Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Don't miss the Spirit of the Festival Tonight!

 On Tuesday, November 30th, the Washington D.C. International Wine and Food Festival will present Spirit of the Festival from 7:00-9:00PM
Atrium Ballroom at the Ronald Reagan Building
Each team will provide a food and cocktail pairing for guests to sample. A select panel of judges will be on hand to assess the five submissions and award a prize to the winning team.  Fun times!
Get some tickets now!  Tickets are priced at $55 per person, and can be purchased online awww.missiontix.com/events/product/9947/spirit-of-the-festival or by calling 410.752.8950. 

For more information, please visit www.spiritfestival.wordpress.com/2010/11/02/event-highlights

Friday, November 26, 2010

Barcode: Grand Opening

Earlier this month marked the grand opening of Bar-Code, a laid-back, yet trendy restaurant located at L and 17th, right off of the Farragut North Metro stop. This is owner Antonis Karagounis's 4th restaurant in the D.C. metro area. Other establishments of his include Lima, Glow, and Ultrabar.

Bar-Code first came off as a lounge/bar. The lights are low, and the decor is very modern. However, the vibe is thrown off by the huge flat-screen TV's lining the bar. Is it a sports bar or an upscale restaurant? Maybe a little bit of both?

The food has an Italian influence with dishes like calamari, pasta pomodoro, and tiramisu. Then, there are oddballs thrown into the mix like "avocado dip with a 'Tuscan flair'"(guacamole), and the Bar-Code Burger. Everything that Diana and I sampled was quite good, but beware vegetarians: there aren't many options (other than pizza) sans meat.

Would I go back? Probably. I enjoyed the food, the atmosphere was sophisticated, but not over-the-top, and the service was great. It's a little pricey, but for the location, pricey menus are to be expected.
So, if you're out near Farragut North, be sure to give Bar-Code a try...it's open until 2 or 3 a.m. for those of us who like a late night meal or a snack after a night out!
Bar-Code on Urbanspoon
(202) 955-9001
1101 17th St NW
Washington, DC 20036

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Thanksgiving Dinner: What will you be eating?

Photo by Kristen Finn
So tomorrow is the big TURKEY day.  We'll be on our way to Iowa. You can't beat the never ending supply of comfort food during the holidays. I'm thankful for that!  If I were home, here's what I would make and maybe I'll even make it when I get back if I'm still craving Thanksgiving food.

First Course

Main Course

Turkey with Maple Syrup, Bacon and Sage Butter

1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/2 bunch Shenandoah Growers fresh sage, leaves finely chopped
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup heavy cream
3 cups chicken stock
1 (12 to 14 pound) fresh turkey
1 cup pure Wholesome maple syrup
1/4 cup hot water
8 strips bacon
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 lemon, juiced

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and remove the top rack. 

Combine the butter and sage in a mixing bowl, mash with a fork or spoon until the sage is well incorporated and the butter has flecks of green in it; season with salt and pepper.
Remove the neck and gizzards from the inside of the turkey and discard. Rinse the bird thoroughly inside and out with cold water, pat dry. Sprinkle the cavity and skin liberally with salt and pepper. Using your fingers, gently lift the skin from the breast and legs, and slip pieces of the sage butter underneath; massaging it in as you go. Fill the bird with the cornbread stuffing without packing too tightly; cook the remaining stuffing separately in a buttered baking dish. Truss the turkey; place it on a rack in a large roasting pan, and put into the oven. 

Meanwhile, in a small mixing bowl, whisk together the maple syrup and hot water to thin the glaze out a bit; use this to baste the turkey every 30 minutes. The turkey should take about 3 hours to cook (i.e. 15 to 20 minutes per pound.) If the legs or breast brown too quickly, cover with foil. About 2 hours into cooking, shingle the strips of bacon oven the turkey breast to cover; continue to roast and baste for another hour or so. The turkey is done when an instant-read thermometer inserted into the meatiest part of the thigh registers 170 degrees F (the thigh juices will also run clear when pricked with a knife.) Transfer the turkey to a cutting board and let rest for 20 minutes before carving, so the juices can settle back into the meat. 

Skim off the excess fat from the pan drippings with a spoon and place the roasting pan over 2 burners set on medium-high heat. Using a wooden spoon, scrape up brown bits stuck to bottom of pan. Whisk the flour into the drippings, stirring as it thickens to prevent lumps. Add the remaining chicken stock and bring to a simmer; season with salt and pepper and hit it with a squeeze of lemon juice to brighten the flavor. Simmer for 5 minutes and then strain to remove any particles. Serve the gravy with the maple-roasted turkey.




What are you making?

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Season of Giving

This week, Ayrshire Farm, located in Upperville, Va., delivered 5,000 lbs of certified organic, certified humane, heritage breed turkeys to be used in the 4,500 Thanksgiving meals DC Central Kitchen will prepare and provide to area shelters, agencies and non-profits across the city.

Ayrshire Farm Photo
The heritage breed turkeys, in addition to dozens of turkeys donated by United Praise Youth Choir, McKean Defense Group, Lockheed Martin, AMYX, Federal Schedules and City Year, will be accompanied by sides prepared by DCJCC’s Everything but the Turkey event.  In its 11th year, DCJCC volunteers will prepare 9,500 servings of sweet potatoes, green bean casserole, stuffing, coleslaw and harvest bean salad.  For dessert, 450 pies baked by volunteers from the Beauvoir School and Georgetown Day School will be served.  

That's what Thanksgiving is all about!

Spirited Thanksgiving Turkey

Jägermeister Roasted Turkey with Fresh Herbs
From Sidney Frank Importing

1 Fresh Turkey 13-15 lbs.
1 sweet onion cut in quarter
1 carrot peeled and chopped
1 branch of celery chopped
A bouquet Shenandoah Growers' sage, parsley and marjoram
Salt and pepper
6 Tbsp unsalted butter
1 Tbsp minced lemon zest
¼ cup Jägermeister
2 carrots peeled and chopped
½ sweet onion chopped
¼ cup cornstarch stir in ¼ cup water
2 cups chicken stock
½ cup Jägermeister
Salt and pepper to taste
Fresh sage for garnish

·         Preheat oven to 325˚F.
·         Rinse the turkey inside and out and pat dry with a paper towel. Place the onion, carrot, celery, herbs in the turkey and season inside and outside the poultry. Truss the turkey or tie the legs with kitchen string. Place breast side up on a rack in a roasting pan. Spread 2 tablespoons of the butter over the breast. In a small pan over low heat, melt the remaining butter; stir in the lemon zest, ¼ cup of water and ¼ cup of Jägermeister.
·         Roast the turkey, basting with Jägermeister butter mixture every 20 minutes, until pan drippings have accumulated, then baste with the drippings. After 1½ hours, add the chopped carrots, onion to the pan and continue to roast, basting every 30 minutes. If the breast begins to over brown, cover loosely with aluminum foil. Roast until the thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh away from the bone registers 175˚F, 2½ -3 hours total.
·         Transfer the turkey to a cutting board, cover with foil and let rest for 30 minutes before carving.
·         Skim off the fat and juices of the pan, leaving the vegetables. Set the pan over medium heat and scrape up any brown bits. Pour 1 cup of chicken stock and stir for 3 minutes. Add the corn starch mixture and the remaining chicken stock; stir until thickened. Pour Jägermeister into the pan and simmer for 1 minute. Strain the Jägermeister Gravy.
·         Snip the string, carve the turkey and arrange on a warmed platter. Serve with Jägermeister gravy.
·         Serve 12, without leftover.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Review: Casa Nonna

Initial thoughts:

  • Design and Decor:  Modern place with lots of space.
  • Wait:  No wait.
  • Food:  Neapolitan-style pizza and more.
  • Drinks:  I went at lunch so I didn't check out their beer selection.
  • Price:  Moderate
  • Service:  Friendly
  • Would I go back?  Maybe
I recently checked out Casa Nonna for a work lunch.  Casa Nonna is located on Connecticut Avenue where the former California Pizza Kitchen used to be.  The space is big and it didn't seem very crowded.  They bring out garlic bread when you get there and it is really good.  I opted for the pizza that I've been hearing about.  While it wasn't bad, I think RedRocks is much better.  It was a little too crispy for my taste.  Another diner's order got mixed up and we didn't even notice, but Chef Amy Brandwein (who formerly worked with Roberto Donna) did.  She came to the table and apologized and brought out another pizza.  Nice!  Overall, Casa Nonna has good pizza and is probably worth a try.

(202) 629-2505
Dupont Circle
1250 Connecticut Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20036

Casa Nonna on Urbanspoon

A couple of Dressing Recipes for Thanksgiving

Here's a couple of dressing recipes if you haven't picked yours yet.  Both look pretty tasty.
Andouille Cornbread Dressing
From Touch Bayou Caterers
•           2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) butter 
 •           1 pound Andouille sausages, cut into 1/3-inch pieces 
 •           1 12-ounce package breakfast-style bulk sausage 
 •           3 cups chopped onions 
 •           2 cups chopped celery 
 •           2 cups chopped red bell peppers  
•           1 cup chopped green onions  
•           2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
•           1 teaspoon hot pepper sauce  
•           1 teaspoon dried rubbed sage  
•           12 ounces dry corn bread stuffing mix  
•           1 1/2 cups (about) canned low-salt chicken broth

1. Melt butter in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat.
2. Add all sausages and cook until brown and cooked through, breaking up bulk sausage with back of a fork, about 5 minutes.
3. Add onions, celery and red bell peppers. Cover and cook until vegetables are tender, stirring occasionally, about 12 minutes.
4. Stir in green onions, thyme, hot pepper sauce and sage. Transfer sausage mixture to large bowl.
5. Stir stuffing mix into sausage mixture. Season with salt and pepper.
6. This recipe can be prepared one day ahead:  Cover and refrigerate. 

Pear and Date Dressing
Fresh Home’s Magazine

Prep: 30 min. Bake: 50 min. Yield: 6 servings with leftovers
7 cups sourdough bread cubes (about 1 medium loaf)
1 medium onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
1 Tbsp. butter
1 large garlic clove, minced
3 medium ripe pears, peeled and chopped (about 3 cups)
1 cup chopped pitted dates
1 cup pear nectar
3 Tbsp. minced fresh thyme
½ tsp. pepper
¼ tsp. salt
1 cup chicken broth
2 Tbsp. honey

            Spread bread cubes in two 15-in. x 10-in. baking pans.  Bake at 325º for 20 minutes or until dried, stirring once or twice.
            Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, sauté onion in butter until tender.  Add garlic; cook 1 minute longer.  Remove from the heat.  Add the pears, dates, nectar, thyme, pepper and salt; stir to combine. 
            Transfer bread cubes to a large bowl.  Increase oven temperature to 350º.  Add pear mixture to bread cubes; toss gently.  Drizzle with broth; toss gently just until moistened.   Transfer to a greased 3-qt. baking dish.
            Cover and bake for 30 minutes.  Uncover; bake 20 minutes longer or until browned and heated through.  Drizzle honey over top.

Metro Show: 8 Maids a Milking

We had a blast serving up some of the 12 Cocktails of Christmas and selling out of my first batch of books.   Thank you to Emily Clack, Diana Blass, Caitlin Smith, Paula Tulis, Simone Meadow and Kristen Finn.
This recipe is perfect for Christmas and throughout the Holiday Season.

8 Maids A Milking from the Capital Cooking Cookbook

1 shot 360 Vanilla Vodka
1 shot Disaronno Amaretto
1 shot. Cream

Combine all of the ingredients in a shaker full of ice. Strain liquor into the martini glass.

Special thank you to our sponsors of this demonstration.  Cocktail linens were provided by Bee-Bop's Party Wear.  Spirits and Champagne were provided by Piper Sonoma, Beefeater 24, 360 Vodka, Cointreau, Mount Gay Rum,  Prairie Organic Vodka, Disaronno Amaretto, Vinbev.com, and Bailey's.
All photos by Kristen Finn

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Frosting: A Cupcakery

I walked into the friendly and inviting Frosting: a Cupcakery Tuesday morning around 11:00 a.m. to start my day with an aromatic Illy cappuccino and a decadent yet delicate pastry. Of course this Tuesday, I was lucky enough to get to take part in a cupcake and coffee tasting and demonstration.

I wanted to start with something light because it was still early so I decided on a small muffin like cupcake with fresh baked blueberries inside and a crunchy and sweet brown sugar crumble on top! You can check out all their other great flavors on their website. I also had a hot cappuccino served in a real porcelain mug, while sitting at an actual coffee bar*. Frosting actually opens around 7:30 a.m. most mornings to serve the morning coffee crowd at its bar with stools, and personable tables to share with a friend. Soon started the Illy coffee demonstration I was interested in. Two well-dressed Italian men in dark suits presented a brief yet in depth history of coffee, it’s preparation, and their passion for the beverage. I learned that Ethiopia is the only place in the world where coffee shrubs grow wild and is therefore believed to be the birthplace of the bean, and that a port in Yemen known as MOCHA* (sound familiar?) was the first port that sold coffee beans to Europe (boiled so that the envious Europeans could not plant their own coffee shrubs). Another interesting tidbit
I picked up was that Italians don’t actually like to drink their espresso with a lemon peel. They only did that during the great wars to balance the bitter taste of the poor quality coffee they had to drink when importing better quality beans was impossible. One of the Italian men was introduced as a “Master Barista” which sounded relatively foolish until he unveiled his cappuccino designing skills. Right before our eyes, and with after few flicks of his wrist, our master barista created an elephant in the mug, made of foamed milk and a sprinkle of cocoa powder!! His passion for coffee was vividly evident as he continued to delicately create a leaf design, a tulip, and a heart. It is clear that Illy Café, and Frosting Cupcakery take pride in what they do, and enjoy every moment of it (and you will too)!

1 Wisconsin Circle
Chevy Chase, MD 20815
Tuesday – Thursday 7:30 am - 7:00 pm

Friday 7:30 am - 8:00 pm

Saturday 10:00 am to 8:00 pm
Sunday 10:00 am to 6:00 pm

Monday closed

Metro and Bus
Metro opens its doors right in front of our doorstep. Take Metro's red line to the Friendship Heights station and take the Western Avenue and Military Road exit.
By: Simone Meadows

Saturday, November 20, 2010

A Fundraiser All About You

Every year, I say I want to do something in light of the Holiday Season, and let's just say, it's easier said then done.

But, this year, there is a fundraiser out there that is all about you! YOU are in charge, and YOU set the date! (and maybe you won't get any coal from Santa this year too?)

The International Rescue Committee, more simply known as IRC, created the i-Rescue Fundraiser. As a DO-IT-YOURSELF FUNDRAISER, all you need to do is create a food-related event, raise money from it, and donate it to IRC's website. From there, your work is done, and IRC will gather the money and send it off to help those in need.

Creating our own food related events means that we can have fun with it! So plan a Thanksgiving Dinner Benefit, a Potluck, a Bake-Sale, or anything biting at your taste buds. Tell all your guests to bring five dollars, rather than a side-dish, and your on your way!

IRC works hard everyday to respond to the world's worst crises. By implementing nutritional programs, providing agricultural tools and training, and running urban community gardens for refugee farmers, IRC helps people survive and rebuild their lives in all sorts of ways.

Visit IRC.org, and set up your "Parties and Fundraisers Campaign". IRC can even help promote your campaign with their Facebook and Twitter Followers!

As a "Foodie Community" lets show everyone what we are all about! Its cold out there, and the perfect time to spread that Holiday Warmth! The Race is on, will my Food-Fundraiser be better than yours?

Still recovering from the Metro Show...

At the Metro Show we had fun watching the Food Network Stars and talking with vendors. 

Grama's Best Fruit Caviar are delicious!
Try to Catch that Cupcake...
Miss Jenny's Pickles hit the spot!
Bumble Bee Studio brought some fragrant lavender products.
Del Grosso packed some flavor into the sauce.
Fun times and more to come about the Metro Show...
Photos by Emily Clack

Friday, November 19, 2010

Easy Weeknight Dish: Italian Pork Chops with Fresh Sage

We recently received a supply of Shenandoah Growers Herbs.  What a treat!  So I got to work and made some pan-seared pork chops.

4 thin-cut loin pork chops
1 teaspoon of Todd's Dirt
2 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup fresh sage leaves

Generously season pork chops with Todd's Dirt and pepper (you could also use salt if you don't have Todd's Dirt on hand).  Heat butter to medium heat and add sage.  Saute for about 10 seconds and then add pork chops.  Cook for about 2-3 minutes on each side and serve.  So good with Italian mashed potatoes with Mascarpone cheese and green beans.

Tonight: Full Circle Evening

A dinner with chef Robert Wiedmaier and his culinary team celebrating the autumn harvest utilizing the freshest bounty from their favorite local farmers and producers.

Wine & Beer Pairings
$175 per person, all inclusive
November 19, 2010
7 p.m.
Full-Circle Chef
Chef Robert Wiedmaier:  If Not By Land, Then By Sea!
When you spend cherished hours of your days-off in a remote duck blind, or stalking deer, or waiting for fish to bite, you gain a whole new appreciation of the animal.  That time and effort makes you respect it so much more.  You have a deeper investment in its fate.  And you have a responsibility for what it becomes. It’s a responsibility chef Robert Wiedmaier takes very seriously.

All the restaurants reflect Wiedmaier’s European heritage, in particular his links to Belgium, creating a full circle between his family, legacy and life in the United States.  Born in Germany to a Belgian father and Californian mother, he grew up close to the land, milking cows, helping with the slaughter of sheep, and everything else that was required on a real working farm during his childhood years in Europe. Wiedmaier has been involved with food – from the source – his whole life.

Wiedmaier’s five restaurants reflect a specific culinary influence from his past, and like five intertwining rings, they are each intrinsically linked by the same respect towards utilizing what is local, what is home grown, and what is personally caught or selected – ensuring that the circle is never broken.

This dinner will be an unrivaled gathering of the finest chefs, vintners, brewmasters, and importers, but more uniquely, the presence of select farmers will complete the stellar evening.

Chefs include: Paul Stearman, Marcel’s; Brian Klein, Brasserie Beck; Chris Watson, BRABO; and Robert Gadsby, Mussel Bar. Farms represented will include: Chapel Hill Farm, Berryville, VA; Martin’s Angus Beef, The Plains, VA; Fresh Link Co-Op, Virginia and North Carolina; and Steve Turnrich, Northern Neck of Virginia.

For Reservations or more information, 202.296.1166
2401 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW

Producing Food For Tomorrow

“If you really are what you eat, then your fast, cheap, and easy”

This was a quote I found funny, and shockingly true, at the Producing Food For Tomorrow Event this past Saturday. Featuring experts and scientists in the field of food, the event looked into the way technology acts within our daily menu, and how it will go on to effect the way we eat in the future.

There are positives and negatives to the human interaction behind food. Mankind has the ability to produce crops with Vitamin C, to compose crops resistant to droughts and diseases, and even improve the current traits of crops to resist challenges such as insects and parasites. But with these enhancements, some disastrous effects are beginning to result.

Metro Show: Bobby Flay

Denise Medved (founder of the Metro Show) kindly introduced the Food Network Stars and encouraged everyone to support the vendors.  Times are tough and most vendors are small businesses.  From what I've heard, the show was a success from their prospective. 
Bobby Flay used his hour to cook a delicious meal while drinking margaritas.  He advised the audience to cook what you crave.  I love that motto and often find myself doing exactly that.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Taberna Del Alabardero prepares 'fresh' Spanish dishes

Taberna Del Alabardero's Chef Javier Romero invited Capital Cooking into his kitchen, where we caught a glimpse of what makes Chef Romero happy while he's preparing "the real flavors of Spain" for the nation's capital. This restaurant has served the District with authentic Spanish cuisine for more than 20 years.

Chef Romero takes a "fresh" approach to some well-known, traditional dishes. Nicole Restivo, the restaurant's marketing director, said her favorite dish is the beef oxtail braised with liquid potatoes croquette and poached carrot. Chef's favorite is pork cheeks in two wines sauces with scallions parmentier.

Taberna Del Alabardero is now serving Sunday brunch as well as a new selection of tapas. And on Nov. 26 and 27, diners can enjoy special performances by flamenco dancers, who will travel to the District from Spain for the Thanksgiving weekend performances.

Hear more about Taberna Del Alabardero as well as the best part of Chef Romero's job as the executive chef at the restaurant.
Taberna Del Alabardero
(202) 429-2200
1776 I Street NW
Washington, D.C. 20006
By: Kathryn Ruleman

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Recipe: Involtini Alla Romana

From the Capital Cooking Cookbook

The Shenandoah Growers fresh herb add an amazing freshness to this dish.

4 thin slices of veal scalloppini
4 celery leaves
4 slices provolone cheese
4 slices prosciutto
4 Shenandoah Growers sage leaves 
4 Shenandoah Growers large basil leaves
Parmesan cheese
Alili olive oil
wine to taste
Arrange the veal slices on a clean cutting board or dish. Place the celery leaves, provolone cheese, prosciutto, sage leaves, parsley, Parmesan cheese, and basil leaves in the center of each slice.

Roll into little bundles and secure with toothpicks. Heat oil and butter in a heavy skillet until hot and add veal bundles. Cook until well done and before removing from heat, splash with white wine and reduce for 3-4 minutes until a light sauce is evident. Sprinkle with salt and pepper if desired. Serve hot with gnocchi.

Check out "A Rustic Roman Afternoon" episode with my special guest Patricia Sanitate from Capital Cuisine. You can learn this recipe and more on Capital Cooking.

Did you go to the Metro Show? Cranberry Sangria

Apron by Bee-Bop and photo by Emily Clack
The Metro Show was a huge success again!  Thank you so much to everyone who attended my Holiday Cocktail demonstration.  
Demonstrating 11 Pipers Piping with Piper Sonoma and photo by Emily Clack

We had a blast serving up some of the 12 Cocktails of Christmas and selling out of my first batch of books.   I couldn't have done it without the help and support of my fabulous team. Thank you to Emily Clack, Diana Blass, Caitlin Smith, Paula Tulis, Simone Meadow and Kristen Finn.

We started our demo with the Cranberry Sangria from the Capital Cooking Cookbook.  This recipe is perfect for Thanksgiving and throughout the Holiday Season.  
Photo by Emily Clack
 Cranberry Sangria

- 2 cups red wine (Vinbev.com)
- 1 cup Prairie Organic Vodka
- 1/4 cup Mount Gay Eclipse spiced rum
- 1 shot Cointreau
- 2 1/2 cup Cranberry Juice
- 1/2 cup fresh cranberries
- 1 cup Piper Sonoma  sparkling wine

In a large punch bowl, add all ingredients except for the sparkling wine and chill. Just before serving, add the sparkling wine. Perfect for a any fall fest! Who doesn’t love sangria?!

Photo by Emily Clack

Special thank you to our sponsors of this demonstration.  Cocktail linens were provided by Bee-Bop's Party Wear.  Spirits and Champagne were provided by Piper Sonoma, Beefeater 24, 360 Vodka, Cointreau, Mount Gay Rum,  Prairie Organic Vodka, Disaronno Amaretto, Vinbev.com, and Bailey's.  

Find out what else we made and more about the show throughout the week.

Review: Buddha Bar DC

Photo by Emily Clack
Initial thoughts:

  • Design and Decor:  Dark lighting, Asian inspired and mysterious.  Really large space.
  • Wait:  Not long, but some confusion with the hostess about our reservation.
  • Food:  Excellent!
  • Drinks:  I loved the Sparkling Flowers Sake
  • Price:  Most entrees around $30
  • Service:  Servers were very friendly.  Hostesses, not so much.
  • Would I go back?  Yes. 

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Thanksgiving Deals

So if you're deciding not to cook this year, check out some of these delicious deals for Thanksgiving.
Photo by Emily Clack

BGR: The Burger Joint will feature a special “Thanksgiving on a Bun” burger ($9.99), a turkey burger topped with cranberry sauce, turkey gravy, and cornbread stuffing; and the delicious “Pumpkin Pie Shake” ($4.99), vanilla ice cream and homemade pumpkin pie, throughout November, in addition to the regular menu at all locations. BGR’s Pumpkin Pie Shake is their most popular and best-selling shake of the year. Sounds really good to me!

This Thanksgiving, Buddha-Bar DC provides an alternative option to cooking at home – a sumptuous, three-course Thanksgiving Dinner menu. The menu infuses traditional Thanksgiving fare with Buddha-Bar DC’s signature Asian-fusion influence. The prix fixe menu includes a Roasted Kabocha Squash Soup; Peking Duck with Cranberry Plum Sauce and Spiced Sweet Potato; and a Pumpkin Crème Brûlée, served with American Coffee or Tea for $75 per person. All other beverages are charged based on consumption. The regular à la carte menu will also be available.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Get your pie before Thursday!

Photo by Emily Clack
 Picture Perfect Pumpkin, Harvest Apple Crumb, Oh So Sweet Potato, Southern Pecan and decadent Creamy Chocolate Covered Cheesecake 
Available for Sale through November 18th
WHAT:    On Friday, October 1st, Food and Friends, the only organization in the National Capital Region providing home-delivered meals and groceries to people living with HIV/AIDS, cancer and other life challenging illnesses, launches its fourth annual Slice of Life Thanksgiving pie sale – Presented by Walmart. 
Members of the public can support Food and  Friends’ large-scale effort to deliver one million nutritious meals this year to those in the community most in need by purchasing pies during the fundraiser. The goal this year is to sell more than 6,000 pies. Each pie purchased will provide ONE FULL DAY of MEALS for a Food and Friends client.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

What's For Lunch?

Oya Restaurant adds appetizing additions to their signature $10 To-GO-Lunch-in-a-Bag. The already affordable and custom-built lunches are now extra pleasing with even more delectable sushi.

The Asian Fusion Restaurant aims to tantalize your day with their three-course lunch bags. First, choose your craving of either Sushi, an Entrée Salad, or a Sandwich. Next, OYA adds some of their specialities of Artisan Chips, Seaweed Salad, and Edamame with Sushi. And, to top off your mid-day delight, choose between mini Banana Bread Pudding, Molten Chocolate Cake, or Fresh Fruit and Granola Parfait.

The menu still keeps the old favorites, including: Spicy Crunchy Shrimp, Crispy Tuna, and Rock N Roll Sushi, and now further brightens our taste buds with options such as the: Hamachi Jalapeño, Short Rib Tempura, Spicy Chicken Brown Rice, Maryland Crab, and much more.

Visit Oya Restaurant, and decide if this can be your easy solution to a hectic day. The Restaurant lies within D.C.’s Penn Quarter Neighborhood at 777 9th Street NW. For more information, or to order a take out, call 202-393-1400 or visit www.oyadc.com

Friday, November 12, 2010

There's no place like home: St. Louis

I can't go home without making my first stop at Lion's Choice.  There is nothing like a roast beef sandwich with cheddar.  Also, you have to love the frozen custard.  I'm getting hungry just writing this.  I love it!!

Lions Choice Restaurant on Urbanspoon
Lion's Choice
St Charles
3140 Elm Point Industrial Dr
St Charles, MO 63301

Hot lunch spot with delicious food.  Great atmosphere, high ceilings, trendy...  Eleven Eleven does not disappoint with the fresh bread and olive oil with Parmesan cheese.  I loved my shrimp salad.  Nice selection of a variety of lunch options.  It was also fun going back to my old Lafayette Square neighborhood.
Eleven Eleven Mississippi on Urbanspoon
(314) 241-9999
Soulard / Benton Park
1111 Mississippi Ave
St Louis, MO 63104

So cool to have live acoustic guitar and singing during dinner.  He was covering some of my favorite Damien Rice songs.  Cute atmosphere inside of an old house.  Would be a super place for a romantic date.  Excellent Domaine de la Solitude wine from Rhone with grenache, syrah and mourvedre grapes.

The Vine
(636) 946-8463
St Charles
325 S. Main
St Charles, MO 63301

 The Vine on Urbanspoon

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Thanksgiving Side: Mom’s Sweet Potato Casserole

Photo by Cindy Moore
You can’t help but pile on spoonful after spoonful of this delicious Sweet Potato Casserole.  It is almost a dessert.  The secret ingredient is the bananas.  They add some natural sweetness.  This year we're going back to Iowa to celebrate with my in-laws.

4-5 medium sweet potatoes
4 bananas
¼ cup honey
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 eggs
1 stick butter

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Prick the sweet potatoes all over with a fork. Put them in a roasting pan and roast for 30 minutes. Toss the bananas into the pan and continue roasting for 10 to 15 minutes, until both the bananas and potatoes are very soft. Remove the pan from the oven but don't turn the oven off. Scoop out potatoes and peel bananas and add them to mixing bowl with other ingredients and blend with electric mixer. Pour into 13x9 buttered casserole dish.

1 Cup flour
1 Cup Brown Sugar
1 Cup pecans
1 stick of butter, softened
Mix the topping together and sprinkle on top of the sweet potatoes. Bake for 30 minutes. Serve warm.

* You could add cinnamon to the mixture too for added flavor.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Farmland Feast Re-Cap

FRESHFARM Markets’ Farmland Feast was on November 1, showcasing local foods and wines, as well as the chefs and sommeliers who love to serve them.

The evening featured a five-course seasonal dinner, sourced primarily from local family farms and served with local wines from Virginia and Maryland, along with a seasonal cocktail at the reception.

Chefs for the 2010 Feast were :  Will Artley-Evening Star Cafe, Danny Bortnick-Firefly, Richard Brandenburg-Café Atlántico, Stefano Frigerio-Copper Pot Food Company, Elizabeth Gallery-Stone Soup Bistro, Carla Hall-Alchemy Caterers (I loved her tortellini), Mike Lund-Zynodoa, Tiffany MacIsaac-Birch and Barley (Amazing Roasted Pear dessert), Pedro Matamoros-8407 kitchen bar, Sina Molavi-Occasions Caterers, Bryan Moscatello-Potenza, Nicholas Stefanelli-Bibiana Osteria and Enoteca, David Varley-Bourbon Steak and Robert Wiedmaier-Marcel’s Restaurant, Brasserie Beck, BRABO and Mussel Bar by RW. 

All the wine served at the Farmland Feast is exclusively from local Virginia and Maryland wineries, featuring Black Ankle, Barboursville, Boxwood Topiary 2009, King Family and Thibaut Janisson vineyards.

The event was a huge success and the chefs did a wonderful job for a great cause!

Boxwood Winery Tastings

This weekend begins 10 for $10 Super Tastings at The Tasting Room Wine Bars and Shops of Middleburg, Reston, and Chevy Chase.

Come in to The Tasting Rooms this weekend to taste 10 fabulous wines (whites, sparkling, and reds) from around the world for $10.  All are special selections perfect for your holiday celebrations and
discussed with food pairing suggestions.

Attendees will receive special case prices for wine purchases.

Middleburg, Friday, November 12, 2010, 5-6 pm
Chevy Chase, Saturday, November 13, 2010, 1-2 pm
Reston, Saturday, November 13, 2010 3-4 pm

Space is limited, please email your reservation to