Tag Archives: wine

A Weekend of Wine

It’s back and more popular than ever!  The the 12th Annual Washington D.C. International Wine & Food Festival’s Grand Tasting takes place on Saturday, February 12th & Sunday, February 13th at the Ronald Reagan Building.

If you haven’t been in the past, this is a great one! With over 100 wineries, a plethora of speciality food shops, cooking demos and tons of tasting, this is the premier event for Wine & Food in our region. On the grand stage be sure to check out demos from Mike Isabella and Carla Hall of Top Chef fame and Washington Post food gurus Bonnie Benwick and Joe Yonan.

For more information and to purchase tickets, click here.

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Upcoming Food Events

October is Virginia Wine Month! – From foliage picnics to a Wine & Garlic Festival, Virginia wine country is the place to be weekends in October. Check out events here.

StarChefs.com Rising Stars Gala – Tuesday, October 26th head to the Roof of Charlie Palmer for a star-studded event including tastes of Highland Park Scotch Whisky. The event will also include libations and bites from up-and-coming chefs and mixologists from such venues as VOLT, Bibiana, 2941, PS 7’s, Trummer’s on Main and more. Go here for more info.

Saks Fifth Avenue, Tysons Key to the Cure– Saks annual fundraiser for breast cancer research through a great organization called Life With Cancer.  This year’s event at the Tysons store is Thursday October 21 features great nibbles from Purple Onion Catering, Bazin’s on Church, Chima Brazilian Steakhouse, PassionFish, Georgetown Cupcake and many more.  Event is from 6 until 8 and tickets are $50.  All guests get a $25 Saks gift cards and great gift bags. To RSVP or for more information, please email rsvptysons@s5a.com or call 703.269.1206

Celebrate Octoberfest at Redwood in BethesdaRedwood will be celebrating the season this 200th Octoberfest!  October 13 through 31 Redwood will feature their twist on traditional German favorites like Leberknodel, Chicken Bratwurst and local Octoberfest-style beers!

The Vices That Made Virginia – Celebrate The Vices That Made Virginia at a fundraiser for Arcadia Center for Susatainable Food & Agriculture on Saturday, November 6, 2010 from 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. at Woodlawn. Go here for more info.

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Light & Thirst Quenching Wine

I’m always looking to try new wines and during the summer months, I love sparkling reds (Shiraz, especially) and rosés.  The problem with rosés is most of them are weak… Since they’re pink and chilled, we tend to not take them as seriously – for me, they fall in the same category as Beaujolais nouveau – a wine we love to get excited about, only to be disappointed again and again.  Luckily, the New York Times did some serious testing and have put together a list of some of the best.  You can read all about them here.  I’m heading out now to pickup a couple of bottles.  Cheers!

photo from the NY Times – isn’t it beautiful!?

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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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Blue Cheese and Black Pepper Gougeres

These little suckers are irresistible!  I bet you can’t eat just one!  Enjoy them right out of the oven when still piping hot with a glass of beefy red wine.  If you don’t like or have blue cheese, substitute swiss or parmesan – most cheeses work great!

10 tablespoons unsalted butter
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups unbleached flour, sifted
5 large eggs
1 cup blue cheese, crumbled
freshly ground black pepper
1 egg, beaten

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In Print: Clips from Food Sections

5. – The Chicago Tribune Merlot: It’s All in the Micro-Climates “Back in the 1980s when the huge Columbia Valley American Viticultural Area (AVA) was created, some Washington winemakers thought merlot would be their trump card in the wine game. It has been to a degree, but Columbia Valley is home to a number of well-known grape varieties.”

4. – The Boston Globe Merlot for the Masses “It would be wonderful if all the wine we consumed were made by salt-of-the-earth types working 100-year-old vineyards amid picturesque landscapes. But no amount of craft-scale winemaking will ever be sufficient to quench America’s thirst for wine. Corporations have always understood this, and long ago stepped in to fill this gap with heavily marketed brands made on an industrial scale. It’s big business, not art.”

3. – The LA Times The Savory Pie “Savory pies are the culinary equivalent of a down quilt: warm, cushy, uncomplicated — and precisely what I want to tuck into once winter has settled in and I’ve found myself safely on the other side of the high-stakes holiday cooking gantlet.

2. – The NY Times A Fallen Star of French Cuisine, Restored to Its Silver Platter “Boneless, skinless ones to be exact, the kind that millions of Americans make for dinner every week. The food snob in me has long rejected them as dry and bland and boring. Why eat chicken breasts, I’ve long thought, when the thigh is more flavorful, the tail more succulent, the wing crisper?”

1. – The Washington Post The Big Chill “Freezing is one of the most convenient and least time-consuming methods of preserving foods. The extreme cold retards the growth of microorganisms and slows down chemical changes that affect quality or cause food to spoil.”

photo from The Chicago Tribune

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In Print: Clips from Food Sections

500924275. – The Chicago Tribune A Bit of Vampire History for your Halloween Bash “This vampire thing goes back, all the way to antiquity. Old blood indeed. The trail begins in ancient Persia, where someone discovered a vase depicting a man struggling with a blood-sucking creature. The Aztecs, too, got in on the sanguineness, convinced that offering a victim’s blood ensured fertilization of the Earth.”

4. – The Boston Globe Someone’s Gotta Do It “There are 50 of them, four of us, and the task seems a bit daunting. Over the next two hours, we will taste 25 white wines and 25 reds (identities unknown), compare impressions, and take notes. What we hope to find are a handful of wines that deserve to be called the best at $12 and under – the Grand Cru of Plonk.”

3. – The LA Times There’s a New Taste for Quince “Neglected for decades, the quince seems an improbable candidate for revival today, when consumers demand sweet, ready-to-eat fresh fruit. Why is it, then, that in recent years three books of quince recipes and lore have appeared, the fruit increasingly is featured at high-end restaurants, and half a dozen of these have even been named after it?”

2. – The NY Times Tater Tots for Two: It’s a Date “And thus is born false hope. Because dating in New York, as countless sitcoms, magazine articles and resolutely plucky blogs can attest, is no picnic. But let’s say that, through some quirk of dinner party seating or online profiling, you manage to meet someone. Where to take them?”

1. – The Washington Post Take Stock: There’s an easier way to do it “Bouillon, or stock, or broth, is the foundation of a range of dishes, not just French ones. It is the essence of a risotto. It is the heart of a soup and constitutes the body of a stew. Few chefs could imagine a world without it. A restaurant kitchen without a large pot of simmering stock feels barren and soulless. But one of the first things you learn once you have graduated from the University of Food Writing and enter the Real World is that people don’t make stock. Even many food writers and chefs don’t make their own stock from scratch, at least not on their own free time. Stock should be just a matter of knuckles and dimes. Yet it seldom is.”

photo from The LA Times

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In Print: Clips from Food Sections

CT Wine Ice082602.jpg5. – The Chicago Tribune Why You Should Chill that Wine “Wine is like revenge. Both are best served cold. But just how cold the wine should be depends on type — red, white or pink — plus grape variety, flavor profile, quality level and even where it was made. Americans are generally faulted for serving red wine too warm and white wine too cold. I think there are two basic reasons for this: central heating and modern refrigeration.”

4. – The Boston Globe Just Don’t Call it Breakfast “Getting kids to eat a healthy breakfast that will propel them through the rest of the morning – especially once they reach school age – can be tough. Tight schedules, morning grumpiness, and parents who skip breakfast themselves may lead to half-eaten bowls of soggy cereal or the temptation to make a go of the morning with little more than a sugary snack bar.”

3. – The LA Times So This is Dorm Food “Duck confit, pancetta-wrapped quail, butter-poached lobster tails, fried zucchini blossoms — not exactly how most collegians are expecting to dine when they head back to their school dormitories this fall. But those are some of the dishes that may again delight the denizens of Norris Hall at Occidental College in Eagle Rock come this semester.”

2. – The NY Times One Restaurant’s Closing is Another’s Fresh Start “Recycling may be the hottest trend in New York City dining this season. Not turning used cooking oil into fuel or making tables out of barnboards, but recycling restaurants themselves. What else can you do when diners want a more relaxed, affordable setting?”

1. – The Washington Post Online Club Members Cook Together, Miles Apart “Think of the phenomenon as a modern-day baking club and support group. Unlike the neighborhood-based cooking groups that proliferated in the 1950s, the new ones involve men as well as women. Many members are professionals who recently turned to cooking as a hobby and say they don’t have local friends who are as enthusiastic as they are about trying new recipes.”

photo from The Chicago Tribune

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In Print: Clips from Food Sections


5. – The Chicago Tribune Meatloaf Making Tricks “Which brings us to that other perfect meatloaf. It can be found on Nantucket, where it is lost on the summer residents and overlooked by tourists who jam the cobblestone streets from June to Labor Day. But among locals it is legend, and can be found at a shack called Claudette’s on the east rim of the island. It also is a fine example of how meatloaf need not be for winter.”

4. – The Boston Globe Foods we obsess over “A food obsession can revolve around something luxurious – like French bubbly or grass-fed steaks. But we think it’s more likely that whatever strikes your fancy is considerably more ordinary. We know people obsessed with certain jams and the perfect kind of toast to spread them on, with melons at a particular point of ripeness, with a blend of coffee, or a cake to go with it. From time to time, we’ll feature an obsession and after some tinkering in the kitchen, perhaps a recipe too.”

3. – The LA Times Wine Decanting: Give wines some air “Air is one of the most talked about but most misunderstood elements in wine. We say a wine needs to “breathe” as if it just needs a few minutes to freshen itself up, releasing its seductive perfume. In fact, most wines have been waiting years just to cast off a little gas.”

2. – The NY Times Freeze that Thought “I know: you do. In that messy box you have some ice cubes, some stuff you bought frozen — a pizza? Lean Gourmet? peas? — and maybe, if you cook a lot, some stock or hastily stored leftovers. You also have a load of things you’ve already forgotten about and will eventually toss, even though you would have been guilt-struck if you had discarded them when they were fresh.”

1. – The Washington Post If Big Mama Could See Me Now “Girl, I’ll probably take some heat for this, but I’m going to say it anyway: Far too many of us view cooking as subservient. We — and I can say that because I was once one of you — proudly tell prospective husbands that we don’t do cooking.”

photo from The LA Times

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Dining Out for New Year’s Eve!

champagneIf you’re still undecided about your plans for tonight, here are some options for local eats and libations…

On New Year’s Eve, this Dupont Circle favorite will keep it simple and easy by offering their regular dinner menu along with two indulgent specials to spice it up, including the“db meatloaf,” a mini meatloaf stuffed with foie gras and braised short ribs with tots and house made “F-1” steak sauce ($45).  Chef Daniel Bortnick will also serve an Alaskan King Crab “Royale,” a King Crab “cake” with salsify purée, Brussels sprout petals, black truffle hollandaise and American caviar ($45).  Guests can also enjoy new dessert items including molasses cookies and mulled cider and a seckel pear and ginger crisp served with black sesame ice cream.  There will also be a champagne toast at midnight.  Firefly Restaurant is located at 1310 New Hampshire Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20036.  For reservations call 202-861-1310.

This Penn Quarter favorite, and winner of the 2008 RAMMY award for “best upscale casual restaurant,” will offer two New Year’s Eve seatings – one which begins at 5:30 and the second begins at 8:00.  The first seating will include a 3-course tasting priced at $65 with an additional charge of $35.00 for a wine pairing.  The second seating includes a 5-course tasting priced at $85.00.  Chef Robert Weland will serve up some favorites including a few seasonal ones like a slow-cooked local farm egg with haricot verts, guanciale, tarragon and pistachios, Columbia River wild sturgeon with pierogies, local beets, dill, and American caviar.  For dessert several options abound including a gingerbread cake served with poached seckel pears and eggnog ice cream.  A champagne toast will be available at midnight.  The a la carte menu will not be provided that night, but guests at the bar can order from a limited menu that will include Poste favorites like truffle frites and foie gras.  Credit card reservations are required.  Poste is located at is located at 555 8th Street, NW Washington, DC, 20004.  For reservations call 202-783-6060.

Urbana, located just west of Dupont Circle will offer a three course $65 prix fixe menu, and guests booking reservations by 6:30 p.m. will get a special break at $50.  Chef Alex Bollinger will start guests off with an amuse and a variety of first course options including lobster bisque with spiced crab dumplings and seared foie gras with apple cinnamon crepes.  Entrée options boast a creative array of Western Mediterranean cuisine like prosciutto wrapped sturgeon with sautéed spinach and caviar cream, osso bucco with saffron risotto, caramelized cipollini onions, roasted garlic and parsley pesto and a house-made pasta carbonara with fresh winter truffles and a poached egg.  Guests can choose from a decadent offering of desserts including maple cheesecake with almond crumble and cranberry gastrique, chocolate peanut butter mousse with hazelnut crunch and caramel sauce, or a pistachio semifreddo with balsamic glazed strawberries.  Dinner guests in the restaurant at midnight will receive complimentary champagne and party favors.  Urbana Restaurant and Wine Bar is located at 2121 P Street, NW, Washington, DC 20037.  For reservations, call 202-956-6650.

Westend Bistro by Eric Ripert at The Ritz-Carlton Washington
DINE-IN prix-fixe menu: 6:00-6:30pm & 9:00-9:30pm seatings; $150 per person. Menu Highlights: Terrine of Foie Gras, Cranberry Sauce, Duck Croquant and Dried White Figs; Shrimp & Grits; Bourbon & Maple Glazed Pork Loin, Collard Greens, Hoppin John and Pork Jus.
Menu by Chef de Cuisine Joe Palma. Price includes five-course menu, complimentary champagne toast at midnight and special party favor. For reservations call 202.974.4900 or visit www.westendbistrodc.com for more information.


DINE-IN Three- course prix-fixe menu: $85/pp. Menu Highlights: Open Flame Roasted Chestnut Bisque; Highbourne Farms Venison Osso Bucco; Candied Black Walnut Crusted Pheasant; Fleur de Sel Chocolate Caramel Trio. Includes a complimentary glass of champagne.
Menu by Chef Arra Lawson. To personalize your holiday feast call 301.881.0081 or visit www.addiesrestaurant.com.

Indigo Landing
DINE-IN prix-fixe menu: 5:00 – 7:00pm $95 per couple; 8:30pm – 10:00pm $120 per couple. Menu Highlights: Grilled Shrimp in Rum butter sauce; Filet and Lobster; Pistachio Crusted Halibut; Homemade Chocolate Ganache Cake. Call a reservationist at 703.548.0001 or visit www.indigolanding.com for more information.


Why not take a trip to Italy to ring in 2009? At Dante Ristorante in Great Falls, VA, Chef Giuseppe DiBenigno and his partner, Elio Domestici have created a delicious menu coupled with the old-world hospitality of their respective home regions of Tuscany and Abruzzi. With seatings at 6:30 p.m. and at 9 p.m., guests of Dante Ristorante will sup on choices including antipasti like sea scallops wrapped with bacon served with lobster sauce ($16); carpaccio di manzo con parmigiano e rucula—beef carpaccio with rucola and shaved parmesan cheese ($16); or mozzarella di buffala Caprese—Buffalo mozzerella with tomato and basil olive oil ($16). Main courses run the gamut of land and sea– scaloppine di vitello oscar–veal scaloppine with asparagus, crab meat and provolone cheese ($32); lombatina di cervo con pinoli, uva passa e salsa di aceto balsamico– sauteed venison chop served with pine nuts, raisins and balsamic vinegar sauce ($32); filetto di manzo con funghi, taleggio e salsa di vino rosso–sauteed beef tenderloin with mushrooms, taleggio cheese and red wine sauce ($32);salmone in crosta con tartufo e salsa d’ aragosta–salmon filet with black truffles wrapped with puff pastry served with lobster sauce ($30); and spigola con carne di granchio e salsa di vino bianco–rock fish filet stuffed with crab meat, baked with lemon and wine sauce ($32). Of course the meal ends with one of Dante’s exquisite desserts—just the thing to put that extra sparkle into the celebration. For reservations and further information call 703-759-3131 or log into www.danteristorante.com.

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