Friday, March 30, 2012

Thinking of Drinking: Death By Chocolate

On our Setting the Mood with Food episode, we combined two aphrodisiacs to make this cocktail, alcohol and chocolate.  The results:  an irresistible drink!  Make sure to tune in next week on WETA Create Channel at 7 p.m. to catch the show.

Thinking of Drinking: Chocolate Covered Cherry Cocktail

Wait until you try this Chocolate Covered Cherry Cocktail that I made.  It is the perfect dessert and will work for a Cherry Blossom themed party.

Opening: Rasika West End

The new Rasika West End officially opens today and I had the pleasure of getting a sneak peek last night.  

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Upcoming Events: Cherry Blossom Menu and More

The special Cherry Blossom 3-course menu at Equinox Restaurant (818 Connecticut Ave., NW) available now through April 27th will celebrate the cherry blossom festival with festive dishes complete with wine pairings. Start with a Cherry Lime Collins Cocktail upon arrival served with Toasted Brioche and Kiln Dried Cherry Tapenade. For the first course, enjoy Ravioli of Lobster and Gulf Prawns with Sumo Citrus Butter, Radish Sprouts, and Fried Nori paired with Momo Sauvignon Blanc, Marlborough 2010. For the main course, enjoy a Slow Cooked Breast of Pennsylvania Pekin Duck with Soba Noodle, Shiso, Nameko Mushrooms, and Black Tea Broth paired with Carmel Roast Pinot Noir, Monterey 2010. To conclude, enjoy a Bittersweet Chocolate Tart with Yuzu Curd Geltao and Coaco Coulis paired with Elio Perone Biagro, Italy 2010. The 3-course menu is just $75 and includes beverages, tax & gratuity.

Celebrate Greek Easter at Zaytinya!

By Amaia Kirtland
Capital Cooking Contributor

Prepare yourselves for a culinary celebration of Greek Easter at Zaytinya April 8th through April 22ndThe Chef’s Experience menu will not disappoint.   Featuring lamb, the ten dishes highlight the Mediterranean flavors the restaurant is well known for and offer a complete experience with complementing cocktails and desserts.

Cherry Pick Recipe: Cherry Chocolate Chip Scones

Celebrate the Cherry Blossom Season this weekend at home by making these Cherry Chocolate Chip Scones.   Perfect for breakfast in bed!

DC's Picnic Friendly Locations

Photo by Janelle Rigler
Location, Location, Location. We've all heard this saying before, but when it comes to picnics, it is among the most important aspects. But don't stress in your search for the perfect hot spot. We are about to give you some of D.C.'s most picnic friendly locations, adding a touch of history at the same time!

The Latest News Around Town

City Paper names Little Serow the Best New Restaurant.

DC Restaurants Celebrate Cherry Blossoms

by Samantha Grieder
Capital Cooking Contributor

It's the 100th Anniversary of the year Washington, DC received cherry blossoms from Japan, so this year is extra special. Besides the regular festival activities, like the parade, the Japanese street festival, and the kite festival, area restaurants are helping to celebrate the cherry blossoms, too.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Colorado Eats

I just returned from a fabulous trip to Colorado.  I really do love it out there.  Not only do they have the beautiful mountains, but Colorado also has some amazing food!  Can't wait to go back for more.

Easter Round-up

If you're not in the mood to cook on Easter Sunday, hop on over to the many Washington area restaurants as many are offering fabulous holiday brunches and dinners on Sunday, April 8th. I like to celebrate the day before so I can do some cooking and then relax at the Virginia wineries on Sunday.

Jazz Brunch and Bottomless Cocktails at Station 4

I don't make it to the Southwest Waterfront all that often, but I might be tempted to check it out on a Sunday for their new brunch. 

2012 RAMMY Finalists Announced

by Samantha Grieder
Capital Cooking Contributor

On Monday evening, restaurant industry professionals, from restaurateurs to chefs and mixologists, local media and more, gathered at the Ritz Carlton of Washington D.C. for the 2012 RAMMY finalist announcements. Put on by the Restaurant Association of Metropolitan Washington (RAMW), the RAMMY awards are given to industry professionals who signify excellence in a given category.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Preview: Zaytinya's Annual Greek Easter Celebration

During the two weeks of April 8th through April 22nd, José Andrés, ThinkFoodGroup and the culinary team at Zaytinya invite you to celebrate the Greek Easter festival featuring Mediterranean-inspired dishes presented by Head Chef Michael Costa.  In the Greek Orthodox tradition, the church calendar is calculated on the Julian calendar; therefore Greek Easter sometimes falls on a different date from the Protestant or Catholic holiday. Rich in heritage, Greek Easter is a time for families to honor the rebirth of spring.  The holiday is considered one of the most sacred celebrations and is observed through religious ceremonies, and festive gatherings overflowing with traditional dishes.  Easter dishes play a significant role and many are only enjoyed during this special time. Guests can enjoy the Chef's Experience menu (the full menu is listed at the bottom), lamb sandwiches, Easter cookies and cocktails inspired by the festival.  This is a celebration not to be missed!

The Chef’s Experience menu showcasing an assortment of lamb dishes to celebrate the holiday.  The ten-course meal is priced at $99 for two people and is available during both lunch and dinner. It includes items such as Arni me Sparangia, spit-roasted lamb shoulder with asparagus, ladolemono and dill; Mayiritsa, traditional Easter soup with lamb's liver, caramelized onions, short grain rice, egg and lemon broth; and Asparagus Salata, white asparagus tzatziki, pistachios, green asparagus, and lemon zest; Spanakorizo, rice pilaf with wilted spinach and tomatoes, spinach puree, preserved cherry tomatoes and feta.  Additionally, a selection of dishes will also be offered  a la carte ranging from $8 to $14. 

Just in time to take advantage of the beautiful weather we've been having, Zaytinya will also have its popular lamb sandwich cart available on the expansive patio. The sandwiches are available, weather permitting, Monday thru Friday, from 12 p.m. until sandwiches are sold out and guests can take them to-go, enjoy them on the patio picnic-style.  Priced at $11, these savory sandwiches will feature spit-roasted lamb served on oven-fresh pita, with tzatziki and pickled onions.  Limited picnic table seating will be available on the patio.

Make sure to save room for dessert!  Priced at $5, Greek Easter cookies are available to go. The assortment includes:  Paximadakia, a Greek biscotti-type cookie flavored with citrus zest; Pastoules Amygthalotes, traditional almond cookies; Melamokarina, spiced walnut cookie soaked in honey syrup; and Kourabiedes, crescent shaped cookies made with pine nuts and Metaxa.

The cocktails also highlight Greek flavors in honor of the celebration.  José Andrés’ ThinkFoodGroup Lead Bartender Owen Thomson has created two specialty cocktails. Cocktail offerings include the Attica ‘Attikn’ named after the Retsina wine producing island. The cocktail is made from a combination of Plymouth gin infused with rose buds, lemon juice, house-made grenadine and garnished with Retsina air.  Next is the Anastasis created with Beefeater gin, Cocchi Americano, kumquat liqueur and lemon juice.  Both beverages will be served throughout the festival and are priced at $13 each. 

Greek Easter
Chefs Experience Menu
two people, ten courses $99 (excluding tax and gratuity)

traditional lamb avgolemono broth, short grained rice, caramelized onions, lamb’s liver

Asparagus Salata
white asparagus tzatziki, pistachios, green asparagus, lemon zest

Greek Easter Maroulosalata
green and red tango lettuce, caramelized myzithra cheese, ladolemono, flowers

thinly sliced lamb’s tongue, potato skordalia, green olives, pickled red chilis, celery, candied pistachios

rice pilaf with wilted spinach and tomato, spinach puree, feta cheese, preserved cherry tomatoes

Bizeli me Yiaourti
english peas, garlic yogurt, pistachios, micro lemon mint

Arni me Sparangia
lamb shoulder, asparagus, ladolemono, dill

Loukaniko me Patates
traditional house made lamb sausage scented with orange and cumin, potato, garlic

Greek Easter Lamb Kleftico
spit roasted lamb, kefalograviera cheese, english pea skordalia, feta, dill


Tsoureki Bread Pudding
Mascerated strawberries, candied almonds, orange flower ice cream

About Zaytinya
Part of José Andrés ThinkFoodGroup, Zaytinya serves an extensive array of various mezze, “little dishes,” reflecting the rich regional diversity of classical and contemporary Greek, Turkish and Lebanese cuisine.  Open seven days a week, Zaytinya is located at 701 9th St., NW, in the heart of the Penn Quarter. For additional information call (202) 638-0800 or visit  

Friday, March 23, 2012

Thinking of Drinking: Sakura Sling

Firefly is featuring this Sakura Sling through the Cherry Blossom season.  Head in and check it out or make one at home.

Thursday, March 22, 2012


During Capital Cooking's Asian Fusion episode, we made Rosemary Red Pepper Chicken. I have to admit, I was afraid that I wouldn't like this dish because I thought it would be too spicy for my taste. I was pleasantly surprised at the end when I tried the dish. The peppers add a sweet and smokey flavor, but not overwhelming. We made this recipe on a wok stove, so it may take longer to cook when you try it at home. Enjoy!

Upcoming Events: Wine Dinner at the Jefferson

The Spring 2012 Wine Dinner at the Jefferson. March 29: The Dynamic Duo with Favia Wines – Wine Cellar [$200 per person]  At this dedicated 5-course dinner, their acclaimed Favia Viognier, “Suize,” Amador County 2006 is paired with Butter-poached Lobster with Carrot and Vanilla Purée and Ginger Cardamom Emulsion.  Their Plenty of Room, Pinot Noir, Marin County 2010 accompanies a Roasted Guinea HenRagout of Confit Leg, Savoy Cabbage, and Lardons with Natural Jus; and a double pairing of Favia, Grenache, Mourvedre, and Syrah, Rompecabezas, Amador 2009 makes a triumphal match for the grand finale of Blueberry Crêpes with Blueberry Marmalade and Vermont Maple Syrup Ice Cream.

Calling all Sweet Lovers: Sugar Magnolia Opened

Sugar Magnolia brings quality organic sweet treats and savory snacks to the Cleveland Park neighborhood.  The gourmet market is located in Ripple and designed for grab and go sandwiches, salads, pates, baked goods and for dessert, their signature ice cream sandwich.  The cozy, welcoming, environment features a bakery counter and soda cooler.  Patrons will be able to select their choice and take it with them.  The display features a variety of baked goods and the smell wafts through out the space.

Delicate Desserts for Spring: Top 4 Around DC

Pineapple Sorbet from Buddha Bar

Overview: Noodles and Company

All photos by Chris Blauwkamp
Recently I met with Tessa Stamper, who has been the executive chef for Noodles and Company for the last four years. Her background as a dietitian impels her to provide healthy options for Noodles' customers. All of their sauces are vegetarian, and they provide a guide for making dishes that are less than 500 calories. There is currently one location in DC, in Woodley Park, with two more planned for the coming year, in Georgetown and downtown. The company plans to have about thirty restaurants in the area by the end of the year. I was fortunate to get a chance to sample some of their wonderful dishes.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Recipe: Italian Chicken Roulade with Herbal Cream Sauce

This is a great spring recipe.

Eat with Your Eyes: Monticello Garden Salad

Is your mouth watering?  You can find this Monticello Garden Salad at The Federalist for $12.  This signature salad features 10 different types of lettuce.  I loved the raw and cooked vegetables, Everona Piedmont cheese and black pepper-buttermilk dressing.  Fresh and delicious!  (More about our full dining experience coming soon).  
Do you have a food photo that would make others drool?  If so, email me at and we can include it in Eat with your Eyes.
Photo by Corey Then

The Sushi Maestro – Jiro Dreams of Sushi Film Review

By Viola Bello

“If it doesn’t taste good, you can’t serve it,” says Jiro Ono, the world’s best sushi chef. This is easy to see as you watch one eye-popping, mouth watering scene after another of sushi being prepared by Ono and his staff at his 10-seat restaurant, Sukiyabashi Jiro located in the basement of a subway in Tokyo. Directed by David Gelb, the film is shot in documentary style, and follows Jiro Ono in his quest to make the perfect piece of sushi, while at the same time exploring the intricate relationships between himself and those around him.

Eating and Drinking Around Town: 100th Anniversary of Cherry Blossoms and Lots of Wine

District Commons is featuring a Cherry Blossom Combo to celebrate the 100th Anniversary of the Cherry Blossoms. You'll find  the District Cherry Old Fashioned (Virginia Gentleman Bourbon, House Made Cherries, Cherry Balsamic, and House Made Orange Bitters) with the Cherry Mash Sundae (Cherry Ice Cream, Hot Fudge Sauce, Roasted Peanuts).  This cherry blossom special runs until April 27th.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Monday, March 19, 2012

Capital Cooking at the House of Sweden

Last week, we introduced select media and friends to the 3 part series of Capital Cooking in Stockholm.  

Recipe: Amlou

This is a traditional dip for breakfast.  Extracted from the nut of the argan tree, argan oil is a deep golden color and has the flavor similar to pumpkin seeds.  The argan tree grows in southwestern Morocco and can live to be 200 years old. 

Travel and Adventure Show Hit DC This Weekend

by Samantha Grieder
Capital Cooking Contributor

The Travel and Adventure Show was in DC this weekend, the last city on the national tour. With about 16,000 anticipated guests this weekend alone, the event marks a great way to help plan your next trip. Whether your eyes are on North Carolina or on far off India, with 800 travel experts and 220 booths at your disposal, you're sure to find a wealth information on any topic of your choosing.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Cookbook Review: Norwegian Cakes and Cookies

Initial Thoughts:
  • Recipes:  Norwegian cake and cookie recipes.  Some ingredients might be difficult to find in the U.S., but most seem pretty accessible.
  • Photos:  Lots of colored photos of the dishes.
  • Would I recommend this book?  Maybe.  This book would be for someone who is interested in experimenting in Norwegian desserts.  Some of the recipes use pans that we don't typically use here. You'd have to be good at improvising on your own.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Thinking of Drinking: Sazerac

Did you know that the original Sazerac was made with brandy?  I didn't either until I checked out America Eats Tavern's monthly cocktail class featuring brandy.  

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Opening: Sugar Magnolia

By:  Amaia Kirtland

The creators of Ripple are announcing the grand opening of Sugar Magnolia, a mini gourmet market, in Cleveland Park on Thursday March 22nd

Upcoming Events: Beer, Cherry Blossoms and More

On Saturday, March 17th from 2 PM to 4 PM, Bill Butcher, Owner of Port City Brewing Company, and Brad Blymier, Co-Owner of War Shore Oyster Company, will be at Black Jack to debut their special edition beer that was specially created to have an affinity for oysters and seafood. 

Swedish Recipe: Pike-perch, grilled burbot, cucumber salad, salt currants and asparagus cream

On the first episode of Capital Cooking's Swedish Series, we cooked with Chef Henrik Norström at LUX.  Restaurant Lux Stockholm is situated in the old Electrolux canteen on the island of Lilla Essingen.

Capital Cooking Goes To Sweden: Part 1

This Friday, March 16th, Lauren DeSantis visits the capital city of Sweden in the first part of a three part series.  We had an amazing kick off party last night at the House of Sweden.  (Photos coming soon)  

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Eat with Your Eyes: Bacon and Onion Flammekueche

Is your mouth watering?  You can find this Bacon and Onion Flammekueche at Mintwood Place for $8.  Chef Cedric Maupillier serves a delicious variety of starters at his new cozy restaurant.  Flammekueche means flaming tart.  I loved the light crispy crust.  (More about our full dining experience coming soon).  
Do you have a food photo that would make others drool?  If so, email me at and we can include it in Eat with your Eyes.
Photo by Heather Victoria

Dry Aged Beef – An Almost Lost Art

By Viola Bello

The Front Page Restaurant, located at 1330 New Hampshire Avenue, has launched its Dry-Aged Meat Mondays. For $2.75 an ounce, the diner will be able to choose their own cut of dry-aged New York Strip on Monday nights at this Dupont Circle staple.

Top Spots for Patio Dining

Outdoor dining can be romantic or just plain fun.  DC has lots of places that offer patio seating, but here are some of my favorite places to share a meal alfresco:

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Recipe: Bacon Wrapped Shrimp with Minted Sweet Pea Mash and Tomato Vinaigrette

Long ago we filmed a fun show with Chef Oliver Friendly to prepare a simple meal with locally grown produce and humanely raised meat from DC-area farmers markets. While commercial organic markets provide a great service, the food at the Farmers Markets is fresher and better for you.

These Bacon Wrapped Shrimp are scrumptious Spring treat!

Top 10 Spots to Grab a Drink Outside

I love sitting outside in nice weather to enjoy drinks with friends. Now's the time to find an outdoor spot with this fantastic weather.  Here are some of my favorites:

Perfect Pair: Braised Beef Cheek

Tuesday is all about pairing food and drinks.  I recently dined at ICI Urban Bistro to taste Chef Franck.Loquet's menu.  Not only was the food delicious, but the service was excellent.  After scanning the menu, I opted for the Braised Beef Cheek "Provencal" with gingered butternut squash puree, grilled scallions and baby bok choy.

DC Bloggers Dine at Bryan Voltaggio's Lunchbox

by Samantha Grieder
Capital Cooking Contributor

Last week, the same DC food bloggers who paired with Chevrolet and visited Frederick for the city's restaurant week, hopped into our cars and made the drive again. This time, we went back for a taste of Bryan Voltaggio's newest project: Lunchbox.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Top 5 DC Brunch Spots

Corn bread with Virginia bacon, fried egg and sorghum syrup from America Eats.
I love to make brunch on Sundays, but sometimes it is nice to sit back and let someone else do the cooking.  On those days, I like to go to:

Enjoy Dinner and a Show at Extra Virgin in Arlington

By Ashley Eames
Capital Cooking Contributor 

Extra Virgin is a modern Italian restaurant in Shirlington Village with an extensive menu of traditional Italian specialties, wood fired pizzas and homemade pastas. It’s a great place for a weekend date night as they now feature live jazz music in the cozy bar area on Friday and Saturday night. 

Friday, March 9, 2012

Thinking of Drinking: Brandy Milk Punch

I recently checked out America Eats Tavern's monthly cocktail class featuring brandy.  The class was conducted by Lead Bartender, Owen Thomson.  During the class, we took an historical look at the way we drink.  Brandy is one of the older distilled spirits and one of the most heavily regulated products in the world.  The word brandy actually comes from the Dutch word for burnt wine.      

Thinking of Drinking: Apple-tini

March is here and we've been getting some spring weather. Why not Spring for a party to speed the season along?! Invite over your friends for appetizers, desserts and cocktails of the season. Try my Apple-tini.

Thinking of Drinking: Blood and Sand

Photo by Emily Clack
It turns out that  lamb goes pretty well with whiskey.  I had some fun playing around with Wasmund's Single Malt Whisky a couple of weeks and made up some of these classic cocktails originally created in 1922. Cheers!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Upcoming Events: Embassy Chef Challenge

Embassy Chef Challenge: Join Cultural Tourism DC for the 4th Annual Embassy Chef Challenge: DC’s premier international culinary competition on Thursday, March 8 from 7:30 – 10 pm, VIP Reception 6:30 pm. Co-hosted by Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center: 1300 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW Washington, DC 20004.

DC Lamb Pro-Am Re-cap

Me and My Beautiful Little Sister, Linsey

Congrats to Russell Warnick of Endless Simmer for winning with his Welsh Rarebit Lamb Nachos working with Chef John Critchley of Urbana!  Even though we didn't win, we had a fun time participating!

Eclectic Cuts at Rosa Mexicano

Jonathan Waxman has joined Rosa Mexicano as Chef-in-Residence, where he will curate its 2012 Flavors of Mexico series, seasonal celebrations that highlight the diversity of Mexican cuisine today, as well as lend inspiration to new menu items and invigorate some traditional favorites. 

Wednesday, March 7, 2012


Is your mouth watering?  You can find this DÉCLINAISON BANANE and CHOCOLAT at Ici Urban Bistro for $9.  I was recently blown away by Chef Vincent Bitauld's dessert menu.  (More about our full dining experience coming soon).  You can't go wrong with banana mousse topped with chocolate crumble and chocolate ice cream.  I'm especially craving it now since I gave up sweets for lent. Stop in and give it a taste.
Do you have a food photo that would make others drool?  If so, email me at and we can include it in Eat with your Eyes.
Photo by Emily Clack

GM Brings DC Bloggers to Frederick Restaurant Week

by Samantha Grieder
Capital Cooking Contributor

If you weren't aware yet, Frederick Restaurant Week runs through Sunday, and there are more restaurants in the city than Bryan Voltaggio's VOLT. To help get DC dwellers out to Frederick, Chevrolet paired with the Tourism Council of Frederick County and the Downtown Frederick Partnership. Seven participating District bloggers were given different vehicles to drive--I have the Chevy Sonic--for one week. We met up in Frederick over the weekend and were able to try different foods from various restaurants in the area.