It’s been a big week for interviews here at Capital Spice.  First Elizabeth had a chance to chat with Top Chef finalist (and our absolute favorite) Carla Hall in advance of last night’s finale.  Then I had a chance to catch up with Todd Thrasher as he gets ready for the Domaine de Canton Bartender of the Year competition in Saint Maarten next month.

thrasherBack in December, we wrote about Todd Thrasher’s big win over some of New York’s best bartenders and mixologists in the regional semi-finals of Domaine de Canton’s Bartender of the Year competition.  Since then, Washingtonian has added some additional details to the picture: it turns out Thrasher made it to the semi-finals when a friend submitted an older recipe of his unbeknownst to him!

This week, we had the opportunity to chat with the Proprietor/Sommelier/Bartender at Restaurant Eve and PX about the upcoming finals, which are taking place in Saint Maarten on Monday, March 9th.  He’ll be facing off against the five winners (and the six runners-up) from the other semi-final competitions that took place in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Miami, Chicago and Boston.  Even with the $10,000 prize on the line, Thrasher’s numerous responsibilities have made it pretty hard for him to do much in the way of hardcore preparation for the contest.  But if his previous performance is any indication, he’s more than ready to go.

Cocktail conversations with Thrasher after the jump. (more…)

eveAs I mentioned on Tuesday, Robert Weidmaier’s Brabo opens tonight at the Hotel Lorien on King Street in Alexandria and the main restaurant is accompanied by a Tasting Room that will offer a more casual dining experience.

Despite a shared name, the Tasting Room at Restaurant Eve takes diners in a completely different direction.  The centerpiece of Cathal Armstrong’s growing Alexandria empire, Eve’s Tasting Room received the highest ranking for any restaurant outside the District in this year’s Washingtonian Top 100 Restaurants.   Judging by our fellow patrons (an anniversary, two birthdays, and even a proposal), this is a site for special occasions.  They know it, too: when you make your reservation, they ask if you’re celebrating anything. 

Back in December, Elizabeth and I were celebrating something (her birthday), so we headed into Old Town to finally give Restaurant Eve a try.  We had saved the best for last when it came to Armstrong properties, having already eaten at the Majestic and Eamonn’s and enjoying hand-crafted cocktails at PX on more than a few occasions.  That night we were ready to go the Full Cathal with five courses and wine pairings in the Tasting Room.

Highlights (and there were plenty) after the jump. (more…)

In the endless stream of “DC is cool but not as cool as New York” comments, our nation’s capital has picked up a well-deserved win.  Local, famed mixologist Todd Thraser took first place in the Domaine de Canton Bartender of the Year semi-finals. Thrasher beat out stiff competition from New York posts such as Flatiron Lounge and Counter Organic Martini Bar in the ginger liqueur’s cocktail-making semi-final .

Capital Spice raises a cocktail (poorly made compared to his creations) to his performance in the finals. Thrasher will be competing for a $10,000 grand prize in St. Martin at the end of February. 

Celebrity cocktails are only as far away as a trip to Old Town. You can enjoy Thrasher’s creations at PX, Restaurant Eve and The Majestic.

The field of competitors that Thrasher beat out:


I need a fix and Jay at the PX is my medicine man.  But I’m getting ahead of myself.

PX is the latest brainchild of DC restaurant wonders Chef Cathal Armstrong, wife and business partner Meshelle Armstrong and sommelier/mixologist Todd Thrasher. Leaders of Restaurant Eve and Eammon’s, the trio set their sights on creating an upscale cocktail experience with a throwback to 1920s speakeasy glamour. True to its Prohibition influence, PX has no sign, a phone line that is “family only,” and is admittance by reservation only.  Armstrong and company made a concerted effort to keep this lounge an intimate experience free of crowds and noise: PX holds a maximum of 35 patrons at at time. (more…)