• 07Oct

    While popular, Clarendon’s vibe skews fratty over chic. With several newcomers, including Wilson Hardware Kitchen & Bar, Clarendon’s newest spot, that seems to be changing, and this Arlington girl appreciates it.

    Located in a former hardware store, this restaurant blends industrial and contemporary, with exposed brick, beautiful murals, and iron accents. The small patio proved quite popular, even later in the evening. A Thievery Corporation heavy soundtrack adds a funky, upbeat sound.

    I was graciously invited to try a few of their cocktails and shareables. I’d been looking forward to Wilson Hardware’s opening, but had not yet had the chance to check it out, so was very excited to be a part of this. The cocktails favor fruity flavors, but I found both my Aisle 2915 (rye whiskey, meletti, pineapple, lemon, ginger) and the Screw Him (vodka, lychee, hibiscus, lemon, champagne, marjoram) to be well-balanced and not overly sweet. I also appreciate the wordplay with the cocktail names.

    A variety of options from their Shareables menu were passed, including panzerotti, Brussels sprouts, sliders, toast with crab dip, and corn fritters. My favorite was the crispy panzerotti, which are Calzone-like and filled with gorgonzola, mozzarella, and fontina; they are hard not to love. The quite tasty hardware fritters are made with corn and filled with cheese. And while I’ve had some really great Brussels sprouts lately, their bacon/garlic/parsley version was perfectly done. While I didn’t try the crab dip or the sliders, they were both popular. I’m looking forward to returning for dinner, and brunch, which should be added shortly.

    Everything I tried was great, as was the service. As this neighborhood changes, I have no doubt Wilson Hardware will do well.

    -LEM (Lia)

  • 29Jun

    July 2015 DCFBHH NoeliaReminder: DC Food Blogger Happy Hour is this Wednesday! I’m the host for this one.

    SDM reviewed Noelia here.

    -JAY

     

  • 25Jul

    It’s not often I receive a tip from a restaurant, especially as one as venerated as The Prime Rib, but this message appeared in Ye Olde Inbox today, titled “Good News for Meat Lovers!” The text of the message was short and simple :

    N.Y. Times: New analysis of 80 studies, involving 660,000 people,
    found no evidence linking fats in meats, butter, and cheese
    to increased risk of heart disease.

    – The N.Y. Times, March 17, 2014

    Well, that IS good news for meat lovers, The Prime Rib! And, it’s obviously good news for all restaurants that cater to meat lovers, like The Prime Rib!

    The email came with this helpful picture of a heart-healthy meal, though the health-food caption is mine:

    Health food for people who hate health food.

    Look at the size of that cut of prime rib! Cooked to a perfect slightly-above rare, and the beef is just wallowing in its own delicious juices…mmmmMMM! And those scalloped potatoes, paired with steamed asparagus and a glorious Napa Valley Cab Sav! *THAT*, my friends, is a meal, and if it’s good for my heart, well then, excuse me if I dump out this box of organic free-range quinoa, or,  in the name of conserving this fragile planet’s resources responsibly,  using it as a rather expensive kitty litter. “Reuse or recycle,” I always say!

    So, The Prime Rib, you have me SOLD! I love meat, I love potatoes, I love red wine, I love asparagus covered in butter and with two little red pepper strips for fun and I sure as hell love highly-reflective silverware! The email came with a handy “Reservations” button to get my table for the next available opening. All I need to do now is get my suit jacket from the dry cleaners (they do have a proper dress code, you know!) and I will be masticating the hell out of that divine prime rib away from all you plebeians!

    However, there’s another hyperlink on that email, this one going to the New York Times’ article. Surely a reasonable person would assume this article on the Old Gray Lady clearly states the benefits of a red-meat-and-buttery-starch diet. THE Paper of Record would have an extremely detailed article citing the numerous ways in which rich, succulent roasted cow crusted in garlic, black peppercorns and sea salt is good for you! Years of research by well-meaning, but obviously-idiotic scientists and nutritionists that concluded that red meat is bad for your heart would be wiped out by this new study, vindicating everything your overweight uncle and all those Texans have been saying for years! “Eat your steak!”

    Except… it doesn’t really go that far. What the new study does state is that while saturated fat isn’t really the enemy, trans fats ARE as bad as we thought, and, this bit referring to low-density lipoproteins, a.k.a. the bad cholesterol, is key :

    The smaller, more artery-clogging particles are increased not by saturated fat, but by sugary foods and an excess of carbohydrates, Dr. Chowdhury said. “It’s the high carbohydrate or sugary diet that should be the focus of dietary guidelines,” he said. “If anything is driving your low-density lipoproteins in a more adverse way, it’s carbohydrates.”

    Wait…you mean, exactly what Dr. Atkins was saying for the last 40 years? Carbs, especially processed sugary and starchy carbs, are really bad? As in, for all these years, it wasn’t the sausage or the cheese or the egg but the humble McMuffin that was really so bad for us on the Sausage Egg McMuffin With Cheese?

    The study also mentions an interesting tidbit about dairy products:

    When the researchers looked at fatty acids in the bloodstream, for example, they found that margaric acid, a saturated fat in milk and dairy products, was associated with lower cardiovascular risk.

    Let the fine citizens of Wisconsin rejoice, for their famous state export is much healthier than expected. Now, there’s some additional research to help demonstrate this – look at this link to how the states rank in the highest percentage of folks with heart disease – there’s Wisconsin, ranked #43, about 5% of the population has heart disease, pretty close to the bottom. Given the state’s relatively high obesity rate as the 15th fattest state in the US, maybe the cheese is saving their lives! Then go back to that heart disease page, and look where Idaho, the potato-making Mecca of `MURICA, ranks – #12! The twelve-highest heart disease rate in the USA! The 19th trimmest state has nearly 7% of its citizens with heart disease. That, Alanis, is irony.

    Maybe if they put some cheese on those potatoes, they’d live longer.

    So, dear The Prime Rib, if you are truly planning on considering yourself a restaurant full of delicious, healthy food, please, do all of us with a family history of heart disease a favor – get rid of those murderous potatoes immediately.

    – Ray

  • 03Jul

    We had a wonderful DC Food Blogger Happy Hour  Wednesday evening at Mexican restaurant, Mission Dupont. My favorite items were the Spicy Chorizo Burger, Enchilada chicken with 3 sauces (Pasilla, mole and red sauce), chicken tacos (the chicken was phenomenal), and Jalapeno Margarita. I will definitely be back soon for those items and to try more of (Mexico City native) Executive Chef Rodrigo Albarran’s dishes.

    Next DC Food Blogger Happy Hour will be Wednesday, August 6th. Mark your calendars. More info coming soon.

    -JAY

    Mission on Urbanspoon

  • 31May
    Nightmare fuel for people with gephyrophobia

    Nightmare fuel for people with gephyrophobia

    Good local sandwich shops are always a good find, no matter the town or the speciality. The supreme leaders of sandwich making take on a certain mythology; tales of legendary sauces on hearty breads with melty cheesesare more “HBO series” than a humble foodstuff. And people will pass on sandwich shop recommendations like a good accountant knows tax breaks. “If you’re on the way to Ocean City and need a good sub, there’s Red Door in Salisbury.” “I got lost in Delaware trying to save money on sales tax, but found Ioannoni’s in New Castle.”  Our surrounding cities have some quality choices. Ever wonder what happened to America’s once-great steel industry? There’s usually a Primanti Brothers close by in the Pittsburgh area. Baltimore’s got cheesesteaks the size of your car at Captain Harvey’s, but Chap’s Pit Beef is the place for some hot meat/bread love….though Attman’s Deli does a pretty mean corned beef. There are Annapolitans who still bemoan the loss of The Crate Cafe almost 20 years ago, known for sandwiches so tall, customers needed stepstools to eat. New York’s a sandwich-eatin’ town, and if you get lost somewhere between Tribeca and Avenue Q, Sunny and Annie’s in New York’s Alphabet City can hold its own with any of the city’s legendary sandwich places. I mean, come on, a pho sandwich?? That could make a vegan switch camps, even if only for a day.

    Note – Philadelphia is pretty much one great big sandwich shop, so it’s difficult to pick just one standard-bearer. Let’s just say it’s a magical place called GENOJIMPATCARMENSCHICKESJOHNSFINKSSONNYSREADINGTERMINALNOMNOMNOM, but that’s just the short name.

    D.C. folks can have a spirited debate between old standbys like Jetties or CF Folks or brash newcomers like Taylor Gourmet and SUNdeVICH. And, there’s a vocal group who will rightfully fight you over any foul words aimed at Arlington’s Earl’s or The Italian Store.

    What’s the key to making a legendary sandwich shop? Is it the quality of the meats used? Local ingredients to make the spreads? The bread surely must have something to do with it, but there are far too many variables to try to crack the Successful Sandwich Store Equation. Get that dude from “A Beautiful Mind” and a young Matt Damon working on the math, and they may never crack the code. So, what’s the secret?

    Potatoes.

    At least, that’s what my taste buds tell me as I head to Frederick’s a.k.a. Friscos for a well-made sandwich and one of their hot starchy delights – which sounds much dirtier than I’d like it to sound… The original Friscos used to be located near Sidwell Friends and WUSA on Wisconsin Avenue back in the 1990s, and had quite the reputation as a solid place to go for a school lunch snack or a pre-broadcasting internship cheap meal. The second, now-only, Friscos opened up in Frederick in 1997 in a much larger space. More room for diners, more room to cook, this rare wonderful thing called “parking.” The DC Friscos closed in 2001, and fifteen Starbucks opened up in that former Friscos spot.*

    * = slight exaggeration. The more accurate number is seven.

    The Frederick Friscos may not get the pub of Fred’s more famous dining options, like Volt, The Tasting Room orFirestone’s – who proudly proclaims being voted the 2nd best restaurant in Frederick! – but Friscos’ fans are a loud voting bunch. Voted #2 in Frederick by TripAdvisor (ahead of Volt!) and currently #8 on Yelp!, though rising Mediterranean newcomer Ayse might be throwing off the voting a bit.

    Still, Friscos’ is more than just a good sandwich shop. The Exploded Potatoes – the house’s version of a warm, smoky potato salad – are often offered up to customers as a free sample as they enter, a nice touch while they read the large San Francisco-themed menu. Nods to the Presidio, the Golden Gate,  Haight Ashbury are to be expected; the Russian Hill and BART references were appreciated. Beyond the fun names, though, resides some serious chow. Fresh avocado, melted brie and Bermuda onions adorn the menu, along with Virginia ham and flat iron steaks make sure meat-eaters and veggie-vores are both sated. To go with your sandwich, soup, salad or spud, they offer an assortment of soft drinks, including Frederick’s own McCutcheon sodas.

    And, if you just feel like a beer, well, they have a wine and beer shop on premises, so, they usually have something that will impress the snobbiest of beer snobs.

    The decor is a bizarre mix of Jimmy Buffett attitude and corporate park architecture. 1789 it ain’t. But that’s part of it’s charm. Maybe if Friscos had stayed in DC, it might have tried to be hipper, or trendier, or went crazy into the “foam” craze. Instead, it is what is was during the Clinton Administration – a good place to get an affordable, hearty meal. Just…40 miles more north than it used to be.

     

    – RAY

  • 31May

    Radar Online is reporting that America’s Cooking Sweethearts, Amy and Samy Bouzaglo, are currently entertaining offers for a reality series.

    Disney's Aladdin was amazingly prescient.

    Disney’s Aladdin was amazingly prescient.

    Raise your hands if you’re shocked? Anybody? Anybody? Bueller? Iago?

     

    -RAY

  • 16Apr

    When the average American thinks of food offerings at a baseball game the usual association they make is to a ball park hot dog and Cracker Jacks. For centuries, baseball stadiums have derived a good chunk of their income by providing these classic food choices to the hoards of fans spending the day in the sun cheering on their favorite teams.

    As my husband and I were getting ready to attend our first Nats game this season, it hit me that I hadn’t been to a game since I began my gluten free lifestyle. Hm, I thought, this might definitely pose a problem. Out of the usual classic baseball food offerings, none of them fell under the gluten free category.

    Falling back on the ever trusty Google search engine, I was happy to discover that Nats stadium has actually thought of the gluten free population. They now have an entire gluten free concession stand by Gate 136. They offer gluten free hot dogs (including GF buns), nachos, BBQ pulled pork, a caramel popcorn mix, and even gluten free beer! They have really gone out of their way to make it so a gluten free individual can still enjoy the game without feeling like they are missing out on part of the experience.

    I was also happy to discover that in addition to gluten free offerings, they have expanded their food  choices substantially. They cater to a variety of dietary restrictions including offering vegetarian options and even a Kosher concession stand! Fans are also no longer tied to just the unhealthy fast food options. There is a Healthy Options concession stand by Gate 114 with offerings like salads, wraps and grilled veggies.

    Choice is a valuable commodity, folks. And it is comforting to know that as baseball has evolved over the years, so have the food offerings. So now thanks to the Nationals, when fans go to the stadium the ones who still crave that traditional experience with a ballpark frank and Cracker Jacks can still get it. But the ones who’d like to instead dig into a healthy salad and not tank their diet for the day can also enjoy that choice instead. And I’d say, that is a Home Run!

    -Guest Blogger, Joyana Peters McMahon (JPM) of Gluten Free NOVA Girl

    [ad]

    .
  • 25Jul

    So we went to the new Good Stuff Eatery on the Hill this weekend. For you Top Chef fans out there, Spike is the mover and shaker behind this new offering on the DC food scene. I didn’t recognize the guy, but my sometime-in-the-future-to-be-mother-in-law was a little flustered at seeing him behind the counter. In a cute fedora.
    There was a line out the door when we went on a Thursday night, but it moved pretty smartly. We didn’t wait more than half an hour to get to the counter inside. After giving your order at the grill, you move to the register where any drinks are ordered. Of note: There are drafts (Yeungling and Blue Moon) as well as bottles (Sam Adams Seasonal, Sam Adams Dark, and Red Stripe), and shakes for any DDs or sweet tooths out there.
    I felt bad, but the comparison that kept creeping into my head was “it’s like an upscale Five Guys.” Now, I don’t think this quite does credit to the place. For one thing, the options are a little more interesting than your average burger joint: “Vegetarians are people too ‘shroom burgers” involve organic portobellos and panko breading, “Blazin’ Barn” has pickled daikon and carrots along with mint and cilantro, and “Colletti’s Smokehouse” is topped with applewood bacon and sharp Vermont cheddar. The one thing they hit out of the park in my opinion was the shakes. They were out of the Milky Way Malt, so I settled for a Black and White which is a vanilla shake drizzled with fudge sauce. It was hands down the best shake I’ve had in a long time. Very creamy, and sweet, but not overpowering.
    Running out of a signature flavor was just one symptom of a newly-opened joint. I watched as a guy behind the counter smooshed three burgers with the back of his hand, determined they were all too cold, tossed them, and had the orders re-flamed. They monumentally screwed up our drinks order–but rectified the situation by sending up a second round (of the correct order) on the house. They even have signs up: “We’re in traning, please be gentle.”
    The burgers themselves were good. I should mention that it was a million degrees out, so I had a turkey burger with avacado and sprouts: somehow a lot of beef just didn’t seem surmountable. The fries and vidalia onion rings were also delicious.
    With a price range of $4.29 to $7.69, and a couple more weeks to iron out the kinks, this will be a respectable (and much needed) casual dining experience in Eastern Market.
    As an aside, I have an obsession with sinks in particular, and bathroom decor in general, and I was duly impressed by the Good Stuff offerings. Although the batroom locks were a little confusing to patrons, as the key had to be taken from the outside of the door into the room in order to lock the door.
    303 Penn Ave SE
    Washington DC 20003
    www.goodstuffeatery.com

    This is a guest blog by FUD alumn Liz G. Thanks! Yay!

  • 07Apr

    Sous vide.JPG
    As anyone who watches Top Chef knows, cooking sous vide means cooking food sealed in a vacuum pouch, in a low-temperature water bath, for a long time. As anyone who has ever considered actually doing this knows, the “proper” way to do this – with special bags and a fancy, temperature-controlled water bath setup – is really expensive. I don’t even have a vacuum food-saver, let alone a separate gizmo for water temperature control.
    But I still wanted to try this sous vide business, and decided to see what I could come up with. I figured – my freezer bags are supposed to be microwave safe, why not lukewarm water safe? I also have a large pot and a candy thermometer which handily dangles from the side, measuring the temperature at about the center of the pot. The half-pound mahi hahi fillet I bought at the fishmonger today was just begging me to experiment.
    I filled my large pot with water over a high flame and set up my thermometer. I stirred it around occasionally to make sure the temperature was even, and when it was at 125 (F) I reduced it to low heat, and made sure I could maintain it there while prepping the food.
    For the marinade, I decided to go a bit Japanese, and used:
    1/4 cup shochu (sake might be better, but I had shochu)
    1/4 cup water (because shochu can be vicious)
    1/8 cup light soy sauce
    2 squirts of Sriracha
    1 handful of chopped spring onions
    I put all that, along with my fish, into a medium-sized (2-cup) freezer bag, and sealed it almost all the way. I then made my own vacuum by sucking the air out of the remaining open corner, pressing it shut as I did. Don’t do this in front of your guests – it might will weird them out. Then, I dropped the bag into my pot and watched until the temperature rose back up to 125. Then, stirring occasionally and checking/adjusting the temperature, I let it cook for a little under 25 minutes (this was all, by the way, wild guesswork).
    I opened the bag and served the super moist and extremely tender fish with jasmine rice. Let me tell you, this is a great way to cook. The flavors were amazing! I would use an even lighter marinade next time, because the fish really did just suck it all up – I even cut myself a few bites from the very center of the fillet and even there it was saturated with deliciousness.
    Sous vide may become my new default way of cooking, when I’m not in a hurry. Fish cooks pretty quickly, but something like chicken or steak (which I fully intend to try!) will take a bit longer. But let it be known – this technique is not just for fancy-pants drama queens on Bravo. You too can use the principles to cook some really spectacular stuff at home.

  • 20Aug

    It requires an online reservation.to be made by August 24th, and you have to dine before September 25th. Check out the coupon here and the store locator is here.

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