Capital Chefs, Food and Drink, The Features

Capital Chefs: Jaime Montes de Oca of Zentan (Part 2)

Photo courtesy of
‘Watermelon and feta salad at Zentan 3′
courtesy of ‘bonappetitfoodie’

Some might say there’s nothing better than biting into a sweet, juicy wedge of watermelon in the summertime. So to take that watermelon to the next level, you’ll find chef Jaime Montes de Oca’s recipe for a watermelon salad with mint, feta and a black pepper vinaigrette after the jump. It’s incredibly easy to make, and the soy sauce and black pepper with the sweetness of the watermelon and saltiness of the feta make for a great and refreshing combination. You can make it an hour or so in advance, although this is not a salad that needs time to marinate. Enjoy it on a picnic or underneath the breeze of a fan on a hot summer’s day.

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Capital Chefs, Food and Drink, The Features

Capital Chefs: Jaime Montes de Oca of Zentan (Part 1)

Photo courtesy of
‘Jaime Montes de Oca of Zentan 4′
courtesy of ‘bonappetitfoodie’

There are a handful of characters in one’s life that can really have a profound affect on the shape of your life and career. For Jaime Montes de Oca, the executive chef at Zentan, there are three women who drove him to cook: his grandmother, a Colombian nanny he had growing up and Nancy, a kitchen manager/chef who worked with him when he was in high school.

“I would stand and watch [our nanny] cook and I would help prepare food with her,” says Jaime. “It was a creative outlet, a creative way to fill mouths and stomachs.” When Jaime grew up and started working in the front of the house at a “turn and burn” restaurant at a Holiday Inn, Nancy was the one who advised him to go to culinary school if he was going to be serious about working in the restaurant industry.

Following years of working kitchens across New York City, Thompson Hotels (the owners of the Donovan House which is home to Zentan) sent Jaime down to DC to try to convince him to take a job in Susur Lee’s restaurant. For someone who grew up in New York and has lived in almost all five boroughs, Jaime was slightly hesitant to pick up and move. “They showed me the brand new kitchen and talked about what I could do here in DC,” he says. “Looking back on it, it was the right decision. DC is having a renaissance with restaurants and hotels. A lot more young people are coming here. If DC continues on the path it’s going, it will become a food capital. We’re getting very close.”

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The Daily Feed

Suspicious Package at Thomas Circle


Thanks to @jjohnson for the photo

Just got some buzz that Thomas Circle has been closed and evacuated for a “suspicious package.” And here’s another photo of the yellow tape around the area right now from The American Spectator’s Philip Klein.

Guess we’re all a bit on edge after yesterday’s failed Times Square bombing attempt.

Update: The security scare was triggered by a homeless man pushing a garbage can up beside a building. The area is now all clear and Thomas Circle has been reopened. The world is safe again.

The Daily Feed

Learn to Pole Dance. Really.

Photo courtesy of
‘Miss Pole Dance-22′
courtesy of ‘litonali’

This Saturday at an open house at Balance Gym Thomas Circle, you can learn all sorts of things, including how to work up a sweat while becoming very friendly with a pole. For fitness, people. Still, please do not practice on Metro.

You also can learn about boxing, Budoken and CrossFit, which will keep you limber and ready to kick some serious butt, in case you need to fend off anyone who’s gotten too brazen from your pole dancing performance. The day concludes with an electrifying drum and dance performance.

But let’s get back to the pole dancing. Continue reading