Catering to Mother Earth

Swiss born and raised, Joêl Thévoz hit Washington in the mid-’80s with a business degree and a briefcase full of fresh ideas. Coming off la vida loca in Costa Rica and Mexico, where his on-the-fly dinners were highly praised by friends and neighbors, he had decided to settle down to a serious culinary career. With his wife and partner, Nancy Goodman, they launched Main Event Caterers in 1995 on K Street in Georgetown. Ten years later they were to bring their ever-expanding operations into Arlington, VA, where their stunning cuisine and lavish events garner rave reviews and an ever-increasing upscale clientele. They ran their company like every other top-tier caterer until three years ago. Motivated by Al Gore’s groundbreaking film, “An Inconvenient Truth,” they had an epiphany and took their successful company to higher level — one with a conscience — where green is the new black. It would hail a new dynamic for Main Event Catering and reflect their growing ecological awareness. Now in the vanguard of a new aesthetic where style meets substance, this sophisticated caterer is a leader in the green revolution, as they continue to be recognized with a growing list of local and national green business awards that reflect their commitment and the caliber of their cuisine. To add to their accomplishments, this year they won the coveted “Caterer of the Year” award from industry giant Catering Magazine. I spoke with the passionately eco-knowledgeable Thévoz and toured the 20,000 square-foot facility with its gleaming stainless steel demonstration kitchen-in-the-round, 25-foot floor-to-ceiling wine wall and extensive culinary library, featuring a precious archive of leather-bound Gourmet magazines dating from 1946. How long have you been on the green bandwagon? We started out being aware of our impact in this world about three years ago. The green movement was just getting started here and, for us, that set the pitchfork in the ground in terms of thinking about what we do and how we do it. There was one very impactful moment for us. It was a day when we were winding up after an event that used disposables. And at the time I was very proud of using the best quality plastics. I took a look at our truckload worth of waste and plastic garbage from this one event and I was literally sick to my stomach. I thought this stuff is going to last forever. What can we do better? What did you do to change your company’s way of doing business? That moment set the tone for a period of discovery. We wondered, “Can we find products that are biodegradable?” It was right about the time when cups made from cornstarch by-product became available. I had seen them used in an airport in England and brought some back with me. But it was a real challenge to find these things in the U.S. We started digging around and discovered they were making plates from dead palm fronds in India. They are sandwich-pressed using steam into these flat shapes with a bit of curvature to make a plate. Then they are hand-scissored to size. Finally, we could eliminate all plastics from our catered service, and now we only use biodegradable palm plates, balsa wood cutlery, washable glassware and other biodegradable products for our events using disposables. Also, we use purified water in jugs in place of mini plastic bottles. How do you recycle? We bring large recycling cans on site, and all our staff is trained to separate out recyclables like paper, cardboard, tin, glass and plastic. Then it gets brought back here where we take it to the recycling center. It does add to the workload of an event, but we still do it effectively. We also decided to add solar concentrators to the roof over the individual offices to bring in light and we are now replacing all our metal halide lights with T5 lights that use a minimal amount of electricity and are motion-sensitive. This way they shut off when someone leaves the room. The floors here are bamboo, the ice machines use filtered water and we clean and press all our linens to lessen our carbon footprint. To be carbon-neutral we buy carbon credits to offset all the energy that is used, as with our trucks going to and from events. Also, we calculated the approximate employee commute for the whole team and buy carbon credits to offset all those greenhouse gases, so that now we are 100 percent carbon-neutral. We’ve been doing that for three years. What other ways have you found to save energy? For one thing, we compost our food matter to make high-quality soil that we distribute to our community, and we collect and store all of our used cooking oil, that we donate to a local biodiesel cooperative. Also, we wanted to subsidize wind power. So we purchase an equivalent amount of electricity from a wind farm. And though it is off-site, it gives us the advantage of being technically wind-powered. It tells the energy company that we are serious and we want to spend our money on clean energy … because unless you prove with dollars that there is a desire to purchase alternative energy, they won’t listen. We’ve seen how it creates momentum when a lot of companies get involved. Have you figured out how much more it costs to do business in this way? We have a general idea, and of course the start-up costs were quite high, but it is far outweighed by the amount of business we receive from clients that are like-minded. Companies and individuals who like what we are doing eventually gravitate to us and we feel rewarded. We live happy and it has paved the way to the next stages in our development. It’s given us the knowledge and the confidence and introduced us to organizations that have things to offer us that are above and beyond anything else that we’ve done so far. What are some of the newest technologies that you’ll be using? Lately we find we are becoming a sort of incubator for green solutions. Not long ago we had a visit from a gentleman based in Florida and began to talk about using geothermal. I mentioned how our dishwasher pushes out gallons of 180 degree water and it just goes down the drain. He told us we could divert it and harness it. Ultimately his company designed a product for us using heat exchange and we’ll be testing it here. The plan is to have it up and running in a few weeks. In a nutshell, we will be running “grey” water alongside the city water pipes to super-heat municipal water. The fresh and “grey” water don’t mix together. There are membranes between the two of them. But in this way we can take the 65 degree water from the county and introduce it through our ”grey” water cisterns before it goes into the pipes. Eventually it will raise the temperature of our instant hot water for our washing machines two-fold to 130-160 degrees. It will save us a lot on gas usage. Is that a cost to the city? No, we handle it all from here. We’ll build a tank and the city water will go right through it. We’re also looking at placing these huge cisterns beside our buildings to gather and harness the rainwater from our roofs. Imagine! They can collect up to 40,000 gallons per month of water. What we want to do is use those tanks for latent energy. We subscribe to a train of thought that the future of this world is based upon communities building vertical farming. We have these flat roofs here and we are in the process of designing a rooftop garden with greenhouses to grow all our own vegetables and herbs. We have at least 6,000 square feet of roof space. We want to prove that it can be done and share the plots with the community. The greenhouse will be hydroponic and aeroponic, which is a system NASA developed that uses an oscillator that is introduced into a water tank. You create a certain vibration and it renders the water into a mist. You can then push that vapor, with pressure, into a system of canals or closed chambers in which the roots of your vegetables thrive without soil. Every intermittent three minutes the pipes are filled and then flushed. It works like a rainforest. The plants grow at 2-3 times the speed. What about the “terroir” — the taste imparted to the vegetables from the soil and its minerals? Won’t that be missed? We can introduce that into the water by making a slurry from our compost and extracting the minerals out in liquid form to fortify the water, or we can buy organic feed to add to it. Our last initiative will be to crush our glass and smelt it in kilns and create recycled glass slabs to use for platters and bowls. We are interested in inviting others, even our competitors, to see how we are doing this. We look to inspire others. What do you see for the future of catering? I foresee in the next few decades that we’ll move towards a more vegan and a more raw diet and a more healthful nutritious diet. So we’re making a small push to increase our vegetarian options and training ourselves to be better at cooking those options for our clients that want them, and for the future of our planet too. For questions or comments contact jordan@whiskandquill.com. [gallery ids="99115,99116,99117" nav="thumbs"]

The Latest Dish, April 7

  -Chef Robert Wiedmaier will expand his restaurant empire into Maryland when he opens The Mussel Bar by RW sometime in May (if the construction gods allow). The Woodmont Avenue location in Bethesda used to house Levante’s. Besides Belgian beer, mussels, fries and rock ’n’ roll, Wiedmaier will offer a basic menu of limited choices of fish, steak, crepes salads, oysters and, okay, two desserts. In a few weeks, the team behind Clarendon’s Liberty Tavern will open two new eateries in the same neighborhood: first they’ll debut Northside Social, a coffeehouse and wine bar, which will open in Clarendon near Liberty. Chef Liam LaCivita will oversee both. Owners will also open Lyon Hall, a European-style brasserie, on Washington Boulevard. UK native Andy Bennett will be the chef de cuisine. Bennett has impressive credentials, as he worked for Daniel Boulud in New York. Robert Valencia has been named pastry chef for all three establishments. He hails from Boulevard in San Francisco and Blue Fin in New York. Chef Update: Mark Hellyar has been named executive chef of Hook and Tackle Box restaurants in Georgetown. He served as chef de cuisine at the Oak Door at the Grand Hyatt, but he was in D.C. before that, as chef de cuisine at D.C.’s Blue Duck Tavern. Barry Zoslow has been named executive chef at Neighborhood Restaurant Group’s Tallula and EatBar. Previously, he was exec chef at Mendocino Grille and Wine Bar in Georgetown. Kyle Bailey and Tiffany MacIsaac, formerly of Allen & Delancey, are now at Birch & Barley/ChurchKey in D.C. Pete’s Apizza, with one location in Columbia Heights, is slated to open a second on Wisconsin Avenue at Fessenden Street. It serves New Haven-style pizza (thin-crusted). New Haven-style pizza was introduced to D.C. by relocated brother and sister pizza lovers Michael and Alicia Wilkinson, from New Haven. Owner Diton Pashaj says Rustik Neighborhood Tavern is slated to open in Bloomingdale at 1832 First St. this May. It will offer lunch, brunch, dinner, happy hour and outdoor seating. Now they just need their permit. Tackle Box in Georgetown has plans to expand into Bethesda and Penn Quarter, according to its menu notes. A wine bar by the name of Dickson Wine is slated to open on U Street where Project 4 Art Gallery was, in the Dickson Building. Will PJ Clarke’s (another New York restaurant!) really open in the old Olives location? Bill Thomas of Bourbon and Breadsoda in Glover Park plans to transform an old gym into Jack Rose, a restaurant and bar at 2007 18th St. Now slated to open in April: Ted’s BULLETIN on Barrack’s Row. American comfort food with Art Deco décor, and featuring a shaketender mixologist for milkshakes. Ted’s BULLETIN is from the folks who brought you Matchbox in Chinatown and Capitol Hill. Roberto Donna’s Galileo III, in the old Butterfield 9 space is also slated to open this month.

The Jockey Club, Redefined

When I heard they had revamped The Jockey Club, Washington’s bastion of the old guard and sanctuary for the well-heeled, my heart sank. The power dining spot in its heyday, it was a place where gentlemen’s chauffeurs waited, purposeful young men, hoping to impress, brought their dates and fashionable ladies lunched in suits and jewels. It stood alone in cataloguing the comings and goings of elite Washington society. And though the menu rarely changed, there was comfort in the veal paillard avec foie gras and the delicate Dover sole meuniere. No culinary acrobatics here. On a perfect spring afternoon we drove up to the porte-cochere at The Fairfax at Embassy Row. The original Jockey Club lantern stood beside the black-booted jockey, still sporting his red and white racing silks, and the etched brass plaque were in situ as we strode into the newly decorated dining room. Gone were the red and white-checked tablecloths and the dark-stained wooden booths (how they had held such charm is now inexplicable). In their place is an elegant, understated room flooded with sunlight, soft colors, suede banquettes and equine portraiture. But the food, my dears, after all, that is why I have come. Levi Mezick is a young chef whose modern French cuisine has thrown down the gauntlet to every French chef in this city as he displays a new dynamic for Washingtonian gastrophiles. Mezick trained under Edouard Loubet, the Provencal chef whose Domaine de Capelongue restaurant in Luberon sports two Michelin stars. He cut his teeth in the New York kitchens of Daniel Boulud at Daniel and Café Boulud, and later at Thomas Keller’s Per Se. All revel in three Michelin-starred restaurants and all are in the forefront of progressive French cuisine. We started with a simple butternut squash soup with cinnamon croutons and cranberry coulis, nicely executed though a bit behind the season. But it was the next dish, a snapper carpaccio exquisitely articulated with rings of blood orange segments and red radishes swirling around the thinly-sliced raw fish, that foretold the glories that lay ahead. We swooned and chirped over a glorious crab salad, a destination dish, mounted atop green apple gelee and celery root remoulade, an old French classic reinvented with a lively balance of creamy and tart. A delicious bread-crusted sea bass on basmati rice showed Indian-Asian influences with trails of coriander, tamarind and kaffir lime oil, highlighted by tender baby bok choy aswirl in an airy coconut foam. A duo of Pineland Farms local beef — red wine-braised short rib and seared strip loin — struck a lovely chord among sunchokes and pommes dauphine, accented by a rich Bordelaise sauce fragrant with marrow bone, wine and herbs. Sadly, desserts don’t measure up to Meznick’s triumphs. Pastry Chef Lisa Hood, who was at the Inn at Little Washington and Westend Bistro, will hopefully have more to offer on my next visit. For the present, a serviceable but plebeian chocolate-crusted Key lime cheesecake with raspberry coulis, and a Valrhona chocolate crème brulee with fresh berries will have to suffice. It was too early in the day to tipple, but rest assured the wine list is breathtaking. Cellaring over 450 labels and vintages, it is certainly one to explore over many occasions. Mostly weighted on the French side, it ranges from Nuits-St. Georges, Pommards and Chambertins to Meursaults and Puligny-Montrachets. Yet there are also stunning brunellos and barolos and nine Chateaux d’Yquem to quibble over. This “new” Jockey Club is as alluring as a first kiss. Just as impressive as ever, it has returned with a fresh cachet, a winning new chef and a dining room to match the restrained elegance of its cuisine. For questions or comments, contact jordan@whiskandquill.com. [gallery ids="102622,102599,102614,102607" nav="thumbs"]

The Bad Boy of Good Food

As the host of the Travel Channel’s “No Reservations,” Anthony Bourdain is the consummate dinner guest. An endearing enfant terrible, with a peripatetic wanderlust to rival Darwin and a puckish swagger that would make Bluebeard seem as docile as a clam, he slurps and sups the world’s melting pot in dogged pursuit of ethno-gastronomic delicacies. With cheerful I’ll eat-anything-you-put-in-front-of-me sangfroid, he lustily relishes fish brains, ant larvae, pig’s eyeballs, sparrow liqueur and the like on his adventures to far-flung locales. For his endless curiosity he has garnered a devoted audience, three Emmy nominations and has penned eight bestsellers, including the deliciously lurid “Kitchen Confidential.” In his latest memoir, “Medium Raw: A Bloody Valentine to the World of Food and the People Who Cook,” due out next month, he threatens to yank the delicate scrim off noted chefs. Alice Waters, David Chang and “Top Chef” winners and losers will feel the sting of the provocateur’s barbs. The gritty and endearing Bourdain will appear at the Warner Theatre on May 21 with cohort and chef/restaurateur Eric Ripert of D.C.’s Westend Bistro and New York’s famous Le Bernadin for an evening of tale-swapping and secrets of restaurant skullduggery. In a recent interview, he spoke to me about his life, his new book and his upcoming appearance in Washington. You take inordinate pleasure in poking the prevailing food fashionistas, uncovering the raw underbelly of restaurants, and snubbing the establishment. What propels you on to your next adventure? I have a restless and curious mind, and as much as I might not like to face it, I’m probably becoming the food establishment at this point. But I do it because I can. It’s my nature. I get angry when I see abuse, and ecstatic when the experience is great. I enjoy traveling. I like chefs and get paid to do what I like doing. And, thankfully, I’m not expected to behave or be diplomatic. I’m clearly very lucky and very foolish to do what I do and thankfully I can benefit from low expectations. With Eric [Ripert], he and I have a lot in common, but he has the burden of a reputation to protect and I don’t. Your independent, take-no-prisoners style of writing is delightfully anarchic. What makes for a good food writer, in your opinion? Certainly a willingness to step out of one’s comfort zone. If you’re writing about food, it’s very, very important to like and appreciate the people that make your food … also, a lack of snobbery, definitely honesty and to not be willfully disingenuous. If you really enjoy eating food I don’t think you have to know about food. That will come. But you should be passionate about it. Be an honest broker with an open mind and an open heart. I think some of the most dynamic writing on food is obviously coming off the blogosphere. The chimera is a fabulous fire-breathing monster with the head of a lion, body of a goat, and tail of a serpent. Would you eat it and how would you prepare it? If I were surprised by it as a guest in someone’s home in a developing country, I would accept it out of politeness, rather than offend my host. Though if I were to prepare it, I’d cook it low and slow with a bottle of good wine. You’ve eaten your way throughout the four corners of the world. What fusion would you create that hasn’t yet been done? I’m generally not a fan, I think it’s dangerous territory. But two of my favorite restaurants are in New York, Momofuku Ko and Momofuku Saam, which use French, Southern American, Italian and Korean fusion. It’s utterly fantastic, perhaps because it breaks all the rules. There have been three books written about [actress] Louise Brooks. One is her autobiography in which she speaks of my grandfather as her greatest paramour. You said that Louise Brooks would be a preferred dining companion at your last supper? Why did you choose her? I enjoyed her autobiography, “Lulu in Hollywood,” and saw two of her films. I think she was a fascinating and an extraordinarily forward-thinking and independent woman, especially for her times. She struck me as someone with interesting things to say and who would be a powerful presence at the dining table. On to the more mundane — what are your favorite restaurants in D.C.? Any restaurant that Jose Andres is associated with. I love Minibar! I love Michel Richard and Bob Kinkead’s place! Oh my God! Who am I leaving out? Oh, and El Pollo Rico! And Eamonn’s too in Alexandria! What do you cook at home? Cooking pasta makes me happy. Maybe a steak, but I like to use one pan and keep it simple. I have so little time to spend with my family. In NYC I just pick up the phone and I can order Japanese, Thai, Chinese and French — or a human head delivered! What foods would you like to see more of in the US? I like bottarga [cured fish roe] very much and jamon Iberico [Iberian cured ham]. And I know it’s a dream, but more unpasteurized raw milk cheeses, especially really stinky ones from France and Italy … and artisanal sausages from Sardinia. I’m a sushi slut, so, I’d say more high-quality sushi … though maybe not, because of the over-fishing. As an institution I would like to see Singapore-style hawkers’ centers. That would be a great development for our country. What importance do you accord to ambiance, food, and service to define a successful restaurant? These days I like ambiance and service as unobtrusive and informal as possible. What I really appreciate at Momofuku Ko is you’re getting two-star Michelin food over a counter, directly from a cook who’s wearing a dishwasher’s shirt. That’s awesome! I don’t need flowers and china and expensive silverware, unless you’re talking about French Laundry or Per Se. I am breathless with admiration for those two. But more often then not it’s about the food. If I’m comfortable without a tie, I’m more likely to be enjoying my food. I’d just as soon be in cut-offs and bare feet. You’ve experienced foods from cultures that no outsider will ever taste. Please choose from the following answers. If an ivory-billed woodpecker was struck by a car and lay by the roadside as you were on my afternoon stroll, you would: A) Try to revive it; B) Call the local bird rehabilitator; C) Fire up the grill; D) Go for the eyeballs first Call the bird rehabilitator. Oh my, you are a romantic! I like cute animals. What can you tell me about your new book? I am living in a state somewhere between suspended animation and mortal terror. It comes out June 8 and I have no idea how it will be received. I’m pretty sure there are going to be people pretty angry with me, but it’s too late to stop it now. Talk to me in two months! Right now I’m really looking forward to coming to D.C. to do this rare gig with Eric. For tickets to “No Reservations: An Evening with Anthony Bourdain and Eric Ripert,” visit [www.warnertheatre.com](http://www.warnertheatre.com). For questions or comments, contact jordan@whiskandquill.com.

Michelin Three-Star Mixologist Shakes It Up, Old School

On a balmy evening last week guests gathered around Michelin three-star mixologist Brian Van Flandern for a lesson in margarita-making. On the white crocodile skin-topped bar, Van Flandern laid out all the necessary accoutrements for professional bartending: jiggers, shakers, strainers, ice scoops, crystal pitchers of fresh-squeezed lime juice and freshly-cut lime wedges, including his preferred Don Julio Tequila and light agave syrup. Large silver bowls of ice were ready for eager guests who lined up to measure, ice down, shake, pour and garnish the perfect classic margarita in preparation for their own summer parties. The natty and knowledgeable consultant Van Flandern, who creates cocktails for the iconic Bemelmans Bar at New York’s posh Carlyle Hotel, Thomas Keller at Per Se, Michel Richard at Citronelle, and Chef Mario Batali, had arrived at the chic Palisades home of Lani Hay, president and CEO of LMT, Inc., for a private dinner and launch of his book “Vintage Cocktails.” Publishers Prosper and Martine Assouline, whose elegant imprint of luxury books and works of art are found in boutiques in Paris, New York, Los Angeles and Las Vegas, were on hand to celebrate the moment with a dinner menu that was designed around a progression of dishes paired with classic cocktails from the book. THE COCKTAIL DOCTRINE “Acid, alcohol and sugar,” Van Flandern instructed his mixologists-in-training. “It’s all about the balance,” he advised while the sloshing and clacking sounds of a battery of Boston shakers filled the room. Everyone had their own Hawthorne strainer to hold back the ice for the straight-up margaritas. A quick tasting was recommended to perfect the balance, and then it was down the hatch. In an interview, Van Flandern, who grew up in nearby Chevy Chase, described a few of his techniques and ingredients for some of his spectacular cocktails. A purist to the bone, he crafts his exquisite “Tonic and Gin,” designed for New York’s Per Se, using ground CHINCHONA bark from the Amazon rainforest. He also makes his own maraschino-style cherries, using dehydrated Bing cherries reconstituted in hot water. “They taste just like cherry pie!” he says. He counsels me, “Be sure to save the liquid, add sugar and reduce to make a simple syrup for infusing spirits.” I wondered where the word “cocktail” originated and why some cocktails are referred to as “vintage” or “classic.” He explained that “at one point in history a certain cocktail gained global popularity and becomes a classic or is destined to become one because of all the publicity it has garnered.” The term “mixologist” has been usually regarded as pretentious and taboo in the industry, but since a renaissance of the cocktail, he assures me bartenders are embracing the coinage. “2004 was the 200th anniversary of when the word “cocktail” first appeared in print. And now great bartenders around the world are looking to chefs for direction and focusing on balancing acid to sugar. They are using fresh ingredients, hosting spirits education, and researching the histories of the specific distillation techniques. Even the TERROIR and culture behind where different spirits are made are taken into consideration in developing flavor profiles to create delicious and original cocktails.” A trend likely to continue. While working with Chef Thomas Keller at Per Se in New York City, Van Flandern lowered the ethanol content of the spirits and paired his cocktails with dinner courses, creating food-friendly cocktails and earning a four-star rating from noted New York Times food writer and wine critic Frank Bruni. DESIGNER COCKTAILS Since I misspent some of my salad days at the Bemelmans Bar in the Café Carlyle, where Van Flandern reigns, I asked him to share some original cocktails he has created for the iconic watering hole. “Sex in the City” Cocktail — On the cover of “Vintage Cocktails” is a photograph of a pretty pink sugar-frosted rim cocktail he calls “The Bradshaw,” named after Carrie Bradshaw of “Sex in the City.” Little known is that real life actress Sarah-Jessica Parker and her husband, Matthew Broderick, had their first date here. To mark the occasion, the drink was designed for her using Don Julio Blanco Tequila, fresh lime juice, simple syrup and the pink-colored, passion fruit-infused X-Rated Vodka. The recipe is just in time for “Sex in the City 2” and should be served at all the private screenings around town. Tiffany and Co. Cocktail — For his design of “the official cocktail” for Tiffany and Co., he mixed Alize Blue, fresh lime juice, pear vodka, a drizzle of cane sugar syrup and Moscato d’Asti. When presented, it was served in a champagne flute and tied with a white silk ribbon around the base. Dolce and Gabbana Cocktail — For the launch of their “Light Blue” perfume, he mixed Ciroc Vodka with Granny Smith apple cider and citrus peels, adding cedar wood from a distillation he created using the shavings from a cedar wood clothes hanger. For questions or comments on this article contact jordan@whiskandquill.com. [gallery ids="99136,102724,102718" nav="thumbs"]

Is the Price Right?

  -Don’t let high prices weigh your pockets down! Inspired by the opening of the new Safeway, The Georgetowner has decided to find the best priced products in the DC area by comparing items from Whole Foods Market, Trader Joe’s, Dean & Deluca, Safeway and Giant. For our initial “Is the Price Right” column, we sought to bring you the best deals on a few of summer’s freshest foods. To cool off in the summer sun, the least expensive option for Poland Spring sparkling water is $0.89 at Whole Foods Market. Add some zest to your water with lemons or limes for $0.39 each at Trader Joe’s. For a great snack, Fage Greek yogurt mixed with fresh berries is a summer delight. Fage can be purchased for $1.79 at Trader Joe’s, Safeway and Whole Foods, yet choosing Safeway for your mix-ins is your berry best bet. Blackberries, raspberries and strawberries can be found at Safeway for $3.49, $3.49 and $2.49 respectively. However, if you’re craving blueberries, $2.66 at Giant is the best deal. For a further comparison of prices, see the chart below and check out the next issue for more great price checks! Trader Joe's Poland Spring sparkling water - N/A Fage (Greek yogurt) - 6 oz. $1.79 Raspberries - 8 oz. $3.29 Strawberries-16 oz. $2.79 Blueberries - 6 oz. $2.99 Blackberries - 12 oz. $3.69 Limes - $0.39 each Lemons - $0.39 each Whole Foods Poland Spring sparkling water -$0.89 Fage (Greek yogurt) - 6 oz. $1.79 Raspberries - 6 oz. $3.99 Strawberries - 16 oz. $8.99 Blueberries - 6 oz. $4.99 Blackberries - 12 oz. $4.99 Limes - 5 for $2.00 Lemons - $0.79 each Dean & Deluca Poland Spring sparkling water - N/A Fage (Greek yogurt) - 6 oz. $2.25 Raspberries - 4 oz. $7.00 Strawberries - 16 oz. $6.75 Blueberries - 6 oz. $6.00 Blackberries -12 oz. $6.00 Limes -1 lb. $3.00 Lemons -1 lb. $6.00 Safeway Poland Spring sparkling water - N/A Fage (Greek yogurt) - 6 oz. $1.79 Raspberries -12 oz. $6.99 or $3.49 with club card Strawberries -16 oz. $2.49 Blueberries - 6 oz. $3.99 Blackberries -12 oz. $6.99 or $3.49 with club card Limes- $0.79 each Lemons- $0.89 or $0.69 each with club card Giant Poland Spring sparkling water -$1.39 Fage (Greek yogurt) - 5.3 oz. $1.39 Raspberries -3 oz. $6.99 Strawberries - 16 oz. $2.66 Blueberries- 6 oz. $2.66 Blackberries- 5.6 oz. $2.66 Limes- $0.69 each Lemons -$0.79 each [gallery ids="99138,102741,102734,102738" nav="thumbs"]

Georgetown Wing Co. Opening Week

  -Georgetown Wing company opened its doors a week ago above Crepe Amore at 3291 M Street. The restaurant offers wings, friendly staff and a small bar. Two Georgetown diners said the the food was good and decently priced. The current menu is the soft copy, and the items will be narrowed down to a shorter version with only the most popular selling items. The specials include $1.50 Miller Lite and Yuengling bottles and $3.00 Samuel Adams and Sierra Nevada. The restarant will also be having FIFA specials. The Georgetowner crew sampled the restaurant’s trademark inferno and first-degree burn spicy wings, and their specialty mango and sweet sweet BBQ wings. Here’s their thoughts! Siobhan (Wing connoisseur): “Lots of places in D.C. say their wings are hot when they're not. But these had some heat to them. I just wish they were crispier.” Justin (Buffalonian wing expert): “These are in the running to be one of the best wings in D.C.” Garrett (Never met a wing he didn’t like): “The first-degree burn sauce is still flavorful with a kick, but the best option was the sweet barbecue wings.” Charlie (Wing critic): “I am still a big fan of the honey barbecue, but the mango is a close second.” Jenna (Texan barbecue queen): “It’s as good as any barbecue in Texas. You all know what that means.” Nicole (The hotter the wings, the better): The first-degree burn spicy had a nice kick, but I’ve worked in a sports bar that specialized in wings and these are not the best I’ve ever had. They’re not Buffalo enough.” Caitlin (Meat lover): “The wings tasted great, and the price is reasonable.” Jillian (Vegetarian): “The sauce tastes good!”

1789 Sees Summer Changes

  -Local blog Georgetown Week reports that the famed 1789 restaurant in Georgetown will be changing up its menu until Sept. 15 to match the summer season. The new menu will include food with local flair such as Virginia Asparagus with Surryano Ham, Serena Cheese and Blis Sherry Vinegar, Chesapeake Bay She Crab Soup with crispy spring onions, Sherry wine, and parsley, Crispy Fried Soft Shell Crab with Anson Mill's grits and local asparagus, and Carpaccio, from Piedmont Ridge Beef, with hard boiled quail eggs, pequin chili oil, fried capers and aioli. The menu will also boast new desserts including a honey funnel cake with nectarines and raspberry ice cream and oatmeal cookie blueberry crisp with Absinthe-apricot sherbet, just to name a couple. The menu will continue to change to incorporate the current freshet produce. But the menu isn’t the only thing that’s lightened up. The prices have seen summer changes. For $35 per person (not including drinks, tax or gratuity) diners can enjoy two choices from the dinner menu and one from the dessert menu. The dress code is also more accommodating to season by no longer requiring men to wear jackets to dine, at least for now.

‘The Good Stuff Cookbook’

Last Monday morning I watched Spike Mendelsohn on ABC’s “Good Morning America” from the luxury of my bed. He was doing a food demo on the sidewalks of New York with fellow Greek George Stephanopoulos. Spike’s a down-to-earth real deal guy who, no matter how famous he has become, will still shake your hand, look you in the eye and flip your burger. Then he’ll stick around to make sure you liked it. Five days earlier I spoke with him at The Good Stuff Eatery, his restaurant on Capitol Hill, along with a small group from the press gathered for the launch of his latest project, “The Good Stuff Cookbook.” Surrounded by baskets of his farmhouse bacon cheeseburgers, crunchy tender “Village Fries,” and tall frosty toasted marshmallow milkshakes, he is humbled as usual by the attention lavished on him. I’ve always been impressed with Spike, his work ethic and his accessibility. He is naturally giving and open. I’ve watched him jump from behind a searing grill on “Spike’d Sundays” at the Capitol Skyline Hotel pool on the hottest day of summer to hand off a burger and fries to a passing guest. He wants to please everyone. His new books were stacked for signing on a small table when a word bubble floated aimlessly over my head: “Can a cookbook with hamburger recipes really captivate jaded foodies in a fresh and creative way?” The answer would hang in the air until I returned home. He begins as most authors do, with acknowledgement of agents’ guidance and chefs’ inspiration. But it is his warm descriptions of family and the integral part they have played in his career that tell of Spike, the man. “The restaurant is the epitome of family,” he avows. His sincerity is palpable. There is a tender tribute to sister and co-author, Micheline, to whom he writes “To say I could never have done this book without you, is like calling the sky blue.” His grandfather — “Papou, whose love was like an heirloom passed down” — and grandmother, Zas, who started his love of food and people since the day he first washed dishes in the family’s restaurants, are showered with his adoration and respect. They taught him well. He has become a man who believes in inclusion, a generous ambassador of his food knowledge and philosophy. Nobody is surprised at this. If you’ve ever eaten at his lines-out-the-door Good Stuff Eatery you know that he has reached people by serving honest, homey, un-pretentious food — albeit with an original twist. There are no fewer than eleven different takes on mayonnaise in the book, from chipotle to pomegranate and my personal favorite, Old Bay. From long-time New Yorker pal and grill partner Brian, he gets Big B’s Baked Beans. Uncle D’s Chili and Cheddar Burger is a thankful nod to Great Uncle Denny. On the lighter side there are grilled watermelon, yuzu and feta salad with fried goat cheese and dried cranberry and almond wedge salad, where the Greek influence shines brightly. The restaurant’s recipe for their popular “Village Fries,” speckled with fresh chopped rosemary and thyme, is given here, along with the “Michelle Burger,” featuring ground turkey mixed with mango chutney, green apples and chipotle chiles served on a multi-grain bun. The “Prez Obama Burger” pays tribute with a juicy beef burger, applewood-smoked bacon and crumbled blue cheese topped with horseradish mayonnaise and red onion marmalade. The Obamas LOVE this place! Southerners will relish his take on fried chicken in his recipe for the fried chicken burger with smoked bacon, gingered honey mustard and sauteed collard greens. It’s a Sunday-go-to-meeting supper on a bun. There are plenty of useful tips throughout the book. There are two pages of photos and directions on cutting perfect onion petals, one of his signature items. It’s his delicious rendition of onion rings that keeps the batter tight to the onion, while the onion petal itself retains its integrity, still meltingly tender and fully cooked. I’ve always wondered how this was done. Rivetingly lush photographs by Joel Shymanski capture the intimacy of the moment between the arrival of the hot, smoking, gooey, oozing, herbed, slathered dish and the split second before you pop it in your expectant and salivating mouth. The images taken are so close up, you might want to eat the page before you read the recipe. Many of the dessert recipes are perfect for on-the-go entertaining. Cherry-apricot jam blondies and Vietnamese coffee brownies speak directly to the popular “pick-up sweets” geared towards picnics and grill-outs. Imagine cardamom and caramel popcorn on the lawn at Wolf Trap. Yes, it’s trendy, but oh-so-cute. I’m saving the best for last when I tell you that recipes for Mendelsohn’s scrumptious milkshakes, floats and malts served in the restaurant are revealed to the reader. That’s right — 22 glorious pages of creamy, mouth-watering ice cream treats to freeze your brain. Hallelujah! This stuff is so good it should be illegal. Sign a waiver to yourself before you try it at home. “Plan a party,” Spike entreats his readers. There’s plenty of the “Good Stuff” to go around. For questions or comments, contact jordan@whiskandquill.com. Good Stuff Sauce (makes about 2 cups) 2 cups homemade basic mayonnaise 2 tablespoons ketchup 2 tablespoons molasses 2 tablespoons rice vinegar 1 teaspoon salt Add the mayonnaise, ketchup, molasses, vinegar and salt to a food processor or blender. Puree until smooth. The sauce can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to one week. From “The Good Stuff Cookbook,” John Wiley & Sons. [gallery ids="99143,102774,102790,102786,102779,102783" nav="thumbs"]

The Latest Dish

  -Mike Anderson of Mango Mike’s has been Alexandria-centric in his restaurant ventures. Staying within those borders, he has set his sights on Delray. He also set his sights on barbecue—and found the BBQ Boys, aka three lobbyists from whom he has licensed the name of his new barbecue restaurant – Pork Barrel BBQ. The tag line makes it game-set-match: “Monumental Flavor.” Next door, he will open Chop Chop, an Asian fusion restaurant. The third space is a lounge, open evenings, serving sushi and saki. The three spaces will share a kitchen, storage area, and general manager. Cathal and Meshelle Armstrong will expand their Old Town Alexandria empire with a butchery, market, and bakery on Washington Street, and furthermore with Virtue Feed & Grain, a casual Irish and American gastropub named after the grain store that used to be there. More recently, it’s where Olsson’s bookstore used to be on Union Street. Thompson Hospitality’s American Tap Room will open its second location in Bethesda. Similar to the original in Reston, the Bethesda restaurant will feature entertainment in the form of a piano. It will be in fine form for Sunday jazz brunch or, of course, if Sir Elton John happens to stop by. A July opening is planned. Food & Wine Co. will open on Wisconsin Avenue in Bethesda this summer where Pizzeria Uno used to be. It is geared for those who love wine with their meal, but not the usual restaurant mark-up price. Owner Francis Namin is a veteran of Centro Italian Grill (also in Bethesda) and Red Tomato Café in D.C. He plans to charge only a $5 mark-up, which is more like a corkage fee. Francis is not hiding the actual price, as he sells wine at Cork 57, his Bethesda-based wine shop. The food will salute French, Italian and American cuisine with everything from steamed mussels & fries, to pasta & pizzas, to sandwiches & burgers. Paolo Buffa, formerly of Centro Italian Grill, has been named executive chef. He will be joined by Kyle Christie, from Wolfgang Puck Group. A June opening is planned. No sleep this summer for the Matchbox guys. They plan to open a third location on the-very-happening Barracks Row on Eighth Street S.E.. Plans are for DC-3 Dogs to be a sandwich shop with something special for hot dog aficionados, i.e. the “Chi-town” char dog with tomatoes and sport peppers as well as a traditional Coney Island dog. Partner Drew Kim is excited to work his secret homemade kimchi recipe into a beef dog recipe. The H Street corridor (aka the Atlas District) keeps challenging the rest of the culinary community in D.C. Next to open: The Queen Vic, a British-style gastropub, from the team behind The Pug. A summer opening is forecast. The gravely named Italian restaurant Vendetta is a collaboration between Atlas impresario Joe Englert and Teddy Folkman, the chef at Granville Moore’s. Rest assured, the restaurant’s name will not mirror the effects eat your meal. Quick Hits: Café Manna will take over the location of Good Thyme Food Court at 1900 M St. serving much of the same. Michel is the official name of Michel Richard’s new restaurant in The Ritz-Carlton Tysons Corner. An early autumn opening is scheduled. Dave Crane, formerly of Morton’s in Bethesda, is now general manger of the Lexus President’s Club operated by Levy Restaurants, at Nationals Park. New Jersey-based McLoone’s Pier House is slated to open at National Harbor the end of June, serving American-style food both indoors and outdoors. Pizzeria Orso, Falls Church’s upcoming pizzeria with a pedigree, is aiming for an early June opening. Openings update: Crumbs Bake Shop (another cupcake joint) signed its first location in Union Station. Over on the other side of town, in Georgetown, Sprinkles hopes to be selling cupcakes by July. Owner Qaiser Kazmi is looking towards a July opening for Merzi, his Indian QSR concept on Seventh Street in Penn Quarter. Roberto Donna’s Galileo III is slated to open where Butterfield 9 used to be by end of June. Carmine’s in Penn Quarter is aiming for an end of summer August/September opening. The new Great American Restaurant Group restaurant in Fairfax, Ozzie’s Corner Kitchen, is slated to open in early October. Mad Fox Brewery will be the second brew pub to open in quaint Falls Church. Bill Madden, of Leesburg’s Vintage 50 Restaurant & Brew Lounge, is the brewmaster. Russel Cunningham, formerly of Agraria and Centerplate catering, is the executive chef. 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 linda@lindarothpr.com or visit her web site at www.lindarothpr.com