• 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 he 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.


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  • 22Jun

    Millennial Made is part of Millennial Week which ran from June 13-20. Founder Natalie Moss has made a special effort to reach out to millennials who are usually over looked due to their youthful approach to the world. Millennials are quickly becoming the nation’s fastest-growing generation especially in the Nation’s Capital area. Millennials has the unique ability to tap into the social media world featuring Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, and even new apps that appear daily. Their ability to get life trending is exactly what new Big Business is hoping to cash in on.

    On Friday, June 19 (7-9:30pm), Millennial Made: Face Off was an event that paired cool gadgets and cooking technology. Each station featured a particular method of cooking in which the chef prepared the food. Upon entering 1776 at Check In, the Millennial receives an orange bracelet and a red ticket which is to be used for voting for the best dish of the four presented; the plastic bracelet has seemingly replaced the other plastic rip away ones as a lasting memory or a reminder hashtag. The event was held on the 12th floor, at the elevator; Union Kitchen used a converted space separated into different areas which wrapped around the whole floor. The line to the left was shorter than the alcohol line so I ventured to Eco Caters first.

    Eco Caters

    Eco Caters uses handcrafted foods made 100% from scratch while minimizing the impact on the environment. All foods are primarily local and organic bought from local farms.

    Beef Shoulder Carpaccio with pickled summer veggies and a white smoky sauce that was placed over top of the beef; the chef was a youthful young man who was very passionate about cooking this dish using the smoker. This eco-friendly method is able to take a big piece of meat and slice off pieces that would be good for a party.

    Quickstep Catering

    Quickstep Catering features new American cuisine combining reinvented interpretations of traditional dishes rooted in classical technique, while incorporating the flavors of cuisines from around the world.

    They presented their version of “Steak and Potatoes” with hanger steak and potato from with a dehydrated version of A-1 shot. Quickstep used vacuum sealing and a precise water bath powered by a car battery. The potatoes were inserted a NO2 canister which produced a whipped, smooth effect. Along with the dehydrated A-1 shot, they used natural ingredients that are commonly found in the sauce.

    Quickstep Catering was the winner of this competition!

    Haute Saison

    Aiming to prepare fine food for diverse events, Haute Saison crafts each dish by hand using seasonal fresh locally sourced ingredients.

    This offering was a “pho-like” without the noodles, said by Sam Williams, one of the attendees. This slow cooked chicken roulade with celery root puree and yuzu was prepared by chefs that wanted to put an Asian influenced dish forward. The cooking method used innovative technology; celery was smoked and then purified with lemon and a clarified mushroom stock. Dried black rice which was then pureed, dried, and deep fried for a crunch element and added to the dish.

    Dirty South Deli

    Dirty South is a food truck that brings offbeat, chef driven sandwiches throughout the DMV. Focusing on familiar tastes with new twists, it’s more than just meat, cheese, and bread.

    Dirty South Deli had the longest line and ran out of their lobster roll within the first 30 minutes of opening. I was unable to try the roll, however, I heard good things about it.

    The millennials swarmed the Starbucks Powershot booth, which had three flavors (Vanilla Bean, Coffee, and Dark Chocolate) and alcohol (Bourbon, Gin, and Margarita (which was gone in a flash)).

    They also had a great DJ, which makes sense because millennials respond well to the combination of to good music, good food, and of course alcohol. Their party planner knew exactly how to throw a millennial party. If this was targeted to a (much) older generation, a party goer could expect a string quartet however; this event was focusing on integrating cooking and technology, which means embracing the digital age.   I feel that food has become not only a business, but an experience. Millennials are seeking out the next “big trend.”

    Final Feedback: The one glaring missing element was a desert; I would have loved to have a dessert to finish off this event. The proteins that were offered were expertly prepared but went too quickly. Maybe next year, the organizers could run an ad in the Express Paper rather than just advertising on Social Media. It was nice that many of the attendees used this event as a “meet up” to help with networking; I certainly made two new friends.

    Signing off ,

    Guest Blogger, Crystal (CLF)

  • 16Jun

    Last week I attended the Sonoma in the City Master Class & Luncheon. We learned about Sonoma County wines and heard various winery representatives speak, including the three featured above. David Mounts was seated next to me, so you are looking at a combination of both of our wine glasses.

    The wines were of course excellent and paired well with the food. I had not eaten at Osteria Morini previously and was very impressed with the food (pictured above); I’m definitely going to eat their again. The food pairings were:

    1st Course:

    • 2012 MacRostie Winery & Vineyards Wildcat Mountain Vineyard Chardonnay, Sonoma Coast
    • 2012 Three Sticks Durell Vineyard Chardonnay, Sonoma Valley
    • 2012 Froswatch Vineyard & Winery Ophira Chardonnay, Bennett Valley
    • 2012 Robert Young Estate Winery Estate Chardonnay, Alexander Valley

    2nd Course:

    • 2012 Rodney Strong Vineyards Symmetry Red Meritage, Alexander Valley
    • 2012 Dry Creek Vineyard The Mariner Red Meritage, Dry Creek Valley
    • 2012 Francis Ford Coppola Winery Archmedes Cabernet Sauvignon, Alexander Valley (65% Pine Mountain-Cloverdale Peak)
    • 2011 Laurel Glen Vineyard Estate Cabernet Sauvignon, Sonoma Mountain

    3rd Course:

    • 2012 Ravenswood Old Hill Zinfandel, Sonoma Valley
    • 2012 Mounts Family Winery Old Vine Zinfandel, Dry Creek Valley
    • 2012 Dashe Cellars Todd Brothers Ranch Zinfandel, Alexander Valley
    • 2013 Hartsford Family Winery Old Vine Zinfandel, Russian River Valley


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  • 14Jun

    Last week was DC’s annual craft beer & food experience, Savor. I attend this event annually and have to say that this year’s breweries brought some wonderful examples of their work. This show is always great, but this year set the bar high for their future events. Below are some highlights:

    This is only part of the crowd since it is a very busy show.

    This is only part of the crowd.

    I attended a salon (class) entitled Little Breweries with Big flavors which featured the following breweries: 4 Hands Brewing Company, Fate Brewing Company, MobCraft Beer (which uses a innovative crowdsourcing model), and DC’s own Right Proper Brewing Company. Below are the beers we were served during the salon:


  • 03Jun

    Last night we attended a wonderful St. Bernardus tap takeover at Brasserie Beck. They had some wonderful beer options including:

    St Bernardus 6 and 8 (Both are dubbels.)
    12 (This is a quadrupel.)
    Oak-Aged 12 (Newly Released as of June 1!)


    St. Bernardus Extra 4 (This Belgian Pale Ale is originally a recipe from St. Sixtus/Westvleteren Monastery.)
    St. Bernardus 12
    Kazematten Grotten Sante (This Pierre Celis recipe  is a cave-aged Belgian brown ale.)

    I enjoyed a 4 and a 12 (which are two of my favorite beers), but also tried the Kazamatten (which is a really mellow and delicious brown), the Oak Aged Abt 12 (which sells for $65 a bottle and well worth it), and BFM’s Abbaye De Saint Bon-Chien (a flavorful sour beer). The oak aged Abt 12 is less sweet than the regular Abt 12.

    I do want to mention that the red curry aioli (one of the 3 aiolis served with the mussels) was addictive.


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  • 30May

    St BernadusHere is Savor’s list of next week’s Savor-related beer events. Savor is already sold out, but that doesn’t mean you can’t attend the related events. Savor’s has a great lineup of attending breweries. Some of the following haven’t got Savor’s event list as of yet:

    Dcbeer.com’s Third Craft and Comedy showcase will be at the Big Hunt Monday evening at 7pm (free).

    Devil’s Backone‘s Brews Cruise is leaves from Alexandria Saturday 11 am ($60).

    Thursday Lagunitas will have a vaporizer set up at Smoke and Barrel to vape hops.

    They aren’t on Savor’s list yet, but below are some events at Churchkey. More details on these events, and Birch & Barley (their sister) events (including beer dinners) are listed here.

    • 4 Hands Brewing Company, Monday evening at 6 pm.
    • Wicked Weed Brewing, Wednesday at 4pm
    • Jolly Pumpkin, Tuesday at 4 pm.
    • Florida’s Cigar City & Funky Buddha, Thursday at 4pm
    • Kuhnhenn, Friday 4 pm.

    Also, these are not Savor-related, but there are St. Bernardus (from Watou, Belgium) events May 31st at Churchkey 4-7pm, and June 1st at Brasserie Beck 6-8pm. Details (from the Brasserie Beck people):

    Representatives will be on hand from both the Brewery and their importer, D & V International. As such, we’ll have one non-St. Bernardus beer as part of the event. We’ll definitely have special happy hour pricing for the St Bernardus stuff. The lineup:

    St Bernardus 6 and 8 (dubbels)
    12 (Quadrupel)
    Oak-Aged 12 (Newly Released as of June 1!)


    St Bernardus Extra 4 (Belgian Pale Ale, originally a recipe from St. Sixtus/Westvleteren Monastery).
    St Bernardus 12
    Kazematten Grotten Sante (cave-aged brown ale from Belgium)
    BTW, twitter is covered in beer articles and listing for next week: https://twitter.com/search?q=savor%20dc&src=typd


  • 28May

    A new underground cocktail bar, The Speak, opened last Wednesday in downtown DC. Located beneath the busy K Street corridor, The Speak welcomes DC-ers looking to wind down in a cozy yet cool atmosphere. Owner Seth McClelland makes his guests feel at home with a friendly staff and a classic-speakeasy meets neighborhood-bar feel. This 1,750 square-foot, 100-person bar brings you back in time to the 1920’s prohibition era with its carnival-lighted decor. While the bar area could undoubtedly get packed in this long, narrow space, keep walking and there is plenty of comfortable seating to sit back and relax at.

    The Speak offers refreshing craft cocktails and a rotating, seasonal list of beer and wine. The bartenders take their time preparing each drink with precision yet ease, and it is definitely worth the wait. Some notable classics include the Moscow Mule, which I highly recommend trying, and Negroni. The Moscow Mule’s minty, fresh taste is perfect for the start of summer. Their more unique cocktails include the Bobby Burns, Scofflaw, New York Sour and Old Cuban. Next time I want to try their specialty Aviation cocktail, which includes gin, Luxardo Maraschino liqueur, Creme Yvette and lemon juice. The prices are fairly standard for DC bars: $11 cocktails, $8 vodka shots and $5 beers. Visit The Speak at 1413 K St from 5pm to 2 am Tuesdays through Thursdays, 5pm to 3am on Fridays, and from 10pm to 3am on Saturdays.

    Images courtesy of Joy Asico.


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    Permalink Filed under: Drinks Tags: 3 Comments
  • 06May

    DominionJust in time for the warm weather, downtown Bethesda’s Piazza Beer Garden at Cesco Osteria is now open. Beer lovers and food enthusiasts can enjoy unique local beers and tasty Italian foods while soaking up the sun in this relaxed spot.

    Voted “Best Outdoor Beer Garden” by Bethesda Magazine, the piazza prides itself on its sustainability and support of local farmers and breweries. The piazza was created from sustainable and environmentally friendly materials, and the menu and beer options are local. Some favorite foods are the margherita pizza and fried calamari, among many other hearty Italian bites to choose from. At their season-opener beer bash last Tuesday, guests were treated to glasses of Dominion Candi, a popular Belgian Tripel. Perfect for the summertime, this beer is light, refreshing and on the sweet side. Piazza offers twelve taps with a changing selection of beers from local breweries as well as many bottle selections to please any kind of beer lover.

    On May 7th, Cesco Osteria will celebrate its 18th anniversary. Chef and owner Francesco Ricchi is offering all diners a complimentary glass of prosecco and birthday cake to celebrate. Check out Piazza Beer Garden Monday through Friday from 4pm to 10pm or Saturday from 2pm to 10pm.


  • 21Apr

    Ocopa has been rising to the top of H St NE’s restaurant scene with its flavorful Peruvian tastes. Its fresh ingredients and relaxed feel make Ocopa a great spot to check out in this warm weather. A small restaurant, the Peruvian hotspot has limited but fun barstools with an outdoor view. The patio will hopefully be opening in the coming months as well. If you enjoy watching the food being prepared like I do, sit at the main bar and watch how fast Ocopa’s team makes their dishes.

    In addition to its fine Peruvian dinner, Ocopa has recently started serving brunch. The restaurant is known both for their food and for their cocktails. Chef Carlos Delgado has paired with Peruvian mixologist Giancarlo Cruz to showcase traditional Pisco cocktails and classics with a savory twist that are must tries.

    ocopa_restaurant_frontAs I am not a Bloody Mary fan, I was recommended the lavender Pisco Sour instead. It is the kind of drink you could easily have in one go without realizing what you have just done. The perfect amount of sweetness, this Pisco Sour is incredibly smooth to the palate. I also got to try the Pisco fizz, a drink not featured on the menu. It has the same smoothness to it as the lavender Pisco does. I was nervous when I heard that egg whites were in it, but I soon realized that this crucial ingredient is what gives the Pisco sours their deliciously creamy texture. If you are a Bloody Mary drinker, however, make sure to check out Ocopa’s. Based on my drink experience there, I’m sure their Bloody Marys are some of DC’s finest.

    To combat the drinks of the day before, I also had the Conchas Leche de Tigre, or Peru’s hangover cure. This drink has scallops, yellow pepper, and tiger’s milk, the marinade that cures the seafood in ceviche. The sweetness of the citrus marinade balanced well with the kick of the yellow pepper. This drink has a bite to it that can undeniably cure any hangover.

    So, how do you make a dinner menu into a brunch menu as well? Just add egg! Ocopa does this right. My favorite dish, the Lomo Montado, features tender filet with potato confit, all topped with an egg. We started with the classic ceviche with flounder, their fish of the day. The flounder was thin and light, with sides of sweet potato and Peruvian corn that both paired well with the fish. The Causa Cangrejo, a potato dish with crab, was soft, light and creamy.

    Meanwhile, the Jalea Pescado had the perfect amount of fried crunch and soft, melt-in-your-mouth fish. We finished off the meal with an ice cream dessert that had chocolate ganache, tapioca powder and crunchy quinoa, for a bit of a savory taste. Like all of Ocopa’s dishes, this dessert especially had an attractive presentation. The paletas, or ice pops, are also a must try.

    I will definitely be going back to Ocopa soon, but next time for their lively dinner. Whether you’re going out on H St at night, or walking around the hip neighborhood during the day, make sure to try something new and check out Ocopa’s fine Peruvian cuisine.

    -SDM (Samantha)

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  • 03Apr

    belvedere_wild_berry_displayBelvedere Vodka’s newest flavor, Belvedere Wild Berry, just made its DC debut. Barcode hosted a happy hour reception last week to celebrate. Guests were treated to complimentary wild berry cocktails and food bites.

    Barcode sectioned off part of its lounge area for the event, which quickly became packed with guests. Guests with reserved tables enjoyed bottles of the new vodka. The wild berry cocktails delivered a fresh, smooth and clean finish. The combination of strawberries and blueberries made the cocktail soft and inviting to the palate. This new vodka flavor mixes perfectly with lemonade or tonic water, topped with fresh fruits. Buy Belvedere Wild Berry vodka on the Belvedere Vodka website, and look out for it in DC liquor stores and bars.


    Barcode Restaurant, Bar and Lounge on Urbanspoon

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