• 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.

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  • 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

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  • 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.


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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.


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