• 12Jun

    Congrats to Federalist Pig on winning the DC Lamb Jam for Best in Show and People’s Choice! Kudos to the judges!

    This was a great year for the Lamb Jam with most dishes being stand outs. BBQ is apparently a GREAT theme for lamb! We are already looking forward to next years event!

    Now that I’ve tried the Urban Butcher ‘s lamb salami with coriander and orange, I need to make another trip to the restaurant (or farmer’s market) in Silver Spring. Meat Crafters’ Skinny Salamis (the lamb versions) were also delicious, and are available at the Silver Spring Farmer’s Market.

    -JAY

  • 11Jun

    Savor at the National Building Museum is a great showcase for high quality craft beers, with this year (the tenth annual) not being an exception. This year’s beer list included some exceptional choices and pairings. Virginia’s Hardywood Park Craft Brewery and Colorado’s New Belgium Brewing Company created this year’s collaborative beer, Savor X, a parting gift for attendees. Red Apron‘s charcuterie, Choptank‘s oysters, and Wisconsin cheese were hits!

    This is a show DC craft beer lovers (including myself) look forward to every year, so keep an eye out for Savor 2018! Maybe they’ll bring salons (classes) back next year?

    -JAY

  • 09Jun

    Alatri Bros. in Bethesda may only be a few months old, but don’t let that deter you from visiting. This “neighborhood pizza joint,” as they refer to themselves, is well worth a stop. It’s fun and funky, with interesting décor and a great soundtrack, along with fantastic service and food.

    Verdura Pie

    Over the course of two visits, I tried cauliflower fritti, wings, buffalo-style Brussels sprouts, and two pizzas: the Tomato & Mozzarella Pie and the Verdura. The cauliflower fritti is perfectly fried and deliciously addictive with its feta and red pepper dipping sauce. Buffalo-style Brussels sprouts seems like something that could easily go awry, but here the sprouts are crisp and have right amount of buffalo sauce. This dish might even convert a Brussels sprouts hater into a lover. Wings definitely hit the spot if you are looking for that classic wings and pizza combo. The pizza is great. The crust has that rustic wood-oven char that adds flavor and depth to a pizza. The pizzas are not heavily-topped (not that the toppings are skimpy), but you don’t end up with a mess, and they reheat well the next day. It’s hard to say which pizza I prefer, as I loved both. If you are a traditionalist, stick with the Tomato & Mozzarella Pie. If you need your vegetable fix, go with the Verdura, which is all about the veggies.

    Their liquor, beer, and wine selection is small but well-curated; I haven’t had a cocktail, though there’s some choices that have piqued my interested. I have had the red sangria, and it’s a good (and strong!) choice. Alatri Bros. has a rather full happy hour menu and dining al fresco, and it shares its patio with sister restaurant Gringos and Mariachis.

    Alatri Bros. is on par with some of my favorite DC pizza places, and I look forward to returning. It is worth seeking out, and you won’t be disappointed.

    -LEM

  • 26May

    We very much enjoyed organic Pacari chocolate samples from Ecuador!

    We attended the Embassy Chef Challenge a couple of nights ago, and sampled some great food and drinks. This event was a chance to try food from countries and chefs we might not otherwise have access to. Some standout dishes (other than those pictured above) included Chile’s salmon, Uzbekistan’s plov, and Morocco’s lamb shoulder. This is definitely an event you want to attend in the future.

    The 2017 Judges’ Choice award went to Chef Moha Fedal of Morocco with his Marrakech Tangia. Chef Cynthia Verna of Haiti brought home the People’s Choice award with her shrimp ceviche with plantain chips (served with a much appreciated passion fruit rum concoction).

    -JAY

  • 26May

    Osteria da Nino replaced a favorite restaurant of mine, but there are no hard feelings here. I had been looking forward to visiting, and recently got the opportunity. The hostess was warm and welcoming, and the space follows suit. It’s a big space, with room for groups and a bar in the middle. Service was fantastic, as was the food.

    The complimentary bread basket, always appreciated, is huge and delicious, and the basil dipping oil is a nice pairing. We shared appetizers of warm olives and a lightly dressed salad of greens, tomato, and watermelon radish. The salad was super fresh and I’m slightly addicted to the dressing. I love warm olives, so they were a nice start to the meal.

    I ordered the cavatelli with lamb ragu and pecorino as my entrée. The cavatelli is cooked just al dente, so do note that if you plan to order it. The dish was great, but I think a bit more seasoning would have made it pop more. My companions had the eggplant parmigiana and veal marsala. The eggplant was perfectly cooked and covered in cheese. The marsala with thick and a bit sweet, but the roasted carrots and fingerling potatoes were great accompaniments. To complement my meal, I ordered the Limoncello Martini, and if you like limoncello, you’ll really enjoy this one this. It was tart, sweet, and strong. There was no room for dessert, but I’ll try some next time, as I’m looking forward to returning.

    When you’re looking for great Italian cuisine, Osteria da Nino should be on your list.

    -LEM

  • 22May

    Summer Thursdays always brim with excitement. It’s not quite the weekend, but it’s close, and everyone seems to be out and about. If you’re looking for a Thursday spot with great food, great drinks, and an amazing vibe, look no further Bar Dupont. Located on Dupont Circle, Bar Dupont is the perfect place for people-watching and cocktail-sipping. They recently launched Dupont Live every Thursday through July, starting at 6:30 p.m., featuring local musicians on their patio, along with their newest menu additions.

    The Evening’s Performers

    Throughout the evening, we were able to try a variety of Bar Dupont’s new cocktails and appetizers. Their take on a Tom Collins, the aptly named Dupont Collins, was my favorite. The introduction of St. Germain provides a bit of a floral note, and the cocktail light and refreshing on hot summer nights. The Moto Guzzi, an Aperol spritz, is another perfect-for-the-weather option, albeit one that goes down a bit too easy. The Green Variety Margarita is tasty, and makes you at least feel somewhat healthy, due to the green juice. And who doesn’t want to sit on a patio while sipping a rosé? No patio menu would be complete without at least one option, and their Chateau Jouclary Bardes option is a great one, though they have several. Bar Dupont also focuses on offering local wine, beer, and spirits.

    Though “bar” is in their name, don’t let that fool you—their food is also fantastic. The two standouts for me are the tuna tacos (crispy shell, Ahi tuna, slaw, avocado) and the curried cauliflower (fried cauliflower bites with chimichurri). The tacos were not only tasty, but texturally interesting due to the crispy shell and tuna. The cauliflower was perfectly fried and went well with the tangy chimichurri sauce. It was also slightly addictive, and you might end up wanting a second order. The oysters were huge and delicious, though I didn’t care for the mignonette on them. But you can’t go wrong ordering those. I didn’t get to try the beef tartare or the Wagyu bacon cheeseburger, but those all went fast, so my guess is either one is a smart choice.

    Dupont Live will feature various musical genres and local musicians. The duo we heard played a bit of light jazz, which really set the tone for a chill atmosphere. Each act will be a surprise, so you never know who you might see!

    Bar Dupont should definitely be in your regular rotation, especially on Thursdays for Dupont Live. With impressive food, drinks, and musicians, you won’t want to miss it.

    -LEM

  • 11May

    I did what most young professionals do on a Friday night,  look for an after-work chill, cool down spot with a nice view of the city and good food.  Well, I think I might have found this “diamond in the rough” at the Embassy Row Hotel Rooftop Bar located at 2015 Massachusetts Ave, NW,  in the District.

    Opened over the weekend, the Embassy Row Hotel Rooftop Bar just had their kickoff event, and was  named “One of the World’s Most Amazing Rooftop Pools in The World” by Weather.com and “One of Best Rooftop Pools in America” by USA Today. They also received an awarded for “Best Chef in DC” with Chef Guy manning the grill.   Some popular items that were ordered include:

    Starters: Roast Piquillo pepper hummus,  Street Fare Kabobs Skewers of beef, chicken, steak, and vegetables, and Grilled Wings, which all will run you about $10.

    Sandwiches: Basil Chicken Breast, and “Juicy Lucy Burger.”

    The drinks: “Red Bull Mango Manic” sold out quickly. The shot girls appeared with the featured alcohol of the night (Tequila shot and Coronas in honor of Cinco De Mayo).

    Upon entering the Rooftop, there were some chairs near the grass-like area in front where people can sit and talk and pose with different selfie props. Around the pool area, there was some seating.  The lower desk has different games that people can play such as Checkers, and Connect Four – the adult version.   More games are featured downstairs in the “Underground Playground” which features:  Foosball, Ping Pong, Shuffleboard, and Air Hockey.

    The only downside that was a constant was the long line for drinks and food since Chef Guy was his own one man band and there were only 2 bartenders for thirty people.  However, with the long line came the shot girls to quiet the masses and the line moved with the sweet tunes of DJ Nick manning the tables.   He definitely played to the crowd and took my requestto play the Macarena – in honor of Cinco De Maya – I was in heaven.

    According to the Event Calendar, some notable events:  “Silent Disco” on Fridays, each guest gets a pair of headphones and then tunes into each 3 DJ different stations from 7pm until 11pm – this a cool millennial spirited event.  “Yoga Monday” starts the week out with some calm by the poolside. Events are listed on their website.

    Follow them on social media as well  (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter) @EmbassyRowHotel, #MyDCRooftop, #EmbassyRowLove

    To access The Rooftop pool, you can purchase a day pass for $30 on The Rooftop, starting at 3 PM each day; if you’re dining on The Rooftop, you don’t need to purchase a day pass. The Rooftop is typically open May – September, weather dependent.

    Embassy Row Hotel features different options for those who want to spend the night:

    LOVE,

    -CLF

     

     

     

     

     

  • 10May

    When you’re looking for a mini oasis in DC, look no further than the Penthouse Pool Club U Street (above VIDA Fitness). This gorgeous rooftop features a pool with cabanas and lounge chairs, plus a bar and restaurant with tables, couches, and fire pits. Oh, and some of the best views in the city, of course.

    Garlic Hummus and Fresh Guacamole

    Penthouse Pool Club brought on a new chef this year, Sean McIntosh. His menu is filled with fresh, delicious options that are perfect for summer. We started with fresh guacamole and garlic hummus. The hummus comes with pita and crudité, and the guacamole with tri-colored tortilla chips and pico de gallo. Both were not only beautifully presented, but quite good as well. I could actually go on and on about the pita—it was warm and fluffy, and was one of the better pitas I’ve had. We then moved on to the tabbouleh, chicken banh mi, and scallops. The cauliflower-based tabbouleh offers a lighter, yet flavorful, take on a more traditional version. The scallops were perfectly cooked, and rich and buttery, which was offset by an arugula and fennel salad. For heartier fare, you’ll want the grilled chicken banh mi. It’s quite filling, with crunchy vegetables and crusty bread, plus a kick from sriracha mayonnaise. Don’t ignore the side of chilled pesto pearl couscous either—I’m not typically a pearl couscous fan, but this was addictive.

    If relaxing at the Penthouse Pool Club puts you in the mood for a few drinks, they have you covered. Look no further than the sweet and tart Frozen Blueberry Lemonade for something cool you down. You can taste the fresh blueberries, but not the vodka, which can be both good and bad. The Sparkling Berry, with strawberries and prosecco, is also a great option for a seasonally-inspired cocktail. And for those who just want something classic and refreshing, the Ginny Hendrick’s is your best bet, though note that it is quite floral, due to elderflower liquor, but I loved it.

    I’d be remiss not to mention the service. Everyone we encountered was knowledgeable, friendly, and overall on point.

    The Penthouse Pool Club is members-only, but if you’re not a member, you can visit as the guest of one. With this menu and those views, you’ll want to visit, and you’ll want to return.

    -LEM (Lia)

  • 03May

    Fogo de Chão recently invited us to a media event featuring their new bar and seasonal offerings, and of course, a variety of fire roasted meats! While our schedule didn’t allow us to arrive early enough to try the Southern Brazilian steakhouse’s new Bar Fogo – Happy Hour Menu offerings, Braised Beef Rib Sliders, Brazilian Empanadas (beef), and Garlic Shrimp, or seasonal options, Blackberry Arugula Salad, Lentil Quinoa Salad, and Carrot Ginger Soup, we did sample the Mango Habanero Caipirinha off the new menu, and Fogo’s classic, Passion Fruit Caipirinha.

    We did arrive in time to sample the Rodizio (parade of fire roasted meats), sides, and dessert. Some of our favorite meats of the evening were the Picanha (prime part of the top sirloin), Beef Ancho (ribeye),  Costela (beef ribs), Pork Sausages, and Baby Lamb Chops. The Pão de Queijo (cheese bread) and Flan were hits as well.

    “Bar Fogo’s Happy Hour is available Monday through Friday from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. and features new Happy Hour prices that everyone can appreciate – from $4 Brazilian Bites & Beers to $6 South American Wines and $8 Brazilian Inspired Cocktails.”

    This was our first time at Fogo, and we will definitely be returning soon. We definitely need to try the empanadas and both the new Strawberry Hibiscus Caipirinha and Fogo Caipirinha.

    Fogo’s nearby locations include Washington, DC, and a new addition to the area, Tysons.

    -JAY

     

    Editor’s Note:

    Several of the included links contain actual recipes.

     

     

     

  • 02May

    On an unassuming corner at the very end of the Woodmont Triangle area of Bethesda lies Bistro LaZeez. I stay fairly up on restaurants across the DC metro region, but this one had somehow flown under my radar, and it’s probably under yours—but it shouldn’t be.

    Bistro LaZeez is small but warmly decorated, and offers sidewalk seating. Lively music is a nice touch. Staff is quite friendly.

    The first time I visited, I opted for takeout during lunch (about 15 minutes—call ahead). I ordered the grilled lamb sandwich platter (not pictured) and chose hummus as my side. The hummus was creamy and delicious, and I appreciated the herb and whole chickpea topping. The sandwich was huge and well-filled, with plenty of lamb and spiciness (from their special sauce, which is similar to harissa).

    On my subsequent visit, I tried a variety of mezze. A sampler platter is only offered with the spreads (hummus, baba ganoush, etc.) only, but I was happy enough to create my own with fried kibbe (fried balls of seasoned beef), halloumi (a thick cheese best served seared), and dolma (vegetarian stuffed grape leaves). I highly recommend the kibbe; it is well-seasoned, perfectly crispy, and served on a bed of sumac-dusted salad. The halloumi is topped with pomegranate reduction, tomatoes, cucumbers, and olives, so while it is a beautiful dish, it has a lot going on. It’s definitely tasty though. Dolma (stuffed grape leaves) was a nice respite to the heavier cheese and meat mezze. Filled with rice and herbs and drizzled with olive oil, the fresh flavors of the dolma complemented my other picks. Parsley potatoes were a nice touch. I found the portions quite big, so come hungry.

    When looking for a quick, casual Mediterranean meal, Bistro LaZeez is your spot.

    -LEM (Lia)

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