• 16Dec

    What’s better than local BBQ joints coming together for a BBQ Bash to compete for bragging rights? Having it held at Metro Cooking D.C. alongside a flock of restaurants, breweries, wineries, cheese shops, juice shops, and other establishments within the food and restaurant industry for guests to sip and sample. Also, having celebrity chefs speak and perform demos is a plus too.

    The 2017 BBQ Bash winners are:

    Best BBQ Sauce/Rub: Jadean’s Smokin Six-O

    Best Ribs: Myron Mixon’s Pitmaster BBQ

    Best Beef Brisket: Hill Country Barbecue Market

    Best BBQ Pork: White Swan BBQ & Fried Chicken

    Best BBQ Chicken: BBQ Bush Smokehouse

    And *drumroll* … Overall BBQ Bash Champion is Lefty’s Barbecue!

    Aside from BBQ, there was a variety of other participants at Metro Cooking D.C. Being a juice lover, I was drawn to a new locally organic and cold-pressed juice company called Jinsei. They offer both cold-pressed and tonic beverages and recently opened a juice bar on the upper level of Tysons Corner Center in McLean, VA. My favorite is the Detox Tonic, consisting of organic kale, spirulina, coconut nectar, cayenne pepper, alkaline water, lemon, and lime. All ingredients are slam packed with health benefits, which sounded like an excellent idea at the time (I bought a bottle and thoroughly enjoyed it) in order to detox after sampling heap amounts of briskets, hot sauces, and pork ribs (not that I’m complaining).

    John J. Bowman, a local single barrel straight bourbon whiskey, proudly holds the title of 2017 World’s Best Bourbon awarded by the World Drinks Awards. How would I describe it? Simply smooth with a slight sweet finish. I highly recommend it to anyone who appreciates bourbon. Plus, we gotta support our local businesses!

    Last but not least, celebrity chef Jacob Ponder presented a ‘Taste Talk’ segment and answered various questions from the audience ranging from topics such as locally sourced fish to cooking temperatures. Guy Fieri was also in the house but unfortunately, I was unable to take a proper picture due to the crowd. I’m excited to see which celebrity chefs will be in next year’s lineup for Metro Cooking D.C.!

    Until next time everyone. Cheers!

    -EHY

  • 16Dec

    We attended Liberty BBQ‘s packed soft opening yesterday evening. The restaurant is owned by the group behind Liberty Tavern, Lyon Hall, and Northside Social, and is located in the old Famous Dave’s space on West Broad Street. A second Northside Social will open down the street from Liberty BBQ soon.

    Our favorite items were the ribs, followed by the brisket and pulled chicken. We also enjoyed the pickles they serve on the side. The collards and Brussels sprouts were alright, but we did not enjoy the baked beans, which were made with navy beans and included an odd flavor (mustard?) for that particular dish. We will definitely return for the smoked meats, especially the ribs. The chocolate sheet cake was decent, but I probably would not order it again.

    We do want to return to try out the pickle-brined fried chicken.

    The food was a good value with three smoked meats and three sides costing $19.

    -JAY

  • 15Dec

    Chocolate Chunk Cookie Pizza

    Oath Pizza (out of Boston) recently opened their first DC area location. This Mosaic District Pizzeria is definitely worth checking out. On our first visit, we created our own combinations, but returned the next week as a group to try some of Oath’s creations.

    Oath Pizza is a farm-to-pizza concept. Their pizzas are designed using sustainable and ethically sourced ingredients, making Oath the first pizza chain to be granted Certified Humane approval.

    We sampled most of the pizzas on their menu including the following:

    The Luau

    Luau

    • Mozzarella
    • BBQ Pulled Pork
    • Fresh Pineapple
    • Crushed Red Pepper
    • BBQ Drizzle
    • Scallions

    Walley

    • Basil Pesto
    • Mozzarella
    • Baby Spinach
    • Diced Tomatoes
    • Feta
    • Roasted Garlic

    Shrimpwrecked

    • house-made black bean spread
    • Mozzarella
    • chili-spiced shrimp
    • roasted corn
    • guacamole drizzle
    • fresh cilantro
    • scallions

    Spicy Mother Clucker

    • Mozzarella
    • Pickled Red Onions
    • spiced Chicken
    • Sriracha
    • spicy aioli
    • Scallions

    Bella

    • Mozzarella
    • Roasted Cherry Tomatoes
    • Roasted Garlic
    • Ricotta
    • Balsamic Drizzle
    • Grana Padano cheese
    • Fresh Basil

    Dougie

    • Mozzarella
    • Roasted Potato
    • Smoked Bacon
    • Ranch Drizzle
    • Scallions

    Chocolate Chunk Cookie Pizza

    • Chocolate Chunk Cookie Dough
    • Ricotta
    • Powdered Sugar

    The Cookie Pizza is an overwhelming group favorite. The Dougie’s potato and bacon combination was another crowd pleaser. I was the one who seemed to most enjoy the Luau, but I added crushed red pepper to offset the BBQ sauce’s sweetness. The Spicy Mother Clucker seemed like it would be improved by the addition of the shrimp from the Shrimpwrecked. We had them design for us an off menu meat lover’s pizza, which was quite good. The vegetarian in the group loved the Bella and Walley.

    -JAY

    Editor’s Note:

    Other local Oath Pizza locations are planned, including one near the Verizon Center.

  • 30Nov

    Dupont Circle’s Agora might be one of my favorite places in DC and a bit underrated. Though on a popular strip of 17th Street, this Turkish restaurant seems to be a bit of a hidden gem.  It’s been a few years since I’ve been to happy hour here, and until recently, the same was true of their brunch. However, I’ve now done brunch at Agora twice within a few months, and remember how much I love it.

    Agora’s brunch is a two-hour bottomless food and drink feast. Make reservations; you definitely need those. The menu is meze heavy, with some breakfast classics thrown in. It’s vegetarian friendly, as well. Service has always been good.

    Drinks are your choice of mimosa, Bloody Mary, Champagne, or rail liquor for mixed drinks, which is unusual for brunch, but appreciated. I stick with the Champagne because I don’t see a point in adding juice.

    Your server will start you with fresh, warm pita, but try not to fill up on it, no matter how hungry you are. That would be a rookie mistake. You’ll want to save room for some of my favorites, which, in no particular order, are:

    • Smoked salmon (lox)
    • Hummus
    • Baba ghanouj
    • Goat cheese
    • Feta
    • Grape leaves
    • Kasik (similar to a horiatiki salad)
    • Pide (flatbreads)
    • Baklava French toast

    The hummus and baba ghanouj are creamy and delicious. The cheeses are great, and I appreciate the fresh salad as a respite to the somewhat heavy options. If you love carbs and cheese, Turkish pide is for you, and it ties with the baklava French toast as my favorite offering here. I tend to order the mozzarella and tomato, but the Turkish sausage (sujuk) is also good, as the sausage has a kick of heat. The baklava French toast is sweet, but  not overly so, and super fluffy from the challah.

    The price is very reasonable, and it’s one of the best brunch deals you’ll find in the city. Many of my favorite bottomless brunches have now changed so much that I no longer care for them; I’m glad that Agora has not. Change isn’t always good, and Agora’s brunch offering is fantastic as is, so I hope it doesn’t change too much in the future.

    -LEM

  • 22Nov

    Lamb Soup

    After writing a recent article about the wonderful Sichuan food at Asian Origin in Tysons, we decided to return and try their sushi menu, which is only available Tuesdays through Saturdays. We dined on a variety of fresh Sushi and Sashimi as well as Miso Soup, and Seaweed Salad. The sushi is all very fresh and skillfully prepared; the eel was a favorite of my dining partner. The Seaweed Salad is a little spicy, which is nice. The homemade tofu in the Miso Soup is made from soy, unlike the black bean tofu used in a Ma Po Tofu at Asian Origin.

    Chef Liu even invited us to come back the next evening to sample the test run of a Lamb Soup recipe from the town in Sichuan Province he grew up in. The soup is made with lamb bones and fish stock, and includes lamb slices, radishes, and cabbage. It is traditional to dip the lamb slices in crushed red pepper. This is Fall/Winter comfort food at it’s best. The Lamb soup will soon be added to the restaurant’s menu. I even shared shots of extremely strong rice wine with Chef Liu near the end of our meal.

    We always end meals at this restaurant with an order of Sesame Balls, which are filled with black sesame seeds and black beans.

    -JAY

  • 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)

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