• 02Oct

    RodenbachTuesday Oct. 6th, class at 5:30pm. Meet & Greet with Rodenbach Brewmaster Rudi Ghequire at 6:15pm.

    “The evening will start with a ticketed tasting/sour beer class in a private dining room before moving to the bar for a Meet & Greet Happy Hour. $10 gets you into the tasting and unlocks happy hour pricing for Rodenbach rarities available on draft for the first time such as: Rodenbach Vintage, Caractere Rouge and straight out of the legendary brewing vessels at Rodenbach, Foederbier. Whether you’re a sour beer afficianado or novice, this is a night not to be missed!”

    From Wikipedia: “Rodenbach is a brewery and a brewing family from Roeselare, Belgium. The brewery is now owned by Palm Breweries. It is noted for its production of barrel-aged sour beers in the Flemish red style.”


  • 02Oct

    Brooklyn BreweryOctober 4th – 11th, the largest craft beer tour of its kind will be coming to D.C. for a week long series of beer dinners, panels, film, secret suppers and tap takeovers – the Brooklyn Brewery Mash Tour.

    Events include:

    • Brooklyn Beer HereHosted at our favorite local bars, Brooklyn Brewery celebrates community ties with beer specials+ tap takeovers featuring familiar styles and rare brews.
    • State of Craft BeerA discussion of D.C.-based brewers presented at a local brewery and moderated by Brooklyn Brewery co-founder Steve Hindy.
    • Found Footage Festival Found Footage hosts Joe Pickett and Nick Prueher screen their latest compilation of outrageous, hilarious and ridiculous clips selected from found VHS tapes around the country.
    • DIY Dinner Party with Chef Andrew Gerson and ATHENOS – Combining the best elements of a cooking class, beer tasting and dinner party, learn to prepare four delicious dishes and expertly pair them with Brooklyn Brewery beers, followed by a family-style meal.
    • Secret Supper with Dinner Lab – A multi-course beer dinner prepared by Brooklyn Brewery chef Andrew Gerson in collaboration with Dinner Lab. Featuring ghost bottles, local artists and live music at an undisclosed location.
    • Three-Headed Beast – Featuring three local chefs, three whole ‘beasts’ and a pie contest, this fall feast brings together live music, outdoor games, loads of Brooklyn beer and more. Proceeds go to a food charity serving the DC community.
    • Mash Closing Party– A full night of live music, partying, and plenty of Brooklyn Brewery beer to close out the week with a surprise headliner to be announced.


  • 26Sep

    Drink the District’s Das Bier Bash was last week in the parking lot across the street from the Busboys & Poets at 5th and K, NW. There were a good number of beers to sample, and it was a fun event, but the sun was quite strong, and there was no available shade. Next year, they may want to consider setting up canopies with chairs for shade. Above are some images of the day’s highlights.


  • 07Sep

    It has been another great week! Above are some foodie highlights.


  • 02Sep

    Earls Kitchen + Bar is a large independent restaurant group in North America, with 63 restaurants – 58 of those in Canada and 5 in the United States  (Denver, Colorado; Bellevue, Washington; Miami, Florida; Boston, Massachusetts). Earls main office is located in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Earls Restaurants Ltd. and the Fuller Group is a family owned operation. Featuring fresh, made from scratch, often local ingredients, food lovers are in for a unique culinary experience.  This fall, Tysons Corner will welcome Earls Kitchen + Bar which is sure to be central attraction in Virginia.

    Cameron Bogue, Image Courtesy of Earls Kitchen Bar.

    Cameron Bogue, Image Courtesy of Earls Kitchen Bar.

    For this review, I had the pleasure of acquainting myself with Earls’ cocktail program run by Beverage Director Cameron Bogue. Cameron, a Portland, Oregon native, has a commitment to using only 100% fresh squeezed in-house juices and handmade syrups when conjuring up craft cocktails throughout Earls Kitchen + Bar locations in the U.S. and Canada.

    Cameron’s main goal to blend Earls’ philosophy of using only fresh ingredients made with passion with popular trends in modern mixology has garnered much recognition among his peers within the hospitality and spirit industry. To that degree, after attending the cocktail tasting, I now understand why.

    Bees Knees

    A twist on a classic cocktail, this sparkling, summer drink will leave you thirsting for more! The Bees Knees cocktail is made with Aviation Gin, Cointreau, with 3 dashes of Angostura Bitters, a burst of house made honey syrup, and finished with fresh squeezed lemon juice. The pure and simple flavor of the honey syrup paired with the brightness of the lemon juice compliments the depth of the Gin and undertone of the Angostura bitters is an ideal summertime cocktail.

    Once served to you over ice in a Honey Bear Jar garnished with Lemon Zest and a wooden honey dipper, the Bees Knees leaves an indelible impression. Crisp, clean, and refreshing, you’ll definitely be coming back for more of this summer solstice nectar.

    Cabin Fever

    What a drink! I may be impartial to this due to the fact that I’m from the Midwest and recall having cabin fever when blizzards forced us to stay inside for days at a time! Sure wish we had this to enjoy while inside. Either way, this spicy, smoky whiskey sour is in a league all on its own.

    Drink ingredients include Crown Royal, Taylor Fladgate 10 Year Tawny Port, paired with Bittered Sling Moondog bitters, Earls homemade Ginger syrup, sweet Pineapple juice, and  fresh lemon juice, you’ll wish you were stranded in a cabin. Once packed into a stainless steel shaking tin, it’s shaken 12 times and strained over fresh ice in a classic blue Camping Mug with a small amount of Soda water. And now the best part – the garnishes, which include an organic, food safe pine cone and mint sprayed with Bowmore 12 Year using an atomizer, transporting you to a cabin in woods. By far, one of the most unique and creative drinks I’ve ever encountered.

    Old Fashioned

    A classic, whiskey cocktail, the Old Fashioned is always a timeless treasure. Featuring Maker’s Mark Bourbon, Bittered Sling Root beer Bitters, and Demerara syrup, this drink is gently stirred to perfection. The brand recognition of Maker’s Mark wheat Bourbon combined with the plum and root beer flavored bitters and caramel-like taste of the Demerara syrup blend to create a smooth yet spicy libation. Served in a classic old fashion glass, this drink is garnished to perfection with an orange peel and cherry. Once you sip on this, you’ll be ready to take on anything that comes your way as you’re ignited from the inside out by this delicate, but strong and ageless drink.

    -Guest Blogger, Micaela (MAC)

    Editor’s Notes:

    “Fladgate” is not a typo. Also, we have the recipes for these three cocktails. Comment if you want us to share them.

  • 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



    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.)



    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.



    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. :)



    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)

    Click to add a blog post for Avaton Estiatorio on Zomato

  • 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.


  • 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.


    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.

    Click to add a blog post for Alfa Piehouse on Zomato

  • 02Jul

    Images from last night’s DC Food Blogger Happy Hour at Noelia:

    Last week, we kicked off “The Week in DCFüd.

    Tracy's Cheesecakes: Oreo, Lime, Lemon

    Tracy’s Cheesecakes: Oreo, Lime, Lemon

    Well, this was a good week as well. We tried a few more of Tracy’s Cheesecakes, attended Wildfire’s Lagunitas dinner, hosted a happy hour at Noelia, and sampled a few brews directly from the wonderful & local brewery, Atlas Brew Works (thanks to their awesome beer rep., Chris).

    The Atlas beers Cy (who wrote the below beer notes) and I sampled included:

    The 1500 (South Cap Lager, brewed exclusively for Nats Park and definitely a great beer for a hot day at the ballpark):
    Light lager
    Nice bready smell and flavor
    Hops malt balance
    Slight sour overtones

    Home Rule (Pale Lager):
    Surprisingly malty
    Sour notes
    Would pair well with food

    NSFW (Imperial/Double Bock IPA):
    Dark unsweetened chocolate
    Dried plums

    Pumpernickel Stout (Cy’s favorite of the four):
    Very sweet

    For those of you looking for a 4th of July event to attend (and who want to meet Chris):

    “Celebrate Independence Day on the roof deck at 1905! We’ll have the grill going and special $5 offerings of select Atlas Brew Works beers available throughout the afternoon & evening. A $20 cover gets you 3 tickets to use on any combination of food or beer upstairs, including local sausages, pulled pork or portabello sandwiches, green bean salad with smoked almonds & arugula, wild-grain hoppin’ john, corn & tomato salad with feta & oregano, Sherry-bliss potato salad, or smoked broccoli with cheddar & pimentos. Tickets are available at the door only. The dining room will also be open that night with the regular menu starting at 5:30pm.”

    Update 7/5/15: Below is a half smoke platter (and at Atlas beer) from the 4th of July rooftop even at 1905.


    Half Smoke Platter

    Click to add a blog post for Noelia Restaurant on Zomato

  • 29Jun

    Wildfire in Tysons Galleria hosted a beer dinner featuring Lagunitas Brewing Company Thursday evening. I didn’t have a single criticism of the food and beer, and they were paired well. People were buzzing about the dessert course form the second they sat down and read the menu. And, yes, the Double Chocolate Bacon Stout Beer Float and “The Censored Rich Copper Ale” were wonderful together.

    Tommy Hunter of Lagunitas Brewing Co. walked us through the beer pairings and answered the questions that diners had about the brews. At one point, someone at our table asked a question and Tommy seemed to run away, but really he was running to get a chair to bring to our table to chat with us. I recently told a Rep for another beer company that I attended a Lagunitas dinner and he said “Oh, you must have met Tommy Hunter. He’s a great guy!”He used to work for … .”

    You definitely want to keep an eye out for Wildfire’s themed dinners. Last year we covered Wildfire’s Crab & Cocktails Dinner (hosted by local restauranteur, cookbook author, and TV host, John Shields). This year’s crab dinner with John Shields will be July 29, with the pairings being Charlottesville’s Three Notch’d Brewing Company‘s brews instead of cocktails. And, rumor has it that John’s cookbook, Coastal Cooking, is being released shortly. Hmm, I wonder if he’d sign my copy of his other book, Chesapeake Bay Cooking.


    Click to add a blog post for Wildfire on Zomato


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