Capital One Café Opens in Georgetown

Besides the brews and sweets provided by its partner, Peet’s Coffee, the corner spot has desks, couches, private nooks, meeting rooms and a conference table with a television and screen projector.

COCKTAIL OF THE WEEK: Dirty Bananas From Saint Lucia

The first thing I notice when I meet Big Ted is not his size. It’s his smile. It’s a friendly, welcoming type of grin; similar to the ones proudly displayed by most of the locals I meet in Saint Lucia. Ted Barnard, or “Big Ted” as he is called, is the bar manager at the Coconut Bay beach resort, which is tucked away on the southern tip of the Caribbean island of Saint Lucia. The vacation spot, which boasts multiple bars spread out over its mile-long stretch of beachfront property, is known for its lengthy drink choices. Between the swim-up bar, the lobby bar, the nightclub, sports bar, restaurants and the tiki bar beside the well-shaded adult pool, I lose count of the different cocktails by my first evening. Each bartender seems to have his or her favorite potions. Everything from the self-named “Terry in a Cup” to Kay’s “I Like” and Hami’s killer “Negroni,” I ask Ted to mix me the most popular tipple at the resort. He whips up a “Dirty Banana,” a delicious smoothie-like concoction forged from fresh bananas, coconut cream, rum, coffee liqueur with an optional squirt of chocolate syrup. Because it is forged from fresh bananas, this cocktail sips more like a milkshake. Its thick texture gives it a dessert-like quality. But don’t be fooled, the dirty banana packs quite a punch thanks to three ounces of liquor. Later, I am informed that Ted has an extra-special version of the drink known as a “Filthy Banana.” When I ask him to elaborate on its contents, he slyly tells me it’s made with even more rum. Ted likes the dirty banana because it showcases the island’s local ingredients, St. Lucian rum, bananas, coconut and Ti Tasse, a rum- based coffee liqueur that is also produced in St. Lucia. Like most Caribbean nations, Saint Lucia takes great pride in its native rums. The flagship spirit, Chairmen’s Reserve, is blended rum concocted from a combination of continuous distilled and double-distilled rums. The result is a full-bodied spirit with just enough sweetness and a little bit of bite. The spiced version of Chairmen’s Reserve contains local spices and fruits including cinnamon, clove, nutmeg, vanilla, coconut, all spice, lemon and orange. It is also rumored to include Richeria Grandis – known locally as “Bois Bande” – a bark renowned in the Caribbean as a potent aphrodisiac. While I specifically requested Chairmen’s rum in my drinks, Ted usually blends his dirty bananas with a light locally-produced overproof rum. Hence the potency of this drink. A few too many, will have you floating off your barstool. Unfortunately, many of Saint Lucia’s spirits can be difficult to find in the states. If you’d like to replicate the dirty banana at home, I would recommend using either Wray and Nephew overproof rum -- or if you like a fuller flavored spirit, Flor De Cana seven-year-old rum. For the coffee liqueur, you may substitute Kamora. The smooth frozen tropical coconut-banana flavor is a fine anecdote for Washington’s recent scorching Caribbean-like weather. ? THE DIRTY BANANA 1 banana, sliced 1-ounce milk 1-ounce coconut cream 1.5-ounce coffee liqueur 1.5-ounce overproof light rum Squirt of chocolate syrup Add ingredients to blender with ice. Blend until well mixed. Garnish with a pineapple wedge. [gallery ids="100878,127477" nav="thumbs"]

Cook on a Whim: Sweet and Salty Pretzel S’mores

Not really a recipe, this is a suggestion on how to elevate your s’mores experience. Sometimes you can find flat mallows, which are perfect for this, but regular marshmallows will do just fine.

Cook on a Whim: Crisp and Chewy Strawberry Sugar Cookies

These cookies are naturally pink, and they are unmistakably strawberry. They are the perfect treat for Valentine’s Day.

Cook on a Whim: Fourth of July Recipe Round Up

Here are a half-dozen perfectly patriotic summertime treats to help you and your family members and friends celebrate all weekend long.

The Latest Dish

  -Il Mulino opened downtown at Vermont & L Streets in the first quarter of 2007, followed by Eric Ripert of Le Bernardin, when he opened Westend Bistro by Eric Ripert in the Ritz-Carlton in the West End in the final quarter of 2007. Greek restaurant Kellari Taverna opened last year on K Street where Jimmy’s on K used to be. Bond 45 opened the first quarter of this year across the river at National Harbor. Carmine’s just opened on Seventh Street in Penn Quarter. Now the flood gates have opened. As previously reported, Bobby Flay is looking for sites for his Burger Palace. P.J. Clarke’s will open where Olives was at the corner of16th & K Streets this fall. Also previously reported, Hill Country BBQ is slated to open in Penn Quarter, across from “neighbor” Carmine’s. NY-based BLT Restaurant Group is opening Casa Nonna on Connecticut Avenue where California Pizza Kitchen was. Rande Gerber (Cindy Crawford’s ex) is part of the partnership that includes his brother Scott (the operator) that is scouting sites for his renowned bars, which include Whiskey Blue and Stone Rose. Michael Wang is looking for sites for Luke’s Lobsters. And at the top of the news, NYC restaurateur extraordinaire Danny Meyer just signed a deal to open his burger concept, Shake Shack, where Fuddrucker’s was on 18th Street near Connecticut Avenue. Following its new neighborhood tradition, there will be a selection of frozen custard flavors unique to the Dupont Circle neighborhood. Chef RJ Cooper, formerly of Vidalia, will open his first independent project, Rogue 24, in D.C.’s Mount Vernon Square neighborhood on Blagden Alley on Ninth Street. Rogue 24 will exclusively offer an interactive 24-course tasting menu (hence the name). Harper McClure will serve as chef de cuisine. McClure hails from Atlanta’s renowned Bacchanalia restaurant and previously worked with Cooper at Vidalia as his sous chef for nearly five years. A winter 2011 opening is forecast. If at first you do succeed - it’s time to do it again. Since Masa 14 has been so successful, chef/owners Kaz Okochi and Richard Sandoval are planning to open a Mexican taqueria next spring near Masa 14 on 14th Street. It will have three levels, including a basement with a concept that will be fun and different. Because it’s “a license to print money,” a rooftop dining and bar area is also in the works. Because it’s a Mexican theme, chef Sandoval takes the lead on the menu. Their partner, Latif Guler (who also owns Agora) is working on the taqueria with Kaz and Sandoval. Tony Harris and partner have signed a deal to take over the Bullfeather’s site on Capitol Hill. He also owns Tunnicliff’s, Stoney’s and Ulah Bistro. Look for an American bar and grille concept to open by end of October/beginning of November, thanks to Papadopoulos Properties. Chicago-based Roti Mediterranean Grill has signed leases to open at The Avenue on Washington Circle, formerly known as Square 54, in Foggy Bottom, and Constitution Square in the NoMa neighborhood. Their first location, which opened in April on Penn Ave near the White House, proved to be such a hit, they plan to expand their healthy Mediterranean fast casual concept in D.C. B.J. Stone has done well in the restaurant business. He was the first managing partner for Outback Steakhouse in the region, before the founders decided to buy them all back. That went worked out quite well for BJ. Now he plans to open Stone’s Cove with Scott Mowrey in the Village Center at Dulles, The restaurant is scheduled to open by October, if the permit gods allow. Dishes will be offered in three sizes, depending on your appetite. And there will be a hot dog sampler (3 Dog Night), as it appears that nothing can open without a hot dog dish these days. Chef John Csukor of Richmond’s KOR Food Innovations is in charge of the menu. Interesting décor: No tables and no chairs. Everything happens at the bar. Chef Jose Andres’ company, ThinkFoodGroup, appears to be in a constant state of challenge and growth. Rumor is that he will open a café in the all-new Arena Stage on the southwest waterfront. Chef Enzo Fargione, formerly of Teatro Goldoni, has formed a restaurant group, Cucina Moderna, that has signed a letter of intent to open a restaurant at 11th and Pennsylvania Avenue, NW (where Central and Ten Penh are). It will be Enzo’s interpretation of modern Italian cooking, called Elisir. In English: Elixir, a mix of flavored liquids from Medieval times, commonly made from grappa or other distilled spirits. He plans to open it by the end of the first quarter of 2011. Linda Roth Conte is president of Linda Roth Associates, Inc (LRA) specializing in making creative connections through media relations, marketing initiatives, community outreach and special events for the hospitality industry. Contact Linda at 703-417-2700 or

Deli’s Plans Perk Up Students, Residents

The bright pink corner store at 35th and O Streets NW — a local Instagram icon — will soon be transformed into Call Your Mother: A Jew-ish Deli.

Cook on a Whim: Triple Berry Crème Fraîche Scones

These scones are the perfect weekend treat (or any day, really). These would also make great shortcakes with some freshly whipped cream and berries sandwiched between. 

Cook on a Whim: Spicy Thai Duck Salad

This salad hits all the right notes. The buttery, savory duck is perfectly complemented by all of the sharp, sour, spicy, sweet flavors of the dressing and veggies.

50 Shades of Sancerre

Ladies, here’s the scenario: You have just finished the first book in the mega literary phenomenon trilogy, “Fifty Shades of Grey.” You are immediately about to dive into book number two, “Fifty Shades Darker, and all that talk about wine has you desirous of a glass of Sancerre to sip as you read. All of the sudden, you have the burning desire to drink like Christian Grey and Anastasia Steele, the main characters. But what is Sancerre and where do you start to figure out what kind you will like? Never fear, I've got you covered. Here is your introduction to the “Wine World of Grey.” Now, gentlemen, I know you may not have any idea what book I am taking about. But ask any woman in your life, she’ll know and can give you (if she’s willing) a brief, albeit probably sanitized, version of the plot. We girls have some secrets to keep. But if you want to drink wine like a jaw- dropping handsome, wildly successful, EC15 Eurocopter-flying, Audio R8-driving, piano-playing, private jet-owning, 27-year-old billionaire, take notes! On one of Ana and Christian’s first dates, he orders a Sancerre, and you find them drinking it throughout the first book. But What is Sancerre? Sancerre is a place — a village in the Lorie Valley of France, to be specific. It's also a wine made there from the Sauvignon Blanc grape. The soil in Sancerre comes from ancient oyster beds. So, the wines are usually characterized by minerality rather than big citrusy fruit flavors like the Sauvignon Blancs from the U.S. or New Zealand. Some of the best wines in the region carry the name Sancerre and Pouilly Fumé. White Sancerre became widely popular in the U.S. after World War II, when American GIs were exposed to them and liked them because they were easy drinking and easy to pronounce. They are typically high in acidity. Pouilly Fumé, Sauvignon Blanc made from the village opposite of Sancerre, is so similar in taste that Ana and most everyone else, could often confuse it with Sancerre. Fume means smoke. I don’t know if “Fifty Shades” author, E. L. James, picked Sancerre as one of Grey’s favorites. But the choice is spot on. Sancerre mirrors Grey’s personality. He is like a Sancerre: elegant and reserved, like a traditional Sancerre — yet savage like the grapes’ name. The word “Sauvignon” comes from the word “sauvage,” i.e., “wild.” That’s Grey: “sauvage.” Sancerre can be smoky like “grey” smoke and with notes of gun flint — “grey gun flint.” Sancerre can have hints of minerality, herbs, orange, lime, along with a smoky-smoldering essence like Grey’s eyes are so often described. Crisp and elegant that’s Grey and Sancerre. How to Enjoy? Serve slightly chilled, and pair with white-fleshed fish. Enjoy alone or as an aperitif. Drink it now or within three to five years of its vintage year. The followingprices range for good to exceptional examples — from around $20 and up: Producers That Christian Grey Would Know and Collect Pascale Jolivet: Pale in color, but vibrant in flavor, racy, even elegant. Henry Natter: Natter produces a more “New World” a.k.a. American-style fruit focused Sancerre but still wonderful quality, and it’s a joy to drink. This wine can be enjoyed alone. Vincent Delaporte: Classic herbal-mineral charac- teristics and kiwi aromas are expressed in this vintner’s Sancerre. Domaine Vacheron: Citrus zest balanced with min- erality. The 2010 is made from 100 percent organic/ biodynamic Sauvignon Blanc grapes. Didier Dagueneau: Produces a Pouliy Fumé called “Pur Sang.” Floral and herbal. It has been seen on the wine list at the Inn in Little Washington in the past. And if you take a wallet like Christian Grey’s to purchase it from your wine merchant, you’ll be glad you did. Pascal Cotat: Try the 2010 Les Monts Damnes. Now armed with your shopping list, off to purchase new finds in perhaps your own Charlie Tango. Cheers and enjoy. Or I should I say: “Laters, Babe!” ?