• 29Jun

    IMG_0842

    Located in Tyson’s, Greenhouse Bistro and the connected Samovar Tea Lounge were a bit of an “out of the box” experience for this DC dweller; however, getting out of the city to sip on craft cocktails on their spacious patio, dinner in the wide open, glass flanked dining space and after-dinner tea in the velvety lounge made the schlep a destination instead.

    Executive Chef Dale Schnell and the Greenhouse team have successfully transformed the iconic LEEDS certified, Canon building into an airy floor plan boasting glass partitions deviating private dining spaces and a moving DJ booth, walls lined with living herbs (the “living wall”), and open kitchen and plenty of richly textured tapestries and lighting that gives the sleek space a comfortable sexiness, very difficult to achieve in such an expansive floor plan.

    Greenhouse is the perfect place for families wanting to dine on locally sourced, organic cuisine comprising a menu of entirely sustainable ingredients. There is a strong emphasis on the casual, everyday nature of healthful, conscious eating that permeates the many aspects of the dining experience at Greenhouse.

    Whether drinks over a sporting match, wine with co-workers on the patio, dinner with the in-laws or a business meeting in the private room, Greenhouse is a comfortable and inviting place that successfully de-stigmatises the pretentious and inaccessible layer of most conscious and green eating avenues.

    Chef Scnell has taken great care to choose the most sustainable and ethical ingredients to create a menu that easily caters to all-organic and vegan diners, and carnivores alike without pushing the concept down diner’s throats. This was a concept easily (and willingly) swallowed. The fare itself was artfully assembled and light, a goal of the chef and a cohesive tie-in to the ambience.

    After dinner, tea in the Samovar Tea Lounge transports diners far away from the clean lines of Greenhouse, through a portal way known as “door.” Not so magical, but the result is astounding.Now close your eyes and imagine being surrounded by red, purple and gold hues of a lounge, lined with plush pillows and rich textures brushed lightly with the ambient scent of Illy coffee, the redolent aromas of tea and the earthy ground tones of fresh herbs and cheeses traditionally served with tea. If allowed to wander, the mind would feel as if in Istanbul, and for a brief moment the nostalgia and nearness of the environment to such warm memories made time disappear as a unit and the evening an experience. So different from the sharp edges of this DC life … whether in Tyson’s Corner or looking for a getaway, take the time to explore Greenhouse Bistro and Samovar Tea Lounge.


    For the most up-to-date food quips as they occur and heads up on upcoming write ups, follow me on instagram
     @celiareynolds with #DCfüd.

    -CER

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  • 28Jun

    In an event benefiting DC Central Kitchen, a collage of local chefs coalesced in the newly opened Art and Soul on New Jersey Avenue for a bread battle of buttery proportions. Being the resident southerner at DCfüd, a purveyor of carbohydrates and a vapid believer in healthy competition, Biscuit Bash 2016 called to myself and many district dwellers for an array of biscuit-based noshes alongside local brews and craft cocktails courtesy of Art and Soul’s mixologist, Lee Bonds. All participants were allowed to exhibit their inner food critic, voting for the best biscuit rendition of the evening.

    The event was cozily nestled in the warm, yet sleek ambience of Art and Soul, spilling out from their bar and onto their patio space where the stars of the show, the Culinary Class from DC Central Kitchen, were showing off their skills. If non-stop carb-loading directly from the hands of the competing chefs wasn’t pleasing enough, knowing that all the proceeds benefited DC Central Kitchen was the jelly on top. Since all of the participating vendors donated all the food, their creative genius and dough-rolling hard work, every single competitor deserved an award; however, the people spoke and Alex McCoy of Alfie’s Alfie’s was voted best biscuit while Jerome Grant of Mitsitam won for Judge’s choice. Check out the line-up and some shots from the evening, and get hungry for next year’s Biscuit Bash and follow me on Instagram @celiareynolds with #DCfüd. 

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    • Chef Evan Scarlatelli of Southern Efficiency: Sea biscuit buttermilk biscuit, rolled (fried) oysters, sweet/spicy tomato jam, chives. Without a singular doubt, the fried oysters with tomato jam from Southern Efficiency was my favorite bite of the evening; frankly, I could’ve cared less for the biscuit it was on. Needless to say, if there is more where that came from, I’ll be paying them a visit soon. 
    • Chef Alex McCoy of Alfie’s: Spice roasted goat biscuit with Jezebel sauce and cress. This biscuit was topped with beautiful heaps of fresh dill and mint; the goat was roasted in spices reminiscent of the middle east while the Jezebel sauce paid perfect homage to Southern fare. Being comprised of fruit jellies and mustard, Jezebel sauce is a throwback from after church dinners, traditionally served on ham biscuits. Best damn biscuit of the evening with the added perk of seeing Chef McCoy light up after thoroughly explaining his roasting process and why he chose goat to top his biscuits. The line for this biscuit was wrapped around the room, and rightfully so. I did shamelessly partake, not once, but twice. Whoops. 
    • Chef Brandon Byrd of Goodie’s: Peach Cobbler Biscuit. As a Georgian, this screamed comfort food. Rather sweet for my personal liking but what could be more southern than peaches on a biscuit? 
    • Chef Hamilton Johnson of Honeysuckle: honeysuckle biscuit with she crab fondue, Maryland crab meat, trio of roes, melted leeks. Again, more Southern shout outs with the guys from Honeysuckle.  She-crab soup is a traditional American staple of many seaside cultures including our own little enclave of Maryland; however, I couldn’t help but be taken back to St. Simon’s Island with this creamy, roe-rich biscuit topper that presented more like biscuits and gravy. Surprisingly, this was the only biscuit/gravy rendition of the evening … maybe next year. 
    • Chef Matt Baker of soon to open, Gravitas: Buttermilk biscuit with Rhubarb jam, whipped creme fraiche and pickled strawberry. The most balanced flavor pallet of the evening. The creme fraiche was light and airy, the biscuit itself was perfectly made and the pickled strawberry was a very needed acidic balance to the savory heaviness of a very creamy biscuit from Matt Baker. For Biscuit Bash to an homage to biscuits, this was one of the only biscuits that could have stood alone without the accoutrement. 
    • Chef Jerome Grant of Mitsitam (smithsonian NIMAI): Green chili and pecan biscuit, rabbit sausage, duck egg, huckleberry preserve. This biscuit combo won the judge’s choice, a bit of a surprise to me. Perhaps I received a “bad duck egg,” but the biscuit was fairly dense; however, the rabbit sausage was rich, fatty and flavorful. As was a theme of the evening, the topping out did the biscuit. An absolute shame considering that a perfectly executed pecan biscuit would dominate any bread basket. 
    • Chef Andrew Markert of Beuchert’s Saloon: Banh mi waffle biscuit, roasted pork shoulder, chicken liver pate, cucumber jalepeno relishes, pickled carrot and radish. Definitely the most interesting biscuit of the evening, being pressed and cooked in a waffle iron, the finished biscuit was crunchy on a larger surface area and the nooks cradled the messy toppings perfectly. 
    • Tiffany MacIsaac of Buttercream Bakeshop: Cream Biscuit Bar. This was a biscuit play ground with toppings ranging from chocolate sauces, passion fruit and basil cremes, ginger strawberries and more. The cream biscuit from Buttercream Bake shop was more scone-like in technicality having heavy cream in lieu of the traditional butter in most biscuits. This was most successfully rendered biscuit of the evening that deserved the buffet of toppings offered, but really didn’t need them.  I paired my biscuit with basil creme, blueberries and a lemon sauce. 
    • DC Central Kitchen: Culinary training class, fried chicken and biscuits. Fried Chicken on a biscuit with pepper jelly. I would have slapped my momma but she is safely in Alabama. Instead, the food induced fits of violence were channeled into destroying this classic biscuit combo. 
    • Chef Louis Goral of Rural Society: Cielo y Mar Biscuit, Foie gras torchon, charred baby octopus, bourbon luxardo cherry glaze, orange. I WILL be paying Rural Society a trip. Foie gras is a weakness of mine, but rich foie gras countering chewy baby octopus balanced perfectly with an acidic top end and a sweet over note … made me happier than a pig in the sunshine (you’re welcome for the idiom). Whether on a biscuit or a stale vanilla wafer, undoubtedly, this creation was the most creative and well-rounded bite of the evening. 
    • Chef Tadd Ruddell-Tabisola of the BBQ Bus: BBQ “Buscuit” Bahn Mi. Pork Shoulder braise in hoisin, sesame, soy and brown sugar. Topped with sweet-spicy-tangy house-pickled daikon radishes and carrots, finished with cilantro and sesame seeds. Served open face on a cornmeal scallion “buscuit.” Stellar pork shoulder, I cannot wait to track this bus down and break other kashrut laws. 

    Other Libations from the night:

    • Ice Cream Jubilee: Blue berry pie, Banana bourbon caramel, mango habanero, thai iced tea, gin and tonic sorbet.
    • Mixologist, Lee Bonds of hosting venue, Art and Soul: “Ricky Got Smoked” Barr Hill Gin, charred applewood syrup and lime

    -CER

    Art and Soul At Joie De Vivre Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

  • 13Jun

    Lhommage July 2016 DCFBHH

    DC Food Blogger Happy Hour at L’Hommage, July 6th, 6pm-8pm

    L’Hommage serves classic French bistro fare in a large, inviting space with an attached French bakery. It’s in the same restaurant family as Ottoman Taverna (last month’s happy hour), Alba Osteria, Al Dente and Bistro Atelier. Happy hour specials include mussels, sliders and other appetizers plus discounts on wine and well drinks.

    Address: 450 K Street NW (between 4th and 5th; close to Gallery Place and Judiciary Square Metro)

    Host: Andrew of Cook In / Dine Out.

    RSVP here.
  • 11Jun

    We recently ran across Reren Lamen & Bar (817 7th St NW), which is in the soft opening stage and near Chinatown. Leopold (the owner) says that his noodle soup is “lamen” instead of ramen because he uses fresh (house-made) noodles. My google search didn’t come up with this distinction but I’ll defer to the man making delicious noodle dishes in this matter.

    We tried the dan dan noodles, a Sichuan favorite that is served room at temperature, two lamens (one was the spicy Kung Fu Beef), soup dumplings, scallion pancakes with beef (Leopold calls them Chinese Tacos), and General Tso’s bourbon chicken. All the dishes were tasty, but the lamen dishes were the clear favorites. Everyone has the one friend who has to order General Tso’s (he was with me), but at least it is a well-executed version.

    Leopold also owns the Hot People food truck, although it is not currently in use.

    -JAY

  • 10Jun

    Savor splashed down in DC last weekend, combining great beer from throughout the USA with dishes the Brewer’s Association’s Executive Chef, Adam Dulye created for the 2016 show. Adam was one of the four speakers for the salon (class), Developing the SAVOR Menu. The speakers at the salon were: (from L to R) Steve Bradt of Free State Brewing Company, Steve Wildy of the Vetri Family of Restaurants, Kyle Mendenhall of Backcountry Gourmet on PBS, and Adam Dulye.

    Whenever possible, Adam starts by sampling the beer he wants to pair and then creating an appropriate dish to serve with it. But, sometimes the brew in question is being released at (or created for) the show and Adam has a phone conversation where the brewers describe a beer to him that they haven’t actual tried, which makes creating a appropriate pairing more difficult.

    Attendees left with Savor’s 2016 collaboration beer:

    Allagash Brewing Company (Portland, Maine) and Deschutes Brewery (Bend, Oregon) teamed up to brew Pettygrove’s Chance, combining delicate Oregon and Maine malts and fermenting with a farmhouse yeast.”

    Below are images of some of my favorite brews and pairings of the evening:

    -JAY

    Permalink Filed under: Drinks, Etc Tags: , No Comments
  • 08Jun

    Pretty Much says it all…

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    I’ve been waiting for Lamb Jam as long as some people wait for babies, the latest generation of iPhone, Christmas or the newest season of Black Mirror. For the most part, these sorts of hyped up waits never do the trick in triggering some cathartic release of euphoria, but apparently, I’ve been doing it all wrong. Walking through the doors in the back dock of Union market, assaulted in all visceral regards by the phenomenon the American Lamb Board has been bringing to our fair district for years now, it was immediately obvious that this was the element of anticipation missing from my year. 17 Chefs, 15 winemakers, breweries, distilleries and coffee companies tossed into one room, all vying for the title of DC’s best lamb.

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    Cava Meze: Lamb Shoulder Shumai, Avgolemono, and crispy lamb skin

    The onlooker is free to participate in lamb inspired activities ranging from caricatures, interactive photo booths, mingling with other lamb lovers, butchering demonstrations (complete with protein giveaways) and even a spice rub station…but of course, it’s hard to pay notice to these elements when the real attraction is being served up hot and fresh, in ample quantities, from the hands that created it. Just as Pandora Radio offers up a moiety of influences and interpretations on a central theme, Lamb jam is a creative generator best enjoyed randomly by the bystander.

    One can meander through each category in sequence: Middle East, Mediterranean, Asian and Latin America in sequence as in fact flipping through stations during the work day or randomly on shuffle. It is in fact, a full on jam session orchestrated by DC’s most creative food minds. Besides having unlimited access to every dish including full observation of assembly, endless supplies of local brews and wine, participants are free to pick the brains of the chefs and owners responsible for the plethora of ewe inspired dishes. It goes without saying that leaving Lamb Jam hungry, undernourished or under the day’s protein quota is not possible. Besides being a prime spot to meet potential suitors, partners in foodie crime or to simply engorge oneself on the world’s most trusty red meat, Lamb Jam is a brief look into the undercurrents of DC’s food scenes, showcasing favorite haunts and leading DC eaters to new venues.

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    The People’s choice, Del Campos Black Birria

    Chef Dean Dupuis from Brasserie Beck won best in show and best in the Asian category with a charcoal grilled Vietnamese style lamb in grape leaves that were reminiscent of dolmah paired with garnishes of peanuts and cilantro on a bed of noodles.

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    Chef Dean Dupuis from Brasserie Beck with his best of show dish

    The people voted Victor Albisu of Del Campo the victor winning peoples choice and also best in the Latin Amerian category voted on panel judges with his black lamb birria that boasted burnt Tomatillo and cuttlefish escabeche marrying the land and the sea in bright briny and rich, fatty notes.

    Keith Cabot of Evening Star Cafe won best in the Middle Eastern category with a homey lamb shoulder with a harissa glaze, sided with quinoa tabbouleh and balanced with mint and preserved lemon.

    Best In Mediterranean: The chef at Gravitas, Matt Baker, brought a braised lamb shoulder grounded with stewed white beans and warm flat bread. Keeping with the theme, it was sided with a unique tatziki spiked with feta making it stick out in the category and a herb salad so we could pretend it wasn’t all about the lamb.

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    Rappahonnock’s Pazole Con Carne de Cordero y Las Almejas

    Besides the two headed lamb caricature, I walked away with, my favorite bite of the day belonged to Chef Scott Kroener of Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steak House with grilled, middle eastern spice rubbed lamb ribs that not only fell off the bone in the most pleasing way, were subtly noted with the earthy tones I enjoy of traditional middle eastern cooking that allowed the unique taste of lamb to surface. In an event meant to edify the mighty ewe, this was the simplest and most powerful rendition. No sauces, sides or wine needed. My favorite libation came from One Eight Distillery, a Rock Creek White Whiskey … because why not drink whiskey all the time? Even when you don’t want to drink whiskey.

    Make certain to get your tickets for next years jam session and in the mean time, check out the American Lamb board on Facebook to get inspired in your kitchen. Ewe owe it to yourself. Trust me.

     

    IMG_0483

    Brasserie Beck Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

    -CER

  • 02Jun

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    If you didn’t know, here’s a fact about our fair city.

    To qualify as a true Washingtonian, one must:

    1. Know someone important
    2. Be the most pretentious curator of “the best _____” in DC
    3. Drink. Heavily. 

    Coincidentally, water always seeks its own level and the calling to be with other relevant District dwellers is a strong driving force in almost activity in DC.

    That’s why I slapped on some ironic red lipstick over the defeated pallor of a long day of work and schlepped (necessary verb) to Union Market from the NW trenches of the red line to be with other Washingtonians frolicking among our favorite locally sourced fare in one of the most sacred mating rituals in the district.  We’ve all shamefully attended warehouse sales in the back docks or tried vegan pick up lines at Union Market but there is a new addition to the moiety of food stops that demands some more serious attention. Besides being easily nestled among other vendors like DC Dosa and Righteous Cheese, Saison Wafle Bar epitomizes the three central tenants of being a Washingtonian with a sweet, Belgian crunch

    IMG_03621.Know someone important

    Starting with Jan Van Haute, the brains behind the nosh: Jan is the Executive Chef to the Belgian Ambassador, the founder of Saison Wafel Bar and owner of Haute Saison Catering. Can’t muster up the courage to start conversation? Just ask Chef Van Haute about his unique sugar and why he chose to bring DC what is undeniably, the best, most authentic waffle in our midst. Yep. Segway to number 2.

     

    2.Be the most pretentious curator of “the best _____” in DC

    In the words of Chef Van Haute, “waffles are not just for breakfast,” making Saison home to not only something top notch, but a nosh that is a unique novelty among the torrents of hummus and Spanish tapas dominating the happy hour scene. With locally sourced ingredients like smoked salmon from Profish, to-die-for Pastrami hailing from Singer’s Significant Meats and cheeses from Trickling Spring’s Creamery, Saison gives one hefty shout out to the local DC food scene in a brand new package.

    There’s little doubt that most have never experienced the reality that is a true waffle, made evident in the fact that most American’s insist on calling them “Belgium waffles” still. At Saison, this common misconception can be rectified in the form of the Brussels wafel and the Liege wafel (for the geographically disinclined, those are cities in Belgium). The Liege is somewhat more recognizable to the American pallet, with its hardened, crunchy edges and airy inside; however, Saison skipped no detail in maintaining the integrity of its product and it is evident in the most surprising ingredient in Union market (in my easily bemused opinion).

    The Liege wafel contains “pearled sugar” imported from Belgium, which I now know is a singularly necessary and subtly integral part of a true Liege style wafel. Chef Van Haute or any of his staff will proudly exhibit a jar of this beautiful pearled sugar as they did for me, and trust me … its as interesting as it sounds. Having a career that has stemmed from chemical industry and hence knowing very intimately the sugar processing industry, I was thoroughly perplexed at how these dusty little balls of sugar were produced and how this idea bypassed the American market, but I shut up quickly when I experienced how pearled sugar impacted the final wafel. Talking inhibits the eating process. Between the imported Belgian, cast iron wafel irons that do not require greasing (its all in the mix, as they say), and the sugar content from the pearls of the batter, the Liege wafel acquires a distinctly crunchy quality to its outer shell and more pleasingly, crunchy “pop rocks” of pearled sugar throughout. Chef was kind enough to send us all home with a bag of these wafels which my adoring family ate before daybreak the next morning, so its been validated: these things are maddening by themselves, but that hasn’t stopped chef from offering his many adaptations.

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    Brussels wafel, Belgian chocolate mouse, whipped cream, strawberry sauce, chocolate chips.

    On opening night we enjoyed three versions of a bread pudding made from this wafel staple: strawberry, apricot and a maple bacon bread pudding. Sweet, savory, rich … bread pudding is always delicious but the texture rendered from the wafel makes it far more dense and more interesting than traditional puddings. Of course, who can imagine a wafel without fruit, cream and chocolate? The Liege wafel is more traditionally eaten sitting down, less like street food and hence warrants the liberty of SLATHERING it with any kind of tongue libation you could think of. The plain Jane version boasts a simple dusting of powdered sugar and is, in my opinion, the Chanel of wafels. Simple and classic, but if you like to accessorize, strawberries, Belgian chocolate drizzle and whipped creme or bananas and chocolate are definitely offered up at Saison.  Knowing people, the average person is going to want to put “the stuff” on it, to all the foodies out there: refrain! Enjoy the Liege wafel in its unaltered integrity, feel the pearled sugar, enjoy the texture. Then feel free to order another … and have your way with it.

    The Brussels wafel was my favorite not for the wafel, but for the varied adaptations Saison offers that make it unique. By definition, the Liege wafel is not sweet, is much softer than the Liege and much more buttery in characteristic. Which is why its very easily folded up and can hold a universe of topping possibilities, making it a street food more traditionally. The “Deli on a Wafel” as it is lovingly referred to, is the Brussels wafel sporting Singer’s Significant Meat’s pastrami, dijon, onion, pickle and sprouts. Other offerings include Profish’s smoked Salmon, cream cheese and tomato, Bacon mouse and foie gras mouse wafels. Chef Van Haute is certainly a creative thinker and I am certain he will have many specials to hit Saison as time progresses, but if you can’t wait for that, just give him a call and have Saison cater your next business luncheon.

    IMG_0361

    Liege Wafel, Smoked Salmon, cherry tomato, onion, creme fraiche

    IMG_0360

    “The Deli on a Wafel”: Smoked Pastrami, Dijon, Onion, Pickle, Sprouts.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Listen up kids, I’m about to tell you a story. It goes like this: creamy, white Chimay cheese griddled between the loving embrace of the Brussels wafel. The end. For those wanting to sit back with a Duvel, order the grilled cheese wafel.Its not traditional and not good for those with dairy allergies, yet, I dove into this wafel head first. Over and over again. This my friends, is why I’ll be back to Saison. Beautiful reinvention and utilization of simple, and perfectly curated ingredients mingling in a maelstrom of traditional Belgian noshes and some creative spins. Bring your mom, bring your kids, come alone, bring a date; just come hungry. Saison is a very welcome and refreshing European addition to Union Market that is teeming with DC’s best wafels. So the next time you’re in a one-up conversation with some asshole in the break room, let them know that you are a connoisseur of Belgian carbs, thanks to Saison.

    IMG_0369IMG_0370

    3. Drink. Heavily. 

    Chef Van Haute made it very clear to me that wafels are not just for breakfast and they pair well with beer. I’m from Savannah so this statement took some pondering. What’s wrong with beer at breakfast? I’ll rest this case and let you know that Saison will be offering a select few Belgian beers to give the thirsty eater a taste of the brews hailing from this magical land of chocolate, wafels and dairy.

    If you’re feeling less than qualified as a district foodie, Saison is the cure.

    Dr. Reynolds, out. (drops mic).

    -CER

  • 27May

    Last week we attended a SOFAR (Sounds From A Room) concert in a Parks Department building in Columbia Heights. SOFAR has shows in various cities around the world (it started in London). You don’t know the changing venues or bands beforehand. People sit on the floor or in chairs and enjoy the beer they brought to the show. Mostly, there was a lot of DC’s own DC Brau at the show, but I did see some Sam Adams and Corona. And, one of the bands (Cautious Clay) was even “experimental” music.

    -JAY

    KetchungEditor’s Note:

    I keep meaning to mention a local spicy ketchup that I recently tried out called Ketchung. It is a good thick and spicy ketchup.

     

     

  • 18May

    meridian pintEugene of DC Life Magazine is this month’s Host. The happy hour will be on June 1st from 6pm to 8pm and the venue is the lower level of Meridian Pint. Feel free to stay for trivia night, which begins at 8pm. Please RSVP on the event page.

    Thanks again to everyone who attended last month’s happy hour at the brand new Turkish restaurant, Ottoman Taverna. It was a fun evening.

    -JAY

     

     

  • 11May
    img_20160508_142021609

    All delicious: Salted Caramel Chocolate Tart, Lemon Meringue Tart Parfait, Cherry Danish, & pineapple dipped at the chocolate fountain.

    GFJ and I recently attended the Mother’s Day buffet brunch at the Mandarin Oriental’s restaurant, Muze.

    GFJ favored the Japanese Wagyu beef (as seen on top of the sushi station), the short ribs, and the cooked carrots. It would have been nice if there were a couple of gluten-free pastry options for her.

    My favorites were the Wagyu, short ribs, prime rib, desserts, and pastries. The quality of the fish in sushi was good, although the rice was a little crumbly.

    There were some dishes (salmon wellington, roasted chicken breast, creamy mushrooms with pearl onions, etc.) I could not sample because they contained mushrooms or truffle oil (I’m allergic).

    This event is definitively a good family brunch buffet option for Mother’s Day.

    -JAY

    Muze Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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