By now it’s likely that pretty much anyone who has ever gone elbows-deep in drawn butter at the Quarterdeck has heard that the historic crab-feast venue is closing due to failed lease negotiations.  The story broke with the folks over at TBD and has been expanded upon by the Washington Business Journal and ArlNow, who have printed an excerpt from Lou Gatti’s email to the Radnor/Ft. Myer Heights Civic Association.

Here at Capital Spice, we were eager to find out more about what would become of one of our favorite places to bring out-of-town guests, so we reached out to Haig Paul, the property owner, for comment.  He was unaware that word had gotten out, but he was willing to go on the record with us about what the future holds.  According to Mr. Paul:

“There is a change coming.   We’re still in the process of lease negotiations, so I can’t go into too many details at this point.  The only thing I know for certain is that a restaurant will remain in operation in some form [at 1200 Fort Myer].”

When I asked if the new restaurant would represent a fundamental change away from Quarterdeck’s most popular offerings, Paul didn’t seem to think so.  “The Quarterdeck is a niche type restaurant – it’s unique with a very steady and loyal clientele.  I would like to see it continue in its current format.  It won’t become something radically different.”

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Finally!  An entire episode that represents some of the best of the Washington area’s foodshed.  From Maryland blue crabs to organic and humanely raised meats from Ayrshire Farms, this week viewers got a chance to see the kind of local bounty that we enjoy in and around Washington.

No political puns in the challenge, though there may have been a comment or two about getting crabs, because most chefs are just grown-up fifteen year-old boys.  No “official Washington” guest judges: instead, an honest-to-goodness chef from one of the area’s most famous restaurants. And no flags-and-Americana backdrop, though Ayrshire is hardly your average working farm.

If past seasons are precedent, we’ll probably want to enjoy this while it lasts.  Host cities are rarely more than a backdrop for the challenges, and there are too many DC celebrities (Speaker Pelosi! Joe Scarborough! Buzz Aldrin?) yet to appear whose names were leaked in the preseason press release.

After the jump, we’ve got details on who, where and what you saw this episode as well as a suggestion for a great place to get all-you-can-eat blue crabs. (more…)

Forget sweaters and changing leaves. Here are ten telltale signs we know it’s fall in DC. Cupcake Challenge 051

1.       Dinner switches from gazpacho to roasted chicken

2.       Mike gets reacquainted with the Big Green Egg

3.       After a summer of crabs at Quarterdeck and Tangier Island, our go-to seafood is oysters at Johnny’s Half Shell and mussels at Granville Moore’s.

4.       Elizabeth starts baking again

5.       Pumpkin beer!

6.       We’re on the hunt for savory recipes starring leeks and butternut squash

7.       We say good-bye to the basil lemontini and hello to the warm duck Rueben at the Poste bar

8.       Too many local apples, not enough apple recipes

Apple Cake 0349.       Kiss the sunglasses good-bye. We go from al fresco dining to cozy lounges and tea houses.

10.    Fall colors bring road trips and local discoveries like Wasmund’s single malt applewood smoked whiskey.

You’ve packed away your white linen. The local swimming pool is closed. But the official end of summer doesn’t mean the end of warm weather in DC. Like squeezing a lemon for those last few drops of juice, here are five foodie tips for making summer last just a little longer: (more…)