January 2009

Super Bowl edition! Da da da DAH! Mike is currently running around buying various meat products for Fat Sundaythe Super Bowl party and there is a giant turducken in my refrigerator. No, we didn’t have any weight loss resolutions. super-bowlWhy do you ask?  

Is your Super Bowl menu ready? Here are 10 tips for Super Bowl snacks on the cheap.

Are you aware we are living in a chicken wing crisis?    

 Check out the Super Bowl snacks gone wild at So Good

Young & Hungry developed a handy round up of Super Bowl party recipes. 

…. local food news, Top Chef, and what the Big Brands are doing after the jump. (more…)

The end of January is typically considered the most depressing time of the year. Progress has slowed to a crawl on those weight loss resolutions, bills from holiday shopping are showing up at your doorstep, and baby it’s cold outside with no end in sight! Here are three top spots to warm up on cold, dark winter nights.

Tabard Inn
This upscale American restaurant feels almost European. Tucked into a sidestreet in DuPont among centuries old townhouses and in the shadow of St. Matthew’s Cathedral dome, you could easily convince yourself you were on a quick getaway to London. The bar and lounge of the Tabard Inn keep the fantasy alive. Club chairs and couches gathered in small groups sit underneath low, beamed ceilings and – when the temperatures turn cold – a fire burns in the fireplace.  Walking into the Tabard Inn’s lounge, I always feel like I’ve stumbled through a magic wardrobe into a small town English pub. The restaurant has hosted its fair share of romantic meals in its day (it ws a favorite of Mike and mine when we were dating) but these days we’re just as content to take in some warm cocktails next to the roaring fireplace. The lounge includes waitress service so you can settle in and defrost from the harsh outdoors.  If you’re feeling especially induglent, I highly recommend the hot buttered rum. 

Tabard Inn
1739 N St NW
Washington, DC 20036 
Tabard Inn on Urbanspoon

Two more top spots to warm up after the jump.   (more…)

<<SPOILER ALERT:  This post contains information about the outcome of tonight’s episode of Top Chef, along with pictures and video of Carla Hall and Spike Mendelsohn from tonight’s watch party at Good Stuff Eatery.  Check them out after the jump!>>

super-bowl-tix     tcny_cast_photo (more…)


We just received this email from Top Chef Spike Mendelsohn and his family at Good Stuff Eatery.  In honor of Spike’s guest spot as one of the “Top Chef All-Stars” in tonight’s episode, Spike is inviting everyone to come out and join him at Good Stuff to watch the show.

carlaSpike (with an occasional assist from Andrew, the other half of the original Top Chef Bromance) has been offering up live commentary throughout the season via Twitter (@BravoTopChef).  Tonight you can bet he’ll be dishing not just about the current contestants, but also about his experience filming the episode and some other Top Chef related dirt he’s got in the works.  We’re counting on a lot of love in the room for local girl Carla Hall – here’s hoping she can rally from last week’s performance to place back in the top ranks this time around!

Since we were already planning to watch tonight’s episode (and take part in the weekly Top Chef Live Blog over at Endless Simmer), you can expect to find Capital Spice reporting live from Good Stuff Eatery tonight.  Come chat with us over at Endless Simmer or look for us on Twitter (@capitalspice) – we’ll be feeding you the choicest quotes from Spike and everyone else watching over burgers and shakes.

Turducken image from Amazon

Turducken image from Amazon

<<EDIT 10:19 AM – The Bacon Terrorist has reminded me that he actually suggested using the Big Green Egg when I first brought up the idea of doing a turducken.  “You told me I was insane.”  Since that sounds exactly like something I would say (and regret later), I hereby publicly apologize to the Bacon Terrorist for dismissing what I have now decided is an amazing idea.>>

Okay, I’ll admit I get a bit obsessed about things from time to time.  Smoking a turkey on the Big Green Egg for our Fakesgiving dinner is a great example, but it’s not even the most recent.  My excitement last month upon learning of a new pickle vendor at Eastern Market on the weekends (watch for a writeup soon) was later described by Elizabeth as similar to that of a six-year old on Christmas. 

There are few things that have captured my imagination longer than the turducken.  The word – at once descriptive and mildly off-putting – refers to a Frankenstein’s Monster of poultry.  Take a deboned chicken.  Stuff it inside a boneless duck.  Now shove both of them inside a partially deboned turkey (leaving the legs and wings intact, of course, so the creation still looks like an average turkey).  Add several types of stuffing, at least one of which usually includes sausage, and you’ve got a turducken.

Big Green Egg

If you’re like me, that description only makes the turducken sound more appealing (if you’re more normal, it probably makes you a little ill).  Ever since I learned about the existence of the turducken – thank you, John Madden – I’ve been dying to try one.  Give me a little bit of credit, though: I’ve recognized and respected the fact that the only possibly appropriate occasion for serving a turducken is a Super Bowl party.  And somehow, the timing has never been quite right to attempt the cooking… (more…)

img_6669Whether you’re a Steelers fan, a Cardinals follower or just part of the 95% of all Americans who find the matchup for Super Bowl XLIII severely underwhelming, there’s a pretty good chance you’ll be watching the big game this Sunday.  And while you wait for the next Pets.com spot or <insert favorite Super Bowl ad here>, you’re probably going to be munching on something.  Forget mom and apple pie – I can’t think of a combination more American than snack foods and football.

So what better way to bring back Foodie Magazine Day than with a twist on a junk food classic that’s sure to get attention at your Super Bowl feast?

In the January/February issue of Everyday Food, we came across a recipe for loaded sweet potato skins that we just couldn’t pass up.  Eager to see if they lived up to the glory that is even your most average ‘tater skin, we decided to give them a try.

Check out the recipe and the results after the jump. (more…)

rasika-logoClose your eyes.  Imagine yourself at your favorite Indian restaurant.  What’s the first thing you think about?  Chances are you’ve flashed back to the aromas and the flavors – that unique bouquet of spices that gives Indian dishes their distinctive character.

It’s far less likely that your first thought was of the atmosphere or the cocktail menu – unless your favorite Indian restaurant happens to be Rasika in Penn Quarter.  This modern take on subcontinental cuisine delivers on the traditional flavors (curries, chaats, tandoori stews), but Chef Vikram Sunderam takes diners in some very unique directions, as well.  He has to – the upscale decor and the creativity of the bar creations could easily overwhelm a more restrained menu. 

palak-chatAs part of our effort to see as many of the top Oscar-nominated movies as possible, we decided to check out Slumdog Millionaire at the E Street Cinema last week.  And because it had been far too long since we enjoyed Chef Sunderam’s wonderful palak chaat, we quickly decided that there was nothing wrong with making it a themed evening by starting with dinner and drinks at Rasika, just a few blocks away.

All the hits (and a rare miss) after the jump. (more…)

Not all additions work. Crystal Pepsi, for example, or when Raven Simone showed up on The Cosby Show. Others are so perfect and fit so well we wonder why it hadn’t been that way forever. The Upper Crust in Pryde’s is a perfect example of this. prydes-exterior

Pryde’s of Westport has been a holy grail for cooks across Kansas City for generations. Located in a historic building off Pennsylvania Avenue, Pryde’s is a treasure trove of just about every kitchen gadget, tool and accessory you can think of. Silicone spatulas in multiple colors? Check. Cake pans in the form of a fleur de lis? You betcha. Although there is a certain level of organization to the story, it mostly feels like a cozy, upscale garage sale. Your best bet is to wander the shelves and see what you come across. The staff fully supports this with helpful but relaxed service and free coffee and tea for all shoppers.

The Upper Crust Pie Company is a recent addition to their offerings. This tiny bakery carved itself a space from the back of the Pryde’s basement but you’ll be made aware of their presence as soon as you step into store: Visit Pryde’s while they are baking and the smell of fresh, homemade pies in the oven greets  hits your nose before you even know what’s coming. Mike and I toured Pryde’s with my friend Mary Ann while visiting Kansas City during the holidays and couldn’t help but pick up a southern pecan pie to take back home for dinner. We’re lucky we acted when we did – it was one of the last pies left on the shelf for the day, although everything had been baked that very morning.


Is everyone else as exhausted as we are? The Inauguration was a thrill (and also a personal disappointment for Mike and I and the thousands of other ticket holders who fell victim to poor event planning) and gave us a great opportunity to spy on celebrities wining and dining…

Eagle-eyed readers share they spotted Angela Bassett and Samuel L. Jackson partying at private Georgetown lounge L2Cafe Milano was a veritable who’s-who of 90s hit makers with Cher, Babyface and J.Lo (what, the Spin Doctors had better plans?).  The Post reports that Beyonce, Diddy and Jay-Z dined at Acadiana; Courtney Cox and David Arquette were at DC Coast; and Dustin Hoffman chowed down at Clyde’s in Georgetown. DC City Paper’s Tim Carman reports Christopher Lloyd (Great scott!!) and Kevin Eubanks dining separately at Central while Alicia Keys and Ray Romano enjoyed dishes at Sonoma. I hope they took our advice and got a charcuterie plate.

Tom Sietsema lists his suggestions for the restaurant-loving Obama family including Marvin, CityZen, and Obelisk.   

Did you enjoy Bourdain’s No Reservations visit to DC? Check out this bonus clip of him dining at Eamonn’s Dublin Chipper.  

How green is your OJ? Turns out the biggest share of its carbon footprint isn’t from shipping the oranges but the nitrogen fertilizer used to grow them.

The New York Times has a great piece on rescuing recipes after Hurricane Katrina. It also mentions a Creole family cookbook with my new favorite book title of all time, “Who’s Your Mama, Are You Catholic and Can You Cook a Roux?” 

Kraft is bringing scientists into its food product development in the search of “functional foods.”  Sometimes consumer packaged goods really scare me. 

More food news after the jump, including the peanut butter investigation, a Heineken commercial, and new Petworth coffee house… (more…)

Click on the image to go to our Google map that locates every restaurant participating in DC's Winter Restaurant Week 2009.

Click on the image to go to our Google map that locates every restaurant participating in DC's Winter Restaurant Week 2009.

As you may have seen or read recently, we here at Capital Spice have gotten into the habit of putting together Google maps whenever we hear about something that involves large numbers of restaurants throughout DC.  Our first?  Last summer’s version of Restaurant Week.  I guess that makes this some kind of anniversary for us…

If you’ve been nursing an inaugural celebration-induced hangover for the past two days and haven’t had a chance to check in with, well, any of our fellow DC food bloggers or the Going Out Gurus: THE LIST FOR WINTER RESTAURANT WEEK 2009 IS NOW UP!

As they have twice a year for almost a decade now, the good folks at the Restaurant Association of Metropolitan Washington and Destination DC have teamed up to present a week in which almost 180 local restaurants offer $20.09 lunch deals and $35.09 dinner deals.  It will run from Monday, February 16th to Sunday, February 22nd.

This time, we’re off to a slightly later start due to the inaugural festivities…and it was definitely smooth of the powers that be to post the list the day after the inauguration, giving the truly dedicated among us a head start on those who only passively await this twice-yearly food fest.

A refresher course in Capital Spice’s recommendations for the ways to maximize your chances of having a great Restaurant Week experience after the jump. (more…)

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