October 2009


St Regis Red SnapperSometimes an event comes to our attention that seems absolutely perfect for us.  Champagne and chocolates?  Yes, please.  Dining al fresco at an amazing farm in horse country?  You betcha.  Bourbon and barbecue?  Sign us up!

Even so, there are times when the sheer scope of an event causes us to lose sight of it until it’s almost too late.  This is another one of those times.

Throughout the month of October, St. Regis Hotels around the world have been celebrating the 75th anniversary of the Bloody Mary.  The classic brunch cocktail was “perfected” by bartender Fernand Petiot at the King Cole Bar in New York’s St. Regis Hotel in October of 1934.  It was soon renamed the “Red Snapper,” in an effort to class up the drink and to avoid offending any delicate sensibilities among their upscale guests.

And how do you celebrate the Bloody Mary?  Get a few of your city’s top chefs and mixologists to contribute creative takes on the drink and serve them up alongside the classic on a special bar menu.  Then shout the good news from the rooftops.

Here in Washington, the St. Regis has accomplished those first two steps admirably, gathering drinks from the likes of Art Smith, Spike Mendelsohn and Todd Gray, among others.  Even so, we’ve been surprised by the relative lack of shouting we’ve been hearing about this…and as a result, we almost forgot about it altogether.  Now we’ve only got this last weekend to take advantage of this bloody good time.

Details on the cocktails being offered – and a firsthand look at the original in its natural habitat – after the jump. (more…)

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It’s a big week for DC food bloggers, with two worthwhile events coming up over the next few days.

If you’ve noticed there seem to be a whole lot of folks writing about the DC cooking, dining and drinking scene lately, you’re not alone.  Whether your taste runs to do-it-yourself recipes at home, recreating restaurant classics, or writing about restaurant experiences around town, there are plenty of new blogs out there for you to check out.

bakesaleSure, that means we end up spending a lot more time reading about food…but is that really such a bad thing?

For us, the exciting thing is the potential to give back that the growing ranks of bloggers represent.  Some local food bloggers have been working to help local causes for years, now: DC Foodies donates ad revenues from their site to local food-related charities.  Dining in DC is working as a team captain for Food & Friends’ Slice of Life.  And Foodie Tots and the Arugula Files took the lead on a “Blog for the Bay” campaign earlier this year.

Now Adventures in Shaw is organizing a “Food Bloggers’ Spooktacular Bake Sale” to take place this Saturday at the 14th & U farmers’ market, with the proceeds benefitting Martha’s Table.  We’re officially calling all local food bloggers to pitch in and help.  If you’re a local food blogger and you want to help, there are several ways you can get involved.  You can bake some treats to contribute to the sale.  You can show up on Saturday and help sell the goodies.  And you can help us spread the word on your blog, as well.  It’s a great way to get involved and to help a worthwhile program in the process.

happyhourOnce you’ve done your part to help out, put on your party shoes and join us next Wednesday night for the third monthly DC Food Bloggers’ Happy Hour.  This month, we’ll be taking over the Black Squirrel’s newly opened second floor space to get together with all of our fellow food bloggers, new and old.  Looking for an opportunity to meet your fellow writers?  Eager to spend some time with folks who are just as passionate about eating and drinking as you are?  Or just needing an excuse to check out the Black Squirrel?  These are all good reasons to join us next Wednesday.

The Happy Hour runs from 6 to 8 PM, and it’s being organized by the Arugula Files, Gradually Greener, the Modern Domestic, us, the Beer Spotter, and Capital Cooking.  You can find the Black Squirrel at 2427 18th Street in Adams Morgan.

As always, drop us a quick note and let us know if you plan to stop by.  Hope to see you there!

Mourayo

Image courtesy of http://www.mourayous.com

With all the new restaurants that are opening in town, we could easily write about two or three places a week without ever talking about restaurant that’s been open for more than a year.  It’s a great problem to have, from the perspective of innovation and a constantly expanding restaurant scene.  But it’s definitely a challenge if you’re trying to get a handle on everything that’s out there for DC diners.

Thankfully, we were enticed to check out Mourayo as a result of a recent Groupon offering.  Despite appearing on Washingtonian’s 100 Very Best Restaurants list four years in a row, the Connecticut Avenue Greek restaurant never really jumped out at us as a must-try.  But sweeten the deal with that Groupon discount, and it leapt to the front of our list.

OctopusWhen you think of Greek cuisine, chances are you envision the staples of the Mediterranean diet: olive oil, lemons, fish, lamb.  If so, Mourayo is the place for you – they pride themselves on delivering a blend of contemporary and traditional experiences in a nautically-inspired setting.  While specials will necessarily vary from visit to visit, the main menu offers everything from mussels in an ouzo broth to a ground-duck mousaka.

More on our visit to this “fisherman’s safe harbor” after the jump. (more…)

Looking to add a little culture to your Sunday night? Head over to Darlington House. The Actor’s Salon presents a staged reading of Holiday, by Philip Barry starting at 6pm. The restaurant and bar are open before and after the event.

China’s haunting soups.  
 
What do you think of the new, smaller Coke can? 
 
Not sure how to celebrate Halloween like an adult? Check out the Transylvanian Gala at the Romanian Embassy on October 30th, complete with traditional Romanian food. 
 
Napa 1015 on H St NE is closing
 
The best of both worlds: pumpkin beer ice cream
 
Six Australian foods worth trying
 
Trout, a more sustainable option that salmon, is growing in popularity on restaurant menus. 

Get your learn on this fall. Enology is kicking off a cocktail making class and 1789 is launching their new cooking class highlighting the American chestnut.

Firehook ExteriorAsk any DC transplant from New York, New Jersey or Philadelphia and they’ll tell you – in no uncertain terms – that you just can’t get good bread in Washington.  It’s the water, they say.  Whether it’s the crust, the crumb or the taste, something is always just a little off.

The folks at Firehook would politely disagree.  That’s just how they are.  Since 1992, Firehook Bakeries have been turning out bread from natural steam ovens that makes the argument for Washington.

Along the way, they’ve built up quite the following.  Whether you visit them in Old Town, Dupont Circle or Cleveland Park, you’ll find a selection of breads, but you’ll also find cookies, pastries and even sandwiches and salads.  On Capitol Hill, there are more than a few offices that rely on Firehook for their regular meeting sustenance.

Beyond the baguettes after the jump. (more…)

man v foodThere are some food-focused TV shows we love, like Top Chef, No Reservations, and America’s Test Kitchen.  And there are others whose premise we’re not entirely on board with…Bizarre Foods, I’m looking at you.

Until recently, Man versus Food fell squarely into that second category.  There was something about the idea of a guy repeatedly taking on “big eater” type challenges that seemed unnecessary at best and unhealthy at worst.

But then I actually bothered to watch an episode or two (okay, it may have been a marathon) and found a show that was part travelogue, part comedy…and part “big eater” challenge.  It was more than I had guessed it would be, and I found myself liking host Adam Richman’s enthusiasm, humor and outsized personality.  He was more than just a host; he came across as a cheerleader for wherever he was visiting.

RichmanIn each episode, Richman takes viewers to a couple of honest-to-goodness local establishments before taking on his challenge.  It may be a lunch counter or a burger joint, but it’s always the kind of place that locals hate to see revealed on national television.

And then I heard Man v. Food would be filming in DC – and in our neighborhood, no less!  The epsiode aired last night, and we tuned in to see a couple of Washington’s landmark dining spots.

Details on the episode and highlights from Ben’s Chili Bowl and Horace & Dickies after the jump. (more…)

Gourmet1009It’s a silly question, really.  While Gourmet may be the grande dame of food publications, it was hardly existing in a vacuum.  All the proof you need can be found over at The Bitten Word, where Zach and Clay work their way through recipes from magazines as august as Saveur and Bon Appetit and as accessible as Everyday Food and Food Network Magazine.

Here at Capital Spice, we subscribe to Cooks Illustrated and Food & Wine (we used to subscribe to Gourmet, and we’re really hoping our lapsed subscription didn’t have anything to do with its demise).  But there’s another type of food magazine out there, and a recent visit to the Dupont Circle FreshFarm Market reacquainted us with a pair of magazines that focus on our local foodshed.

On the surface, Flavor Magazine and Edible Chesapeake have a lot in common: They’re both free publications that can be found in foodie-friendly places like farmers’ markets, Whole Foods and smaller, locally-owned food shops.  They both emerged in response to the growing locavore movement in the DC area.  And they both call attention to a variety of local issues and producers that tend to go unnoticed in the national publications.

But each one brings a unique voice to the community, and together they offer a great way to stay current on what’s going on among growers, producers and eaters in the region.

A look at the current issues of Flavor Magazine and Edible Chesapeake (and some more info about each) after the jump. (more…)

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