• 16Sep

    I love barbecue and food trucks, so when I stumbled across Hardy’s BBQ in Bethesda, I was beyond thrilled. There’s not much in the way of food trucks daily in Bethesda, but Hardy’s is open from 11-2 each Friday in the parking lot of the Montgomery Women’s Farm Cooperative, on Wisconsin Avenue. Their Facebook page is often updated with their other locations as well. The line forms early, but moves quickly. Staff is friendly.

    I’ve tried the ribs, wings, fries, pulled pork sandwich, and collard greens. The most popular option seem to be the two wings, two ribs, fries platter. The fries are served crisp, seasoned, and hot, while the meat is pulled directly off the smoker and onto your platter. You then get to add your sauce. I’ve only done the hot BBQ sauce so far, and it has a nice amount of heat, but it’s not overwhelming. The ribs just fall off the bone and the wings are smoky. Both are delicious. However, the pulled pork sandwich my favorite. A nice amount of well-sauced pork served on a lightly toasted bun is both filling and tasty. And the collards are fresh and not overcooked, and work well to balance the richness of the meat.

    Hardy’s has been in business for a few years now, and while more BBQ places seem to be opening up in the D.C. area, Hardy’s a place worth visiting and worth adding to your regular rotation.


    Editor’s Note:

    Hardy’s is a long-time favorite of ours and is located in the same Bethesda location Saturday afternoons. Try the chopped brisket with mustard sauce and the barbecued chicken. Check their twitter (@Hardys_BBQ) on Sundays to see if they are at a festival (like last week’s Takoma Folk Festival).

  • 12Jun

    Congrats to Federalist Pig on winning the DC Lamb Jam for Best in Show and People’s Choice! Kudos to the judges!

    This was a great year for the Lamb Jam with most dishes being stand outs. BBQ is apparently a GREAT theme for lamb! We are already looking forward to next years event!

    Now that I’ve tried the Urban Butcher ‘s lamb salami with coriander and orange, I need to make another trip to the restaurant (or farmer’s market) in Silver Spring. Meat Crafters’ Skinny Salamis (the lamb versions) were also delicious, and are available at the Silver Spring Farmer’s Market.


  • 12Aug


    Summer humidity has gotten us all crabby. This time, though, it’s not a bad thing. In the cool, sophisticated confines of Bar Dupont, guests can get their hands dirty taking part in a time-honored Mid-Atlantic tradition. In a great location right on Dupont Circle, Bar Dupont opened its patio to crab experts and neophytes on August 6, from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. – and will do it again August 20. It’s a do-not-miss event for anyone who likes a little adventure mixed with some fantastically prepared crabs and sides.

    The Crab Fest features three important elements. The first is Capital Crab Company, which brings in live (yes, live) blue crabs to cook on the spot. They lay down the butcher paper, provide the sauces (vinegar, Old Bay, butter) and the mallets. And then they’ll give and you the crabs, and you’ll get to get messy. There’s no better fun than prying open a salty, spiced leg, giving it an elbow-greased tap with a mallet, and scooping out the sweetest, most tender crab meat this side of the Chesapeake. Claws away.

    IMG_5033JPGThe second element is RAR Brewing, which provides cans of a West Coast-style IPA called  the Nanticoke Nectar, which has bold and fresh citrus (especially grapefruit) notes. RAR will also serve Groove City, a German style Hefeweizen, with just a touch of sweetness and wheat flavor . Bar Dupont, of course, will be serving seasonal craft cocktails from the bar for purchase.

    Finally, a Southern folk-rock band will serenade your other senses with fantastic music throughout the entire afternoon.

    Michael from Capital Crab Company put it well. He told us, “We love events like these; it’s a great experience. We started small, cooking crabs from the truck, but putting on events right in the heart of DC is meaningful, really bringing crabs to the people. We get the crabs right from the source, so we say it’s ‘from port to table.’ Hanging with the public is just so much fun.”

    The Crab Feast includes all-you-can-eat crab, sides, and beer. Otherwise, you can also pick up crab cake sandwiches, shrimp, and crab mac ‘n’ cheese and order sides like hush puppies and coleslaw. Other drink options include fresh-squeezed lemonade and a Southern-inspired whiskey sweet tea. And to really wake up the senses – an Old Bay Bloody Mary; it pairs well, indeed. See you August 20!

    -ESC (Evan)

  • 24Jun

    We have tried some great dishes and products in the last week. I still have a few of Tracy’s cheesecakes to try, so don’t be surprised if I write about them again soon. This business just relocated to Burke from Japan (2 months ago) so show some support to these new (to the area) desserts. The cheesecakes are light, fluffy, and delicious, and have a great crust containing several kinds of nuts. Tracy’s delivers (in more ways that one)!

    As far as Crum’s, Bungalow in Alexandria/Franconia carries about a half dozen of these great Alexandria-based hot sauces, and they don’t even charge for it, like the 50 cents they charge for that teeny amount of BBQ sauce you see in the image. I always feel like I am being swindled when Bungalow’s charges me for BBQ sauce, so I only eat there on burger nights (Mondays). The waiters don’t even mention the charge.


    Click to add a blog post for Bungalow Billiards & Brew Company on Zomato

  • 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)

    Click to add a blog post for Dirty South Deli on Zomato

  • 20May

    phowheelstruckThe ever-growing trend that started in California, food trucks are appearing more and more in Virginia as they migrate down south from D.C. But I was shocked when I saw two rows of food trucks around 12:30PM ready to serve on an adjacent road off of Greensboro Drive, a commercial street that connects many corporate companies in the McLean area. The trucks were parallel parked, and most had 4 or 5 customers waiting to place their order. PhoWheels’ line took over the entire length of a large sidewalk.

    Waiting in line for 30 minutes.

    Waiting in line for 30 minutes.

    PhoWheels serves popular Vietnamese cuisine with its own modern twist. Despite the truck’s clever name, pho (Vietnamese rice noodle soup) is not the most popular menu item. By the time it was my turn to order, there was a big “SOLD OUT’ sticker placed over the taco section of the menu. But that’s alright because I was happy to try their pho and banh mi (Vietnamese sandwich).


    It’s served in a to-go bowl. You select eye-round steak, meatballs, or chicken (beef broth for all three choices), and it comes with scallions, cilantro, red onions, lime, and jalapeno.

    For those who do not enjoy fully cooked beef slices in their pho, I would not recommend this item. My eye-round steak slices were thoroughly cooked by the time I opened the container. Other than that, the seasoning of the broth was quite delicious, but is it worth $9? Personally, I would rather drive to a pho restaurant and pay the same amount for a bigger portion and get the beef slices on the side (so it cooks in the broth right before my  eyes). But some people don’t mind the fully cooked beef. To each their own.

    5 Spice Maple Glazed Pork Belly Banh Mi and Eye-Round Steak Pho.

    5 Spice Maple Glazed Porkbelly Banh Mi:

    Ah yes, banh mi. The traditional Vietnamese sandwich is normally served in a French baguette, but PhoWheels serves their banh mi on a choice of French baguette or croissant. Banh mi meat choices: Soy Garlic Chicken, 5 Spice Maple Glazed Pork Belly, or Mushroom-Onion Tofu.

    “5 Spice Maple Glazed,” the mere name of their porkbelly was delicious enough to make me salivate. And thankfully, the taste of the maple glazed pork belly intertwined with pickled radishes, carrots, truffle aioli, and cucumber lived up to its expectations. Is it worth the $8? Absolutely!

    Now, one can only imagine how flavorful and delicious the sold out tacos are…


    Click to add a blog post for Phowheels on Zomato

  • 18Nov

    Show Me The Money AltonFriday’s post about Mysticart’s nationwide search for a host for a food show got me thinking, so I did some research for similar opportunities.

    You too can be on TVFN or the Cooking Channel! These shows are for individuals (Next Food Network Star, America’s Greatest Home Cook, Cutthroat Kitchen, Chopped), teams (Food Truck Face-off, Food Court Wars), or Restaurants/Businesses (Restaurant Divided, Mystery Diners, Restaurant Impossible).  A couple of those shows can even set you up in a new business (Food Truck Face-off, Food Court Wars). You can even tell Guy Fieri where to go (in a good way) with his show Diners Drive-ins and Dives.

    The Fox shows (Masterchef, Hell’s Kitchen, Hotel Hell, Kitchen Nightmares) are casting as well.

    Here is one for DC area college students.

    I found a Bravo casting page that includes Bravo’s Top Chef but it is for the previous season. They should update it at some point.


  • 11Oct

    MOO ThruSome of the best Ice Cream I have ever had is available at farmer’s markets. Moo Thru is an example of this; their ice cream truck can be found at the Reston Farmer’s market on Saturday mornings (or their store in Remington, VA). They even sell pints. Who wouldn’t want to buy dairy products – in this case, ice cream – directly from dairy farmers? Their chocolate ice cream was rich, chocolatey, creamy, and delicious, and the vanilla is excellent as well. They told me that if they find anyone making better ice cream, they figure out how, so that they can improve theirs. (I hope that information wasn’t off the record.)

    NicecreamNicecream Factory (no, spell check, it isn’t a typo) is an ice cream company that uses (mostly) DC’s locally sourced ingredients and unique freezing agent liquid nitrogen, to create the premium ice cream right before your eyes. I say “mostly” local ingredients because the same week they told me they would no longer have strawberry ice cream because it is out of season, mango was one of their flavors. And, chocolate, coffee, and pistachios aren’t grown locally either.

    The picture in this article shows their menu (for that particular day earlier in the season) but they do seem to have a good variety of flavors available for pint delivery or pickup, although I can get their ice cream at their Kingstowne farmer’s market stand for the next couple of weeks (until the market closes on 10/25).

    Nicecream’s products are very flavorful and delicious, with my favorite flavors of theirs being the pistachio (this is my favorite rendition of pistachio ice cream anywhere) , strawberry basil, and chocolate sea salt.


    Click to add a blog post for Nicecream Factory on Zomato

  • 21Jun

    This looks like a “must see” to me. Hello press release. 🙂



    Inline image 1
    “Capital Food Fight”

    New documentary explores how D.C.’s street food battle was fought and won
    June 26th, 9 p.m., Maryland Public Television

    WHAT:      D.C. exploded to become a top-5 food truck market in

                     America. But the street fights have been bruising. The battle
                     might be over, but the major players still have something to

    WHEN:     Wednesday, June 26th, 9 p.m.

    Maryland Public Television

    Ch. 22 (Cox, Comcast, Dish, Fios DirecTV)

    WHO:       Documentary interviews include representatives from:

    •                  Food Truck Association of Metropolitan Washington
    •                  Restaurant Association of Metropolitan Washington
    •                  Council of the District of Columbia
    •                  Food truck and restaurant owners
    •                  Area Neighborhood Commission

    WHY:       In four short years, D.C. has become one of the hottest food

                    truck cities in the country. But the conflicts surrounding these
                    new mobile eateries raise questions about capitalism, politics,
                    social media, and the future of business in America.


  • 08Jun

    On Saturday June 1st, wine lovers from all over Virginia descended upon Bull Run Regional Park to participate in the Vintage Virginia Wine Festival (http://www.vintagevirginia.com). It was an unbearably hot and humid day, but that didn’t diminish the enthusiasm of the thousands of people quenching their thirst with tastings from all over the region.

    With over fifty wineries in attendance, choice was a key component of the day. This was also the first year that equal attention was paid to the food portion of the day. Top chefs from the Virginia area performed food demos and tastings as well. There were also at least twelve of the top DC food trucks in attendance.

    My group arrived early and hit the winery tents immediately. Although this was my husband’s and my first time attending, we were in the good hands of a few other old pros. First thing we learned, make sure you bring a tent! Especially, on a day as hot as Saturday, we were lucky that someone had thought ahead enough to bring one of those large outdoor tents and blankets for a comfortable retreat when breaks were needed.

    I stuck to mainly white wines during the tastings and found most of the wineries expecting as much. One complaint we did all share was that there was a lot of empty space in the middle of the winery tents. They had the winery tables lined up along the perimeter of the tent leaving the workers covered, but little to no shade for the people tasting. If they had pushed the tables back just a bit further the overhang would have covered the attendees as well and left less unused space.

    Our strategy consisted of participating in tastings at some of the places we already knew and liked, but then we allowed ourselves to primarily be led by names that intrigued us. These strategies brought us to places like Shenandoah Vineyards http://www.shentel.net/shenvine/, Potomac Point Winery http://www.potomacpointwinery.com/, Democracy Vineyards http://www.democracyvineyards.com/, Unicorn Winery http://www.unicornwinery.com/ and many more. We enjoyed these vineyards although some were a bit sweet for our liking. Our definite favorite of the above mentioned was Potomac Point. My husband and I had already been fans of this vineyard from enjoying their 2009 award winning Viognier. We were told at the festival that they will be debuting a 2013 Viognier that should be of equal quality although it wasn’t available yet for tasting. I will definitely be keeping my eyes peeled.

    The food trucks also got a lot of our attention. I was a bit more limited in choices with my gluten-free lifestyle, however I was pleasantly surprised to see that many of the food trucks in attendance offered gluten-free options http://www.vintagevirginia.com/food-trucks/. The highlight of my day was my ice cream sandwich from Captain Cookie and the Milkman http://www.captaincookiedc.com/. They offered gluten-free chocolate chip cookies from Happy Tart Bakery http://happytartbakery.com/. These cookies had HUGE chunks of chocolate in them and although they were slightly crumbly, they literally melted in your mouth with the ice cream. Paired with a black raspberry ice cream, these homemade ice cream sandwiches were to die for!

    Overall, the festival was a great experience. It was worth braving the heat and I will definitely return again in the future. Next time I’ll bring a water bottle spritzer though.

    -Joyana (JPM)

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