Friday, June 29, 2007

Dynamite Combination

It may seem a bit strange, and a little random too I suppose, but I was at Mister Days (I know, not quite my usual type of haunt but still a great spot nonetheless) in Clarendon earlier this week. I arrived a lot later than some other folks, but was still in time to order off of their $2 bar menu. No one had tried the nachos, so I went ahead and tried them. For $2, it is a little ridiculous how much food you get. A huge oval platter arrived, filled with regular and blue tortilla chips topped with heaps of melted cheddar and jack cheeses, kidney beans, seasoned ground beef, tomatoes, jalapenos, guacamole, sour cream and shredded cheese. The flavors work fabulously together of course, and actually went perfectly with the Pinot Grigio I was having. The crispness in the wine is perfect for cutting the richness of the dish. For almost no money you can have a feast for at least a few for sure.

Mister Days
3100 Clarendon Boulevard in Arlington, VA

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Food, Film, and Friendship, Italian Style

The Smithsonian Resident Associates do quite a few great foodie events, but this one looks particularly fun so wanted to pass along details. Food films are so great, especially when you discuss them with other foodies.

Food, Film, and Friendship, Italian Style
With Mario Batali, Lidia Bastianich, and Marisa Tomei
Sunday, July 8, 2 p.m. at George Washington University's Lisner Auditorium
730 31st Street at H Street in NW DC
Prepare to be entertained, enlightened, or just charmed as friends, colleagues, and New Yorkers—Italian American celebrity chefs Mario Batali and Lidia Bastianich, and film star Marisa Tomei—share an afternoon considering the merits of Italian cuisine and why food and film make for such intriguing and delightful pairings.
During this entertaining afternoon highlighted by video clips, these stars of culinary TV and film fame talk about food and why the culinary arts have become so prominent in today’s popular culture.
Moderator Jim Bohannon, a popular radio talk-show host, will bring his own special perspective to the lively discussion.

More information available at

Monday, June 25, 2007

Half-Price Wine at Top of the Hill

Just a quick note regarding half-price wine night at Top of the Hill which occurs every Saturday. All bottles on the wine list are half price. It isn't all that easy to find great deals on the weekend nights, and this one really is great. The space is just upstairs from the Pour House near Eastern Market metro on Pennsylvania Avenue. We tried several of the varieties of wines of offering, but our hands down favorite was the Kendall Jackson Riesling. The nose was sweeter than the actual flavor, and the texture was smooth and very appealing. The wine was a great example of a nice, dry Riesling which is good on its own as well as a range of foods. We sampled some of the bar snacks and had fun with the wine, music, pool table and great company as well.

Top of the Hill
319 Pennsylvania Avenue in SE DC

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Half-Price Wine at Whitlow's

Wednesday is half-price wine night at Whitlow's on Wilson. When we arrived, the restaurant was quite lively but not super crowded. The casual ambiance and friendly service always make for a nice experience there, but last night was an especially lovely evening, made even better by a fun dinner and great company. For wine, we had a crisp and refreshing Sauvignon Blanc. Perfect for a summer evening. We also tried the Heron Merlot which was well-balanced and quite lush on the palate. Food orders included Spinach and Artichoke dip, which was actually quite a light version of the dish. The spinach and artichoke hearts were the star, and a good amount of seasoning and some gooey, melted mild cheese throughout made for a nice consistency and a bit of richness. The dip is served with thinly sliced toasted pita chips. I had the Wow Salad, which comes with grilled ranch chicken, baby greens, romaine lettuce, and diced tomatoes and cucumbers, all tossed in a BBQ bacon ranch dressing and garnished with fried onions. The salad was quite tasty and the various textures all combined for a nice variety of sensations in the mouth. The Crabcake Sandwich and Turkey Burger also got great reviews. If you are in the Clarendon area on a Wednesday, I would recommend popping in for an inexpensive yet enjoyable meal.

Whitlow's on Wilson
2854 Wilson Boulevard in Clarendon, VA

Monday, June 18, 2007

Father's Day Brunch at Clyde's

For Father's Day this year, we went to Clyde's in Gallery Place. Certainly not anywhere overly special, but they do a really great brunch and we wanted to go somewhere that had a raw bar menu. I enjoyed a dozen Wellfleet oysters with my Dad. They were small to medium in size and were gorgeously briny - really had that "taste of the ocean" flavor I enjoy. I noted verbally that the menu included Fried Chicken and Waffles, and once my Dad saw the item listed his mind was made up as far as what to order. The dish comes with two large pieces of fried chicken, which were coated with a rich, golden brown and crispy coating, and served atop two large waffles and along side little cups of sweet butter and maple syrup. The combination of maple syrup and fried chicken is dynamite. A great combination of sweet and savory flavors and smooth and crunchy textures all at once. My brother had the Reuben Sandwich which he had with french fries (you also can order fruit or a side salad). The rye bread was toasted nicely and the Russian dressing went really well with the thick layers of the salty and pungent meat. We had a really nice meal and I think all were glad we were able to be together for the special day.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Great Food Show

The new season of the James Beard award-winning PBS television series Chefs A'Field: Kids on the Farm has its Washington, DC debut on WHUT this Saturday, June 16 at 4 pm. This is fabulous food television! The series is co-produced by AIWF former board member and Warner Hanson Television. Two amazing area chefs are featured in the series-Robert Weidmaier (Marcel's, Beck's Brasserie) and Cathal Armstrong (Restaurant Eve, Eamonn's, The Majestic).
Check out digital video clips and great recipes at
The series is filmed in true high-definition--See it as it was meant to be seen on PBS HD beginning nationally on July 1, Sundays at 5 pm.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Happy Hour at Tabaq on U Street

Tabaq on U Street is probably most known for its rooftop, Mediterranean food, great drinks and fun events on weekend evenings. They don't usually do happy hour, but last night the French Wine Society hosted L'Apero at Tabaq. The event is essentially an evening of great specials on various types of French wines. The event featured Domaine L'Enclos, Cotes du Rhone 2004; St. Antoine Syrah 2005; Gournier Sauvignon Blanc 2005; and Gournier Rose 2006. The Sauvignon Blanc and Syrah were both very nice, but the Rose was my favorite. It had a nice, sweet nose and aftertaste, yet was still quite dry and refreshing. We also dabbled in the food offerings and had the thick and creamy Hummus; Lamb Shank, which was tender almost like a good pot roast and served with eggplant puree; Calamari, which is sauteed and not fried and comes with fennel, olives and parsley and was absolutely delicious; and Beef Medallion, or grilled beef medallions served with eggplant and mushrooms and lots of delicious jus. I'd recommend Tabaq for a tasty meal on the rooftop on a weeknight, or for weekend brunch with a view.

1336 U Street in NW DC

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Easy Summer Picnic

The recent hot weather started me thinking about easy and tasty dishes that are suitable for enjoying outdoors. Bring along plenty of water and a bottle of wine or two, and perhaps some fresh fruit for dessert, and enjoy.

Tomato and Cucumber Salad
1 large cucumber, peeled,de-seeded,and chopped (or use a seedless variety and just chop)
2 large tomatoes, chopped
3 green onions, chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon olive oil
Splash of balsamic vinegar, optional.
Place sliced or chopped cucumber into a serving bowl or re-sealable container. Sprinkle with salt and toss. Add the tomatoes, scallions and olive oil and toss.

Summer Barley-Bean Salad
2 cups cooked barley
1 15 ounce can kidney beans, drained
2 vine-ripened tomatoes, chopped
1 cucumber, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/2 cup fat-free Italian dressing
Combine all ingredients and chill.

Mediterranean Pockets
4 whole wheat pita bread pockets
8 slices of turkey bacon
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
1/2 cup Parmesan or Romano cheese
2 cups of lettuce
2 large tomatoes
1 tub of hummus
1 tablespoon olive oil
Sautee bacon in skillet or bake on a cookie sheet until crisp. Shred lettuce and slice or chop the tomatoes, and crumble feta. Heat olive oil in skillet and lightly brown whole wheat pita bread. To assemble the sandwiches, slather a tablespoon or so of hummus onto inside of each pita and add the rest of the ingredients to fill the pockets.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Share Our Strength At Dupont Farmer's Market this Sunday

If you will be in the neighborhood this weekend, Share Our Strength is scheduled to host a bake sale Sunday, June 17 from 9am to 1pm at the Dupont Circle Freshfarm Market which is on the 1500 block of 20th Street between Massachusetts Avenue and Q Street, NW. The bake sale is part of the Great American Bake Sale, a national campaign that mobilizes people of all ages to help end childhood hunger in America by holding bake sales in their communities. The sale will feature cookies, cakes, pies and muffins donated by local bakeries including Shoe Box Oven, Best Buns Bakery, Reeves Bakery and Open City/Tryst Cafe.

Great American Bakesale

Friday, June 8, 2007

Famous Luigi's in Dupont

I dined at Luigi's in Dupont earlier this week as part of a work-related retreat. It was a pleasant evening out so the patios of nearby Mezza Luna and Science Club, both of which offer outdoor seating, were quite crowded. We were upstairs at Luigi's which was thus not too packed and quite nice actually. The red and white checkered tablecloths, wood-paneled walls and old-time prints and other artwork create a relaxed and pleasant ambiance. I enjoyed Pinot Grigio while I waited for the rest of the group, and decided to order the Mussels, which were large and well-cooked and served in a delicious garlicky and herbaceous tomato sauce. I also had a small bite of the Eggplant Parmesan, which was quite cheesy and featured the same tomato sauce that was served with the mussels. For my main I chose the Caesar Salad with Grilled Chicken. Luckily I ordered the dressing on the size as it came in what appeared to be a not-so-shallow soup bowl and was completely full. There was plenty of Parmesan cheese, the lettuce was crisp and the chicken was thinly sliced and tender. Others enjoyed the various varieties of pasta as well as pizza and soup. The White Bean Soup looked especially delicious, and pizza is always a standby at Luigi's. The crust is thin and the sauce is pungent with ripe tomato flavor, garlic and oregano. Luigi's is also an especially good place for large groups, in particular the upstairs area. A pleasant and certainly also filling evening seemed to be had by all.

Famous Luigi's
1132 19th Street in NW DC