Food and Drink, Special Events, The Daily Feed

Get Out The Vote (and appetite) – Election Day Specials

Photo courtesy of Pianoman75
Vote by cookie! courtesy of Pianoman75

Nothing screams democracy quite like election-day food specials. In true Capital fashion, DC restaurants are getting in the swing of things and offering a host of President-worthy deals, giving you further incentive to get up and get heard. Shake Shack in Dupont Circle has partnered with Rock the Vote to offer “Shack the Vote”. On November 2nd, the burger mecca will be setting up a Pledge to Vote table, where you can pledge to rock it while also receiving a coupon for a free Presidential Caramel Custard, redeemable on Election Day. #brainfreezefordemocracy anyone?

One of my favorite wine bar’s, Vinoteca, if offering an all-day Happy Hour Party, featuring $5 wine and food specials, if you have the “I Voted” sticker. Vinoteca’s 7-day-a-week happy hour usually runs from 5-7pm, but will be extended on November 6th to celebrate all those who voted.

The Park Hyatt Lounge (also home to Blue Duck Tavern) is offering Presidential cheese, literally. Two blue cheeses representing the Democratic candidate and two red cheeses, representing the Republican candidate will be available nightly, nothing gets better than being political over cheese.

Photo courtesy Heather Freeman PR

Capitol City Brewing Company will host a thirteen-hour All Day Election Day Happy Hour from 11:00 a.m. to 12:00 midnight on Tuesday, November 6, at both their downtown and Arlington locations.

701 is offering a special three-course fixed price Bipartisan lunch until Monday, January 21, Inaugural 2013, with a special lunch menu consists of an appetizer, entree and dessert priced at $25 per person, tax and gratuity not included.

Over in Old Town, Jackson 20 Chef Brian McPherson has created an Andrew Jackson-inspired prix fixe menu, available for $20 on Election Day for those wearing an “I Voted” sticker. The three-course, colonial-inspired menu pays homage to the restaurant’s namesake, President Andrew Jackson, and the foods he enjoyed.

There is nothing more patriotic than coming together to exercise your right to vote, demand your voice be heard, and party (and eat) together with your closest law-abiding citizens… Enjoy!

Capital Chefs, Food and Drink, The Features

Capital Chefs: Sebastien Archambault of Blue Duck Tavern (Part 2)

Photo courtesy of bonappetitfoodie
Salmon with sorrel cream at Blue Duck Tavern
courtesy of bonappetitfoodie

Sometimes you need to glam things up in the kitchen. Go for something a little elegant. Now, the recipe that follows from Blue Duck Tavern’s executive chef, Sebastien Archambault might look a little overwhelming at first–there’s smoked roe and you might be thinking of emailing me, “Sorrel cream? Child please, how can I make that?” But as I said, this is your chance to glam things up in the kitchen. And if you don’t want to go fancy, you can tweak the recipe here and there (ie: leave out the salmon roe). Knowing how to sear a piece of fish so that the skin is crispy? That’s something useful to keep in your back pocket after you try this recipe.

Or you can head straight to the second part and try your hand at the roasted baby vegetables and farro dish. I’m seeing farro on more and more menus and this is a good recipe that will let you use some of the produce that’s abundant at farmer’s markets around the city this time of year.

Happy cooking this weekend, readers.
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Capital Chefs, Food and Drink, The Features

Capital Chefs: Sebastien Archambault of Blue Duck Tavern (Part 1)

Photo courtesy of bonappetitfoodie
Chef Sebastien Archambault of Blue Duck Tavern
courtesy of bonappetitfoodie

There’s a school of thought that says specific talents or desires are in our genes or are passed down automatically from generation to generation. Looking at executive chef Sebastien Archambault’s path towards cooking, you might be persuaded to believe just that. Growing up, Sebastien’s father started out as an engineer for Texas Instruments and later became a chef and restauranteur. And while Sebastien initially went the science route himself, majoring in biology in New York, the kitchen came calling when he realized he didn’t want to be a researcher or teacher. “I grew up in the restaurant environment and world,” says the chef, explaining that as he grew older and spent more time helping out at his dad’s restaurant on vacations and holidays, he realized cooking was for him. He adds that both of his grandmothers cooked a lot. “It’s in my blood,” he says.

Fast forward through his ten or so years in Paris in cooking school and working in restaurants ranging from bistros to three star Michelin restaurants, to a stint in Mexico and another in Corsica, Sebastien returned to the United States in 2008. After four years working in Los Angeles at RH and L’Epicerie Market, he landed in DC at the end of 2011 to take the helm in the kitchen at the Blue Duck Tavern from previous chef, Brian McBride.The two had worked together in LA when McBride assisted with the opening of RH.
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Capital Chefs, Food and Drink, The Daily Feed

New Chef Takes the Helm at Blue Duck Tavern

Photo courtesy of prettylovelythings
Entrance – Blue Duck Tavern
courtesy of prettylovelythings

It caused a bit of a stir when Brian McBride, the long-time chef at Blue Duck Tavern left in November to team up with Robert Wiedmaier on a concept that has yet to be unveiled. But now the restaurant in the Park Hyatt in Georgetown has a new executive chef leading the way: Sebastien Archambault.

The 34-year-old chef was born in Texas but trained in Paris, and has worked under the direction of big names such as Alain Ducasse, Jean-Francois Rouquette and Guy Savoy. Additionally, Archambault has worked in France, Mexico and in Corsica, where he earned a Michelin star during his time at Restaurant Le Pirate. In 2008, he became the executive chef at the Andaz West Hollywood hotel’s RH Restaurant where he met the McBride, the former Blue Duck Tavern chef McBride who assisted in the opening of RH.

“Sebastien is certainly the ideal choice for my successor at Park Hyatt Washington & Blue Duck Tavern,” said Brian McBride, former executive chef of the Park Hyatt Washington in a press release. “He is not only an incredibly talented chef, but also a friend who I have had the pleasure of working alongside in many kitchens – from sharing menu ideas and new dishes to collaborating together at the esteemed Masters of Food & Wine event in Buenos Aires. Sebastien’s culinary vision and commitment to sustainability mirrors the spirit and concept of Blue Duck Tavern and he will work closely with Chef de Cuisine John Melfi to bring the true flavors of seasonal ingredients to the table.”

Food and Drink, Foodie Roundup, The Features

Christmas Day Dining Picks

Photo courtesy of kimberlyfaye
Capitol Christmas Tree
courtesy of kimberlyfaye

It seems like we’re all still working off those pounds from Thanksgiving. If you want a more hassle-free holiday this Christmas Day, how about you keep the pots and pans in the kitchen and head out to one of your favorite DC restaurants open on the holiday.

After the jump are my top five choices of where to go. Keep in mind some are a bit pricey, but special menus can be worth it if you chose wisely.
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Capital Chefs, Food and Drink, The Features

Capital Chefs: Fall 2011 Comings and Goings of DC Chefs

Photo courtesy of
courtesy of ‘Plantains & Kimchi’

A lot has been happening in the DC chef community in the last month or so. Here’s a recap on the comings and goings of local chefs across the city.

First up, after 12 years Equinox’s chef and owner Todd Gray is passing the torch on to a new chef. Karen Nicolas, Equinox’s new executive chef, recently came from Simon Pearce restaurant in Philadelphia and Soul restaurant in Chicago. Nicolas also had a stint as executive sous chef at Tom Colicchio’s Gramercy Tavern in New York City. While Gray said in a press release that he will continue to work with Nicolas on dishes at Equinox, he added that her “culinary vision will be reflected in the menu.”
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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!

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, The Daily Feed

This Week in Food

Photo courtesy of
‘Ray’s Hell-Burger’
courtesy of ‘KentonNgo’
It’s been quite a busy week in food!

The food truck/cupcake/small business/personal quest (?) wars continue…and get quite strange indeed. Read Sprinklegate turns food truck war in The Washington Examiner.

Are you always arguing with friends about which burger joint in DC is actually the best? Well, Food & Wine picks two DC restaurants for us as part of its “Best Burgers in DC” slideshow. Their picks: Ray’s Hell Burger in Arlington (shocking) and Palena Café.

Agora is adding a new fixed price, three-course lunch menu at $14.99 per person Monday through Friday from 11 AM until 3 PM. You can pick Turkish and Greek inspired dishes like grilled ground lamb and beef kebab with sumac onions & Baklava, along with a choice of non-alcoholic beverage. 

If you really follow chef moves, Top Chef Finalist Carla Hall joins DC Central Kitchen’s Board of Directors. DCCK is also looking to start a Truck Farm. Curious? Find out more here

Executive Chef Brian McBride has tapped Eric Fleischer as the New Chef de Cuisine of the Award-Winning Blue Duck Tavern. Most recently, Fleischer worked as chef de cuisine at Zola in Penn Quarter.

Speaking of PQ, accoring to Penn Quarter Insider, Hill Country BBQ opens on Saturday (or maybe the 17th?). So check it out one of those days or go to U Street’s newest sports bar, Touchdown. TBD reports that Touchdown opened its doors Tuesday in the former space of Momo’s Sports Bar. The bar shows-off old photographs of the Washington Senators from the 1924 World Series.

Happy eating!

The Features

Behind the Design: Blue Duck Tavern

Photo courtesy of
‘Rocking Chairs – Blue Duck Tavern’
courtesy of ‘prettylovelythings’

Author’s Note:  So often we move through space too quickly – trying to get from one place to the next, without ever taking the time to stop and look around.  Behind the Design is a new series that hopes to encourage an appreciation for the places we forget to take a moment and truly experience.

Located in the West End and tucked within the Park Hyatt, Blue Duck Tavern has become a staple among the DC foodie scene.  With a farm-to-table menu that includes a variety of delights – even worthy of a Presidential date night, Blue Duck Tavern deems to be deserving of all its food-related accolades.  However, often taking a back seat to the well-deserving menu is the other half of this award-winning duo:  Blue Duck Tavern’s interior. Continue reading