Saturday, July 31, 2010

Great Grapes Re-cap

We had fun at Great Grapes, but it was just SOOOOOOOOOOOOO hot. It was really hard to do the cooking demonstration in that heat, but we made it work.
 On Sunday, we were lucky because I finished my demonstration right before the tornado hit.
I got some help with the Deviled Eggs.
The crowd loved the Insalata Caprese Bites.
The fruit pizza is always a big hit.
Special thanks to Rachel, Kitty and Emily for helping me out.

Photos by Emily Clack.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Food News Friday

The latest Zagat ratings for D.C. were announced on Wednesday, July 28th. The restaurants with the highest food rating are as follows:
  1. Marcel's
  2. Inn at Little Washington
  3. Komi
  4. CityZen
  5. Rasika
  6. Makoto
  7. Eve
  8. Citronelle
  9. Palena
  10. L'Auberge Provencale
Penn Quarter is looking to add another restaurant with Cuba Libra scheduled to open on September 17th.

Those familiar with Top Chef contestant Richard Blaise will surely be anticipating the arrival of his Atlanta based Flip Burger. No location has been selected yet.

Overview: Ted's Bulletin

I finally made my way to Ted's Bulletin for lunch to check out the makers of Matchbox's new Capitol Hill restaurant.
I liked the 1930's style interior finished with features such as art deco light fixtures, brass signage, wall treatments and marble counters salvaged from the recently demolished Philadelphia Convention Hall.
 Prominently featured on the menu were burgers made with beef ground in-house, as well as American classics such as meat loaf, pastrami and grilled cheese sandwiches, fresh soups and salads.

 We got a taste of Drew's Peanut Butter Bacon Burger and hand-cut fries.  I'll admit that I've never seen a peanut butter burger on a menu before.  If you're feeling a little risky, you might want to give it a try.  Definitely not my favorite combination of flavors, but interesting idea.
Chef Jon McArthur stopped out to say hello.
 The "Bulletin" element is in reference to the interior menu boards as well as the rotating specials the chefs whip up on a daily basis.
 My favorite treat was Pastry Chef Erica Chirunomula's homemade pop tart.  She makes strawberry jam for the filling and these are a must-try if you check out Ted's.  They sell over 1,000 per week!

I also got a taste of Ted's Famous Grilled Cheese & Tomato Soup.  It brings back the comforts of home and would be perfect on a rainy day. 
Some of the milkshakes have a kick...the Adult Grasshopper is made with Kahlua and Creme de Mint (tastes like a girl scout cookie).  I liked the Orange Push-up.
Ted's also offers a variety of salads including the Chef's Chef Salad with pickled beets.

After lunch, Perry gave us an inside look at his new restaurant DC-3 opening in August.  Just a few store fronts down the street, DC-3 will be opening as a new hot dog spot.  So if you're in the area, stop by Matchbox for yummy pizza, Ted's for a pop tart and soon you can swing by DC-3 for a hot dog.

Photos by Emily Clack

Ted's Bulletin on Urbanspoon
(202) 544-8337
Capitol Hill
505 8th St SE
Washington, DC 20003

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Tuscana West Debuts New Bar Menu

Need to take a break from the summer heat? Stop in at Tuscana West and sample their new bar menu (menu items taken from press release).

"Sip on a Sicilian Holiday – Malibu Mango rum, Ameretto di Saronno with fresh squeezed orange juice while eating your Avocado Margheritafresh avocado stuffed with fresh, ripe plum tomatoes, basil, onion garlic and fresh mozzarella cheese.

Nothing on the menu is priced over $14 (1/2 dozen Blue Point oysters served on the half shell and topped with black caviar). Happy Hours start at 4:30 pm until 7:00pm when the majority of menu items are half price.

Keep the summer heat coming knowing you can enjoy a little taste of Italy right in the heart of downtown DC. Of course, Tuscana West gives homage to its local surroundings by offering up its Croccheta di Granchio Piccolini (mini-housemade genuine Chesapeake crab cakes served with our truffle fries)."

Tuscana West is open for lunch Monday-Friday 11:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m. and dinner 3:30 p.m.-10:00 p.m. Open only for dinner on Saturday from 5:00 p.m.-10 p.m. Closed Sundays.

Tuscana West is located at: 1350 I Street NW, Washington, D.C.

Tuscana West

Summertime Kitchen Party at Cafe du Parc

 Michelin-Star Chef Antoine Westermann presented his new French-American Bistrot Menu and introduced us to the new Executive Chef Arnaud Perreau.
We started our 11 course tasting menu with Deviled egg Antoine style.  I love deviled eggs, so I was instantly a fan of Antoine's version.
Next, Stuffed confit tomato with an Atlantic Daurade tartar.  Beautiful presentation and extremely fresh taste.
 I was so impressed with the Creamy Tomato Soup from my last visit, but the chefs wowed me again with a Chilled zucchini soup with goat cheese and fresh mint.
With each course, I thought, "they're not going to be able to top that...," but they kept bringing out dishes that were better than the last.  I enjoyed the artichokes "a la Grecque," roasted cod cheeks with parsley and garlic oil.
Then salmon scaloppini, smoked salmon butter and lime zest
Don't these photos make you hungry?  I'm ready to go back for seconds.  Next we tried the fresh flavors of the Summer vegetable aioli, poached flounder, light mayonnaise with fine herbs.
As if it couldn't get better, it did.  Veal medallion, nicoise ratatouille and almond raisins
My favorite dish was the lamb shoulder parmentier and fennel puree.
 Hope you have room for dessert to try the Caramelized pineapple with pineapple sorbet and coconut biscuit along with rice pudding with strawberries and lemon sorbet.
Bon Appetit!  Cafe du Parc is well worth the trip!!  Absolutely delicious food and some of the most friendly staff members.

Photos by Emily Clack

Cafe Du Parc on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Atlantic City or Bust: Capital Cooking Hits the Road!


WHO: Lauren DeSantis, the host of Capital Cooking, joins celebrity Food Network Chefs in presenting at the prestigious Food and Wine Festival in Atlantic City

WHAT: Food Network’s Food and Wine Festival—Atlantic City, NJ. The Food and Wine Festival showcases the talents of Food Network favorites Paula Deen, Ted Allen, Sandra Lee, Guy Fieri, Gary Moterosso and the Neelys, as well as beloved local chefs, to present at the three-day festival.

WHERE: Atlantic City, NJ. Culinary demonstrations will take place at the Grand Market on the 6th floor of Bally’s. Tickets for the Grand Market are $45.00 (purchase tickets here). Events featuring Food Network stars are scattered throughout the city. To find the location of these events, as well as ticket prices, visit the website:

WHEN: Lauren DeSantis will be presenting during Session 2 on Saturday, July 31st at 4:15 p.m. in the Grand Market. Interested in seeing more? The full schedule is as follows: Friday, July 30th (invitation only), Saturday, July 31st (Session 1—12:00-3:00; Session 2—4:00-7:00), Sunday, August 1st (Session 1—12:00-3:00).

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, the Atlantic City Food and Wine Festival is a fantastic opportunity to see Lauren’s skills first hand. Learn how to make some delicious Mediterranean dishes, like Scallop Ceviche, Tzatziki and Spanakopita that will transport you to the Mediterranean coast with just one bite. Love what you tasted? Purchase The Capital Cooking Cookbook after the demonstration for a special price of $25.00 or two for $40.00. The book is also available online at

Spotlight: Matthew Jacob of Foodphoria

Matthew Jacob is a food writer who grew up in Arkansas, but has lived in the Washington, D.C. area for 25 years.  He is an occasional food columnist for the Huffington Post, and he created the food blog Foodphoria.  Jacob also is co-author of What The Great Ate: A Curious History of Food & Fame, which was published by Three Rivers (Random House) and is now arriving in major bookstores.

Tell us about your blog.
Foodphoria ( was launched in 2007, and it offer no-nonsense commentary on restaurants and dining trends.  I have posted a handful of recipes of Foodphoria, but my blog is more of a review on how Americans are eating and dining.  I try to write a post at least 2 or 3 times a week, although that has been tougher lately with the time I've spent marketing my new book, What the Great Ate. 

How did you get into blogging?
I co-founded a politically oriented blog in 2002, and I enjoyed the experience.

Favorite ingredient?
Cardamom.  Adding half a teaspoon of it to apple and cherry pies seems to really enhance the flavor.

How would you describe DC Cuisine?
Good, but definitely on an upward trajectory. New York City and the San Francisco-Bay Area definitely have a better and more diverse dining scene, but the restaurant scene and sourcing of ingredients keeps getting better in the D.C. area. 

What is your favorite blog post and why?

It would have to be the post that I wrote in December 2008 in which I trashed fruitcake (  I had probably been waiting to write that post for many years.  There are so many wonderful foods that a person can bake during the holiday season that it is simply sad that people waste time baking fruitcakes or, even worse, shipping them to people who are highly unlikely to eat them.

How long have you lived in DC and how did you end up here?

I arrived in the D.C. area in the summer of 1985, and it has been my home ever since.  A media-P.R. type of job was what drew me to the Washington area. 

Who are your culinary inspirations?
The people who co-authored the Silver Palate Cookbook were definitely inspirations.  That book provided recipes that minimized the fuss of cooking, and the recipes within that cookbook encouraged me to do a lot more cooking.  I also think highly of Jacques Pepin.  I still enjoy watching re-runs of the PBS shows in which he appeared with Julia Child.  

What is your favorite local restaurant and why?
Bistro Bis and Proof are two of my favorites.  The food at Bis is always delightfully fresh and tasty.  Proof offers great wines by the glass, and their charcuterie selections are superb.  Dixie Bones in Woodbridge, Va. (about 15 miles south) makes excellent barbecue.

Any recipes to share?

 Yes, anyone who likes pumpkin recipes (as I do) should try making pumpkin ice cream pie.  There's a great recipe for it at the food blog Feeding Frenzy:

Anything else you’d like to share with the viewers?

I'm willing to bet there are at least 50 food-related stories in my book, What the Great Ate, that viewers have never heard before. 

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

New Episode: Romantic Dinner for Two

Capital Cooking is dimming the lights and lighting the candles in preparation for a Romantic Dinner for Two. On the newest episode of Capital Cooking, host Lauren DeSantis walks viewers through creating a meaningful dinner for the one you love.

To begin, Lauren sets the mood by showing viewers how to make two of her signature cocktails, Romance and a Flirtini. Next on the menu, Filet Mignon topped with Balsamic Reduction and Melted Goat Cheese. Lauren demonstrates how this juicy and tantalizing dish is not just reserved for upscale restaurants by making each step simple and easy to follow. With its perfect balance of starch and salt, Potato Gratin serves as the perfect compliment to the rich filet mignon. Although potato gratin can be tricky, Lauren provides useful tips to ensure a harmonious relationship between the viewer and the dish. No romantic dinner is complete without dessert. Learn how to create Chocolate Pots de Crème, a creamy, decadent dessert that is sure to end the evening on a positive note.

Fall in love with Capital Cooking and don’t miss the opportunity to bring a little romance into your life. Recipes featured in this episode are available in the Capital Cooking Cookbook. Get yours today at for $29.99.

Watch Capital Cooking on the Dish Network channels 9396 and 9407. Cocktail Party will air on Wednesday, July 28, 2010 at 4 p.m. EST.

Photo by Duane Heaton

Monday, July 26, 2010

Filming Fun: Under the Tuscan Stars

We recently had a great time filming a new episode of Capital Cooking called, "Under the Tuscan Stars" with Dean Gold of Dino.
In the episode, I'll teach you how to make a delicious Tuscan Lemon Drop.
Dean showed us how to make Pappardelle all'Aglione paired with a Loose Cannon beer.
Then we made Dino’s Lemony Anchovy Salsa Verde with Bistecca Fiorentina.  
 I'll teach you how to make a Limoncello Sangria.
Under the Tuscan Stars will be coming soon to the Dish Network.  Keep checking the blog to find the airing times.
Photos by Bryn Wallace

Real Italian Products

Di Palo ( carries artisan foods of Italy and communicates the rich culinary traditions and stories behind each hand-selected product. Di Palo offers Italy’s finest cheeses, pastas, salumi, olive oils, balsamic vinegars and more, personally selected by Lou Di Palo. I tried the Piave Vecchio.

Piave is an intensely flavored, hard, cow’s milk cheese produced in the northeastern region of the Veneto. Piave’s flavor calls to mind fragrant fruit and nuts. Like Parmigiano Reggiano, Piave is made using a combination of two milkings (from the evening and the following morning) from cows which graze on fresh plants in the mountain pastures. Piave can be eaten at the age of 6 months or aged up to a year or more—the cheese gains character as it matures. A real crowd pleaser for cheese connoisseurs and novices alike, Piave Vecchio, aged 8-12 months, is a perfect choice for a cheese plate. Its unique nutiness lingers in the mouth and pairs beautifully with red wine.

I also tasted the Chestnut Honey from Prunotto. It’s bottled throughout the summer months as different blossoms flourish in the region of Piemonte. Chestnut is a honey with personality. A deep, robust, and slightly bitter honey, with a beautiful light brown color, chestnut honey holds its own with salty cheeses, in sauces and savory dishes, and it also contributes a unique complexity to cakes.

You can't go wrong with the San Marzano tomatoes. They're great for cooking an authentic Italian tomato sauce. Check out their website to see all of the other products available.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Delicious Deal at Mie N Yu

I hadn't heard much about the food at Mie N Yu before getting the invite to try new Blind Tiger Menu. I was excited because on the way there, I realized that Chris Kelley's Cherry Blossom cocktail was actually featured in the Capital Cooking Cookbook.  I had an extra book in my car so I brought it in to share with him.  So, back to the dining experience...

We entered the restaurant and didn't know what to expect.  The Blind Tiger is a prohibition era name for a speak-easy, and in this fashion Mie N Yu has taken the same premise and is offering this “underground” menu to those who have discovered the secret online.  For $25 you get a three course menu and 50% off on certain bottles of wine.

We were promptly seated and our server, Spencer, gave us quite an impressive background about the history of Mei N Yu and the Silk Road.  The table was within the Moroccan Bazaar part of the restaurant.  The table was cozy, but the chairs were low and kind of uncomfortable to sit in for the full meal.

"A golden Buddha welcomes guests to Mie N Yu as you make your way to tented tables and lavish banquettes in our Moroccan Bazaar. Journey through a mysterious, faraway land of wonderful scents and dark candle-lit corners of our main dining area. The Moroccan Bazaar may be reserved, along with the Turkish Tent and Hong Kong Bar & Lounge, for reception style events of up to 200 guests. A full restaurant buyout including the second floor Baroque Room, Venetian Bar & Lounge, Birdcage, and Tibetan Lounge accommodate up to 400 guests for reception style events."

Once we were situated, we unrolled our Blind Tiger Menus and decided on Cono Sur “Vision” Pinot Noir, Chile, $21 for wine.  The Chilean Pinot was medium bodied with fruit notes of plum, cherry and raspberry.  It went down smooth and had a nice ruby color.  We started sipping our wine and realized we needed to make some choices.
THREE – COURSE “social underground” CHEF’S TASTING MENU
Chef Tim Miller has taken many of Mie N Yu’s most popular dishes and incorporated them into this special menu, which you have received by finding us through our social media network and presenting your Blind Tiger ticket.  Enjoy a taste of the Silk Road…
$25 per person

No substitutions please.  Tax, gratuity, and beverages are not included.
Make one selection from each of the following three courses.
Chef Tim Miller is presenting traditional Silk Road inspired dishesas part of the Blind Tiger Menu in Celebration of:
Asia After Dark / at the Smithsonian Freer-Sackler Asian Art Museum


Zataar Hummus with Ful
roasted garlic & zataar hummus, with braised Egyptian fava beans,garlic, tomatoes, lemon, naan bread
Sunomono Blue Crab Salad
salad of edamame, jumbo lump blue crab,cucumber, asian greens, pickled quail egg & soba noodles with a rice vinegar dressing

Char Masala Lamb Kabobs
Virginia all natural lamb, charred vegetables,roasted coriander yogurt
Beijing Style Lacquered Duck
local Pekín duck, mandarin pancakes, scallions,hoisin, cucumber, chili’s

Pakistani Cinnamon & Ginger Striped Bass
sustainably raised striped bass, greens, and spiced yogurt casserole, tamarind scented basmati rice
Indonesian Scallop “Kare”
seared East Coast sea scallops, yellow coconut curry,“Gado – Gado” salad: green beans, quail eggs, potatoes, shrimp chips, peanut dressing
Lamb, Wild Mushroom & Tofu Fried Rice
stir-fried sushi rice, asparagus, corn, bok choy, ginger, mushroom soy, natural local cumin lamb
Indonesian Chicken “Rica Rica”
Shenandoah Valley free range organic chicken,red chili marinade, pickled vegetables
WINE’S BY THE BOTTLE (50% off of our regularly listed prices)

Kluge New World Red,  Virginia, $28
Cono Sur “Vision” Pinot Noir, Chile, $21
Jacob’s Creek Reserve Shiraz, Australia, $20
Crios de Susana Balbo Cabernet, Argentina, $22
Biltmore Sauvignon Blanc,  North Carolina,  $20
Cono Sur “Vision” Organic Chardonnay, Chile,  $28
Brancott Sauvingon Blanc, New Zealand, $20
Sawtooth Reisling, Idaho, $21

We put in our order and Spencer brought us some edamame.  We started eating it and realized we didn't have any silverware or napkins.  It took a good 10 minutes for him to return and we finally got the napkins.

The first course of the Blind Tiger menu features  Zataar Hummus with Ful or Sunomono Blue Crab Salad.  We ordered one of each.
I loved the fresh flavors of the salad...perfect for summer.  The hummus has a smoky flavor and tasted great with the bread.  We ended up waiting for quite a bit for our next course.
I tried the lamb kabobs and liked the yogurt sauce.
Corey tried the duck with a sweet and salty dipping sauce.
For the last course, Corey ordered the Indonesian Chicken “Rica Rica”.
 I ordered the Indonesian Scallop “Kare”.  This dish was very unique, but it was a little cold when it arrived at the table.  
Overall, we had a nice meal and it is a delicious deal!  We ended dinner with some Champagne.  Cool spot and fun place to go with a group.
Mie N Yu on Urbanspoon

(202) 333-6122
3125 M St NW
Washington, DC 20007

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Happy National Tequila Day!

How about a Raspberry Margarita!

Raspberry Margarita

1 oz. 1800 Silver Tequila
.25 oz. Fresh lime juice
.25 oz. Wholesome Sweetner's Raw Blue Agave nectar
5 fresh raspberries
Splash of Chambord

Combine first 3 ingredients in a cocktail shake with ice.   Shake vigorously.   Muddle some fresh raspberries into a lightly salted high ball glass. Pour over raspberries.   Top with Chambord.

Bar Review: Murphy's Law

Normally I would not consider Tenleytown an ideal place to go for a drink. Not because of the location but because there are simply no places to go; therefore, it was a relief to see Murphy's Law move into the space previously occupied by Hungry Tiger. Finally, the student-heavy neighborhood has an alternative to the Dancing Crab, the local dive bar.

While the owners of Murphy's Law noticeably changed the interior of the former Persian restaurant, the outside still resembles a store front more than a bar. Hopefully this will not discourage patrons from enjoying a great new addition to the area. Inside, guests will enjoy sitting at the large wooden bar and watching the numerous TVs.

Being an Irish bar, Murphy's Law serves traditional Irish fare (shepherd's pie and fish and chips) and keeps Guinness and Harp readily available. If you are not a fan of the heavy Irish cuisine, they do have lighter menu options (this applies to the beer as well). The fish and chips were just as fish and chips should be: beer battered and served with plenty of tartar sauce. I will definitely be coming back just for this dish.

Murphy's Law is located at
4624 Wisconsin Ave NW
Washington, DC 20016

View Larger Map

Friday, July 23, 2010

Food News Friday

The reviews are in for D.C. Cupcake, the TLC reality show about Georgetown Cupcake, and the reviews aren't good. According to Tim Carman of Washington City Paper, he missed the premier on Friday, July 16th because he was "busy doing more important things...Like testing my muscle reflexes with a dull pick-ax." Although D.C. Cupcake promos did not encourage the brutally honest Carman to tune in, those who did voiced similar thoughts. The full article can be found at Young and Hungry, the blog for Washington City Paper.

After several delays, We, the Pizza, the latest restaurant venture from Spike Mendelsohn, will open today. Originally scheduled to open Monday, July 12th and then Monday, July 19th, we, the public will finally be able to taste the long awaited pies.

Apparently Mussel Bar of Bethesda also experienced some false openings. Supposedly opening on July 21st, the restaurant opened a day late due to staff training.

The food trucks just keep rolling into town. This week, three more food trucks announced their arrival.
  1. Eat Wonky: Will serve Poutine, a Canadian dish made out of french fries, gravy and cheese curds. Look for Eat Wonky in mid-August.
  2. CapMac: Will serve pasta, which will include mac n' cheese (obviously).
  3. Fry Captain: Will serve french fries and milkshakes. Hopefully the servers will be wearing poodle skirts and leather jackets because I'm feeling a 1950s flash back coming on. Look for Fry Captain during the first week of August.
Need help keeping track of all the DC food trucks? Look no further than Food Truck Fiesta, a new website that monitors the location of every food truck.

I'm sure most of you have made your reservations for Restaurant Week already but in case you have not, then jump on and start scheduling. D.C. Restaurant Week begins August 16th and ends August 22nd. Participating restaurants include:

Blue Duck Tavern
CoCo. Sala
Georgia Brown's
Tabard Inn

And many more. Click here for the full list. During Restaurant Week, you have the option of a three-course fixed price meal. The cost for lunch is $20.10 and dinner is $35.10.

Cookbook Review: The Eat-Clean Diet Recharged!

I'm not one for dieting, so I tend to avoid diet books/cookbooks but I was overall impressed with Tosca Reno's The Eat-Clean Diet Recharged! The first 285 pages are filled with useful tips that range from deciphering nutrition labels to boosting your metabolism--essential things to know when looking for a lifestyle change (my preferred phrase instead of "diet").

The remainder of the book is devoted to recipes, most of which look appealing. I'd love to make the Sweet Potato Oat Bars or the Honey Almond cookies and it is even better knowing they are good for you!

The Eat-Clean Diet Recharged! can be purchased wherever books are sold or on the Eat-Clean website. The book retails for $19.95.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

So much fun at the Best of Washington Party!

I've been to a lot of food events around town...some good and some don't quite seem worth the money.  The restaurants participating in the Best of Washington Party pulled out all of the stops.  There's no way you could leave hungry with all of the delicious food to taste.  This was by far one of the best food events I've been to in DC and the National Building Museum was the perfect location! 
Here's the list of restaurant participants:
Art and Soul
Bistro Bis
BGR the Burger Joint
Black Market Bistro
BlackSalt Fish Market & Restaurant
Black's Bar and Kitchen
BLT Steak
Bourbon Steak
Brabo by Robert Wiedmaier
Brasserie Beck
California Tortilla
Cafe du Park
Central Michel Richard
Charlie Palmer Steak
Circle Bistro
Co Co.Sala
Founding Farmers
Georgetown Cupcake
Hard Times Cafe
Indique Heights
J & G Steakhouse
Jackie's Restaurant
Lebanese Taverna Restaurant
Liberty Tavern
The Majestic
Masa 14
The Melting Pot

 (We saw Tamesha from Top Chef)
Oval Room
The Palm
Patowmack Farm
Pete's New Haven Style Apizza
Ping Pong Dim Sum
PS 7's

Red Velvet Cupcakery
Restaurant Eve
Rocklands Barbeque and Grilling Company
1789 (awesome scallop rolls)
The Source
Tallula Restaurant
Trummer's on Main
Villa Mozart 
Zentan Restaurant
Tim Dean from Top Chef was there too!