17th Annual Taste of Georgetown this Saturday, October 9.

Bodega Spanish Tapas & Lounge Paella, 2009.

Fall is the perfect time of year to savor the Taste of Georgetown, DC’s premiere food festival showcasing the spectacular cuisine of 30 of Georgetown’s finest restaurants, featuring more than 60 delectable dishes to sample and all for a important cause. Proceeds from a Taste of Georgetown will benefit the homeless outreach providing psychiatrist care, shelter and meals through the Georgetown Ministry Center.

On Saturday, October 9th from 11 a.m to 4 p.m. attendees will enjoy tasteful cuisine and have a chance to sip with wine, spirits, and ale tastings at the Tasting Pavilion located on the lawn of Grace Church. Tickets for beverage tasting is four tasting tickets for $10.The fall food festival in Georgetown will also include live jazz provided by Blues Alley and children’s activities such as caricature artists, balloon makers and jugglers.

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To Do This Weekend: DC’s Foodie Itinerary

Looking for some foodie fun this weekend? The Dining in DC Foodie Itinerary includes food-related events for this weekend. Below is a compilation of various, food-related events, such as tastings, fall festivals, and workshops or classes throughout the DC Washington Metropolitan area.

This time of year is peak harvest time in the area’s wine-growing regions, but harvest-season bacchanalia — festivals, grape stomps and wine and jazz nights — kicks into full gear beginning Labor Day weekend.

Friday through Sunday (Sept.17-19)

St. Constantine and Helen Greek Festival

Sts. Constantine and Helen Greek Orthodox Church offers the largest & oldest Greek festival in the Washington, D.C. area with a world of options for those with exquisite taste. There is something for everyone, whether you’re looking to wine, dine, shop or hop. This “Taste of Greece” has authentic Greek food, authentic Greek coffee, beer, wine, and live Greek music (Hopa!). Their Greek Marketplace offers books, jewelry, trinkets and religious items. Open to the public with Free admission and parking and covered eating areas. Credit cards are accepted.

Saturday (Sept. 18)

H Street Festival

This Saturday, the Atlas District’s rocking out their 7th annual street-extravaganza with sneak peak-eats from two new kids on the block (party) such as Toki Underground offering their “Pho Real Dog” and Smith Commons dishing out delicious combos such as beer n’ tiger prawns, and their 1/4 pound Angus Beef Burger with Tequenos (a fried cheese stick). Attempt your own Man vs. Food at the pie and sandwich eating contests. Rock out to live tunes from the dude behind Bad Brains on an outdoor stage. An estimated 20,000 people attended the 2009 H Street Festival and this year should be just as good. Dig the art sales, parades, fashion shows, outlandishly decorated cars and a boxing ring. A show of art cars featuring 14 (artfully) pimped-out rides, curated by Gallery O on H. (Noon- 7 p.m)

Saturday and Sunday (Sept. 18-19)

The Virginia Wine Festival in Centreville

The Virginia Wine Festival in Centreville is one of the area’s largest and is considered the premiere Virginia wine tasting event. What began in 1975 by the Vinifera Wine Growers Association to educate the masses about the merits of Virginia wine has now become an awesome party with good imbibes. Those looking to get their buzz on will enjoy 400 varieties of wine from over 50 area wineries. Unfortunately, Centreville isn’t metro accessible, so you’ll need a designated driver. Draw straws. If it’s you, sorry about your luck. You can enjoy the festival anyway with gourmet food offerings, a juried arts show, and unbeatable musical entertainment. Designated driver tickets are $15 in advance and $22 at the door. The event is held at Bull Run Regional Park Special Events Center. Tickets are just $25 in advance and $30 at the gate. Kids 5 and younger are free.

Sunday (Sept. 19)

Vintage Crystal

Wine festivals near Metro stops are pretty much nonexistent, which might be why this Dionysian street fest in the middle of Crystal City has become so popular in just a few short years. This year, the fest is Latin themed, which means there aren’t just 30 wines, but tequila tastings. Also on tap: food from plenty of area restaurants and performances of Latin jazz. Sept. 19 from 2 to 6 p.m. 220 20th St., Arlington. $20, designated drivers $10, children free.

Stock and Sauce Cooking Class at 1789

Executive Chef Daniel Giusti and Pastry Chef Travis Olson are sharing their secrets for making great stocks and sauces. Learn how to make fish, poultry and veal stocks and the art of a fine demi-glace and beurre blanc, as well as mastering pureed sauces. The class will be held on Sunday, September 19 at 11:00 AM, and is priced at $100 per person, which includes a family style lunch, showcasing the dishes and sauces prepared in the cooking class, paired with wine from 1789’s award-winning list. Space is limited for this hands-on cooking experience and reservations are required by calling 202-965-1789.

Sunday (Sept. 19-25)

Great American Dine-Out

Hundreds of DC area restaurants are offering great promotions, featuring special dishes, and donating part of their proceeds to participate in the Great American Dine-Out from September 19th to September 25th. During that week, five percent of participating restaurant’s proceeds will be donated to Share Our Strength, a national non-profit working to combat childhood hunger. The time has finally come where gluttony is no longer a sin, but cause for honorable celebration. To find participating restaurants see the Share Our Strength website.

Hook’d on Pink Jams!

Join me at Hook in Georgetown (3241 M Street, NW) on Wednesday, April 21st at 6:30 -10:00pm, for a fundraiser benefiting Pink Jams!/Avon Walk for Breast Cancer. We will also be celebrating the Birthday of my only Sister and Pink Jams! Founder, Christa Floresca. 

This event is free, but the suggested donation is $10. There will be pink signature drinks a’plenty! Hook will generously donate a portion of food/beverage purchases to the cause, so come hungry and ready to celebrate!Pink Jams! is proud to have talented singer/songwriter Mike Bowers on hand for a special acoustic performance.

Every dollar donated goes to breast cancer awareness and early detection programs, and will be given to the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer. For more information on Pink Jams!, visit www.PinkJamsDC.com.

Toast on Tuesdays!

Ever noticed how you feel warmer when you’re having a glass of wine or alcholic beverage? It’s not in your mind. It actually does warm the body. What better way to warm the body and the soul than with a wonderful glass of wine at Bistrot Lepic & Wine Bar, the quintessential neighborhood French bistro in upper Georgetown.

Photo by Michael's Associates (UK)

Now every Tuesday evening from 6 to 8 pm at Bistrot Lepic Washingtonians may enjoy complimentary French wine tastings. This special offering is ongoing, and available only in the 20-seat, upstairs Wine Bar, which has a contemporary French-Asian atmosphere complete with wine racks, cork flooring and cube tables with coconut shell inlay.  Wines change weekly and are selected by French-born Cyrille Brenac, Co-Owner and Managing Partner of the restaurant. 

 Tastings on tap for January include: Heidsieck Monopole Blue Top Champagne and Rosé Brut Champagne on December 15th; El Molinet, Do from Valencia, Spain, and 2008 Sauvignon Blanc Quincy, Domaine de Chevilly on December 22nd; Non vintage Vouvray Sparkling, Domaine Champalou, NV Vin du Bugey, Cerdon from Patrick Bottex on December 29th, as well as 2007 Patrick Lessec Bouquet- Cote du Rhone and 2007 le mérites de l’enclave, les vignerons de Visan on January 12th.
 
For those guests who wish to stay for a bite to eat, Executive Chef Simon Ndjiki-Nya features seasonal French fare with menu items ranging from $7 to $25.95.  Winter highlights include Pumpkin Soup with Duck Confit; Endive Salad with Apples, Walnuts and Blue Cheese; Home made Country Pâté with Prunes and Armagnac; Sautéed Sea Scallops with Ginger Broccoli Mousse and Light Ginger Butter, as well as Duck Confit, Lamb, Toulouse Garlic Sausage and Cannellini Bean Stew.  For the perfect ending, an assortment of house-made tarts including Pear, Apple and Double Chocolate with Crème Anglaise are always available with prices ranging from $5.50 to $8 each.
 
Bistrot Lepic & Wine Bar is located at 1736 Wisconsin Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20007 in Georgetown. Open daily for lunch (11:30 AM to 2:30 pm) and for dinner Sunday and Monday (5:30 pm to 9:30); Tuesday through Thursday (5:30 pm to 10); Friday and Saturday (5:30 pm to 10:30).  The 20-seat Wine Bar is also open daily from 5:30 PM to 12 Midnight.  For reservations or additional information please call (202) 333-0111 or visit www.bistrotlepic.com.

1789 Celebrates the American Chestnut with a special tasting menu.

I had the pleasure of dining at 1789 on Wednesday night to try their latest seasonal 3 course, chestnut-inspired tasting menu only available this month. Last month the tasting menu offered apple-inspired dishes. In December there will be a new 3 course menu for just $40. I look forward to hearing what Executive Chef, Dan Giusti comes up with to entice our palates. I was fortunate to be able to sit at the best table in the house, Table No. #14, which is situated in the John Carroll Room (main dining room) which captures the city’s history with prints from George Washington’s days as President, early maps of the city,  American antique furniture, and has the best view of the elegant historic fireplace. On a windy rainy night, sitting in front of the warm fireplace, I couldn’t have chosen a better place to dine.
Soup_1789_Chestnut

Chestnut Soup with Foie Gras

The first couse, the Chestnut Soup is a thick, smooth, hearty soup with an earthy flavor and is topped with a small bite of crispy duck confit, maple-glazed chestnuts, and foie gras. The dark chestnut colored soup itself isn’t very flavorful until you delve into the duck confit and the sumptuous velvety foie gras (“fattened liver” usually of a duck or goose). I don’t eat too much foie gras due to its heavy fat content, but it is definitely a delicacy with its rich and slightly musky and intense flavor. I think it could be described as slightly metallic tasting or minerally.

The second course is a delicous EcoFriendly Farms Roast Poussin (young chicken) with Chestnut polenta, Brussel sprouts, Surryano ham, and red wine jus. Kudos to the Chef for sourcing his poultry from EcoFriendly Farms, a local Virginia farm located near Smith Mountain Lake in Moneta, VA known for providing DC area restaurants pasture-raised meats. The roasted chicken was deliciously tender, moist, and juicy with superb flavor. The chestnut polenta was light, fluffy, and smooth – a perfect accompaniement to the chicken.

IMG_6484

Roasted Poussin

I have never truly tried brussel sprouts until this week but I have learned that they originated from Belgium and are in season beginning in August through March. With the prevelant stigma held by people of all ages that they are gross, I had no motivation to try them. I tried them for the very first time at Againn, the new British gastropub the previous evening and was quite surprised about their mild flavor and dense texture. It just proved to me that I could like almost anything, if prepared well. The roasted brussel sprouts on Chef Giusti’s chestnut tasting menu were deliciously tender yet firm with a hint of smokey flavor from the Surryano ham. Evidently, S. Wallace Edwards & Sons’ Surry Farm makes the special ham named after a mix of Surry, Virginia and Serrano ham which is made from spotted Berskhire pigs, pasture raised with no antibiotics or added hormones.

IMG_6487

Chestnut and Pear Sundae

For dessert I was served the Chestnut and Pear Sundae with warm Comice pears, chestnut honey, roasted chestnut ice cream and candied chestnuts, a creation of Pastry Chef, Travis Olson. I was totally disappointed by this dish. It tasted very dry and way too starchy. I did some research and found out that chestnuts have twice as much starch as that of the potato – no wonder. The pears tasted okay but the flavors of the ice cream, pears, and chestnuts did not mesh very well at all. I will be happy if I don’t ever have to eat that again. I tried a small bite of the Gingerbread dessert of my dinner companion and it was a bit dry, but flavorful. It was certainly better.

Want to learn how to create this seasonal menu at home? Join Rammy nominated Executive Chef Dan Guisti and Pastry Chef Travis Olson for a cooking class, followed by a 3 course lunch including wine pairings Sunday, November 22, 2009 at 11 a.m. Cost is $75 per person. 

Addy: 1226 36th St NW
Washington, DC 20007-2627
tely: (202) 965-1789

www.1789restaurant.com

Hook in Georgetown teams up with BuyWithMe.com to offer DC diners half price wine and dessert

One of DC’s best restaurants, Hook has joined forces with a collective buying power website, BuyWithMe.com that offers exclusive discounts to goods and services, such as massages, rocking climbing, yoga and even a mani/pedi at a top DC salon and spa. This week Hook, located in the heart of Georgetown, is offering two wine/dessert deals. It’s hard to resist knowing that one of the best parts of any meal are the drinks and the dessert! Well now you don’t have to – with this simple “power in numbers” exclusive offer, you can enjoy both without blowing your dining budget.

For just $25, diners will be provided a wonderfully flavorsome bottle of wine**, valued at $50 (see list below for selected wines). Or, those with a sweet tooth may endulge in one of Hook’s  delectable desserts such as the seasonal Lingonberry Linzertorte (see photo) along with a glass of wine for just $15! And with Rammy award winning Pastry Chef of the Year, Heather Chittum behind the baking, you’re sure to love everything that comes out of the kitchen.

Not only is Hook listed as one of Washingtonian’s 100 Very Best Restaurants, the restaurant is committed to using sustainable food practices, including using seasonal, locally grown produce, and humane meat and dairy products. Their eco-friendly practices are a reflection of their deeper ideology: the two things that link every human on the planet are food and environment; and we cannot live without either.

Foodies Unite! Please take advantage of this incredible deal at Hook, one of DC’s finest restaurants! With your participation, the message will be clear and more wonderful deals will be sure to come our way!

** Wines included: Terlan Pinot Grigio, Italy

Bucci Verdicchio, Italy

Miner Viognier, CA

Jefferson Viognier, VA

Pazo San Mauro Albarino, Spain

Albermarle Viognier, VA

Candor Zin, CA

Buehler Cabernet Sauvignon, CA

Chehalem 3 Vineyards Pinot Noir, OR

Jacuzzi Nero D’Avola, CA

 

For more info: Buywithme.com and Hook located at 3241 M St. NW, Washington, DC 20007 

Ph: 202.625.4488