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DC’s Most Notable Chefs to participate in Toyota Farm to Table Tour Thursday, July 29.

On Thursday, July 29th at FRESHFARM Market by the White House (810 Vermont Avenue NW), some of D.C.’s most talented Chefs will participate in the Toyota Farm to Table Tour which showcases the connection between farmers, chefs, farmers markets and the communities they serve. Now in its second year, the Toyota Farm to Table Tour is visiting 11 famers markets across the country this summer to showcase the bounty of local farmers and to give market shoppers the opportunity to experience Toyota’s hybrid vehicles.

At the event, from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. nine of D.C.’s most notable chefs will partner with market farmers to create bite-sized complimentary treats for visitors – all featuring farm-fresh ingredients.

Nora Pouillon of Restaurant Nora with White House Kitchen Garden with Assistant Chef and Food Initiative Coordinator Sam Kass.

Nora Pouillon and White House Chef, Sam Kass

Washington D.C.’s line-up includes:
Ryan Wheeler of Restaurant Eve
Kyle Bailey of Birch & Barley
Scott Drewno of The Source, by Wolfgang Puck
Mike Isabella of Zaytinya
Olivier Perret of Ici Urban Bistro
Nora Pouillon of Restaurant Nora
David Varley of Bourbon Steak
Paul Stearman of Marcel’s
Nicholas Stefanelli of Bibiana

Interested in what the Chefs will be preparing? Chef Nora Pouillon will serve an assortment of Organic Ham Salads–Ham and Root Vegetable Salad, Ham and Parsley Terrine, Ham Mousse on Heirloom Tomatoes.  Chef Ryan Wheeler will serve a fresh White Peach Panna Cotta with a Hazelnut Tuile. Nicholas Stefanelli will serve Ricotta with Grilled Peaches and Pistachios.

“Over the past 30 years, I have been delighted and encouraged to witness the steady rise of farmers markets in D.C.”, said Nora Pouillon of Restaurant Nora, America’s First Certified Organic Restaurant.  “They bring our communities together and showcase the importance of fresh and seasonal food so that everyone may reap the pleasure and health benefits of local produce.” The White House Organic Farm website said, “Nora was also instrumental in reviving DC’s farmers’ markets and is a frequent shopper. ”

In addition to complimentary tastings, visitors who participate in the day’s activities will have the opportunity to select complimentary potted culinary herbs from the Highlander Hybrid Mobile Garden as well as enter for a chance to win a culinary trip to Santa Barbara. At the Highlander Hybrid Mobile Garden, a Mobile Garden Herb Specialist will be on hand to pot the plants for visitors and answer general questions about gardening.  All herb plants are sourced from local vendors at the market.

“Our FRESHFARM Market, by the White House, is pleased to partner with Toyota’s Farm to Table Tour and the Farmers Market Coalition to launch National Farmers Market Week,” said Bernadine Prince, co-director of FRESHFARM Markets and vice president of the Farmers Market Coalition. “We’ll have nine chefs at the White House market on July 29 to showcase the bounty of local foods from the Mid-Atlantic region at our producer-only farmers market. Farmers markets continue to be a vital source of support to local, sustainable, family-owned farms in our region and across the country.”

I will do my very best to be there at the event. I hope to see you there!

Rammy 2010 Winners Announced.

RAMW President Lynn Breaux with Scott Drewno and Barbara Fairchild. Photo by Michael Birchenall.

Last night, Sunday, June 6, 2010, over 1,500 restaurant industry members and guests celebrated the announcement of the 20th annual Restaurant Association of Metropolitan Washington (RAMW) awards, or “Rammy’s” at the Marriott Wardman in Woodley Park, Washington, DC. Attendees were dressed to impress wearing 1940’s glam to fit the Casablanca theme of “We’ll Always Have… Restaurants” at last night’s RAMMY Awards gala. The 2010 Rammy’s gala was particularly special this year due to several changes including the new format. After 28 years, this year, in lieu of presenting awards during a seated dinner, awards were presented during a theatre-style seated ceremony. A celebration with dinner and dancing following in the Salon ballroom.

The new format came after many 2009 Rammy attendees complained that the awards presentation was too loud, hot, and lacked sufficient quality of food considering the audience of the attendees. Tim Carman of the City Paper commented that last year’s Rammy’s were like, “a sauna in the Sahara on Sunday night” and that most Chefs attending the dinner wouldn’t dare serve the food provided in their restaurants, “no chef in the ballroom would have allowed out of his own kitchen, under any circumstance.” 

Luckily, the food offered this year was fresher, more flavorful, and there was a greater variety offered. The carving food stations allowed attendees to watch as the carver sliced the chicken or beef right in front of them before placing it on plates while another culinary worker quickly drizzled it with sauce, dressed it with greens, and placed accompaniments on each plate.

Scott Drewno, Executive Chef of The Source by Wolfgang Puck in Washington, DC took home the highly coveted Chef of the Year award and 2941 in Falls Church, VA was named the Fine Dining Restaurant of the Year.

Birch and Barley team accepts New Restaurant Rammy. Photo by Michael Birchenall.

Also honored was Nicolas Stefanelli, Executive Chef at Bibiana as Rising Culinary Star; Alexandria’s Vermilion won Upscale Casual Restaurant; DC’s BLT Steak captured the title of Power Spot and Best Wine Program went to Proof. The publicly voted Your Favorite Restaurant award went to Co Co. Sala, last year’s Hottest Bar Scene winner. Birch & Barley won as Best New Restaurant and PS7’s as the first-time Beverage/Mixology Program of the Year category winner.

Michael Birchenall, Foodservice Monthly said, “The Restaurant Association celebrated the industry in a spectacle of hospitality and camaraderie that showed off DC as a culinary powerhouse. You could see from the acceptance speeches (that you could actually hear) that we still have that human, down home element that makes us different from some of the other major markets. We had three top winners (Birch & Barley, The Source and 2941) where the chefs left New York to make a lifestyle as well as professional change in their lives … they are now part of our community and we are all better for it. A splendid evening on every level.”

Mistress of Ceremonies Sue Palka, was stunning as always in her 40’s hair and gown. She concluded the awards with, famous Casablanca line, “I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.”

2010 RAMMY Award Winners:

Chef of the YearScott Drewno -The Source by Wolfgang Puck, Washington DC

Fine Dining Restaurant
2941, Falls Church VA

Rising Culinary Star
Nicolas Stefanelli – Bibiana, Washington DC

Best New Restaurant
Birch & Barley, Washington DC

Power Spot
BLT Steak, Washington DC

Neighborhood Gathering Place
Cork Wine Bar, Washington DC

Upscale Casual
Vermilion, Alexandria VA

Hottest Restaurant Bar Scene
Birch & Barley/Churchkey, Washington DC

Pastry Chef
Anthony Chavez – 2941, Falls Church VA

Joan Hisaoka Associate Member
ProChile/Wines of Chile

Beverage/Mixology Program
PS7’s, Washington DC

Wine Program
Proof, Washington DC

Restaurant Employee
Adolfo Cajchon – Seasons, Washington DC

Restaurant Manager
Mark Politzer – Bourbon Steak, Washington DC

Your Favorite Restaurant (voted by online/newspaper ballot)
CoCo. Sala, Washington, DC

Duke Zeibert Capital Achievement Award
Bob Madigan

WHERE MAGAZINE Visitors’ Choice Award
The Capital Grille

2009 RAMMY Honorary Award
The Monocle on Capitol Hill

Rammy nominations announced!

RISING STAR CHEFS ... Liam LaCivita, The Liberty Tavern; Jon Mathieson – Inox, Mike Isabella Zaytinya; Nicholas Stefanelli – Bibiana; Shannon Overmiller – Majestic Café. Photo by Michael Birchenall http://bit.ly/d6XeMU

On Tuesday, March 23, 2010, restaurateurs, celebrity chefs and key restaurant industry players flocked to The Ritz-Carlton in Washington, DC for a celebration as the Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington announced the 2010 RAMMY Award Nominees. Hosted by emcees Nycci and David Nellis, hosts of Dishing it Out on Federal News Radio, Washington, DC’s only food and beverage centric radio show.

The nominees for the DC’s “Oscars” annual restaurant awards, aka the Rammys Winners from the following categories will be chosen by a panel of judges, and announced June 6. The following nominees are chosen by an anonymous panel judges comprised of  esteemed food/restaurant writers and critics:

Fine Dining: The nominee is a member restaurant that demonstrates an unwavering standard of dining excellence in food, service and ambiance.  The nominee must have been in business a minimum of two years by December 1, 2009. 

Fine Dining Finalists: 2941, Michel Richard Citronelle, Minibar by José Andrés, The Oval Room, The Source by Wolfgang Puck

Upscale Casual: The nominee is a member restaurant that demonstrates a commitment to dining excellence in food, service and ambiance. The dining experience may be more casual than Fine Dining, the price point lower, but the commitment to excellence is paramount. The nominee must have been in business a minimum of two years by December 1, 2009.  

Upscale Casual Finalists: Central Michel Richard, The Liberty Tavern, Proof, Vermilion, Zaytinya

New Restaurant: A restaurant that must have been opened between December 1, 2008 and November 30, 2009 and already distinguishes itself as a pacesetter in food, beverage and service.

New Restaurant Finalists: Bibiana, Birch & Barley, Bourbon Steak, Eventide, Inox

Chef: The nominee is an executive chef or chef de cuisine who demonstrates consistent standards of excellence and serves as an inspiration to other food professionals.  The nominee displays a dedication to the artistry of food, exhibits an ongoing commitment to the community and may be from any type of establishment.  The nominee must have been a chef for the past five years with a minimum of two years based in the Metropolitan Washington area.

Chef Finalists: Bertrand Chemel of 2941, Scott Drewno of The Source, Daniel Giusti of 1789, Vikram Sunderam of Rasika, Haidar Karoum of Proof

Rising Culinary Star: The nominee is an “up and coming” chef who demonstrates exemplary talent, shows leadership and promise for the future.  The nominee must have been based in the Metropolitan Washington area for a minimum of two years.

Rising Culinary Star Finalists: Michael Isabella of Zaytinya, Liam LaCivita of The Liberty Tavern, Shannon Overmiller of The Majestic, Nicholas Stefanelli of Bibiana, Jon Mathieson of Inox

Pastry Chef: The nominee is a restaurant pastry chef who prepares desserts and pastries and demonstrates a high standard of excellence and culinary artistry.  The nominee serves as an inspiration to other food professionals.  The nominee must have been a pastry chef for the past five years with a minimum of two years based in the Metropolitan Washington area.

Pastry Chef Finalists: Anthony Chavez of 2941, Amanda Cook of CityZen, Josh Short of Neighborhood Restaurant Group, Fabrice Bendano of Adour, Travis Olson of 1789

Wine Program: The member restaurant is distinguished by the quality, diversity, clarity and value of its wine program.  The nominee’s wine program best suits the cuisine and style of the restaurant while enhancing the dining experience.  The nominated restaurant must have been in operation for a minimum of two years by December 1, 2009.

Wine Program: 2941, Michel Richard Citronelle, Dino, 701/Ardeo/Bardeo/Bibiana/Bombay Club/The Oval Room/Rasika, Proof

Beverage/Mixology Program: New for 2010! The member restaurant is distinguished by the quality, diversity, creativity, clarity and value of its beverage program.  The nominee’s beverage program best suits the cuisine and style of the restaurant while enhancing the restaurant experience.  The nominated restaurant must have been in operation for a minimum of two years by December 1, 2009

Beverage/Mixology Program Finalists: Brasserie Beck, EatGoodFoodGroup (Eve, PX), Founding Farmers, PS 7’s, Tabard Inn

Manager: The nominee is a manager or general manager in the food service industry who displays the highest level of professionalism and leadership with a member business. This person must be an inspiration and mentor to all his/her co-workers displaying outstanding service, an excellent work ethic and a positive image.

Manager Finalists: Souheil Moussadik of CoCo. Sala, Ryan McCarthy of Passion Food Hospitality, Ashley Williams of Mie N Yu, Mark Politzer of Bourbon Steak, Fernando Contreras of KAZ Sushi Bistro

Employee: The nominee is a non-managerial employee of a member business who serves as a model employee by displaying outstanding service, an excellent work ethic and a positive image.  This nominee must have been working in the food service industry for a minimum of three years by December 1, 2009.

Employee: Corina August of Mie N Yu, Joe Bolam of Urbana, Adolfo Cajchon of Seasons, Marco Guzman of Café Atlantico, Jose Orantes of Dino

The public at large will have the esteemed opportunity to weigh in and choose the winners in the following category with a special ballot appearing in The Washington City Paper April 29 or online at www.ramw.org:

Neighborhood Gathering Place: This nominee is a restaurant that demonstrates a high standard of quality and congeniality rooted in its neighborhood.

Neighborhood Gathering Place: Bar Pilar, Belga Café, Cork, EatBar, Kemble Park Tavern

Restaurant Power Spot: This nominee is a top choice member restaurant, a spot to “see and be seen” with the movers and shakers on the national and local political and business scene.  It best exemplifies “how Metropolitan Washington works.”

Restaurant Power Spot: Art & Soul, BLT Steak, Bombay Club, The Source, Teatro Goldoni

Hottest Restaurant Bar Scene: This nominee is a member restaurant or hotel bar that is innovative with an energetic scene (atmosphere, drink menu, etc.) with a hip and eclectic crowd and is a great people watching and meeting place.

Hottest Restaurant Bar Scene: Birch & Barley and ChurchKey, Bourbon Steak, Masa 14, Posto, POV

The 2010 RAMMY Award winners will be announced at the RAMMY gala on June 6, 2010 at the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel in Washington, DC. The theme of the 2010 RAMMY Awards is “We’ll Always Have… Restaurants,” and is a play on a famous line from the 1940’s movie Casablanca. 1940’s era glamour will influence the décor and attire and infuse the evening with an air of intrigue. Tickets to the RAMMYS may be purchased by calling 202.331.5990 or by email at rammys@ramw.org.
 
A portion of the proceeds from the gala will benefit the Restaurant Association Metropolitan Association Education Foundation to fund scholarships for culinary education students, enabling them to develop and expand their career opportunities in the restaurant industry.

This Weeks Dining in DC (DID) Inbox

Seasonal Specials:

Photo courtesy of Affinia Hotels

Photo courtesy of Affinia Hotels

As summer comes to an end, Art and Soul will offer another opportunity to take advantage of the restaurant’s outdoor patio. Replacing the summer’s Crab and Beer Wednesdays, the restaurant’s seasonal patio with a warm comfy fire pit, will now be the site of a delicious mid-week barbeque.  Starting Wednesday, September 9th, Art and Soul will hold Wednesday Patio Barbeque Feasts, where guests can enjoy southern BBQ while cozying up to the outdoor fire pit as the seasons change and the fall foliage arrives.
 
The Patio Barbeque Feast will include a plate piled high with a variety of barbequed delights including Smoked Baby Back Ribs, Beef Brisket, Carolina Barbeque Wings, Coleslaw, Cornbread, Baked Beans, and a duo of unique barbeque sauces – Carolina and traditional flavors. The meal is $25 per person. Additionally, Art and Soul serves will offer new autumn brews including Alewerks Tavern Ale, Duck-rabbit Milk Stout, Penn Brewing Weizen, and Old Dominion Octoberfest. Buckets of six 7 oz. “nips” are also available for $14. The Patio Barbeque Feast will take place 5:30 p.m. – 10:30 p.m. on Art and Soul’s patio every Wednesday throughout the fall, weather permitting.  

The bar at The Source by Wolfgang Puck

The bar at The Source by Wolfgang Puck

The Source by Wolfgang Puck is introducing the “Hour of Power” taking place Monday through Friday from 5 p.m. – 6 p.m. in the lounge. This happy hour alternative features a trio of food items paired with a flight of wines for $25 per person, exclusive of tax and gratuity. Executive Chef Scott Drewno is kick-starting his new menu with a unique trio pairing in which guests can enjoy three types of dumplings, each matched with a specially selected glass of wine (the complete menu is included below). The offerings will change frequently, and future specialties will include trios of soups, spring rolls and ribs. The current menu is available through the month of September.
 
The Source by Wolfgang Puck is located at 575 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW (entrance on 6th Street). The dining room is open for lunch Monday through Friday from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. and dinner Monday through Thursday from 5:30 p.m. to 10 p.m., Friday and Saturday until 11 p.m. The bar is open from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. Monday through Thursday and until 12 a.m. Friday and Saturday. For reservations please call (202) 637-6100.

Announcements: 

Photo courtesy of City Paper

Photo courtesy of City Paper

Today the Neighborhood Restaurant Group (NRG) announced the appointment of Kyle Bailey as Executive Chef of Birch & Barley and ChurchKey, the group’s first restaurant and beer bar in the District of Columbia opening this fall. In addition to Birch & Barley and ChurchKey, the company operates Buzz Bakery, Evening Star Café, EatBar, Planet Wine, Rustico, Columbia Firehouse, Star Catering, Tallula and Vermilion, all located in Northern Virginia.

 A graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, Bailey has made his way to the nation’s capital after working in several notable New York restaurants. He most recently served as the executive chef of Allen & Delancey, a Michelin-star restaurant in New York City. The restaurant provided Bailey his first opportunity to head a kitchen, and his work was praised in numerous publications, including New York Magazine, Debonair and Gothamist. 

Bailey’s inventive cuisine and appreciation for local produce is evident in the menu he has conceived for Birch & Barley, located in the ground floor of a two-story building located at 1337 14th Street NW. His modern American menu will include appetizers such as Charred Octopus with warm fingerling potatoes, pickled eggplant and fried capers and Char tartar with yuzu, ginger, basil and sesame chips. The menu will include a pasta section with rotating selections all made fresh in-house, such as Tagliatelle with braised rabbit, carrots, chives and housemade ricotta. The format of Bailey’s menu will allow guests the ability to enjoy his pasta selections as a first course, a mid-course or an entrée. Bailey has conceived an imaginative menu split into four sections: Fresh, Pressed, Roasted and Fried. Artichoke hearts with sheep’s milk ricotta and chestnut honey are a welcome ‘fresh’ snack, while ‘fried’ and spicy Hush Puppies are destined to be a crowd pleaser. For ‘pressed’ or ‘roasted’ options, guests can try the Truffled grilled cheese with tomato soup dip and the wood-fired Flatbreads with toppings such as Port-glazed Black Mission figs and Gorgonzola crema focata.

Anniversary Celebration:

Bangkok Joe’s is celebrating their 6th anniversary on September 15th; and to pay homage to patrons’ favorite dishes over the years, Chef Aulie has created a 5 course tribute menu with her best selling and most memorable dishes that will be available from September 15th through 30th.  She has also included something new for the menu: Siam Sunrays cocktail.  The cocktail was created by her nephew Paul Sirisant, a Smirnoff Ambassador in Thailand, to help boost tourism in and around the country.  Just as Cuba has the Mojito, Thailand now has the Siam Sunrays.   Aulie just returned from a trip to Thailand where she visited with her nephew and perfected the recipe so she can give the taste of Thailand in a glass to guests at Bangkok Joe’s this fall.

Bangkok Joe’s also offers half-price wine nights on Mondays and Tuesdays from 4 p.m. until close when guests can enjoy bottles of wine like Salmon Creek Pinot Grigio and Salmon Creek Pinot Noir for $14.00.

 To Do:

  • Virginia Wine Fest Bus Trip on Saturday, September 19th that includes all of the following:
    Round-trip, luxury bus transportation – buses leave Clarendon Grill &
    Front Page – Arlington @ 10AM – Leave Wine Fest at 6PM
    Admission ticket into the Wine Fest (minimum $25 value)
    Unlimited Wine Samplings @ Wine Fest of over 300 different Wines
    Huge, VIP Tents w/ seating in front of Main Stage ( for our guests only)
    Souvenir Wine Glass
    All-Day, Live Music from Multiple Bands
    Pre & Post Parties at both bus/restaurant locations
     

Holiday Happenings:

BOURBON STEAK, Michael Mina’s restaurant situated within the exclusive five-star Four Seasons Hotel in Georgetown, is pleased to unveil its tempting Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Eve menus for the upcoming holiday season.  BOURBON STEAK will be the place to dine and celebrate among family and friends with delicious menus reflecting fabulous seasonal finds, from roasted Ayreshire Farm heirloom turkey and salt roasted prime rib, to Worcestershire braised short ribs, brown butter-basted Maine lobster and roasted Grimaud Farms duck prepared by Executive Chef David Varley.  BOURBON STEAK also features private dining room with custom furnishings and expansive windows overlooking the C&O Canal for those who wish to celebrate and dine privately with up to 22 guests.
 
On Thanksgiving Day, Thursday, November 26th, BOURBON STEAK will offer an a la carte menu from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. with holiday specials to include starters such as Brown Butter-Basted Maine Lobster with Acquerello Carnaroli Risotto and Perigord Black Truffle; Roasted Chestnut Soup with Foie Gras Cromesguis and Spices Marshmallows and Endive & Asian Pear Salad with Candied Walnuts, Pomegranate, Rogue Creamery Smokey Blue.  Entrée choices include Salt Roasted Prime Rib with Yorkshire Pudding, Horseradish Cream and Braised Oxtail; Glazed Duroc Pork Rack with Mustard Fruit and Stuffed Cabbage, as well as Roasted Ayreshire Farm Heirloom Turkey with Foie Gras Stuffing, Grilled Turkey Sausage and Cranberry-Orange Confit.  For dessert, Pastry Chef Lincoln Carlson will feature Kabocha Squash Sticky Toffee Pudding with Butter Pecan Ice Cream, and Pumpkin Seed Nougatine; Winchester Apple Confit with Spiced Rum Financier and Goats Milk Dulce de Leche as well as Silken Chocolate Panna Cotta with Red Velvet Cake, Cocoa Nib Ice Cream and Crispy Beets, the perfect ending to any holiday feast.  Menu specials range from $11 to $44.

Washingtonian’s Best of Washington party: Celebrating Readers’ Favs

For the past 30 years, Washingtonian has invited their loyal readers to vote for their favorites in various categories, such as best people, places, and services in the area. The July Issue  features “The Best Of …”of which readers rated for their favorites of everything from popsicles, pizza parlors, pot stickers, and cocktails. Of course, the Washingtonian editors don’t allow us layfolk to decide what’s best (wink); they too weigh in  with their own picks of what and whom they feel is the best in Washington.

July 13, 2009 from 7 -10 p.m. at the National Building Museum located at 440 G Street, NW,  Verizon Wireless & Washingtonian offer their ‘Best of Washington Party’. They have invited the ‘winners’ to set up booths and serve up their best to partygoers. In 2008 more than 1,200 guests, celebrities, restaurateurs, and Leukemia & Lymphoma Society supporters filled the National Building Museum to sample, sip, and socialize.

The sold-out event featured more than 50 of the area’s best restaurants and several celebrated chefs, including Michel Richard of Citronelle and Central, Eric Ziebold of CityZen, Tony Conte of the Oval Room, and Scott Drewno of the Source by Wolfgang Puck. I’m very excited to attend – thanks to Jill Collins!

All funds from the silent auction and a portion of ticket proceeds went to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society to fight blood cancers. The Verizon Wireless Best of Washington party proved to be the highlight of the summer season. It’s a winner for sponsors, suppliers, guest, and beneficiaries.

Tickets were offered at two levels: Vice Presidential Ticket ($95) and Presidential Ticket ($125) . View photos from 2008 party:
http://www.washingtonian.com/blogarticles/people/capitalcomment/8559.html

For additional information please visit: http://www.washingtonian.com/sections/bestof

Dining in DC with Central Michel Richard’s Chef de Cuisine, Cedric Maupillier – A Profile

Chef de Cuisine, Cedric Maupillier

When Central Michel Richard’s Chef de Cuisine, Cedric Maupillier isn’t in this Powerspot’s kitchen cooking for others, he likes to spend his free time shopping for the best ingredients possible around and cooking with his close friends. (Central Michel Richard’s most recent award includes the 2009 Rammy for Power Spot of the Year). On his day off last Sunday, which was his first Sunday off in one year, he cooked for his friends. At his table was Petrossian Alverta President Caviar with blinis, Grilled Calamari ceviche, prime, dry age rib eye steak with parsley, shallots, garlic, olive oil. He didn’t mention salt, but I’m sure that it’s in there. 

Chef Cedric was gracious enough to tell us where and what he eats while dining in DC. 

For the FULL Article … Click here ….