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.

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

Friday Happy Hour: Fool’s Warmth

"Fool's Warmth" cocktail, Proof

Yay, we’re resuscitating our Friday Happy Hour, highlighting a drink we’ve recently enjoyed, every Friday at 4pm! Please share your favorites as well.

Is it really just a week since New Year’s Eve? Sigh. 2011 is upon us and most of DC is back at work hard. It’s cold and snow may be on the way. Does this mean no more bubbly? Hell, no!

I’ve got a mania for champagne cocktails, and over at Proof you can try a very wintery combination by Adam Bernbach, poetically named Fool’s Warmth. Though you might think it’s a hot toddy, both from the title and some of the ingredients – honey syrup and lemon juice – it’s actually a cold sparkler with a base of Champagne and Calvados apple brandy, plus the classic champagne cocktail component of Angostura bitters. Just the right balance of mellow sweet and tart, it was perfect on a chilly winter’s night (especially after having my system shocked by seeing Black Swan).

A golden, fizzy apple love. That warms me up.

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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Food and Drink, The DC 100, The Features

DC Omnivore 100: #23, Foie Gras

Photo courtesy of
‘Seared duck foie gras’
courtesy of ‘yosoynuts’

It’s time for another item on the DC Omnivore 100 list of the top one hundred foods every good omnivore should try at least once in their lives.

Since the launch of this feature back in 2008, there have been a few items on the list that we knew could be controversial – horse, for example, is one of the more obvious ones (and I plan to write about it soon). Foie gras is another, falling in and out of favor depending on whether taste trumps compassion. Some seasons it seems like every restaurant in the city is serving it, others not so much. What’s the deal?

Foie gras is the liver of a duck or goose that has been fattened, either force-fed through a traditional French method known as “gavage” or naturally overfed in say, the American method known as “double bacon cheeseburger with fries.” Kidding. It’s an ancient practice going back to the Egyptians and is protected under French law as part of their cultural heritage. The U.S. is actually the something like the fourth-largest producer of foie gras in the world. Basically the fattening process is exploiting a physiological capacity of migratory birds to store large amounts of food in their expansive throats, to sustain them over long journeys. The birds are fed larger and larger amounts of food until their livers are roughly ten times their ordinary size. With gavage, in the last phase they are force-fed through a pneumatic pump.

Grossed out yet? Morally appalled? If you are, you should read about abattoirs and where burgers come from as well. Personally, I’m with Bourdain. There are humane ways for us to get our guilty pleasures.

The reason so many people are willing to overlook the process is the result, one of the most luxuriant tastes on earth. Continue reading

The Features, We Love Drinks

2009, A Glass Half Full

Glass Half Full

"Glass Half Full" by Jenn Larsen on Flickr

When I inaugurated the We Love Drinks feature back in September 2008, I really didn’t give it much thought to start with, honestly. We founding writers were tossing around feature ideas, and I said, “hey, what about drinks? I go out a fair amount.” That simple. It began mostly with bar reviews, with some coffee and tea thrown in for good measure.

But that slowly started to change when I realized there were people passionate about drinks culture in the city – not just nightlife and where to go to get wasted (not that I was writing about that! those days are over, darlings, good-bye jello shots!). It was a humbling experience to discover what a neophyte I was – when I got caught in the crossfire of a discussion on how to make your own bitters, for example, or the first time someone asked me whether I preferred green or yellow Chartreuse. Certainly the vast world of wine was still a mystery despite the wine bar explosion, and don’t even get me started about my beer ineptitude.

So why I am admitting this to you? Because these days I’m all about humility. I may be opinionated, but I’m still eager to learn and am constantly excited about the many different possibilities in our city of drinks. Respect for the taste and the balance of a proper cocktail, diving into the vast world of wine and beer, and most importantly understanding your own tolerance – that’s been my experience in 2009. Here are a few key moments that helped me on this continuing journey. Continue reading

Entertainment, Food and Drink, Night Life, The Features, We Love Drinks

We Love Drinks: Champagne

Bubbles Glow

"Bubbles Glow" by Jenn Larsen, on Flickr

Why so tired, people? A little worn out from partying with us last night(hmm… maybe it’s just me)? Well, it’s time to celebrate again! I hope most of you have a three-day weekend to look forward to, with fireworks and grilling and sun-soaking. My advice? Add some bubbles.

A lot of people think champagne is just for snobs. Those people are wrong. WRONG. But I understand. The whole “blow it all on table service and a bottle of Cristal” movement killed simple enjoyment of champagne for many people. Just forget about those excess junkies. Champagne isn’t so very different from beer. I mean, they both have bubbles, right? Ok, perhaps I’m pushing it here but I firmly believe that champagne should be enjoyed all the time, and especially in the summer. There’s something about a chill glass of the fizz that reminds me to slow down, relax and smile.

You can enjoy the bubbly all over town. But I have a few spots that pop to mind when I want to pop the cork. And I’m happy to share a little tour of where I would go right now to inbibe. Tops on the list currently? Belga Cafe and its divine basil champagne cocktail.

Wait, basil? Continue reading

Food and Drink, The DC 100, The Features

DC Omnivore 100: #92, Soft Shell Crab

Soft Shell Crab, Al Crostino

"Soft Shell Crab, Al Crostino" by Jenn Larsen, on Flickr

It’s time for another edition of the DC Omnivore 100, where we explore the top one hundred foods every good omnivore should try at least once in their lives…

“Blue Crab Molting Season.” Could there be a sweeter phrase to the foodie ears of our region? Really, it’s one of the best parts of living near the Chesapeake Bay. And for those of us who can’t be bothered with the hacking and slashing to get to the meat out of the crab while in its hard shell, it’s especially sweet.

It seems every restaurant currently has a soft shell crab special on the menu, and that’s no coincedence. From roughly May through June, our local blue crabs are casting aside their old shells, like giggling girls getting beach-ready. It takes about four days for their new shells to harden, so before they become bitter and jaded (ok, I know I’m milking a bad metaphor, I just can’t resist, it’s like a disease) snap them up.

A perfect soft shell crab dish has that signature play with texture – the crisp shell giving way to succulent crabmeat with a little burst of the sea. But I know this particular texture is not initially to everyone’s liking. My gateway dish was soft shell crab roll, often called “Spider” roll. Continue reading

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

Food and Drink, Foodie Roundup, The Daily Feed

Foodie Round-Up (April 13-17)

Photo courtesy of
‘The Pour’
courtesy of ‘maxedaperture’

It’s a drink-focused round-up this week, but I think that’s because spring is in the air and all of us are practically clawing at our office doors to escape to grab a beer on the patio with friends. That said – Earth Day, jazz brunches, cocktails from the city’s best mixologists and a new team at Sonoma make up all the news that is fit to eat in the District this week. Continue reading

The DC 100

DC Omnivore 100: #62, Sweetbreads


Vidalia's coddled duck egg with crispy sweetbreads, by Kitchen Wench on Flickr

Vidalia's coddled duck egg with crispy sweetbreads, by Kitchen Wench on Flickr

Our continuing quest to try all 100 foods a DC Omnivore must experience checks out sweetbreads.

There are a few items on the Omnivore 100 list that will elicit a very strong reaction. Sweetbreads certainly has to be one of them. I think there’s no middle ground here, as with, say, sea urchin, you either love it or you hate it.

To the uninitiated, sweetbreads are classified as offal, and are the thymus gland of veal, beef, lamb, or pork. Most of the sweetbreads I’ve been served are veal or lamb, and indeed according to the venerable Fannie Farmer, only veal sweetbreads should rightly be considered (and in the 1918 edition, actually recommended for the “convalescent,” so as I’m sitting here wasting away from flu, a plate of sweetbreads is sounding pretty delicious…). 

It’s hard to adequately describe the taste, but I’ll give it a whirl – properly prepared, veal sweetbreads are slightly firm giving way to a creamy, almost gelatinous succulence. Velvety also comes to mind. I’ve found veal has a more delicate flavor than lamb. 

My very first experience with sweetbreads was about two years ago at PS7Continue reading

Downtown, Food and Drink, Night Life, Penn Quarter

We Love Food: Proof Positive

A couple weeks back, myself and a few of the authors you see sneaking around this site had a casual dinner over at Proof in Penn Quarter. It’s a newer restaurant – actually, more like a very upscale “wine bar” – and it was suggested as an alternative to the usual pub meetings we normally have.

Their website proclaims the restaurant is “a Penn Quarter dining destination that exudes both contemporary chic and rustic warmth.” I’ll say this – they completely lived up to that billing.

While there’s some seriously good (and expensive) food on the menu, by far the most popular choices of patrons is their various charcuterie and cheese boards. Oh, and the bazillion bottles of wine scattered around. Just in case you weren’t sure what exactly they excelled in.

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