• 17Nov

    cr-invite-mokiCotton and Reed (1330 5th Street NE) is a new distillery recently opened near Union Market.  This bar does not offer any food; co-founders Reed Walker and Jordon Cotton contract local food truck vendors to make sure that they are in the parking lot for the last night ready for the crowd.

    Chaz Jefferson, Head Bartender, when asked about what type of bar does he want to have: “I want to have rowdy bar.”  His favorite shot is: 1 oz shot, and is so smooth. His advice to Novice Drinkers: Chaz suggest that individuals start with a daiquiri to taste the rum; its not a sweet bite, but its sneaks up on you!” Lucas, the Head Drink Designer, states, that the “sweetness comes from Turkish sweets.”

    The official opening was November 12, however we attended a soft opening which was open to food bloggers, friends,  and publicists, but some locals did manage to get in and enjoy free spirits that night.

    The menu normally contains simple offerings at only of $10 a drink, which is very generous considering the quality of the spirits and cocktails.

    When speaking with one patron, he stated, “The Spice Boy is my favorite: I just love it!”  Another man, whose 21st birthday was this day, marked the occasion with a 1 oz Spice Rum Shot which he stated as “Transverse.”  A group of women joined in and cheered, “This rum makes me speechless!” while the other woman stated, “This rum makes you wonder why other rums aren’t this good.”

    My question remains, “WHY DO ALL OTHER RUMS BURN, when this rum is so SMOOTH?”

    Smoothly Signing Off,

    -CLF (Crystal)

     

     

  • 16Nov

    District Fishwife, located in Union Market against the right wall, has a special secret.  The Shrimp Bahn Mi sandwich!

    District Fishwife introduced the Shrimp Bahn Mi sandwich re-imagined. District Fishwife’s original Shrimp Po’Boy – which is known in New Orleans as fried shrimp balls on a bun with a slaw – recently received a Vietnamese splash (fried shrimp balls on a bun with Vietnamese accompaniment). This sandwich’s relaunch has justifiably increased its popularity.

    When the creative chef team behind the sandwiches went back to the drawing board, the Shrimp Banh Mi was designed.  The sandwich comes with your choice of curly fries or apple slaw.  Nolan, one of the managers, was gracious enough to answer my questions in regards to where the fish originates.  Most of the fish come from Florida and the East Coast during the cold months, ensuring freshness, since the time from water to plate is shortened.  The fish is full of Omega-3 fatty acids which good for a growing body.

    The sandwich was good, but with 4 little shrimp balls, this sandwich is more like a good snack than a meal.  That works just fine if you are walking around Union Market perusing food stalls and planning dinner.  But, the addition of 2 more shrimp balls might make the sandwich fuller and seem more like a meal.  Overall, I like the Vietnamese influence in this sandwich.

    Happy Eating,

    -CLF (Crystal)

     

  • 06Oct

    We recently reviewed a local business that cooks healthy meals and delivers them to homes in the DC area, Strong Fit meals. We ordered 5 more meals (pictured above), and were impressed with the consistency and quality of the entrees. Yeah, we missed the Chicken Fajitas and Chicken Satays from the last round, but the new meals were tasty (and healthy) as well.

    Strong Fit Meals did a good job at grilling many of the components (some proteins and some vegetables), and used some tasty herbs, spices, and sauces as well. We ordered four entrees from the clean menu (which changes weekly) and one (Ground Turkey) from the lean menu (which stays the same). The Teriyaki Chicken and the Ground Turkey were our favorite dishes this time around. The steak was a little tough but the chimichurri sauce made up for it. It would have been nice if the buckwheat noodles were not chopped up, but they were a tasty gluten-free option.

    It was nice that this week’s meals were not (low-fat) cheese heavy like some of the dishes we previously sampled. The cheese wasn’t bad, but I didn’t feel it was necessary.

    -JAY

  • 20Sep

    We tested out Strong Fit Meals‘ menu last week, and were pleasantly surprised. With menus called the “Lean Menu” and “Clean Menu,” our fear was that we would be sacrificing flavor in a quest for healthy food.

    We tried 5 items from the Clean Menu and one from the Lean Menu. The meals we sampled from the Clean menu were the Chicken Satay, Salmon, Beef Burger, Chicken  Fajitas, and Quinoa Stuffed Peppers. From the Lean Menu, we were given the Chicken Breast.

    The meals were definitely better than expected (of healthy cuisine), and were fresh, with the absolute standouts being the Chicken Satay and the Chicken Fajitas (with Cilantro Rice), which were both delicious. I will say that if I had found the Chicken Satay in a store, I would have passed it up since it has P28 powder which does not sound like an appetizing (or necessary) ingredient. And, they could work on the flavor and texture of the pickled cucumbers that were packaged with that dish. The Beef Burger is more like meatloaf (hello egg whites!) but is good, as long as you skip the low sugar ketchup (ick). The Chicken Breast with Green Beans was nice as well.

    I think I overheated the Salmon, so won’t critique it. Stuffed Peppers aren’t my thing in general, so I’ll skip talking about them.

    The Lean menu consists of lean proteins such as Grilled Chicken Breast, Grilled Steak, Tilapia, Salmon, and Ground Turkey. When ordering from the Lean Menu, you can select from various vegetables and starches as sides. This week’s Clean Menu includes Spicy Plum Chicken, Blackened Chicken, Turkey Enchilada Bake, Swedish Meatballs, and Peanut Chicken.

    This is definitely a good service for someone who wants healthy well-packaged and home delivered (to DC, Bethesda or Virginia) meals. I can see people bringing these meals to work for lunch.

    -JAY

  • 12Sep

    The good news is, some of us are over-employed (that’s good, right?). Some of us have even moved away from the DC area. (You know who you are). 🙂

    But the bad news is a dry spell for the FUD at the moment. So, to counteract this terrible state of affairs, we are looking for…..

    A FEW NEW WRITERS!! Were you annoyed by a restaurant? Do you have some random recipes to share? Have you discovered the best wine, restaurant, or food truck in DC? Do you want to write a comparison article for a particular item or dish? Need some hipster cred? Writing experience for your resume? Articles for your Portfolio? Passionate about food? Then we want you for DCFüd. Send writing samples to jay@dcfud.com, along with few ideas you’d like to write about. It’ll be crazy!

    -JAY

    Permalink Filed under: Etc No Comments
  • 23Aug

    We recently tried out Mezze Box‘s service (after meeting Johnny (the owner) at the August DC Food Blogger Happy Hour at Esencias Panamenas in Petworth). The menu changes weekly and the meals are delivered to your home. This week’s menu included okra, which unfortunately Mezze Box ran out of earlier in the day. We tried the above (pictured) dishes.

    Our favorite dishes were the Grape Leaves, Baba Ganouj, and Chicken & Rice. The Kafta & Vegetables was good as well and I’d like to see the eggplant from that dish again (even on its own).

    The pita was local (Wooden Bakery in Vienna) and was good.

    A Lebanese friend said the lentil dish was just ok (I wasn’t crazy about it but am not a big lentil fan), but she raved about the grape leaves. She liked the chicken and rice dish and said that it usually includes almonds or pine nuts.

    It’s a shame dessert isn’t included.

    I definitely recommend Mezze Box since the food was fresh and tasty, and the menu changes weekly. Plus, the food is delivered to your home.

    -JAY

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

    Editor’s Note:

    Below are some highlights from the August DC Food Blogger Happy Hour at Esencias Panamenas:

  • 10Jun

    Savor splashed down in DC last weekend, combining great beer from throughout the USA with dishes the Brewer’s Association’s Executive Chef, Adam Dulye created for the 2016 show. Adam was one of the four speakers for the salon (class), Developing the SAVOR Menu. The speakers at the salon were: (from L to R) Steve Bradt of Free State Brewing Company, Steve Wildy of the Vetri Family of Restaurants, Kyle Mendenhall of Backcountry Gourmet on PBS, and Adam Dulye.

    Whenever possible, Adam starts by sampling the beer he wants to pair and then creating an appropriate dish to serve with it. But, sometimes the brew in question is being released at (or created for) the show and Adam has a phone conversation where the brewers describe a beer to him that they haven’t actual tried, which makes creating a appropriate pairing more difficult.

    Attendees left with Savor’s 2016 collaboration beer:

    Allagash Brewing Company (Portland, Maine) and Deschutes Brewery (Bend, Oregon) teamed up to brew Pettygrove’s Chance, combining delicate Oregon and Maine malts and fermenting with a farmhouse yeast.”

    Below are images of some of my favorite brews and pairings of the evening:

    -JAY

    Permalink Filed under: Drinks, Etc Tags: , No Comments
  • 09May

    Meats Port City Beer mixed with cheese to create an American Fondue French inspired Raclette Staff preparing fondue

    One of the great staples in life is cheese; it can go from the standard party fare (think cubes of cheese on toothpicks) to the divine (think anything Italian, gooey and aged). When talking cheese, Europeans have taught us all we know; they are masters at producing all manner of dairy-based delights. On March 30th, Via Umbria played host to a most wonderful event, celebrating another wonderful Swiss dish, fondue.

    A place to enjoy all things Italy right in the middle of Georgetown, Via Umbria brought together cheese lovers to taste their way around Europe and America.  The Melt Fondue Fest was created to show off some of the best international and local cheeses in the form of fondue. Upon arrival, guests were given a passport to visit five different cheese stations.

    Curated by in-house cheese monger, Alice Phillips, the evening included a formal nod to the home of fondue, with an Alpine Fondue which contained traditional Swiss melted cheese, garlic and wine. Waving the local flag, the American Fondue stall showcased a tangy cheesy dip made with dark beer. Heading back over the pond, the French inspired Raclette came scraped over boiled potatoes. The final stall featured Wisconsin Fried cheese, which was made from fresh cheese curds that had been dipped in beer batter and then golden-fried. These cheese selections were accompanied by paired wines and beers; guests all left feeling satisfied to the hilt.

    All cheeses can be purchased in the delicatessen along with accompaniments, so you can have out your own fondue night at home.

    -EWL

  • 08May
    Prequel Poke Popup

    Hawaiian on the left, Vietnamese on the right, Korean in the rear.

    Thursday and Friday Prequel hosted Poke Pop, a great Hawaiian-themed popup. Poke is a A raw fish salad served in Hawaiian cuisine. We ordered three of the four pokes, the Hawaiian (ahi tuna, soy ginger dressing, cucumber, wakame, red onion, scallion, and furikake), the Vietnamese (hamachi yellowtail, nuoc cham dressing, pickled daikon, carrots, cucumber, thai chili, mint, holy basil (tulsi), and peanuts) and the Korean (Atlantic salmon, gochujang chili dressing, pickled red cabbage, radish, scallion, nori, and puffed rice).  We did not order the Mexican, which is a vegetarian version featuring fried tofu.

    GFJ and I favored the Korean, although I very much enjoyed the Hawaiian as well. The Vietnamese wasn’t her (GFJ’s) thing although I was fine with it as a third choice.

    Chef Kevin Tien definitely knows his poke! This was a great concept and meal, so hopefully Poke Pop gets more time at Prequel.

    -JAY

  • 28Dec

    DC’s long anticipated wait for Harper Macaw‘s chocolate factory is over since it officially opened its doors on December 12th. Harper Macaw is DC’s first chocolate factory that sources their cocoa beans from the Brazilian Amazon and Atlantic rainforest. The line to enter the chocolate factory was out the door as people stood in line to get a taste of Harper Macaw’s hot chocolate or mint hot chocolate. Immediately upon entering, the smell of chocolate was in the air, with a vast variety of chocolate bars on display; chocolate cookies, pies and other desserts were being served. When the crowd of people were done sampling chocolate, tours were given.   During the tour, there were not any Oompa Loompas or Willy Wonka in sight. Instead, there was a sophisticated array of machinery such as a “conche” that ages the chocolate and a “five roller refinery” used in a European style of chocolate processing that crushes chocolate particles to 20 microns. At the end of the tour, Sarah Hartman (owner of Harper Macaw) threw a tasting party highlighting their chocolate variety and the event provided an informational session on how to properly eat and enjoy your chocolate. Harper Macaw currently has four chocolate bars available with 52, 67, 74, and 77 percent chocolate bars. Two of the bars are single source being either from the Brazilian Amazon or Atlantic rainforest. The other two bars are a unique blend of the two cocoa beans that produce a very deep sophisticated dark chocolate flavor. Sarah mentioned that key notes to taste in her chocolate bars were the “Fruity jamminess and wine in our 67% Dark Blend Bar, raisins in our 77% Amazon Rainforest Bar, toffee, butterscotch and spice notes in our 74% Atlantic Forest Bar, and raspberries, malt and almonds in our 52% Milk Bar.”

    With everyone enjoying the vast amount of chocolate surrounding them, Sarah Hartman was more than happy to chat with DCFüd about what it takes to be a chocolate artisan.

    What inspired you to start your own chocolate factory?

    I’ve had a lifelong love affair with chocolate. While attending boarding school in Switzerland, I fell deeply in love with chocolate, craftsmanship, and the history behind chocolate. Later on, my mother in law gave me a Scharffenberger recipe book – and the chapter that intrigued me the most was the one which talked about the chocolate making process and the power that cacao agriculture has to promote agroforestry. I shared this interest with a good friend, and she encouraged me to go for a one week intensive course on chocolate – after which, there was no going back. It was a matter of months before I knew I wanted to start my own business, but I knew I needed more experience and knowledge.  So I started learning everything I could about it from various courses all over the world, and later gaining invaluable experience at Valrhona and Dandelion chocolate.

    What is your ideal chocolate for texture? What about for flavor?

    My ideal chocolate texture is a chocolate that is smooth, refined, emulsified, and velvety – it unravels itself on your palate as it melts. I absolutely love that chocolate is a food that melts in your mouth – it is one of a kind. I don’t like grittiness nor sandiness in my chocolate, but I fully understand why some people may be attracted to this type of texture.

    My favorite flavor profile in chocolate is hands down fruity – I love chocolates crafted with Madagascar, Peruvian or Venezuelan beans.

    The artisan chocolate market in the US seems to be growing. We see more and more brands offering single-origin, high-cacao content chocolate. How do you see the Brazilian market changing?  How do you see your chocolate being different?

    Harper Macaw is the only US craft chocolate maker that sources cocoa beans from Brazil. We hope to enlighten fellow chocolate lovers about the unique flavor, texture, and aroma that Brazilian beans impart on our chocolate and inspire other craft chocolate makers to explore new sources. Our chocolate is different not only because of our unique source of beans, but because of our state of the art chocolate making process. We are one of the few chocolate ventures that use a 5 roll refiner. This ensures that our chocolate has the best texture and smoothest mouth feel.

    What are some new flavors that we may expect in the future? 

    We are working on several new sources for our cocoa beans that will imbue new and exciting flavors to our products. We are currently researching projects in Indonesia and Congo for our next origin bars. We have chosen these specific locations as they are countries which also suffer from large deforestation issues and we want to replicate our conservation model at other origins as well.

    How would you describe the flavors that someone eating your chocolate may expect?

    Each bar is unique and flavors and perceptions are all in the “mouth” of the beholder.  Our flavors are anything but expected.

    -EWL (Eric)

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