• 02Mar

    С Днем Рождения (or, Happy Birthday in Russian) to Mari Vanna!

    Mari Vanna, a Dupont favorite, celebrated its two-year anniversary in style on Tuesday night, February 24th. The birthday celebration took place at the third floor cocktail lounge of the Russian bar. At the opening of the event, guests entered the lounge to Mari Vanna’s usual electro-house sound. Upon arrival, we were treated to an open bar of vodka and champagne. The house-infused vodka list featured some of the most distinctive vodka flavors I’ve had the pleasure of trying. In particular, the refreshing cucumber and dill vodka stood out as a favorite. It paired well with the strong flavors of the Russian bites, one of which was the melt-in-your-mouth salmon and cream cheese roll. Other heart-warming tarts were the cured herring on rye, the Olivier salad, and the vinegret bites. The amount of food at this event seemed endless, with the plates quickly refilled one after the other. It was much needed, as the lounge soon became packed with guests.

    Once guests had plenty of time to enjoy their food and drink, internationally renowned accordionist Peter Dranga took center stage. Not too long after Dranga started playing, guests paused in their chatter to circle around. They could either be seen capturing the moment with their smartphones or dancing to the music. You could, really, feel the excitement in the air. Dranga’s passionate energy and upbeat dance music brought big smiles and cheers to the lively crowd. Simply speaking, Dranga makes the accordion cool.

    Then, the huge chocolate birthday cake and more champagne emerged. The night felt like one fun indulgence after another, for the pleasure of the ears, mouth, and heart. Mari Vanna knows how to celebrate their birthday right. I will definitely be going back to Mari Vanna soon.

    Photo Credit: Travis Vaughn.

    -SDM

    Mari Vanna on Urbanspoon

  • 27Feb

    DCFüd is giving away 10 pairs of tickets for one day (you can select Saturday March 7th or Sunday March 8th) at the DC Travel & Adventure Show (details below). So, who wants to win a pair of tickets to the event? If so, email contest@dcfud.com with the subject “Travel Show Entry” and specify March 7th or March 8th. Also make sure to include your first and last name in the body of the email.

    The deadline for submissions is 5:00 pm (EST) on Tuesday March 3rd.  Only one entry per person (regardless of how many email addresses you have). You will need to show ID (at “Will Call”) at the venue to pick the tickets up. When the winners are chosen, I’ll email them, hopefully sometime that evening.  Good luck!

    Rick Steves, Samantha Brown, and Pauline Frommer are all speakers this year.

    -JAY

  • 27Feb

    Grills Gone Wild is back at Rocklands BBQ from March 2nd to the 7th! This time around, they are serving:

    Grills Gone WildAlligator Brunswick Stew served with honey jalapeño cornbread triangles Individual – $3.59 Pint – $7.99

    Wild Beaver Sausage Sandwich, served with collard greens $8.99

    Bullwinkle Chili, served with honey jalapeño cornbread triangles Individual – $3.59 Pint – $7.99

    Wild Canadian Halibut, served over rice with mango salsa $9.99

    So, no Muskrat Poppers this year; I remember trying them with Uncle Brutha a few years ago.

    Wow, that’s an interesting graphic–I bet it was designed by the guy who decided to feature “beaver sausage.” John, was that you?

    -JAY

  • 27Feb

     

     

    Gluten-free people are often deprived. While our non-gluten-free dinner companions can splurge on any delectable sugary treat on the menu, we are often left to look on in envy. But there are finally a good number of local restaurants who are catching on and spoiling the gluten-free population as well.

    I compiled a list below of my favorite finds in the area. I chose to highlight items based on their creativity and only listed them if they are staples on a restaurant’s menu. There are a few restaurants like Willow in Arlington or Wildfire in McLean that offer special seasonal gluten-free desserts. I purposefully did not include those on the list because they are not always offered. However, I strongly suggest you check them out when you can, because they are definitely worth it!

    1. Trummer’s on Main (Popcorn Ice Cream)- This is the most tasty and unique dessert I’ve found! The combo of sweet and salty is masterful and tantalizes the taste-buds. Not to mention the fun of the innovative presentation on the plate. This dessert makes the restaurant worth checking out on its own.
    2. The Great American Restaurants (Chocolate Waffle)- This treat is available at any of the Great American Restaurant locations. Its chocolatey goodness is delicious and I appreciate the original take on a flour-less chocolate dessert. Instead of the usual cake, it’s an actual waffle with molten chocolate inside! It creates a great combo of gooey chocolate and vanilla ice cream with every bite.
    3. Matchbox (Cherry Pistachio Cheesecake)- This sweet dessert is a refreshing change for the gluten-free diner. It packs a punch of flavors into its rich, creamy goodness. The cheesecake itself is mouthwatering and the pistachio and cherries complement it perfectly for a satisfying crunch.
    4. Rustico (Heart of Darkness)- Although this dessert is in essence a flour-less chocolate cake, it is different because it has layers! The cake is encased in a shell which is a thick cold layer of ganache like chocolate on the outside. Upon breaking it open, you have a layer of whipped chocolate mousse followed by the dense flour-less chocolate cake on the inside. They serve it with scoops of sherbert on the side. Delish!
    5. Wildfire (Chocolate Chip Cookies)- Sometimes simplicity really is the best. There is nothing over the top or fancy about these cookies, but that’s what makes them so perfect. For starters, they are the gooey, melt in your mouth kind of chocolate chip cookies, which I always prefer over the crisp ones. And they have perfected the blend of flavors so you would never be able to tell the cookies were gluten-free. I had to compete with my non-gluten free friends to keep them for myself!

    I hope you enjoy checking out these great treats for yourself. Happy eating everyone!

    -JPM

    Trummer's on Main on Urbanspoon

    Matchbox on Urbanspoon

    Rustico on Urbanspoon

    Wildfire on Urbanspoon

    Coastal Flats on Urbanspoon

     

  • 24Feb

    On Wednesday, February 4, 2015, the Washington Humane Society’s annual Sugar & Champagne Affair took place at the Ronald Regan Building and International Trade Center and I was delighted to be a part of this magical event. Champagne and wine were in abundance as the sweet aroma from all of the delectable desserts filled the air. Participants in the event included: Co Co Sala, Dean & DeLuca, Mate DC Sushi, Poste Modern Brasserie, Shake Shack, and much much more!

    Dogs of all shapes and sizes were in attendance as well. From a cute 4-pound Pomeranian to a beastly 100-pound Great Dane, photographers were literally chasing tails to capture photos of our cute and furry friends. Some of the business participants, such as Shake Shack, had treats for both the two-legged and four-legged guests of the night. The Pooch-ini, Shake Shack’s concoction of vanilla custard and peanut butter sauce, seemed to be a huge hit. I unfortunately was unaware that I could bring my dog to this event but Onyx, my Maltese and Yorkie mix pup, has tried the Pooch-ini at the Tysons Corner Center location and ate every last drop of the custard so I am not surprised at its popularity.

    A wine company by the name of Chateau La Paws caught my eye because their wine bottle labels featured photos of actual dogs that are currently up for adoption. The representative at the wine booth also informed me that once a dog is adopted, they change the photo to another dog in need of rescuing. What a creative way to help spread the word!

    It was my first time attending the Sugar and Champagne Affair of 2015 but it certainly won’t be the last. I plan to attend next year with my pup and if you are interested in attending as well, follow them on their FaceBook page or check their official website for updates on upcoming events. Decadent desserts and fluffy canine friends coming together to support a great cause? Why not?

    -EHY

  • 21Feb

    New Gryphon DCFBHH March 2015March’s DCFBHH is 3/4/15 at The Gryphon in Dupont.

    Eugene Smith of DC Life Magazine is this month’s Host. Please RSVP here.

    The Gryphon recently changed their management, decor, and menu. Check here for DCFüd‘s article about the restaurant.

    -JAY

  • 14Feb

    Ok, let’s talk about sandwiches on King Street.

    I recently ate at Mackie’s Bar & Grill during February’s DC Food Blogger Happy Hour. Mackie’s is a relatively new steakhouse, where I sat at the bar I chowing down on excellent Jerk Wings and a delicious Bulgogi Hoagie (with kimchi on the side) while drinking one of three Evolution brews on tap. The owner’s wife makes the kimchi. I hear Mackie’s burgers are excellent, and based on the hoagie and wings, I believe it.

    Another King Street restaurant I recently tried for the first time was Pita House. The restaurant doesn’t seem to match the name, since it is a sit down place with table service, and not really a dive or chain. I gave it a try anyway, ordering felafel and requesting hot sauce, both of which were authentic and good. I need to go again soon to try some of their other Middle Eastern specialties such as chicken shwarma or baba ganouj.

    BTW, mark your calendars for Wednesday, March 4th, which will be the next DC Food Blogger Happy Hour. It will be in DC, but the venue has not been announced yet.

    -JAY

    Mackie's Bar & Grill on Urbanspoon

    Pita House on Urbanspoon

  • 14Feb

    “FRESHFARM Markets invites local chefs, cookbook authors, caterers, educators, food producers, home cooks (in fact just about anyone who is interested!) each season to come out to a market for an hour to prepare and sample a simple recipe which showcases locally and seasonally available food. It’s a chance for us to help foster discussions around food while introducing our market shoppers to the farm fresh product our farmers sell as well as teaching shoppers leaning how to cook with fresh food; it also is an opportunity for YOU to interact with the local community + get the word out about what you do (marketing allowed, sales are not). We cannot pay you for these demos, but are happy to underwrite the cost of market-purchased foods used in your demo—and ensure that all the samples will be eaten!

    The chef at market program page has a link to the simple e-application; please remit for review and I will be in touch to screen + schedule for your demo.”

    Permalink Filed under: Etc No Comments
  • 10Feb

    Sisters Ali and Lauren Borowick set up their chocolate covered pretzel shop, Fatty Sundays, at Union Market this month, right in time for Valentine’s Day. The Brooklyn-based company popped up at Union Market February 5-8 and will be back there for more February 13-15.

    Inspired by a family tradition of, quite literally, ‘fatty Sundays’ spent delighting in their mother’s chocolate covered pretzels with rainbow sprinkles, the sisters officially turned their family’s love for pretzels into a business about 2 and a half years ago. Ali had studied graphic design while Lauren had just graduated with an accounting major, a perfect match of skills necessary for the entrepreneurial duo. Their treats are sold at stores such as Dean & Deluca, and the company has partnered with Kate Spade, MTV, and Warby Parker, among others. Fatty Sundays is based in the vibrant South Williamsburg area of Brooklyn, but DC is blessed with their visit this month.

    At their special event on February 6th, guests were treated to complimentary champagne, a DIY pretzel dipping station, and free samples of the sister duo’s salty and sweet combos. Needless to say, the champagne and chocolate covered pretzels were a winning combination. There were chocolates and sprinkles galore at their brightly colored, eye-catching shop.

    At the DIY pretzel dipping station, guests created their own salty-sweet mashups. I dipped the dark chocolate into the sprinkles and the toffee, something Ali noted most customers do not mix together. Chocolate covered pretzels are one of my favorite indulgences, and Fatty Sundays’ are delicious. Their toffee crunch pretzel rods, one of their best-selling products, were my favorite sample. I got to take home some classic milk chocolate covered pretzel rods with rainbow sprinkles. They also have such unique flavors as birthday cake and spicy almond covered pretzel rods and pretzel brittle ensuring there is something for everyone’s taste.

    Try their products for yourself by checking out their shop at Union Market February 13-15, where you can take home some pretzel boxes or a DIY pretzel kit for Valentine’s Day. Browse their website to order online and get more information about Fatty Sundays.

    -SDM (Samantha)

  • 06Feb

    Heller's Bakery StorefrontMount Pleasant locals continue to mourn the closing of Heller’s Bakery, which closed this past December the 28th. Founded in 1928, Heller’s Bakery remained to be a Mount Pleasant cultural icon throughout its many years in business. On weekday and weekend mornings, customers could expect to wait in long lines to order their breakfast. Too many times I have woken up late on a weekend and went to Heller’s only to find most of their baked goods already sold. Despite what appeared to be a successful business, the bakery owner and his landlord could not come to a leasing agreement following some late rent checks.

    Located in the heart of the neighborhood on Mt. Pleasant Street, Heller’s was one of the oldest bakeries in Washington. The original sign still stands tall above the street. The Heller’s Bakery storefront letters and the interior décor made you feel as if you were in the 50s’. Inside it was casual and comforting, which made it an ideal bakery for either picking up on the go or for eating there.

    Heller's Bakery Original SignHaving grown up going to New York many a time, I was spoiled with delicious bagels. Moving to Washington without a promise of top-notch bagels was an adjustment for me. So when I found Heller’s Bakery, I was ecstatic. Heller’s had the best bagels in Washington. Their chocolate chip muffins and strawberry and cheese croissants were some of my other favorites. All of their food was reasonably priced as well. I ordered a homemade pumpkin pie this past Thanksgiving from Heller’s for only $7.

    Not all the news is bad, though. Heller’s website says that you can still place an order online or by calling them. The owner has said he is looking for a new location and wants to modernize the look of it. The question is: will the new Heller’s hold up to the standards of the longtime Heller’s on Mt. Pleasant Street?

    -SDM (Samantha)

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