Capital Chefs, Food and Drink, The Features

Capital Chefs: Julien Shapiro of Eat the Rich

Julien Shapiro of Eat the Rich

Julien Shapiro of Eat the Rich

We’re revisiting our Capital Chefs feature with a series by music reporter Mickey McCarter. A lot has been happening recently in kitchens in D.C. restaurants, and Mickey takes a look into them from his usual seat at the bar in this series, which runs weekly on Thursdays.

When Julien Shapiro created the opening menu for Eat the Rich, he consulted the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to get some idea of which fish he should use and which to avoid.

The NOAA scientists could not tell him what to do, of course, but they could provide him with data and help him interpret it.

“If you look at the fishing reports, it says the numbers are such, and then you make a conclusion based on what you think is good,” Shapiro told me. “They will say whether it is overfished or underfished or if there is no data.”

To round out his view of the fish available in the mid-Atlantic, Shapiro makes an effort to visit each mid-Atlantic state and check with its Department of Natural Resources to discover local numbers on fish and confirm what is available.

These habits serve Shapiro and Eat the Rich well, as the chef and owners focus on local, sustainable seafood, derived heavily from the Chesapeake Bay.

“We are trying to focus exclusively on Chesapeake seafood. That’s our calling card,” Shapiro said.

Cocktail mogul Derek Brown and oysterman Travis Coxton opened Eat the Rich last year, naming it after a Motorhead song. Coxton is also behind Rappahannock River Oysters, which has expanded locally into Union Market in 2012. Eat the Rich serves those same oysters. Coxton is concerned about being a good steward of the local oyster population, Shapiro said, and the chef applies the same outlook to the rest of the seafood served at Eat the Rich.

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Dupont Circle, Food and Drink, The Features, We Love Food

We Love Food: Hank’s Oyster Bar

Photo courtesy of
‘P1010522′
courtesy of ‘sygyzy’
Hank’s Oyster Bar has all the makings of being my go-to secret neighborhood joint — that perfectly undiscovered gem, with amazing food and an owner who remembers me so I never have to wait for a table. In a perfect world, yes, this would be the case. But this is not a perfect world and the rest of Washington has discovered Hank’s. There’s usually a wait, and to make matters worse, it’s not even in my neighborhood. But it almost was my neighborhood. I looked at an apartment in the Cairo building, and while I was thrilled with the opportunity to live in a haunted former brothel, I was even more excited about the possibility of living within viewing distance of the line at Hank’s.

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Food and Drink, The Features, We Love Food

We Love Food: Tackle Box

Photo courtesy of
‘Tackle Box Sign’
courtesy of ‘Mr. T in DC’

Though I live in the general area, I don’t spend much time on M St. in Georgetown. It’s not that I have anything against it, except that I run the risk of driving myself in to serious debt every time I walk down the street. Intermix, your siren song calls to me. There is one place that I’m willing to risk credit card debt for, and thy name is Tackle Box.

Tackle Box is the cooler little brother to its snooty boarding school sister, Hook, next door. While Sis spends her days rolling her eyes at all those outlanders who come to Newport in droves every Memorial Day weekend, Little Bro spent his summers working at a dockside restaurant and drinking on the beach with his friends at night. In other words, while Hook is a great meal for a special occasion, Tackle Box is at your service for a tasty lunch, brunch, dinner or snack just about any time.

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Food and Drink, The Features

First Look: Hot N Juicy Crawfish

Photo courtesy of
‘DC All-Louisiana Crawfish Boil 05′
courtesy of ‘maxedaperture’
When I first saw the sign for Hot N Juicy Crawfish in Woodley Park, I thought, “wow, they put one of those Chicken/Chinese/Wings/Subs places in, weird.” Then after a little bit of Internet chatter, it came to be known as “the place from Man v. Food” which isn’t normally the best judge of gourmet cuisine, but at least I knew a high volume of their food didn’t give Adam Richman deathly food poisoning. And then in honor of their grand opening, the restaurant was offering a pound of free shrimp, no questions asked. With that offer legitimacy was down but intrigue was up. I decided to go for it. Food poisoning isn’t as bad when you don’t pay for it, right?

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Farm Fresh, Food and Drink, The Features, We Love Food

Farm Fresh: Bourbon Steak

P9230130

Here’s another installment in the series where WeLoveDC authors Donna (greenie) and Katie (foodie) pair up to bring you a double-hitting feature about local area restaurants that take on the challenge of being green. Donna will explain the logic behind the environmentally friendly trends and Katie will tell you if the food tastes any good. It’s a rough life, but someone has to do it, right?

Katie: So you don’t always think of a steakhouse as environmentally-conscientious, right? Well, Michael Mina’s Bourbon Steak goes above and beyond the green call of duty, and plants their own vegetables, and works all of them into the dishes at the restaurant. Donna and I were invited over to the Four Seasons Hotel in Georgetown to take a tour of the garden and sample some dishes that used the herbs and veggies grown there on the property.

Donna: Last spring, Bourbon Steak created a small garden on its property, in a peaceable little spot just across from the C&O Canal. I was happy we were invited to tour this terraced plot and sample the dishes it flavors. It supplies the restaurant with 62 varieties of herbs, vegetables and flowers — 400 plants in all, some of which came from Amish farms. Look around, and up front you’ll see some plants you recognize, such as thyme, chives, marigold and different kinds of basil. Farther back are the harder-to-find plants that produce curries and other unusual spices.

Katie: So with all these herbs and vegetables grown on the property, could you taste the difference in the food? We headed inside for dinner to find out. Continue reading

Food and Drink, Fun & Games, The Daily Feed

We Love Peeing in Troughs: Tony and Joe’s Seafood Place

Urinal Trough!

My company had a fancy-shmancy lunch at Tony and Joe’s Seafood Place recently. Nice place, I suppose, except for the fact of the waiter telling me that they don’t really cater to vegetarians. He proved it by bringing me a baked potato with bacon. I guess honesty is worth something in this day and age.

The best part was the classy trough-style urinal. It really brought back memories of the ballpark, highway rest stop, “out-back” facilities in Thailand and many more. Have you seen one of these old troughs still in operation anywhere recently? Extra points if you link to a photo.

Don’t go for the food or service, but definitely go for a beer and to check out this relic of a by-gone age.

The Grafton Urinal Trough by Mac(3)