20 Years of Peacock Café

A weekday afternoon at the Peacock Café is one of the few quiet times in the popular Georgetown Restaurant at 3251 Prospect Street. With the tables fully white-clothed and less foot traffic outside, you can get an appreciation of the graceful style of the place. Sitting at the bar, there’s a tennis match on the television between a Russian and a Ukrainian playing at the French Open, which adds to a vaguely casual international atmosphere here. We talked the Shahab and Maziar Farivar, the brothers who own the Peacock Café, at a table by the back window looking out into an inviting patio. The whole scene looks and feels pleasantly prosperous, like the brothers themselves—Shahab in shirt and tie with a touch of gray in his hair, Maziar in his chef’s uniform, also a little gray, with some ounces added to his frame. They will be celebrating the Peacock Café’s 20th anniversary on this stretch of Prospect Street, where they first opened back in 1991 as a six-seat restaurant/carryout without a real stove or kitchen. They have become a Georgetown neighborhood fixture in an area where competition includes the high end and glitzy likes of Morton’s and Café Milano. In a way, the brothers Farivar are a classic American success story with an edge to it, given the times we live in. The brothers immigrated to the United States at a young age, sent here from Iran by their parents who would join them later in the wake of the Iranian revolution that toppled the Shah in the 1970s. Even though Iranian family tradition of the educated classes are still a part of their way of doing things in America—politeness and manners seems to be a natural and genuine part of their makeup—the men see themselves as Americans, blessed with the opportunities that this country can provide to immigrants who work hard, have adventurous imaginations and have the courage not to be afraid to fail. Like all Americans, they were appalled by 9/11. “We could see the smoke from the Pentagon on Wisconsin Avenue,” Maziar recalls, uneasy with the friction between Iran and the United States. Some of us at the Georgetowner were regular customers of the first Peacock Café location, 1,200 square feet filled with the smell of fresh bread and sweets. The division of labor back then already existed: Shahab was the front man, the greeter, the person customers and employees dealt with. “He is the best,” Maziar says. “The best at his job because, you know how people can be in this business. Not everyone is good at the people part. But Shahab is. He’s more than good. He’s interested in people, he likes people, he’s got tons of charm, and everything he does and says is genuine, authentic. People can pick up on that.” That’s one of those intangibles that make this restaurant—a bigger version of the original—a success. It’s hard to peg, for instance, what the restaurant is supposed to be. You wouldn’t, for instance, guess that the restaurant and the menu is the work of two gentlemen from Iran, “except that sometimes, I sneak some seasoning, some flavors in,” says Maziar. On its website, it bills itself as a contemporary American Restaurant and Bar, which is to say that the menu, eclectic as all get out, does include an array of burgers and maybe one of the best filet mignons around. “Sometimes I think it must have seemed crazy at the time,” Maziar says. “We put together everything we had and we put it in this place. It was upstairs, in the square right by Wisconsin Avenue, but it fronted the courtyard on Prospect. We thought of it as a café and market, and we thought we might last a couple of years if we were lucky, and sometimes we weren’t sure about that. But you know, we did what we do now, except it’s bigger, with lots more employees, bigger costs to make the nut and a profit. “Sometimes my mom and dad, they would sit there—there were only six seats, really—so that it would appear that we would have customers there all the time. Crazy, I know. A friend of mine would come in a lot too. But what people liked then was the unusual stuff. We did healthy, fresh before there was Whole Foods, we did gourmet coffee before there was Starbucks. People liked that.” When they were busy back then, the line stretched out the door. I liked the vegetarian chili, which is still on the menu and still as good as before. And for me to even admit proximity to vegetarian is the stuff of amazement to friends. But I’m not alone—Secretary of State Hilary Clinton recently celebrated her birthday here with husband Bill, and the ex-prez ate a healthy vegan dinner—quite a thing for a man who was something of a notorious burger king. It’s hard to exactly identify the quality of Peacock, until you talk to the brothers. Their personalities and tastes, their eager curiosity about the world, their love affair with quality, are like thumbprints all over the restaurant. And Maziar is a talented chef with a lot of soul, who adds an extra kick and a little song to some signature dishes, like the filet mignon with mushroom sauce, roasted duck Provencal, grilled lamb, the Bistro burger with gorgonzola cheese, and the seared tuna sandwich. If you’ve been absent for a long time, they treat and greet you like you were there last Saturday. They’ve got art on the walls, currently Fashion Week photographs whose proceeds from purchase benefit various charities. They’ve got lots of light and lots of space. You can bring your parents there, your hip artist cousin, your significant other, your grandchild. You don’t hear much from food critics—except for a pair of local bloggers who call themselves the Bitches Who Brunch. Yes indeed. They loved the place and raved about the poached eggs and a smoothie called the Mango Tango. It’s the quality of the food and offerings that count, to be sure, but often restaurants are more than just food. The story of the Peacock Café is in the event itself, the 20th anniversary, and the story of the brothers and the longtime employees. Several generations of Georgetown University students and their parents have eaten here on graduation day, for instance. “It’s graduation time now, and you know that’s always a bittersweet time for us,” Shahab said. “The kids and their parents that have been coming here will be gone, and that’s sad.” And it’s really the story of these two men. For a long time, they lived together in Virginia, until Shahab married wife Micky ten years ago. They have two daughters, Ava, six, and Ella Rose, four. “He is the best uncle,” Shahab said. “But I had to kick him out.” You will also notice that they’re close and comfortable, and that this is the house they built together. The Peacock—and the brothers Farivar—are a Georgetown institution, as much as any restaurant of long standing. They are a part of the Prospect block and a part of the daily life of Georgetowners, from brunchers and students, to residents and families. They’ve made three different attempts to expand—once in Dupont Circle, another time in Baltimore, and another more recently on K Street, right as the big economic meltdown hit. They both agree there have been some mistakes. “But we learned from them, I like to think,” Shahab says. “I mean, we haven’t given up on expansion, but not right now. We’re here to stay, that’s for sure.” Maybe, like some fictional character named Dorothy, they’ve learned that there’s no place like home. And home, for the immigrant brothers from Iran, is right here in Georgetown. [gallery ids="102558,102559,102560,102561,102562,102563,102564,102565" nav="thumbs"]

Strawberries and Asparagus: A Delicious Opportunity for Health

The Farmers Markets are almost in full swing. The Rose Park Market began on Wednesday, May 9 (every Wednesday, 3 – 7 p.m. through November), with the two most popular items in season: asparagus and strawberries. And of course, The Dupont Circle Fresh Farm Market is now open on Sundays, 8:30a.m. – 1p.m. This is the time of year to revel in the peak ripeness, flavor and nutrition of these springtime delicacies. The recipe for curried chicken salad with strawberries comes from my mother and makes a very nice lunch offering. Like any curry dish, its perfect companions are a spicy or sweet chutney (try CHOP Market’s Nature Isle Chutney) and a cool yogurt. You could also top it on a baguette or stuff it into a tomato or avocado half. Serve with pickles, carrot and celery sticks or radishes. You can use any seasonal fruits such as peaches, grapes, oranges, or anything ripe and in season. Have fun with it. The beauty of spring is the wide array of options, and it’s hard to go wrong. Strawberries are actually members of the Rose family, and there are over 600 different varieties. Choose freshly picked, ripe berries, as they will be the tastiest and will have the most nutrients. “Look for berries fully formed, bright red, without bruising or soft spots and with fresh-looking green caps,” says janie Hibler in her book, The Berry Bible. She continues with a word of caution: “Beware of buying out-of-season strawberries, as sometimes they are picked when they are only 40% ripe. These berries may turn red, but they will never develop sweetness and can be hard as an apple.” Strawberries are considered a “superfood.” They have one of the highest antioxidant and nutrient contents of all foods, they are also low in calories—you can eat them in unlimited quantities. In fact, for your health, the more the better! “A serving of eight strawberries contains more vitamin C than an orange,” says David Grotto in 101 Foods That Could Save Your Life. “Strawberries are also rich in folate, potassium, and fiber. They’re especially high in cancer- and heart-disease-fighting phytonutrients (beneficial plant compounds) called flavonoids, anthocyanins, ellagic acid, quercetin, catechin, and kaempferol.” Asparagus, meanwhile, is packed with nutrients. Low in calories, it’s an excellent source of folic acid and Vitamin C, Thiamin, and Vitamin B6. Asparagus, like other fruits and vegetables, is sodium-free, and contains no fat or cholesterol. It is an important source of potassium and many nutrients, important for boosting your immune system and preventing heart disease, lowering blood pressure and even preventing cancer. According to the National Cancer Institute, Asparagus is the highest tested food containing Glutathione, one of the body's most potent cancer fighters. Additionally, Asparagus is high in Rutin, which is valuable in strengthening the blood vessels.?This recipe for chilled asparagus spears in a creamy vinaigrette is a bright, balanced dish that I think brings out the best in asparagus. Kjerstin’s Curried Chicken Salad with Strawberries and Roasted Almonds Serves 4 2 cups chicken breast meat, cooked, chopped (about 2 half breasts) 1 pint low sodium, nonfat chicken stock 1/3 cup small mild onion, chopped 1-1/2 cup celery, chopped 1 cup seedless grapes, halved (or other available fruit) ¾ pound strawberries, hulled and quartered 3 Tbsp fresh dill, chopped 3 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley 1 tsp curry powder, or to taste 1 oz almonds or walnuts, toasted and chopped 1/4 cup low fat ranch-style or cucumber dressing Poach the chicken breasts in stock until cooked. Let cool, then chop in bite-size pieces. Add the rest of the ingredients and chill. Serve chilled. Per serving: 230 calories, 8 grams fat, 1 grams sat fat, 19 g carbohydrates, 3 grams fiber, 20 grams protein Chilled Asparagus in a Creamy Tarragon, Shallot, and Roasted Walnut Vinaigrette Serves 6 to 8 2 lb asparagus, cleaned, tough ends removed, cut in 1.5 inch pieces 1 Tbsp walnut or canola oil Salt and pepper to taste 1/2 cup roasted, unsalted walnuts, chopped 1 small (4 oz) red bell pepper, finely chopped (roasting optional) 1 bunch (1/4 cup) green onions, finely chopped Vinaigrette: 2 Tbsp tarragon vinegar 4 Tbsp walnut oil 2 Tbsp low fat Greek yogurt 1 shallot, finely chopped 2 Tbsp fresh tarragon, finely chopped 1 Tbsp fresh parsely, finely chopped 1 Tbsp fresh chives, finely chopped Salt and pepper to taste If you are using raw walnuts, toast the walnuts: place in a single layer on a baking sheet in a 350 degree oven for 8 to 10 minutes until light golden brown. Let cool, then chop. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Prepare the vinaigrette by mixing all the ingredients in a bowl large enough to fit the asparagus, red pepper and green onions. Place the bowl with the vinaigrette in the refrigerator so that it is cool when the asparagus comes out of the oven. If you wish, peel the stalks of the asparagus for a more tender vegetable. Slice the asparagus stalks diagonally into bite-sized or approximately 1.5 inch pieces. In a large bowl or plastic bag, toss the pieces in the walnut or canola oil and a light sprinkling of salt and pepper, until the asparagus is coated lightly with oil. Place on a baking sheet in a single layer and cook for 5 minutes in the middle of the oven. Pour the hot asparagus into the cool vinaigrette to help discontinue the cooking of the asparagus, so that it remains al dente. Do not overcook! Add the red bell pepper, green onions, and nuts. Toss and serve immediately while still warm, or serve chilled. About 1,000 calories for the entire dish.

Seasonal Menu Debuts at B. Smith’s

Union Station, the magnificent early 20th century train station that houses B. Smith’s Restaurant in Washington, DC, is one of the most majestic buildings in the city. Designed by distinguished American architect Daniel Burnham, it has been a national landmark since its completion in 1908. The splendid Beaux Arts statuary was created by no less a sculptor than Louis St. Gaudens, whose 50-plus figures in the station were considered his finest work. Adding to its stony provenance is its proximity to the US Senate and the charming Le Notre-inspired gardens. Sixteen years ago the stunning Barbara Smith, Vogue supermodel and African-American style setter, opened her very popular restaurant along the south side of the building. Housed in what was once known as the Presidential Suite, it is the same site where US Presidents and dignitaries once convened before their inaugurations. With its spectacular décor, lavish period chandeliers and Presidential seals still intact, it is in these turn-of-the-century rooms where B. Smith, as she is known, serves her delightful mix of Cajun Creole and Southern cuisine. Recently I visited the restaurant to try out her new fall menu. I found her signature style still in place with smartly suited and wine-savvy servers, low country cuisine and a genteel atmosphere. In the background a baby grand played softly as we sampled fried chicken livers with onion confit and pineapple chutney, crawfish and crab dip and pan-seared grouper over hoppin’ John rice with a citrus beurre blanc. The osso bucco with creamy asparagus risotto didn’t speak to the Southern style but was tender and lusciously sauced all the same. Several well-chosen and gently priced wines accompanied our dinner. We began with a 2008 Caymus Conundrum…a blend (I know, I know, but just get over it. I did!) of California whites, but soft and lovely with honeysuckle overtones, and followed up with a 2007 Sacred Hill Marlborough Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc, in which I divined chocolate, plum and cinnamon tones. B. Smith’s still keeps their ever-popular Bourbon Street bread pudding on the menu, but it was the beignets that really charmed. Oh, to have a half a dozen of these warm, sweet treats for breakfast with a cup of French Market chicory coffee! For reservations visit www.bsmith.com [gallery ids="102495,120217,120223" nav="thumbs"]

Food News Calendar

Restaurants around town are offering up a plateful of events. From culinary classes to food festivals, the local dining scene is freshening up for spring. Westend Bistro by Eric Ripert has introduced new menu items, which it debuted at a hugely successful tasting night last February 17. The new mouthwatering plates include a chicken-fried pork belly appetizer, black walnut and cauliflower soup and a succulent triggerfish. Citronelle will host a five week wine series, starting with Wine Profiling, Saturday February 26 from 1 – 3 pm. The restaurant, located at 3000 M Street NW, will continue the series March 18, April 30, May 12, and conclude on June 18. Classes are $100 individually, with deals varying on how many classes you sign up for. Reserve a space by calling 202 625 2150. The Herman J. Wiemer Winemaker Dinner at Chef Geoff’s Downtown will take place Tuesday March 22 at 7 pm. Fred Merwath, winemaker and owner of Herman J. Wiemer Vineyard, will be the featured speaker at the dinner. The menu features five courses each paired with a featured wine. Chef Geoff’s Downtown is on 13th Street between E & F NW. Tickets are $69 and can be purchased at ChefGeoff.com Oyamel Cocina Mexicana will celebrate the fourth annual Tequila & Mezcal Festival March 14 through 27. Oyamel, 401 7th Street NW, will be offering premium tequila and mescal, served in flights, and specialty cocktails. Stop by Oyamel from 4 – 6 pm March 15 – 24 to enjoy complimentary samples of tequila and mescal. A celebratory menu will also be available during the festival, incorporating the spirits. John Engle will return to Brasserie Beck and take on the position of Chef de Cuisine. Engle, most recently at Mussel Bar in Bethesda, will be serving up the brasserie’s signature mussels, along with other Belgian favorites. 1101 K Street NW. Open Kitchen’s next spread of cooking classes will be going on February 27 – March 1. The hands-on classes cover everything from cupcakes to the cuisine of Venice. The classes run for three hours and range from $79 to $89 per class. Details on the classes can be found at OpenKitchen-DCMetro.com The Source by Wolfgang Puck launched its new Presidential Menu Tasting on Presidents Day, which featured all of the dishes enjoyed by President Obama and the First Lady during their January dinner at the restaurant. The special menu will continue during regular business hours in the main dinning room of The Source, 575 Pennsylvania Avenue NW. HomeMade Pizza is now open at 1826 Wisconsin Ave. NW. The take-and-bake pizza shop makes everything with fresh, all natural ingredients. Stop by the new store February 23 and 24 for the launch party and take part in fresh produce giveaways and free pizza. Even more pizza is hitting the area when Pizzeria da Marco opens its doors at 8008 Woodmont Ave. in Bethesda on March 28. The pizzeria will feature authentic Neapolitan pizza cooked in a handcrafted wood-burning oven. Fourteen Alexandria restaurants participated in the Cherry Challenge earlier this month. Restaurant chefs competed with cherry-inspired dishes, drinks, and desserts. This year’s winners were no strangers to the competition. For the third year in a row Temp Restaurant placed in the finals, taking the win in the starters category with their Insalata di Ceresa e Mela di Fuji. Murphy’s Irish Pub and Restaurant won the entrée with their three-time winning Duck a la Cherry. Sweet Cherry Rye from Food Matters took the prize in drink, and an ice cream from Dishes of India won dessert. Each person who ordered the dish or menu item was given a ballot to judge the item on taste, presentation, and creativity. The half beef, half pork smoked sausage has long been considered the District’s signature dish. Domaso will be hosting its first annual Top Dog Half Smoke Challenge, Sunday May 1 at 3pm. Ten area chefs will be presenting their interpretation of the local favorite. Admission is $20 per person and includes samples of all ten half-smokes, a signature Skyy Vodka cocktail, tax and gratuity. Domaso will be donating 100 percent of the proceeds to Brainfood, a non-profit youth development organization based in DC that helps build life skills and promotes healthy living. The restaurant is located at Hotel Palomar, in Arlington, VA. Support the rebuilding of the Fauquier Livestock at the Cattlemen’s Hoedown, February 26 at Barrel Oak Winery. The benefit runs from 6-9pm in Delaplane VA. The night will feature a live and silent auction, wine and appetizers. Tickets are $25, reservations can be made at 540-364-1572.

Wright on Food

The past two months have brought a variety of assignments and pleasures: interviews with Bravo’s Top Chef finalist Kelly Liken; BLT Steak’s Laurent Tourondel; Eric Ripert, star of the PBS series “Avec Eric”; a meeting at the Sofitel with patriarch Giorgio Gucci, third generation of the Gucci empire, in town to testify to Congress about the pervasiveness of black market goods and to offer ideas for new ways of enforcing existing laws. Of course, we all want the latest accessory. But he warns to stay away from the sidewalk vendor handbag and wristwatch knockoffs. He tells me plans are to arrest the buyers as well! Giorgio Gucci Launches 50 Year Old Connoisseur Cognac Gucci is launching an ultra premium brand connoisseur cognac, “Giorgio G”, this week at the Pierre Hotel in New York City where his 30-, 50- and over 50-year old cognacs will sell at auction with the remaining 4,000 bottles offered to collectors. The indelibly charming Signori Gucci completed our interview with a kiss on the hand. Viva Italia! 5,000 Bottles of Wine on the Wall (Countdown to Zero) A stay at the Vail Cascade Resort and Spa in Colorado earlier in the month brought us to pinnacles of dining higher than Vail Mountain itself. The food scene there is as breathtaking as Vail Mountain. We dined at the resort’s Atwater Restaurant, where dinner is often served entirely by candlelight overlooking the sparkling Gore Creek. Larkspur has a wine list so extensive it was in “mouseprint” so as to allow guests to lift the weighty leather tome in order to select one of 5,000 bottles from over 500 labels. Restaurant Kelly Liken, she of recent Top Chef fame, created an elk carpaccio stole my heart and thoughtfully celebrated my birthday with a personalized menu. Paradise Among the Turkeys and Elf Watermelons One of my favorite local chefs, Robert Townsend, prepared a spirit-soothing luncheon and turkey tasting at Ayrshire Farm (You can order your organic and humanely raised heritage turkey from their Home Farm store in Middleburg) and introduced me to a new vegetable from his garden. Have you ever seen a Mexican sour gherkin? So cute! It looks like an elf’s watermelon. In its natural state, it is crunchy, tart and lemony, like a kosher pickle. Conveniently, you can grow it in a pot with a trellis. How perfect! The gorgeous early fall afternoon was shared with two-time James Beard award-winner Joan Nathan, whose latest book, “Quiches, Kugels and Cous Cous” is set to be released next month. Joining him was entrepreneur extraordinaire Mitch Berliner, whose company, MeatCrafters, makes freshly cooked, cured and smoked meats that sell at the Bethesda Central Farm Market. Mitch was a co-founder back in the day, before the term “locavore” came on the scene—if you go back that far. Go-Go Techno for Bittman Meanwhile, Mark Bittman, in his latest foray into the techno-world of home cooks, has launched an app for iPhones based on his book “How to Cook Everything Essentials”, which is the “Joy of Cooking” for young moderns. Tourists Wowed by Cheesecake “Ice Cream” Cones A private behind-the-scenes tour of The Source’s catering kitchens, led by Executive Chef David Spychalski, proved to be delicious. After shooting the beautiful food in the Newseum’s cafeteria, I sat down to enjoy it, dining on tempura soft-shell crab, sushi, and all manner of scrumptious desserts. Heads up: if you’re invited to an event at the Newseum, expect scrumptious food. Spychalski, who has been perfecting some creative new offerings, then served up samples to the surprised tourists who had been eagerly watching the whole tasting. Grateful, bug-eyed and thrilled were their reactions to cheesecake ice cream cones, chocolate truffle lollipops and massive trays of glistening sushi. The kids, thinking they were part of a TV show, became instant autograph hounds. Local “Top Chef” News A premiere viewing party for “Top Chef Desserts” was held at Hook for pastry chef and “Top Chef” contestant Heather Chittum. Although she was nowhere to be seen, (Bravo contractual restrictions were in full force) her spirit was very much alive with a table the length of the restaurant chockfull of her signature desserts. Her crave-inducing Salted Caramel Chocolate Tart and Whoopie Pies were paired with champagne cocktails while guests watched Chittum on the big screen. Virtual Heather, but real desserts! The town is abuzz with the news that “Top Chef” alumnus Mike Isabella will open his new restaurant, Graffiato, at 707 6th Street with investor Bryan Voltaggio next February. Isabella was the former head chef at José Andrés’ Zaytinya, still one of our favorite spots. Eat, Chat, Drink - Ayurvedic Style My search for an Ayurvedic Indian restaurant brought me last month to the Van Ness area, where I dined at Indian Ocean, the only one of its kind in our area. The Ayurvedic style of cooking reflects the ancient Hindu art of medicine and prolonging life, and owner Raj Kapoor is an avid messenger of the philosophy. Everything we sampled, including the traditional dishes like Chicken Tikka Masala, Lamb Roghan and tandoori oven baked dishes, were so much fresher and lighter. The secret: they don’t use butter, ghee or heavy cream. Also noteworthy is that nothing is canned and no flour or sugar is ever used; only yogurt cream and olive oil. With a menu that favors Goan and Northern Indian cuisine there is much to like, and the UDC and Harvard Law students fill up the place at lunchtime. Their exclusive use of halal meats brings in the local embassy crowd who often use Indian Ocean to cater their receptions. Mango, mint, tamarind and date chutneys are made in-house, and are more delicate and less sugary than most versions we know. Standouts were Palak Gosht, Samosa Chat, Onion Kulcha, Kabuli Naan, bread stuffed with raisins, cashews and almonds. The Goan influences fill the menu with seafood dishes using lobster, trout, salmon and prawns, and there is a wealth of vegan dishes. They are open seven days a week with a champagne brunch on Sundays. Red Fruit Festival is a Red Hot Hit The first annual Mid-Atlantic Red Fruit Festival, held in the Pavilion Room at the Ronald Reagan Building, was a red-hot hit! In a contest sponsored by the Washington Post, winning home cooks from our area were paired with top local chefs who recreated, and in some cases amped up their recipes. My favorites were food blogger April Fulton’s Tomato Tarte dessert. Fulton, whose blog is TheFoodScribe.com, was paired with Chef Xavier Deshayes. She told me Dessaye added hazelnuts to her tart crust and a sugared mint leaf. Bravo to him! It was highly addictive. Another winner in my book was Jessica Sidman whose blog, TheFrozenFix.com, reports on her ice cream and sorbet experiments. Sidman was paired with local chef Michael Lund, formerly of Zynodoa in Staunton, VA, who consults with restaurants and teaches Farm-to-Table classes at Stratford University. Lund served her Green Tomato Marbled Goat Cheese Ice Cream in mini black pepper tuiles topped with crushed corn nuts. Fashion for Autism – Features Breakout New York Designer Throngs of Georgetown’s adorable fashionistas ganged up for the cause at City Tavern Club. The venerable old watering hole was rocking with disco lights, a performance by Julliard concert pianist Edvinas Minkstimas, and a full-blown red carpet fashion show with designs for men and women by Colombian-born Edwing D’Angelo. The silent auction featured a pair of glittering eight-inch heels by Fever Footwear. Well, I suppose you could just wear them to bed! Miss DC 2010 Stephanie Williams was on hand to help us eat the chocolate and vanilla cupcakes from Serendipity3. When, oh when, will they serve the first Frrrozen Hot Chocolate confection in DC? [gallery ids="99210,103454,103475,103471,103459,103467,103464" nav="thumbs"]

Eating Up the Cherry Blossoms

Magnificent monuments, a cupcake craze and powerhouse politics are not the only things that make the nation’s capitol unique. The annual Cherry Blossom Festival welcomes the spring season with the blooming of beautiful flowers and three weeks full of events. This year, the Cherry Blossom Festival kicks off on Thursday, March 24 with a fundraiser at the Washington Monument. This event, known as “Stand with Japan”, is organized to express our condolences and support for Japan in the wake of their recent tragedies. All donations go to the National Cherry Blossom Festival Red Cross Online Donation site and will benefit the Japan Earthquake and Pacific Tsunami Fund. Along with fundraisers, festivals and parades, local restaurants are also joining in on the festivities. Restaurants all over town are offering a special Cherry Blossom Festival menu. The menus include desserts, entrees, and cocktails, all inspired with a cherry twist! From duck confit with sour cherry compote and braised artichokes to a chocolate covered cherry martini, the menus will be sure to satisfy. Below is a list of participating restaurants and their offerings. Againn - Eton Mess with Brandied Cherries - JP Caceres’ Cherrio Cocktail (vodka, cherry herring liquer, lemon juice, rose water, egg whites) 1099 New York Ave NW. 202 639-9830 Art and Soul at the Liason Capitol Hill, an Affinia Hotel - Steamed Southern style pork buns with sour cherry hoisin dipping sauce - Grilled tuna with coriander spiced rice, marinated bok choy, maitake mushrooms and ginger chile glaze and Yuzu ginger trifle with sour cherries and candied kumquats - Cherry Pick Cocktail (Vodka, sake, cherry reduction) 415 New Jersey Ave NW. 202 393-7777 Bangkok Joe’s - Peking Duck Bao with cherry-hoisin sauce - 7-spiced roasted shrimp with caramelized tomatoes and cherry ponzu butter sauce - Warm cherry upside down cake - Frozen cherry bellini (champagne, bing cherry, cream sherry, lime juice) 3000 K Street NW. 202 333-4422 Café Dupont at The Dupont Hotel - Goose Liver Torchon with cherry orange compote - Chargrilled NY Strip Steak with a cherry reduction - Vanilla Bean Pana Cotta with a cherry crumble 1500 New Hampshire Ave NW. 202 939-9596 Carmine’s - Sicilian Triple Cherry Cassata - Frozen Cherries Jubilee (Cruzan Rum, Luzardo Maraschino Liquer, port, lemon juice, brandied cherries) 425 7th Street NW. 202 737-7770 Cuba Libre - Barbacoa de Pato con Cerezas - Cherry Tini (Pyrat XO Rum, Combier, lemon grass- infused guarapo, bitters, bing cherries) - Coconut Cherry Frozen (Three Olives, cherry vodka, lemon grass- infused guarapo, coconut puree, maraschino cherry juice) 801 9th Street NW. 202 408-1600 Current Sushi -Cherry Blossom Martini (cherry vodka, sake, black cherries) 1215 Connecticut Ave. 202 955-525 Dino - Tart Cherry Gin Cocktail (Plymouth Gin, Leopold’s Tart Michigan Cherry Liquer, Orchard’s Cherry Liquer, Leopold’s Cranberry Liquer, lemon juice, simple syrup, club soda) 3435 Connecticut Ave. 202 686-2966 Farmers and Fishers - F&F’s Cherry Slump 3000 K Street NW. 202 298-0003 Georgia Brown’s - Peanut Butter and Jelly Foie gras with dried cherry jelly - Chicory Rubbed pork tenderloin with cherry and balsamic demi-glace - Dark Cherry glazed roasted free range chicken - Mexican chocolate and cherry cobbler with cinnamon sticky bun ice cream - Cherry Mojitos (cane sugar, ginger, cilantro, a cinnamon swizzle stick) 950 15th Street. 202 393-4499 Hudson Restaurant - Free Range Lamb with chervil johnnycakes and bing cherry gastrique 2030 M Street. 202 872-8700 J.Paul’s - Baked Brie with cherry marmalade - Cherry and Pecan Crusted Lamb rack - Cherry Almond Strudel - Sam Adams Cherry Wheat Beer 3218 M Street NW. 202 333-3450 Kaz Sushi Bistro - Cherry Blossom Special Chitashi 1915 I Street. 202 530-5500 Kellari Taverna 1700 K Street. 202 535-5274 - Cherry Blossom Salad with jumbo shrimp and cherry balsamic - Pan roasted fagri with a bing cherry demi glace - Greek yogurt with sour cherry preserves - Kellari Cherry cocktail Morton’s The Steakhouse - Cherry Blossom Cocktail (three olives cherry vodka, lindemans cherry limbic, and prosecco) 1050 Connecticut Ave NW. 202 955-5997 Neyla - Duck Manti with dried Cherries - Baby arugula with arak soaked cherries - Pan roasted grouper with kiln dried cherries - Dark chocolate cherry crème brulee - Chocolate covered cherry martini (Valhrona chocolate, vanilla vodka, and dark cherries) 3206 N Street. 202 333-6353 Old Glory - Sam Adams Cherry Wheat Beer Battered Onion Rings with Sweet and sour dried cherry cherry pepper dip - Old Glory Red Stag Bourbon Buffalo Wings - Cherry Cola BBQ Glazed Salmon with cheddar cheese grits, backyard cucumber slaw, and grilled beefsteak tomato galette - Black Forest Cheesecake with cherry brandy chocolate sauce - Red Stag Mint Julep( red Stag Cherry Bourbon, vanilla bean, mint, simple syrup, cherry brandy, soda, red stag- soaked maraschino cherry) 3139 M Street NW. 202 337-3406 Plume at the Jefferson Hotel - Duck Confit with sour cherry compote and braised artichokes 1200 16th Street. 202 448-2300 Ten Penh - Togarashi Seared Tuna Tataki with seaweed salad and ponzu sauce - Duck confit and wild cherry gyoza with daikon and toasted pinenut salad - Pan seared black grouper with a scallion crabmeat rice noodle crepe and black bean sauce - Dried cherry and rhubarb crisp with honey, vanilla, and sesame ice cream 1001 Pennsylvania Ave. 202 393-4500 Zola Cherry Cured Valentine Miller Ham Rillettes with cherry gelee and brioche Anise glazed sea scallops with country ham, ramps, and cherry suds, Roast quail with cherry aigre-doux, goat cheese polenta and seedling salad Cherry braised beef short ribs with sunchoke puree, pea tendrils and foie gras emulsion Cherries with bruleed vanilla sponge cake and tonka bean cream 800 F Street. 202 654-0999 [gallery ids="99623,105140,105136,105129,105132" nav="thumbs"]

Cupcake Challenge: Cocktail Hour

     Have you ever dreamed of a world filled with cupcakes? Were there cupcakes everywhere you looked, with smiling servants at the ready? Was the heavenly aroma of sugar hanging sweet in the air? Best of all were you able to taste each tantalizing treat and experience the joy of tingling taste buds as you took bite into each sweet?

     The National Capital Area Cake Show made this dream a reality for hundreds of cupcake enthusiasts on Saturday as they hosted the first ever, Cupcake Cocktail Hour. Hosted at the Northern Virginia Community College, 54 cupcake bakers brought sample sizes of cocktail inspired cupcakes. By the end of the night, it was estimated that there were 154 different types of cupcakes for sampling with over 700 guests attending the event.

    This was the 3rd annual National Capital Area Cake Show, with over 8,000 people in attendance throughout the two day show, March 26-27. The show ran from 9-3 each day offering classes, cake tours and even a television-style live challenge. The Cupcake Challenge grew out of an idea of combining a tasting competition with a fun theme.

    “Cupcakes have kind of exploded in DC. While cake decorating appears intimidating to some, no one is afraid of a cute cupcake!” said Melissa Westervelt, who spearheaded the idea of a Cupcake Challenge. “There are people out there making really great stuff in their home kitchens and in new bakeshops. I wanted to elevate that, to draw the ‘cupcake people’ into this great community atmosphere.”

     Amateurs as well as professional bakers were invited to participate in the challenge, allowing those new to the business a chance to get their name out while well-established bakeries were able to share their reputation with a wider audience. 11 professional and 43 amateur bakers took the challenge to create original cocktail cupcakes.

     “People are passionate about cupcakes. I know competitors with no culinary background who worked for weeks to perfect their recipe and they can be very proud of the results! I even heard about a few baking days, tasting parties, and Facebook friendships that formed as people developed the perfect cocktail cupcake,” Westervelt said. “Area professionals need a place to shine too. If I want a cupcake right now, I am walking into one of their shops. They were totally open to creating new flavors, engaging with the other bakers and creating some amazing display pieces for the Cupcake Challenge.”

     The challenge was advertised with the National Capital Area Cake show, but ticket sales soared after a promotion with LivingSocial, which offered five free tickets for cupcakes along with the price of admission. The campaign was responsible for the sale of 550 tickets to the Cupcake Challenge alone and close to 1,585 general admission tickets to the show. Proceeds from the event benefitted Icing Smiles, a non-profit organization that provides custom celebration cakes and other treats to families impacted by critical illness of a child

    “Baking is more than mixing up flour, sugar, and butter. It’s the muse, the creative process, the joy of the celebration that the sweet is created for. When I stumbled into the world of cake shows and competitions, all of that was amplified,” said Westervelt. “There is this network of artists where the competitive spirit is real, but the goal is camaraderie, sharing knowledge, and demanding something tastier and more gorgeous than you have ever made before.”

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Move Over Cupcakes: Say Hello to Georgetown Pies

For many people nationwide, a homemade pie is as symbolic of the American Dream as baseball and a house with a white picket fence. For Alli, Erin and Cat Blakely, three sisters from Northern Virginia, pie is also a personal dream that they plan on bringing to Georgetown by the end of this summer with the opening of their pie shop, O’B Sweet. The sisters, who grew up in Great Falls, spent a lot of time in Georgetown throughout their childhood, attending church at St. John’s on O Street. “We're just local girls, and that's why we wanted to stay in Georgetown with our shop," said Erin. They started their baking careers early in life when their mother taught them how to can fruit and make pies, “to keep us all busy,” said Erin. After following separate careers in different fields, the Blakelys finally decided to fulfill their dream of operating a family business. “We're sisters. There's three of us. We're all two years apart,” said Erin. “We're best friends and baking pies was something that brought us all together having fun even on the holidays after our lives kind of took us in different directions.” Even the name the sisters chose reflects their family roots. “We're Scott-Irish, so the ‘O’ kind of brings in that part of us,” said Erin. “The ‘B’ is for our last name, Blakely, and the ‘Sweet,’ obviously, is because we're sweet.” The trio is currently looking at retail space at 3833 Prospect St., according to Robert Tack, the real estate broker representing O’B Sweet. The market, Tack noted, is ready for a new sweet tooth craze—a refreshing idea noting the area’s baffling cupcake fetish. “I think they’re gonna do well with their concept,” he said. The Blakelys are already setting themselves apart from average Georgetown bakeries and cupcakeries. The shop will feature an array of savory and sweet pies in three sizes: nine inches, seven inches, and “Cuppies,” single-serving mini pies that are original to O’B Sweet. Because most of their fruit comes from local growers, their menu of flavors rotates seasonally, while their cream pies will be available year round. The shop will cater events as well as delivering pies and providing seating where customers can enjoy their Chocolate Bourbon Pecan Cuppies with coffee or hot cocoa. While the shop has a few months until their grand opening, O’B Sweet’s catering business is already up and running. The sisters have supplied weddings, birthdays and dinner parties with their homemade pies and plan to continue this service through the process of opening their store. “Pies are really all-American classics, so we're trying to take that and make it more mainstream,” said Erin. “It's giving people the option, instead of going to cupcakes, to go to pies… There’s nothing like this in Georgetown.”

United, We Drink

In 2011, our nation’s capital will see something it hasn’t seen in over fifty years: a production brewery worthy to bear the District’s name. DC Brau, a venture between DC area natives Brandon Skall and Jeff Hancock, plans on pumping out kegs and cans to bars and retail stores in the city within the next three months. Casual and enthusiastic, it was a pleasure to pick the brains of these entrepreneurs on the subject of beer, business and…well…more beer. Skall and Hancock are both veterans of the beer and wine industry. Skall worked for a major national wine importer before turning to the import side of the business. The three-tier system is confusing on its best days, and having a background in distribution is an asset. Hancock has been a professional brewer for seven years now, and has a degree from the Seibel Institute of Technology, one of only a handful of academies in the country with an accredited brewing program. Opening a brewery is quite an undertaking. The capital needed is steep, and skimping on the initial investments tends to cause short-lived dreams of self-employment. Skall and Hancock are playing it smart. They have spent the better part of the last three years researching commercial space, redefining commercial business laws in the city and attracting investors. The last brewery to operate in the District was Heurich Brewing Company, whose factory was on the grounds where the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts now stands. It closed in 1956, after which production was moved to New York. As a result of this time gap, very little information was available on classifications and regulations regarding commercial breweries in DC. “They thought we would be carrying drums of green smoking liquid and pouring it down the drain.” Skall laughs, “Or burning soot, or asbestos on a regular basis.” No one in DC public offices has been around long enough to know or remember the standard procedure. So with the help of a lawyer, Skall and Hancock explored the exciting world of DC regulatory agencies. Although it took some time, the brewery space was finally approved. As it turns out, their resurfacing and navigation of alcohol production laws is helping more than just DC Brau. With the expanding market and popularity of craft beer, the Capitol is going to be seeing an influx of commercial breweries in the coming years, and some have already contacted Skall and Hancock for advice. “We’ve been doing a lot of trail blazing not just for us, but for all of the soon to open breweries” say Skall. Of course, they were happy to help. This spirit of camaraderie has defined the modern day craft beer business. Unlike the wine industry, which can be esoteric, discriminatory and prone to wild inflation, the craft brewing industry has a strong reputation for being good-natured and diplomatic (in terms of pricing, collaborations and mutual support of one another). Of the group of prospective operations in Washington, DC Brau aims to be the first to open. And it is more than likely to happen. They are 90 percent of the way there. Driving up to an unimposing industrial building with a sticker on the door is pretty much par for the course when touring breweries, and DC Brau is no different. Upon entering though, you are greeted by a bold, red-and-white “tasting” room with a large, freshly lacquered wooden bar. I put “tasting” in quotes because the team is still working on the legal issues regarding sampling beer. Once again, no one in the city has tried to do this in a long time. Still, they have bet on its approval and as a result have an inviting entrance in which to talk about the hardware in the back. A brewery design company was hired to put together a 15-barrel system that has just arrived from China. “It’s a hands-on system, not as automated as some others,” remarks Hancock. His smile gives him away, and you can tell he is itching to brew. Already in place is the electrical and plumbing infrastructure, boiler, cold box and of course, the canning line produced by the same company that made Dale’s Pale Ale famous. DC Brau is going to test the marketing potential of craft beer in a can along with other east coast operations. Blue Mountain in VA, Brewers Art in Baltimore and Sly Fox in PA are just a few of the craft companies trying out cans. DC Brau will have its focus on cans and draft initially, with special seasonal releases in hand-bottled bombers. We can expect to see three core beers to appear on shelves this year, each named fittingly after some element of the democratic system. The team has been doing test batches at home in order to hone down the malt bills and hop schedules. The Public Ale is a balanced 6-percent pale ale with a firm hop bite. The Citizen, a 7-percent Belgian-style pale ale, will utilize a De Konick yeast strain. And then there is The Corruption IPA, aimed to be a powerful West Coast IPA featuring the new and underused Citra hop variety. When asked whether there were any plans for lagers, they did not rule out the idea. But ale production has a much quicker turn around, and Skall and Hancock aim to start pumping beer out of the facility as soon as possible. An intriguing area of the brewery lies towards the back of the space behind an old sliding bay door. The room is about the size of a flat bed cargo truck, long and narrow. The space, actually lying underground and hanging between 45 and 55 degrees year-round, is a perfect room for prospective barrel aging. Craft breweries without wooden barrels are becoming a minority, and DC Brau is not going to be left behind. After hanging out with Brandon and Jeff for a morning, you can tell they are going about this in the right way. Proper fundraising has allowed them to get the equipment needed to meet the initial demand, but also enough fermented space to grow organically. If it all works out for these first few years, the brewery has the option to purchase and expand to adjacent space. What truly grabbed my attention when first reading about DC Brau was its brand identity. The logo mixes early 20th century Russian constructivist typography with American patriotic imagery, with the colors, red and white, leaning both ways. A striking design and logo is so important, and not all new breweries pull it off. In a few months I hope to pop a can of DC Brau in my apartment, the first package of beer coming out of our nations capital in over 50 years.

Thanksgiving Dining Guide

With Thanksgiving around the corner, the turkey looms large. Thanksgiving dinner preparations can be a daunting undertaking, and the ordeal is frequently known throughout family circles to cause more stress than merriment. After all, the holidays are about enjoying time with those you love, and if cooking doesn’t suit you, there are some great places to go out or order in for Thanksgiving. Some are traditional, like the Oval Room’s roasted free-range turkey with chestnut stuffing, while others are less conventional, such as Rasika’s Cranberry Turkey Tikka with pumpkin chutney and spiced Brussels sprouts. But all are sure to be delicious. Below is the Georgetowner’s top picks for eating out on Thanksgiving. Get your reservations sooner rather than later, as many of these dinners have limited seating and large parties will fill them up quickly. 1789 Restaurant At 1789 Restaurant, Executive Chef Daniel Giusti and Pastry Chef Travis Olson are creating a menu to satisfy both traditional and adventurous palates this Thanksgiving. Available from noon to 9 p.m., the seasonal a la carte menu by Chef Giusti will include standouts such as oyster and applewood smoked bacon gratin with braised salsify, aged Gruyere and brioche croutons, sweet potato gnocchi with toasted walnuts, baby spinach and ricotta salata, fresh ham with roasted pineapple, Montgomery cheddar casserole served with stewed mustard greens and Bourbon Barrel maple syrup glaze, braised beef short ribs served with honeyed parsnip purée, and citrus baby carrots and horseradish jus. There is also a three-course Thanksgiving menu, which includes a choice of pumpkin soup or bitter greens and citrus salad, turkey with all of the trimmings, and a full selection of desserts prepared by Chef Olson, accompanied by coffee or tea. For reservations please call 202-965-1789. 701 Restaurant 701 Restaurant will be dishing out a classic Thanksgiving feast with an eco-friendly conscience. The three-course, pre-fixe holiday menu is available from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Newly appointed Executive Chef Ed Witt will be preparing a variety of choices such as crisp duck confit with frisee salad, Medijool dates and Fuyu persimmon, spiced pumpkin soup with apple and rosemary beignets, and venison stuffed sage leaves with quince puree. For the main course, guests can choose from eco-friendly turkey with roasted breast meat, leg ballotine, mashed potatoes, stuffing and giblet gravy, eco-friendly suckling pig with house made sausage stuffing, celery root and Savoy cabbage, Scottish salmon with parsnip puree and a red wine reduction, or piedmont ridge strip steak with sweet potato gratin and baby spinach. A vegetarian dish of ricotta ravioli with sage brown butter, autumn squash, and walnuts will also be offered. 701’s live jazz duo of piano and bass will be performing during Thanksgiving service. For more information and reservations please call 202-393-0701. Ardeo+Bardeo After undergoing an extensive renovation, Ardeo+Bardeo will reopen in late November, just in time to offer their annual Thanksgiving feast. The three-course menu is inspired by the flavors of the harvest and includes smoked tea-crusted domestic lamb loin carpaccio with fresh shell bean salad and a cara cara orange vinaigrette or Autumn Vegetable Faro Risotto with foraged mushrooms, roasted pearl onions, and sage. For the main course, diners can choose from hearth oven roasted turkey with chestnut and sage stuffing, mashed potatoes and dried cranberry gravy, or roasted Scottish salmon with sunchoke and butternut squash hash, oil cured black olive puree, and pine nut foam. A scrumptious dessert menu includes Caramel Pots de Crème with ginger and amoretto cookie crumbs or Candied Pecan and White Chocolate Bread Pudding with vanilla crème anglaise. The Thanksgiving menu will be served from noon until 8 p.m. Ardeo+Bardeo also features an extensive list of wines by-the-glass for this delicious day of gathering. For reservations please call 202-244-6750. Bibiana Osteria-Enoteca Bibiana Osteria-Enoteca will be offering an authentic Italian twist on Thanksgiving. The pre-fixe menu will be served from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Executive Chef Nicholas Stefanelli’s tempting offerings include chestnut soup with house-made cotechino sausage and grappa cream or agnolotti of sheep’s milk ricotta, marjoram, lemon, and spinach. Entrées include heritage turkey cooked two ways: roasted breast with a juniper-lard crust and braised leg, celery root, shallots, and wild mushrooms, as well as roasted dry. Beyond the turkey, choices include aged blade steak with foie gras and wild mushrooms with a black truffle sauce and whole roasted sea bass with eggplant “Fungetto” and a citrus emulsion. For reservations or more information call 202-216-9550. BlackSalt Fish Market & Restaurant BlackSalt Fish Market & Restaurant is offering a full Thanksgiving feast to-go. Food orders can be made from 10 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. daily through Sunday, November 21, and all pick-ups will be scheduled for Wednesday, November 24. The menu begins with a choice of all-natural turkeys grown in Pennsylvania Amish Country, available by weight. Honey ham is also available as a nice turkey alternative. The a la carte menu includes butternut squash soup, clam chowder, potato gratin, spiced cranberry sauce, turkey gravy, French baguette, sage stuffing, Chincoteague oyster stuffing, sweet potato puree, French beans almondine, harvest rice duo and braised southern greens with house smoked bacon. Additionally, Pastry Chef Susan Wallace has created a variety of artisanal sweets, such as apple streusel with fresh spiced apples, sour cream filling, and pecan streusel topping, classic pecan pie, traditional pumpkin pie, and key lime pie made with a graham cracker crust, Florida key lime filling, and fresh whipped cream. For more information call 202-342-9101 or visit www.BlackSaltRestaurant.com The Bombay Club The Bombay Club is bringing back the popular Thanksgiving Day special in addition to the full a la carte menu. Chef Nilesh Singhvi will prepare Tandoori Turkey, boneless chunks of white meat marinated with yogurt, ginger, garlic, and fenugreek leaves. Thanksgiving turkey is offered from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and for dinner from 5:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. Reservations can be made by calling 202-659-3727. Bourbon Steak Bourbon Steak will offer a delectable Thanksgiving feast with dishes such as roasted chestnut soup with spiced marshmallows and foie gras and Sweetbreads with beets, pistachio, and campari. Executive Chef David Varley will offer a wide range of entrees, including brown-butter basted Maine lobster with perigord black truffles, roasted heritage turkey with chestnut stuffing, grilled turkey sausage and cranberry-orange confit, and Virginia striped bass with roasted Musquee de Provence pumpkin and toasted hazelnut crunch. The holiday dinner will end on a sweet note with Pastry Chef Santanna Salas’ dessert offerings of kabocha squash sticky toffee pudding and warm pumpkin and apple pies. For reservations or more information please call 202-944-2026 or visit the website at www.BourbonSteakDC.com Clyde’s Ten landmark restaurants within Clyde’s Restaurant Group will be featuring a traditional Thanksgiving feast. Menu highlights include sage-sausage stuffing, green beans, whipped potatoes, glazed sweet potatoes, classic turkey gravy, and cranberry sauce. For dessert, guests will have a choice of apple or pecan pie à la mode or pumpkin pie topped with a dollop of whipped cream. The full Thanksgiving menu will also be available to enjoy at the bar for those who would like to watch football. For more information visit www.Clydes.com The Oval Room In The Oval Room, Chef Tony Conte is preparing a three-course holiday menu from noon to 8 p.m. Serving up flavors of the season in an innovative fashion, Chef Conte will feature a menu of his innovative modern American cuisine. Highlights of his Thanksgiving menu include Burrata with crystallized wasabi, apple, ginger, and olive oil, foie gras brûlée with cranberry, smoked balsamic, and spiced cookie crumbs, roasted free range turkey with chestnut stuffing, potato puree and cranberry sauce, and rack of Berkshire pork with Hubbard squash ravioli, fried Brussels sprouts, and apple. For reservations please call 202-463-8700. Rasika Rasika is adding an exotic Thanksgiving addition to their extensive a la carte menu. Prepared by acclaimed Chef Vikram Sunderam, guests can enjoy the flavorful cranberry turkey tikka with pumpkin chutney and spiced Brussels sprouts, along with Rasika’s seasonal menu. The complete a la carte menu is also available on Thanksgiving Day. Rasika will feature two seating timeframes: 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. For reservations call 202-637-1222. The Ritz-Carlton Enjoy Thanksgiving at the Ritz-Carlton lobby bar with a choice of celery, Granny Smith apple soup, and cured smoked salmon, roasted pumpkins and foie gras terrine, mache, and truffle vinaigrette, maple glazed breast of Amish tom turkey, stuffed with dark meat country bread stuffing, with apples, sausage, dried cherries, potato puree, and Brussels sprouts, roasted beef tenderloin with caramelized chestnut and winter root vegetables, mash potato, and pomegranate sauce, and for dessert traditional pumpkin pie and candied ginger ice cream or apple tart and pecan-maple syrup ice cream and caramel sauce. Or this Thanksgiving, skip the last minute shopping, cooking, and cleaning. Experience and enjoy the pleasure of a traditional Ritz-Carlton, Washington, DC turkey dinner in the comfort and convenience of your own home. The menu includes 10-12 pound roasted Amish turkey, country bread stuffing with apples, sausages, and dried cherries, giblet gravy and cranberry orange sauce, butternut squash soup, caramelized hazelnuts, classic shrimp cocktail, organic greens with candied walnut and truffle vinaigrette, honey roasted root vegetables, chestnut, and Brussels sprouts, potato puree, a half-dozen corn muffins, and a choice of pumpkin or apple pie. Orders must be received by Monday, November 22, at noon. For reservations call 202-974-5566. Tony and Joe’s Seafood Place Tony & Joe’s Seafood Place will be having a buffet brunch on Thanksgiving Day from 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. The menu features spiced shrimp, oysters and clams on the half shell, tri-colored seafood pasta, marinated mushroom medley, tossed salad or carrot raisin salad, roasted turkey, smoked goose, leg of lamb, steamship of beef Au jus, honey baked ham, crab stuffing or cornbread stuffing, cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes, candied yams, zucchini squash blend, and green beans almandine. For desert there will be pastries, cakes, fresh fruit, chocolate mouse, and apple, pumpkin, sweet potato, banana cream, or coconut dream pie. For reservations call 202-944-4545. Zola Wine & Kitchen This Thanksgiving, Zola Wine & Kitchen is allowing Washingtonians to take a break with a stress free to-go menu featuring holiday favorites. A selection of starters comprised of dishes like classic shrimp cocktail, white wine poached shrimp served with cocktail sauce, or baby spinach salad with dried cranberries, blue cheese, stuffed phyllo, buttered almonds, and balsamic vinaigrette. There is also an a la carte menu, which includes potato dishes such as orange and brown sugar-glazed sweet potatoes, delicious stuffing, such as the oyster dressing with Sally Lunn bread, local oysters, onions, celery, and fresh herbs, or vegetable side dishes sure to please, including blue cheese-rutabaga mash, sage, and rosemary roasted rutabagas pureed with gorgonzola cream. Zola Wine & Kitchen also offers a “whole dinner menu”. Guests have two options: an oven-ready herbed turkey that comes with a roasting pan, herbs, mirepoix, and spice blend or cooking/reheating instructions for a pre-cooked herb-roasted turkey. Patrons can then choose five side dishes from the a la carte menu previously listed. Cranberry relish and roast turkey gravy with or without giblets and a choice between freshly baked corn muffins or honey-wheat rolls are all included with the meal. For the perfect ending to a delicious dinner, there’s pumpkin pie with cream for whipping or apple pie served with vanilla ice cream. The turkeys average 14 to 16 pounds each and feed six to eight people. For more information call 202-639-9463 or visit www.ZolaWineKitchen.com