Saturday, April 30, 2011

Spring Means Fresh

 It’s finally Spring, and here in DC that means warm weather, lots of sun, cherry blossom trees, and the return of fresh farmers market produce!
Farmers markets can seem overwhelming with their interesting variety of vegetables, but these simple recipes fit well with any fresh vegetable, leave, or herb you can find at the dozens of markets around DC!

Friday, April 29, 2011

Thinking of Drinking: Thorny Rose from Ardeo+Bardeo

So if you aren't in the mood for a margarita, here's a different tequila cocktail that would also be great for Cinco de Mayo. 

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Charity Event: Kidsave's Best Main Dish

  • Who: Consumers and those who appreciate good food and a worthy cause as well as members of the press are invited.
  • What: The Main Dish for Kidsave proceeds will benefit Kidsave, a 501(c) (3) non-profit organization working to move older children out of orphanages and foster care and into permanent, loving families.  
  • When: Tuesday, May 3, 2011, 7:00 to 10:00 pm 
  • Where: The Washington Post Conference Center, 1150 15th St. NW, Washington, DC 20071 
  • Why:  To ensure that all children grow up with caring parents who can help them reach their potential
  • Price: Tickets are $95 per person or $180 per couples  
For more information, please email Terry Baugh at or call 202-503-3111 or Jessica Outer at or call 202-253-3838.


Capital Cooking's Lauren DeSantis is participating in the Great Grapes event in Reston, VA. Join Lauren on Sunday, May 1 at 1:30 p.m. as she demonstrates wine to pair with three recipes from the Capital Cooking Cookbook including:  tzatziki, Ceviche and Heirloom Tomato and Watermelon Salad.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011


Come to Eatonville tonight for the Coconut Cake Challenge!  I'll be judging to help find the best Coconut Cake to be featured on Eatonville's Menu.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Event: Sweetgreen's Sweetlife Festival this Sunday

Sweetgreen (, will feature The Strokes as headliner, plus Girl Talk, Lupe Fiasco, Crystal Castles, Cold War Kids, Ra Ra Riot, Theophilus London and Walk the Moon at the Sweetlife Festival. Local favorites US Royalty and Modern Man will also perform. The festival is scheduled for Sunday, May 1st at Merriweather Post Pavilion in Columbia, MD from 1pm to 11pm. Visit to buy tickets for the general public for $55.  

Monday, April 25, 2011

Eat the Vote

Photo by Emily Clack of Gina Chersevani's famous punch
Don't be the only one in the office on RAMMY Election Day without a coveted "I Voted" sticker! The Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington encourages food-lovers to "Eat the Vote" and cast a ballot for the 2011 publicly voted RAMMY categories of Hottest Restaurant Bar Scene, Power Spot and Neighborhood Gathering Place.

Sunday, April 24, 2011


On Sunday, May 1st from 3-5PM, Domaso, a Kimpton Restaurant, is hosting its first annual Top Dog Half-Smoke Challenge, a charity fundraiser in which 11 renowned area chefs will showcase their interpretations of DC’s iconic local dish.

A Very Sweet Read

For those who follow baking competitions or who are looking for a fun book to enjoy, be sure to check out author Beth Kendrick's new novel, The Bake-Off, available in stores May 3rd, 2011.
Kendrick tells the story of two estranged sisters who are secretly entered into a baking competition by their grandmother. While trying to figure out how to make the perfect pie crust, sisters Amy and Linnie also learn more about themselves and discover the importance of family.

Kendrick, who loves both baking and writing, manages to combine the two into one yummy story. For more information, visit

Saturday, April 23, 2011


Initial Thoughts:
  • Recipes:  Ingredients that are accessible and recipes you'd want to make
  • Photos:  I wish there were more photos of the finished dishes.  Some of the techniques seemed a bit tricky, but could have been less intimidating with a step-by-step photo demonstration.
  • Size:  Nice large cookbook
This book gives you ideas how to make everyday recipes into something a little more special for your entertaining occasions. 

Thursday, April 21, 2011

2011 DC Embassy Chef Challenge: Re-cap

Cultural Tourism DC's third edition of Embassy Chef Challenge, was a huge success!    
 Chef Lars Beese, Royal Danish Embassy, won it all with his Creamy asparagus soup and roast duck with apple plum chutney.  The Nordic Countries are on a roll.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Easter Menu

My family is getting in tomorrow.  This year for Easter, I'm going to make:
Green Bean Casserole (Check in tomorrow for the recipe)
Potato Gratin
Aunt Linda's Award Winning Carrot Cake

Limoncello Sparklers
Carrot Cake Shooters (Check back on Friday for the recipe)
Peep-tinis (Check back Friday for the recipe)

How about you?

Iceland: Lava Restaurant at the Blue Lagoon

Sorry for the delay.  It is taking me a while to go through all of the menus and my notes to tell the story of Iceland.  To catch up, we had spent the morning relaxing in the steamy waters of the Blue Lagoon.  So after having some fun soaking in the Blue Lagoon, I had more judging to do at Lava for Food and Fun 2011LAVA Restaurant at Blue Lagoon offers a unique dining experience. It is built into the cliff so it features a natural lava wall and the view overlooks the lagoon, adding to its uniqueness.  It is absolutely stunning!
 Our DC friend Kaz Ocokhi started us out with a seafood ceviche with cheese bread.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Contest: The Beef Checkoff Returns to National Harbor for the 4th Annual Wine and Food Festival on May 14 and 15

The Beef Checkoff, through the Northeast Beef Promotion Initiative (, is looking to spice up this grilling season with a challenge to chefs around the Beltway that will culminate in a cook-off in the Beef. It’s What’s For Dinner.™ tent at this year’s National Harbor Wine and Food Festival on May 15th.  I'll be there on the 14th presenting my "Spring is in the Air with Wine to Pair" demonstration as well.

Super Cute Spot for Date Night: Et Voila

Photos by Lauren DeSantis
Initial Thoughts:
  • Design and Decor:  40 seat charismatic Belgian bistro perfect for a romantic evening
  • Food:  Authentic Belgian fare with French influence
  • Drinks:  A+ for beer, wine and spirits.   
  • Prices:  Very reasonable
  • Would I go back?  Yes.  
Not only is Et Voila a date night, but the restaurant is now offering a new expanded mussel menu.  You can begin the meal with a mini-mussel burger served with sweet potato fries.  

Monday, April 18, 2011

Cure and Cities

I've been eating my way around town since I got back from Iceland and found some fun new places.  
Photo by Kristen Finn

Cure is a beautiful spot in the Grand Hyatt Hotel offering delicious food and healthy cocktails.
Cure Bar and Bistro Photos by Kristen Finn

Spring Cleaning: Diet

New York Times Best Seller, Tosca Reno, has just come out with the her latest book: The Eat Clean Diet Stripped - Peel Off Those Last 10 Pounds!

With summer just around the corner, Reno's guide helps those getting ready for bathing suit weather to shed those last couple of pounds. In the 28 Day Strip, you eat more of the right foods in order to trick your body into losing weight. The book also reveals weight-loss secrets of the physique industry and which natural herbs can really pump up your metabolism.

Reno, herself, spent a portion of life being overweight. As she learned to begin clean eating, the pounds came off. Now, she wants to share her secret with others in the same struggle.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Bethesda Central Farm Market

There's no better way to spend a weekend morning than strolling around the local farmer's market--especially when spring comes to DC. Be sure to stop by Bethesda Central Farm Market on a Sunday between 9:00 am-11:00 am. The market is located on Elm Street between Wisconsin and Woodmont Avenues. Some of the specials include the Maryland wine showcase, Kid's Club, and Strawberry Month Celebration (coming later in the summer).

The Bethesda Central Farm Market features:

  • Organic and naturally grown produce
  • Beef, pork, lamb, poultry, and eggs
  • Fresh flowers
  • Bread and baked goods, artisan cheese, freshly roasted coffee
For more information, visit

    Mark Your Calendars: Clarendon's Patio Opening Pig Party

    This upcoming Thursday, April 21st, Clarendon's 3 will host its Patio Opening Pig Party!

    The event will feature a whole smoked pig, appearances from the Hogettes (Redskin Super Fans), and DC 106.7 Radio.

    Head over to 3: 2950 Clarendon Blvd., Arlington, VA from 4 p.m. - 8 p.m. for pulled pork sandwiches, $3 beer drafts, $5 featured wines

    For more information, go to

    Not Your Typical Culinary Reading

    In his new book, The Meals of War, Culinary writer Kent Whitaker explores how the U.S. food industry was shaped by World War II. With more than 11,000,000 men and women to feed in the armed services, the food production industry had to transform and adapt. Food acted as a bonding force as well as a luxury that excluded those who could not afford to have the most basic ingredients. Stories from the troops as well as recipes from the time are included in this book that covers the entire span of WWII.

    For an interesting read that encompasses both history and food, definitely check this book out after its release coming in July 2011.

    Friday, April 15, 2011

    Thinking of Drinking: Strawberry Field Cocktail

    Photo by Emily Clack
    If you've been following Capital Cooking, you know I love making cocktails.  I've decided to start a weekly Friday post called, "Thinking of Drinking," to give you some ideas about what you can do when you get off work after a long week.  I'm planning to feature some of my own signature creations, some from top mixologists around town and some from readers.  So if you'd like to be featured on "Thinking of Drinking," send me an email with your amazing cocktail along with a photo and we can share your recipe on Capital Cooking.

    Thursday, April 14, 2011

    Meet Chef Jan-Erik Hauge from The Royal Norwegian Embassy

    Chef Jan-Erik Hauge from The Royal Norwegian Embassy was a competitor in the 2011 DC Embassy Chef Challenge.  His salmon dish brought back memories of the New Nordic cuisine I tasted in Iceland.  Chef Jan-Erik Hauge showed an early love for cooking. His first job was at a seafood restaurant where he started as a busboy and rose through the ranks to kitchen assistant. Chef Hauge went on to study culinary arts while in high school and through apprenticeships with many accomplished chefs, including Master Chef Odd Ivar Solvold at the restaurant Mathuset Solvold, where he also worked as a cook. Chef Hauge has worked as the head chef at The Royal Norwegian Embassy since August 2010.

    Wednesday, April 13, 2011

    Spotlight: Mary Kong

    Photo by Duane Heaton
    Meet Mary of Girl Meets Food.  Not only is Mary an amazing masseuse, but she is also an excellent food writer. 

    How did you get into blogging?
    Due to my love of writing and eating, my Boyfriend Extraordinaire (who is known to readers only as Ken Noli) suggested that blogging would be a natural fit and creative outlet for me.  He was right.

    Amazing Dishes With Less Than 475 Calories: Seasons 52

    Initial Thoughts:
    • Design and Decor:  Warm contemporary design with accents of wood and stone and colorful glass vases.
    • Food:  Every dish has less than 475 calories and I loved everything.
    • Drinks:  The award-winning wine list which is created and developed by Master Sommelier George Miliotes (the 152nd master sommelier in the world) offers a selection of 100 wines, including 60 offered by the glass.
    • Price: Very Reasonable
    • Would I go back?  Yes.
    Photos by Kristen Finn

    I got to check out Seasons 52 at a special press preview.  I was extremely impressed with the flavorful food with no more than 475 calories. Chef Benjamin Erjavec is the Executive Chef Partner of the North Bethesda Market (11414 Rockville Pike in North Bethesda, across from White Flint Mall) location.  Seasons 52 has an amazing wine selection.

    Tuesday, April 12, 2011

    Meet Chef Frida Johansson from the Embassy of Sweden

    The big DC Embassy Chef Competition is tonight.  Chef Frida Johansson is competing for the Embassy of  Sweden.   Chef Frida Johansson has experience preparing everything from breakfast buffets to desserts for nightclubs. Chef Johansson studied at the Hotel and Restaurant School in Götebor, Sweden and served as a trainee in Antwerp, Belgium at Restaurant Kommilfoo and Restaurant Bernardin. In addition to her studies in Belgium, she has worked in Italy, Austria, New Zealand, and her home country of Sweden. Chef Johansson has added the United States to that list; she is now the private chef for Swedish Ambassador Jonas Hafström and Mrs. Hafström at the Swedish Residence.

    Monday, April 11, 2011

    Asia Nine Celebrates Songkran – Thai New Year – April 11-17

    Photo by Emily Clack
    Asia Nine will celebrate the Thai New Year – called Songkran – from Monday, April 11 through Sunday, April 17. Chef and Co-Owner Boonrod Yotmanee (Chef Rod) has created a four-course prix fixe menu to celebrate the occasion, priced at $39.

    Meet Chef Michael Nathan Adderley

    The big DC Embassy Chef Competition is tomorrow.  Chef Michael Nathan Adderley is competing for the Embassy of The Commonwealth of The Bahamas.   Chef Michael Nathan Adderley began his culinary studies at the Hotel Training School, run by Cornell University and Florida University. He worked at the Balmoral Beach Resort, Emerald Beach Resort, Paradise Island Resort, the Restaurant Frilsham House, the Nassau Beach Hotel, the world famous Cat Cay Club, Royal Towers, Atlantis Resort, and many more. Chef Adderley has competed in team and individual culinary competitions, bringing home many wins as both a team captain and individual competitor.  Capital Cooking asked Chef Adderley a few questions about Bahamian cuisine and the competition.

    Wednesday, April 6, 2011

    Overview: The Source

    Initial Thoughts:
    • Design and Decor:  Modern with great natural light
    • Food:  Modern Asian
    • Drinks:  Lunchtime, so I'll have to go back.
    • Would I go back?  Yes 

    I was delighted to dine at Wolfgang Puck's The Source for lunch with Amber Pfau and Sangeetha Sarma of Pfau Communications.  The lighting is phenomenal with floor-ceiling-windows. I was excited to meet Scott Drewno who was recently crowned DC's Prince of Porc at Cochon 555.  
    Photos by Kristen Finn

    Tuesday, April 5, 2011

    Best Event of the Year: Embassy Chef Challenge 2011

    Cultural Tourism DC dishes up a third edition of Embassy Chef Challenge, their annual culinary competition for world-class, Washington, DC embassy chefs. Embassy chefs representing a sampling of cuisines from around the world will showcase their global flavor to impress a panel of celebrity judges and more than 400 guests in competition for the coveted Judge’s Choice Award and People’s Choice Award.  This is my FAVORITE culinary event of the year.  The Embassy Chef Challenge captures the theme of the Capital Cooking Show and explores the cultural riches of our nation's capital through food by exploring the food of countries from all around the world.

    Embassy Chef Challenge 2011 will be held Tuesday, April 12 from 6:30 to 10:00 pm in the atrium of the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center, 1300 Pennsylvania Ave, NW. The 2011 Embassy Chef Challenge is co-hosted by Cultural Tourism DC and the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center.

    Taste The Wow

    I recently attended the health and fitness expo, where I found the Avocados from Mexico’s Taste-Mobile. It is not everyday you see a large van at the D.C. Armory, but it certainly proved to be a winning attraction. People received free samples and got inside tips on preparing an avocado.

    This stop is apart of a multi-city tour, called Taste the Wow . It was put on by Avocado’s from Mexico, a company focusing on the nutritional benefits within an avocado and the best recipes for them. This particular tour is promoting Chef Roberto Sanitbanez’s new cookbook, Truly Mexican. The book features his five commandments when it comes to authentic Mexican cooking along with his adoration of The Amazing Avocado.

    At Friday’s stop, Chef Sanitbanez was offering samples of his gazpacho soup with avocados. As a natural fan of anything made with avocados, I knew I was going to enjoy it. The rich and creamy recipe was refreshing and tasty. The recipe seems perfect for the approaching spring and summer days.

    For more information on the gazpacho recipe or other avocado-filled delicacies visit the website at

                                                                The Remaining Tour Stops include:

    April 8 - 10 Southern Womens Show Raleigh, NC
    May 21 - 22 Atlanta Food & Wine Festival Atlanta, GA

    Monday, April 4, 2011

    Friday, April 1, 2011


    Initial Thoughts:
    • Design and Decor:  Cozy setting with beautiful Italian artwork
    • Food:  Coal fired pizza
    • Drinks:  Excellent wine and cocktails options
    • Service:  Friendly and fun
    • Would I go back?  Yes. 
    We walked into Tagolio Pizzeria and Enoteca and were greeted by Carla Warner and Tagolio's Founder, Gil Fornaris.  

    We loved the homemade Focaccia with Italian olive oil.  
    It went well with the beautiful red wine and signature cocktails.

    Pretty much everything is made in-house including the creamy burrata cheese (he must have known the way to my heart) to the Caponata.  

    In January 2009, Gil Fornaris found this great location in the heart of "restaurant row" in Crystal City and decided to open a coal fired pizzeria and enoteca.   Gil is extremely welcoming and friendly with a fabulous knowledge about food.
    Born and raised in Nice, France, minutes from the Italian border and where pizza and Italian food are a way of life, Fornaris grew up working as a "pizzaiolo" with a gentleman from Napoli named Giuseppe Tagolio.  

     He quickly developed a deep love of Neapolitan pizza which eventually led him to open up Tagolio. Tagolio not only offers pizza, but they also make wonderful seafood including these scallops and shrimp with marinated tomatoes and arugula pesto.

    You can't leave Tagolio without tasting the delightful cannoli.

    We'll be back again soon for seconds.  Tagolio will also be offering Italian cooking classes.  More information on the classes will be coming soon.

    TAGOLIO PIZZERIA & ENOTECA is located at 549 S 23rd St in Arlington, VA.  The restaurant serves dinner Monday-Thursday from 4:00 pm to 10:00 pm, Saturday from 11:00 am to 11:00 pm and on Sunday from 3:00 pm to 9:30 pm.  

    Patrons can also enjoy lunch and dinner service on Fridays from 11:30 am to 11:00 pm or Tagolio's Sunday Italian Brunch from 10:00 am to 3:00 pm.  Private dining is offered in their upstairs Barolo Room, where gusts can custom tailor a menu for their special occasion and accommodate up to 30 seated guest and 50 cocktail reception-style.

    Tagolio Pizzeria on Urbanspoon

     Photos by Emily Clack

    Coming Soon: Rogue 24

    Photo by Emily Clack
    We've been waiting... If you haven't already heard, James Beard award-winning chef, RJ Cooper, will open Rogue 24, a 52-seat urban fine dining restaurant in Washington, DC the spring. Under his vision, the chef and owner will offer a “theater-in-the-round” 24-course interactive dining experience. The open kitchen, situated in the center of the dining room, invites guests seated around the kitchen stage to interact with Chef Cooper and his culinary artisans as they craft each course and beverage pairing for the 24-act performance.