Capella Hotel Hosts Community for Iron Chef Competition

September 12, 2013

On Monday, April 8, the Capella Hotel in Georgetown hosted a friendly Iron Chef-style competition between the Citizens Association of Georgetown, the Georgetown BID and the Georgetown Business Association. The surprise ingredient was red snapper. Georgetowner publisher Sonya Bernhardt joined Capella Georgetown general manager Alex Obertop and chef Jakob Esko in judging the teams’ creations. GBA came in third place, Georgetown BID came in second place, and CAG won the grand prize. [gallery ids="101236,145497" nav="thumbs"]

Let’s Do Lunch: 2013 RAMMY Finalist

The RAMMYs are the biggest awards in the Washington, D.C. area for the restaurant indus- try. Check out this year’s nominees. We are definitely going to be checking some of these out soon. Stay tuned.

Fine Dining Restaurant of the Year
The Ashby Inn & Restaurant?
Blue Duck Tavern
The Bombay Club

Upscale Casual Restaurant of the Year?
Birch and Barley?
Cork Wine Bar
Estadio?Jaleo – Penn Quarter
KAZ Sushi Bistro

Casual Restaurant of the Year
Bar Pilar?
Bayou Bakery?
C. F. Folks?
Nando’s Peri-Peri?
Pete’s New Haven Style Apizza

Neighborhood Gathering Place of the Year?
Ardeo + Bardeo
Evening Star Café
Nellie’s Sports Bar
Willow Restaurant

New Restaurant of the Year
DGS Delicatessen?
Fuego Cocina y Tequileria
Mintwood Place?
Rasika West End

Chef of the Year
Tony Conte – The Oval Room?
Haidar Karoum – Estadio/Proof?
Tarver King – The Ashby Inn and Restaurant
Cedric Maupillier – Mintwood Place?
Fabio Trabocchi – Fiola

Rising Culinary Star of the Year?
Scot Harlan – Green Pig Bistro?
Tim Ma – Maple Avenue Restaurant
Marjorie Meek-Bradley – Ripple
John Melfi – Blue Duck Tavern?
Nathan Shapiro – The Ashby Inn and Restaurant

Pastry Chef of the Year
Beverly Bates – Vidalia?
Peter Brett – Blue Duck Tavern?
Alison Reed – Ripple?
Susan Wallace – BlackSalt Fish Market & Restaurant?
Tom Wellings – Fiola

Wine Program of the Year
The Ashby Inn and Restaurant

Power Spot of the Year
The Bombay Club?
Johnny’s Half Shell?
P. J. Clarke’s Seasons?
The Source by Wolfgang Puck

Hottest Restaurant Bar Scene of the Year?
Bar Pilar?
Fuego?Cocina y Tequileria?
Hank’s Oyster Bar – Capitol Hill
Jack Rose Dining Saloon

The 2013 RAMMY Award winners will be named at the 31st annual RAMMY Awards Gala on Sunday, June 23, 2013 at the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel. For more information about The RAMMYS, go to, or contact RAMW at (202) 331-5990 or email at
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Dirty Dozen Brass Band at Hamilton Live

For a band that has been performing together for 36 years, it might be easy for every concert to become a trip down memory lane. Not so the case for New Orleans’s Dirty Dozen Brass Band, which put on the most engaging and energetic show I’ve seen at the Hamilton Live.

The stage was set with fog machines and club-style lights, and the front row of tables closest to the stage was removed to create a dance floor that was densely populated through the band’s two sets.

Dirty Dozen used a a huge range of sound to create some great polyrhythmic jamming, a New Orleans brass band with modern and creative vibe. The band is actually comprised of only seven musicians, each of whom is deft at his instruments. It’s not just progressive ideas; these guys can play. Sousaphone player Kirk Joseph uses a wah pedal to distort his sound and switched to beat-boxing later in the show. Baritone saxophonist Roger Lewis opened the second set with a reverb and echo effects to create a huge, rocking sound. At one point, Efrems Towns played trumpet and flugelhorn at the same time.

The night’s performance was co-presented by D.C. Jazz Fest and whetted my appetite for the upcoming festival in June. Dirty Dozen played at the first D.C. Jazz Fest in 2004. Festival founder and executive producer Charlie Fishman was there, taking in the first set from different vantage points around the venue. He simply said the show was “excellent.”

Covers included performances of James Brown’s “Get On Up” and the classic, “When The Saints Go Marching In,” with plenty of “Who dats?” thrown in for good measure.

Local musician Clarice Karter lent her pipes to one song and danced onstage with the group and other female fans for the band’s final number.

Dirty Dozen Brass Band will be playing its next concert on March 8 at the Manship Theatre in Baton Rouge, La. [gallery ids="101186,143183,143177,143166,143171" nav="thumbs"]

Wolf Trap: New Season, New Leader

We are lucky that lovers of the performing arts have so many venues to choose from, especially for outdoor concerts. Wolf Trap, in Vienna, Va, is special for its breadth of programming and sincerity of space. This year, the Wolf Trap Foundation has a new President and CEO. Arvind Manocha has spent the majority of his career with the Los Angeles Philharmonic and the Hollywood Bowl.

One of Wolf Trap’s distinguishing characteristics is that “it’s in the company of one,” Manocha said. “There is one national park for the performing arts. There are a lot of great national parks in this country obviously, hundreds if not thousands, but only one that was created expressly to celebrate and nurture the performing arts.”

Manocha grew up in northeast Ohio and graduated with honors from Cornell University. He went on to study literature at Cambridge University in England, where he was a Marshall scholar.

As an arts institution, Wolf Trap creates its season from every musical genre. At The Barns, a week of programming can include artists who play music as varied as zydeco to jazz to folk. Round that out with National Symphony Orchestra, the Wolf Trap Opera Company and musical theater productions, and persons have about any choice they could think of.

“To have a commitment to embracing music across a spectrum was, I think, very forward- minded of Mrs. Shouse and how this place was set up, and very much reflects the reality of how people consume music now,” said Manocha, reflecting upon the legacy of Wolf Trap founder Catherine Filene Shouse.

Manocha has a soft spot for design. In Los Angeles, he was a member of the advisory board of the Los Angeles Forum for Architecture and Urban Design and has served on multiple national design juries for the American Institute of Architects.

“I love architecture,” Manocha said. “You can go to a lot of soulless arenas that are designed to be hockey rinks that now have music in them, and patrons know that. They can tell when it’s not really intended for what it’s being used. When you come here, and you’re in a perfectly naturally beautiful spot with this amazing facility, it’s very clear that this was designed to be enjoyed as a concert venue.”

Driving up to the Filene Center, the wooden amphitheater rises from behind a hill. It has a striking presence on a clear winter’s day — or summer one, for that matter.

“It’s kind of monumental,” said Manocha, who succeeds another kind of Wolf Trap monument, Terre Jones.
Jones, who served as president and CEO of Wolf Trap for 17 years, is now president emeritus. He and his wife Polly moved to Santa Fe, N.M.

For such a multifaceted arts operation, a change of leadership could be a difficult change. Wolf Trap’s board chairman John Lee IV is happy with how things have progressed.

“I couldn’t think of anything to do over again,” said Lee, who has been on the board for four years and lives with his wife at the Watergate Apartments. “The whole thing’s been very seamless. The former CEO, Terre Jones, gave us a year’s notice. So, the transition of his leaving and Arvind’s coming in was as smooth as can be.”

The feeling is mutual for the crosscountry transplant. Manocha only arrived in Washington on Dec. 30, and his first day was Jan. 2.

“John is a great partner and turning into a great friend actually,” Manocha said. “He’s a wonderful person, who’s making this transition really smooth.”

In terms of the upcoming summer’s programming, Manocha is most excited for Colombian superstar Juanes.

“He is an unbelievable performer,” Manocha said. “He is one of the most important Latin artists of today. We also have the Wolf Trap debut of Josh Groban, who’s coming later in the summer.”

The photo here with Lee and Manocha were taken on a on a cold, breezy Wednesday. A few were taken in the seats of the amphitheater, and a few, not pictured, were taken on the Filene Center’s stage, the second largest in the country.

Admiring the architecture of the Filene Center from the stage, Lee commented about Manocha’s personal box up in the balcony.
“There’ll be time for that,” Manocha. “On a warmer day.” ?

“The Bayou: Last Call” Rocks the Hamilton

The line was almost around the corner at the Hamilton Sunday night. At least one man was clamoring for a ticket to get into the Feb. 17 sold-out event, “The Bayou: Last Call.” For a night, the 14th Street venue was transformed into the Bayou, a beloved spot under the Whitehurst Freeway that hosted jazz and rock greats from Count Basie to U2 from 1953 to 1999.

The event was a benefit for the non-profit production of the documentary, “The Bayou: DC’s Killer Joint” [which premiered on Jan. 31 at AMC Loews Georgetown] ( DJ Cerphe Colwell served as master of ceremonies for the evening.

Pianist John Eaton opened the night with two songs, followed by performances by a rotating group of musicians from a long list of bands which played on the Bayou’s stage, including the Cherry People, Cherry Smash, the Nighthawks, Tahoka, Orphan, the Nowhere Men, the Langley High Jazz Lab, Face Dancer, the Boyz, Diamond Alley, Wizzard, Razz, Downtown, Grande Hotel, Sinbad, King Dazzle, Bucyrus Erie, the Texas Chainsaw Horns, Witness, Jetz, the Hubcaps, the Michael Fath Group, Smashbox Symphony, Odyssey, Switched At Birth, the Nathez Trace Band, Trapezoid, the Paul Reed Smith Band and the Grimes Bros.

The set list included covers of Santana’s “Smooth” and, of course, the Creedence Clearwater Revival classic, “Born On The Bayou.”

With 600 persons attending, the place was standing room only. The concert was live streamed online for those not lucky enough to get a ticket—Henry Greene, who was looking for a ticket outside before the show, found his way in. The atmosphere was jovial, filled with long hair, leather jackets and folks puffing on e-cigarettes. There were many Washington music veterans like Pete Papageorge, who’s had a residency at Kelly’s Irish Times for more than 25 years. The space was donated by the Hamilton in support of the event.

“The Bayou: DC’s Killer Joint” will be shown on Maryland Public Television on Feb. 25, 9 p.m. Visit the Bayou documentary’s [website]( and [Twitter]( pages for more information.

Performance photos above are courtesy of photographer [David Blackwell]( [gallery ids="101170,142482,142476,142469,142462,142456,142495,142449,142500,142443,142505,142435,142511,142488" nav="thumbs"]

‘Pump Me Up’ Opening Revels in ’80s Subculture

August 15, 2013

Scenes collided at the Corcoran’s “Pump Me Up: D.C. Subculture of the 1980s” at the exhibit’s opening reception Feb. 22. The exhibit chronicles D.C.’s graffiti, Go-Go and hardcore punk scenes from the late 1970s through the early 1990s and was curated by Roger Gastman, a graffiti historian from Bethesda, Md. Georgetown native Henry Rollins, deejayed the night with a selection of ’80s jams. Rollins grew up on 30th and R Streets, NW, across from Montrose Park.

Rollins, of hardcore punk group Black Flag, and Ian MacKaye of Minor Threat and Fugazi, both worked in Georgetown businesses when they were young adults, first at the Georgetown Theater and later at the Haagen-Dazs, a location now occupied by Avocado Cafe. Rollins recounted how the two went to the Bayou to see Bad Brains open for the Damned in June 1979.

“They were terrifying,” said Rollins. “Our jaws were on the ground.”

The night reunited a lot of participants and enthusiasts in ’80s subculture.

“Pump Me Up” will be on display at the Corcoran Gallery of Art through April 7.

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Art Soiree Hosts 3rd Annual Cartoonist Exhibit at Malmaison

Art Soiree hosted its third annual cartoonist exhibit, a retrospective of President Barack Obama’s first term, at Malmaison on Water Street Jan. 18.

Artists, whose work was on display, included Kevin KAL Kallaugher (the Economist), Daryl Cagle (MSNBC), Tom Toles (the Washington Post), Mike Keefe (Denver Post), Jimmy Margulies (the Record, Time, Newsweek, New York Times, USA Today), Ann Telnaes (the Washington Post, Signe Wilkinson, Philadelphia Daily News), Christo Komarnitski (Sega, Sturshel), Damien Glez (Le Monde, Courrier International, La Gazette).

Only two cartoonists were at the event, Kevin KAL Kallaugher is the artist-in-residence at University of Maryland Baltimore County, and Tom Toles, who performed with his rock group Suspicious Package.

According to Zeina, an employee at Napoleon Bistro, Malmaison — the 4,200-square-foot space with a bakery and cafe and owned by Zubair Popal — will officially open this spring. Tonight, the space is hosting a networking event with Fashion Group International and the Georgetown BID. Click here for more information on the event.

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Barking Around Book Hill

It’s no secret that Book Hill is an amazing spot for shopping, but what is the ingredient in the special sauce that sets it apart? The answer may be some of the stores’ best salespeople, the dogs who inhabit many of the stores in the neighborhood. We visited shops from Reservoir Road to P Street. Tom Vogt of Marston Luce may have put it best: “To be able to bring a dog to work every day brings a great deal of character to a store.”

And what better opportunity to meet all of these furry friends than the Georgetown French Market? The French Market is Book Hill’s signature European open air and sidewalk sale, which features up to 75 percent off at more than 35 shops and cafes. The event will take place April 19 and 20, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information, visit Remember to bring treats.

Age: 9 years
?Breed: Yellow Labrador
?Stella has worked as a therapy dog at Georgetown University Hospital?for four years now. She previously worked in pediatric oncology and now works in the emergency room. Her favorite things include treats, going out in the garden behind the store and men. She is a huge flirt.

Age: 5 months?
Breed: Gold Retriever?
Aspen is perhaps the newest dog on Book Hill. At only 5 months old, he is still a puppy. Ruth, his owner, says his favorite things include food, toys, mud, playing and children. He is afraid of walking down stairs but is a great jumper. He is very cuddly.

Age: 4 years?
Breed: Mountain Mastiff (Burmese Mountain and English Mastiff mix)?
Kona is a lovely doggie. Her owner, Lauren Amons, says Kona’s favorite things are snuggles, belly rubs and babies. “She goes nuts
for the snow,” says Amons. Kona is very stylish, shown here wearing a necklace by Stella Dot.

Age: 10 years?
Breed: Mixed?
Hannah is very food-focused and loves balls, sticks and chicken soup. She is very much a window dog. People walking by often think she is a statue because she sits so still.

?Age: 11 years?
Breed: Boxer?
Brinca was born in Mexico City. She is a cancer survivor, who had a tumor removed from her shoulder. She loves shopping, dog biscuits, greeting and waiting on customers and jumping. Her name means “jump” in Spanish.

Ages: 6 years
?Molly and Phoebe belong to Fred Comer and Mark Manoff. They spend most of their time living in the countryside.

Age: 12 years
?Breed: Maltese?
Latte is the very energetic Maltese who lives at the Susan Calloway Gallery. He was supposed to be named Cappuccino, but Susan Calloway thought Latte was more appropriate because of his white coat. His full name is Latte Bianca. Latte loves treats, and the mailman brings him one every day. Here he is seen with a portrait of himself.

Age: 11 years
?Breed: Miniature Schnauzer
?Penny is the very cute Miniature Schnauzer at Marston Luce. Her owner, Tom Vogt, found her on the website for a Schnauzer Rescue League. Her favorite things include coming to work, riding in the car and cookies. Vogt says Penny has a “very sweet disposition” and that she “gets along with all other dogs and people.”

Age: 8 years
?Breed: German Shepherd?
Misty is a German Shepherd with a German bloodline. She loves visiting Volta Park and being with her owner Nick. According to him, she is a “ball-head” and loves chasing balls and Frisbees.

Age: 13 years?
Valentine loves to play with Stella and Latte, who live at Catherine Roberts and Susan Calloway, respectively. Her favorite things are Gerber chicken sticks and riding in the car. “People love him,” said Blair. “I do, too.”

Age: Lived to 16 years?
Breed: Mixed?
Sherman was adopted by Sherman Pickey own- er Ethan Drath from the Washington Humane Society. “He had an amazing run,” says Drath. His favorite thing was to sit in the doorway of the store in the sun. Sherman died in 2010, but other dogs are welcomed to the store, which gives complimentary treats to visitors.
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Pumpkin Fest 2012 at Rose Park

This Halloween, Friends of Rose Park hosted its annual Pumpkin Fest. This year’s festival was the biggest ever, according to Friends of Rose Park president David Dunning. Children dressed as animals, ghouls and superheroes decorated cookies and took part in two parades around the park. The event coincided with the final farmer’s market of this year. The Rose Park farmer’s market will return in May 2013. [gallery ids="101045,136345,136338,136360,136330,136365,136370,136323,136375,136353" nav="thumbs"]

Morton’s Steakhouse Celebrates Renovation, Rebranding

Morton’s Steakhouse in Georgetown had a reception to celebrate the completion of its renovation and rebranding. The restaurant at 3251 Prospect Street now features black-and-white, art deco-inspired decor with photos of patrons and staff. At the preview party, crabcake sliders were served alongside beef tenderloin and shrimp cocktail as servers passed out lamb chops, tuna tartare — and dessert included the obligatory cheesecake.

In a press release from Landry’s, parent company of Morton’s The Steakhouse, Tilman Fertitta, sole owner, chairman and CEO stated that “In renovating these spaces, our goal was to make these locations one of the most comfortable and inviting dining settings in the D.C. area. These new looks create the perfect setting for any business lunch, family gathering or an intimate dinner.” Morton’s was acquired by Landry’s in December 2011.

In addition to updating the interiors, Morton’s The Steakhouse has delivered an updated menu packed with new items soon to be favorites including ahi tuna tower, braised short ribs, mixed grills, fresh fish a la nage among others.

The Georgetown Morton’s opened in 1982. It is the second location outside Chicago, where the steakhouse was founded. Undergoing a similar makeover, the Morton’s downtown (Connecticut Avenue and L Street) opened in 1996. It occupies the space which was the site of the legendary Duke Zeibert’s restaurant.

Morton’s The Steakhouse Georgetown (202-342-6258) is open Monday through Saturday, 5 p.m. to 11 p.m.; Sunday, 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. Morton’s The Steakhouse Connecticut Avenue (202-955-5997) is open Monday through, Friday, 11:30 a.m. to 11 p.m.; Saturday, 5 p.m. to 11 p.m.; Sunday, 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. for reservations.

Landry’s, Inc., a national restaurant, hospitality and entertainment company, owns and operates such restaurants as Morton’s, Vic & Anthony’s, McCormick & Schmick’s Seafood Restaurant, The Chart House, Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. Its other holdings include the Golden Nugget Hotel & Casinos in Las Vegas and Laughlin, Nev., and Atlantic City, N.J.
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