• 17Jun

    Baja (Fish & Slaw) & Al Pastor Taco.

    Richard Sandoval’s El Centro, D.F. prepares exceptional guacamole tableside (with avocado, tomato, onion, cilantro, and chile serrano) and Mojito Mexicanos (cazadores blanco, lime juice, mint, chili-ginger and simple syrup). The Al Pastor taco (adobo marinade pork belly, grilled pineapple, cilantro, and onion) was a standout as well. And, they have an extremely well-trained staff. I definitely need to get back to El Centro sometime soon.

    At an event at Art and Soul, I got to speak with Art Smith, and try some of his food and desserts. His is the only red velvet cake I’ve ever liked and was very tender and flavorful. The sausage wrapped in pork (a recipe of Wes Morton, Art and Soul’s new executive chef) was amazing, especially the crispy skin. I always love the food at this restaurant. Art Smith is very personable, and I love his philosophy that food should be fresh, local, and soulful.

    Art & Soul's Pork Roll.

    The octopus appetizer at Vento is amazingly tender and flavorful, and the best octopus I’ve had since visiting Spain. The lamb sausage appetizer was very good as well.

    Tommy V’s Salsa: the Fugosa. It is both fresh tasting and smoky, with some heat without the spice level being overpowering. Available at the Ballston Farmer’s Market (Thursdays 3-7pm).

    The traditional (beef) pasty and chicken curry pasty at the Pure Pasty Stand (in Ballston Tuesday, Thursday and Friday). They also have a shop in Vienna. These Cornish pasties have a great fresh-made dough and wonderful spicing. Both the ones I tried have potatoes in them. $6.50 each. They send out regular tweets with updates.

    Pure Pasty: Chicken Curry.

    I was given a coupon for a free pint of Ciao Bello Gelato at the Fancy Food Show‘s media preview. I tried their Belgian Chocolate S’mores Sandwiches (which are up for an award at the show) at the preview, and was impressed. Then I took the coupon to Harris Teeter, where they had a buy one get one deal. I purchased two (one was free) and got two for free, so I actually only paid for one. I was impressed with 3 of the 4 flavors (wild blueberry, passion fruit, and chocolate) I tried. The Blackberry Cabernet didn’t taste the way I’d hoped it would, but is pretty good melted.

    I’ve also recently tried Dolci Gelato’s products and two flavors (the stracietella AKA chocolate chip, and the coffee) were so good that friends appropriated them and took them home. Doci Gelato is local and carried in many stores, venues, and restaurants (including Pupatella, The National Zoo, and Nats Stadium). They will also be present the Fancy Food Show.

    -JAY

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