Foodie Round-Up (Sept. 7th-11th)

Photo courtesy of
‘That’s Hot’
courtesy of ‘staceyviera’

Is it just me, or is today quite possibly the worst Friday in recent months? Between the significance of the day, some massive MASSIVE “exercise training” fails, and general crankiness, I’m just not feeling it. But you know what makes me feel better? Food. So without much other pomp and circumstance, here’s all the news fit to eat in the District this week.

Adam Bernbach, who recently assumed the position of bar manager at Proof, has just introduced his new cocktail menu for the restaurant. Fans of the wine-centric Penn Quarter destination will find a considerable selection of Bernbach’s original creations, both seasonally inspired mixed drinks and inventive aperitif and digestif cocktails. Those familiar with Bernbach’s style will not be surprised by the breadth and depth of unique ingredients and intriguing flavor combinations found on his menu. For example, the Hitachino Hi-Ball utilizes hitachino nest kiuchi no shizuku, a Japanese spirit infused with hops, orange peel, and coriander; he mixes the liquor with Fever Tree tonic water and serves the drink in a hi-ball glass with an orange twist. Other intriguing concoctions include Flashing Lights, made with blackberry-infused Rhum Neisson Blanc, housemade pistachio liqueur, balsamic reduction, lime juice, and mint, served over crushed ice in a collins glass; Timba, made with Cirrus potato vodka, tamarind and black cardamom syrup, Assam tea, chocolate bitter, and soda water, served in a hi-ball with a lime wheel; and Chinatown, made with chamomile-infused Famous Grouse scotch whisky, Dolin sweet & dry vermouths and Luxardo maraschino liqueur.

In anticipation of fall ingredients, BLT Steak will host an exclusive grilling class on Saturday, October 3rd from 12:30 – 2:30 p.m., outdoors on the patio, showcasing seasonal fall produce. Priced at $100 per person, inclusive of tax and tip, the afternoon includes instruction by BLT Steak’s Chef de Cuisine Victor Albisu as well as a four-course lunch with complementary signature cocktails and BLT’s renowned popovers. Limited to only 30 reservations.

Neighborhood Restaurant Group (NRG) is pleased to announce the appointment of Kyle Bailey as Executive Chef of Birch & Barley and ChurchKey, the group’s first restaurant and beer bar in the District of Columbia opening this fall. Entrées will include dishes such as a Crispy wild striped bass served with baby fennel & artichoke ragu and olive salt, creative comfort foods such as Braised beef cheeks with cheddar grits, parsnip and shallots, and an elegant take on the traditional roast chicken with the Wood roasted chicken for two with spaetzle stuffing, carrots and sage. Upstairs from Birch & Barley is ChurchKey, NRG’s 3,250 square-foot beer bar. For this space, Bailey has conceived an imaginative menu split into four sections: Fresh, Pressed, Roasted and Fried. Artichoke hearts with sheep’s milk ricotta and chestnut honey are a welcome ‘fresh’ snack, while ‘fried’ and spicy Hush Puppies are destined to be a crowd pleaser. For ‘pressed’ or ‘roasted’ options, guests can try the Truffled grilled cheese with tomato soup dip and the wood-fired Flatbreads with toppings such as Port-glazed Black Mission figs and Gorgonzola crema focata. Birch & Barley and ChurchKey are located at 1337 14th St, NW, near the Dupont Circle metro stop on the Red line.

Ashok Bajaj’s 701 Restaurant has just undergone a total interior design transformation with newly appointed Executive Chef Adam Longworth at the helm in the kitchen; next up is the appointment of Roger Potter as the new pastry chef. Guests can look forward to sweet endings as Potter’s dessert creations for fall at 701 include Vanilla Angel Food Cake with Sliced Plum Compote, spiced plum syrup, sangria granite in lemon poppy seed tuile with candied pistachios and plum pit crème; Apricot-Moscato Soup, crema gelato, cherry compote with sesame seed brittle, and Chocolate Peanut Pave, layers of chocolate soufflé cake, peanut ganache, caramel mousse with peanut caramel chunks and milk chocolate malt ice cream. Potter, a native of Kansas City, has always loved to bake.

Vermilion, Neighborhood Restaurant Group’s sophisticated Old Town Alexandria destination restaurant, is now offering a nightly four-course vegetarian tasting menu. The new menu will be priced to match Vermilion’s traditional (meat-friendly) four-course tasting menu – $45 per person, with wine pairing available for an additional $15 per person. The vegetarian tasting menu is a natural progression for Executive Chef Anthony Chittum, who already offers an extensive selection of a la carte meatless dishes. Chittum plans on changing the menu daily to reflect the freshest locally grown produce of the season, but guests can look forward to dishes such as Path Valley Cauliflower Soup with curried tofu, almonds and raisins, Smoked Mozzarella Ravioli with summer squash carpaccio and roasted pepper froth, and Grilled Lobster Mushrooms with fresh shelling beans, baby corn and red wine.

The fall arts season opens on Saturday, September 12 with The Washington Examiner’s ARTS ON FOOT sponsored by Wines of Argentina, Downtown DC’s 17th annual celebration of the visual and performing arts. From 11am to 5pm, The Washington Examiner’s ARTS ON FOOT will showcase every aspect of downtown’s vibrant arts scene, from theater, dance, galleries, and music to food, wine, and visual arts. The event offers an Outdoor Festival on F Street, NW between 6th and 9th streets and on 8th Street, between E & F streets, and a Neighborhood Showcase with special programming at cultural venues in the surrounding blocks. O OrganicsTM Cooking As Art Pavilion: this year’s Cooking as Art chef demonstrations feature Zaytinya’s Mike Isabella and Jose Andres’ minibar’s Ryan Moore, as they transform raw ingredients into edible works of art. The schedule includes other top Penn Quarter chefs such as J&G Steakhouse’s Phillippe Reininger, and The Source’s Scott Drewno. Sampling: on 8th Street between E & F and along F Street between 6th & 7th, offerings from 25 restaurants, including favorites like Asia Nine Bar & Lounge, Co Co. Sala, Restaurant Marvin, Rasika, Oya, Teaism, Zengo, and many more. Or visit the World Market® Wine Area with an international selection of tastings and seminars conducted by sommeliers and wine experts.

In case you missed it around We Love DC: Don tells us that we can expect free McDonald’s hamburger coupons on Monday at Metro, Ben hits up the delicious sounding Plume at the Jefferson Hotel for We Love Food (and I get jealous), I get rull rull excited about a new coffee delivery service, Tom spots Dogfish Head Pumpkin Ale, and I take a first look at Bibiana.

Katie moved to DC in 2007, and has since embarked upon a love affair with the city. She’s an education reform advocate and communications professional during the day; at night and on the weekends, she’s an owner here at We Love DC. Katie has high goals to eat herself through the entire city, with only her running shoes to save her from herself. For up-to-the-minute news and reviews (among other musings), follow her on Twitter!

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