written by: Svetlana Legetic, Logan Donaldson, Alyssa Moody and Laura Beckner
photos by: Jeff Martin (With additional shots and video by Stephanie Breijo and Dakota Fine)
FOOD IN A COLD(ER) CLIMATE! So much to look forward to and so little time. Instead of pretending that we can do some sort of a crazy comprehensive list of anything (I tried to do some sort of a opening/closing list but then I gave up-just read our “weekly food news” for that), we figured we’d round up some people who we REALLY trust and ask them for advice we think may make your eating and drinking fall and winter a little better around these parts.
Lets kick things off with the most important meal of the day-the Breakfast Cocktail.
FALL MIMOSASA @ RIS
If there is one thing we KNOW BYT readers love-that is brunch. And while the classic mimosas or bloody mary’s are not ever to be underestimated, it is nice to see a seasonal play on the perennial favorites. At RIS, courtesy of beverage director Leah Cheston, part of the seasonality of the menu shows up at the bar.
This fall look for seasonal inspirations in mimosas that combine fall spices like star anise, nutmeg or clove with stone fruits and even pumpkin and other vegetables. And yes-regular mimosas are available too.
second of all-as the election season is around the corner, and nothing is certain, we do know this: no matter what happens-you will want to be drinking. So-thank God for:
Swing State Cocktails @ Art And Soul
Located in the epicenter of political chaos, Art And Soul restaurant and bar will be serving a unique array of patriotic swing-state-themed cocktails in preparation for the impending presidential election this fall. Art And Soul’s award-winning mixologist, Ronald Flores, has concocted eight unique cocktails reminiscent of each swing state in the 2012 race for the White House. If you’re feeling patriotic and are also in the mood for a stiff drink, these incredibly delicious (and equally potent) beverages are only available from October 1 until January 31, 2013 — so hurry up and try them before they become red or blue for the next four years.
- Colorado: This beverage is certainly not for the lightweight drinker. Flores brilliantly mixed organic, dry gin from Colorado (CapRock,) with apple, basil, lemon juice, St. Germain, and sparkling wine, (garnished with a sugary, homemade gummy) to create an absolutely exquisite cocktail.
- Nevada: This beverage pays homage to Nevada’s Mexican connection by incorporating a Mezcal base with sour mix, mint, and generous chunks of sweet watermelon.
- Virginia: This tasty cocktail combines the spritzer taste of a local Virginia viognier, White Hall, with Smooth Ambler and ginger beer.
- Wisconsin: Perhaps the most inventive and enticing beverage of all the swing states — this cocktail involves a generous pour of Wisconsin’s very own Death’s Door vodka, St. Germain, lemon juice, and Shiraz red wine, topped off with (you guessed it..) two small squares of cheddar cheese.
next-lets dive into some of our favorite comfort dishes for the season, with how-to’s by the chefs behind them, each for a different taste mood:
Mike Isabella’s Pork Ragu & Grandma’s Gnocchi @ Graffiato
In case you’ve been living under a rock, you’re aware that this fall Chef Mike Isabella has a new cookbook out (“Crazy Good Italian”) He insists that in Italy they eat ragu year round although this rustic “peasant food” does seem especially good when the weather turns colder. Mike’s pork ragu and gnocchi got him to the semi-finals of Top Chef and is a favorite on the simple and delicious menu at Graffiato in Chinatown. He updated his family recipe by adding spices like fennel and chili into the meat sauce, topping it with his grandma’s potato gnocchi, peppery arugula and melt-in-your-mouth burrata. He’s included a user-friendly recipe in his new cookbook just in case you want to make a special dinner for Columbus Day.
So: here’s what you need: 4 large Idaho russet potatoes, 4 quarts of water, 1 tablespoon + 3 tablespoons of kosher salt, 1 cup plus 1/2 cup all purpose flour, 2 large egg yolks, beater, 1/4 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano.
And, here is what you do:
- Preheat Oven to 425
- Prick potatoes with a fork, place on a baking sheet and bake for 1 hour. Let potatoes cool 10-12 min at room temperature before handling them
- Bring water to a boil in a large saucepan or stockpot. Once at a boil, add 1 teaspoon salt. In the meantime, scoop out the flesh from the potatoes and discard the skins. Press the flesh through a potato ricer into a mixing bowl.
- Stir in 1 cup flour, the egg yolks, the Parmigiano-Reggiano and 3 tablespoons of salt. Mix with your hands until the ingredients are just combined. Be careful not to overwork the dough, or the gnocchi will become tough
- Using the palms of your hands, roll mixture int 12-inch long ropes (3/4 inch thick) and lightly dust the doughwith remaining flour to prevent sticking. Cut the ropes into 3/4 inch pieces. Press each piece lightly with the tines of the fork.
- In three batches, drop the gnocchi into boiling water, and remove them when all are floating on the surface, approx. 1-2 minutes
- Remove gnocchi from the water, and serve immediately.
TIKIN XIC @ OYAMEL, just in time for Day of The Dead
At José Andrés’ Penn Quarter Cocina, Oyamel, you can join in on The Mexican Day of the Dead festivities by putting on your best skeleton face and tasting their new Mayan dish Tikin xic. The ancient seed annatto is part of their twist on the marinade for the light white fish which is served with beans, tortillas, and pico de gallo.
How to do it yourself: (Oyamel uses Grouper fish for this recipe but seabass, red snapper, cod, cat fish or any other flakey white fish would also work great.)
What you need: 6 portions of Grouper filets 4.5 oz each, 3 tablespoons of vegetable oil, 2 teaspoons annatto powder (available at any Latin American market), 1 table spoon Mexican oregano or substitute with regular oregano, 3 tablespoons kosher salt, 1/4 cup of cider vinegar, 1/4cup of rice wine vinegar, ½ teaspoon of black pepper corns
What to do:
- In a blender put the vinegars, salt, annatto and oregano and blend until smooth.
- Put the fish and marinade in a plastic zip lock bag and try to take out as much of the air as possible before closing so the marinade covers the fish. Refrigerate and let sit for 24 hours to cure. Remove the fish from the cure and pat fry with paper towels.
- Heat a large pan with the oil. Slowly place the fish in the pan and let cook on the first side for about 4 minutes on medium heat. Flip the fish and put the pan with the fish in the oven for another 4 minutes to finish cooking.
Serve the cooked fish with the plantains and the (pineapple) salsa
ultimate comfort food it up with:
Winter Ramen Noodles @ Toki Underground
Thanks to Chef Erik Bruner-Yang at Toki Underground, Ramen noodles aren’t just freeze-dried eats for students living on the cheap. Erik is serving up steaming bowls of delicious Taiwanese Ramen at the wildly popular funky upstairs noodle shop on H Street, the perfect food for a crisp fall night. This season brings chestnuts, potatoes and squash, or as Erik says, some of the best veggies for Asian food. You may have to queue up outside to wait for a seat, but Toki’s noodles and dumplings will warm your mitts and give you a manga smile once you eek your way inside.
The Toki Hakata Classic [pictured below] is made with the traditional pork based broth, soft poached egg, benishoga (pickled ginger), mustard greens, pulled chase pork, chili oil, ash oil, scallions, sesame seeds and of course, Ramen noodles!
and for those into venturing into almost-molecular experimentation waters, a bound-to-impress
Maine Crab Salad @ The Oval Room (with a Fall Twist)
courtesy of Chef Tony Conte, with mustard, melon and infused butternut.
You probably need something to wash all that down with, so lets take a mini break for:
the Cider guide courtesy of Greg Engert of Birch & Barley
(hot (and gluten free) event tip: Birch & Barley are set to celebrate Virginia Cider Week with a 11/12 gluten free + cider dinner with Foggy Ridge Cider’s Diane Flynt. Pencil it in.). Here are, according to Greg, some must try fall Ciders, perfectly crisp and perfectly gluten free:
- Sweet Stayman | Foggy Ridge Cider | Virginia | 7% abv – My friend Diane Flynt harvests her outstanding cider apples from 3 ordchards in the Blue Ridge Mountains, and her Sweet Stayman Cider stands out as an ode to classic Virginian cider apples. The lush sweetness of this tipple comes from the native Stayman apple, which ripens late in the mountain orchards, while the Cox’s Orange Pippin lends an elegant aromatic, and the Grimes Golden, almost certainly the parent of Golden Delicious, finishes the cider with a delicate tartness.
- Christian Drouin Poiré | Christian Drouin | France | 4% abv– A wonderful aperitif, and fitting stand-in for all manner of sparkling wine, the Christian Drouin Poiré provides fetchingly floral nuances and softly-fruited aromas. Once aromatically invited, the palate is deliciously dry, brightly acidic and imbued with a Brut-esque creamy, yet bold effervescence. A host of singular Normandy pears come together for this tantalizing elixir: Plant de Blanc forms the base with balance, Muscadet and Tricotin offer up their sweet fruit, while Avenelle and Poire de Grise show off their mineral dryness and appetizing acidity.
- Oliver’s Herefordshire Dry Cider – Still | Oliver’s Cider & Perry | England | 7.5% abv -There’s been cider and perry production for 3 centuries on the grounds of the old farm in Herefordshire where Tom Oliver currently produces his beguiling ciders. When not managing big English music acts, he is growing and sourcing outstanding fruit to utilize in crafting his uber-traditional ciders. Having ceased hop growing at the farm in 1999, he revived the cider-making habit of the land, and is producing authentic, old-school ciders that are nearly unparalelled for their level of funky rusticity, tannic intensity, and over-arching complexity. Crafted from his very own Herefordshire apple orchards, his Dry Cider is fermented and then matured for 8 months in oak barrels. Once blended, it is bottled still, as the racy acidity and strident tannins offer the bright lift that the cider requires.
- Kinglet Bitter | ÆppelTreow Winery & Distillery | Wisconsin | 6% abv – Lovingly crafted from transplanted French and English heirloom apple varietals, the ÆppelTreow Kinglet Bitter combines the best of both old world traditions for a very bew world rendition. Apples like Dabinette, Domaine, Frequin Rouge, White Jersey, and Muscadet Deippe are harvested locally, pressed and fermented into some outstanding juice, which combines a fruity, slightly sweet American element with the delicately tart and elegantly floral notes of French Cidre as well as the rough and tumble tannin and mild funk of the English Scrumpy style. Well-integrated and alluring, this cider is at once quaffable and crisp, yet invitingly complex.
Speaking of pairings (and Oktoberfest) – Jackson 20 is all about what goes well with your cans (of beer)
We figured, this is as good of a time as any to have Chef McPherson walk us through his seasonal canned beer favorites and dishes that go well with them (or is it the other way around?)
- Deviled Eggs / Porkslap Pale Ale – Butternuts Beer & Ale – Garrattsville, NY – The Pork Slap Pale Ale pairs well with the eggs because it is a dry, hoppy English style ale that has a lot of malty flavors. It also has nice caramel notes and balances very well with the habanero, bacon, scallions, and the creaminess of the deviled eggs
- Ham Croquettes / Two Hearted Ale – Bell’s Brewery, Inc. – Kalamazoo, MI -The Two Hearted Ale is what I enjoy drinking in the colder weather because it has nice citrus notes, and is also a very hoppy beer. The croquettes are like an explosion of ham, green onions, and cheese and really stand up to a strong IPA like the Two Hearted Ale.
- J20’s House-Made Charcuterie / Pabst Blue Ribbon – Jackson 20’s house-made charcuterie plate (Bresaola, Country Pâté, Suckling Pig, Coppa and Tuscan Salumi) is really the star here so drinking just simple a can of PBR with it feels right.
- Housemade Kielbasa with mustard, sauerkraut and pierogies / Dortmunder – Great Lakes Brewery – Cleveland, OH -This German-style beer really matches up with the strong, tangy flavors of the sauerkraut and beer mustard, as well as the smoky flavors of the kielbasa.
- Fluffer Nutter Sandwich / Ichabod Pumpkin Ale – New Holland Brewing Company – New Holland, MI – I’m usually not a big fan of pumpkin beer, but with the marshmallow fluff it works really well together. The fluffer nutter is a decadent sandwich of marshmallow fluff and peanut butter, and a favorite of the kitchen staff after hours. We plan to feature it on the bar menu at Jackson 20.
Get ready for:
Victor Albisu’s Taco Bamba Opening This Fall
- Spicy Portobello Tacos (Taco de Hongos con Chipotle): Grilled Corn, Heart of Palm, Smoked Pumpkin Seeds, portobello mushrooms, and garnished with cilantro. Perfect for vegetarians who can handle a little spice.
- Breaded Steak Taco (Taco de Milanesa) : Red Chili and Lime Aioli, Grilled and Fresh Scallions
- El Taco Bamba : Cheese Stuffed Corn Tortilla, Kobe Skirt Steak and Housemade Chorizo, Chicharones, Grilled Guacamole, Pickled Jalapeño
ALSO on our list of restaurants we’re excited for this Fall/Winter (and please keep an eye on our FOOD section for regular updates):
- first off-if you haven’t checked out Union Market yet-you should. Some of BYT’s favorite food purveyors, all under one, big, shiny new roof.
- The Coupe – a new Columbia Height casual eatery, brought to us by the fine folk behind Tryst and The Diner.
- Red Apron Butchery– late 2012/early 2013 finds Nathan Anda opening his first brick-and-mortar stores at 709 D Street NW and at MOSAIC in Merrifield, VA. To carry you over – we asked Nathan to do a little “Braise Your Own Pork Belly” for the fall season tutorial just for you.
- The Farmers are coming back to The Washington Harbour in Georgetown this November with Farmers Fishers Bakers, a completely new restaurant concept opening at 3000 K Street NW. The same team behind Founding Farmers brings this new dining destination, and an incredible menu, expansive patio, sushi bar, and lunch, dinner and weekend brunch. + Founding Farmers’ own proprietary gin, crafted at the local Copperfox Distillery in Virginia.
- Table, (ta-bluh) a European inspired café from Chef Frederik De Pue of 42° Catering is opening at 903 N Street NW in the Shaw neighborhood. Timing is tentative for early November. What to expect? Table combines Chef Frederik’s European sensibilities with his extensive catering background to create a simple neighborhood dining experience. The regularly changing menu will focus on fresh, seasonal ingredients and offer approachable yet innovative dishes with an old-world flavor. Table will offer a selection of wine and craft beers, as well as rooftop dining in the warmer months.
- ThinkLocalFirst’s StartUp Kitchens – things kicked off this fall with DC Dosa (check out our full taste test here), Thknk Local First’s attempt at broadening the D.C. dining experience. The program is an intensive eight-week “incubator” for chefs and restaurant entrepreneurs who in turn work under local restaurant owners in a temporary mentorship, eventually opening their own popup. We are excited to see what comes next.
- DGS Delicatessen – which sounds like your Dupont lunch spot dream come true: all meats and fish cured and brined in house, 85 seats, a craft beer selection and more. Opening time? A few weeks, fingers crossed.
- Maketto – opening in early 2013 – Chef Erik Bruner-Yang and DURKL’s Will Sharp are teaming up for a mixed retail/restaurant experience. Inspired by Asian street and night markets, Erik describes Maketto as: “Our new mixed retail and restaurant space will be a vibrant food and fashion destination that will soon hit H Street NE. Myself and Will Sharp, creator of DURKL, hope to provide a casual, comfortable place that allows everyone to create their own experience. Vigilante Coffee will offer handcrafted, on-site roasted and brewed coffee that adds an authentic café element seen in Asia’s growing coffee culture. As for the food, my recent trips to the night markets of Taiwan and Cambodia have heavily influenced the specialties we will be reproducing daily and seasonally. The goal is to stay as authentic as possible and we are excited to constantly change the game to keep DC curious and hungry for more.”
- Plus, watch this space for the much rumored but “no details confirmed yet” Asian eatery by the team behind PROOF and ESTADIO coming to 14th street in the indeterminate near future.
What Seasonal Pantry Has In Store This Season (Saturday dinners and more)
Check back in November when Dan will be offering Thanksgiving items like cranberries and what he calls his “signature dish,” Thanksgiving risotto, a hodgepodge of typical November banquet classics offered in one big medley, from sweet potatoes to turkey skin. You can also order whole heritage breed turkeys, and if you ask him what he has for sale in the backroom, there’s a good chance he will have some fermented goods — i.e. sauerkraut — available on the sly.
If you are in the mood for some creative drinking this FALL/WINTER – we felt the need to single out 2 bars this season that have gone (in completely opposite directions, natch) to the extreme to create a unique cocktail experience for the discerning drinker. Pencil these in for occasions such as: “impressing a date”, “showing out-of-towners that DC is not a boring place to go out in” or “getting out of a drinking rut”
Cryo-cocktails @ A Bar
Just beyond Foggy Bottom, and into the gray area where West End begins to bleed into Georgetown, Brennan Addams is conducting mad cocktail science at A Bar, the lounge tucked into Avenue Suites Hotel right off of 2500 Pennsylvania Avenue. Brennan is serving Cryo-cocktails, or, adult beverages with a gamely twist.
They’ve been commonly compared to Dippin Dots with alcohol, and the shape and temperature are similar to the pelleted ice cream brand, I’ll give you that. But it’s more enjoyable to consider the process than settle into an easy comparison. Brennan first pours liquid nitrogen from a huge vat into a metal container. Cold vapor oozes around and out of its rim. From there, he retrieves whatever flavors he has whipped up (I had açaí berry with rum, and gin, lemon, and ginger) and ekes the cocktails out from an empty squeeze bottle in a so that the alcohol stream falls in a chain of droplets and into the cannister of liquid nitrogen. Upon contact the cocktail coagulates into semisolid, frozen globules.
Finally, Brennan strains the cryospheres and spoons them into your glass. You’ll want to let them wait to climb toward room temperature—they can scorch your tongue with frostbite within the first few minutes of being served. Remarkably, each drink retains all of its flavor going from room temperature to frozen, and to keep you interested, new cocktail options seem to pop up every few weeks. I highly recommend grabbing a Cryo-cocktail with some friends that want to mix up your typical bar scene. It’s one of the most, if not the most, unique cocktail experiences you will find in DC.
Fat-Washed Cocktails @ Ripple
It’s time to release the death grip on those summer mojitos and indulge in the heavier more decadent flavors of fall cocktails. Josh Berner, bartender at Ripple, one of the favorite drink spots in town, explains that his “fat-washed cocktails” are drinks enhanced by the same things that make food taste delicious like cream, bacon, butter and olive oil. He gave us a preview of some of the new culinary cocktails on the Ripple menu but if you want to experiment with olive oil infused vodka on your own, you can sign up for his fat-washed cocktail class on either October 13th or October 20th. Call 202.244.7995 to reserve a spot.
and, of course… we close out, with DESSERTS TO DIE FOR (both sophisticated and rustic):
Fiola’s New Desserts Round-Up (all are must-try items, trust us)
- La Zuppa Inglese – La Zuppa Inglese is a long standing menu item at Fiola. Similar to a trifle, an English dessert (hence the name in Italian), the Zuppa comes in a medium size glass, with three layers from top to bottom: coconut custard, Limoncello granita (like a European cousin to a SnoCone — icy bits of lemon liquer), and vanilla sponge cake soaked in Limoncello and yuzu (a Japanese sour mandarin). Tom says the Zuppa stays true to a trifles triple stacked layers, but he likes to play with the flavors. That’s why for the fall iteration of the treat we’re seeing so much citrus. Plunge a slender spoon into the cup and scoop up all three deposits of the dessert’s strata and there’s a lot of texture to be played with. You get crunchy, cold, creamy, and a bit of lushness from the sponge cake.
- Pannacotta – Pannacotta is an Italian dessert made by simmering together cream, milk and sugar, mixing this with gelatin, and letting it cool until it forms a sort of pudding. At Fiola the pannacotta base flavor is a light vanilla cream, and resting on top is a pear sorbet, pear Grappa purée (Grappa a fragrant Italian wine), and a hazelbut meringue. The hazelnut meringue is made by folding a swiss merignue over a hazelnut brittle, and then letting it dry in the oven. It’s as straightforward a fall dessert you will find around Fiola, and it’s popular because patrons find it more familiar than other options. Plus, it’s a pretty dish to look at, as you can see. You almost don’t want to disturb the delicate archipelago of confections dappling the surface of the pannacotta. Later, as the seasons change, Tom told us that he may try out a sweet potato pannacotta, or might play with squash, chestnuts, fig, maple mascarpone mousse, white chocolate, and compressed apple. There are plenty of great ideas ahead at Fiola during fall and winter.
Pie Porn @ Sugar Magnolia
It’s pie season people. If you can’t wait until Grammy’s house on Thanksgiving, head over to Sugar Magnolia, the sweetest bakery in Cleveland Park. Pastry Chef Alison Reed is rolling out some of her favorite tried and true pie recipes and a few new ideas too. Dark chocolate mousse pie, caramel pecan pie, and regular ol’ apple pie are all available to special order through the holidays. If you need an immediate fix, swing by and pick up one of the freshly made mini pies that they have on the market shelves.
NOW-tell us what are YOU excited for this Fall/Winter in terms of food and drink. Plus – CHECK OUT OUR FILM GUIDE and our MUSIC GUIDE which already published+ stay tuned for more guides this week (art, theatre, style, the works really…)
- Drafting Table-a new gastropub opens on 14th street on the first day of October. Check out our full first look here.