• 28Aug

    crabandbeer

    Hello crab lovers!  I felt like a kid in a candy shop at this year’s annual Crab & Beer Festival at the National Harbor.  This event was by far my most favorite event this entire summer.  I love Maryland blue crabs,  so this was definitely the perfect place for me!

    I’ve been to my share of all you can eat crab events, and most of the time the lines are so long that by the time you are ready for more, there’s nothing left and you have to wait for the next batch to be cooked.  This was NOT the case here.  The crabs were piping hot and plentiful, and the lines weren’t painful to go through.  It was an extremely well organized event.  And no small crabby pickings here.  They offered medium sized male crabs that were meaty and fresh.

    20150822_150055  20150822_134911

    Now I’m not much of a beer drinker, but there were various beer vendors throughout the festival grounds.  They even had hard cider for me!  it was such an incredible event that I was sad to leave after my 4 hour session.  All you can eat crabs, corn, watermelon, and even beer tastings – you better believe that I’ll be back again next year, and I’ll be the first in line!

    -ADT (Angie)

  • 27Aug

    DSC01411

    National Organization for Vietnamese American Leadership – DC Chapter (NOVAL-DC) held it’s 4th Annual VietFest in the new Tysons Corner Plaza on the hottest of weekends, August 14-16, 2015. The summer heat didn’t deter this enthusiastic group of organizers. Their program was jam-packed with performances, beauty pageants, eating contests, scholarship awards, and more.

    DSC01417  DSC01414

    Crawfish Eating Contest

    Crawfish Eating Contest

    Bánh Bột Lọc Là (Shrimp Dumpling wrapped in Banana Leaf)

    Bánh Bột Lọc Là (Shrimp Dumplings in Banana Leaves)

     

     

     

     

     

     

    To me, the local restaurateurs and home cook vendors offering an array of cultural Vietnamese foods were the highlight of the event. The only downside, in my opinion, was the cost of food from the local vendors. When prices are set at a higher than normal price, it makes it hard for you to be able to sample a bit of everything from as many vendors as you can.

    The Festival had activities I associate with this type of event, such as food vendors, retail vendors selling unique items, and little children’s crafts, but I expected much more.  I felt that the festival was mostly focused on the stage activities such as the pageants and performances and not so much on the actual vendors. In my opinion, it could’ve been called VietShow instead of VietFest.  Still, it was very impressive that they had enough entertainment to showcase for 3 days straight.

    The eating contest was fun to watch.  Who doesn’t love watching people shoveling food in their mouths in state of a panic?  It’s like watching a live YouTube video.  But my favorite feature of the event was the food. There were mom and pop food stands selling home grown Vietnamese foods that made me miss my grandma’s home cooking and for those who were too afraid to try something different, I shake my head in sadness at you. Why? Because you missed out on the delicious chewiness of the Bánh Bột Lọc Là, which is a slightly spicy shrimp dumpling in a clear chewy tapioca shell wrapped in a banana leaf and seasoned with fish sauce.  To me anything wrapped in a fruit leaf is bound to be delicious because the ingredients inside soak in the flavors of the leaf.

    Overall, the VietFest was a great event.  It makes me proud to be Vietnamese and to see how this group is trying to keep Vietnamese Culture and tradition going into the next generation.  I can’t wait to see what’s in store for their 5th year.

    About Noval

    NOVAL-DC is a service-based nonprofit organization with a mission to develop sustainable leadership among Vietnamese Americans and to preserve and promote the Vietnamese cultural heritage. We are comprised of professionals and college students who are passionate and committed towards advancing the economic, social and political well-being of the Vietnamese American people.

    -ADT (Angie)

  • 23Aug

    As sometimes happens, I was unable to stop myself. I didn’t need ground meat of any kind – I’m more of a whole-animal-parts guy – but it was there. Ground venison. I had to. The problem being, of course, that there’s no way I’m wasting that in a burger or ragu or whatever that’s going to totally just treat it like any other unidentifiable ground critter.

    Googling around, I came across this recipe for Korean style ground venison that looked like a nice way to get the needed fat and salt into the meat but also let its essential woodsy-ness come though. Also unable to help myself, I made a few adjustments.

    I used:20150817_193728

    1 pound ground venison
    2″ fresh ginger
    4 cloves garlic
    1″ fresh tumeric root plus an extra couple slices for later
    2 squeezes of raw agave nectar
    1/4 c low-sodium soy sauce mixed in 1/4 c water
    About 6 grams of coconut oil (maybe 1/2 tsp?)

    (Other stuff I’ll explain in a second…)

    1/2 a sweet onion
    1 jalapeno (diced)
    1/2 lb shitakes (clean and slice to taste)
    3-4 scallions (just the greens)

    Slice the onion and start it slowly caramelizing.

    Puree the ginger, garlic, and tumeric in a blender (except the extra slices). Brown the meat, add the spice mix, agave, and soy water. When the meat is almost cooked, add the ‘extra’ tumeric, finely diced. When all done, careful not to overcook, remove it to a bowl with a slotted spoon or mesh strainer.

    Now, your onions should be nice and caramelized. Add them, the mushrooms, and the jalapeno. Sautee that until done (just a few minutes), and remove with your slotted spoon to a serving plate. Plate the meat with the mushrooms (I did side-by-side, as you can see), and then jack up the heat under the remaining juices to create a glaze. Pour the glaze over both sides of the dish, and serve, topped with sliced scallion greens.

    It’s also low-carb and gluten-free and all that if you’re neurotic, but I ate the leftover meat with forbidden rice, and it was awesome too.

    Enjoy!!

    ~MAW

  • 19Aug

    Care.  If there’s one word to summarize my experience at Avaton Estiatorio, it’s Care.  It’s evident in the effort they put into their fresh food, welcoming atmosphere, and great hospitality.

    The Highlights

    Great date spot; good selection of beautifully-plated food; pleasant atmosphere.  Cozy bar for happy-hours or chats while waiting for a table, and plush inviting seating area.  Extra seating upstairs can be reserved for private parties of up to 35.  Enticing display of fresh fish.  Try the sangria, daily drink special, seafood, and the rack of lamb. Love sushi? Get the tuna tartare. In a nutshell: imagine Landmarc at Time Warner Center, but with a more intimate, Greek vibe.

    The Venue

    Avaton Greek Bistro

    Avaton: 1 E 35th St, New York, NY 20016 (At 5th Avenue)

    Avaton opened in May of 2015 and you can feel its warmth even before you walk inside. Wood paneling greets you as you enter, host stand on your left and bar on the right. Happy-hour is from 3PM until close, which is nice.  The downstairs dining area is simply decorated and the tables are elegant and comfortable to sit at. Upstairs can seat 35 and has its own bathrooms—which were clean. The night I went to Avaton, they were also hosting a speed dating event, which amused me to no end. (Have you ever seen the movie Hitch?)

    Avaton's Bar

    Avaton’s Bar

    Intimate Table

    Intimate Table

    Larger Tables

    Larger Tables

    Private dining area

    Private dining

    The bartender is wonderful. She’s a good conversationalist and was excited about mixing special drinks. Avaton, as a higher-end restaurant, fulfills its duty of offering better cocktails. It’s not a speakeasy that offers couture drinks, but they do turn fresh ingredients and creativity into intoxicatingly tasty elixers. Speaking of drinks…

    The Drinks

    Sangria

    Sangria

    The first things I tried were the Sangria, the ginger margarita, and the drink-special. The bartender uses her own sangria recipe and it’s very good: rum, red and white wine, apples, and honey make for a pleasantly punchy drink that’s mildly sweet and the opposite of watered down. It’s flavorful and worth ordering.

    Ginger Margarita

    Ginger Margarita

    If you’re like me and adore ginger, you’ll enjoy the margarita tingling your tongue with its abundance of freshly squeezed ginger and generous pour of alcohol. The drink got better as it mellowed during the evening.

    Drink Special

    Drink Special

    What was fun about the drink special was watching the glimmer in the bartender’s eye as she brainstormed a name for it with the other staff. After straw-tasting it, I nodded approvingly; it was delicious. In short: tell this bartender what you like and let her take care of you. She’s great.

    Had I wanted to sample the wines, their extensive selection would’ve had me there all night. I was pleasantly surprised at the number of Greek wines they had, too. Prices ranged from around $50-$200 per bottle.

    The Food

    Bread and Cheese

    Bread and Cheese

    Olive Plate

    Olive Plate

    Once we had our drinks, my date and I sampled bread, white cheddar cheese, and flavorful Kalamata olives that were drenched in olive oil—as they should be. At this point, my stomach was singing sonnets and throwing puppy-dog eyes at me, excitedly nudging us toward our table. To get there, we had to walk past a glorious (and strategically placed) display of seafood on ice.

    Glorious Fresh Fish

    Glorious Fresh Fish

    How do you know seafood is fresh? It doesn’t smell like seafood. Avaton’s fish were practically twitching (actually, a clam really was).

    Dip Trifecta

    Dip Trifecta: Melitzanosalata, Htipiti, and Tzatziki (left to right)

    Being Lebanese may bias me, but I loved the Tzatziki which features fresh dill, garlic, and cucumber chilling in yogurt. My date’s favorite was the Htipiti, orange-colored because of the roasted red pepper creamed with feta cheese and spices. It had a definite spicy kick, but wasn’t overwhelming.  I liked it too. The Melitzanosalata, made with roasted eggplant, still retaining a mild smokey flavor, sprinkled with tomato and onion. If you like grilled eggplant, you might enjoy it.

    Rack of Lamb

    Rack of Lamb

    Ladies and gents, this was one of the best dishes at Avaton. Beautiful, frenched lamb chops on a bed of cooked eggplant and tomato. The meat was expertly prepared: pink within, lightly seared outside, and tender. The chunks of fat helped keep it moist too, and they were delicious. This was one of the few dishes that was more liberally salted (as red meat should be). (See Alton Brown’s Good Eats episode on Steak.)

    Langoustines

    Langoustines

    Have you noticed a trend in the food yet? It’s all beautifully plated and presented with thoughtfulnes and care. This dish was no exception. Langoustines look like a shrimp and a lobster had a torrid love affair. Their meat is firm and has the texture and taste of shrimp crossed with scallop. These were split down the middle and had a relatively strong char-grilled flavor, so if you enjoy smokey, this is the dish for you. Squeeze the fresh lemon wedges on the langoustines before eating; it brightens their flavor nicely.

    Risotto

    Risotto

    Mushroom risotto was creamy and a great pick for mushroom lovers. Flavorful without being overpowering. I love this portion size because risotto is generally heavy and nobody wants to eat a pound of it in one sitting. Okay, maybe we want to, but we shouldn’t. :)

    Salad

    Salad

    Look at those sublime chunks of feta, lounging on ripe red tomatoes, Kalamata olives, and cucumbers! Feta cheeses are all salty, but this one was relatively mild and not super tangy. Lightly dressed and perfectly herbed, it made for a refreshing, delightful salad. Dried olive was sprinkled atop it to compliment the brined olives underneath. I suggest crumbling the feta and mixing it a bit before serving. Again, note the care put into the food: because it came unmixed, it’s a hint that the salad was made-to-order and wasn’t pre-mixed hours ago in the kitchen.

    Tuna Tartare

    Tuna Tartare

    Stunningly gorgeous tuna tartare?  Yep. I was salivating long before taking a bite. Topped with greens and seaweed, the sushi-grade tuna lays on a bed of avocado. Minced onions were perfectly proportioned with the rest of it. Please, please, dip each bite in the balsamic reduction on the plate; it added an element of sweetness and was fantastic.

    Whole Fish

    Dorade Royale

    The Dorade Royale was excellent. As with any whole fish, beware of the thin bones. The waiter kindly offered to filet ours or to leave it whole. Our white fish was perfectly cooked (tender, juicy, flaky meat). Mildly flavored, it paired well with the Assyrtiko Santorini white wine which was very dry, with no noticeable sweetness, an initial acidic bite, and citrusy notes. The wine was great with the tuna tartare as well. Lemon butter sauce came on the side which was appreciated. I’d recommend using it sparingly or adding a little salt to balance the tanginess. I wonder if they use it for all their seafood or just the fish, because it would taste good with anything I can think of.

    The Hospitality

    From the bartender to the waitstaff to the head chef, the service was impeccable.

    One thing saddens me, though: I can’t review the service. Since they knew I was writing about them, I got special treatment. When I gush about how incredible the service was, you’ll know it’s biased. And the service was stellar. The gentleman who described the seafood was knowledgeable and articulate. The food arrived in good time, with the servers describing each dish and presenting it well, and the people running the restaurant were friendly and upbeat. The highlight of the evening, however, was meeting the head chef.

    You know when you feel an instant connection with someone? That happened with Chef Yoanne Magris and I because she’s so passionate about food and about people enjoying themselves. She speaks fluent French and we had several nice conversations as the evening progressed. I’m told she runs a tight kitchen and develops the talents of the other chefs. She cares. She’s the heart of Avaton and when you eat there, you’re like her family.

    Even though my account of the service could be biased, I’m pretty sure you’ll enjoy your experience too. How can I be sure? Because everything about dinner was done well. Yes, people do try harder when they know it matters, but they can’t control every detail of an experience. I’m good at paying attention to detail, so I’ll wager that Avaton’s a winner and I hope they stay that way. Go. Take a date. And let me know how it was!

    –Mark Feghali (MFF)

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  • 14Aug

    Big Bear Cafe Sept 2015 DCFBHHLaetitia of French Twist will be September’s DC Food Blogger Happy Hour host. Join us on the Front Patio of Big Bear Café (1700 1st Street, NW, Washington, DC 20001) in Bloomingdale.

    Please RSVP on the DCFB Facebook event page.

    -JAY

  • 07Aug

    Eugene of DC Life Magazine hosted Wednesday’s DC Food Blogger Happy Hour at Beuchert’s Saloon. The “B Burger” is $15 when ordered “All The Way,” which includes bacon, cheese (white cheddar or blue), and a sunny side up egg. It’s a really good burger, I will give them that! The Waitress told me it comes with a salad (with dressing), but it doesn’t; it just comes with burger toppings. You can purchase fries on the side. I drank a DC Brau Hefeweizen with the burger.

    The wings at Bonchon in Navy Yard were excellent, especially when ordered spicy. They have a great crunchy (and somewhat shiny) coating and seem to have been fried several times. The tenders weren’t as good; the chicken was dried out, and the coating was overly thick and hardened too much as it cooled. Bonchon has a good beer selection.

    I ordered the Mediterranean (Lamb) Burger at the Takoma Park Busboys & Poets. The burger was quite good and paired well with the garlic herb yogurt sauce. I chose a bun instead of flat bread. They accidentally brought me fruit salad instead of kale salad.

    -JAY

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  • 03Aug

    Greek celebrity chef, cookbook author, and restaurateur, Argiro Barbarigou (of the restaurant, Papadakis in Athens, Greece) helped launch Alfa Piehouse in downtown DC last week at 1750 H Street NW. Alfa Piehouse is a collaboration between Chef Argiro and Alfa (Greece’s leading pastry company). I was lucky enough to meet and spend some time with Chef Argiro and Katerina Koukoutaris of Alfa before they headed back to Greece. Everyone at Alfa Piehouse was very friendly and welcoming.

    Chef Argiro Barbarigou & Alfa's Katerina Serving up Goodies!

    Chef Argiro Barbarigou & Alfa’s Katerina Koukoutaris Serving up Goodies!

    Let’s talk about authenticity. Alfa Piehouse imports most of its ingredients (olive oil, olives, honey, yogurt, herbs, etc.) from Greece. So, when Alfa sells Greek yogurt, it is from Greece, and not just Greek-style (yet American-made) yogurt.

    Their olives and olive oil are excellent. I was talk to first smell and then drink a little of the oil (which I did). I even compared their Kalamata olives with Wegman’s when I got home, and Alfa’s were more flavorful.

    Alfa Piehouse makes their own phyllo dough (yes, really!) which they use in a variety and shapes of stuffed phyllo dough creations including Spinach Pie, Cheese Pie, Olive Pie, Orange Pie, Pumpkin Roll, Baklava, etc. Breakfast (including French Toast), salads, and sandwiches are on the menu as well.

    While there are many vegetarian options here, there are also a few that are also dairy free such as the Crete Pie (leeks, greens, and herbs), Double Pumpkin Roll, Apple Roll, Bougatsa Pie (custard), and Paros Pie (potatoes and onions).

    Alpha Piehouse is open Monday through Friday 6 am-6 pm.

    -JAY

    Editor’s Notes: Google Translate was used to make Argiro Barbarigou‘s website readable in English but it is unsure how good a translation it is, since I don’t speak Greek. Clicking the above images twice (slowly) will allow you to see them in a larger size.

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  • 02Aug
    John Shields & Wildfire's Chef Moreno Attack a Pile of Blue Crabs!

    John Shields & Wildfire’s Chef Moreno Attack a Pile of Blue Crabs!

    Wildfire in Tysons has pulled off another great crab dinner with Chesapeake cuisine authority, John Shields. John’s restaurant in Gertrude’s in the Baltimore Art Museum, and his PBS show is Coastal Cooking. He is even about to re-release Chesapeake Bay Cooking in October (September for advance copies). John showed us how to properly break a blue crab down.

    There was even some discussion of whether Chesapeake crabs are actually Maryland or Virginia crabs since this Washington Post article had just been published.

    Here is the 1st Course Recipe: Grilled Avocado & Bluefin Crab Salad.

    Here is the 1st Course Recipe: Grilled Avocado & Bluefin Crab Salad.

    This was my first experience drinking Three Notch’d (Charlottesville, VA) beer. We sampled their Pilsner (Of, By, For), 40 Mile IPA (which is really well balanced), Gray Ghost American Pale Ale, and award-winning Hydraulion Irish Red. The Three Notch’d brews were all excellent (and named after Charlottesville history).

    This article contains video we took of John breaking down a crab at a previous Wildfire crab (and cocktails instead of beer) dinner:

    Wildfire is quite skilled at creating and executing beer dinners in partnership with wonderful breweries. This crab dinner was excellent, but so was June’s Lagunitas dinner.

    -JAY

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  • 29Jul

    Let’s rewind ten or fifteen years ago to my Quest for the perfect brie.  The Quest wasn’t for a blog article; it was because I loved food.  I purchased various brands from Costco, Trader Joes, and Whole Foods until I found the most delicious cheese on earth: a double-creme brie called Fromager d’Affinois. I’ve been gushing about it to my friends ever since.

    Rays of sunshine stream through the clouds

    The heavens agree: Saint Angel brie is a good choice

    So when dcfud asked me to review cheeses from Fromagerie Guilloteau, the family owned business that makes my all-time favorite cheese, you can imagine how much I bounced off the walls with excitement.  They let me try two different cheeses for free, and I loved their triple-creme brie so much that I couldn’t resist buying some for my parents when I visited them that weekend.  On my way back from Whole Foods—cheese in hand—I kept giggling because never before had the heavens parted as if to say, “excellent choice, Mark.” When I stopped at a red light, I had to capture the moment.  My parents loved it.

    Here’s the story behind this review.  On my way to work, I stopped at Murray’s in Grand Central Station in New York City.  As a purveyor of fine cheeses I thought they’d have a better selection than Whole Foods, who I already knew carried Fromager d’Affinois.  Luck was not with me that day, because d’Affinois was all Murray’s had.  Given my adoration for that cheese, I couldn’t just review it myself and toss journalistic integrity to the wind.  “But wait a second,” I thought.  “I have coworkers.”  Problem solved.

    A pound of double-creme brie

    A pound of double-creme brie

    Welcome to my office, toasted crackers and a pound of double-creme brie.  Don’t mind the lustful gazes from my colleagues.

     

     

     

    Later, as the brie was being demolished, here’s what everyone had to say:

    “I am not a brie expert, but I find it delicious”

    “It’s a good one. Not too strong. Not harsh. I like the crust actually.”

    “Very creamy. You can tell the difference between cheap brie and good brie. You can tell it’s not a cheap one. After a second helping I would say it’s not just creamy, it’s buttery.”  (she informed me that if she came back for thirds, I was to send her away)

    “Yeah, it’s double creme. A little nutty.”

    The guy with the most sophisticated palate—a Frenchman, as it happens—had the most critical feedback: “It’s good.  It’s definitely not a triple creme brie, but it’s good.”

    Not a triple-creme?  What is this heresy about my favorite cheese sullying my virgin ears!  This was the smoothest, sweetest, creamiest brie I’d ever had, and he dared scorn it as “just a double creme?”  The rind (white crust) on many bries is bitter or too strongly flavored.  Not Fromager d’Affinois.  It has a delicate flavor that will hook any cheese lover.  And it was being challenged.

    I did the only thing I could do.  After work, I went to Whole Foods and found Saint Angel, a triple-creme brie from Fromagerie Guilloteau.  Could I really tell the difference?  Is a triple-creme that much better?

    An hour later, I found myself in a molten puddle of cheesy ecstasy.  I’m dairy intolerant, but I ate it anyway.  It was worth it.

    Triple creme brie Saint Angel

    Stock photo (and it’s gorgeous) of the triple creme brie Saint Angel

    From the first nibble, I couldn’t believe how silky and smooth Saint Angel is.  The mouth-feel was so good that I ate it plain.  This cheese is so decadently buttery that I wish I’d known about it as a kid.  Back then, I used to saturate my corn on the cob with fresh slabs of salted butter.  Broccoli got the same treatment because butter is delicious.  Saint Angel would have been a perfect addition.  A purist would kill me for saying this, but it’d be good with spicy chicken wings, too.  Dear purists: marry this brie to your favorite French baguette.  You’ll love it too.

    Where does this leave us?  It leaves me with a new favorite brie and several variations of Fromager d’Affinois to tease me:

    • Garlic and mixed herbs
    • Truffle (I’m told this is especially good)
    • Pepper
    • Florette (made from 100% goat’s milk)
    • Brebicet (made from 100% sheep’s milk)
    • Campagnier (rind tinted with annatto and promises of subtle fruity flavors)
    • Bleu (or Saint Géric, which is the triple-creme version of this bleu cheese)

    What about you?  Care to join me? :)

    –Mark Feghali (MFF)

  • 28Jul

    InnTheMix

    I was invited to review the Residence Inn Arlington’s Social Hour (#InntheMix). Residence Inns across the United States has started hosting free Social Hours for their guests. Their research showed that guests needed more activities at the hotel. The Social Hours will be offered three nights per week at Residence Inn’s nearly 700 locations; these evening gatherings encourage guests to interact and connect with the destination. Themed nights include:

    • It’s On (Mondays) – Meet other guests for some “must-see TV” or hang by the fire pit with a variety of light-fare appetizers.
    • Off the Grill (Tuesdays) – Join in for conversation and great eats, hot off the grill.
    • Food Truck (Alternating Wednesdays) – Get to know the local area’s most popular food trucks.
    • Local Flavors (Alternating Wednesdays) – Sample specialties from famous local hot spots.
    • Just Desserts (Alternating Wednesdays) – Reward yourself with something sweet and savory.
    • Out & About (Anytime) – Stop by the front desk to get the lowdown on the best local spots and what’s abuzz in town.

    A hotel guest can follow along on Residence Inn’s Facebook, Twitter and Instagram platforms and raise a glass to a new way to “mix” work and play.  Residence Inn is rolling out their social hour to help their extended stay guest enjoy a hotel amenity besides the gym and pool.  This amenity just involves food and alcohol.

    Astro Donuts' Chicken Sandwich!

    Astro Donuts’ Chicken Sandwich!

    Upon entering, the guests were asked to download Blippar, which is a new application (that can be downloaded from the App Store for Iphone and Android); guests are then able to “Play Live Trivia” either alone or against your friends.  The application also suggests beer and food pairings.  As an example, for tonight’s selection of chicken pot pie from Dangerously Delicious Pies, the application suggested that I drink a Flat Tire; the beer’s floral notes match well with the hearty pie.

    Residence Inn by Marriott put out a meat and cheese platter that was well prepared and decadent and was served with Brandon Byrd “sodahop style rootbeer floats.”

    Astro Donuts!

    Astro Donuts!

    Outside on the patio, three food vendors were featured:  “Astro Donuts” who has a food truck, IPhone app, and even online ordering.  The featured sandwich was the fried chicken sandwich with tomato and lettuce on a bun which was heaven.   The sandwich melted in your mouth along with a good beer.

    The assembly line method truly does work in your high in demand.  They definitely had the longest line.

     

    Dangerously Delicious Pies DC

    The offerings from “Dangerously Delicious Pies DC” were either side savory of chicken pot pie, steak and mushroom with gruyere, and ratatouille along with sweet with rhubarb, and apple.  My favorite was chicken pot pit however the steak was really good and all the sweet pies were missing was ice cream which I snagged some from the Brandon the Sodahop inside.  (Shh! My little secret.)  One of the guest commented on that fact that even cold the crème Brule was the best donut bite she has had in awhile.  And she travels a lot.

    Sweet LobbyLastly,  “Sweet Lobby” was featured rounding out the dessert theme with macarons!  They were small cakes with creamy insides,  sort of like a elevated adult Oreos! (HAHA)

    The music was acoustic and provided by an violinist who played all contemporary hits that were easily to identify and provided for a young, hip, musical taste with elegant feel for those who attend.   The attendees were a mix of hotel guests including families (most children posted up in the AstroTurf lounge area and really enjoyed the sweets) and the other hotel guests who were visiting on business.  People just mill about the outside patio and inside the lounge bar area when the weather is too hot.

    Miss FaithHowever,  my favorite part was  (Drum roll, please):

    Miss Faith made gooey s’mores with marshmallows over steno along with chocolate and graham crackers.  This interactive part of the experience was for kids and adults alike.

    As the night was winding down, our wonderful host, Noah invited a lucky young star to come join him and announcing some prizes.  The top leader board trivia master, Meredith won a $100 dollar gift card along with Gold Key Members of Marriott won some goodies bags.

    The pictures were provided by Crystal Foley and Residence Inn By Marriott (with Permission to use).

    -CLF (Crystal)

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