FEATUREFOOD
2012 DC Food & Drink Round-Up – By The Pros
December 28, 2012 | 9:30AM

Hi guys! So, with as much respect as we have for your food obsessions, we decided that instead of some weak-ish/subjective “THIS IS WHAT WE THINK IS BEST IN DC FOOD AND DRINK” round up, we should ask some of our favorite professional eaters and drinkers around town what the highlights and lowlights of 2012 for them were, as well as what they’re looking forward to in 2013. After all a dozen minds (and mouths) are better than one. Consider this your ultimate insider’s guide to food bucket listing, and also, feel free to post your favorites in the comments, there may or may not be a prize in it for you.

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JESSICA VOELKER – Food Writer, WASHINGTONIAN

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  • The best food trend on 2012/The worst?
I love El Chucho, Izakaya Seki, Green Pig Bistro, Mintwood PlaceRappahannock Oyster BarA&D Bar—these are small places where the food is very good but where jeans and a clean hoodie are acceptable. Keep ‘em coming.
I wish restaurants that didn’t have the resources/motivation to invest in a great bar program would stop making craft cocktail claims. There’s a lot of talk about “mixologists” (horrible word) and “house-crafted bitters” or whatever, but it takes a lot of time and money and experience to make fancy drinks work. There’s nothing wrong with keeping it simple and honest, and faking it really muddies the waters and insults places that are trying to do it right.
  • The most anticipated or best DC restaurant opening in 2012/The one that didn’t quite live up?

The return of Minibar certainly received a lot of attention, but I think everyone is a little bummed at how expensive it is.

  • The best dish you ate in 2012?/ The one you wish you hadn’t?
Anywhere? The ma po tofu at Mission Chinese was a mind blower. In DC: This changes all the time for me, but the best dish I ate this month was “spaghetti flavored with jalapeno and smoked uni carbonara” on the Oval Room’s lunch menu. There was a meal at a Columbian restaurant in the burbs that took me out of the game for a few days, but the less said about that the better.
  • Best food event of 2013?
DC can be really uptight, I don’t think we have enough fun on a day-to-day basis. My favorite events are the ones where the chefs and restaurateurs actually kick back and enjoy themselves. Cochon 555 and Washingtonian’s candy-themed Best of Washington party stand out as parties where everyone seemed to be having a legit good time.
  • What opening are you most looking forward to in 2013?
Rose’s Luxury in Capitol Hill  should be an awesome addition to the city. Aaron Silverman—who honed his skills at  (name drop time!) Momofuku Noodle Bar and McCrady’s—has great energy and I have high expectations for the food.
  • What you wish for DC in 2013 food trend wise?/ What you hope stays away?
A few years back, chefs out West kept saying that vegetables were going to be the next big thing. I’d like to see that come to fruition. There are some really cool aspects of New Nordic, but if that gets trendy things could go comically awry—it takes a lot of talent to make dirt work on a plate.
  • Favorite Chef? Favorite Restaurant? Favorite Bar? 
Vikram Sunderam is a class act and his food is spectacular. Bangkok Golden I would visit weekly if traffic weren’t a factor. Seasonal Pantry is an amazing value and a very special place. Estadio kills it every day. I think Columbia Room is the city’s best bar.
  • Favorite food blog, web site or column?
Young & Hungry and Eater are great food news resources. And everyone loves the Prince of—wait, what’s it called now? Popville? Good stuff. And you guys, of course.

LEO SCHMID – DC Editor, Thrillist

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  • The best food trend on 2012/The worst?

Guy Fieri anything — for BOTH

  • The most anticipated or best DC restaurant opening in 2012/The one that didn’t quite live up?

Mintwood Place, Izakaya Seki, & Boqueria/ Most food trucks

  • The best dish you ate in 2012?/ The one you wish you hadn’t?

Bison tartare with a heinz consomme and bone marrow (Wit & Wisdom)/  Anything I eat after 2am.

  • Best food event of 2012?

Oh, I don’t know… anything Thrillist related, probably.

  • What opening are you most looking forward to in 2013?

Wagamamahahahahaahah.

  • What you wish for DC in 2013 food trend wise?/ What you hope stays away?

DC had a ton of spots open in 2012 and if that’s a trend, then I hope it continues into 2013.

  • Favorite Chef? Favorite Restaurant? Favorite Bar?

Guy Fieri. Guy FieriGUY FIERI. Adam Sobel Erik Bruner-Yang are right behind my main man, Guy. No favorite restaurant.  I always like what Jonathan Fain (Bar Pilar) and Gina Chersevani (Buffalo & Bergen/ Hank’s) create behind the bar.

  • Favorite food blog, web site or column?

Anthony Bourdain and… Guy Fieri.

 

MISSY FREDERICK – DC Editor, Eater

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  • The best food trend on 2012/The worst?
Best trend: Ramen ramen ramen. Worst: The phrase “is/are the new”. As in, “Doughnuts are the new cupcake.”
  • The most anticipated or best DC restaurant opening in 2012/The one that didn’t quite live up?
Best: Izakaya Seki(it beat expectations, which is rare). Didn’t quite live up: I can’t get very excited about the food at El Chucho, though I really like the drinks and rooftop.
  • The best dish you ate in 2012?/ The one you wish you hadn’t?
Best: Ox heart at St. John’s (London). Locally, perhaps the mushroom bolognese at Fiola. Dish you wish you hadn’t: Drunken slices at Pizza Autentica in Ballston. Shouldn’t be a habit, and was in danger of becoming one.
  • Best food event of 2013?

That I’m looking forward to? Eater Awards 2013 of course. :D

  • What opening are you most looking forward to in 2013?

Ambar, Daikaya

 

  • What you wish for DC in 2013 food trend wise?/ What you hope stays away?
More adventurous restaurateurs in unproven neighborhoods, good Eastern European cuisine, better Pho in Dc proper, etc. I’d like to see less trends centered on saturated fats/comfort foods (I have doughnut fatigue before any of the new places have opened yet).
  • Favorite Chef? Favorite Restaurant? Favorite Bar?
Chefs: Vikram Sunderam and Claudio Pirollo are both sweet/professional guys whose food I could eat every day. Restaurants: Standbys include Jaleo downtown, Estadio, Bombay Club, Four Sisters. Newer favorites: Mintwood Place, Toki Underground. Bars: Room 11, Spacebar
  • Favorite food blog, web site or column?

I read all of the local writers and appreciate what they do, so it’s hard to pick a favorite there. Nationally, I’m a Serious Eats obsessive.


JAMIE R. LIU, Food Writer – DCist and more

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  • The best food trend on 2012/The worst?
Best: None! Isn’t that what eventually makes it the worst? Too much of a good thing eventually ends up being a bad thing.
Worst:
  • The best dish you ate in 2012?/ The one you wish you hadn’t?

One of the best was from when Antonio Burrell was still at Masa 14. It was his take on Malaysian chili crab — fried soft shell crabs and shrimp in a spicy sweet sauce.

  • Best food event of 2012?

Every year, the Songkran celebration at the Wat Thai Temple in Silver Spring is always the best local food event. The endless rows of Thai noodles, soups, grilled meats, salads, and desserts is something I look forward to every year. It’s a great way to sample things you might not ordinarily find on a usual menu. And I always pick up a kaffir lime tree that I manage to kill a few months later.

  • What opening are you most looking forward to in 2013?

I am always excited for the possibility of high quality Asian food in DC. So naturally Daikaya and Maketto are on the top of my list for 2013.

  • What you wish for DC in 2013 food trend wise?/ What you hope stays away?

I’m wishing for legit dim sum, more mid-priced dining options, great pastry, and a funky ice cream place like Big Gay Ice Cream or Humphry Slocombe.

  • Favorite food blog, web site or column?

The one that comes to mind locally is Daniel Fromson who writes the Brew Around Town beer column for City Paper, and his assorted pieces in the Post and the New York Times. Otherwise, Kenji Alt-Lopez’s Food Lab articles for Serious Eats, because I appreciate how he tackles the Why? of how to cook.


JENNA GOLDEN – Eat More, Drink More

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  • The best food trend on 2012/The worst?

The rise of good pizza (and delivery!) in the area.I love 2 Amy’s like everyone else, but DC has suffered from a serious lack of quality pizza options over the years and we have had next to nothing in the delivery department. Just this year we saw the opening of H &pizza in NE which is soon to be opening on U Street NW, Pete’s A Pizza has expanded their delivery service, and Wiseguy NY Pizza just opened where you can grab a slice “NYC style”. I hope good pizza delivery is on the rise! Worst food trend: Incorrect food sourcing on menus. I learned a lot about the Maryland True Bluehttp://www.marylandseafood.org/true_blue.html seafood program this year which is spearheaded by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources. It’s a certification program that allows restaurants to use the True Blue “stamp of approval” which shows that your crab on the menu is true Maryland crab. I see a lot of restaurants mislabeling their products and think it’s incredibly important as a consumer to ask questions, and to push the establishments to be honest and source accurately.

  • The most anticipated or best DC restaurant opening in 2012/The one that didn’t quite live up?

Best opening was Mintwood Place. Not only is it great to see such an acclaimed spot hit the streets of Adams Morgan and breathe a little new life into the area, but it has been able to come to market modestly. It’s the perfect blend of comfortable and casual with incredibly sophisticated food. The most disappointing opening of 2012 was District Kitchen. Woodley Park needed a hit and I just found it overly priced and pretty underwhelming. I also really disliked Mike Isabella’s Bandolero. Lots of hype, really disappointing food.

  • The best dish you ate in 2012?/ The one you wish you hadn’t?

Best dish 2012: I attended the Blue Duck Tavern Park Hyatt Masters of Food & Wine Autumn Mushroom Dinner and I just died for this very simple mushroom tart with chunks of hazelnuts and drizzled with hazelnut oil. It was really lovely. Worst dish in 2012: Fish taco at Bandolero. It was a frozen fish stick placed in a limp tortilla with little flavor or care.

  • Best food event of 2012?

I loved the BlackJack/Pearl Dive one year anniversary party. It was a really fun event with live music, oysters a-plenty, an ice luge, bocce, and a great crowd that was made up of people who love the food scene here in Washington. Also, the Black’s donated a percentage of the revenue to charity which is always a nice touch.

  • What opening are you most looking forward to in 2013?

I’m excited for Ghibellina to open on 14th Street by the guys behind Acqua Al 2 which is one of my favorite places in town. I lived in Florence, Italy one block over from the original Acqua so I am a fan of everything they do. Also looking forward to Katsuya Fukushima’s Daikaya for some ramen

  • What you wish for DC in 2013 food trend wise?/ What you hope stays away?

I hope we continue to see a rise of the mid-level restaurant. We’ve always had a ton of upscale, expensive choices as well as cheap and fast places to grab and go, but slowly we have started to welcome restaurants that fall in the middle in terms of atmosphere and price. A few examples such as DGS Delicatessen, Toki Underground, Izakya Seki, Maple, The Pig, etc. I hope celebrity chefs stay away from DC in 2013. We’ve had a lot come to town and many have brought amazing spots such as Bourbon Steak and The Source which are standouts, but other disappointments have ensued and we have enough great talent based here in Washington to start our own trends.

  • Favorite Chef? Favorite Restaurant? Favorite Bar?

Favorite Chef: Fabio Trabocchi. Favorite Restaurant: Impossible question, but I’m partial to Posto in my neighborhood on 14th Street. Favorite Bar: Cork for wine and flights, Jack Rose or for cocktails

  • Favorite food blog, web site or column?

I rely on Missy Frederick at Eater DC for the latest food news and also Jessica Sidman at the Washington City Paper with the Young and Hungry column.

 

JESSICA SIDMAN – Food Editor, Washington City Paper

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  • The best food trend on 2012/The worst?

Markets and market-like restaurants are the best trend of 2012. It started with Society Fair and it ends with Bryan Voltaggio’s Range. In the middle we got Union Market, which is an amazing new addition to the city. There’s also Maketto coming to H Street next year.

The worst trend was the abuse of blue curaçao in cocktails around election time.

  • The most anticipated or best DC restaurant opening in 2012/The one that didn’t quite live up?

I’m going to say the best restaurant opening was Izakaya Seki. It’s intimate, lowkey, and most importantly, delicious. Rasika West End, Boqueria, DGS Delicatessen, Rappahannock Oyster Bar in Union Market, and Mintwood Place are also at the top of my list.

I don’t think Bandolero lived up to the massive amounts of hype.

  • The best dish you ate in 2012?/ The one you wish you hadn’t?

I had so many amazing dishes in 2012, but the thing that’s top of mind is the udon at Sushi Taro. It’s the perfect bowl of flavors and comfort, and the noodles have just the right amount of bite.

The worst dish I had was the so-called “guacamole” from Maddy’s Tap Room. It consisted of two grilled avocado halves in the shell with tomato, onion, and sour cream thrown on top. It came with like ten chips and an inexplicable bed of lettuce. Don’t deconstruct guacamole. It’s a terrible idea.

  • What opening are you most looking forward to in 2013?

There are two: Bluejacket and Daikaya.

  • What you wish for DC in 2013 food trend wise?/ What you hope stays away?

I’d like to see some more quality Korean food in D.C. proper, so that I don’t have to drive out to Annandale.  I wish people would stop abusing words like “pop-up” and “speakeasy.”

  • Favorite Chef? Favorite Restaurant? Favorite Bar?

Ahh! I can’t pick just one! My favorite restaurants right now are probably Sushi Taro, Little Serow, Elisir, and Standard.

 

NYCCI NELLIS - Publisher TheListAreYouOnIT.com & Co-Host, Foodie & The Beast Radio

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  • The best food trend on 2012/The worst?

Kale Caesar. I first had Kale Caesar at Amanda McClements’ (Metrocurean/Salt& Sundry) house last winter and have now included that same recipe into my own entertaining repertoire. In the last few months, I have seen Kale Caesar or some rendition of it on menus all over the city (Range, Farmers Fishers Bakers, Sweetgreen). I love it. And Kale is wonderfully healthy.

  • The most anticipated or best DC restaurant opening in 2012/The one that didn’t quite live up?

We were all waiting for Chef Cedric Maupillier to start wowing us again, the question was when and where. The opening of Mintwood has shown all of DC what Chef is capable of when left to his own devices. His steak tartare is the best in the city.

  • Best food event of 2012?

Every year DC Area Chefs cook their heart’s out for a variety of fabulous causes/events including DC Central Kitchen’s Food Fight, Cochon 555 and Food and Friend’s Chefs Best. This year, I was so lucky to be involved with the first-ever Chefs for Equality Gala at the Ritz-Carlton, DC. David Hagedorn and The Human Right’s Campaign brought together over 60 chefs, 20 mixologists, fashion houses, Governor O’Malley (MD) and Tim Gunn all to raise funds for marriage equality in Maryland. It was an incredible evening filled with delicious  tastes, sites and sounds. The icing on the cake? The after party at Graffiato. The cherry on top? Maryland made history as the first state to approve gay marriage at the ballot box.

  • What opening are you most looking forward to in 2013?

MMMM .. 1) Mark Kuller (Chef Haidar Karoum’s) new place on 14th.  2) Daikaya with Chef Katsuya Fukushima’s stir-fry-ramen. 3) Mike Isabella’s forthcoming Kapnos & G

  • What you wish for DC in 2013 food trend wise?/ What you hope stays away?

I hope that if DC continues to be the dining darling for out-of-town (celeb) chefs that they will respect the DC dining community enough to offer us new concepts. Sloppy seconds, not our style ~

  • Favorite Chef? Favorite Restaurant? Favorite Bar?

Couldn’t! Wouldn’t! Pick just one in any of those categories.

  • Favorite food blog, web site or column?

TheListAreYouOnIt.com, duh? And have you listened to Foodie & The Beast lately? (Sundays @ 11AM on 1500AM)

 

LAUREN DE SANTIS – Capital Cooking

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  • Best Food Trend of 2012:  Lots of restaurants are now offering the bottomless brunch and I love it.  Who doesn’t want to day drink on the weekends?:)
  • Favorite Chef:  Nick Stefanelli
  • Worst Food Trend:  More small plates
  • Best Food Event of 2013:  Lamb Jam
  • Wish for 2013 Trends:  More late night places with great food
  • Opening I’m most looking forward to in 2013:  John Mooney’s new restaurant inside Union Market (name hasn’t been released yet)
  • Best Restaurant Opening of 2012:  Matchbox on 14th Street.  I love new restaurants to my neighborhood.  They have a ton of space and the food is delicious.  I think this is going to be one of my regular spots.
  • Favorite Bar:  Vinoteca

WARREN ROJAS - Roll Call

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  • The best food trend on 2012/The worst?

Happy to see food trucks continuously upping their game (hosting pop-ups, transitioning to brick-and-mortar spots). Worst food trend: gourmet cupcakes can blow me where the pampers is.

  • The most anticipated or best DC restaurant opening in 2012/The one that didn’t quite live up?

I’ve been waiting years for Red Apron Butchery. Glad Stachowski Market and Deli made the scene.  Least exciting 2012 non-event: Wagamama (too bad, so sad, bye-bye.)

  • The best dish you ate in 2012?/ The one you wish you hadn’t?

tie between sushi at Pod (Philadelphia), pork barbecue sundae at Rita’s (Charleston) and braised lamb shank at Unum.

  • What opening are you most looking forward to in 2013?

the more I hear about Rose’s Luxury, the more excited I get.

  • What you wish for DC in 2013 food trend wise?/ What you hope stays away?

I’m all for more po’boy shops. And would love to see more/better seafood offerings everywhere.

  • Favorite Chef? Favorite Restaurant? Favorite Bar?

He’s not my favorite, but I wish Gaston Acurio (or some other Peruvian master) would hurry up and bring authentic chifa to D.C. already

  • Favorite food blog, web site or column?

I devour all food media


MARY KONG-DeVITO – Girl Meets Food

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  • The best food trend on 2012/The worst?
I’ve enjoyed all the bottomless brunch options around town. Really…really…enjoyed them.  But being charged $6 for “house-filtered” tap water? If I wanted a pricey, sterilized drink, I’d order a cocktail.
  • The most anticipated or best DC restaurant opening in 2012/The one that didn’t quite live up?
Naturally, Union Market was the most anticipated opening all year, bringing together some of my favorite artisans.  I’m looking forward to Lyon Bakery, Righteous Cheese and Buffalo + Bergen!  Then there was Crios.  There was a lot of hype before it opened, but no one talks about it now.
  • The best dish you ate in 2012?/ The one you wish you hadn’t?
The elote loco at El Chucho was mind-blowing when I first tried it, and it still haunts my dreams.
  • What opening are you most looking forward to in 2013?
Despite not being a fan of chicken, Astro Doughnuts & Fried Chicken!  Deep-frying makes it great!
  • What you wish for DC in 2013 food trend wise?/ What you hope stays away?
I’m hoping to see pies everywhere.  I like pie.
  • Favorite Chef? Favorite Restaurant? Favorite Bar?
Time and time again, I love Justin Bittner’s cooking at Bar Pilar.  It’s like he understands all my offal habits.  And I love all of Gina Chersevani’s edible concoctions.

  • Favorite food blog, web site or column?
Full disclosure: I write for WCP’s Young & Hungry.  But I write for Y&H because they’ve been the leading authority on the food scene in DC for a long time, written in an unequivocal, accessible way.  And they let me swear.

 

MALAKA GHARIB – The Runcible Spoon Zine

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  • The best food trend on 2012/The worst?
Best food trend: Using pork fat, smoked meats, bacon and all kinds of meat delights to flavor food in a big way. I haven’t eaten pork in eight years, and this year, I finally gave up. There were too many good things happening in food for me to limit myself.  Worst food trend: Fancy DC restaurants getting their own food trucks. Let the little guys have their day – sheesh!
  • The best dish you ate in 2012?/ The one you wish you hadn’t?
Now that I’m eating pork again (just a little), I finaaaally tried the Hakata Classic at Toki Underground. The way the pork fat coats itself all over the ramen noodles is mind-blowing. Now I understand what the fuss is all about!  There was a pine needle pesto that I tried at Ripple that I liked at first, but on a second thought, I can’t shake its itchy, sappy, pine-y-prickly texture from my mind.
  • Best food event of 2012?

I loved the intimacy of the DC Food Swap, which I went to just before Thanksgiving. I got an amazing stash of preserved lemons, homemade ketchup, pickled peppers, pear and walnut scones, homemade lentil soup and much more from food-loving strangers (but now friends) all across the District.

  • What opening are you most looking forward to in 2013?

Astro Donuts and Fried Chicken. The name says it all.

  • What you wish for DC in 2013 food trend wise?/ What you hope stays away?
I wish that there were more food-meets-art installations and dinner parties in DC, so that I can eat and play and be transported to another time and place at the same time. I’ve started to see a few pop up here and there, but I’d love if there were more of them.  And please no more cupcake bakeries.
  • Favorite food blog, web site or column?

I like things about food that are imaginative and playful, so I check It’s Nice That, an art and design web magazine from the UK. Food is a popular subject among artists, so there are always interesting photo series, illustrations, and installations to be explored and marveled upon. Like this pumpkin art, for example

 

RUSSELL WARNICK - food writer

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  • The most anticipated or best DC restaurant opening in 2012/The one that didn’t quite live up?

Without a doubt Union Market was the best thing to happen to the DC food scene in 2012, not only does it providi an opportunity for small businesses to show case their product without the massive overheads of a stand alone restaurant, it also showcases a neighborhood that many in DC didn’t know much about. Who doesn’t want to lunch on Rappahannock oysters while picking up some Border Springs lamb for dinner.

  • What opening are you most looking forward to in 2013?

For all of the new restaurants on 14th to open, from Mark Kuller’s south-east Asian concept to Stephen Starr’s eagerly anticipated French spot I think it’s safe to say we’re all in for a treat in 2013.

  • What you wish for DC in 2013 food trend wise?/ What you hope stays away?

It’s time to retire the term ‘pop-up’, if a chef has a ‘pop-up restaurant’ open for up to a year I think we can all agree that it isn’t a pop-up

 

Erin Hartigan – City Eats

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  • The best food trend on 2012/The worst?

This year brought us tons of tacos, which makes this native Californian quite happy. I’m also happy to see more pop-ups and one-time dining events to liven things up.

  • The most anticipated or best DC restaurant opening in 2012/The one that didn’t quite live up?

I think the most exciting addition to the scene was Union Market — I will happily sip Buffalo & Bergen sodas or nab a stool at Rapahannock Oyster any day — but for standard restaurants, my favorite openings were Mintwood Place and Izakaya Seki.

  • The best dish you ate in 2012?/ The one you wish you hadn’t?

I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to settle for Thai delivery after sipping the tom kha soup from Little Serow. I wish I could have a bowl right now.

  • Best food event of 2013?

Probably the Capital Food Fight.

  • What opening are you most looking forward to in 2013?

I’m pretty excited for the onslaught of doughnuts in the District. If one of the forthcoming spots could serve maple bars, I’d be even more elated. And I can’t wait to watch Mike Isabella continue to take over the world with his forthcoming projects.

  • What you wish for DC in 2013 food trend wise?/ What you hope stays away?

I’d love to see more creative dim sum around town. Also, pie shops (particularly if they specialize in rhubarb). And how about some good iced tea?
My least favorite trend is entrepreneurs coming to DC from other cities with promises to open a shop/restaurant “unlike anything DC has ever seen before”. Come on, pals.

  • Favorite Chef? Favorite Restaurant? Favorite Bar?

This is a toughie. But I guess if I were stranded on a remote island, I’d want Scott Drewno, Rasika and the Passenger there waiting for me. Or perhaps just a shaded picnic table from Standard with cold beer and a steady supply of burgers.

  • Favorite food blog, web site or column?

It’s hard to choose one, though I have been impressed with Young and Hungry at Washington City Paper. I have a pretty regular blog scan that includes my old cronies the Going Out Gurus, along with Metrocurean, Best Bites Blog, The List Are You On It and Food 52

 

Svetlana Legetic -  (Mostly) In Charge of BYT

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  • The best food trend on 2012/The worst?

The best food trend: the general feeling of collaboration and community among chefs and beverage folks alike. One off events like the Source seven course noodle dinner or Class Is In Session or Summer Picnic Spectacular all had a vibe of people just loving to cook together, hang out together, etc. Worst: I have said it before and I will say it again: I really, really hate the word pop-up.

  • The most anticipated or best DC restaurant opening in 2012/The one that didn’t quite live up?

Most anticipated: Range (and it shows promise to completely live up to the hype). Best: probably Mintwood and Rasika West End. I am also a big fan of the Satellite Room.  I try not to dwell on disappointment.

  • The best dish you ate in 2012?/ The one you wish you hadn’t?

Pretty much everything we selected in our DEVOUR promotion is one of my favorite things in town (dumplings from The Source, oysters from Pearl Dive, pinxtos from Estadio, Palak Chaat from Rasika, Adour macarons). Also-Little Serow and Fiola make me stand up and applaud a little every time. In New York (which has been a great eating diversion between all the meetings), I am pretty obsessed with Frankie’s and Al Di La.

  • Best food event of 2012?

I am a fan of Sound Bites: great cause, great food, great music. Also, we did an event with Spike Mendelsohn and EVOLVE DC called “CLASS IS IN SESSION” which was probably my favorite night of this whole year.

  • What opening are you most looking forward to in 2013?

the Serbian in me is super curious about AMBAR, but also: Makketo, John Mooney’s new restaurant inside Union Market, Rose’s Luxury, whatever the team behind Estadio and Proof end up with on 14th and, OF COURSE, Daikaya.

  • What you wish for DC in 2013 food trend wise?/ What you hope stays away?

Hoping for: DC Becoming more adventurous. Worried about: Having to import the adventurous.

  • Favorite Chef? Favorite Restaurant? Favorite Bar?

Here are some places I go to ALL THE TIME to both eat and drink: Cork, Room 11, Bar Pilar/Saint-Ex, Mintwood, 1905, Jack Rose, Smoke & Barrel, Cashion’s, Pearl Dive, Estadio, Adour, Toki Underground, American Ice Company, 2 Amys. This seems like A LOT of favorites but I also eat and drink A LOT. For special occasions: Rasika West End, Bombay Club, Blue Duck Tavern, Fiola, Source, Proof and Little Serow/Komi are forever tops on my list.

  • Favorite food blog, web site or column?

see above. and below.

Melissa McCart -  Food Writer

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  • The best food trend on 2012/The worst?

The best food trend:Small restaurants with focused menus. Runner-up: Shrubs, the vinegar and produce-based pickled aperitif with crossover from the bar to the kitchen.  The worst: Attitude from hosts in restaurants that don’t take reservations

  • The most anticipated or best DC restaurant opening in 2012/The one that didn’t quite live up?

Most anticipated: Range. Hasn’t yet lived up: Suna

  • The best dish you ate in 2012?/ The one you wish you hadn’t?

Best: Fried chicken. Wish I hadn’t: Fried chicken

  • Best food event of 2012?

The opening of Union Market

  • What opening are you most looking forward to in 2013?

It may be awhile away, but I can’t wait for Makketo from the Toki Underground guys.

  • What you wish for DC in 2013 food trend wise?/ What you hope stays away?

I am smitten with Sichuan.
I’ll pass on glorification of the obscure: tuna collars, bloodline sausage, duck tongues.

  • Favorite Chef? Favorite Restaurant? Favorite Bar?

Favorite chef: Frank Ruta of Palena. (Runner up: Adam Howard at Room 11, but I’m biased. )
Favorite restaurant: Toki Underground, Rappahannock River Oysters
Favorite bar: Room 11, though The Passenger is up there, considering I missed two planes out of DC because of late night karaoke there.

  • Favorite food blog, web site or column?

Hate to admit it, but it’s Eater. It’s less of a guilty pleasure because reporter Missy Frederick is terrific. Washington City Paper’s Jessica Sidman for Young and Hungry is delightfully tenacious, too.

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