Food and Drink, The Features

Willow Creek Farm Hosts 10th Annual Slow Food Event

Photo courtesy of bonappetitfoodie
Clydes willow creek farm dinner august 2012 (2)
courtesy of bonappetitfoodie

Sure, Clyde’s might be your choice for a fast bite to eat in Georgetown or before a Caps game at the Verizon Center. But out at their Willow Creek Farm, they’ve been slowing things down every year with the Slow Food movement.

Slow Food DC strives to instill a certain way of living and eating in the U.S. that honors cultures, community and “promotes ecologically sound food production,” according to the organization. And to support Slow Food’s mission, Clyde’s has hosted a slow food dinner ever year for the past 10 years. Fresh produce from Clyde’s farm such as fairy tale eggplant, pea shoots, zebra tomatoes and more are featured along with produce from other nearby farms. For a little bit after listening to Slow Food members talk about starting farmers markets or bringing fresh fruits and vegetables into Fairfax County schools, you might forget that you spend most of your days living in a hustling and bustling city.

After the jump, you’ll find photos from the Slow Food DC 10th Annual Farm Dinner. Take a minute this Monday morning to slow down and look through the photo slideshow.
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Georgetown, The Daily Feed

Restaurant Birthdays: 1789 Turns Fifty

Photo courtesy of philliefan99
embossed menu
courtesy of philliefan99

It’s not everyday that a restaurant turns the big 5-0. 1789 is celebrating their 50th anniversary, making it one of the oldest restaurants in the city.

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The restaurant first started when Georgetown alum Richard McCooey purchased the Federal home in the 1960s and opened The Tombs in the basement as a casual spot for university students and faculty. Eventually, McCooey purchased the adjacent properties and the evolution of 1789, The Tombs and F. Scott’s (the former art deco nightclub) began.

“A lot of the credit goes to Richard. He set the place up for all the right reasons,” says Tom Meyer, president of Clyde’s Restaurant Group, adding that McCooey wanted the restaurant to be a welcoming place for Georgetown residents, the university population and out of town guests. “It was designed classically and smartly from the beginning. [1789] is quintessential Washington. It’s a genteel, wonderful environment to dine in.”

But just because 1789 happens to be older than some of its peers, doesn’t mean they’re keeping the status quo. “We’re not of the ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ mentality,” says Meyer. He adds that the restaurant has adapted to the public’s changing tastes, while maintaining respect to the original concept. “Nobody gets off a plane or out of a cab and says, ‘What’s the oldest restaurant?'” says Meyer. “Just because you’re one of the oldest [restaurants] doesn’t automatically mean people like you. You almost have to try harder if you’ve been around longer.”

When I asked if Meyer could pinpoint any specific memory or cool moment in the restaurant’s history, he wasn’t able to pick just one. Instead he rattled off a list of former presidents and dignitaries that had dined at 1789–further proof of the restaurant’s staying power.

To celebrate the restaurant’s 50th, 1789 is offering a five-course tasting menu for $50 per person (excluding beverages, tax and gratuity). You can select any three dishes from the soups, salads, cheese and pasta sections of the menu, an entrée and a dessert. The summer special menu is available June 4th through September 13th on Sundays from 5:30 to 10 PM and Monday through Thursday from 6 to 10 PM. Mention the special to your server.

Capital Chefs, Food and Drink, The Daily Feed

Chef Moves at RIS and The Hamilton

Photo courtesy of Jenn Larsen

Chefs don’t stay still in the kitchen, so why would you expect otherwise in the DC dining scene? Two of the recent chef moves around DC are happening at RIS and The Hamilton.

Last week, chef/owner Ris Lacoste named Sue Drabkin as the executive pastry chef. Drabkin was previously the executive pastry chef at the Inn at Perry Cabin about two hours outside of the city in St. Michaels, MD. In a press release, Drabkin mentioned that her love of art and antiques, as well as her hobby of jewelry design serve as inspiration for her desserts. Some of Drabkin’s first desserts at RIS will include a basque cake with strawberry-rhubarb compote with brown sugar ice cream and toasted walnuts, as well as a Valhrona milk chocolate semifreddo with chocolate sauce, chocolate crisps and a whipped crème fraîche.

A little further downtown, the colossal Hamilton named Salvatore Ferro as their new executive chef. No stranger to the Clyde’s Restaurant Group, Ferro had previously worked in Las Vegas at Guy Savoy’s restaurant at Caesar’s Palace, where he met former 1789 executive chef, Dan Giusti. Following his time in Vegas, Ferro became the executive sous chef at 1789 in 2009, and was later the executive chef at Clyde’s of Georgetown. Some of the highlights on Ferro’s menu will include dishes such as flat iron steak frites, duck carbonara and charcuterie options.