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.
TruOrleans Restaurant & Gallery sits on the early part of H St NE, before all the hustle and bustle you’ll find closer to Sticky Rice, Toki Underground and Granville Moore’s. If you stand across from it (by Ethiopic), TruOrleans really seems to command the entire block.
It is 2 floors with an open deck. The space is great, and the staff is friendly. Every time I make my way around the place, I’m greeted by the hostess, a waiter and a bartender. This friendliness is a saving grace.
I know winter is winding down, but we still have the second half of March to go which I’m betting will bring some slightly colder days. This dish with the root vegetables and the light, creamy sauce is pretty much perfect for this in-between season. Below you’ll find the recipe for Teddy Folkman’s Halibut with Keizer Blue.
Since this dish involves cooking with alcohol, allow me to remind you that adding alcohol to a hot pan results in a quick flare of fire. Don’t stick your face over the pan, keep the kids a safe distance back and have a fire extinguisher on hand if you really mess things up. I recommend practicing that one a few times before you try to make this and impress the neighbors with your en flambé skills. According to Teddy, you can find the beer he uses at liquor stores around the District that carry smaller import/craft beer selections. You might also check Whole Foods. The Keizer Blue brew is sweet and perfect for an after dinner drink with this meal. Continue reading →
Chef Teddy Folkman
Courtesy of Granville Moore’s/JDSilk
A friend of Teddy Folkman’s once gave him a piece of advice when he moved to DC more than ten years ago. He told him, “If you’re driving down East Capitol Street and you see the dome of the Capitol, and you feel nothing–then it’s time to go.” Lucky for us and for Folkman, that moment hasn’t happened.
Folkman, the executive chef of Granville Moore’s and famous for winning a mussels throwdown against Bobby Flay, was actually working in marketing and sales before he traded in a suit for a chef’s coat. “It was my passion and my hobby,” he says. “I would bail out of work early to go work as a line cook.” That’s when he decided to go to culinary school, despite his family’s objections and leaving behind a steady salary.
After going through most of culinary school (Folkman didn’t complete culinary school due to a snafu with the Dean and what sounded to me like a clash of egos and a few absences from class), chef Ann Cashion mentored Folkman, telling him he didn’t need culinary school if he wanted to work in her restaurant and learn as much as possible. I’d say things turned out pretty well for Folkman–throwing down with Bobby Flay, being on season 5 of The Next Food Network Star, running a successful restaurant, doing consultant work on a variety of projects and volunteering on the Chef Advisory Board for Brainfood.
Some months I go fancy, others I don’t. I definitely erred on the side of casual this month, going so far as having a grilled cheese sandwich at not one, but three restaurants. Take note, fancy restaurants, I don’t find many things more satisfying than butter, bread and cheese cooked to gooey perfection. Did I just call the new burger? Is it the grilled cheese? I sure hope it is.
DC Beer week is upon us and beer lovers are presented with a plethora of excellent events to attend. While nearly every single one is appealing, you’re only one person and can only attend so many. Hence, I’ve created a handy guide to help you choose what to do and where to go. My guide is by no means exhaustive and I’d encourage you to check out the full list of events before you decide where to go. There are some really great options, and all that really matters is that you go to at least one of them. But, should you choose to heed my advice, I’ve got three rules to make this Beer Week perfect: attend a beer dinner, find the values, sample the rare goods. I’ve selected a few events to coincide with each rule to help you decide what to attend.