• 06Jul

    Crawfish fritters Korean fried chicken (yam-yum style with an American twist) Ever delicious pork buns at MASA14 Spicy sliced pork with apple puree


    “Dine-n-Dash” is usually a term that gets finger wags and disapproving head shakes … but this time it was legit! On June 15th Jose Andres and other participating Restaurants hosted the Dine-N-Dash benefiting the World Central Kitchen which was quite a feature to everyone who attended.

    Attendees got to experience a unique culinary tour around DC. Half was on 14th street and the other half was around Penn Quarter. The types of food expanded from various types of fusion cuisine to American, Thai, seafood, and much more.

    There were various check ins around so that the arrival load was split between various restaurants. This was smart considering what a crowded mess it would have been for everyone to arrive at the same restaurant. The night began at Birch and Barley where we were whisked away by the fantastic cocktails and the different bites that were offered. Knowing that 29 more restaurants were yet to come, the strategy was to try a small bite of everything unless you really enjoyed it!

    Chef Ryan was overseeing the event at MASA 14, and served up some awesome pork belly steamed buns and Korean fried chicken. The Korean fried chicken is very similar to the Korean street food, “yam-yum” chicken. MASA 14 offers their version with a bit more heat, more crunch and less sweetness. The steamed buns were a perfect gluten-free option, and were topped with achiote, pineapple samba, and cilantro serrano chili.

    Finally, SEI shared unique and delicious eel tacos, with a drizzle of eel sauce and topped with an Asian style slaw! Fun and unexpected barrage of flavors and presentation that bring two different unique culture together.

    Ghibellina served up some handmade artisan cocktails, one of which being a rum based drink with a drizzle of basil oil to add an herb flavor to the semi sweet and sour drink.

    The Pearl Dive blew everyone away with their top quality seafood. Among their treats were fried oysters and crawfish fritters that were truly satisfying. If shellfish was not to your taste, the pork loin slayed all those who tasted it. The pork loin was perfectly cooked, and had the right amount of heat which made for a surprisingly flavorful dish.

    Towards the end of the night and a thirty minute walk from one side of DC to the other.  It wouldn’t have been a Dine-n-Dash experience without stopping by Jose Andre’s establishments.  First stop was Jaleo and it appeared as though they served a main entrée of paella as they had the big dish on display with every morsel of food gone.  Next stop was China Chilcano where they appeared to have “Suspiro Limena” which is an iconic dessert of Peru that is a sweetened condensed milk custard that was topped with a soft and crunchy meringue.  Before leaving the last of the three Jose Andre’s restaurants was Oyamel the popular Mexican establishment that features a number of creative Mexican tapas.  With a band playing and as if everyone received the memo to end Dine-n-Dash at Oyamel a very lively crowd was present with drinks in hand.

    All of the restaurants had their own charm, and each are worth a visit again for an actual sit down experience.


    Masa 14 Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

  • 07May

    Chef Jose Andres PortraitsOn June 15, 2016, Chef José Andrés will be hosting his 4th annual DINE-N-DASH with proceeds going to support World Central Kitchen, a non-profit organization that focuses on smart solutions to decrease world hunger and poverty.

    You couldn’t ask for a better event where you can pay one price (General Ticket or VIP Ticket), walk into 30 restaurants in one night, sample some of the venue’s most popular dishes and libations and walk right out without pulling out your wallet throughout Penn Quarter and the 14th Street Neighborhoods.

    Sunday’s media tour offered a sneak peak into 4 of the restaurant options.

    Oyamel Cocina Mexicana


    IMG_9983-First stop was Oyamel and this was by far my favorite stop for food and drinks.  A few of the dishes that were offered were the Oyamel Margarita, Taco -Carnitas estilo Michoacán, Pescadilla Sinaloa, and table-side guacamole.

    Oyamel is Mexican food that packs a punch from your standard street foods.  Their margaritas are topped with “salt air,” so there’s no need for a messy rim of salt around the glass, you get a pinch of salt with every sip.  The pork taco was topped with a crunch chicharrón satisfying the soft and crunchy textures.  Their take on the fish “empanada” which is steamed not fried, is a surprisingly flavorful moist ingredients tucked inside of a crisp shell.  Table-side guacamole, need I say more?

    DCGB Kitchen and Bar (VIP)


    IMG_9990The DCGB stop is a preview into the one of the 5 VIP restaurants available through the VIP tickets.  They offer a selection of wine and food with a fresh take on French cuisine.

    This beautiful two-story industrial bistro offers one of the best scenery with wide open windows overlooking Penn Quarter’s more posh-side of the city.  Every bite of their sampled dishes left you feeling refreshed and not weighed down by heavy creams that you often associate with French cuisine.

    Their Spring Toast was spread with pistachio and ricotta made fresh in their kitchen daily. If you dine here, don’t leave without an order of their warm Madelines.  Trust me, you won’t be disappointed.



    IMG_9998Not a frills kind of foodie? Ghibellina offers a great pub environment with excellent bar bites.  And they offer some pretty strong, yet delicious cocktails (Pepe Primavera and Frutto  Del Sangue, pictured here).

    This cozy little restaurants sits on the 14th Street side of the U Street Corridor and offers a laid back atmosphere.

    Masa 14

    IMG_0015IMG_0011Last stop on list of sneak peeks was Masa 14 an Asian Fusion restaurant with one of the best party vibes.  This restaurant is already ready to get the party started with a live DJ, refreshing cocktails and outdoor roof deck.  In the bustling area of 14th Street off the U Street Corridor.

    Their Pork Belly Steamed Buns (aka, bao) are not flavored like a typical traditional bao.  It has a bit of a Latin spin on it flavored with achiote, pineapple sambal and Serrano chili.  The crispy shrimp was my favorite.  It reminded me of an lighter version of a bang bang shrimp.

    Go Buy Your Tickets

    DND1DND3DND18With 30 restaurants to choose from, you’re bound to find a place you enjoy.  Whether you want to hit 4-star quality establishments, restaurants with menus that push the limits of your palette, or the food truck scene, I am confident you’ll find something right down your alley.  And who knows, you may just run into a celebrity chef while you’re there.

    To buy tickets, visit: dinendash.info and DCFüd readers can receive a $20 off of your ticket by using the promo code: PREVIEW.  I’m buying my ticket and I hope to see you there!


    Editor’s Note/Save the Dates:

    The Lamb Jam will be held on Sunday, May 15, the Embassy Chef Challenge on Wednesday, May 25, and Savor (the big beer show) on June 4th-5th this year. Keep an eye out for beer events (tap takeovers and brunches) the week leading up to Savor.

    Oyamel Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

  • 02May

    In Northwest DC, summer has started creeping in little by little.   Signs to look for include the increased number of joggers, different local produce, and rooftop seating.  Masa 14 is one of the places taking advantage of the nicer weather.  Their newly remodeled rooftop has classy seating with lots of chic wood and elegant black fixtures.  For those interested in planning a special occasion, Masa 14 does rent either half or the whole rooftop.  If it’s bad weather, the bar has glass accordion doors that can fend off the precipitation.  The rooftop at Masa 14 is a great place to relax after work or enjoy lunch over the weekend.  Eating or drinking on the rooftop allows you to escape from DC without leaving the city.  The restaurant blends Latin and Asian flavors in a fun new way.  Their rooftop has its own specialty menu, which I was invited to taste last Tuesday.

    I began the tasting with a particularly good sangria.  The Pimm’s sangria consists of cucumber, sparkling wine, ginger, Pimm’s liqueur, and lemon.  Cucumber and the Pimm’s make this drink unique, and the ginger and lemon add a refreshing note.  I would recommend a Pimm’s sangria for those warm, humid nights DC tends to have.

    The Crunchy Rooftop Handroll arrived in a long wooden holder and the rolls resembled ice cream cones in shape.  The Latin flavor definitely found its way into this fusion food.  The nori cone gets a little sushi rice, topped by pico de gallo, shrimp, a tangy lemony aioli, and is finished with crunchy chili tortilla strips.  I really enjoyed the handroll and would order it without a doubt.

    Before going to Masa 14, I had never tasted a caipirinha.  Now that I’ve had one, I must admit I’ve been missing out.  The national drink of Brazil mixes sugar-cane rum, sugar and lime.  I had the Lemon-Basil version (using housemade lemon-basil syrup) and it was delicious.  The drink was sweet but not sugary, and the lemon and basil contrasted nicely with each other.  It’s the kind of drink you look for when you want to try something new and sophisticated.

    A couple of trays came around with hot dogs.  I tried the Rising Sun and El Tigre styles.  The Rising Sun is a Kobe beef hot dog, glazed with teriyaki.  Then the dog is topped with wasabi, furikake (sushi sprinkle), and fine-diced pickles.  Try this hot dog if you go to Masa 14; I promise it is way more delicious than I can explain here.  El Tigre is a chorizo link topped with pico de gallo, shoestring potatoes, and sriracha cream.  It’s definitely spicy, but it’s not 5-alarm.  People who enjoy spicy food would probably be pleased with this hot dog.  The flavor was very good overall.  These hot dogs are not the dinky little store-bought size.  They’d make a great lunch with a side dish and a drink.

    The very friendly bartenders noted my empty glass; I enjoyed a Spicy Cucumber Margarita shortly thereafter.  The spiciness is definitely “back of the throat” and adds something new to a drink.  Cucumber and agave syrup balanced the acidity of the lime, and the salt (optional) made my drink complete.  Masa 14 uses a housemade cucumber-fresno chile infused blanco tequila.  Try it and become a fan.

    Next, I tried the Spicy Shrimp Flatbread.  It tasted buttery, sweet, and hot all at once.  The flatbread was soft and the Oaxaca cheese was fresh.  The julienned jicama and crushed pineapple  balance the pickled fresno chiles.  The heat is a “back of your throat”variety, not a “fire in your mouth” type.  I would absolutely order this dish and not share.  The Mojito Especial was the perfect drink to enjoy with the flatbread.

    My last drink was the abovementioned Mojito Especial.  The requisite limes and mint were present, along with brown sugar and Patron Pyrat dark rum.  A faint licorice or anise flavor came through, balancing nicely with the brown sugar.  This drink is a refreshing twist on one of my favorite drinks.

    Finally, I tasted the Bay Scallop Ceviche.  Trays holding individual servings came around the room, and the visual appeal was evident.  Beautiful scallops had been combined with diced jicama, bright pineapple, and chopped red onion.  Then the mix had been tossed with a yuzu-sriracha vinaigrette, giving it heat and a citrus note.  I would definitely order this dish.  If you’re looking for a place that takes you out of the rat race, head for the rooftop of Masa 14.  The food is different from just about anything else you’ll find in DC, being Latin-Asian fusion, and the drinks are delicious.


  • 23Feb
    Masa 14’s Bangus

    Welcome back my recurring “best things” column that translates as “the things that don’t blur together when are always searching to eat the next best new thing.”

    We recently tried out the new Melting Pot series at Masa 14. This particular menu (February) highlighted Spain’s influence on the Philippines, specifically in Manila. Masa 14’s Strawberry lemonades are excellent; the drink is a combination of strawberry puree, lemon juice, and vodka, and is only $4 during Happy Hour (Mon-Friday 5-7 PM). Their crunchy fried okra has texture that even those who are not okra fans might like, since it’s crunchier and less slimy than expected, and it too is only $4 during happy hour. The Bangus was a tasty dish featuring steamed whitefish wrapped in country ham; it seemed like a good (gateway) fish dish for ham lovers.  the Pansit Palabok (clear noodles, blue crab, boiled egg, and chicharonnes) was good as well, and definitely had a strong Southeast Asian feel to it.

    Masa 14's Pancit Palabok

    I recently attended an Zengo‘s Test Kitchen event: Shanghai-Sao Palo. My favorite cocktail that evening was the Pomegranite Kumquat Cocktail, with its tart and delicious combination of  cachata, mudded kumquats, pomegranate, and ginger.  They also had an amazing steak dish that we all attacked–we were like rabid squirrels in a Skippy plant. The dish in question was Picahna Steak & XO Style King Crab, and it featured dry aged New York strip steak, king crab, hot bean paste, broccolini, and black bean ginger sauce.

    Zengo’s newly-renovated Latin Lounge has now opened downstairs, and features a daily happy hour from 5-8pm with $5 cocktails and $5 small plates.

    Zengo's Picahna Steak & XO Style King Crab

    I attended a Food Blogger Happy Hour at Eatonville, and odd as it seems, I enjoyed all the food I tried there including ceviche, shrimp hushpuppies, fried fish, salmon, mac and cheese, mashed potatoes, and greens. Good job Eatonville! Granted, they knew it was going to be a happy hour filled with food bloggers, but plenty other restaurants still manage to mess up at events regardless of who is in attendance. JC Gibbs was the (Food Blogger Happy Hour) hostess that night and was awesome as usual.

    I’ve written about LeoNora previously, but every time I visit, they have new items in the shop. They make great “truffles,” which are actually little spheres of chocolate cake covered in chocolate (like chocolate covered munchkins). Their chocolate & dulce de leche heart-shaped mini cake is delicious, as is their chocolate heart-shaped cake with lemon and coconut. They had panettones with rum and dried fruit in the shop one day, which was the remainder of a batch for a special order; the panettones are similar to what Argentine’s call “pan dulce” and both are eaten at New Years.

    Eatonville's Salmon, Spinach, & Mashed Potatoes

    We recently tried Naughty Bits Brownies, which are local brownies with naughty names and themes. Some examples of their brownies include the Man Catcher, Shiksa, Starlet, Barista, Cabana Banana Boy, and Living In Sin. My favorite is the Barista (which contains chocolate covered espresso beans and Kahlua), but the Shiksa (yes, it contains bacon) is certainly tempting. I did not actually try the Banana Cabana Boy, having opted for the Starlet.  The Starlet is making an appearance at the Oscars (in the official gift bag) and features pop rocks. The pop rocks function better if you eat the Starlet brownie slowly, something I’m unsure I’m capable of.


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

    Masa 14 on Urbanspoon

    Zengo on Urbanspoon

    Eatonville on Urbanspoon

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