Capital Chefs, Food and Drink, The Features

Capital Chefs: Spike Mendelsohn of The Sheppard

Spike Mendelsohn of Good Stuff Eatery

Spike Mendelsohn of Good Stuff Eatery

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.

Back in April during the James Beard Foundation’s Chefs Boot Camp for Policy and Change, Spike Mendelsohn cooked a whole pig for a feast. He used the pig’s head to make a 10-hour cheese head broth for a soup.

About halfway through, musician Jack Johnson wandered into the kitchen to check out Mendelsohn’s work. A long-time admirer of the folk rock surfer, the chef was over the moon, happy to share secrets of the soup with Johnson and his wife.

Soon, everyone ate the pig, and sat around a fire while Johnson played the guitar for hours. Afterward, they ate the soup.

“That was a pinnacle moment of my life where I got to meet a guy that I’ve always looked up to for numerous reasons,” Mendelsohn told me.

The happy encounter was no accident. Mendelsohn and 14 other chefs had gathered outside of San Francisco for the boot camp dedicated to bolstering the advocacy work of chefs and musicians.

“Not only did I meet him, but I was there as a peer of his. We were there to learn about the same thing and share ideas. As the weekend progressed in boot camp, we sacrificed a pig. It was part of the learning process of where food comes from and what is a good way to sacrifice a pig and what is the wrong way to sacrifice an animal for food.”

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Food and Drink, The Daily Feed

Food Tweet of the Week: Sixth & Rye

Photo courtesy of
‘Good Stuff’
courtesy of ‘lorigoldberg’
On a roll like always is the ubiquitous Spike Mendelsohn. Despite what was perhaps a bad choice of words earlier this month, Mendelsohn’s first food truck lunched today without a glitch in sights.

Sixth & Rye has been popular before the deli truck even first hit the streets. You can think of it as DC’s First Kosher Deli on Wheels with Sixth & I, Chef Spike and Chef Malcolm Mitchell behind the venture. It even has 1,755 followers on Twitter already, where the truck goes by @SixthandRye.

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The Daily Feed

This Week in Food

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So it’s been quite a lackluster week in food. Ha!

Congratulations

As everyone knows by now (but I will repeat anyway), DC took home two James Beard Foundation Awards this week. You can call them the Academy Awards of food.

The ubiquitous Chef José Andrés won for Outstanding Chef and The Washington Post’s Tim Carman (previously with the City Paper) won for Food-Related Columns and Commentary. Read more from WeLoveDC’s Marissa.

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Food and Drink, The Daily Feed

This Week in Food

Photo courtesy of
‘Hank’s Oyster Bar’
courtesy of ‘jichen2′
Running Indefinitely: Kushi Izakaya & Sushi will donate 100% of the sales of its popular Buta Bara Kushiyaki (Pork Belly Kushiyaki) to the Japanese Red Cross to support earthquake and tsunami disaster relief in Japan. The Pork Belly Kushiyaki, made with North Carolina pigs and cooked sous vide for several hours, is Kushi’s best-selling menu item averaging monthly sales of approximately $7,500.00. 

Getting Bigger…Come May Hank’s Oyster Bar will double in size, adding a bar & lounge as well as a private dining room. So what does this mean? Late night hours! Two am on weeknights and 3 am weekends. Our devoted readers might also remember that restaurant partners Jamie Leeds and Sandy Lewis from Hank’s sold CommonWealth Gastro Pub in Columbia Heights last month.

Opening: Because I live for press releases with a lot of adjectives and love the movie Burlesque…”From the restaurateurs behind distinctive dining concepts OYA and SEI comes SAX, an exclusive lounge and restaurant with provocative live entertainment designed to amuse, please and divert the senses with opulent grandeur.” Look for it in May.

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Food and Drink, Fun & Games, Life in the Capital, The Daily Feed

Bringing Bravo’s Top Chef to DC

Photo courtesy of
‘Paul BOCUSE, French Cook’
courtesy of ‘alainelorza’

The foodies over at DC blog Capital Spice have been intently watching and covering this season of Bravo’s Top Chef, and last week they offered up a fantastic interview with Frederick, Maryland’s own final contest Bryan Voltaggio.

Leading up to this Wednesday’s finale, the site is running a contest that not only gives the winner a Top Chef prize package, but also pitches Washington, DC as the fantastic location for the next season of Top Chef.

So here’s your assignment: Concept a Top Chef elimination challenge that highlights something uniquely Washington. Think: locations, ingredients, events, guest judges who best represent DC, etc.

DC would be an amazing venue for Top Chef. We’ve got a solid culinary community with DC denizens, like Spike Mendelsohn, Carla Hall, and Mike Isabella already showing DC skills on Top Chef, and currently Mr. Voltaggio making a very strong play the Season 6 title.  Additionally, DC offers a fantastic array of high-quality restaurants (with celebrity chefs,) historic eateries, local breweries, gourmet shops, great farmers’ markets, superb area produce, and a solid wine scene.

Capital Spice will take submissions until the beginning of the Top Chef finale this Wednesday night and will announce the winning entry on Thursday. Put your creative hats on! Get to brainstorming! And let’s bring Top Chef to DC!