• 01Nov

    You may have used one, seen one, or even have one. Today I’ll be sharing a tidbit on the French Press. Personally, this is my favorite way to brew coffee, and I also find it the easiest compared to other methods. When using a French press, three easy steps are required for perfect, care free coffee. First, scoop out the desired amount of ground coffee and empty into the French press with the lid completely removed. Second, heat the appropriate amount of water and pour it into the French press. Third, let the coffee steep for four minutes with the lid on and plunge slowly. The only hassle of the process is waiting for water to boil. Other than that it’s a breeze.

    Believe it or not, the French Press has been around since the early eighteen hundreds, but only caught attention in the nineteen hundreds. Perhaps the reason could be due to its various names it went by such as cafetière, press pot, coffee press, and many others. It had even been through many changes through the time period of the 1800s to the1930s. Various materials and designs were passed through until it was patented by Attilio Calimani in 1929. Even then, the design was constantly renovated and changed.

    When drinking coffee brewed through a French press, make sure you’re using a courser grind in order to avoid a bitter taste. Its also important to note that the french press brew is stronger than drip coffee. Overall, the French Press proves to be more flavorful due to the minimalist design and coffee filtering technique.

    -JMG

  • 15Oct

    We recently tried the newly created Picanha Burger from Fogo De Chao‘s bar menu, and enjoyed it. It is flavorful, has a nice texture, and comes with a brioche bun with smoked provolone, bibb lettuce, tomato, onion and chimichurri aioli; served with crispy polenta fries. We also tried two new seasonal (Fall) menu items, the Roasted Butternut Squash and Cranberry Salad, and Butternut Squash Soup, both of which were flavorful and well-executed additions.

    We heard that there is a new Bone-in Cowboy Ribeye (aged 21 days) available through the end of the year, but the Tysons location did not have it available. It’s possible the DC (Pennsylvania Avenue) location (which we previously wrote about) carries it.

    Above are some image highlights from our recent dinner.

    Notes: Valet parking is $5 at the Tysons location. The Tysons’ location is the newer of the two DC area locations.

    -JAY

     

  • 08Oct

    Chef Liu Chaoshengs Asian Origin opened this wonderful Sichuan and sushi restaurant in the spring. This highly skilled chef/restaurateur also owns Hong Kong Palace in Falls Church; Uncle Liu’s Hot Pot in Merrifield; China Jade in Rockville; and Cafe Hong Kong Bistro in Germantown. We recently attended a media tasting at this establishment.

    Award Winning Dumpling Maker, Jixin Lv.

    I am thrilled that like other Chef Liu restaurants, this establishment makes everything from scratch, including the tofu. More restaurants need to do this; we are happy when we find places like Asian Origin and another newcomer, Sugar Factory, where restaurateurs understand that pre-made ingredients cost more and do not lead to the kind of deliciousness you can find in freshly made (and from scratch) dishes. You can really tell the difference from scratch cooking makes in Asian Origin’s dishes; we’ve been back twice since the media tasting. Plus, Chef Liu imports many ingredients from China (like the wooden ear mushrooms), to add even more authenticity to his made from scratch dishes.

    So. let’s talk about Asian Origin’s (house-made) tofu. It is delicate and wonderful, but I could immediately tell it was different than the (also delicious) Ma Po Tofu we’ve eaten at his other restaurants. It turns out that Asian Origin is the only Chef Liu restaurant using black beans instead of soy beans. The dish is great either way, but it was nice to try the back bean version, which is a modern take on tofu that you sometimes find in China nowadays.

    Besides the Chinese menu, this restaurant also has a sushi menu. We’ve only tried one sushi item here (a roll, which was good), so I’ll need to go back to to the seaweed salad, miso soup, and more sushi.

    I’m not a DCFüd writers who typically ends articles with “you need to try this place,” but you do, and now, especially if you are a spicy food lover. Sichuan cuisine includes a remarkable floral note in it’s spicy dishes that we (here at DCFüd) just love.

    -JAY

    Editor’s Note: Sushi menu is served Tuesdays through Saturdays.

  • 07Oct

    While popular, Clarendon’s vibe skews fratty over chic. With several newcomers, including Wilson Hardware Kitchen & Bar, Clarendon’s newest spot, that seems to be changing, and this Arlington girl appreciates it.

    Located in a former hardware store, this restaurant blends industrial and contemporary, with exposed brick, beautiful murals, and iron accents. The small patio proved quite popular, even later in the evening. A Thievery Corporation heavy soundtrack adds a funky, upbeat sound.

    I was graciously invited to try a few of their cocktails and shareables. I’d been looking forward to Wilson Hardware’s opening, but had not yet had the chance to check it out, so was very excited to be a part of this. The cocktails favor fruity flavors, but I found both my Aisle 2915 (rye whiskey, meletti, pineapple, lemon, ginger) and the Screw Him (vodka, lychee, hibiscus, lemon, champagne, marjoram) to be well-balanced and not overly sweet. I also appreciate the wordplay with the cocktail names.

    A variety of options from their Shareables menu were passed, including panzerotti, Brussels sprouts, sliders, toast with crab dip, and corn fritters. My favorite was the crispy panzerotti, which are Calzone-like and filled with gorgonzola, mozzarella, and fontina; they are hard not to love. The quite tasty hardware fritters are made with corn and filled with cheese. And while I’ve had some really great Brussels sprouts lately, their bacon/garlic/parsley version was perfectly done. While I didn’t try the crab dip or the sliders, they were both popular. I’m looking forward to returning for dinner, and brunch, which should be added shortly.

    Everything I tried was great, as was the service. As this neighborhood changes, I have no doubt Wilson Hardware will do well.

    -LEM (Lia)

  • 30Sep

    Popular chain JINYA Ramen Bar has been in Virginia’s Mosaic District for a while now, but has just opened their Logan Circle location in D.C.

    I had not been to to the VA location, but was happy to visit their new place during their grand opening party. The staff was super excited, friendly, and happy to have us. While I think there were some communication issues and the staff needs more training, that will likely come with time. JINYA was very generous and that is much appreciated. The vibe was awesome–it was really was a great party.

    As far as drinks, I mostly stuck with the passed sake or Prosecco, though I did try a light, fruity, Dragon cocktail that was quite good. The appetizers were passed as well, and the Brussels sprouts tempura and fried chicken were both really tasty and perfectly crisp. But what I really loved was the pork gyoza, pork chashu and kimchi tacos, and poke tacos. The gyoza is nicely seared with plenty of flavorful filling. The tacos are crisp from the wonton shells and while it’s a toss up between the pork and poke, I think I prefer the poke. The pork is amazing, but the poke is so light and fresh, yet delicious. For ramen, I went with the chicken ramen, and that is not the way to go; it was so bland that I had to add both sriracha and seasoned vinegar to coax any type of taste from it. I heard from others at my table that the pork ramen was good, so that will definitely be my choice when returning. We also got to try the mochi, and the chocolate mochi was rich with the perfect amount of chewy dough.

    I do look forward to returning to JINYA. I’m a huge ramen fan and JINYA offers plenty of styles to try, plus all of the sides were great. It’s also needed in the neighborhood, so it will be popular additions.

    -LEM (Lia)

  • 30Sep

    Eat Spain Up! is a month-long annual cultural event celebrating Spanish food and heritage. It rotates cities, but we are lucky enough to have it in D.C. this year.

    I visited the Former Residence of the Ambassador’s of Spain in Columbia Heights to attend a talk and tasting that kicked off the program. The talk, given by Manuel Estrada, 2017 winner of Spain’s National Design Award, delved into the design process and looked at how design intersects with culinary arts.He designed the core creative for this program. The residence had been transformed into a gallery, highlighting Estrada’s works and important ingredients in Spanish cuisine.

    The tasting featured appetizers from Jaleo, Taberna del Alabardero, Mola, Pamplona, and more. It also featured Spanish cheese and wine, anchovies (boquerones), and Iberian ham, all of which were fantastic. The Iberian ham was rich and delicious, and one of my favorite offerings of the evening. Jaleo’s quince and manchego cone was not only fun to eat, but the sweet, salty combination made it crave-able. I also really liked the ceviche from Mola, which was light and refreshing. It was a bit disappointing to see that two places offered ceviche, while yet another offered octopus (pulpo). While representative of the cuisine, more variety would’ve been appreciated.

    Eat Spain Up! has events for the rest of September and October, including additional tastings, gastronomic discussions, and exhibitions. I love Spanish cuisine, and if you do as well, or want to learn more about it, you’ll be happy Eat Spain Up! is happening in the district this year.

    -LEM (Lia)

  • 16Sep

     

    If you’ve not had beer brewed by primates before, then you are in for a treat at Twinpanzee Brewing in Sterling (full disclosure: the owners, Antonio & Maha, are friends of mine). Twinpanzee, named for nicknames of the owners’ children, has been a labor of love, and a long time coming from these avid home brewers.

    Located in an office park, just off 267, Twinpanzee is easy to find and has plenty of parking. Open to the public Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, you’ll find a range of beers, plenty of seating, and good times. Snacks are sold inside, but there’s a rotation of food trucks outside, and you’re more than welcome to bring your meal inside.

    I visited on the grand opening weekend and truly enjoyed my brews. My first pour was the Toasted the Coconutz, a brown ale with toasted coconuts and 4.5% ABV. Definitely my favorite, though I could go for even more coconut, and perfect for someone who doesn’t drink IPAs but also doesn’t want something light. After that, I went for the Far From Lonely, a kolsch clocking in at 5.7% ABV. It was light, crisp, and refreshing. The aptly named Bob’s Brown Ale was my last drink. This 4.5% beer was tasty, and good for someone who likes a simpler beer, but I prefer the coconut version.

    For those that love delicious beer and supporting small, VA-based businesses, you’ll be happy you checked out Twinpanzee. It’s got a great vibe, amazing owners (chat them up if you can!), and fantastic offerings.

    -LEM

  • 16Sep

    I love barbecue and food trucks, so when I stumbled across Hardy’s BBQ in Bethesda, I was beyond thrilled. There’s not much in the way of food trucks daily in Bethesda, but Hardy’s is open from 11-2 each Friday in the parking lot of the Montgomery Women’s Farm Cooperative, on Wisconsin Avenue. Their Facebook page is often updated with their other locations as well. The line forms early, but moves quickly. Staff is friendly.

    I’ve tried the ribs, wings, fries, pulled pork sandwich, and collard greens. The most popular option seem to be the two wings, two ribs, fries platter. The fries are served crisp, seasoned, and hot, while the meat is pulled directly off the smoker and onto your platter. You then get to add your sauce. I’ve only done the hot BBQ sauce so far, and it has a nice amount of heat, but it’s not overwhelming. The ribs just fall off the bone and the wings are smoky. Both are delicious. However, the pulled pork sandwich my favorite. A nice amount of well-sauced pork served on a lightly toasted bun is both filling and tasty. And the collards are fresh and not overcooked, and work well to balance the richness of the meat.

    Hardy’s has been in business for a few years now, and while more BBQ places seem to be opening up in the D.C. area, Hardy’s a place worth visiting and worth adding to your regular rotation.

    -LEM

    Editor’s Note:

    Hardy’s is a long-time favorite of ours and is located in the same Bethesda location Saturday afternoons. Try the chopped brisket with mustard sauce and the barbecued chicken. Check their twitter (@Hardys_BBQ) on Sundays to see if they are at a festival (like last week’s Takoma Folk Festival).

  • 11Sep

    It was raining and soggy outside, and that just always seems like the right kind of weather to be cooped up into a warm coffee shop. Conveniently located in old town Fairfax, De Clieu Coffee & Sandwiches is nestled perfectly within the hustle and bustle of Main Street.

    The overall vibe of the store is eclectic and quirky. There is a broad menu ranging from breakfast sandwiches, lunch specialties, gelato, and of course, coffee. Chemex, french press, and regular drip coffee are the basics they offer as well as espresso, cappuccinos, and an abundance of specialty drinks.

    The seating is scattered with not much room to breath, and close enough to the stranger behind you who can’t seem to slurp their coffee without making noise. This is definitely not the ideal place to study, enjoy a book, or have some peace and quiet especially during the peak hours of the day. It gets way too loud and more of a hangout and chat spot than a get stuff done spot. Although those are minor defects of a coffee place, I believe that the ambiance and overall vibe of a coffee shop is just as important as the coffee itself.

    I brought my coffee connoisseur friend named Ben, and he ordered an espresso. He really enjoyed it for its sweet, light, lemon zest like acidity. It was balanced correctly and was shockingly not bitter at all. Except for the fact that it was not served in the right cup, and therefore featured splatter from the machine all along the inside of the cup. it was regardless an okay espresso. I purchased french press, and it unfortunately was lackluster in my opinion. For a three dollar mug of coffee it sure did taste exactly the same as the kind I make from home. That being said, it seems like their specialty coffee drinks were more of what the overall customer’s desire. After trying their seasonal beverages, which taste great and definitely are more of focused on.

    De Clieu was alright, but there are better coffee shops out there. Unfortunately, De Clieu is not there yet.

    -JMG (Jara)

  • 26Aug

    “YOU GOTTA CHASE THE TASTE.”

    On average, beer has a 4 percent alcohol by volume, however craft beer alcohol content is higher.

    I had the honor to be invited to the 2017 Virginia Craft Beer Festival in CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA. This venue located at the IX Park, in downtown CHARLOTTESVILLE which attracted craft beer breweries around the region along with food vendors.

    With paid admission, a patron would get a 5 oz tasting glass along with a map of the grounds and free range of food, music, and of course, beer.

    Some of the food vendors were sprinkled in with the beer tasting tents, I happened to stumble upon “THE MARKET, which is a local gas station that services gourmet sandwiches. Another great find was “Craft Beer Peanuts,” which was tucked away in the corner. This company hails from North Carolina, and offered up Bourbon Flavored Pretzels that was “sweet and salty” with just that hint of bourbon flavor. In the lane of food trucks, each offering had a local craft beer pairing featured at the festival.  I focused on the lighter, fruit-flavored beers.

    One of my favorites came from Watermelon-Lime Fruit Kolsch by Midnight Brewery. Midnight features handcrafted ales and lagers with seasonal brews, afternoon tastings, and a weekend line-up of various eats.

    Midnight Brewery is located at 2410 Granite Ridge Rd, Rockville, VA 23146.
    Midnight’s Tasting Room hours:
    Tuesday – Thursday 4-8 pm, Fridays 4-9 pm, Saturday 1-8 pm, Sunday 1-6 pm
    Tours available during tasting room hours and upon request Tuesday-Friday 2pm-closing. Call 804-719-9150 to request tour.

    However, while I was in the car, navigating the trip, I decided to Google: “What are the different types of beer?”
    Varieties of ale include:

    India Pale Ale: A very hoppy (read: bitter) brew.
    Hefeweizen: An unfiltered wheat beer.
    Irish red ale: The roasted barley content creates a signature red color and tea-like flavor.
    Porter: A London-style dark ale made with roasted malts.

    When I entered the venue, a Virginia Brew Hub Magazine  was available entitled “Beer Tasting Guide.” I used this as my guide while tasting brews and kept an eye on:

    1. ABV – Alcohol by Volume
    2. Color
    3. Head
    4. Aroma/Smell
    5. Flavor/Taste
    6. Hop Flavor
    7. Malt Flavor
    8. Sweetness

    I sampled beer from all over Northern Virginia including Port City ((Alexandria, VA), which I was first be introduced to at the “Taste of Shirlington.” I enjoyed their beer. It is nice that they have a female chemist on their team. Their 2 week aged Porter was extremely tasty. Usually the barreling process takes several weeks but with twerks in production time, one unit of craft beer can be produced in a shorter time which makes for fresh beer.

    Port City’s industrial brewery offers a tasting room with house made draft beers and public tours, and is located at 3950 Wheeler Ave, Alexandria, VA 22304.
    Hours: 3–10PM

    Another standout was the Geneva Convention, “A white winter ale” by the Young Veteran Brewery Company. This small, military veteran-owned brewery has an on-site pub selling draft beers and growler fills. YVBC is located at 2505 Horse Pasture Rd #104, Virginia Beach, VA 23453
    Hours: 3–11PM

    A random favorite:

    Boyzen Da Hood, Boyszenberry Gose (4.2% ABD) by Kindred Spirits Brewery. My opinion: Very good … Nice and sour.
    Kindred Spirits is located at 12830 W Creek Pkwy J, Richmond, VA 23238

    Another favorite is new on the scene, and trying to get the millennials involved is Heroic Aleworks. This comic book lovin’ beer making group of misfits liked to be center of attention. Their tagline is “You’ve tasted the beers, now get to know the stories behind the characters in the brand new, original ‘Heroic Aleworks Presents’ comics created by the owners of Heroic Aleworks, featuring artwork by talented artists from around the world.” Heroic is located at 14910 Persistence Dr, Woodbridge, VA 22191
    Hours: 12PM–12AM

    Anchor beers that have a heavy presence on social media and had a immediate name recognition with me:

    Starr Hill
    Adroit Theory

    I had the distinct honor to speak to some native CHARLOTTESVILLE beer festival patrons and some police that were present at the event. Now on everyone’s mind was the event of last Saturday, August 11, 2017. However, the ladies stated that, “This event is the complete representation of Charlottesville, not last weekend and the actions of some people. She was and is proud to be from such a wonderful community and was happy that this event went off without any incident and saw so many people enjoying themselves.” The police officers i spoke to echo her sentiments about last weekend. That isolated incident is not what C-Ville is about – this event is.”

    -CLF (Crystal)

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