• 14Feb

    Ok, let’s talk about sandwiches on King Street.

    I recently ate at Mackie’s Bar & Grill during February’s DC Food Blogger Happy Hour. Mackie’s is a relatively new steakhouse, where I sat at the bar I chowing down on excellent Jerk Wings and a delicious Bulgogi Hoagie (with kimchi on the side) while drinking one of three Evolution brews on tap. The owner’s wife makes the kimchi. I hear Mackie’s burgers are excellent, and based on the hoagie and wings, I believe it.

    Another King Street restaurant I recently tried for the first time was Pita House. The restaurant doesn’t seem to match the name, since it is a sit down place with table service, and not really a dive or chain. I gave it a try anyway, ordering felafel and requesting hot sauce, both of which were authentic and good. I need to go again soon to try some of their other Middle Eastern specialties such as chicken shwarma or baba ganouj.

    BTW, mark your calendars for Wednesday, March 4th, which will be the next DC Food Blogger Happy Hour. It will be in DC, but the venue has not been announced yet.


    Mackie's Bar & Grill on Urbanspoon

    Pita House on Urbanspoon

  • 07Nov

    I recently hosted DC Food Blogger Happy Hour at Chef Ferhat Yalçin’s new restaurant, Fishnet DC. All of Chef Ferhat’s dishes were excellent, and it was nice of him to make my a scallop without mushrooms (since I am allergic). I definitely want to go back and try more dishes.

    Chef Ferhat Yalçin working with salmon.

    Chef Ferhat Yalçin working with salmon.

    You also can’t beat $3 craft beer on tap at Fishnet’s happy hour (4-6pm and 9-10pm). The HH beer selection includes:

    • Weihenstephaner Hefe-Weissbier
    • Stone IPA
    • Bell’s Amber Ale
    • Avery White Racsal
    • Port City Porter
    • Oskar Blues G’Nkight Imperial Red IPA
    • Lagunitas A Lil’ Sumpin Sumpin


    Fishnet on Urbanspoon

  • 06Nov
    Ping Pong Dim Sum Brunch

    Ping Pong Dim Sum introduces their new brunch menu with an eastern flare.  Dim Sum is already considered Chinese-style brunch but fusing it with the western brunch style makes it a Ping Pong brunch to remember.  Dupont Circle’s location introduced their newest East West Brunch dishes and cocktails in late October. They flew their Beverage Director, Daniele Ziaco, from London for a quick mixology lesson on how to make one of their signature cocktails, Lemon Grass and Lime,  a complicated cocktail of 5 different ingredients (vodka, lychee sake with fresh lemongrass, lime and lychee juice).

    Daniele Ziaco, Beverage Director of Ping Pong Dim Sum

    Daniele Ziaco, Beverage Director of Ping Pong Dim Sum

    Ziaco brings 15 years of experience to Ping Pong, and has developed regional bar programs in Europe, the Middle East, Asia and the Americas. Before joining Ping Pong’s first store in London in 2006, Ziaco managed the bar programs in London for the critically acclaimed Hakkasan restaurants by Alan Yau. Born in Tuscany, much of Ziaco’s inspiration for his methodology, and appreciation for quality and freshness, comes from his childhood in Italy.​

    Ping Pong Bubble

    Ping Pong Bubble

    My favorite cocktail of the night was their Brunch Champagne with Bubbles.  Think of it as an adult beverage Bubble Tea although instead of your typical tapioca bubbles it’s filled with poppers.  And if you’re unfamiliar with poppers, I highly suggest that you go out and try them.  It’s unlike it’s tapioca counterparts because instead of being a solid ball of tapioca, the center is filled with fruit juice; the skin encasing the juice is so light that when bitten, a burst of juice fills your mouth.

    Egg & Cheese Spring Rolls

    Egg & Cheese Spring Rolls

    But now for the important part…the food!  I’m not a huge fan of western brunch foods as I’m not really a breakfast person, but these dishes really did wow me.  So here’s a take on my favorite dishes on the menu.  Let’s start with their egg and cheese spring rolls, which is a fried egg roll wrapper filled with scrambled eggs, sharp white cheddar, peppers and spring onion, and served with a five-spice tonkatsu sauce.  This dish will make you rethink your breakfast burritos.

    Chicken & Green Tea Waffles

    Chicken & Green Tea Waffles

    Next up is their chicken and waffles.  Who doesn’t like chicken and waffles, but how about green tea flavored waffles with an Asian spice kick?  It is a sweet and savory matcha made in heaven (see what I did there?)  Matcha green tea belgian waffles topped with sesame seed crusted fried chicken with lemongrass and ginger maple syrup!  Doesn’t the description alone get your mouth watering?  It has mine watering so much that it makes me want to drink the syrup.

    Black Mango Tea French Toast

    Black Mango Tea French Toast

    Do you have a sweet tooth for breakfast?  I certainly do.  In my non-executive chef mind, an eastern French toast would just be French toast with some Asian Fruit compote. but this is why I’m not an executive chef.  This French toast is no ordinary french toast; it’s a mango black tea steeped brioche French toast  topped with exotic fruit and served with a  ginger maple syrup. It’s that ginger maple syrup that brings you to tears of happiness.

    Char Sui Bun

    Char Sui Bun

    And my final top dish would be the Char Sui Buns, an ultimate favorite dim sum dish of mine made up of honey roasted pork in a mantou (fluffy white Chinese bun).  Although I don’t feel that Ping Pong’s rendition beats the original version, it is rather tasty and I’m a fan of the open face mantou.

    So with all that’s said and eaten, I highly suggest that you grab some friends and run, don’t walk to the nearest Ping Pong Dim Sum and have yourself a East West Brunch.





    Sichuan Hanger Steak "Loco Moco"

    Sichuan Hanger Steak “Loco Moco”

    Shanghai Shrimp and Grits

    Shanghai Shrimp and Grits

    Pork Belly Bun

    Braised Pork Belly Bao Sliders

    Sesame Beef and Sweet Chili Meatballs

    Sesame Beef and Sweet Chili Meatballs

    Edamame Dumpling

    Edamame and Truffle Dumpling

    Wild Mushroom Puff with Sweet Potato

    Wild Mushroom Puff with Sweet Potato

    Assortment of Steamed Items

    Assortment of Steamed Items

    Chinese Chocolate Sesame Donuts

    Chinese Chocolate Sesame Donuts

    Mochi Ice Cream

    Mochi Ice Cream


    Ping Pong Dim Sum on Urbanspoon

  • 22Oct

    beerologyBeerology is like a great  friend who holds you by the hand and leads you into the grown up world of beer. The author, Mirella Amato is a Master Cicerone, a beer version of a sommelier (there are less than 10 people holding the same title in the world). She knows her beers inside and out, and shares her knowledge in a very personable way. Amato guides you through different styles of beer, breaking down flavor profiles and even what to pair your beer with.

    The book is easy to read, informative while being fun. Without getting mired in the details, this book explains how each variety is made and includes a short explanation of how the beer in question ends up with it’s particular flavor profile. This can really help you identify what you enjoy or dislike about particular styles so that you can seek out beers that you are more likely to enjoy. Your experience with beer might have been limited to one or two varieties or even a single brand, but after reading this book you may dare to try something new and might discover that you love something very different from your go-to beer.

    There is great value in this book for the beer connoisseur as well, as it provides suggestions for brands and pairings that you may not have tried (or even heard of), and also vocabulary to describe what you are drinking. As a beer connoisseur and home-brewer, I found the food pairing ideas to be revelatory. I had never thought about beer in the same way as I had wine, as something to be enjoyed with food, and it was a great way to re-frame how I think about beer.

    Some other takeaways:

    The book helped me to understand why I love Belgians, Stouts and Porters, Sour Beers, Saisons, and why I dislike IPAs. Prior to reading this book, I believed that I disliked IPAs only because of how hoppy and bitter they tend to be. Belgians, Stouts, and Porters have more malt characteristics in them and fewer hops compared to IPAs.The book provided enlightenment for why the hops in my favorite beers did not bother me . I discovered through Amato’s  explanation the difference between old world and new world hops. Old world hops are softer, less bitter and more about aromatics, my favorites being ones that taste like citrus and floral notes . New world hops are more aggressive and can be very bitter and are used for flavoring the beer.  IPAS that are made with old world hops are ones that I  may actually enjoy, rather  than the new world style hop infused IPAs. Before reading this book, I did not know much about how beers age . There are some good suggestions for what beers to age and how to age them.  Beers, like wine change with age, and some are designed to be able to be aged. The IPA I find overly hoppy today might taste really good to me in a year or two, because according to Amato, the hop notes fade with time and the malt flavors get intensified. After reading this book, I’m going to have to have to try some old world style IPAs and give them a shot.

    Beerology is a fantastic read, and I highly recommend this book for anyone who is looking to expand their beer horizons. It is also great for someone who is trying to help a less experienced beer drinker explore the world of beer.

    -JHC (Jennifer)

    Permalink Filed under: Books, Drinks Tags: , 1 Comment
  • 10Aug

    DC Food Blogger Happy Hour Wednesday was hosted by Wendy Brannen of USApples and myself at Roofers Union in Adams Morgan (in the former space of The Reef). We sampled a variety of Executive Chef Marjorie Meek-Bradley‘s delicious apple themed dishes and a great cocktail Bartender Frank Mills created. Frank named the cocktail “How Do You Like Dem Apples” and provided us with the below recipe (for an individual cocktail):


    Roofers Union on Urbanspoon

  • 22Jul

    homegrown teaI recently scored a review copy of Cassie Liversidge’s Homegrown Tea. She illustrates how to plan, harvest, and blend teas and tisanes. I’m happy to hear her calling herbal teas tisanes since they is no tea in herbal tea. I like that Cassie explains how to grow, treat, and prepare tea, and even includes step-by-step pictures of how to prepare various ingredients common to tisanes. I previously did not even know what some of these ingredients looked like. She even mentions medicinal benefits.

    I definitely recommend this book for people who want to grow tea or tisane ingredients (and/or are tea geeks since the book is quite interesting).



    Disclosure: From time to time, we are given free items, meals, or entry to events.

  • 11Jul

    August DCFBHHAugust’s DC Food Bloggers Happy Hour will be at Roofers Union, which was just selected by Nation’s Restaurant News as one of the 50 restaurants trending nationally!

    Co-hosted by Jason Foodgeek (DCFBHH) and Wendy Brannen (USApple).

    Please RSVP here and keep your RSVPs updated so we have a good count for the restaurant.


  • 24Jun
    Photo courtesy of Protein Bar.

    Photo courtesy of Protein Bar.

    On June 25th, Protein Bar will open its doors to its newest location on 925 17th Street, NW at K Street in downtown DC conveniently located between the Farragut North and Farragut West metro stations. Active Washingtonians, this Chicago-based restaurant offers not only a healthier food alternative but protein packed menu items to help you kick-start your day with breakfast and keep your engine going with lunch and dinner.

    The food:

    spinachpestoWith the rise of food sensitivities, Protein Bar does a stellar job of listing their ingredients and catering to those with gluten allergies. The majority of their menu has gluten-free options with the exception of their bar-ritos. Each dish lists nutrition facts and is made fresh to order.   The thing that really got me was you can taste the freshness in everything that they prepared.

    One of my favorite food menu items was the Guac & Roll Bar-rito because I’m a sucker for guacamole (but then again who isn’t?) and they were definitely not skimpy on the guacamole. Among the group of samplers, the Buffalo Bar-rito seemed to be the crowd pleaser.

    However, my favorite item on the menu was their Spinach & Pesto Bowl as it was light but flavorful. Each of their bowls are mixed with organic quinoa and mixed in with different fresh ingredients. The Healthy Parm Bowl is another favorite; it is a little heartier and served warm.

    Their salads are not your typical salads. Their dressings are made fresh daily and are delicious. My favorite dressing of theirs is their cilantro lime which has a nice citrus punch to it; blended in with their Super 6 Salad Mix it gives your salad even more flavor without being overpowering. My two favorites salads were the Baja Salad and the Superfood Vegan.

    The drinks:

    greenberryI am not a fan of veggies in my drinks. I would prefer not to drink my vegetables. But their Greenberry raw juice kicked my butt into gear. With a mixture of kale, apple, strawberry, and cilantro; you could taste the healthiness in the cup while still enjoying drinking it as a refreshing cup of juice. The favorite among the samplers was the HI-5 which was described by someone as “…health in a cup and better tasting than wheatgrass.”

    For something a little heavier, their blended protein drinks offer a section from something fruity to a heavier indulgence with peanut butter and chocolate to a drink with a pick me up, the Millennium Perk which contains espresso.

    Join them for their grand opening on Wednesday, June 25th at 11am and you may be one of the first 100 lucky people in line to receive a $100 gift certificate.

    -ADT (Angie)

    The Protein Bar on Urbanspoon

    Permalink Filed under: Drinks Tags: 1 Comment
  • 10Jun

    Reasons for Mad Fox Madness:

    1. All their craft beers are brewed on-site in their 15-barrel Premier Stainless brewing system.
    2. Food products are locally-sourced as much as possible (local farms, local butchers, and the Falls Church Farmers Market).
    3. Beer flights! Sample 4 different types of beers in 4 oz. glasses.
    4. Rightfully awarded “Best Brewery,” “Best Brewpub,” and “Best Craft Brews” from Northern Virginia Magazine.
    5. All of their beers are created by Bill Madden, the CEO and Executive Brewer.
    6. The “Mad” comes from Bill Madden and “Fox” from his wife’s maiden name. Cuteness overload.

    I had the privilege to attend Mad Fox Brewing Company’s new seasonal menu items tasting event created by Executive Chef Brian Wilson, the newest member to join the brewery’s talented team. Upon my arrival each guest was served a beer flight.

    My favorites:

    • The Kölsch: a signature brew of Mad Fox is light and crisp with “restrained hop bitterness” that creates a “subtle fresh piney or spicy note,” as described on their menu.
    • The Maneuver IPA: although an IPA, this is considerably light. The refreshingly clean and hoppy flavors bounced around without any bitterness, and I noted some malty tones. This was my personal favorite from the beer flights.
    • Big Chimney’s Porter: smooth with an aromatic and coffee-like finish. For a porter, it is not heavy, and the black chocolate malts are blended just right to not overpower the consumption experience.

    My favorites from the 7 new seasonal menu items that were served:

    Cucumber-Melon Gazpacho

    This unique gazpacho was refreshingly delightful on my taste buds. The coolness of the cucumber and subtle sweetness from the melon are an ingenious concoction. Additionally, the saffron yogurt added some tang while the paprika oil smoothed everything out and the garlic croutons provided a nice crunch. And that basil leaf on top? It’s fried. And I loved it.

    FYI: I asked if the gazpacho is served to customers in this glass cup (photo) and Bill Madden said it is served in a bowl. I commented on the fun presentation of the gazpacho in the glass cup versus a traditional bowl, so you know who to thank if they change their minds on presentation.

    Arugula Salad

    A light arugula salad complimented by roasted corn, blackberries, avocado, and almonds. The lemon poppy seed dressing, the star of the salad, is not cream-based, but an emulsion that ties all of the components seamlessly together. It is a great salad for the summer season.

    Rustic Pork Pate

    Majority ruling amongst the event’s guests on the pork and chicken liver house grain mustard: it was flavorfully strong! Although the mustard was potent, it blended well with the slightly bland pate and toasted slices of bread. And the pickled vegetables delivered a much-needed tangy kick (and color) to the dish. This is a great choice for sharing as an appetizer or to nibble on with a glass of wine.

    Carrot Linguine

    I was pleasantly surprised to find this was a vegetarian entree. The noodles are made entirely from carrot puree and have a slightly sticky texture. The crumble of goat cheese added some tartness to the creamy lemon butter, and the pistachios provided a nutty crunch factor. Although I am not a fan of creamy entrees, this was a delectable dish. I’m not sure if I could finish the regular dinner portion myself but I wouldn’t mind splitting it with someone.

    I would like to again thank Bill Madden, Chef Brian Wilson, and our wonderful server for the evening, Brian, for a splendid tasting event experience.

    I went back to Mad Fox the same week and enjoyed sipping on a few Maneuvers while munching on some mussels. The PEI (Prince Edward Island) mussels are doused in a creamy house ale sauce with bits of pancetta, shallots, and garlic. A small bed of thyme rests on top and adds beautifully to the aroma and presentation.

    Their Happy Hour runs daily from 3pm to 7pm, with $2 off all their beers. I will be coming back again very soon. Cheers!

    -EHY (Elina)

    Mad Fox Brewing Company on Urbanspoon

  • 24May

    Last week, I was (for the 2nd time) a judge at the Lamb Jam competition at Eastern Market. Above are some pictures, and below are the winners. In an interesting decision, the winner of Best Shoulder (who later on won People’s Choice), was not the shoulder dish that one Best in Show. So, Occidental Grill moves on in the competition to the next show.

    Best in Shank: Chef Erik Bruner-Yang from Maketto with cumin lamb shank chow fun

    Best in Leg: Chef Victor Albisu from Del Campo with lamb empanadas

    Best in Ground: Chef Wes Morton from Art and Soul with curried lamb sausage

    Best in Shoulder: Chef Dimitri Moshovitis from Cava Mezze Grill with lamb Benedict

    People’s Choice: Chef Dimitri Moshovitis from Cava Mezze Grill with lamb Benedict

    Best in Show: Chef Matt Baker & Rodney Scruggs from Occidental Grill with a lamb “Dagwood” sandwich


    Maketto on Urbanspoon

    Del Campo on Urbanspoon

    Art and Soul on Urbanspoon

    Cava Mezze Grill on Urbanspoon

    Occidental Grill & Seafood on Urbanspoon

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