Food and Drink, The Features

Sneak Peek: SŪNA Pop-up

The pop-up restaurant phenomenon is taking over DC, but if you are looking for a place to pop your taste bud cherry, here it is. From March 21-25, three incredibly young and talented chefs are taking over the new Living Social event space for a unique culinary collaboration to showcase what they have in store for us at their upcoming restaurant, SŪNA. The triple threat team is made up of Chefs Johnny Spero (Komi and Townhouse), Erik Bruner-Yang (Toki Underground), and Ari Gejdenson (Acqua Al 2). SŪNA, due to open at the end of this year in Eastern Market, will offer Spero’s unique perspective on modern progressive cuisine that reflects both his professional and personal experiences. I was invited for a sneak peek of the pop-up menu and witnessed firsthand how chef Johnny Spero literally creates art, of the tastiest kind, on a plate. Not only are the dishes aesthetically beautiful, but they are also creative, delicious, and given the same attention in every detail. This is what a pop-up experience should be made of– energy, dedication, innovation.

Chef Johnny Spero will be spearheading the SŪNA project and continuing his strong focus on sustainability, supporting local farms and cooking seasonally as he and his co-chefs develop the menu and concept. Chef Spero’s culinary resume is impressive; he worked at Komi here in the District and Townhouse in Virginia, and has traveled the globe to stage at some of the best restaurants, including NOMA in Denmark (oh hey, it was rated #1 in the world), and spent a week at Alinea in Chicago.

Tickets to this coveted culinary event are priced at $120 and include an 8-course meal with 4 pairings. For a visual tasting of what to expect from it, read (and drool) on…

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Food and Drink, The Daily Feed

This Week in Food

Photo courtesy of
‘me + scallops = omg bff!’
courtesy of ‘skampy’
A Big Deal

The week’s biggest food news? Obviously the 2011 RAMMY noms. We Love DC eater Ashley writes that a few restaurants like Bourbon Steak, Citronelle, and Equinox show up a number of times, “but there are a few dark horses out there like Ted’s Bulletin, The Majestic and Liberty Tavern to round out the competition.” The winners will be announced at a ceremony on June 26th, and voters will be able to fill out a ballot that will run in the April 28th issue of The Washington City Paper or online. Check out the full list.

Actually, even bigger: the James Beard Award nominees! Up for Best Chef Awards (in the Mid-Atlantic region) are Cathal Armstrong of Restaurant Eve in Alexandria, Johnny Monis of Komi, and Obelisk’s Peter Pastan. The only national chef or restaurant nomination was for the ubiquitous Jose Andres for “Outstanding Chef.” I back anyone behind Zaytinya, Minibar and Oyamel.

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Entertainment, Food and Drink, People, Special Events, The Features, We Love Drinks

Thankful (for Drinks)

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courtesy of ‘flipperman75′

Two weeks til Thanksgiving. Maybe you are staying put in DC and hosting your own dinner. Or you’re heading elsewhere and are faced with the inevitable stress of traveling. In either case, chances are you’re going to need liquid courage. Don’t panic, We Love Drinks is here to help.

Some personal disclosure – my parents are teetotalers. Explains a lot, doesn’t it? For my brother and I, no holiday visit to the parental compound is complete without a trip to the local liquor store, loading up on a whole cart of wine and spirits. He has expensive tastes. Somehow I end up paying. But it’s worth it.

Of course I’m not advocating getting bombed for Thanksgiving! Enjoy the holiday by indulging in some civilized drinks in moderation. I canvassed three local sommeliers for their recommendations of what goes best with the traditional feast, and as with the end of summer wines list culled previously, they’ve responded with some stand-out sips.

Let’s start with Elli Benchimol from Chef Geoff’s, who speaks for most of us when she says, “My Thanksgiving lasts all day, and most of the night, there are usually children running around, as well as adults, and it is an absolute necessity to have lots of wine, not only to keep you sane, but to keep you going.” Continue reading

The Daily Feed

DC Shafted at Beard Foundation

Photo courtesy of
‘Washington Monument’
courtesy of ‘kimberlyfaye’

Oh, Beard Foundation, we had such high hopes for you last night. So much of DC’s much-vaunted restaurant scene was up for your prestigious awards, and you chose to honor…none of them. Yep, you read that right. The Mid-Atlantic region Best Chef went to Philly (sorry Cathal, Brian and Peter). Outstanding Pastry Chef went to Napa Valley’s Nicole Plue (sorry Amanda), and Outstanding Chef went to Tom Colicchio from Top Chef (So very sorry, José). Rising Star was a spot of particular hope for the DC Foodie crowd, with Johnny Monis from Komi competing, but sadly that too went awry.

It may feel like a bit of sour grapes, but I do believe that DC got the shaft today, while Philly, NYC and Napa got the elevator. What say you? Was DC’s snub deserved?