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Earth Day Roundup

With Earth day upon us, here are some of the specials and events going on around town at some of my favorite spots to eat…

Poste’s Rob Weland will roast a 400 pound pig from Eco Friendly Foods as Poste officially reopens the courtyard for service. The new “Garden” menu will be unveiled, and guests can enjoy $4 food and drink specials from 5:30 to 8:00. Proceeds from entry fees and food and beverage will go to Washington Youth Garden and Beet Street Gardens

The first 150 customers who visit one of Mixt Green’s three DC locations on Thursday, will receive a complimentary Mixt Greens tote bag filled with goodies including recipes from Chef/Co-Founder Andrew Swallow’s upcoming cookbook, Mixt Salads, and packets of herb seeds to plant at home.

Firefly will give guests a $1 credit for every wine cork brought in for lunch and dinner (up to 22 corks per check), and will recycle all corks collected. Chef Danny Bortnick will also serve a five-course menu featuring produce from local farms.

Tallula looks forward to celebrating Earth Day with a special four-course dinner showcasing locally grown produce, humanely raised meats and sustainable seafood. Bev Eggleston, founder of EcoFriendly Foods and leading proponent of ethical farming, as well as Drew Koslow, biologist, clean water advocate and brother of Executive Chef Barry Koslow, will also attend the dinner. Priced at $85 per person including wine pairings the dinner will feature dishes such as Bison Carpaccio, sourced from New Frontier Bison in Madison, VA, and a Pork Trio from EcoFriendly Farms. The dinner will also include dishes using local, sustainable seafood, such as Virginia Clams and Striped Bass.

Jackson 20 unveils its new “Eco Hour” happy hour with an extensive canned beer list. A “Late Night Blackout” Happy Hour will be available from 11:00, where the restaurant will kill the lights and serve happy hour specials by candle light. Both happy hours will officially launch on Earth Day and will be available throughout the spring and summer months.

Chef Dennis Marron at the Grille at Morrison House will serve a 100-mile menu candlelight dinner.

Happy Dining!

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We´re having a fabulous time in Argentina… I can´t wait to share the pictures…

Tomorrow, here is where we´re going for dinner… it doesn´t get more authentic than this…  Casa Saltshaker

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In Print: Clips from Food Sections

5. – The Chicago Tribune Green Fish Catches On “Good Eating salutes those people in the Chicago-area food and beverage world who are making a difference through their passion, vision and commitment to quality. This year’s awards go to a range of experts, including entrepreneurs, auctioneers, consultants, cooks and cheese mongers. All have enhanced the Chicago scene with their accomplishments.”

4. – The Boston Globe Kicking the Obesity Epidemic “While Michelle Obama is campaigning against childhood obesity, there’s Charles Barkley on TV hawking Taco Bell’s NBA Five Buck Box. The extra-large former basketball All-Star raps about the box’s crunchy tacos and volcano burritos, but doesn’t mention the Jumbotron-size helping of fat and calories. At 1,380 calories, the box contains close to two-thirds of what a typical 12-year-old needs for an entire day. And that’s before adding 200 calories for the soft drink that comes with the meal.”

3. – The LA Times The Best Tastes of City Center in Las Vegas “How many high-end restaurants can Vegas support, particularly in this economy? Easily a dozen more just opened in the new $11-billion CityCenter complex on the Strip and a number of them definitely have enough wow factor to pull in the hungry tourists.”

2. – The NY Times Proof that Storing Knives Doesn’t have to be Dull “There are plenty of alternatives to traditional wooden knife blocks, which can take up too much room in small kitchens, he noted, and present health risks unless they have removable sleeves that can be washed. “If you put dirty knives in there and the interior has bacteria, it will attach to the knives,” Mr. Santos said. “The most common cause for mild stomach irritation usually comes from utensils that aren’t cleaned properly.”

1. – The Washington Post Dinner is Served, but we Can’t Tell You Where “It was an exclusive invitation to “an exclusive underground anti-restaurant,” the e-mail explained. “Because the DNA of the magical dinner is unmapped, these events will evolve, month to month, season to season, place to place & plate to plate.”

Photo from The LA Times

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Hot off the Press…

We’ll maybe more like “fresh from the fingers.”  Either way – it looks like it’s true… Carol posted on her blog last night that Rodrigo Garcia has purchased the old Nathan’s building and is bringing NYC’s Serendipity 3 to DC!

I’m a sucker for these frozen hot chocolates and can’t wait until I don’t have to go to NY for one!

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There’s just so much going on in food this weekend, I thought I’d sum it all up at once just for you 🙂

International Wine & Food Festival – Taste from over 100 domestic wines and 600 international wines.  Tickets to the Grand Tastings and all events are available online at www.dcwineandfood.com

Stir Crazy – Head to Sou’wester for a mixology class to ensure you are well prepared for the next snowstorm!  Class participants will learn how to make three easy cocktails with ingredients they might have on hand.  Priced at $25 per person (not including tax) the class will be offered from Saturday, February 13, Sunday, February 14 and Monday, February 15 from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. each day.

A Taste of the Winter Olympics – Beginning Friday, February 12, Neighborhood Restaurant Group (NRG) and its eight restaurants will offer guests bites from around the world.  Collect stamps from all of the restaurants to win a $50 gift certificate! From housemade pretzels and Bavarian beer at Rustico to an all-American burger lineup and American brews, there’s something for everyone.

“Business at BOURBON STEAK over Burgers”
– includes a choice of six different, delicious kinds of burgers, an accompaniment, a non-alcoholic drink and a house made BOURBON STEAK brownie, all for $21 per person.  I think I’ve told you how amazing these burgers are before, but in case I haven’t – they’re AMAZING! For reservations or more information, please call 202.944.2026 or visit the website at www.fourseasons.com/washington

Baked and Wired – Stop by this Georgetown institution (they were here long before G-town Cupcake and are so much better) to pick up your Valentine’s Sweets including heart-shaped brownies, Pink Pink Rice Krispie Treats, raspberry-filled Lizner Heart Cookies, Kahlua Chocolate Heart Cookies filled with pink Kahlua buttercream and Grandma’s Homemade Cinnamon Rolls iced with pink buttercream – Love has never been so sweet!

J. Chocolatier – The Georgetown chocolate boutique uses Manjari chocolate from Valrhona when whipping up delectable truffles in flavors like peppermint mocha and honey hazelnut. Valentine’s Day specialties include pearl drop earrings and 8-piece truffle box ($45). Visit jchocolatier.com for more information.

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From the Kitchen of: David Varley

Today’s chef of the week mans the kitchen at Michael Mina’s BOURBON STEAK in the Four Seasons.  I recently had a steal of a lunch at the bar priced at $21 per person including a choice of burger, accompaniment, non-alcoholic drink and a house made BOURBON STEAK brownie.  What’s good you ask?  I’d go for the Dry-Aged Steak Burger, Trio of Duck Fat Fries (or the Beer Battered Red Onion Rings) and the West Indian Limeade.  Mmm Mmm Good!

What is your favorite kitchen gadget?
It’s cliched but a really good quality razor sharp Japanese knife is the must have of any serious chef.

What is the most overrated food/technique in restaurants today?
In my opinion truffle oil is the item most used in kitchens.

If you were to open a restaurant with a different type of cuisine than what you are cooking now, what would it be?
I think Washington DC needs a really great hot dog stand, an institution, like Grays Papaya or Rutt’s Hutt. That could be fun.

What is your favorite local product or purveyor to work with?
My favorite new vendor is Gryffon’s Aerie, they do amazing grass fed beef and Tamworth pork out in Crozet Virginia.

What is your biggest customer pet peeve?
I tend to be far more forgiving of our customers than they are of me, but one pet peeve is when guests come in with closed minds and a pre-determination to not enjoy themselves. It happens from time to time and is the most mentally taxing on a crew whose greatest joy is to give their all to the guest.

What do you drink/eat after work?
I work some long days and constantly find myself needing to loose a few lbs so I will typically forgo the typical late night extra greasy chow and maybe have a green tea if I am at home researching or reading. I’m more of a librarian than a rockstar.

What is your favorite thing to cook at home?
I almost never cook at home, but when I do it’s simple things like cold soba or a really flavorful yet simple dashi. I don’t have as many sous chefs and dishwashers at home!

Keep reading for Chef Varley’s light-as-air crispy beer battered red onion rings…

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From the Kitchen of: Blake Schumpert

Today’s feature comes from Chef Blake Schumpert from Redwood in Bethesda.  If you haven’t been – they’ve got a great happy hour and delicious flat bread!

What is your favorite kitchen gadget?
I have an amazing wood fired rotisserie grill and brick oven at Redwood which I love using to make rotisserie chicken salad, home made pizzas and other items for our menus.

What is the most overrated food/technique in restaurants today?
Restaurants are so eager to list the farms where they source their ingredients on their menus to prove to customers that what they are serving is fresh, but shouldn’t that just be a given? At Redwood we are sourcing a number of our products from the Bethesda Central Farmers Market right outside our doors. You can’t get more local than that!

If you were to open a restaurant with a different type of cuisine than what you are cooking now, what would it be?
C’est un secret!

What is your favorite local product or purveyor to work with?
I love working with all the local farmers who participate in the Bethesda Central Farmers Market which is held Thursdays from 3 PM to 7 PM, just steps from my kitchen on Bethesda Row. Some of my favorites include Jamison Farm for lamb, Toigo Farms for fruit, and Stony Man Farms for cheese.

What is your biggest customer pet peeve?
I wish my customers would come to Redwood for lunch everyday as the “soup, sandwich, pasta and catch of the day” changes seven days a week so there is always something different to try!

What do you drink/eat after work?
I love a good Chablis after work, or noodles from some of my favorite spots in Chinatown.

What is your favorite thing to cook at home?
No recipe required as its simple really! On Sunday mornings I love to take a fresh toasted bagel and load on brandade (which is a puree of salt cod, olive oil and milk), tomato, shaved red onions, olive oil, salt and pepper. Serve this with a large pot of coffee and you have the ultimate breakfast.

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