• 20Jul
    Jinya

    The Mosaic District in Merrifeild, VA is quickly growing into the next hot spot in Northern VA and where hot spots go, foodies are not far behind.  The popular Vietnamese restaurant, Four Sisters, was one of the first brave restaurant owners to venture into this newly constructed area and others quickly followed.  And now it’s brought us a little piece of LA trendiness.

    JINYA is a popular chain ramen bar that has been spreading across the U.S. and now is in our backyard and soon to open a second location in downtown DC.

    I’m a bit of a skeptic with all of these new ramen restaurants popping up in the area lately but JINYA has a good variety of tasty ramen choices  and a great line up of accompanying appetizers.

    Tonkotsu Black was my favorite of all the Ramen choices because it had a nice bold flavor and you could tell that Jinya had taken special care in preparing the broth.  I was also oddly drawn to their Spicy Creamy Vegan.  I’m by no means a vegetarian but I wouldn’t have been able to tell that this wasn’t the normal pork-based ramen soup since they seasoned it so well.  And don’t forget it’s a bar too.  They have a fully tended bar with some very unique specialty drinks that you won’t want to pass up.  You’ll find something spicy and even exotic flavors you’ve haven’t previously tried and they don’t go easy on the liquor!

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    I’m an appetizer lover so I was fixated on their number of appetizer choices for a ramen bar.  The JINYA Bun was my favorite.  I’m a lover of Chinese roast pork buns (char sui bao – 叉燒包) and JINYA’s does not disappoint.  But it also doesn’t taste like your traditional pork buns either.  It has a thicker BBQ sauce giving it more of a tangy kick rather than the typical sweetness.  Their Tokoyaki (Octopus Ball) is also another popular item.  The ball itself was very good; however, it sits in too much sauce, so the bun seemed to be drowning.

    Great food and great atmosphere.  It’s definitely a spot to hit up after work or with friends on the weekend.

    -ADT

    ——————-

    Editor’s Notes: I ate at Jinya last week and want to add a few things. Jinya is one of several local ramen joints (Including Reren Lamen in Chinatown and Gaijin in Arlington) that makes they own noodles, which is a good thing. I was impressed with Jinyas ramen including the toppings, broth, noodles, and variety. I will definitely return to work my way through the menu.

    I will say that this is a young, busy (there was a line outside at 5pm on a week night), high energy (in staff and ambient sound) restaurant, which combined with dim lighting and white on black menus (I was tempted to use a flashlight app to read the menu) … takes a little getting used to.

    -JAY

  • 07Jul

    Serepeh chicken skewerBarbadian Seasoned Pork Chicken Choila with Alu Achaar Duck Pate wrapped in Bacon

    One of the quickest ways to understand the heart and soul of any country is through the unique cuisine of the nation, and on Wednesday the 26th May guests at the Embassy Chef Challenge were transported around the world in 18 countries (and plenty more dishes). The Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center played host to the international cook off that saw chefs grill, chop, fry, bake, steam and sauté the best fare and their finest produce in a bid to take home the title.

    In suave evening attire, the VIP guest reception offered early comers a sample of appetizers from 12 of the 18 countries, and the stage was set for the battle of the chefs to begin, with opening address paying homage to the international community that makes up Washington.

    Sampling stations were set for guests to then enjoy what each Embassy Chef had to offer. South African chef Zodwa Sikakane served Magwinya, (known as ‘fatcake’, a type of deep fried bread) stuffed with eggs and served with Chakalaka (a fiery vegetable relish).

    The patience of the guests was tested as they waited for the mouthwatering food to be prepared, usually taking a minute as chefs prepared more small bites for the ever growing crowd. This was made more bearable as distraction came in the form of non-stop entertainment throughout the evening including performances from Russian violinist Rafael Jardov and Fairfax Chinese Dance Troupe amongst others.

    As the eating continued, guest were able to vote on their favorite dishes, with votes going towards the People’s Choice awards, ultimately won by the Philippines Chef Claude Tayag with his Bringhe (seafood rice) dish. It was the first time that the Philippines have entered the competition, and Tayag proudly said that “Filipino cuisine is meant to be shared.”

    The Judge’s Choice went to Chef Creig Greenbridge of Barbados who won over the panel with his dish of Barbadian seasoned pork with tamarind-ginger rum sour.

     

    -EWL

  • 06Jul

    Crawfish fritters Korean fried chicken (yam-yum style with an American twist) Ever delicious pork buns at MASA14 Spicy sliced pork with apple puree

     

    “Dine-n-Dash” is usually a term that gets finger wags and disapproving head shakes … but this time it was legit! On June 15th Jose Andres and other participating Restaurants hosted the Dine-N-Dash benefiting the World Central Kitchen which was quite a feature to everyone who attended.

    Attendees got to experience a unique culinary tour around DC. Half was on 14th street and the other half was around Penn Quarter. The types of food expanded from various types of fusion cuisine to American, Thai, seafood, and much more.

    There were various check ins around so that the arrival load was split between various restaurants. This was smart considering what a crowded mess it would have been for everyone to arrive at the same restaurant. The night began at Birch and Barley where we were whisked away by the fantastic cocktails and the different bites that were offered. Knowing that 29 more restaurants were yet to come, the strategy was to try a small bite of everything unless you really enjoyed it!

    Chef Ryan was overseeing the event at MASA 14, and served up some awesome pork belly steamed buns and Korean fried chicken. The Korean fried chicken is very similar to the Korean street food, “yam-yum” chicken. MASA 14 offers their version with a bit more heat, more crunch and less sweetness. The steamed buns were a perfect gluten-free option, and were topped with achiote, pineapple samba, and cilantro serrano chili.

    Finally, SEI shared unique and delicious eel tacos, with a drizzle of eel sauce and topped with an Asian style slaw! Fun and unexpected barrage of flavors and presentation that bring two different unique culture together.

    Ghibellina served up some handmade artisan cocktails, one of which being a rum based drink with a drizzle of basil oil to add an herb flavor to the semi sweet and sour drink.

    The Pearl Dive blew everyone away with their top quality seafood. Among their treats were fried oysters and crawfish fritters that were truly satisfying. If shellfish was not to your taste, the pork loin slayed all those who tasted it. The pork loin was perfectly cooked, and had the right amount of heat which made for a surprisingly flavorful dish.

    Towards the end of the night and a thirty minute walk from one side of DC to the other.  It wouldn’t have been a Dine-n-Dash experience without stopping by Jose Andre’s establishments.  First stop was Jaleo and it appeared as though they served a main entrée of paella as they had the big dish on display with every morsel of food gone.  Next stop was China Chilcano where they appeared to have “Suspiro Limena” which is an iconic dessert of Peru that is a sweetened condensed milk custard that was topped with a soft and crunchy meringue.  Before leaving the last of the three Jose Andre’s restaurants was Oyamel the popular Mexican establishment that features a number of creative Mexican tapas.  With a band playing and as if everyone received the memo to end Dine-n-Dash at Oyamel a very lively crowd was present with drinks in hand.

    All of the restaurants had their own charm, and each are worth a visit again for an actual sit down experience.

    -EWL

    Masa 14 Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

  • 03Jul

    Mango Tree‘s Chef Nongnaphat Phanngam, popularly known as Chef Kate, is visiting from Thailand, and creating some wonderful Thai dishes. The last time we ate at Mango tree, it was a new restaurant. Two chefs later (Chef Kate is their third and is just visiting), the food is much improved.

    You can see Mango Tree’s dinner menu here. The menu includes many gluten-free options; the only items we ordered that contained gluten were the drunken noodles (egg noodles are used, not rice noodles) and creme brulee (because of the basil cake).

    Our main courses, the Sweet Tamarind Crispy While Fish (it was red snapper on that day) and Spicy Duck Curry (duck breast, red curry, pineapple, cherry tomatoes) were both excellent. The duck was our favorite dish of the evening. The fish could have used more sauce, preferably on the side (in a ramekin).

    The desserts were presented well and tasty. We ordered the Thai Tea Creme Brulee (which was deconstructed and included a basil cake) and Tapioca Pearls (tapioca pearls, coconut cream granita, grass jelly, rambutan, and jackfuit).

    At the bar, the Drunken Noodles (with shrimp) are the Spicy Siam cocktail are items you must order.

    -JAY

    Mango Tree Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

  • 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…

    IMG_0497

     

    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.

    IMG_0473

    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.

    IMG_0467

    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.

    IMG_0462

    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.

    IMG_0463

    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

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