We asked for some answers that made us smile, and you definitely delivered for us.

Now it’s SeamlessWeb’s turn to deliver for you.

Last week we invited you to enter for a chance to win one of two $25 gift cards.  We wanted to hear about how you take your coffee – whether you get it as part of Free Coffee Days or you make it at home.

Congratulations go to Elyse and Monica for having the two answers that brought the biggest smiles to our faces:

Elyse: “I take my coffee in the style of Sally (from When Harry Met Sally): Coffee with a little bit of 1/2 and 1/2 and a splash of soy with a shot of vanilla (if you dont have sugar free leave it out) foam and a sprinkle of cinnamon. And can I have that extra hot?”

Monica: “How do I take my coffee? I take my coffee from other people. I’m a sneak coffee drinker. I claim not to drink it, I claim to prefer tea, I claim to dislike its strength … until a big pot of it has just been brewed in the office, and then I’m LURED in by its delicious scent. The next thing I know, I’m jittery and trying to hide my coffee mug amongst the other ones in the office sink, which is nearly impossible because they’re all different. Shh … don’t tell on me.”

You’re secret’s safe with us, Monica!

Congratulations to both of our winners, who will be contacted by a representative from SeamlessWeb shortly to arrange redemption of their prizes.

And keep watching us here at Capital Spice for more opportunities to win fun food giveaways!

DC-area chefs, restaurateurs, and other muckety-mucks  weighed in on their 2011 food resolutions…giving you a sneak peek into what’s coming to a menu near you.

“Waste even less and also start foraging whenever possible.”
-Chef Robert Weland

“My New Year’s resolution is to find a way to fit more hours into the day.”
– Tiffany MacIsaac, Executive Pastry Chef
Neighborhood Restaurant Group including Birch and Barley and Buzz Bakery

“More balance in my life.  Drink more good wine.”
– Chef/Owner Dean Gold
Dino Restaurant

“Cure more meats. Plant more. Pickle more. Utilize more whole animals. At home, I want to brew my own beer and eat breakfast.”
– Chef Dennis Marron
Jackson 20 and The Grille at Morrison House

“A  major resolution this year is to spend more time with farmers, fishermen and producers and grow our list of local producers.  We are already working with some of the best and we want to add to that list and grow the program.”
– David Varley, Executive Chef

“To take my passion for food and beer to the next level.”
– Executive Chef Teddy Folkman
Granville Moore’s Gastropub

“Not use the word sustainable in 2011.”
– Chef Todd Gray
Equinox Restaurant and Todd Gray’s Watershed (opening spring 2011)

“I know diners love to meet the chef preparing their food and I find it just as much a thrill to meet those eating what we prepare. I’m resolving to be in two places at once in 2011 – the kitchen and the dining room!”
– Chef Dave Morel
7th St. Legal Sea Foods

“So interestingly enough, my foodie resolution (and non foodie resolution) is to eat out alone more. I am often so entranced by who I am with that I completely miss what I am eating and the joy in it. The non foodie part (just for you guys) is that I want to be more social – and sitting at a bar eating might encourage me to talk to randoms. ’cause, you know, I am not social at all…”
– Leah Daniels (owner)
Hill’s Kitchen
“Having two restaurants under my belt now, I have been afforded the opportunity to have assembled a great kitchen managment staff.   My resolution is to really utilize the talent to take both restaurants to the next level. My idea is to start by taking local food trips to farms and restaurants to enhance our think tank which will help in future menu development. Growing as a restaurant for us is really about growing individually and as a team.”
Steve Mannino, Executive Chef
“My new years resolution is to exercise portion control when eating Prosciutto di Parma and to launch a breakfast menu as an ode to my grandmother Nancy’s early morning creations from growing up.”
-Chef Casey Taylor Patton (co-owner)
Taylor Gourmet
“Winning our first Grand Championship on the BBQ Competition circuit and successful opening our first Pork Barrel BBQ restaurant.”
– Heath Hall (co-owner)
Pork Barrel BBQ
“To bring the authentic taste of Belgium to the US with Genever, Belgium’s most celebrated and national spirit.”
– Veronique Beittel, Importer
Diep 9 Genever
“I plan on expanding the Evening Star Cafe garden and will try to use only the tomatoes, cucumbers, squashes, herbs and lettuce I plant post spring. I also plan on unveiling my new bread program at Star. This year, I’d like to involve more of my staff to volunteer at local programs that promote healthy eating in children and I’d like to continue to educate as many people as I can about healthy children’s food.”
– Will Artley, Executive Chef
Evening Star Cafe

“This year, I resolve to eat more salad, pizza, miniburgers,  rockfish, poptarts and hotdogs and then be sure to sign up for the Marine Corps Marathon!”
– Perry Smith, Co-Owner
Matchbox, Ted’s Bulletin, DC-3

“Drink more beers. It’s exciting to see more and more variety around town and it will continue to be a resolution of mine to try everything I can get my hands on.  I know I’m a coffee guy but this really is an ongoing resolution.”
– Ryan Jensen, Owner
Peregrine Espresso

We just got an update from the folks at RAMW with a list of fourteen sixteen restaurants that have announced their participation in DC Winter Restaurant Week 2011, and we’ve wasted no time adding them to our map.

The list includes a few of the area’s recent openings as well as several long-time participants who would have been sorely missed.  What does it mean for you?  If you move quickly, you may be able to snag a coveted Friday or Saturday night reservation before everyone realizes these places have signed on.  Quick – head to OpenTable and lock it in!

Click on the image to go to our Google map that locates every restaurant participating in DC's Winter Restaurant Week 2011.

You can see the full list of participants at the official site, and we’ll continue to keep an eye out for additions as they come up between now and the 17th.  The newest participants are:

Asian Spice – Lunch and Dinner
Charlie Palmer Steak – Lunch and Dinner
Circle Bistro – Lunch and Dinner
Cityhouse – Lunch and Dinner
Columbia Firehouse – Lunch and Dinner

Current Sushi & Lounge – Dinner Only

Floriana Restaurant – Dinner Only
Fire and Sage – Lunch and Dinner

Kushi Izakaya & Sushi – Lunch and Dinner

The Landmark at the Melrose Hotel – Lunch and Dinner
MASA 14 – Dinner Only
Notti Bianche – Lunch and Dinner
Sea Catch Restaurant and Raw Bar – Lunch and Dinner
Siroc Restaurant – Lunch and Dinner
Tabaq Bistro – Dinner Only
Vento Restaurant – Dinner Only


Photo courtesy Zest Bistro

This weekend, CHAMPS (Capitol Hill’s Chamber of Commerce) held their second annual “Hilly” awards honoring local businesses on the Hill and H Street, NE.  A few days earlier, I had back-to-back conversations about Barracks Row and the changes it has seen in the past decade.  The combination made me realize just how many new restaurants I’ve been visiting on 8th Street in the past few months.

Of the contenders, the one I’ve found myself drawn to most often is Zest Bistro. The decor is clean and bright.  The food delivers consistently.  But it’s the service that makes me most comfortable suggesting Zest for a working lunch over and over.

Zest is located at the far south of Barracks Row, literally across the street from the Marine Corps barracks.  As such, it’s a bit removed from the recent explosion of new establishments closer to the Metro and Eastern Market.  It’s well situated to appeal to crowds coming from Nationals Stadium after a game, but you’ve got to be seeking it out if you’re coming from the north.  And you should.

What sets Zest apart (besides geography) after the jump. (more…)

Okay, so technically Friday morning isn’t exactly Thursday morning…

Thanks to everyone who took the time to submit an entry for our Top Chef Prize Pack giveaway.  We had a lot of fun reading over your answers and seeing which former Cheftestants you would like to see in an all-star season.

We were surprised that one of our favorite DC competitors, Carla Hall, didn’t come up.  Of all the runners-up so far she’s the one we most want to see get another bite at the apple.

And we loved your ideas for guest judges…the idea of Gordon Ramsay trying to judge Top Chef style instead of throwing a Hell’s Kitchen-quality fit made us smile.

Our winner (chosen at random) hit on a previous challenge that we would definitely like to see make a comeback – and for exactly the same reason.  Food trucks really are popping up at an amazing rate here in Washington, and it would be fun to see the all-stars try their hand at some more creative mobile dining options.

Congratulations to Amy – you win the prize pack that includes Top Chef Season Six (Las Vegas), Top Chef Masters Season One and the Top Chef Quickfire Cookbook.  We’ll be in touch shortly to arrange delivery.

Thanks again to everyone who entered.  We love offering these kinds of contests and we hope to do more of them in the future.

The whole Capital Spice household is ready for some summer seafood!

Did everyone make it to the farmers market this weekend? Ramps and asparagus, oh my!

DC favorite Jose Andres and Feran Adria, the famed chef of El Bulli, will teach a course in culinary physics at Harvard.

Register your BGR VIP card for a chance to win Bon Jovi tickets from BGR, the offical backstage caterer of the show.

Check out this gorgeous roasted cherry tomato tart from Adventures in Shaw.

Pete Bakes makes chocolate chip cookie ice cream sandwiches.

The Rammy nominees have been announced; did your favorites get a nod?

Slurp your way through Tokyo’s ramen district.

Tim Carman get saddled with trying the latest cupcake spot in Alexandria. Woe is Tim. 

Put the south in your mouth with this biscuit pudding recipe.

Give some love back to DC’s favorite bartenders Gina Chersevani and Derek Brown by voting for them in the CocktailKingdom.com best bartender poll.

Super Bowl cupcakes!

Are kosher and halal meats healthier for you than “regular” meat?

Brunch and the City checks out brunch at Ben’s Next Door.

The Post walks us through Michael Landrum’s latest endeavors.

How did chefs in New Orleans and Indianapolis prep for the big day?

David Lebovitz goes truffle hunting in southwestern France, complete with a pig on a leash.

Clarendon, that wonderous yuppie village in NoVa, has been blessed with several new eateries in the last few years. Their luck tripled when Eventide opened bringing with it a cozy downstairs bar lounge, a delicious seasonal restaurant on the spacious second floor, and a wide open rooftop deck.

In the restaurant’s early days, Mike and I made short work of Eventide’s bar menu in their sleek, industrial space. While beer and wine are available on tap, the real fun is in the well-crafted cocktail list, topped with seasonal ingredients. Tipplers looking to warm up a winter evening may want to toss back The Westover, a potent concotion of Rittenhouse BiB Rye mixed with vanilla syrup, chartreuse Rinse, and topped with an orange peel. 

Down a hallway of eclectic mirrors, up the stairs, and behind heavy velvet curtains is Eventide’s soaring dining room. Chef Miles Vaden, who previously pleased Capitol Hill diners at Sonoma, toils in the kitchen to present diners with robust seasonal dishes. A dish of roasted oxtail in housemade ravioli was succulent and soothing for a dark night. The pasta, made with guajillo peppers, delivers a touch of kick along with a surpsingly golden tint. Meanwhile, a companion’s lamb loin housemade suasage with roasted brussel sprouts hit the perfect savory note.

3165 Wilson Blvd.
Arlington, VA 22201
Eventide on Urbanspoon

A few weeks ago I coldly abandoned Mike in DC for a quick girls’ getaway in San Francisco with two great friends BabeBQ and The Librarian. It was the first visit to San Francisco for both of them. Giving the uninitiated a tour of my favorite city is no small feat. Type A geeks like me don’t just wing it. We spend weeks plotting out itineraries, checking lists, creating back up plans for unbearably rainy weather.  Touristy or not, some activities can’t be ignored for first-timers. I wanted to be sure we tried a few more insider options, too. (Sure the cable cars are nice but did you know you can ride an 1930s Italian streetcar into the Castro?)

This philosophy went double for food. I knew certain cozy homeruns would make our agenda, namely Cha Cha Cha’s and Crepes on Cole which BabeBQ declared “the perfect neighborhood breakfast spot.” Except I didn’t want to limit our palates to tried and true favorites. I was ready for a little strange on the menu.

Acme Bread Company at the Ferry Building
No food sojurn to San Francisco is complete without paying homage to the Ferry Building. What was once a pass-through warehouse for tourists heading to Sausalito and commuters going home to Marin County is now a delicious destination. The building hosts San Francisco staples Cowgirl Creamery and the Slanted Door as well as less known options like Boccalone Salumeri (boasting “tasty salted pig parts”) and Far West Funghi, a must-visit for any mushroom lover.

Taking advantage of our DC-based internal clocks, BabeBQ and I took an early morning walk over to the Ferry Building for breakfast. We wandered through the vendor hallway, taking in the options as proprieters rattled their doors open. In the end, we were both drawn to the same thing: freshly baked bread from Acme Bread Company. The Acme Bread Compnay is a Berekley-based bread institution in the Bay Area, frequently credited for leading the artisinal bread revolution. The Ferry Building outpost carries the full selection of Acme bread and we lingered over baguettes, croissants and other yeasty delicacies before settling on a perfect small round of sourdough bread. We paired our loaves with ruby-red, sweet organic strawberries from Farm Fresh to You, a gourmet grocery store that seems tailor-made for yuppie picnic baskets, and found a bench outside in the early morning mist.

The bread, baked with a golden, crispy crust and pliant, still-warm, tangy white middle, was perhaps the single best way to start a vacation day. It was amazing we were civilized enough to eat with our hands rather than dive face first into the world’s best comfort food. We tore into our breakfast as rush hour approached and commuters streamed past us, fresh off ferries from Marin County. “You know,” BabeBQ said between bites, “I always see people having a leisurely breakfast or coffee on a weekday and wonder who they are and why they aren’t headed into work like me. It’s nice to be on this side for a change.” I couldn’t have agreed more. 

Acme Bread Company
1 Ferry Building
San Francisco, CA 94111
Acme Bread Company on Urbanspoon

After the jump: Dim sum in Chinatown, Italian in North Beach, and what Mike was most jealous he missed. (more…)

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