Friday, December 31, 2010

Invitation from Founding Farmers

On Monday, January 3, Chef Robert Irvine will showcase Founding Farmers' Devil-ish Eggs Combo for The Best Thing I Ever Ate reinvented classics episode. Chef Irvine sampled the decadent snacks while visiting Washington, DC. 

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

TLC / Picky Eaters Audition

Are you addicted to one specific food? Do you over eat?  Do your friends and family think your eating habits aren’t “normal”?   If so, you may be just what we are looking for!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Smith Commons hopes to be open by New Years Eve

Smith Commons was officially planning to open  its doors to the H St. corridor dining scene on Tuesday, December 21, but have since had to postpone due to final inspections. The three-level vintage building underwent a complete renovation, transformed from a carpet warehouse to a contemporary neighborhood bistro.  The dining room and public house, a culinary destination in the Atlas Arts District, will open at 5:00 pm daily, Tuesday through Sunday to offer a worldly menu and extensive list of craft beers, wines and artisanal cocktails.

Acapulco Gold Margarita

Photo by Kristen Finn
Check out Andrew Holt's Acapulco Gold Margarita at the Redline Gastrolounge.

1 1/2 oz Patron/Corzo Reposado Tequila
1/2 oz Cointreau
1/2 of fresh squeezed lime juice.
Glass- chilled Martini- Optional Salt on rim

Add spirits and lime juice into a cocktail shaker, add ice, shake well, double strain into chilled martini glass. Garnish with a lime wheel.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Whole Grain Einkorn Pasta

Jovial presents First Ever™ Whole Grain Einkorn Pasta, made from the world’s most ancient wheat, first cultivated 12,000 years ago at the birth of agriculture.  

I tried using some of the Jovial Whole Grain Einkorn Pasta to make my Mom's Chicken Tetrazzini and it was delicious.

4 chicken breasts
2 bouillon cubes
9 ounces of Jovial Whole Grain Einkorn spaghetti
1 stick of butter
6 oz cheddar cheese
6 oz Velveeta
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 large can of evaporated milk
8 oz of sliced mushrooms
2 packs of Townhouse Crackers
For this dish, we will preheat our oven to 350. You must start by boiling 4 chicken breasts in a large pot of water with two bouillon cubes for 40 minutes. I have already done that and I’ve also diced the chicken into bite-sized pieces. We have to butter the bottom of a 13x9 pan and place the pieces of the chicken on the bottom. 
Next, we need to boil 9 ounces of thin spaghetti in the same water that you used for the chicken. We will place the noodles on top of the chicken. Then we will take a large pot and melt one stick of butter and 6 oz of cheddar cheese and 6 oz of Velveeta. Always try to use butter if you can to avoid the trans fat. We will stir it until blended and then add 1 can of cream of mushroom soup and 1 large can of evaporated milk. Add 8 oz of sliced mushrooms to the sauce. Once blended we will pour it over the noodles and take a fork to poke food until the sauce soaks to the bottom of the dish. We will top it with crumbled town house crackers. Then we’ll bake it on 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes.

Jovial Whole Grain Einkorn Pasta is available in five varieties: Rigatoni, Penne Rigate, Fusilli, Spaghetti and Linguine. The pastas range from $3.39-3.69 per 12 oz box and are available at Whole Foods nationwide.

Ancient grains are inherently more nutritious than modern varieties. Einkorn is the most ancient wheat. It is more nutritious on many levels than modern organic wheat, and even outperforms other “superfoods” including the blueberry in its nutritional value.  Although Einkorn is a healthy source of dietary fiber, it does not have a grainy or gritty texture. Packed with protein, B vitamins and minerals, a meal with Einkorn pasta is very sustaining.

Einkorn Nutritional Highlights
  • High in Thiamin, essential dietary and trace minerals.
  • Good source of protein, dietary fiber and a number of B Vitamins.
  • Higher Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity (ORAC-antioxidant capacities) twice that of durum and bread wheat.
  • Higher content of tocotrienols than other species of wheat, a potent form of Vitamin E.
  • Lower percentage of nutrient loss during processing
  • One 2oz. serving contains as much of the antioxidant Lutein as a whole egg (which provides nutritional support to our eyes and skin).
For more information please visit

Friday, December 17, 2010

Beautiful New Event Space Opens in Penn Quarter

Museum, an upscale private event space and lounge opens in Penn Quarter at 915 F Street.  Museum is located in the same building which housed the clubs the Bank and the Fifth Column. 

The turn of the century bank building has undergone a pain-staking restoration to bring it back to its neo-classical architectural roots while still incorporating modern design elements.  The original glass roof has been restored, and period railings, doors, and molding have been updated and installed.

Mixologist Max Taylor will create classic pre-prohibition cocktails.  Museum will feature craft bartending offering innovative and unique formulations.  Museum’s exclusive caterer is Design Cuisine.

There is a total of 2,730 sq. ft. of function space in three areas; the banking hall, the gallery, and the board room.  The rooms seat 100 - 116 people in the banking hall, 80 - 96 in the gallery, and 20 - 36 in the board room.

For more information about the Museum, log on to

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Photo by Bryn Barber


Initial thoughts:
  • Design and Decor: Rustic urban interior framed with exposed brick, mahogany flooring and 23-foot-high ceilings with televisions everywhere
  • Food:  Upscale bar food
  • Drinks:  Beer taps at your table
  • Price:  Moderate
  • Service:  Friendly
  • Would I go back?  Yes
Photo by Kristen Finn
Redline Gastrolounge is conveniently located right off of the red line metro stop in Chinatown where IndeBleu used to be.  This is the place where you definitely want to watch your next game (33 HDTV plasma screen televisions, a 22-foot-long customizable 'ticker' and two Las Vegas-style electronic display boards).  How many times have you been at a sports bar and waited forever to get another beer because it is too crowded?  Too many for me.  At Redline, there are 8 premium booths fitted with the "Personal Table Tap" system, and guests are invited to pour their own draft beers and enjoy a no-wait standard of service. The amount of beer dispensed from each table tap is recorded and displayed on an electronic meter embedded into the table enabling both guests and wait staff to monitor consumption.  AWESOME!
Not only does Redline have the personal table taps, but Executive Chef Fabrice Reymond created a menu that offers your staple bar options, but other dishes as well with an upscale twist.  My favorite was the jumbo lump crab cake corn avocado salad with tartar sauce.  I also loved the marinated boneless beef short ribs that tasted tender and delicious.  The seasonal mushroom in a puff pastry is rich and earthy.  Also try the Thai Chicken skewers, Buffalo chicken wings, Tuna Tartar Spring Rolls marinated with mustard oil, sesame oil, and shallots and chicken pesto sandwich.  They also have some amazing desserts.
The late-night crowd will enjoy listening to well-known local and national DJs who will spin crowd favorites as the atmosphere commands. If you're lucky you'll get to watch Chef Fabrice bust some moves with his world class break
Redline is located at 707 G Street, NW, Washington, DC 20001, across the street from the Verizon Center, National Portrait Gallery and Gallery Place-Chinatown Metro Stations (Red, Green and Yellow Lines). Redline opens daily at 4 pm Monday through Friday, and noon on the weekends. For reservations, e-mail or call 202-543-1724. The website is
Redline Gastrolounge on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Are you ready for some delicious comfort food?

Photo by Emily Clack
Initial thoughts:
  • Design and Decor:  Diner-style feel
  • Wait:  Not bad
  • Food:  American Classics
  • Drinks:  Delicious classical American cocktails
  • Price:  Moderate
  • Service:  Friendly
  • Would I go back?  Yes
Photos by Emily Clack

Find all of the comforts of home with fresh seasonal ingredients at the Majestic I was lucky enough to  cook with Chef Shannon Overmiller on our American Classics episode of Capital Cooking in 2008, so I knew we were in for a treat.   This is also the perfect time of the year to try out the Majestic because the cold makes us crave comfort food.

Staying true to each season, Chef Shannon Overmiller is wrapping up the fall menu with Lamb Loin Carpaccio with caper-berries, preserved lemon and mint, mini toasted croutons and olives and a hearty.  Hurry in fast so you can give this dish a try.  The Spanish Iberico Pork Cheeks with chestnut puree, Brussel sprouts and bacon are so tender that they melt in your mouth.  The Majestic stays true to the classic American cocktails with their Blood and Sand (Famous Grouse, Juaquine’s Cherry Brandy, Vya Sweet and OJ) and I loved the Gin Sling.  You can't go wrong with the Fried Green Tomatoes with a polenta cake and sweet pepper marmalade.  These were similar to the ones we made on the show, but with a seasonal twist.  You can find the recipe in the Capital Cooking Cookbook.  My 2 favorite dishes of the evening were the Wild Mushroom Lasagna (rich, creamy and earthy flavors with a basil bechamel) and the Chesapeake Bay Stew.  All of the dishes we tasted were perfectly cooked and comforting.  The portions are large so come hungry.  The Majestic will soon be transitioning to new winter items.  Head over to Alexandria now to enjoy a delicious meal and view the holiday lights.

 Majestic on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Episode Planning: Burgers and Shakes

Photo by Emily Clack
We've been taking a filming break to promote the Capital Cooking Cookbook.  The break will end in January when we begin filming two new episodes.  We are gearing up for Burgers and Shakes and Sweet Endings.  One of our new assistant producers, Kathryn Ruleman, is helping with Burgers and Shakes.  There are so many burger joints popping up around DC so I thought it would be fun to learn a few recipes to make at home.  I'm inviting a special guest on the show to from BGR reveal his recipe for a delicious burger and fries.  We are also going to make some fried pickles with Miss Jenny.  Then I'm going to show you how to make an "adult" milkshake using Sunland Peanut butter. 

Special thanks to our episode sponsors, Miss Jenny's Pickles and Sunland Peanut Butter

Also, not only will you be able to catch this upcoming episode on the Dish Network, starting in January, you'll be able to see all of the Capital Cooking episodes on TBD TV (Channel 8) on Comcast, Verizon FIOS, RCN, Cox and more.  We'll be airing every Saturday and Sunday.  More details coming soon!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Fun Weekend for Cooking

Photo by Bryn Wallace
I had a really fun weekend because I got to cook a lot and that makes me happy.  Lately I've been so busy, that I haven't got a chance to spend as much time in the kitchen as I would like.  

Friday afternoon started off right with my work holiday party at Taberna del Alabardero.  All of the food was delicious and we loved the Sangria.  

Later, we headed home to work on some cocktail recipes.  I'm going to be working with Shenandoah Growers on our next episode and I have to perfect a Thin-Mintini for my Sweet Endings episode in January.  So, I tried muddling fresh mint in the bottom of the glass and then mixing it with 360 Chocolate Vodka and Bailey's, but the flavor is just not minty enough.  I'm going to try infusing the vodka with the mint for a few days and see if that works out better.  

Friday, December 10, 2010

Executive Chef Demetrio Zavala joins Hudson Restaurant and Lounge

Managing partner Alan Popovsky of the Hudson shared some details about the upcoming restaurant opening, Lincoln.  Chef Demetrio will soon oversee the kitchens of both Hudson and its sister restaurant LINCOLN which is scheduled to open in February 2011. We checked out some of the Hudson's new menu items and got to see some of the photos for the soon to open Lincoln located in the spot where Il Mulino used to be.  The Hudson's new menu reflects contemporary American comfort food.  The Lincoln will spotlight local artists including Maggie O'Neill who is assisting with the interior design.  Construction is ongoing so we're looking forward to seeing the new spot in February.  We had fun sampling the dishes.

Hudson Restaurant and Lounge on Urbanspoon
(202) 872-8700
Dupont Circle
2030 M St NW
Washington, DC 20036

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

12 Days of Christmas Cocktails Countdown: 4 Calling Birds

On the fourth day of Christmas my true love gave to me...

4 Calling Birds

Photo by Kristen Finn
You'll love our Cocktail chapter in the Capital Cooking Cookbook.  Everything you need to get ready for the holiday party planning.   

Get the Capital Cooking Cookbook for only $20 from now until Christmas by using this code:  5KCP7TEC!

1 shot 360 vodka
1 shot peach schnapps
2 shots cranberry juice

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

*360 Vodka also has a peach flavor that works great as well.

3 French Hens, Two Turtle Doves and
Partridge in a Pear Tree.

Have a fabulous holiday party and make The 12 Days of Christmas Cocktails for your guests!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

12 Days of Christmas Cocktails Countdown: 3 French Hens

On the third day of Christmas my true love gave to me...

3 French Hens

You'll love our Cocktail chapter in the Capital Cooking Cookbook.  Everything you need to get ready for the holiday party planning.   

Get the Capital Cooking Cookbook for only $20 from now until Christmas by using this code:  5KCP7TEC!

1 shot Exclusiv Vodca
1/2 shot Raspberry Liquor
1/2 shot pineapple juice

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

2 Turtle Doves
and A Partridge in a Pear Tree

It's Time to be 'Wise About Weight' for the Holidays

We all love the holidays, especially the eating. While it's easy to get carried away with the cookies or reach for another helping of mashed potatoes, it is important to maintain awareness of what we eat.

Did you know the size of a standard dinner plate in the 1950s was 9-10 inches? Care to take a guess what it is now? Twelve to fourteen inches! Without even realizing it, we are eating more food at home than ever before. Whether you're planning a holiday feast of your own or visiting family and friends, there's no need to return for seconds because in reality, you've already had them.

Think you can get away with a salad? Better avoid the dressing if you truly want to eat healthy. Twenty years ago a Chicken Caesar Salad was 390 calories. Today, it's 790 calories. Yikes! You'd be better off having a doughnut.

While it is highly unlikely anyone can avoid their favorite foods around the holidays, maintaining exercise is a smart way to remain in control of your lifestyle.

Need help staying in shape or getting there? Contact Justine Moore of Results Gym and consider the Wise About Weight program. By creating a support group and an individualized eating and exercise program, Wise About Weight may be just what you need to combat the holiday binge.

Overview: Bond 45

Photo by Emily Clack

Initial Thoughts:
Food:  Delicious Italian Cuisine
Drinks:  Nice wines, Prosecco and Limoncello
Price:  Standard Steakhouse Prices

When you're in the mood to get out of the city, try heading over to National Harbor.  Bond 45 offers a friendly environment to enjoy good steak and Italian cuisine.  The National Harbor's Christmas Tree shined bright with the colored lights.  We took a brief tour of the restaurant and met some fellow food bloggers in a private dining room.  We were greeted with Prosecco, warm olives and popovers.  Next, we tried many varieties of prosciutto and mozzarella.  My favorite was the Burrata because of the creamy deliciousness.  Bond 45 actually makes it in-house.  The Fravoli is amazing.  Who doesn't enjoy fried artichokes?  So good!

The 101 Layer Lasagna was one of my favorite dishes.  Layer upon layer of homemade pasta just melts in your mouth.  We enjoyed the "Guitar pasta" with jumbo lump crab meat and shrimp consisting of a homemade spaghetti with a sea urchin butter sauce.  The crab steak is an interesting take on a crab cake.  Essentially it is an entire steak of crab.  The sea scallops piccata were perfectly seared and moist.  We also tried the veal chop parmigiana, fried rabbit and prime New York strip.  The meat is flavorful, tender and tasty.  

We tried many desserts and Limoncello.  My favorite was the tiramisu, but I also liked the Panettone and chocolate mousse.

You pretty much can't go wrong at Bond 45.  Stop in and give it a try.

(301) 839-1445
National Harbor
149 Waterfront St.
Oxon Hill, MD 20745
Bond 45 on Urbanspoon

Monday, December 6, 2010

Celebrate the Holidays at the Clifton Inn

Midnight raids on the cookie jar at The Clifton Inn are a time honored tradition for guests at the Relais & Châteaux property located in picturesque Charlottesville, Virginia. While guests are nestled all snug in their beds, Clifton understands that occasionally visions of sweet treats may dance in their heads. From traditional classics that evoke childhood memories like Chocolate Chip and Oatmeal Raisin, to more sophisticated holiday favorites including White Chocolate Macadamia Nut and Cranberry, Pecan Chocolate Chip, the over-sized glass jar perched in the open kitchen is constantly stocked and welcomes late night visits. 
As guests prepare to fill their own kitchens this holiday season, turkey and some mistletoe may make the season bright, but Clifton has wrapped up a festive package sure to dazzle. With Clifton’s Deck the Halls package, available from December 17-19, guests can forget about chestnuts roasting on an open fire, and pick up some epicurean pointers at Clifton’s holiday dinner cooking demo with executive chef Tucker Yoder. In addition to the festive demo, the two night package includes a gingerbread house-making workshop with pastry chef Christine Ward, as well as a three-course dinner for two in addition to daily made-to-order breakfast and afternoon tea.
Whether it’s sating a sweet tooth in the wee hours of the morning, creating a gingerbread house reminiscent of the one that grandma used to have, or even just “the sunshine of a friendly gaze,” there’s something about Clifton that just makes guests feel right at home, [even while they roam,] during the holidays. 
Deck the Halls - Chef’s Holiday Package
December 17-19, 2010
$575 per couple
  • Luxury accommodations for two nights
  • Perfect Holiday Dinner Cooking Demo with executive chef Tucker Yoder
  • Gingerbread House Workshop with pastry chef Christine Ward
  • Three-course dinner for two inspired by the cooking demo
  • Full made-to-order breakfast  and afternoon tea daily
  • Endless cookies from the cookie jar

Based on double occupancy and availability. Excludes tax and gratuity.

The Clifton Inn – Charlottesville, Virginia – – 888.971.1800

12 Days of Christmas: 2 Turtle Doves Cocktail

Photo by Kristen Finn
On the Second Day of Christmas my true love gave to me...

2 Turtle Doves 
From the Capital Cooking Cookbook

1 shot 360 vodka
1 oz coconut cream

1 oz half and half
1/4 oz creme de cacao
Rimming: shaved white chocolate rim

Combine all of the ingredients in a shaker full of ice. Rim the glass with the shaved white chocolate. Strain liquor into the martini glass. Perfect for any holiday party.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Book Review: Eat Clean Cookbook

Initial Thoughts:

Photos:  Beautiful photography throughout the book.

Recipes:  The recipes use a lot of ingredients that I don't typically cook with such as kefir, flaxseeds, Sucanat, rapadura sugar, wheat germ, spelt, kamut, etc.

The Eat Clean Cookbook by Tosca Reno is full of healthy recipes.  I'm more of a fan of moderation rather than completely changing the recipes and ingredients, but maybe that will change when I have children.  My friend Kitty does cook with these types of ingredients and loves it.  Some of the recipes that sounded really good were the eat clean egg strata and the pear and black walnut salad with fig vinegar.  I would even use the J.D. Gourmet Fig Balsamic Vinegar for the dressing.  There are also some cool sections about things like coconuts where Tosca explains why they are healthy and gives tips to use them.  If you are into healthy cooking, this book would be a great choice.  Perfect for a holiday gift.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

The Festival Was Filled with Spirits, Including my Pumpkin Pie Shooter

Crowds filled the beautiful Atrium Ballroom at the Ronald Reagan Building for the Washington D.C. International Wine and Food Festival's Spirit of the Festival.   Each team will provided a food and cocktail pairing for guests to sample. 
I made my Pumpkin Pie Shooter for the guests to try. 
Photos by Emily Clack

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Easy Dessert: Chocolate-Hazelnut and Banana Rolls

1 tube of refrigerated crescent rolls
1 banana
Powdered Sugar
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  Unroll the crescent rolls per package instructions.  Put a dollop of Nocciolata chocolate hazelnut spread in the middle and add a slice of banana.  Wrap the banana and Nocciolata in the pastry dough pinching the edges together.  Bake until golden brown (about 15 minutes).  Remove from the oven and dust with powdered sugar and serve.  So easy and so good!

I recently discovered  Rigoni di Asiago's Nocciolata chocolate hazelnut spread and I'm in love.  
Nocciolata, “The Healthier Nutella” is 100% natural and made only of organic raw materials without the use of chemical processes and do not contain artificial flavors, which could alter its taste. Soft and scented with the flavor of Italian hazelnuts, Nocciolata contains 15% more hazelnut than Nutella, the household name brand in America.   Made with organically produced ingredients, carefully selected and measured, and skillfully combined to create the perfect, creamy consistency, Nocciolata can be enjoyed as a spread on bread, an accompaniment to cakes, crepes or ice cream; and is even used by creative cooks in cooking and baking.