 2010 RAMMY awards. Co Co Sala took home favorite restaurant and Birch and Barley/ChurchKey took home best new restaurant and hottest bar scene.

Brainfood Grill-Off

 Me and Karen Sippel
Last night we checked out the outdoor grilling competition and fundraiser features teams of local chefs, amateur cooks and Brainfood program graduates. 
  • Teams drew their proteins from a mason jar, including lamb chops, shrimp, sausage, chicken, flank steak and cod.
  • They got to select fresh veggies, herbs, seasonings, etc. from the pantry table.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

$1 Dollar Smoothie Thursday - TODAY!

$1 Dollar Smoothie Day at Robeks Fruit Smoothies and Healthy Eats today from 3:00 to 6:00pm!  Get energized with a delicious, all natural smoothie (12 oz.) today for only a BUCK at all 20 DC area Robeks locations.  Visit for store addresses in DC, VA and MD.

White House Sous Chef Tafari Campbell is judging the Brainfood Grill-Off tonight!

Amanda McClements, Bev and I at Cochon 555
Photo by Emily Clack

Chef Campbell will be joined by Amanda McClements of and Susan Lacz Niemann of Ridgewell's.  Together, they will judge dishes prepared by competing teams of amateur cooks who are paired up with a professional chef and a Brainfood program graduate.

The Brainfood Grill-Off is on Thursday, June 10th at 6:30pm at the Decatur House on Lafayette Square.
Brainfood youth has been invited to the White House to cook with its chefs on several occasions to prepare for last year's 4th of July picnic, Congressional Luau and Halloween party. It has been an incomparable experience for our youth to demonstrate the skills they've learned - both in and out of the kitchen - as they've worked side-by-side with White House chefs to prepare for those events.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Chef RJ Cooper moves on...

City Paper's Tim Carman reported Chef R.J. Cooper has abruptly left Vidalia. Where will he go?  I want to know.  I was looking forward to checking out the tasting menu.  RJ, are you still going to be on the show with me?

Photo by Emily Clack

Spotlight: Dining in DC's Lisa Shapiro

We're starting a new weekly series on the Capital Cooking Show blog that will highlight fellow food bloggers and writers.  To kick off this series, we're featuring, Lisa Shapiro.  Lisa and I first met through the DC Food Blogger planning committee.  Lisa is a sweet person with a great personality.  We've had lots of fun hosting the monthly happy hours.  I've asked Lisa a few questions below to give you more information about Lisa and Dining in DC.  Make sure to check out her blog!

How did you get into blogging? I have always been interested in writing and dining out. I was the Managing Editor of my High School Newspaper, The Mainstream. And even then, at 17, my favorite magazine was the Washingtonian. I was obsessed with the 100's Best Restaurant List. I started highlighting the restaurants I went to and collecting dining reviews. I started the blog in June 2007 so that I could help my friends, who were frequently seeking dining out recommendations. As a native Washingtonian and someone who was spending so much time and money dining out, I was considered almost an expert within my circle of friends. I was asked so frequently, that finally someone suggested that I put all of the information "in one place" -- a blog. The rest is history.I   am celebrating my 3 year blogiversary this year. Dining in DC has come a long way.  

Favorite ingredient? It is very hard for me to choose one. I like dried cranberries in salads, fresh Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese on pasta, love fresh cilantro, and can't get enough of summer tomatoes.

Photo by Mary Diaz

How would you describe DC Cuisine? Eclectic, for sure. Almost every possible ethnic cuisine is represented in the Washington, DC Metropolitan area.  While DC's restaurant scene is up and coming, we have some amazing talent in the nation's capital. And despite the fact that many New York chefs are coming to DC to open outposts, I still think it's important to recognize the independent DC chefs who have made living and dining in DC worth while. They are the reason that DC is on the culinary map!  

Who are your culinary inspirations? My friends and fellow bloggers are my culinary inspiration. People like Olga Berman of Mango and Tomato. She is so passionate about cooking and writing about food. I have met so many great people recently. I am inspired by these extraordinary people whose passion is food and cooking.
What is your favorite local restaurant and why? I am really looking forward to Farrah Olivia re-opening in DC in the next couple of months. It was my favorite restaurant. Right now I would say my favorites are Art and Soul on the Hill, Zentan, and the new 8407 Kitchen & Bar in downtown, Silver Spring. I also really like the Lebanese Taverna.   
Travis Timberlake from Art and Soul was a guest on Capital Cooking's Southern Sensation's episode.
Photo by Shauna Alexander

What is your favorite Food Network Show? I don't really watch much Food Network but I know that everyone talks about it. I prefer the shows on Bravo, like Top Chef and Top Chef Masters.

Do you have a favorite cookbook? The New Basics Cookbook by Julee Rosso I use a lot at home but being a food blogger has given me the opportunity to meet many talented Chefs, many with cookbooks. I recently met Susur Lee and he gave me his cookbook, Susur: A Culinary Life. It is a great cookbook with wonderful stories and provides the evolution of his career while sharing the history about Chinese cooking. Most recently I met Chef Jose Pizzaro. His cookbook, Seasonal Spanish Food is very simple and has intimate stories about his life and how food has transformed his life. I am inspired by these cookbooks and by these amazingly talented chefs. I am also very excited about the Capital Cooking cookbook. I think it's great that we explore all of the ethnic foods that makes DC so unique. Lauren has inspired me to want to learn and become a better cook. 
What are your most exciting challenges right now? My greatest challenge is that I work a full-time job and commute from my home in Springfield, VA to work in Silver Spring, MD everyday. Having a long commute is very difficult and it makes it very difficult to do all of the things that I want to do. I want to attend every food and media event and then need to find time to write about it. I am struggling with life and work balance -- trying to find time for all of my passions, including my family. My two children are just 6 and 2 and I want to be there for them.

Anything else you’d like to share with the viewers? This month I am judging two cooking contests at local food festivals. I will be judging the So You Think You Can Grill? contest, June 12-13 at the Food & Wine Festival at the National Harbor and a chili cookofff at the Taste of Reston, June 19-20. I hope friends come out and say hello.
Photo by Duane Heaton
Thank you to Lisa Shapiro for the interview!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Blue Moon Cans

I've always loved Blue Moon, but now it is available in cans so it is easier to take on float trips, picnics, BBQs, etc.  Blue Moon Belgian White introduced its unique, artfully crafted flavor to the beer world in 1995. The brand’s artistic approach to brewing continues 15 years later, as Blue Moon Belgian White is available for the first time in a 12-ounce can.  The Blue Moon Belgian White Brewmaster’s Can offers beer fans added convenience, while delivering the same great-tasting, unfiltered wheat ale.

The Brewmaster Cans are now available in 12 packs throughout the Midwest, East and Mountain regions, with national availability scheduled for this fall.  More information is available at and

Blue Moon Brewing Company was born in 1995 in Denver. Everything we do stems from our artistic approach to brewing beer. We paint flavors with hops, barley and wheat, and then add twists like orange peel and coriander. And that’s why we say our beer – and everything we do – is Artfully Crafted®.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Restaurant Review: Founding Farmers

For the past few weeks my co-workers have continuously praised Founding Farmers. Tired of feeling left out, I took to my favorite website ( and reserved a table for brunch to celebrate the two year anniversary of my relationship (I'll let the ohhhs and awwws commence here). Needless to say, our hopes were high and we both sat with anticipation as we waited for our food to arrive.

While some people ordered a $12 "Eye Opener," we opted for the $8 "Banana Fluffer Nutter." Made with organic peanut butter, banana slices, and homemade marshmallow fluff, this morning appetizer was a nice break from the traditional coffee and doughnuts that are typically served at brunch. We both expected the dish to be sweet; with chocolate and marshmallow fluff, how could we not? Instead, the dish was composed of subtle flavors. Nothing was too sweet and it actually tasted healthy. Surprised? Me too.

Having enjoyed a Soho Omlet at Kramer's Books and Afterwards Cafe on Saturday morning, I was in no mood for protein. Bring on the carbohydrates! The New Orleans Style French Toast ($7.00) immediately caught my eye and I am happy to say that I have found the best French toast in D.C. The best way to describe the taste is to liken it to a beignet, a native New Orleans dessert, crunchy on the outside but soft on the inside. Combined with a strawberry jam and maple syrup, this satisfied my never ending sweet tooth.

My partner in crime decided to take a more traditional approach to the farm house breakfast, ordering the Founding Farmers Breakfast ($9.00). With two eggs any style, thick cut bacon (is that what that giant slab of pork is?), shredded leek hash browns and tomatoes, it's no wonder he didn't want dinner! His meal is best summed up with this quote, "Caitlin, taste these eggs. Don't they just taste fresher!" To grasp the full effect, you'll need to read this with great enthusiasm. For best results, try saying it out loud.

Despite the delicious food, there were other aspects of Founding Farmers that transported us away from the daily grind of D.C. life. For example, a milk jug of water is left on the table for your convenience. No need to frantically search for your server, the diner is now completely self-sufficient in the beverage department. Not to mention, that the presence of the milk jug transported me back to every farm story I read as a child. I felt like I was going to go collect eggs and feed the hogs after my a good way. The restaurant itself is open and bright, allowing the diners to bask comfortably in the morning sunlight while enjoying their food.

Centrally located on Pennsylvania Ave, Founding Farmers is convenient for all city dwellers and surbanites. No matter the occasion, Founding Farmers is sure to leave a lasting impression.

Founding Farmers
1924 Pennsylvania Ave, NW,
Washington DC 20006

202.822.TRUE (8783)
Founding Farmers on Urbanspoon

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Book: DAISY: MORNING, NOON, AND NIGHT: Bringing Your Family Together with Everyday Latin Dishes

Atria Books published DAISY: MORNING, NOON, AND NIGHT: Bringing Your Family Together with Everyday Latin Dishes ($30.00) by Daisy Martinez, host of the Food Network’s Viva Daisy!

In the book, Daisy Martinez shares recipes for bold flavors and brilliant colors that mix her timeless Latin American flavors with the favorite dishes she and her family experienced on their holiday vacations, creating a travelogue of food memories, laughter and stories from those family trips. Beginning with filling breakfasts, siesta inspired lunches, and weeknight dinners, and moving on to festive cocktail parties, elaborate dinner parties, and easily planned buffets, DAISY: MORNING, NOON, AND NIGHT demystifies the staple Latin ingredients and provides easy tips to “Daisify” everyday dishes and turn each meal into an unforgettable memory.

The book is very colorful and has a fun Latin look and feel.  I'm looking forward to trying the recipes and I know there won't be a shortage of good ones.  Daisy provides breakfast, lunch and dinner recipes so you can prepare food for your family at every meal.  If your in the mood for some Latin cuisine, this is the book for you!

Friday, June 4, 2010

Food News Friday

Previously known as "The Weekly Wrap Up" this weekly portion of the blog needed a catchier name. Here you will find a recap of all D.C. food news and upcoming events. Please feel free to submit any food news in the comments section.

  • Much to the delight of Washingtonians, Equinox reopened after being closed for five months due to a kitchen fire. The restaurant features a newly designed dining room, as well as new lunch and dinner menus.
  • Chefs joined Michelle Obama in kicking off the Chefs Move to Schools program, an initiative that aims to improve school lunches by offering healthier options created by chefs. For example, Spike Mendelsohn of Good Stuff Eatery teaches cooking classes at Kipp Academy, where students will also plant a garden to grow foods for future lunches.
  • Sala Thai in Petworth opens today. The grand opening will occur on June 15th from 6-9 p.m.
  • Tim Carman of Young and Hungry posts an in depth and exclusive interview with the owner of Inox of Tyson's Corner after it closed earlier this week. Read the interview here.

Grand Opening: Frosting A Cupcakery

Thursday, June 3, 2010


The Food & Wine Festival at National Harbor ( kicks off its third year with a pre-festival evening of cocktails, hors d’oeuvres and inside tales of the White House kitchen brought to you by former White House Chef Walter Scheib. 

This event will take place on Friday, June 11, 2010, from 7:00 – 9:00 p.m. at Aloft Hotel at National Harbor. Hors d’oeuvres will be provided by Ketchup and libations by Stella Artois and Hazlitt 1852 Vineyards. The cost is $50/per person and will benefit The Erikka Hayes Foundation. The Prince Georges County foundation works with economically and socially disadvantaged individuals to educate and cultivate future leaders in the hospitality and foodservice industries. The event is open to the public and tickets are available by clicking on and then onto “Check Out Our Special Events.”
Walter Scheib served as the White House Chef for eleven years, hired by First Lady Hillary Clinton and serving through the middle of the Bush administration. Under his leadership, Scheib transformed the traditional French kitchen into a showcase for contemporary American cooking. Since leaving his post, Scheib has created The American Chef, offering catering, cooking classes and culinary talks. He is the author of White House Chefs: Eleven Years, Two Presidents, One Kitchen.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Cookbook Buzz

Looks like others love the Capital Cooking Cookbook as much as we do! Johnna of Johnna Knows Good Food says,

"Lauren DeSantis book release party was a success! We still cannot seem to get those pulled pork sandwiches off our mind but lucky for us, all of this is in the cookbook. The Capital Cooking Cookbook features everything from the mini burgers found at Matchbox to the fried chicken at Art and Soul."

NBC Washington featured Lauren in their NiteSide segment, which features "life after dark" in DC. Check out the interview here.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Spring 2010 Cuisine Des Artistes: A feast for the senses

What do you get when you combine art and food?  Cuisine Des Artistes
 The event was held at the beautiful Meridian House.  It would be the perfect spot for a wedding.