Food and Drink, The Daily Feed

Porc it Out People

Photo courtesy of pablo.raw
PTL! courtesy of pablo.raw

By now, you are probably familiar with my absolute love of all things Pork. I just can’t quit the bacon, man. So when I saw that Bourbon Steak, the upscale Georgetown meat haven, was having a PORC OUT I obviously had to share, so you and I can bond over the piggy together. On Sunday, August 19, 2012 from 12 – 3 PM, Bourbon Steak will host a pig roast on the restaurant’s patio, featuring a range of pig-centric dishes, including slow-roasted pork shoulder tacos, assorted pork sausages from Red Apron and crispy Thai style pork ribs. The side dishes are worth the trip alone: think grilled corn on the cob with lime butter, baked beans, jalapeno-cheddar cornbread, and seasonal salads. In case you don’t go pig (I don’t know you) there is also an entire oyster bar courtesy of the War Shore Oyster Company you can indulge in. No good pig roast goes without some sugar. The restaurant will also be featuring a dessert table that will include housemade soft serve sundaes, cookies and spiked watermelon (ah, for the love of booze).

Tickets to this lardy affair are priced at $50 for food, $60 for food and drink and $40 for children 12 and under, inclusive of tax and gratuity. Get your Pork on here.

Oh, and one more thing. Because you can never have enough pork, or beer, or patios, Bourbon Steak will be again debuting their “Dog Days of Summer” special — an off-menu Red Apron Butchery hot dog and pint of Port City beer for just $9 bucks. This Dog Day offer is available at the bar and lounge Monday-Thursday from 11:30 AM – 11:00 PM and Sunday from 5:30 PM – 11:00 throughout the month of August.

Now, get with the pork-gram.

Food and Drink, The Features, We Love Food

We Love Food: Bourbon Steak’s Cheese Program

Photo courtesy of
‘Cheese wheels at Bourbon Steak’
courtesy of ‘bonappetitfoodie’

I can think of few simple combinations that go together as well as meat and cheese–philly cheesesteaks, charcuterie and cheese boards, chicken parmigiano, heck, even the simple breakfast sandwich combines the super powers of a sausage patty and melted cheese. So it made sense when Brenton Balika, the executive pastry chef at Bourbon Steak, started a cheese program at the meat-centric restaurant in Georgetown.

The cheese program, which was officially launched in May of this year, has opened up a whole menu featuring eight to 10 cheeses at any given time. While the cheeses can take anywhere from a few hours to a few months to complete, depending on the type, the restaurant typically goes through an average of 200 wheels of cheese per week and 169 gallons of milk, according to Balika.

I met with Brent to learn more about Bourbon Steak’s cheese program and to find out what goes into making cheese.

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Food and Drink, The Daily Feed, We Love Drinks

Friday Happy Hour: Long Drinks for a Long Weekend

Photo courtesy of
courtesy of ‘furcafe’
A long drink, a term with which you might not be familiar, is a bartender’s term for a cocktail which is longer on non-alcoholic mixer than it is on base spirit. You may already know some long drinks as highballs, a slightly younger name which refers to a long drink made with just a single base spirit and a single mixer, often with a fruit garnish. A gin and tonic is a highball, but a Tom Collins (containing not only gin and soda but sugar and lemon juice) is a long drink. The Tom Collins, by the way, gave its name to the archetypical tall glass in which these drinks are served. A highball glass is usually synonymous with a Collins glass (and vice versa).

Cocktails follow formulas, and the combination of a single base spirit and a particular mixer often lends its name to some other concoction made with the same mixer and a different base spirit. The Tom Collins, for instance, begat the Vodka Collins. You could ask a bartender for a Whiskey Collins, and while he or she might look at you funny they’d know exactly what you mean without having to stop to think. Some names have lost popularity over time (Mamie Taylor, anyone?), but others are still current and show up in all sorts of interesting combinations. The Mojito, by the way, is also a long drink; replace the rum with gin and it becomes a Southside; add lemon to that and it turns into a Major Bailey. Formulas! They’re magic!
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Food and Drink, Foodie Roundup, The Features, We Love Food

We Love Food: DC Eats for August

Photo courtesy of
‘Cafe Atlantico’
courtesy of ‘needlessspaces’
Put on your elastic waistband pants, people. There’s plenty to eat and do in the city for the next few weeks. So click on through and you’ll find where you should be wining and dining this month.
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Food and Drink, The Daily Feed

Food Tweet of the Week: Bourbon Steak

Photo courtesy of
‘Venison, Bourbon Steak’
courtesy of ‘bonappetitfoodie’

Let me just start this by saying that if you haven’t tried Bourbon Steak’s fries yet, please do…but that’s a totally different story.

The restaurant, located in Georgetown’s Four Seasons, hasn’t stopped tweeting since it first logged on back in December 2009. @BourbonSteakDC currently has more than 2,100 followers and tweets about five times a day. The polite restaurant will always thank you on Twitter for coming in to dine, and recently it got be excited about an event I had somehow forgotten about. 

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Eat Like Me, Food and Drink, Foodie Roundup, The Features

Eat Like Me: February’s Best Dishes

Photo courtesy of
courtesy of ‘furcafe’

Some months I go fancy, others I don’t. I definitely erred on the side of casual this month, going so far as having a grilled cheese sandwich at not one, but three restaurants. Take note, fancy restaurants, I don’t find many things more satisfying than butter, bread and cheese cooked to gooey perfection. Did I just call the new burger? Is it the grilled cheese? I sure hope it is.

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Capital Chefs, Food and Drink, The Features

Capital Chefs: Adam Sobel of Bourbon Steak (Part 2)

Photo courtesy of
‘Venison, Bourbon Steak’
courtesy of ‘bonappetitfoodie’

It’s 70 degrees out today. But it’s still February, and that tricky March will probably make its entrance with a roar that will force all of us to bundle up once again. And chances are when it gets cold again, you’ll want to snuggle up with a nice big bowl of hot chili.

Here’s a recipe for venison chili (read: you can substitute plenty of other proteins) from Chef Adam Sobel. When I tried the chili, I believe my exact words to Adam were: “I could eat this for breakfast, lunch and dinner.” Do yourself a favor–don’t put cheese or sour cream on it; just enjoy it the way it is. Or you can do as they do at Bourbon Steak, put it on a half-smoke or on a monster of a burgerContinue reading

Capital Chefs, Food and Drink, The Features

Capital Chefs: Adam Sobel of Bourbon Steak (Part 1)

Photo courtesy of
‘Adam Sobel of Bourbon Steak’
courtesy of ‘bonappetitfoodie’

Chef Adam Sobel describes his journey to the restaurant industry as one that came about naturally. He was drawn to cooking “like a moth to a light,” he says. “I was 4 or 5 years old and I would be messing around in the kitchen, making nasty concoctions as a joke,” he said. While I’m imagining a miniature Sobel standing over a mixing bowl combining ingredients from his parent’s pantry, he adds that he did indeed grow up to train at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NY. Sobel says he was 18-years-old when he really got passionate and serious about cooking.

Prior to moving to DC to replace David Varley as executive chef at Bourbon Steak, Sobel worked in Las Vegas as executive chef at Rick Moonen’s RM Seafood at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino. “DC is like a different planet. It’s very unique–the feel, the people, the way things operate” he says. Frankly, I’m surprised Sobel isn’t more shell-shocked by the move (then again, maybe a cross-country move after living and working in Vegas is a breeze). Before accepting the role fo executive chef at Bourbon Steak, Sobel had several conversations with Varley, “I asked him, ‘Can I make an impact?’ I don’t want to just carry a torch that was already lit.”

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Food and Drink, Special Events, The Daily Feed

Georgetown Love Potions

Photo courtesy of
‘Cinn City’
courtesy of ‘Jenn Larsen’

I may not care a fig for Valentine’s Day (of course having said that, I fully expect a boatload of lilies delivered to my door, please) but I do love cocktails! So does the Georgetown BID, which has pulled together a bunch of restaurants to provide you with enough aphrodisiac concoctions to seduce even the hardest of hearts. Starting tonight, these selections (“Love Potions,” natch) will be available through Valentine’s Day all across the Georgetown circuit at 19 spots including Mie N Yu, Neyla, and 1789. Drinks are 2 for $14, for couples or friends.

Now, I rarely get to Georgetown these days but two of the sips I sampled earlier this week were tempting enough to get me to return (that and the cocktail shaker shaped like a dumbbell that I spied in an antiques window – ahem, gift?). The standout was created by Bourbon Steak’s very talented Duane Sylvestre. As you can probably guess from the name – Cinn City – it has the red hot spice of cinnamon as its top note, with the other ingredients being Four Roses bourbon and Peychaud’s bitters (First reaction? “It really does taste like a Red Hot! But not in a candy way.”). Continue reading

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, The Daily Feed

David Varley of Bourbon Steak Bids Farewell to DC

Photo courtesy of
‘mmm…broiled meat…’
courtesy of ‘philliefan99’

Next week DC will say goodbye and good luck to David Varley, the executive chef at Bourbon Steak. Varley has led the restaurant for the past two years and will leave for San Francisco where he will be the Corporate Chef in the Mina Group. Before he jets off to the west coast, I sat down and talked with Varley about his new job and his thoughts on leaving the District. Continue reading

Food and Drink, Special Events, The Features, We Love Drinks

Liquid Lessons

Photo courtesy of
‘Every Food Fits – Master Mixology’
courtesy of ‘staceyviera’

The “silly season” is upon us, as a friend likes to call the December holiday rush. Suddenly everyone wants to get together and social opportunities are crammed into every evening in a frenzy before year’s end. You definitely need some relief mixed into that crazy cocktail of fun and stress!

Wait, did I say cocktail?

Luckily the city is full of cocktail classes and other libation tastings to help you connect with friends in a lively way, so you can relax and learn useful something in the process. Even our local madhouse of Type A’s can see the cost benefit in that. So here’s a sampler of upcoming events to both imbibe and educate! Enjoy, and feel free to add your favorites in the comments. Continue reading

Entertainment, Food and Drink, People, Special Events, The Daily Feed

Wine Away Your Afternoon

Photo courtesy of
courtesy of ‘philliefan99’

Looking to sneak out this dreary afternoon and indulge in some liquid escapism? Rajat Parr, wine director for the Mina Group and widely considered one of the top sommeliers in the world, will be at Bourbon Steak this afternoon from 1pm to 4pm signing copies of his new book Secrets of the Sommeliers.

This is a fantastic chance for an informal chat about any and all wine questions with the man “who knows everything and everyone in the wine world!” says Julian Mayor, Bourbon Steak’s sommelier. Rajat Parr is a highly noted authority on burgundies, so if you want to learn more about the famous French varietal this is a great opportunity. Not to mention free wine and food in a beautiful setting. If I could sneak away, I certainly would.

Food and Drink, People, The Features, We Love Drinks

The Last of the Summer Wine

Photo courtesy of
‘la terrasse’
courtesy of ‘jenny downing’

It may be September, but we denizens of DC know that doesn’t mean an automatic reprieve from hot weather. Though autumn’s official start will arrive in a few weeks, we still have plenty of swelter left. So, what to drink in this transitional time, this ‘tween season not quite summer and not quite fall?

Luckily for us, we’ve got a lot of brilliant local sommeliers to help us over the hump. I asked a quintet to recommend some current favorites to drink now and as the seasons change, and they’ve responded most generously. There’s an embarrassment of riches here – wine recommendations, vinology knowledge to inspire you to learn more, and some tempting food pairings to whet your appetite! So join me as we explore a beautiful array of wines to sip while enjoying the last of the summer heat, as the hazy lazy afternoons slowly give way to the crisp bounty of autumn color.
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Adventures, Entertainment, Food and Drink, Life in the Capital, News, People, Special Events, The Daily Feed

Cochon 555: Get Your Pig On

Photo courtesy of

courtesy of ‘Chris Rief aka Spodie Odie’

This little piggy went to market. This little piggy stayed home. This little piggy had roast beef. This little piggy had none. And this little went “wee. wee. wee” all the way home. And by home, I mean The Ritz-Carlton for Cochon 555 on Sunday, May 2.

This yearly competition travels the US in search of  the “Prince / Princess of Porc” and has 5 local Chefs go head-to-head in a pig preparation throw down. Last year’s Prince, R.J. Cooper of Vidalia returns to defend his title and chefs from Bourbon Steak, Bibiana, Eola and Westend Bistro will try to usurp him. Lots of Pre-cooking, braising, grilling, pressing, pickling, rubbing, smoking, searing, saucing, spicing, injecting, marinating, etc. is involved and top-chefs have been known to use the entire animal.

Tickets for the event go for $125, and guests not only get to enjoy some tasty pork, but will witness a whole pig butcher demonstration, taste great wines, brews and enjoy a plethora of pig perfect desserts. There will also be an after party at a location to be determined.

The Features, We Love Drinks

We Love Drinks: Fall Cocktails


"Monaco" by Jenn Larsen, on Flickr

Fall cocktails… Once upon a time, that just meant drinks with heavy cream. No more, thanks to some brilliant mixology (my waistline is thankful too).

I’ve been sampling some luscious fall drinks. Everyone is rolling out menus featuring autumnal tastes – apple, pear, cinnamon, pepper, rosemary, cardamom – oh my. Spice has cream beat! Mulling and infusion are everywhere. It’s a good season for sipping slowly, admiring how flavors change and deepen over the course of your evening. Sigh.

Another fantastic benefit of all these freshly squeezed juices and housemade sodas and herbal infusions is that many bars are now offering non-alcoholic versions of their cocktails. With lots of parties and events in the fall, if you don’t feel like imbibing or are not able, you should always feel unabashed to ask. A good bartender should be able to respond without making you feel like a second-class citizen.

So let’s get down to it, shall we? Some of my favorite fall cocktails, with the usual quirky candlelit odd-angle photographs…
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Farm Fresh, Food and Drink, The Features, We Love Food

Farm Fresh: Bourbon Steak


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, Night Life

Happy Hour Food: Health Kick

Photo courtesy of
courtesy of ‘marciadc’

A few weeks ago, I put together a happy hour food guide for particularly yummy fried food in the DC area. This was easy. Almost too easy, if you will, because every bar in the world has fried happy hour food, most of it yummy because it’s fried. Duh.

So I decided to stretch my skillz, and put together a list of healthy happy hour food for those of us doing Operation Hot Summer Bod 2009, or just those of us who like to eat on the lighter, healthier side.  Cause there is still delicious food to be had at happy hour, just without the added saturated fat. Continue reading

Food and Drink, Foodie Roundup, The Daily Feed

Foodie Round-Up (April 27-May 1)

Photo courtesy of
‘bistro burger’
courtesy of ‘vee*’

It’s been a slow food news week, because everyone is gearing up for Mother’s Day brunch (I’m starting to stretch my stomach already) but there are a few things bopping about in the food news world. We’ve got Sunday dinner, Preakness parties, and the emergence of the “middle plate”. So read on, reader, for all the news fit to eat in the District this week. Continue reading