Food and Drink, The Features, We Love Drinks

Drinks Special: ArtBar’s Moonshine

Photo courtesy of Jenn Larsen
Cocktail, Art and Soul
courtesy of Jenn Larsen

ArtBar at the Liaison Capitol Hotel is one of those places I wish I could get to more often. Helmed by 2011 ARTINI champion Ronald Flores, it has a quirky vibe at the intersection of tourist and Hill trades, with the added benefit of Art and Soul’s nouveau country menu. Fellow WLDC author Tricia Barba (disclosure: Tricia also works at the hotel’s administrative office), convinced me to stop in and sample their new seasonal bar program, highlighting “modern moonshine.” We sat down with general manager Patrick Chiappetta as Flores walked us through the crafting of three cocktails, mixed and served in jelly jars.

Jelly jars? Very pantry to table.

“Modern moonshine” is just a sexy moniker for un-aged corn or rye whiskey, also known as white or silver whiskey, prepared legally by micro distillers now legitimizing a craft most often associated with bootleggers operating under the cover of darkness. ArtBar is featuring un-aged whiskey like Prichard’s Lincoln County Lightning, infused with fruits and herbs, then mixed up into cocktails highlighting tastes of the transition from winter to spring. Continue reading

Eat Like Me, Food and Drink, The Daily Feed

Sugar and Champagne Affair

Photo courtesy of Plantains & Kimchi
chocolate custard, cocoa crumble with roasted banana ice cream @ Watershed- Washington, DC
courtesy of Plantains & Kimchi
It’s almost time for the Sugar and Champagne Affair — back next month for the eleventh year. As the name implies, Sugar and Champagne is a dessert and bubbly reception that benefits the Washington Humane Society.

Once again hosted by Chef Todd and Ellen Gray, the event highlights all things sugary and sweet, with chefs showcasing their confections. Of course, leashed dogs are welcome and encouraged to attend. So walk around with your favorite four-legged friend and eat desserts and doggie hors d’oeurvres respectively.

Chefs on-hand for the VIP reception include:

New this year: you can also meet contestants from TLC’s show Next Great Baker. Held Wednesday, February 1st, at the Ronald Reagan Building, the event begins at 6pm with the VIP Chefs’ Tasting Room followed by the General Reception at 7pm. Click here to purchase tickets.

Food and Drink, The Features, We Love Food

Winter Restaurant Week 2012

Photo courtesy of Daquella manera
Cena courtesy of Daquella manera

So you are one week into your New Years resolutions of getting fit, eating healthy and exercising more… Good for you! Now get over it, because starting January 9th restaurants across the District will be offering killer deals for Winter Restaurant Week. From January 9-15, select restaurants across the city will offer a three-course lunch for $20.12  and three-course dinners for $35.12. Best part is, no mass daily-deal purchase necessary, all you need is a reservation. Now, who doesn’t love a delicious bargain?

Restaurant Week is a week to go big rather than stay home, as some of the pricier dining options in DC become immediately accessible. It is a chance for you to cross out some of those places you’ve had on your list for a while, instead of waiting for the next birthday/anniversary/you-name-it special occasion, you’re excused to dine with the big boys and save a pretty penny too. While some haters (I was indeed one of them) worry that the lower price point comes at the expense of quality, the restaurants below are quality-driven and promise a memorable dining experience regardless of the end bill. And let’s remember, it is their reputation on the line after all and consistency is key. So stop drinking the hate-orade and embrace the feast week.

Here are some suggestions:

Art and Soul– Art Smith will offer an extensive menu that includes some of his signature dishes, as well as a specially priced wine list for the week. Now that’s being a Southern Gentleman.  Menu highlights include shrimp and grits, charcuterie of the day, Yorkshire pig and cabbage, pan fried flounder, and sweet offerings like chocolate bread pudding and apple tart. Update: Art and Soul will be extending their restaurant week menu through January 22nd.

701 – Chef Ed Witt has developed an extensive and exciting menu, mouth-watering options include lemongrass lobster bisque, bourbon caramel apple salad with mustard greens, veal sweetbreads, red wine beef short-ribs, cider braised rabbit leg and desserts including an upscale s’more- chocolate bar with vanilla bean gelato, marshmallow and graham crackers. Need I say more?

Rasika– Reservations at Chef Vikram Sunderam’s Indian mecca are near impossible to snag, so book now if you want to dine here during Restaurant Week. The Penn Quarter powerhouse is consistently delicious and will undoubtedly be offering some of its best dishes.

Photo courtesy of angela n.
Art & Soul courtesy of angela n.

Fiola– Everything here from the classic antipastis to the homemade pastas and innovative fish and meat offerings is spot on delicious. As Fiola’s first Winter Restaurant Week, chef Fabio Trabocchi is sure to deliver. I also recommend you spend the money you would have on the meal and try many a drinks by Fiola’s resident mixologist, Jeff Faile. These men know what they are doing. Continue reading

Food and Drink, Special Events, The Daily Feed

ARTINI Congratulations!

Ronald Flores of Art and Soul with his ARTINI Coleman's Juice. Photo by author.

Congratulations to Ronald Flores of Art and Soul, who was awarded the Critics’ Choice at Saturday night’s ARTINI 2011 celebration at the Corcoran Gallery of Art. The intrepid We Love DC drinks team had been following the entries closely every week with our Friday Happy Hours, and congratulations are really due to all the competing mixologists. It was an honor for me to serve on the judging panel alongside last year’s winner Justin Guthrie (now Estadio’s general manager), Todd Thrasher of Restaurant Eve/PX, Corcoran’s assistant curator for contemporary art Beatrice Gralton, Washingtonian editor Sophie Gilbert, and notable chef Mike Isabella of the soon-to-open Graffiato.

It was an extremely tight race! Flores’ cocktail was inspired by William Christenberry’s sculpture Coleman’s Cafe and was crafted with Gentleman Jack Tennessee whiskey, mezcal, yuzu-agave syrup, rhubarb bitters, and housemade vanilla cola. Garnished with a housemade Slim Jim (which honestly I mistook for a half-smoked cigar upon first sight, a nice homage to Christenberry’s shack of a cafe), the drink was called Coleman’s Juice and had a distinctly smoky flavor.

The evening was filled with gorgeous guests (seriously, anyone who still thinks Washington is “Hollywood for ugly people” needs to get to next year’s ARTINI and be blown away by the eye candy!) in the beautiful classical surroundings of the Corcoran. I’ll detail the other very worthy contestants and wrap up my experience later this week in Thursday’s We Love Drinks.

The Daily Feed

Sno-cones and CHEAP Happy Hour at Art & Soul

Photo courtesy of
‘art and soul mac and cheese balls’
courtesy of ‘needlessspaces’

So this summer has been like redonkulously hot, right? Well Capitol Hill’s Art and Soul is offering sno-cone cocktails and one of the cheapest fancy happy hours around. You should go. Here’s the deal:

The Sno-Cones, served in a cone-shaped martini glass, come in three adult flavors including: The Savannah (vodka, African nectar tea and peaches); Laurel Park (gin, St Germain, sparkling rose, cucumbers, and strawberries); and Rehoboth (Cachaca, pineapple, and spearmint rimmed with smoked black salt). The Sno-Cone Cocktails are priced at $12 each — $6 during happy hour from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Monday – Thursday.

Speaking of happy hour, the food is also really cheap (really fried, too) but you can snag yourself some fried green tomatoes, house made potato chips and assorted dips (they have old bay!) and to-die for deviled eggs. Each of the small plates are less than $6, and if you add a glass of wine or a cocktail to one of them you get the pair for $10. Regional beers are on tap for only $4.

So who is ready for this Monday to be over so they can get to eating? This girl.

Entertainment, Food and Drink, Fun & Games, News, People, The Daily Feed

DC’s Own On Top Chef Masters Tonight!

Photo courtesy of
‘art and soul mac and cheese balls’
courtesy of ‘needlessspaces’

Just a quick reminder to all you foodies and Bravo Top Chef fans out there – Chef Art Smith of Art and Soul will be on Top Chef Masters tonight! Art and Soul, located in the Liaison Capitol Hill, right near Union Station is hosting a Top Chef Master’s Viewing Party tonight. The party will be held in ArtBar from 8 p.m. – 11 p.m., and will feature complimentary hors d’oeuvres that showcase classic Art Smith dishes.

Good luck Chef Smith!

Entertainment, Special Events, The Daily Feed

Take Your Dog To Work Day

Photo courtesy of
‘is this too much cute too early in the morning?’
courtesy of ‘staceyviera’

Bo Obama is often seen galavanting around the White House grounds and making his way in the Oval Office. Bo is certainly setting a good example for pups everywhere, as many area dogs gear up for the offical Take Your Dog To Work Day on June 26.

So lobby your boss for a day of slobber, fur and lovin’. If you don’t have any crazy allergic people in your office, I think this would be such a fun summertime work activity. Also, in celebration of the day, after your pooch has done his proper filing, and sucked-up to all the right people, you two can head on over to Art and Soul’s special patio puppy happy hour.  Your doggie can get all kinds of delicious gourmet chef-made treats and you can throw back some local brews well-earned after a day’s hard work.

Just remember, dogs aren’t allowed on the Metro or on the buses, so if you’re bringing your adorable furry friend to work, you’ll have to do an alternative commute. Maybe a puppy carpool, or something.

Food and Drink, Foodie Roundup, The Daily Feed, The District

Foodie Round-Up (June 8-12th)

Photo courtesy of
‘foodie blogger damage done’
courtesy of ‘needlessspaces’

Hi Kids! It’s actually sunny out there today! Whee! What a dismal week we’ve had. But that’s okay, brushing it off, let’s talk food for a while. Not a super-busy week, but there have been some notable tidbits round here. So, without further ado, a new mixologist for Proof, wine dinners, winners and more in this week’s edition of all the news fit to eat in the District. Continue reading

Downtown, Food and Drink, News, The Daily Feed

Three Additions to Art & Soul’s Patio

Photo courtesy of
‘art and soul happy hour’
courtesy of ‘needlessspaces’

Three exciting things just in from Art & Soul:

1) A new Crab and Beer Wednesdays happy hour
2) The introduction of a (gasp) fire pit on the patio (love!)
3) A Puppy Patio Menu complete with doggie drinks, treats and desserts

Let’s start with 1. A Crab and Beer Wednesday includes three super jumbo crabs, corn on the cob or seasonal vegetables, hushpuppies and potatoes, price will vary depending on the market price of the day. I’m sorry, did I just type hushpuppies? YES I DID. Continue reading

Food and Drink, Foodie Roundup, The Features

Foodie Round-Up: Mother’s Day Brunch Edition

Photo courtesy of
‘Mother & Child’
courtesy of ‘nathangibbs’

I want to be my Mom. No, seriously. I do. You know when you read those things that are all like “Oh no! We are turning into our mothers!” – to that I say, YES! Can I please? This is because my Mother is phenomenal. She’s the wisest person I know, and she always knows just what to say to give me a new perspective on something, or make me feel better, and she and my Dad are the only people I can call about some problem in my life who will care as much as I do about it.  She is basically just is the best person to ever exist, period.

So I can’t put together a foodie round-up for Mother’s day and not get picky. I’ve been told about a lot of brunches, practically every restaurant in the city is doing something for Mother’s day brunch, I’m not joking. I’ve been inundated with menus, options and press releases. So instead of just listing them out for you like I did for Easter, I’m going to get more selective and only tell you about the brunches that I’d take my own rockin’ Mother to. So with that, a very subjective short list of brunches worthy of Katie’s Mother, in no particular order. Continue reading

Food and Drink, Foodie Roundup, The Daily Feed

Foodie Round-Up (April 27-May 1)

Photo courtesy of
‘bistro burger’
courtesy of ‘vee*’

It’s been a slow food news week, because everyone is gearing up for Mother’s Day brunch (I’m starting to stretch my stomach already) but there are a few things bopping about in the food news world. We’ve got Sunday dinner, Preakness parties, and the emergence of the “middle plate”. So read on, reader, for all the news fit to eat in the District this week. Continue reading

Food and Drink, We Love Food

We Love Food: Art and Soul

Photo courtesy of william couch
Wine Glasses, courtesy of the_amanda

I’ve heard the buzz about Art and Soul. Oprah’s former chef, southern cooking, two-time James Beard Award winner…blah blah blah. So when the restaurant appeared on the faux-restaurant week list (AKA OpenTable’s  Appetite Stimulus Plan.) I was pretty stoked.

Seeing as the Appetite Stimulus Plan (AS) was kind of like a best-kept-secret restaurant week only for those in-the-know, it was hardly competitive for the good reservations, and Matt and I were able to land the perfect Friday night table for two. (Ya’ll just wait until real RW, I get uber competitive and call people past their bedtimes to confer about reservations. I change them, drop them, negotiate for them. OH MAN. Just you wait, cause now I’ll blog all about them!)

Anyways. I read Tom Sietsema’s review before we went, so I was prepared. Continue reading