FAD Georgetown Ramps Up the Town’s Style

November 19, 2014

The Georgetown Business Improvement District kicked off its second annual Fashion Art Design Georgetown, also known as FAD Georgetown, with a brunch at the historic City Tavern Club Oct. 25.

Fashionable Washingtonians and media sipped mimosas and sampled sweet and savory crepes from Cafe Bonaparte, duck hash from Paolo’s Ristorante and shrimp rolls from Luke’s Lobster with energetic music spun by John Thornley, a member of the local band U.S. Royalty.

After remarks from Georgetown BID leadership, Lina Plioplyte, director of the newly released film “Advanced Style,” which documents the lives of seven stylish New York women, ranging in aged from 65 to 92, and the movie’s star Debra Rapoport welcomed guests to screenings later that day and evening at AMC Loews movie theaters on K Street at the Georgetown waterfront.

The day-long FAD Georgetown celebration carried over to more than 50 neighborhood retailers and featured store promotions, trunk shows, art displays and street-style photographers capturing the fashion handprint of celebrants. Into the evening, Grammy-nominated artist Christylez Bacon offered a performance in the court yard next to Dean & Deluca.

For those who missed it, look back on the day using the hashtag #FADGeorgetown on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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Brunch Picks for the Best Meal of Your Week

September 25, 2014

Brunch is one of the best meals of any week. It’s typically a group venture, but not exclusively. And it’s usually filled with caffeine and Bloody Marys – bottomless or on demand, depending on your choice.

With the end of summer, Sunday brunch on area patios will soon become a thing of the past. As we continue into fall and approach the winter, you can continue your weekly gathering with friends and family inside some of the areas best brunch destinations.

Below are our five favorite brunch places in Georgetown to help boost your weekend.

What can only be described as the most gluttonous of brunch endeavors, Farmers Fishers Bakers (3000 K St., NW) brunch buffet is almost guaranteed to please all. It features a combination of buffet-served and passed menu items, including a chef-prepared omelet station, grilled thick-cut bacon and harvest French toast with bananas Foster. For those seeking more lunch-like options, go for the honey pot fried chicken with cheesy grits, jambalaya and the purple and black kale salad. Add in the day’s special blended tiki bowl, which serves two to four people, and your entire party is sure to leave satisfied.

Tucked away in Cady’s Alley is Leopold’s Kafe (3315 Cady’s Alley, NW), an Austrian bistro with some of the best-prepared brunch dishes in Georgetown. While its brunch menu changes weekly to feature seasonal quiches, omelets and hash dishes, you should be sure to check out their staple lemon soufflé pancakes served with raspberry compote, maple syrup and whipped cream.

If you’re looking for the quintessential Georgetown brunch experience, look no further than Martin’s Tavern (1264 Wisconsin Ave., NW). While the menu isn’t very exciting, Martin’s is best for enjoying your go-to dish at the venue you feel most comfortable in. After all, the restaurant is nearly a monument in Washington and its charm is also impressive. If you’ve yet to try, go for the Tavern Treat, a split English muffin loaded with crab meat and mushrooms with herb hollandaise sauce, carrots, zucchini and squash.

Should you be looking for a seafood-inspired menu, splurge for the Fiola Mare (3050 K St., NW) Signature Brunch, which packages one appetizer, one entrée and a dessert of your choosing with a pastry and breadbasket for $65. From there, go for the lemon mascarpone pancakes, shrimp and grits or short rib hash. But get your stomach prepared for more because that choice only takes care of one of your brunch courses. For a delightful drink, try the Amalfi Coast cocktail, a sweet and refreshing blend of Grey Goose vodka, limoncello and lemon juice.

For those looking to up their brunch game or celebrate something monumental, Seasons over at the Four Seasons (2800 Pennsylvania Ave., NW) offers an $80 brunch buffet serving an array of fine-dining breakfast, lunch and seafood dishes. Its buffet options are grand and expansive, ranging from grilled lamb chops and Jamaican jerk quail, to oysters on the half shell and Maryland crab cakes, to colorful and wide-ranging market salads.

Washingtonians Taste Their Way Around Georgetown’s Culinary Options

September 18, 2014

During the afternoon of Sept. 13, the Georgetown BID hosted its annual Taste of Georgetown, a journey for the palate of Georgetown dining and beverage options. In its 21st year, the event relocated from the crowded hill of Wisconsin Avenue between Blues Alley and South Street to K Street at the Georgetown waterfront, shielded from afternoon showers by Whitehurst Freeway.

More than in years past, the Taste of Georgetown featured menu options from 35 local restaurants, including 1789’s compressed watermelon with lime salt and candied jalapeño and the Grill Room at the Capella’s beef tartar. Craft beer and wine were also offered in a special section including 3 Stars & Mercury from Pizza Paradiso and Paradise Springs Vineyards Chardonnay from Eno Wine Room.

In addition to a massive three-pound Baked & Wired cupcake eating contest, guests’ attention turned to the stage for the Georgetown Chefs Showdown between chef Gerard Pangaud of Malmaison, chef Kristy Cleaveland of the Ritz Carlton’s Degrees and chef Melanie Kurtz of Paolo’s. In the end, chef Pangaud took the win with his team, best preparing a dish comprised of secret ingredients, including Georgia skupernongs and Maryland soft crabs. The “Iron Chef”-like showdown was sponsored by Whole Foods.

At the Pinstripes station, kids played bocce ball, hula hoop, got their faces painted and participate in balloon-animal-making. Adults enjoyed alcoholic beverages in the Craft Beer & Wine Tasting Pavilion. Parents and kids alike enjoyed live country and bluegrass music brought to you by Gypsy Sally’s. Bands playing included Human Jukebox Country, Letitia Van Sant & the Bonafides and Justin T Rawick and the Common Good.

Proceeds from the event benefited the Georgetown Ministry Center.
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After 25 Years, Christianne Ricchi’s Ristorante i Ricchi Continues to Thrive

September 10, 2014

Tucked away on 19th Street between M and N streets is Ristorante i Ricchi (1220 19th St. NW), a Washington staple for fine Italian cuisine since 1989. The concept, which mimics a Tuscan garden with live plants filling Italian urns atop salmon-colored terra-cotta tile, was brought to Washington by Christianne Ricchi and Francesco Ricchi as the Washington cousin to their restaurant in Tuscany, Trattoria i Ricchi. Twenty-five years later, i Ricchi (pronounced ee ree-key) is still going strong in Dupont Circle.

For owner and chef Christianne, who has since parted with Francesco, serving authentic Tuscan cuisine is key. At i Ricchi, menu items, including the Pappardelle sul Coniglio (broad pasta ribbons tossed with savory Tuscan rabbit sauce) and the Le Salsicce con Fagioli all’ Uccelletto (grilled homemade sausage with cannellini beans and tomato) are brought to Washington from Italy, with a number of dishes coming directly from the Ricchi concept outside of Florence.

“Today, people are looking for authenticity. They’re looking for the real deal,” said Christianne. “A lot of thought goes into what we do – we’re almost cerebral in what we serve – and there has to be a true connection to Italy.”

For i Ricchi, Christianne’s dedication to remaining authentic has enabled the restaurant to survive a drastically different city than when it first opened. But just as Washington has changed, so must i Ricchi.
“I’ve taken this opportunity to go back to Florence and I’m looking forward to bringing a lot of the things I’ve discovered and rediscovered in Tuscany back to Washington,” said Christianne.

Moreover, Christianne recently signed a long-term lease in the restaurant’s current location and is planning significant renovations, including the addition of an early morning coffee and breakfast bar, which will also serve as a wine bar in the early evening and through the night.

Outside of the kitchen, Christianne is passionate about two women’s organizations she has established in recent years. Two years ago, with her daughter Olivia, Christianne wanted to celebrate and earmark International Women’s Day. That motivation led to the creation of the i Ricchi Women’s Club, a group that boasts 3,000 members and holds gatherings on topics ranging from health to politics to business to family.
Christianne also leads a group she refers to as “the DEWDs,” the Distinguished Executive Women’s Dinner. The group consists of 150 executive women who come together monthly at i Ricchi for cocktails, dinner and networking.

“I often ask myself why I’m in this business. And the thing I come back to, over and over, is the people factor,” said Christianne. “Being a restaurateur and chef gives you a very unique opportunity to interact with people on a different, very intimate level. A big part of the job is nurturing and taking care of people. People come to your restaurant and put themselves in your hands so to speak. So there’s a level of trust that’s established that you will take care of them and treat them well. And when you do that, there’s a special bond that’s created.”
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Chilling Out for the Rest of the Summer

August 7, 2014

One of the most unpleasant aspects of summer in D.C. is the heat and humidity, which makes getting around town without looking disheveled a struggle. While summer 2014 has yet to reach the point of unbearable, the possibilities that it will during August and September are likely. In an effort to remain cool, calm and collected, we pulled together a list of the best chilled drinks Washington has to offer.

Located at the Georgetown Waterfront is one of Washington’s top restaurants, Farmers Fishers Bakers (3000 K St., NW; 202-298-TRUE), known for serving American fair with a farmhouse feel. While it’s food menus are expansive and gluttonous, brunch is to die for. So is its drinks menu made with homemade sodas and syrups and the freshest and often times local ingredients. Perfectly suited for the hottest summer day, try the super light and refreshing Organic Cucumber Delight, made with American Harvest Organic Vodka, ginger-flavored liquor Domaine de Canton, a splash of lemon juice and served with a cucumber slice and balled cantaloupe.

Since opening in Georgetown and at its original location on 14th Street, Richard Sandoval’s El Centro D.F. (1218 Wisconsin Ave., NW; 202-333-4100) is known as one of the District’s most popular Mexican restaurants with a lively nightlife scene. Whether you’re seated for dinner or there for cocktails, its margaritas are some of the best in town. Served by the glass or in half or full pitchers, go for the Traditional Margarita, made with Sauza Blue Agave Tequila, fresh lime and agave nectar, or add fruit flavor with fresh mango or strawberry purée. Or heat things up while still chilling out with the Spicy Margarita, a mix of Serrano pepper-infused tequila, fresh lime agave nectar and chili-ginger.

New to 14th Street is Tico (1926 14th St., NW; 202-319-1400), at the southwest corner of U Street, impressing Washingtonians with its American fair influenced by Mexican and Spanish cuisines. Pull a seat up to the bar and order the Hibiscus Margarita on draft. Instead of Triple Sec, Tico uses Patron Citronge and pairs it with 100-percent Blue Agave Tequila, lime, lemon and its namesake hibiscus. Served with salt on the rim, the lemon and lime produce a strong tart taste that pairs well with the floral component of the hibiscus.

For hot summer days when you’re looking to grab a cold drink with a colleague during or after work, visit The Hamilton (600 14th St., NW; 202-787-1000) and order its White Peach Sangria. Hint: go for the pitcher if you and your plus one plan to each have at least two. Made with Spanish Cava sparkling wine, OYO Stone Fruit Vodka, white peach purée and tarragon-infused syrup, it’s bright color, fresh aromas and sweet taste will have you ordering it well into the fall.

After a Saturday or Sunday stroll at Eastern Market, visit Ted’s Bulletin (505 8th St., SE, 202.544.8337) and add a kick to your dessert with one of its regionally-famous adult milkshakes. Their selection comes in a variety of flavors and best during summer is the Twisted Coconut that pairs vanilla ice cream with coconut rum and your choice of key lime pie flavored coconut rum or bananas foster flavored banana rum with crunchy shavings of toasted coconut. Not a fan of coconut? Try the Buzzed Berries, made with vanilla ice cream, raspberry schnapps, rum, and fresh blueberries, blackberries and raspberries.

For the next time you’re poolside or on the patio looking to enjoy something refreshing, open a bottle of Moët Ice Impérial, champagne meant to be enjoyed over ice. Available at 1 West Dupont Circle Wine & Liquor, Barrel House Liquor Store and Sherry’s Wine and Spirit, its best served over three ice cubes in a large cabernet-style glass. Dress it up with fresh mint leaves, lime zest or red fruits, and you’re set to chill in the summer sun.

Should you want to go the non-alcoholic route, locally hand-crafted Thunder Beast Root Beer is a crowd-pleaser for both the young and old. It boasts maple and butterscotch flavors with notes of honey and botanicals on its finish. Pick up a six pack at Relay Foods in D.C., Virginia or Maryland. [gallery ids="101824,139269" nav="thumbs"]