• 11May

    I did what most young professionals do on a Friday night,  look for an after-work chill, cool down spot with a nice view of the city and good food.  Well, I think I might have found this “diamond in the rough” at the Embassy Row Hotel Rooftop Bar located at 2015 Massachusetts Ave, NW,  in the District.

    Opened over the weekend, the Embassy Row Hotel Rooftop Bar just had their kickoff event, and was  named “One of the World’s Most Amazing Rooftop Pools in The World” by Weather.com and “One of Best Rooftop Pools in America” by USA Today. They also received an awarded for “Best Chef in DC” with Chef Guy manning the grill.   Some popular items that were ordered include:

    Starters: Roast Piquillo pepper hummus,  Street Fare Kabobs Skewers of beef, chicken, steak, and vegetables, and Grilled Wings, which all will run you about $10.

    Sandwiches: Basil Chicken Breast, and “Juicy Lucy Burger.”

    The drinks: “Red Bull Mango Manic” sold out quickly. The shot girls appeared with the featured alcohol of the night (Tequila shot and Coronas in honor of Cinco De Mayo).

    Upon entering the Rooftop, there were some chairs near the grass-like area in front where people can sit and talk and pose with different selfie props. Around the pool area, there was some seating.  The lower desk has different games that people can play such as Checkers, and Connect Four – the adult version.   More games are featured downstairs in the “Underground Playground” which features:  Foosball, Ping Pong, Shuffleboard, and Air Hockey.

    The only downside that was a constant was the long line for drinks and food since Chef Guy was his own one man band and there were only 2 bartenders for thirty people.  However, with the long line came the shot girls to quiet the masses and the line moved with the sweet tunes of DJ Nick manning the tables.   He definitely played to the crowd and took my requestto play the Macarena – in honor of Cinco De Maya – I was in heaven.

    According to the Event Calendar, some notable events:  “Silent Disco” on Fridays, each guest gets a pair of headphones and then tunes into each 3 DJ different stations from 7pm until 11pm – this a cool millennial spirited event.  “Yoga Monday” starts the week out with some calm by the poolside. Events are listed on their website.

    Follow them on social media as well  (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter) @EmbassyRowHotel, #MyDCRooftop, #EmbassyRowLove

    To access The Rooftop pool, you can purchase a day pass for $30 on The Rooftop, starting at 3 PM each day; if you’re dining on The Rooftop, you don’t need to purchase a day pass. The Rooftop is typically open May – September, weather dependent.

    Embassy Row Hotel features different options for those who want to spend the night:

    LOVE,

    -CLF

     

     

     

     

     

  • 03May

    Fogo de Chão recently invited us to a media event featuring their new bar and seasonal offerings, and of course, a variety of fire roasted meats! While our schedule didn’t allow us to arrive early enough to try the Southern Brazilian steakhouse’s new Bar Fogo – Happy Hour Menu offerings, Braised Beef Rib Sliders, Brazilian Empanadas (beef), and Garlic Shrimp, or seasonal options, Blackberry Arugula Salad, Lentil Quinoa Salad, and Carrot Ginger Soup, we did sample the Mango Habanero Caipirinha off the new menu, and Fogo’s classic, Passion Fruit Caipirinha.

    We did arrive in time to sample the Rodizio (parade of fire roasted meats), sides, and dessert. Some of our favorite meats of the evening were the Picanha (prime part of the top sirloin), Beef Ancho (ribeye),  Costela (beef ribs), Pork Sausages, and Baby Lamb Chops. The Pão de Queijo (cheese bread) and Flan were hits as well.

    “Bar Fogo’s Happy Hour is available Monday through Friday from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. and features new Happy Hour prices that everyone can appreciate – from $4 Brazilian Bites & Beers to $6 South American Wines and $8 Brazilian Inspired Cocktails.”

    This was our first time at Fogo, and we will definitely be returning soon. We definitely need to try the empanadas and both the new Strawberry Hibiscus Caipirinha and Fogo Caipirinha.

    Fogo’s nearby locations include Washington, DC, and a new addition to the area, Tysons.

    -JAY

     

    Editor’s Note:

    Several of the included links contain actual recipes.

     

     

     

  • 13Apr

    IMG_4686

    Whether you’re traveling from out of town and want a dose of a little bit of everything DC has to offer in a couple of hours, or a DC metro dweller, Carpe DC Food Tours is a great way to explore several local fares in a short amount of time at an affordable price.

    I’ve lived in the DC Metro area now for a little over 10 years now and absolutely loved this tour.  I took a dive into the U Street Corridor Tour and learned so much of what I’ve missed over the years.  These tours are intimate groups of about 6-8 people with a knowledgeable tour guide who patiently gives you the historical background of the area you’re exploring. Each tour package offers a minimum of 4 restaurants, food samplings from each restaurant, and an alcohol pairing add-on option.  And the best part is that a portion of each ticket sale goes to local charity, Bread for the City.

    Living in the DC area for all of these years, you often forget how rich in history and art this city really holds.  Being so focused on the fact that politics seems to run this town, it’s often easy to overlook the beauty that encapsulates the city.

    So here’s the rundown of my U Street Food Tour:

    IMG_4682Ben’s Next Door
    Ok, so it’s pretty much a sacrilege for a Washingtonian to not have tried Ben’s Chili Bowl at least once in their lifetime.  Ben’s Chili Bowl is a family-run DC icon dating back to 1958 and is still operating in the same location to this day.  So it’s not a surprise that Ben’s Next Door is first stop on the tour.

    Ben’s Next Door is the sports bar version of the original Ben’s Chili Bowl, located right next door.  They offer the menu favorites from the restaurant next door along with an extended slightly upper scale cuisine.  At this location you could come watch sports team on the big screens, scarf down a classic half smoke and wash it down with a local brew.  What can I say about this place?  It never disappoints.

    IMG_4693Dukem Ethiopian
    Next stop was an Ethiopian restaurant, Duken Ethiophian.  Ethiopian cuisine has been popping up all over the metro area and becoming a popular trend.

    This was my first time trying Ethiopian food and I have to say I was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed it.  We had a vegetarian platter of yellow peas, collard greens, red lentils, and a fresh tomato salad.  I’m by no means a vegetarian and this dish was deeply satisfying.   The beef tips were incredibly seasoned.  And after this tour stop, I won’t be hesitant to try out another Ethiopian restaurant again.

    IMG_4701Glen’s Garden Market
    Now I will be the first to admit, I thought that this was an odd stop on the tour.  I thought to myself, why in the world would we stop at a market?

    We came in and sat around the deli counter and were given cups of Kale and Apple Salad.  I dislike raw kale.  It’s not my favorite green.  Turn them into chips, bake them, sauté them—OK.  But a plate full of raw kale, I say no thank you.

    Boy was I wrong…this had to be the best salad I’ve ever had.  The kale mixed with sweet crunchy apples and picked radish drenched in a pumpkin seed dressing—sinfully good. I bought a tub of it and horded it at home.  This market is a great locally sourced, organic market with an amazing deli.  A gem I would’ve never guessed to stop in if not for this tour stop.

    IMG_4709Calabash Tea & Cafe
    Last stop on the tour and I was sad to see it come to an end was the perfect ending to a perfect Sunday afternoon.  Again, this was a cafe I would’ve never thought to make a pit stop at if not for this tour.  It’s a little bit off the beaten path in the Shaw neighborhood away from the hustle and bustle of U Street.

    I love tea so it’s really no wonder that I really enjoyed the chai here.  There are a number of different “potion” mixtures that are brewed in accordance to your ailments or your needs.  This cafe’s belief is that food is healing.  Have a cold, they’ll have the tea remedy to help you.  The Love Potion was full of rich flavors and I need to stop here to catch my breath because I can’t believe it myself–they offer vegan and gluten free chocolate chip cookies.  My first thought is … um no thank you.  But they serve it to you WARM and holy guacamole it was the best cookie I’ve ever had.  It didn’t taste like stale cardboard.

    So overall, this was an incredible experience.  My first food tour (first tour ever) of DC and I want more.  And a special thanks to our incredible tour guide, Laura.  I’ve learned so much about this fair city I now call home.

    -ADT (Angie)

    Editor’s Notes: Glen’s has a good and affordable beer selection, indoor and outdoor seating, and tons of interesting options, including hot food. Callabash makes great herbal tea blends; I usually buy two bags of Rescue Me at a time in the winter to take home. -JAY

  • 10Apr

    IMG_4638

    April 1 was the grand opening of the new Bowlero location in Centreville, VA.  If you’re looking for some good old fashioned family fun “cool” enough to tear the kids away from their devices, this is where you want to be!  Or, if you’re looking for a fun chill late night hang out spot with your friends, Bowlero is open until 1am on Fridays and Saturdays.

    This renovated bowling ally offers loud energetic music to get you amped up for a round of cosmic bowling!  That’s right, the lanes and pins are neon lit to make your bowing experience that much more fun.

    IMG_4667

    Above you can see the Grand Opening presentation of Bowlero’s signature Behemoth Burger with DeAngelo Hall of the Redskins.

    Their “Go Crazy” menu offers a great selection of items you’ll need to share, including the Behemoth Burger (pictured above), a 5lb mammoth of a burger (not a mammoth burger) that you won’t want to tackle alone.  Tired out from bowling?  They also tout a decent size arcade with games that are enjoyable for all age ranges.  I, myself, enjoyed defending our nation from an alien invasion.

    Overall, I think this is a great place for a fun date night, or group outing with friends and/or family to escape your mundane day-to-day routine.  I love the idea of the revitalizing nostalgic activities in the digital age.

    Bowlero Centreville
    13814 Lee Hwy, Centerville, VA
    www.bowlero.com/location/bowlero-centreville

    -ADT (Angie)

     

    Editor’s Note:

    The Urban Dictionary defines Cosmic Bowling as:

    1. Actual bowling with lazer lights and black lights.

  • 15Feb

    The Masala Art location in SW DC (Waterfront Metro) is featuring 3 courses meals different cuisine of India every month (on Mondays). The meat option costs $27, while the vegetarian option is only $24. You select one entree, and are served an appetizer platter (of 3 items). We tried some of January’s Punjabi offerings (see the above images).

    We ordered both vegetarian and non-vegetarian options and were impressed with the Punjabi menu, including the accompaniments, Maa ki Dal, Jeera Mattar Pulao and Butter Nan, dal makhani  and cumin and peas pulao. We practically fought over the dal (it was so good).

    Service was good. They dealt very well with us having a short amount of available time that evening.

    February’s menu is Indo-Chinese. The non-vegetarian menu will begin with an appetizer platter that includes hot mango chicken; chicken lollipop; and Sriracha honey fish, while the vegetarian menu will begin with an appetizer platter of spring rolls, honey chili potatoes and crispy friend vegetables. Entrees include a choice of Chili Chicken, Lamb Manchurian, or Hot Garlic Fish for non vegetarians, and Chili Paneer, Vegetable Manchurian, or Garlic Broccoli Tofu for vegetarians.

    Note: I’ll comment on this article when I know what region they are featuring Mondays in March.

    -JAY

     

  • 08Feb

    About six months ago, restaurateur and James Beard Foundation Award winner, Michael Richard passed away. His loss will be felt in the DC restaurant world.

    I was lucky to attend Sweet Hope, an annual charity event to benefit St. Jude’s Childrens Research Hospital a couple of months ago, and am happy to report that Central is producing desserts of the same quality and deliciousness of previous years. Above are some of the image highlights. Here, here (featuring an image of Michel), and here are three of our previous articles that featured this great French chef and his food.

    -JAY

  • 18Nov

    One Eight Distillery (located in Ivy City, right around the corner from Union Market) new product line of whiskey is excellent for both drinking and baking.   Upon entering the tasting room which is just right outside the Distillery, One Eight presented an indulgent alcohol-infused brownie. The brownie and chocolate ganache were infused with One Eight’s spirits and went over very well with the crowd.

    After your ID was checked (Good Looking Out, Loved the Complainant), the individual  received a bracelet with 3 tear away coupons for the tasting room.  The tasting room presented Rock Creek Whiskey, Ivy City Gin, District Made Vodka, and Untitled.  These Spirits were distilled in DC; each of the ingredients were hand picked from local vendors in DC. The rye and corn were locally grown.  Rock Creek Rye has the distinct honor of being the ONLY “Grain to Glass” bottled in the District since Prohibition.  Now I caution you that when I stuck my tongue in the shot glass, my tongue stung. (Editor’s Note: A Christmas Story flashbacks, anyone?)

    #MadeInDC network theme ran though the event from the individualized Photo Booth (take a selfie with the bottle!) to the  “Make Your Own Cocktail” bar (craft their own personal spirit!). Also, food vendors from neighboring Union Market were on hand to wow the mouth with either pizza rolls and gelato.

    Additionally, the bar was serving various cocktails featuring the One Eight product line.  My favorite was the “Constant Gardner.”

    Happy Exploring the NEW IVY CITY,

    -CLF (Crystal)

     

     

    One Eight Distilling

    1135 Okie Street NE | Washington, DC 20002

    Metro: NoMa-Gallaudet U; Rhode Island Ave

    Bus: D3, D4; E2, E3

    Parking: Free on-street parking is available. Please be respectful of neighboring businesses/residences and any posted parking policies.

  • 17Nov

    Aperto Restaurant serves contemporary Italian Fare featuring homemade food by an authentic Italian chef, Luigi Diotaiuti. At a recent event, he offered up passed antipasti including tiny focaccia sandwiches, sun-dried tomato and ricotta on a cracker, steak tartare with salsa, lamb curry risotto balls, lamb chop lollipops, mussels, and the ever elusive tortellini on a silver spoon.

    As the food was great, the atmosphere was really engaging and conversation flowed. The bar area was decorated with all the homemade sauces, and limoncello touches a patron would expect of this downtown bar near George Washington University and the Foggy Bottom crowd.  The waiters passed around the plates and ever-hungry patrons swarmed the trays.

    The drink of the night was the “Riding the Vespa” (Earl Grey-infused Tito’s vodka/Cocchi Americano/ ginger/lime/soda water).  The non-alcoholic version was delicious as well.

    The bartender who sported the ever popular handlebar mustache was in a very excited state when dipping the punch from the silver punch bowl; he served the drink with a traditional “Salute”!  Peroni Beer paired well with the Blue Cheese Polenta, served on a cracker with sun-dried tomato and ricotta.

    Chef Luigi Diotaiuti was decked out in a bowtie pasta inspired chef Jacket that was made especially for him in Naples, Italy.  Chef Luigi was happy to speak to each of the patrons about his excited adventures though Italy.

    Happy Eating,

    Crystal (CLF)

  • 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)

     

     

  • 07Nov

    It’s fall time and we’re weeks out from Thanksgiving!  And that means the pumpkin spice is wafting in the air.  Earls Kitchen + Bar in Tyson’s Corner is rolling out their new Canadian inspired Fall dishes and it’s a menu that hits a home run and it’s not your average fall menu.

    sam_0979I am not a fan of kale salad.  I know it’s a superfood and quite the trendy green, but it’s just not my cup of tea.  When the plate of Warm Kale Salad was set in front of me, I’ll admit, I turned my nose.  But being the type to try anything at least once that’s set in front of me, I dug my fork in and gave myself a hearty helping.  Let’s let’s start with this first…this salad was warm.  Not a straight out of the icebox salad, toss some toppings and dressing on top kind of salad.  The kale was warmed up which made it more tolerable for a non-kale lover to endure.  But the best part of this salad was tossing in of the roasted Brussels sprouts.  I love a salad that crunches and the Brussels sprout’s crunchy saltiness really brought this dish to life.  This salad was everything that I’ve ever wanted in a salad: salty, sweet and crunch.  The baby potatoes were roasted until the skin was crispy; the brown butter vinaigrette gave them a light sweetness.  I won’t go as far to say that this salad changed my opinion of kale but I will go as far to say that I will not hesitate to order this salad from this particular restaurant again.

    sam_0982A new twist on surf n’ turf.  Earls’ version of surf n’ turf is sushi and steak which is fine by me!  I love sushi and I love steak so it’s an incredible combination.  The steak comes out on a sizzling pan with great sushi flavors.  I felt that the marinated steak was a tad salty but had a great citrus flavor.  Two rolls are available: a California roll with pacific crab and a classic dynamite roll.  Most sushi connoisseurs turn their noses at a California Roll as not being “true sushi” but this is made with real lump crab with a tempura crunch.  The Dynamite Roll is probably not best judged by me since I am not very tolerant of spicy foods, but there was a nice chunk of pineapple in the roll that helped cool down the heat.

    sam_0990The next 3 dishes are not new to their menu but a reminder of some of their classic menu items.
    To me Kung Pao is pretty much the same everywhere.  It’s not very imaginative and it’s just Americanized Chinese food.  Earls serves their Hunan Kung Pao with shrimp and Farkay noodles.  I enjoyed the noodles with the dish but am more accustomed to eating this dish with white rice.  Your mouth begins to water from just the smell alone of their Chimichurri Skirt Steak that comes out on a sizzling plate.  The meat was so tender and the chimichurri sauce was perfection.  It was slightly saltier than I like but I’d still eat a plate of it in a heartbeat.  I would’ve also loved to have the potatoes crispier like from the Warm Kale Salad.

    sam_0992Have I expressed that I enjoy crispiness? The Earls Bigger, Better Burger was crispy!  How they got that onion ring on the burger to be so crispy is beyond my understanding. This burger had no need for extra condiments such as ketchup because what seemed to be some kind of pico de gallo concoction of sweet tomatoes and onions gave the burger a powerful flavor.

    And of course I had to save the best for last – dessert!  I tried their freshly baked Pumpkin Pie, Smores Skillet Cookie and Chocolate Sticky Toffee Pudding.  My favorite of the three was the Smores Cookie.  It tasted just like you made yourself a smore over a camp fire, but without the messiness.  I’m not a fan of pumpkin pie but theirs was actually really great.  It was light and fluffy kind of like biting into a cloud.  My least fave, which is actually an Earls Classic, was the Chocolate Sticky Toffee Pudding.  If you’re a chocolate lover, I feel that you’ll be disappointed in this dessert.  It doesn’t have the richness of a chocolate dessert but if you like chocolate, but can’t eat it because sometimes chocolate desserts and too rich for your consumption, this might be just the right dessert for you.

    Go check out their new Fall Menu at Tyson’s Corner.  I’m sure you won’t be disappointed.

    -ADT

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