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The ‘Duponada’ Top Finalist Results Are In!

Photo courtesy of Panas.

Panas Gourmet Empanadas which opened recently at 2029 P Street NW in Dupont Cirlce held a contest to create a locally sourced empanada, made from Farm Market ingredients that would be named after Dupont Circle. What better way to become part of the community than name a menu item after it? Brilliant! Two weeks ago, entrants submitted a recipe or a list of no more than four favored ingredients that can be found at the FRESHFARM Market.

Judges: Jenna Huntsberger, Olga Berman, Sylvie Hong Nguyen, Lisa Shapiro, and Robin Diener.

To create the new empanada, Panas owner Federico Garcia Lopez has enlisted the help of the locals by holding a taste test and having a people’s choice vote. On Sunday October 3rd at the Dupont Circle FRESHFARM Market a panel of judges, including Yours Truly and Robin Diener, President of the Dupont Circle Citizens Association selected three finalists. According to the judges the top 3 are:

First Place: Black Beans, Platains with mango juice

Second Place: Yuca, Loroco, and Mushrooms with Kalamata Tapenade

Third Place: Mushroom, Onions with Pesto Sauce

People’s Choice: ??? You decide!

Right now those three empanadas will be on sale at Panas Gourmet Empanadas until October 8th and customers may vote for their favorite. The winning recipe, to be named the Duponada, will be introduced to all on Sunday, October 10, and proceeds from the sale will go to the Dupont Circle Citizens Association. The Panas menu includes $2 empanadas ranging from meat, pork, chicken and ham and other Latin inspired side dishes.

Casa Nonna opens in Dupont Circle Wednesday.

Photo courtesy of Urban Daddy

DC is really starting to feel the love. Is DC becoming the New New York? It’s starting to look that way. The BLT Restaurant Group based in the ‘Big Apple’ is expanding their brand and opening a family-style Italian restaurant, Casa Nonna in Dupont Circle (1250 Connecticut Ave. NW). Casa Nonna, the name for the 190-seat establishment (“House of the Grandmother” in English) will join BLT Steak downtown and the forthcoming BLT Burger (at 1317 Connecticut Ave. NW), which is also opening this spring. According to the twitter feed, the restaurant will be officially open for business this coming Wednesday, September 15 and are accepting telephone reservations at (202) 629-2505.

Photo courtesy of Amy Brandwein

The concept is modeled after the old-school, family-style Italian-American joints like Carmine’s in New York and now in DC and will offer pizza and pasta served in portions for one, two or four or “family-style”. The Menu of Executive Chef Amy Brandwein, a Roberto Donna protege most recently of Fyve Restaurant in Pentagon City will incorporate local and seasonal ingredients. Dishes will be served both a la carte and family style and will include house-made pasta and Neopolitan-style pizza fired in their mosaic-tiled pizza oven. Main courses include linguine and clams, shrimp scampi, chicken saltimbocca, and ricotta ravioli and orecchiette with sausage and broccoli rabe which average in price from $18 to $20 for entrees. In addition to the main dining room, the restaurant will contain a 12-seat marble pizza bar with a rock-star view of the 850-degree wood-burning oven while your pie bakes.

I’ve never had a meal that I didn’t like at BLT Steak so I’m fairly confident that Casa Nonna will be a huge success. Think they’ll have the popovers?

Casa Nonna
1250 Connecticut Ave NW (at N St)
Washington, DC 20036
Twitter: @CasaNonna
Website: http://www.casanonna.com

Deal or No Deal Restaurant Week Contest Winners Announced!

Last month, Dining in DC and DC on Heels announced the Ultimate Restaurant Week give-a-away by offering five lucky readers a chance to win a $75 dining gift certificate.
We asked our readers, “Is Restaurant Week DEAL OR NO DEAL?”

Together we put DC Restaurant Week to the test. By design Restaurant Week is intended to offer diners an exclusive bargain that they could not ordinarily get otherwise. Most participating restaurants create a special 3-course, prix-fixe menu with the intention of putting their best foot forward to attract new diners to showcase what the restaurant offers, and for a bargain price. Some restaurants offer their entire menu allowing guests to choose their own three courses. During Restaurant Week, lunch is 3 courses for $20.10 and dinner is 3 courses for $35.10 (prices do not include tax or gratuity.)

For the “Deal or No Deal” contest, Dining in DC and DC on Heels readers were asked to take pictures of their meal while dining out for Restaurant Week and to send them along with the price of the meal, and explanation if meal was considered a Deal or not.  As specified in the original rules: There were five winners selected. Three winners were chosen based on their photos and explanation of their dining experience. One winner was chosen at random as a subscriber to Dining in DC. One winner was chosen at random who is a Facebook fan of DC on Heels. The winners are the following:

Lisa’s pick: Caitlin Smith of Capital Cooking Show

Caitlin is well versed in writing up her dining experiences as a contributing writer to the Capital Cooking Show blog and it showed. For DC Restaurant Week, Caitlin dined at The Blue Duck Tavern for lunch. She said, “the service at the restaurant was fabulous. We were well taken care of and our waiter made us feel right at home.” After stuffing herself with an appetizer and main course, she said she “although everything we ate was delicious, nothing compares to the Apple Pie (see photo on right). I fell in love with first bite and had to stop myself from eating all of it! Outside the weather was dreary but inside The Blue Duck Tavern everything was warm and inviting. We cannot wait to go back and enjoy another enticing meal. I thought it was a terrific deal!” She and her guest each got a three course lunch for $44.20 (includes tax).  You can read her full review with photos on the blog.

Markette’s pick: Becca of Bitches Who Brunch

Becca of Bitches Who Brunch (love that name!) did a bang up job writing up her “DEAL or NO DEAL” review of Chef Geoff’s restaurant week special. She told us in her submission that it was a DEAL because diners during Restaurant Week could order anything on the menu for appetizer, entree (including the rib eye steak!) and finally dessert… for only $35.10! Becca also said that Chef Geoff’s didn’t skimp on the portions, and she had the photos to prove it — she submitted 14 pics in all. She said, “from the wedge salad, to the salmon tartare, to the duck – and that’s just for apps. For dinner we had lobster, halibut, tuna, and steak. Oh my, it was amazing.”
She also said that her party of 6 received superb service during all three courses of their meal, which I can imagine for the waiter was a tough job for bunch of “bitches who brunch” 😉
Vanessa’s pick: Angelica Mar
Angelica’s visit during restaurant week was to one of DC’s best known restaurants —-DC Coast and it  left her saying it was a “TOTAL DEALIO” DC Coast is known for it’s delectable seafood but on the menu for Angelica’s visit  were options like fried green tomatoes with goat cheese and fresh corn polenta. Angelica says DC Coast offered many items that were NOT usually  on the menu. Angelica says “Overall, a consistent Rest Week winner – my friends and I will now have to make DC Coast one of our must visits” Read below to get all the details of Angelica’s visit.

Dining in DC Subscriber Winner: Jess Tunon, Arlington, VA

DC on Heels Facebook Fan Winner: Jamie Gulin, Washington, DC

Congratulations to all of the Winners! Thank you for all of your submissions. (It was really hard to pick just five.) WINNERS: Please e-mail dcfoodcontest@gmail.com to claim your $75 gift certificate prize!

Special thank you to the contributing restaurants for their donations:

Win 2 tickets to the First Annual Mid-Atlantic Red Fruit Festival.

The Mid-Atlantic Red Fruit Festival is an annual reception celebrating the spectacular regional produce of the Mid-Atlantic region. Each year the event will showcase a “red” fruit and 2010 kicks off with the delicious and juicy TOMATO. At the fest, local area farmers will be sourcing DC area’s most talents chefs such as Todd Gray, RJ Cooper, Xavier DeShayes, and Kaz Okochi in order to create spectacular dishes that best showcase the tomato. What will be their inspiration? Home Cooks! 15 Recipes that were submitted will be awarded prizes in 5 contest categories and have a top area chef cook their winning recipe. Festival attendees will get to enjoy the winning 15 tomato-inspired dishes paired with the perfect wine.

Exclusively for gastronomes and tomato enthusiasts, this event is hosted by the International Wine & Food Festival and serves as the home of the SEEDS TO SCHOOLS program, a landmark public drive that collects and redistributes seeds to schools and community gardens in our region that have a demonstrated commitment to engaging children with life science and nutrition.

The Who: Hosted by The International Wine & Food Festival

The What: The Mid-Atlantic Red Fruit Festival

When: Friday, September 24, 2010 from 6-8 p.m.

Where: Woodrow Wilson Plaza at the International Trade Center and Ronald Reagan Building

Tickets are just $35 but you could WIN 2 Tickets, exclusively at Dining in DC!  Your ticket to this outdoor festival includes admission to the event where you will enjoy 15 winning recipe contest dishes prepared by renowned area chefs and paired with wine.

To Win, simply comment below about a memorable tomato experience. Maybe a favorite dish, childhood memory, cooking experience or a memorable experience dining at a restaurant. You must be subscribed to Dining in DC to be eligible to win the tickets. The email used to comment below must be the same email address used in the subscription. All entries are due by midnight Friday, September 17. Winners will be notified on Monday, September 20. Good Luck!

Bethesda Row Restaurant Week kicks off April 26 for the “fashionably hungry”

Just in time for the beautiful spring weather, Bethesda Row located in the heart of Bethesda, Maryland, known for its chic shopping and upscale dining is offering Restaurant Week Monday, April 26 through Sunday, May 2. Eight of Bethesda Row’s top restaurants, including Jaleo, Redwood, and Assaggi Mozzarella Bar, will offer diners a special three course prix-fixe lunch menu for just $15 and three course prix-fixe dinner for only $30.

Bethesda Row, brings the ultimate in dining while giving locals an opportunity to view spring’s latest fashions from trendy boutiques including Urban Chic, Wear It Well, and Ginger.  In addition to hot clothes and assessories, patrons can shop for imported Italian pottery, cooking supplies, or the the new iPad. One lucky diner will also win a $200 dinner certificate to any Bethesda Row restaurant; diners can visit www.bethesdarow.com to register to win.

Participating Spring 2010 Restaurants ( menus here).

Jaleo– World-renowned Executive Chef, Jose Andres has created a menu that offers over 60 unique hot and cold tapas dishes that reflect the rich regional diversity of traditional and modern Spanish cuisine.

Lebanese Taverna– Lebanese Taverna, rich in family and tradition, has crafted a variety of authentic and delicious Lebanese dishes including vegetarian and kid-friendly options.

Parker’s American Bistro- Classic All-American cuisine is Parker’s specialty. Diners can partake in variety of steaks, burgers, seafood and salad – the American way.

Raku- A fusion of contemporary Asian cuisine and an unbelievable array of sushi, Raku has a lively environment and a breath-taking modern Asian-inspired interior. 

Assaggi– The Italian word for “tastings”, Assaggi definitely will have your taste buds dancing. For anyone who loves fine Italian dining, this is the place for you. Assaggi specializes in mozzarellas from the United States and Italy.

Mon Ami Gabi– With a bustling atmosphere and delicious cuisine, Mon Ami Gabi is a classic French bistro. Weekend brunch, live jazz, and an exciting happy hour are just some of the highlights of renowned and highly respected Chef and Owner Gabino Sotelino.

Redwood- Showcasing a seasonal menu, Redwood features only the best mid-Atlantic ingredients available. Redwood encourages flavorful, organic, farm-raised, and sustainable food choices whenever possible.

Le Pain Quotidien-Le Pain Quotidien is dedicated to providing guests with great wholesome, quality food. The restaurant also provides a warm and relaxing setting perfect for a meal anytime.

Photo courtesy of Crescent Plaza Blog

In addition, the Bethesda Central Farm Market will open its second season beginning May 6. Located on Bethesda Lane in the center of Bethesda Row, the market will be open from 3-7pm on Thursdays from May 6 through October. Bethesda Central Farm Market also runs a Sunday market from 9-1 off Elm Street between Wisconsin and Woodmont Avenues.

The Thursday market will feature a selection of the region’s best local farm fresh produce, including fruits and vegetables, as well as locally raised, grass fed beef, lamb, pork, artisan cheeses, breads, poultry, eggs, boutique olive oil and vinegar, sausage and salami, flowers and plants, prepared foods and condiments. Click here for a list of featured vendors.

The market will also continue to showcase local chefs and restaurants with ongoing demonstrations from restaurants including Redwood, Raku and Lebanese Taverna.

About Bethesda Row

Bethesda Row is a 521,000 square foot shopping, dining and living destination in the heart of Bethesda, Maryland. With a tremendous collection of national retailers, local boutiques, eclectic restaurants and 180 luxury apartments, Bethesda Row is the best of Bethesda, all in a row. For more information, please visit www.bethesdarow.com

Dining in DC returns to childhood hometown of Silver Spring

Today is a big day for Dining in DC author, Lisa Shapiro. She has accepted a new job working in Silver Spring, MD. Not only is this new position a great opportunity professionally, it is also an opportunity to expand the scope of Dining in DC. Silver Spring is not a new territory for Lisa, per se since she spent 18 years of her life living in the area.
Stay tuned for Lisa’s reports from her adventures in good ol’ MoCo!

More Print Media cease publication

Say Goodbye to Gourmet

Say 'Goodbye' to Gourmet

Foodies all over the world today have been chattering via Twitter, Facebook, and on their blogs about the decision of  the Conde Nast to shut down several of their magazines. Last week, Conde Nast posted a ‘contest’ about which magazine titles should “die” It was  announced this morning that the company has chosen to close down Gourmet, Cookie, and two bridal magazines, Elegant Bride and Modern Bride. Like most publications, they will switch to online media formats. Gourmet magazine will become an online, TV and book publishing brand, with only Bon Appetit continuing to publish as a magazine.

Conde Nast, CEO, Chuck Townsend said, “We have now completed an extensive review of our business – an important undertaking given the dramatic changes in the U.S. economy. The review has led us to a number of decisions designed to navigate the company through the economic downturn and to position us to take advantage of coming opportunities.  Condé Nast’s success comes from the ability of our publications to attract readers with a wide range of interests, as well as advertisers who value them. But in this economic climate it is important to narrow our focus to titles with the greatest prospects for long-term growth. 

As a result of our review, Brides will increase its frequency to monthly to solidify its position as the most important brand in the bridal category, and Modern Bride and Elegant Bride will close.

Gourmet magazine will cease monthly publication, but we will remain committed to the brand, retaining Gourmet’s book publishing and television programming, and Gourmet recipes on Epicurious.com. We will concentrate our publishing activities in the epicurean category on Bon Appétit.

Finally, Cookie magazine will be discontinued, and resources that had been dedicated to its publishing will be invested elsewhere.”

Say Goodbye, Gracie. *sniff* *sniff*

I have gotten this magazine every month for years. Granted I rarely ever got to read it, but I liked it.