Eat Like Me, Food and Drink, The Daily Feed

Sugar and Champagne Affair

Photo courtesy of Plantains & Kimchi
chocolate custard, cocoa crumble with roasted banana ice cream @ Watershed- Washington, DC
courtesy of Plantains & Kimchi
It’s almost time for the Sugar and Champagne Affair — back next month for the eleventh year. As the name implies, Sugar and Champagne is a dessert and bubbly reception that benefits the Washington Humane Society.

Once again hosted by Chef Todd and Ellen Gray, the event highlights all things sugary and sweet, with chefs showcasing their confections. Of course, leashed dogs are welcome and encouraged to attend. So walk around with your favorite four-legged friend and eat desserts and doggie hors d’oeurvres respectively.

Chefs on-hand for the VIP reception include:

New this year: you can also meet contestants from TLC’s show Next Great Baker. Held Wednesday, February 1st, at the Ronald Reagan Building, the event begins at 6pm with the VIP Chefs’ Tasting Room followed by the General Reception at 7pm. Click here to purchase tickets.

Food and Drink, Special Events, The Daily Feed

Haidar Karoum of Proof/Estadio Wins DCCK’s Capital Food Fight

Photo courtesy of
‘Capital Food Fight Winner, Chef Haidar Karoum’
courtesy of ‘bonappetitfoodie’

Last night the battle between some of DC’s best chefs raged on for DC Central Kitchen’s 8th annual Capital Food Fight. In the final round, chefs Haidar Karoum of Proof and Estadio and Todd Gray of Equinox and Watershed worked with the secret ingredient: lamb. At the end, judges Ming Tsai, Joan Nathan and Ted Allen named Haidar as the champion (he’s the man with the boxing gloves in the above photo).

Chefs Brian McBride and Jeff Black also competed as featured DC chefs. One of the highlights of the night included a surprise battle round with former Top Chef contestants Mike Isabella, Carla Hall, Spike Mendelsohn and Jennifer Carroll working with Idaho russett potatoes as the secret ingredient.

The sold-out food fight raised $550,000 for DCCK’s programs, according to their website. You can check out more photos from last night’s Capital Food Fight here.

Capital Chefs, Food and Drink, The Features

Capital Chefs: Todd Gray of Equinox and Watershed (Part 2)

Shrimp and grits at Watershed
‘Shrimp and grits at Watershed’
courtesy of ‘bonappetitfoodie’

With winter approaching, I’m feeling more in the mood to spend time in the kitchen cooking up warm meals. Chef Todd Gray’s recipe for shrimp and grits is one of those that you can spend a little extra time preparing and will hit the spot when you’re cozy inside on a chilly winter’s day. You can find the dish on the menu at Watershed Restaurant or make it at home with the recipe after the jump.
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Capital Chefs, Food and Drink, The Features

Capital Chefs: Todd Gray of Equinox and Watershed (Part 1)

Todd Gray at Watershed
‘Todd Gray at Watershed’
courtesy of ‘bonappetitfoodie’

Juggling multiple restaurants and two catering companies, along with a recent RAMMY award win for 2011 Chef of the Year and several James Beard Foundation Award nominations, you could call Todd Gray a powerhouse of sorts. This year alone, the chef and his wife and business partner, Ellen Kassoff Gray, have expanded their hospitality group to include Todd Gray’s Watershed and Todd Gray’s Muse at the Corcoran just this year. So where did the chef start all of this?

For Gray, who grew up outside of Washington, DC, he knew he wanted to own a restaurant before he knew he wanted to be a chef. While he was studying at the University of Richmond and was working in the front of the house at a local restaurant, he found that he fell in love with the kitchen. “The culinary bus came and I jumped on,” he says.

Flash forward to years of building a successful career, it’s certain that the chef has far more planned for the future. Gray and his wife are working on a book due out in September 2012 with the working title, “Kitchen Conversations: Blending Jewish and American Flavors for Delicious, Easy Meals.” The chef slyly adds that there may be a few more restaurants for him on the horizon, but plays off any specific plans by saying simply, “I’m just going to keep on cooking and having fun.”
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Food and Drink

First Look: Watershed

ws 003
You have to admire people who take a risk. Opening up a brand new restaurant in a brand new hotel in a growing neighborhood is exactly that. However, if successful, you’ll not only reap the rewards, you also might be part of the force that helped reinvent a neighborhood. In this case, it looks like Chef Todd and Ellen Gray, along with their Watershed in NoMa are doing just that.

NoMa, of course, stands for “North of Massachusetts Avenue,” north of Capitol Hill and Union Station. It has one successful BID too; you can check it out on Twitter at @NoMaBID. The Grays are currently calling NoMa and the Hilton Garden Inn home as they work to get their second restaurant up and running. If you don’t know the restaurant is there, you’ll definitely miss it, but it doesn’t seem like that’s hindered anything thus far and there’s still a Grand Opening to come.

In what I found perhaps most interesting, Ellen tells me that Watershed is the only independent restaurant with Hilton.  What I found funniest is that Chef Todd is working on controlling his language (typical chef cooking) in the kitchen, as it’s an open kitchen and no one wants to scare away the customers. But now, on to the food.
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Special Events, The Daily Feed, We Love Drinks, We Love Food

Upcoming: Operation Smile’s Grin Gala

Photo courtesy of
‘Lauren Graham and Peter Krause’
courtesy of ‘greginhollywood’

Got plans Saturday night?

The Grin Gala, now in its fourth year, is a benefit for Operation Smile. It is described as “an evening of cocktails, dancing and silent auction.” Lauren Graham, pictured above, is this year’s honorary host. Tickets come in two varieties: general admission ($120, of which $95 is tax deductible), and VIP ($240, of which $215 is tax deductible).

VIP access includes an early reception on the Chamber of Commerce rooftop with top DC chefs and mixologists including Chef Todd Gray and Mixologist Simo Ahmadi from Equinox; Chef Peter Smith from PS 7; Chef Victor Albisu and Mixologist Troy Bock from BLT Steakhouse; and Mixologist Stephen Warner from Columbia Firehouse.

The Social Chair and I will be there as invited guests. Look for us there Saturday night, and a wrap-up of the cocktails and food here next week!

The Daily Feed

This Week in Food

Photo courtesy of
‘Bacon Doublecheeseburger’
courtesy of ‘Kevin H.’

Just Because I Love Burgers

LOVE this post. EaterDC gathered three chefs and had them duke it out to see who could “create a burger that would make the presidential mouth water.” The brave participants were Chefs Todd Gray (Equinox), Victor Albisu (BLT Steak) and Brian McBride (Blue Duck Tavern). Albisu won the challenge, but all the burgers looked to die for.

Lobster Update

Washingtonian tells us that New York-based Luke’s Lobster co-owners Ben Conniff and Luke Holden have signed a lease for a 700-square-foot space in Penn Quarter. They hope to open by the end of May.  The menu will include, of course, those buttery lobster rolls,  as well as clam chowder and Empress crab claws. 

Liquor License

Prince of Petworth has the scoop on the old Post Office Building at 1407 T St. NW.  According to the liquor license application, this would be a “casual and relaxed bistro restaurant serving an extensive Saturday & Sunday brunch.”

Loving Carbs

WeLoveDC Marissa got to baking this week at PAUL, a new bread shop and bakery in DC.  PAUL officially opens May 2nd and will offer pastries, soups, quiches, French macarons, sandwiches and salads. So head down to 801 Pennsylvania Avenue NW.

Cinco de Mayo!

Looking for a fun place to celebrate? How about sitting down (or standing up) at Masa 14′s 74-seat Tequila Lounge? Masa will celebrate Cinco de Mayo by offering five different flavors of margaritas for just $5 each on Thursday, May 5th.  Just make sure to pair them with Latin-Asian tapas.

Happy eating!

The Daily Feed

This Week in Food

Photo courtesy of
‘Pound the Hill’
courtesy of ‘Samer Farha’

Watershed is open! Finally. Chef Todd and Ellen Gray’s second restaurant opened its doors last week. Not only is it one of the few restaurants that has actually managed to open on schedule, its menu also looks fantastic. So head to NoMa for some baked oysters and Carolina Style Barbequed Shrimp. I love that it also serves a “continental” breakfast…it is in the Hilton Garden Inn after all.


El Centro, D.F., aka taqueria & tequileria is opening up at 1819 14th St. next month. The restaurant actually spans three floors and will serve authentic Mexican comfort food. El Centro D.F. is a collaboration between partners Richard Sandoval, Kaz Okochi, and Ivan Iricanin, who also partnered on the neighboring Masa 14. I can’t wait to try the Tacos al Pastor with adobo marinade pork belly, cilantro, onion and grilled pineapple.


I wonder how many Toki Underground profiles have been written up so far. Either way, in this one, Washington City Paper’s Chris Shott writes: “Most chefs would profess to pouring a little heart and soul into every dish they make. Erik Bruner-Yang adds something more: a dash of DNA. ‘I taste every single bowl of ramen that leaves the kitchen,’ he says. Consider it a kiss from the cook. ‘Everyone gets a little backwash,’ he laughs.” So if you want to stand around for hours waiting for ramen…do. Worth it.

Pound Event

Pound the Hill will host an author talk with Garrett Peck, author of the newly-published Prohibition in Washington, DC: How Dry We Weren’t, on Wednesday, May 4 at 6:00 PM. Go here for more information.

Happy Eating!

Food and Drink, The Daily Feed

This Week in Food

Photo courtesy of
courtesy of ‘kimberlyfaye’
On their way

Prince of Petworth has some good food news for us. If signs speak the truth, King of Kabob is taking over the old Bao Restaurant & Lounge at 1018 Vermont Ave. Also, if you love your seafood and need something more than a truck, PoP hears that Luke’s Lobster Shack is coming to Penn Quarter at 622 E St, NW. Luke’s currently has 4 locations in New York City. With seafood rolls and brisket (Hill Country) now available in PQ, I might have to move there.

The name reminds me a little too much of those books we all read in elementary school, but this is good news anyway! The Hill is Home updates us on BoxCar Grill (just a working name for now), which will be Xavier Cervera’s fifth (sixth if you count Pacifico) establishment on the Hill. The Hill is Home says BoxCar will be an upsale place with an in-house charcuterie, cheeses, and a large wine selection.

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Food and Drink, The Daily Feed

Restaurants Love to Cook, Serve & Tweet!


“These days at a restaurant you have plates, tables, food and Twitter.”

-Barcode owner Antonis Karagounis

“People regularly ask for restaurant suggestions from other Tweeps on Twitter. When we are able to find those requests and immediately welcome them to our restaurant, they are floored by the quick response and personalized welcome. We’ve been lucky enough to gain many new diners this way.”

-Bourbon Steak Publicist Sangeetha Sarma

A recent Restaurant Week experience reminded me that you can’t always expect restaurants to be on 100% all the time, but if someone or something fails, speak up.

Like many patrons, I had an issue, vented about it on Twitter, and received a very satisfying response. SO I decided that every Friday I will write a small piece about The Week’s Winning Food Tweet. This could be a restaurant itself, a food truck, a chef, a manager, etc. The winner will be someone (something?) who puts a smile on my face for a different or interesting perspective.

The free, 140 character service has revolutionized the restaurant industry. It’s necessary for restaurants to actually engage their followers in order to create loyalty and really make patrons & potential patrons feel like friends.

I wanted to take a look at the Top 5 ways that restaurants use Twitter effectively. That means they aren’t just tweeting the daily specials, but following my rules to inform, satisfy, calm and entertain!

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Food and Drink

All Your 2011 Restaurant Openings to Look Forward To (Part 1)

courtesy of Tricia BarbaIf you love food as much as I do, then you eagerly track what DC restaurants are opening plus where and when. With this list, we hope to do that work for you, so that all you have to do is head to the new place and try it out!

I included every restaurant I knew of, but I’m obviously not perfect. So please email me at or send me a tweet at @SoooDC if I’m missing something. I’m always up for gossip too! This list is your list.


If there’s such a thing as a Capitol Hill watering-hole, Bullfeathers is it.  House staffers and lawmakers who have missed this mainstay, can stop worrying because the hangout is reopening on January 24. The new Bullfeathers is now owned by the team behind Stoney’s, Tunnicliff’s Tavern, and Ulah Bistro. It will be fun seeing what trademarks from those restaurants make it over to Bullfeathers.

410 First St. SE

Arrival: January 24, 2011


The popular Korean restaurant did so well in Dupont Circle that is is opening up in City Vista too.  Mandu was started by the Lee family — mother Yesoon and children Jean & Danny.  They saw many traditional Korean restaurants in the suburbs (hello, Annandale) but none in the District.  Mandu means dumpling in Korean, and here you can find beef & pork, shrimp, and vegetable dumplings.

475 K St. NW

Twitter: @ManduDC

Arrival: January 24

Jack Rose

This new upscale restaurant/lounge is expected to open in late January 2011, and we can’t wait for parking in Adams Morgan to get even harder to find. At the site of an old gym, I bet this 2-story and almost six thousand square feet building will be a new hot spot on the “strip.” One of the minds behing this venture is Bill Thomas, also the owner of Bourbon and Breadsoda.  The other is Michael Hartzer, who’s worked at Citronelle and IndeBleu. I wonder if the classic cocktail will always be on special.

2007 18th St NW.

Twitter: @JackRoseinDC

Expected Arrival: Late January 2011 Continue reading