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.

Capital Chefs, Food and Drink, The Features

Capital Chefs: Ris Lacoste of Ris (Part 2)

Photo courtesy of bonappetitfoodie
Ris Lacoste’s Endive, Walnut & Blue Cheese Salad with Port Vinaigrette
courtesy of bonappetitfoodie

If you’re like me, you spend a lot of time wandering through the produce aisles staring at vegetables and wondering what in the world you should make with them. You’re overwhelmed by the options and the daunting threat of those veggies passing their prime in the bottom of your refrigerator’s crisper. Stress no more. Chef Ris Lacoste of Ris shared with me a recipe for an endive, walnut and blue cheese salad with port vinaigrette. I know, it’s winter and the thought of salad seems foreign. But this dish is hearty and a great way to get creative and bring some bright flavors into your kitchen while we wait for warmer weather. Click through to find the full recipe.
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Capital Chefs, Food and Drink, The Features

Capital Chefs: Ris Lacoste of Ris (Part 1)

Photo courtesy of bonappetitfoodie
Chef Ris Lacoste
courtesy of bonappetitfoodie

Growing up, Ris Lacoste thought she would be anything but a chef. She was a pre-med student for two years at the University of Rochester; then she had visions of becoming a UN translator when she got her degree in French at UC-Berkeley. But all the while, Ris was working in the food and restaurant industry in some capacity since she was a teenager. “It was going on my whole life, but I didn’t know it,” she says. When she was 12, she started working at a Polish market on weekends helping out by stocking shelves. By the time she was 16, she was a short-order cook and later an assistant manager at Friendly’s.

Then came France. In 1981, Ris moved to Paris to study French and got a part-time job at La Varenne Écôle de Cuisine as a receptionist and an editorial stagiaire. Her payment? Cooking classes in exchange for work. Slowly, she came to see that all the experiences along the way–talking to the milk man at the Polish market, learning about purveyors, interacting with customers–all of those things pointed her in the direction of becoming a chef. After receiving her grand diplome in French cooking, Ris moved back to the states and started working for Bob Kinkead, before making the move to 1789 in 1995, where she was the executive chef for 10 years.
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The Daily Feed

Tweet of the Week: Ris

Photo courtesy of laura padgett
ris 10.21.10 – 6
courtesy of laura padgett
My favorite food dish at Ris is without question, Chef Ris Lacoste’s Scallop Margarita: lime marinated scallops with chilies, orange, avocado and tequila ice.  My second favorite thing about the restaurant is actually not food related, at least technically. That would be Ris’ Twitter account.

Behind the tweets is Natalie Christenson, Ris’ Events Manager & Communications Director. Up since August 2009, @RISDC interacts with its customers daily by posting some delicious looking pictures, polling diners on any menu changes, and really getting involved with the community.

Tweeting under the belief that people in general want to be heard, Christenson keeps interaction with “Twitter friends” more social than formal. “Chef Ris likes for our guests to feel like they are guests in her home for a dinner party, so I like to create a family feel with our social media as well,” she says.

The tweet that caught my attention this week was one that made me want to know more.

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Food and Drink

One Year Later: Ris

There’s a certain understated elegance to Ris. You could almost miss it if you’re driving by, and believe me I’ve done that many times in the past. Walk inside and you’ll find dark lighting, which somehow works to both set the tone for a romantic date or a loud coversation at the bar. It’s classy, minimalist, and not-stuffy.

As the name suggests, Ris is the dream of owner Ris Lacoste. Chef Lacoste left the famed 1789 in Georgetown back in 2005 and more than four years later started Ris in West End.

The thing about contemporary American cuisine is that it can go so wrong if not done correctly because that “modern” description means that you can pretty much put anything on your menu. Ris shines with its different items and special touches to each dish.
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The Daily Feed

Local Chefs Raise Money for Tsunami Relief

Photo courtesy of

courtesy of ‘Jing a Ling’
Get your credit cards out. Starting today, a series of donations will be auctioned off on eBay by more than 20 DC businesses. The money raised will support disaster relief in Japan. 

Earlier this week, KAZ Sushi Bistro Chef Kaz Okochi, who was born and raised in Nagoya, Japan, reached out to the DC Chefs’ Club for help. The result? Chefs are auctioning off brunch, dinners, tastings, classes, and more on eBay. The auctions will last for one to two weeks, and the winning bids will be donated to the American Red Cross.

Starting off the auction is KAZ, offering a tasting menu for two people as well as KAZ private brand sake or beer. The bidding starts at $50. To bid go here.

Restaurants participating include:

The Tabard Inn
Restaurant Nora
Four Seasons
KAZ Sushi Bistro
Peacock Cafe
Food & Wine Co.
DC Coast/TenPenh/Ceiba/Acadiana/PassionFish
Jaleo/Zaytinya/Oyamel/Cafe Atlantico
Marcels/Brasserie Beck/Mussel Bar
Hilton Garden Inn, Downtown

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, Foodie Roundup, News, The Daily Feed

Foodie Round-Up: Openings Edition

Photo courtesy of
‘We’re Cooking’
courtesy of ‘Kevin H.’

I’ll be honest with you, reader. I just didn’t feel like putting together foodie round-up today, but I didn’t want to leave you hanging. So instead, like a good food blogger, I decided to write about the flurry of restaurants expected to open this month. So on with you, we’ve got greek, latin-asian fusion, a gastropub, and beer drinker’s heaven coming atcha in October. Continue reading