Food and Drink, The Features

Summer Loving, and Eating

Photo courtesy of kimberlyfaye
courtesy of kimberlyfaye

Dates. Those awkward, exciting, beautiful things we all go on at some point. I am by no means an expert in this field- quite far from it- and I don’t have a magical solution for how to make your next date the best you ever had, so unfortunately you won’t be finding the next We Love DC dating service here (sigh). The inspiration for this post really came from a conversation with a friend of mine the other day. He asked me where he should take a girl out, wanting to strike the right balance between serious young professional, trendy and casual. I realized many of us have gone through this mental exercise before. The exhausting over-planning and over- analyzing we do: choosing the right spot for that first interaction (or second or third), focusing on every detail from time, to dress code, to the big goodbye, mulling over tiny logistics as a method of defense to shift our thoughts away from the weirdness that could ensue.  But enough of that.

I think a shared meal is the perfect way to break the ice, a way to bond over something simple that brings anyone, no matter what level of culinary expertise you may have, together. We all share stories around a dinner table, have memories of a favorite meal, and can reveal oneself through a dish. So for me, sharing a meal is a perfect way of getting to know someone, whether it be a sit down dinner or a casual picnic. I decided to write some recommendations for where you can break bread and the ice along the way, in case you need to outsource thinking on the next time your big date is lined up. I polled some of the We Love DC crew for their suggestions as well, as not all of us are food focused daters.

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Food and Drink, The Daily Feed

Proof’s Movember Fundraiser

Photo courtesy of

courtesy of ‘Chris Rief aka Spodie Odie’

If you’ve been growing out your mustache for Movember (or happen to know a fellow who is), then you’ll be in good company with the staff of Proof. The restaurant in Chinatown is hosting a Movember fundraiser on November 27th to raise money and awareness for prostate cancer and other men’s health issues.

You can attend the cocktail party from 9 PM until 12 AM and get your fill of hors d’oeuvres, craft beer, wine and cocktails for $50 per person. All the male waitstaff, managers and even the executive chef Haidar Karoum will be sporting mustaches for Sunday’s event. You can purchase tickets at either Proof or its sister restaurant, Estadio, or by calling events director, Kim Burke 202-737-7663.

So take yourself and your mustache or mustachioed friends to Proof. All of the proceeds from the evening go to Movember.

Food and Drink

One Year Later: Estadio

Photo courtesy of
’14/365′
courtesy of ‘ekelly80′
Estadio celebrated its one year anniversary back in July (yes, I’m a little late), and 14 months after it opened, this restaurant continues to draw in the packed crowds.

The most important part of any restaurant is, of course, the food, and Estadio shines here. It’s a member of the tapas crowd serving Spanish small plates, but unlike some other tapas restaurants you will not leave the Logan Circle restaurant hungry.

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Capital Chefs, Food and Drink, The Features

Capital Chefs: Haidar Karoum of Estadio & Proof (Part 2)

Photo courtesy of
‘Haidar Karoum’s Spice-Grilled Chicken’
courtesy of ‘bonappetitfoodie’

Everybody needs a good chicken recipe now and then. And chef Haidar Karoum has just the recipe for his spice-grilled chicken with salsa loca. It involves a straight-forward but powerfully tasty marinade and the salsa adds another level to the dish. You might have even had it at Estadio before. So roll up your sleeves and fire up the grill; the full recipe is after the jump.
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Capital Chefs, Food and Drink, The Features

Capital Chefs: Haidar Karoum of Estadio & Proof (Part 1)

Photo courtesy of
‘Haidar Karoum of Proof and Estadio’
courtesy of ‘bonappetitfoodie’

Haidar Karoum, executive chef of Estadio and Proof, is a breed of chef who always knew he belonged in the kitchen. Looking back on his childhood, he can remember being in awe of the produce and meat aisles of grocery stores and one time getting purposely lost in Harrod’s food hall when he was 9 years old. He remembers being “obsessed” with cooking shows such as Great Chefs of the West and rushing home to catch them on TV when he was 12. “I’m constantly immersed in food. My condo is littered with cookbooks. You can’t go into any room without there being a stack of them,” Haidar laughs.

After high school, the northern Virginia native attended the Culinary Institute of America and thus began his long and impressive cooking career. He externed with Michele Richard at Citronelle and much later he became chef de cuisine at Restaurant Nora in Dupont Circle. Straight out of culinary school, he worked at the now-closed Gerard’s Place. “He was like a God,” says Haidar, talking about french chef Gerard Panguard and his first job out of culinary school. “His philosophy of simplicity and his influence were important to me. It was an honor to work in his kitchen.”
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Food and Drink, The Daily Feed, We Love Drinks

Gin and Tonic Throwdown?

Here is another of my gin y tonic..... on Twitpic
“Here is another of my gin y tonic”
via @chefjoseandres

Who doesn’t love a little smack talk?

After Adam Bernbach’s recipe got a little love from the Post (and, for what it’s worth, from Katie Nelson in these pages) Chef José Andrés Took matters into his own hands, or at least his own twitter account, posting “thats a great drink, agree! and i love estadio but aint a gin and tonic! let me post my gin&tonic(love controversy)”.

Now Derek Brown has offered to host such a showdown at the Columbia Room. I said it to him on twitter, and now I’ll say it here: Jenn and I will be happy to assist with any judging. Just make sure that Todd Thrasher is included too, since Adam said his gin and tonic was the inspiration.

Food and Drink, The Daily Feed

Taste of the Nation 2011

Photo courtesy of
courtesy of ‘Sexy Fitsum’

It’s almost time for another DC foodie favorite event, and also one of my favorites.  DC’s strong culinary community will be joining forces yet again to fight childhood hunger with Share Our Strength at the 23rd Annual Taste of the Nation.

More than 75 of Washington’s favorite chefs, mixologists, restaurants and wine bars will come together to raise money and awareness for “No Kid Hungry” Share Our Strength’s campaign to end childhood hunger by 2015.

Always billed as a culinary night to remember, buy a ticket and you’ll have the opportunity to try dishes from the capital’s best eateries, participate in a silent auction, and check out a number of live cooking demonstrations.  Participating chefs include Haidar Karoum of Estadio/ Proof, Nicholas Stefanelli of Bibiana Osteria-Enoteca, Bryan Voltaggio of VOLT and Nick Sharpe of Ba Bay. Continue reading

Eat Like Me, Food and Drink, The Features

Eat Like Me: January’s Best Dishes

Photo courtesy of
’264/365 – estadio’
courtesy of ‘dracisk 365/365′
It was a big month for me food-wise this January. I ate at a lot of new to me restaurants that treated me well (Estadio, Masa 14, Againn, Room 11) some new to me restaurants that didn’t treat me so well ([redacted]), and some old favorites that stayed my favorites (Tackle Box, Ted’s Bulletin, Market Lunch, Sticky Rice). And it was a big month for favorite dishes, so much so that some of my standards aren’t making this month’s best dishes list. Fear not, Brick sandwich from Market Lunch and tater tots from Sticky Rice, you’re still numero uno in my heart. Especially you, duck confit from Cork, Mommy loves you most of all.

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Food and Drink, People, The Features, We Love Drinks

The Last of the Summer Wine

Photo courtesy of
‘la terrasse’
courtesy of ‘jenny downing’

It may be September, but we denizens of DC know that doesn’t mean an automatic reprieve from hot weather. Though autumn’s official start will arrive in a few weeks, we still have plenty of swelter left. So, what to drink in this transitional time, this ‘tween season not quite summer and not quite fall?

Luckily for us, we’ve got a lot of brilliant local sommeliers to help us over the hump. I asked a quintet to recommend some current favorites to drink now and as the seasons change, and they’ve responded most generously. There’s an embarrassment of riches here – wine recommendations, vinology knowledge to inspire you to learn more, and some tempting food pairings to whet your appetite! So join me as we explore a beautiful array of wines to sip while enjoying the last of the summer heat, as the hazy lazy afternoons slowly give way to the crisp bounty of autumn color.
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