• 04May

    The Embassy of Spain hosted a networking event this past Tuesday, at which twelve leading companies from Andalusia, Spain presented their food and beverage products to DCers. Sponsored by Extenda and EMD Sales International Foods, the tasting event brought in Spanish speakers, food enthusiasts, media personas, and manufacturers, importers and distributors of the international food and beverage market. Extenda, a trade and investment agency of Andalusia, Spain, has offices in New York and Miami.

    One of my favorite products there was from Salysol, a company that makes canned dry nuts. The corn nuts, cashews and other nuts were addicting, and I found myself ending up back at that station quite often. The Ibérico cured ham and goat cheese from Consorcio de Jabugo were hearty favorites that disappeared fast. The event hosted several olive companies, including Campomar Nature, Industria Aceitunera Marciense and Luxeapers, as well as olive oil companies, such as Echinac and Framoliva. The wine reduction I tried from Único Vinagres y Salsas was a delicious syrup that topped off the meats, cheese, and breads well. The Regañás Don Pelayo, or Spanish tapas crackers, from Fuerza y Emoción tasted like bread, but in a flat, thin cracker form. They are a staple in Spain, also paired well with meats and cheeses. Other featured products included wine and cocktails from the company Espadafor, canned fish from Ubago and saffron from Saffron Family.

    For more information on these Spanish products and companies, or to learn more about how the food and beverage international market works, contact Extenda USA.


    Permalink Filed under: Events 2 Comments
  • 23Apr

    Gluten-free baking in past years can be compared to trying to mix highly combustible materials. It has required such an accomplished hand utilizing a precise mix of ingredients to achieve an edible, tasty result. It therefore has been viewed as a completely intimidating task that many would rather steer clear from. However, with new products coming on the market each day, gluten-free baking might finally be more approachable for the amateur.

    I recently attended a gluten-free baking class hosted by Delight editor Vanessa Maltin Weisbrod. This particular event was sponsored by the Children’s National Hospital to raise awareness for their Celiac Disease Program and was kindly hosted at Wildfire Restaurant in Tyson’s. As usual, the food was fantastic and was accompanied with a surplus of great information. I would definitely consider the night a huge success.

    I have to say there is no one who is better informed about gluten-free cooking, baking or products than Vanessa. My head was spinning by the end of the evening, but I left feeling like I could conquer the world in my kitchen going forward. She provided us with slide after slide explaining the components of gluten-free flour blends and why certain flours are better for different kinds of baking rather than others. She also gave us tips on different substitute fats you could use to add moisture to your baked goods. My main takeaway is it is crucial to educate yourself about your ingredients and their consistencies and what other alterations you might need to make to a recipe to compensate.

    For instance, I learned that coconut flour is a great flour to use for baked goods, but you may need to use less sugar and add additional liquid for best results. I also learned the benefits of sorghum flour and how it has a smoother texture perfect for use while making pancakes and flatbreads as well as baked goods with a more bread-like consistency.

    Tapioca flour is apparently great as an additive for binding in gluten-free baking and works well to create crisp crusts and as a thickener for sauces. It has a sweet and starchy taste and is best combined with other flours like quinoa and brown rice flour. You should again use less sugar to compensate for the sweetness already present in the tapioca flour.

    As for the all-purpose baking flours on the market, I learned that is really crucial to read the listing of flours included. For instance, some blends are higher in starchy flours like brown rice and tapioca. Others are a blend of high proteins like millet, chickpea and amaranth. You need to be mindful of these blends when you purchase because they will have an effect on the baked good you are creating. The best blends should have a decent balance of both the higher starch and high protein flours to keep your baked good moist. You also want to make sure it has either guar or xanthan gum included as a binder.

    Overall, knowledge really is power. Gluten-free baking can be fun and rewarding once you become more comfortable. Instead of an intimidating challenge, I’ll now view it as an experiment to learn. For further information about the class I attended or future opportunities to attend yourself, feel free to contact me at Joyana [-at-] glutenfreenova [-dot-] com.


    Wildfire on Urbanspoon

  • 21Apr

    Ocopa has been rising to the top of H St NE’s restaurant scene with its flavorful Peruvian tastes. Its fresh ingredients and relaxed feel make Ocopa a great spot to check out in this warm weather. A small restaurant, the Peruvian hotspot has limited but fun barstools with an outdoor view. The patio will hopefully be opening in the coming months as well. If you enjoy watching the food being prepared like I do, sit at the main bar and watch how fast Ocopa’s team makes their dishes.

    In addition to its fine Peruvian dinner, Ocopa has recently started serving brunch. The restaurant is known both for their food and for their cocktails. Chef Carlos Delgado has paired with Peruvian mixologist Giancarlo Cruz to showcase traditional Pisco cocktails and classics with a savory twist that are must tries.

    ocopa_restaurant_frontAs I am not a Bloody Mary fan, I was recommended the lavender Pisco Sour instead. It is the kind of drink you could easily have in one go without realizing what you have just done. The perfect amount of sweetness, this Pisco Sour is incredibly smooth to the palate. I also got to try the Pisco fizz, a drink not featured on the menu. It has the same smoothness to it as the lavender Pisco does. I was nervous when I heard that egg whites were in it, but I soon realized that this crucial ingredient is what gives the Pisco sours their deliciously creamy texture. If you are a Bloody Mary drinker, however, make sure to check out Ocopa’s. Based on my drink experience there, I’m sure their Bloody Marys are some of DC’s finest.

    To combat the drinks of the day before, I also had the Conchas Leche de Tigre, or Peru’s hangover cure. This drink has scallops, yellow pepper, and tiger’s milk, the marinade that cures the seafood in ceviche. The sweetness of the citrus marinade balanced well with the kick of the yellow pepper. This drink has a bite to it that can undeniably cure any hangover.

    So, how do you make a dinner menu into a brunch menu as well? Just add egg! Ocopa does this right. My favorite dish, the Lomo Montado, features tender filet with potato confit, all topped with an egg. We started with the classic ceviche with flounder, their fish of the day. The flounder was thin and light, with sides of sweet potato and Peruvian corn that both paired well with the fish. The Causa Cangrejo, a potato dish with crab, was soft, light and creamy.

    Meanwhile, the Jalea Pescado had the perfect amount of fried crunch and soft, melt-in-your-mouth fish. We finished off the meal with an ice cream dessert that had chocolate ganache, tapioca powder and crunchy quinoa, for a bit of a savory taste. Like all of Ocopa’s dishes, this dessert especially had an attractive presentation. The paletas, or ice pops, are also a must try.

    I will definitely be going back to Ocopa soon, but next time for their lively dinner. Whether you’re going out on H St at night, or walking around the hip neighborhood during the day, make sure to try something new and check out Ocopa’s fine Peruvian cuisine.

    -SDM (Samantha)

    Ocopa on Urbanspoon

  • 15Apr

    launchpadBudding DC area food entrepreneurs should check out the Launchpad (2) competition. It can help launch your culinary business/concept.

    “The contest runs approximately 3 months, beginning April 16th. Applicants will be narrowed down to 5 finalists who will compete in a cook-off event in July.”



  • 10Apr
    Orange Anchor Oysters

    Grilled and Fried Oysters!

    Orange Anchor is a new restaurant at the Washington Harbour Georgetown (in the old Cabanas  space).

    Orange Anchor’s $1 (each) oyster happy hour is Monday to Friday 5-6pm. You can select your oysters from the following preparations: fried, chilled, grilled, or Champagne. I tried the fried and grilled, both of which were very good.

    They also have happy hour drink specials including $7 wine, one $10 mixed drinks (Orange Crush) and $4 canned beer Monday to Friday 5-7pm. The canned beer selection includes Landshark Lager, Avery “White Rascal” Witbier, Wild Wolf “Blonde Hunny Ale, Butternuts Snapperhead IPA, and Champion “Missile” IPA, two of which are from Virginia. Also included in the canned beer happy hour pricing are Miller Lite, Bud Light, Natty Boh, Coors, and Corona.


    Orange Anchor on Urbanspoon

  • 09Apr

    STK May 2015 DCFBHH V6The next DC Food Blogger Happy Hour (DCFBHH) will be Wednesday May 6th, 6-8pm at the steakhouse,  STK. This month’s host is Eugene of DC Life Magazine.

    You can RSVP on the DCFB’s Facebook event page.


  • 03Apr
    Sundried Pork with green  apple som tum sriracha was a favorite of ours. Pic by Eugene Smith of DC Life Magazine.

    Sundried Pork Pic Courtesy of Eugene Smith of DC Life Magazine.

    I hosted April’s DC Food Blogger Happy Hour at new DC Thai restaurant, Mango Tree a couple of days ago, and definitely need to recommend a few items. The Sundried Pork (served with with green apple som tum sriracha) was a group favorite. I heard that the Vegetable Spring Rolls were quite tasty, but they contain an ingredient I can’t eat (mushrooms), so I could not try them. The Strawberry Basil Caipirinha and Lychee Mojita were tasty and refreshing drinks.

    I will say that a few of the dishes were a bit spicy for some of the diners, and that the sangria wasn’t my thing, but this new restaurant is definitely one to watch. And, the space/décor and service were excellent.

    Congratulations to Mango Tree for appearing in Eater’s list of hottest restaurants in DC!

    BTW, it isn’t posted yet, but save the date (May 6th) for the next DC Food Blogger Happy Hour. It was be hosted by Eugene of DC Life Magazine at STK, although the event has not been posted yet on the DCFBHH Facebook page.


    Mango Tree on Urbanspoon

  • 03Apr

    belvedere_wild_berry_displayBelvedere Vodka’s newest flavor, Belvedere Wild Berry, just made its DC debut. Barcode hosted a happy hour reception last week to celebrate. Guests were treated to complimentary wild berry cocktails and food bites.

    Barcode sectioned off part of its lounge area for the event, which quickly became packed with guests. Guests with reserved tables enjoyed bottles of the new vodka. The wild berry cocktails delivered a fresh, smooth and clean finish. The combination of strawberries and blueberries made the cocktail soft and inviting to the palate. This new vodka flavor mixes perfectly with lemonade or tonic water, topped with fresh fruits. Buy Belvedere Wild Berry vodka on the Belvedere Vodka website, and look out for it in DC liquor stores and bars.


    Barcode Restaurant, Bar and Lounge on Urbanspoon

  • 26Mar

    There are a ton of amazing DC chefs that can potentially beat Bobby Flay like Victor Albisu of Del Campo did. Oops, was that a spoiler? That was a great episode.  I used to eat a lot of fugazza in a Queens, NY Argentine pizzeria years ago.  I really do need to get to Del Campo sometime since I’ve heard good things, and I judged one of his dishes at the Lamb Jam last year.


    Beat Bobby Flay

  • 25Mar

    Many heartfelt moments in our lives start with the opening of a bottle of wine. We may not realize it in the moment, but family and friends form bonds over wine. Whether at a family gathering or at a dinner party with friends, wine is a staple at events. Sisters Robin and Andréa McBride show how wine can help bring people together. The age-old beverage helped inspire the wine-making sister duo.

    This past Thursday, March 19th, the McBride sisters celebrated the debut of their new wine collection, Truvée Wines, in DC. Partnered with Diageo Chateau & Estate Wines, Truvée Wines is the latest wine release from DC&E. The event was held at The Manor, a relatively new restaurant and lounge located in the heart of Dupont Circle. Guests enjoyed Truvée’s Chardonnay and Red Blend, spritzers, sangria cocktails, and food bites at the chic event.

    The McBride sisters’ story is, to say the least, a remarkable one. Both born in Los Angeles, the two sisters were raised continents apart by their mothers, unaware of each other’s existence for nearly half of their lives. Robin grew up surrounded by vineyards in Monterey, California, while her younger sister Andréa was grape farming with her uncle in Marlborough, New Zealand. It was their father’s dying wish that his two daughters finally meet. When the sisters reunited at last, they discovered a shared interest in the wine business. As the wine title Truvée, derived from “to find” in French, tells, the two sisters found in each other something worth holding onto and formed a close sisterhood. The entrepreneurial duo became the first African American sisters to found and own a wine company. Robin and Andréa  serve as an inspiration to women and contemporary wine lovers.

    The sisters told their heartwarming story at the Truvée Wines launch party held at The Manor, as guests were served complimentary wine and cocktails. Upon entering the event, I was almost immediately offered the Princely Peach Sangria, a cocktail featuring the Truvée Chardonnay. It was light, crisp and refreshing: the perfect start to the evening. I then enjoyed the Saucy Spitzer, mixed with the Truvée Red Blend Wine. This cocktail was by far my favorite at the event: fruity, smooth and flavorful. Then I sampled a taste of the Truvée red and the white. The lightly oaked Chardonnay was light, balanced and not too sweet. The outstanding Rhône Style Red Blend delivered a decadent fruit taste and a bit of a spice. It was rich, velvety and the right amount of sweet. As a red wine fan, I especially enjoyed the Truvée Red Blend .

    With a recommended retail price of $15.99, these sophisticated, high-quality wines are attainable for today’s wine drinkers. Browse the Truvée website for more information on this affordable indulgence. Keep an eye out for Truvée wines at DC liquor stores and bars, including The Manor.


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