Thursday, August 30, 2007

Just What I Expected

Tuesday night, after returning home from performing a rather unpleasant civic duty that Anthony won't let me talk about (it involves needles and the Red Cross and donating... stuff), i was hungry and lazy and in need of cheap food. And thus, we found ourselves at TNR Cafe (Tea Noodles Rice) on Wilson, just across from the Courthouse Metro.

TNR got a decent review in the DC issue of The Onion, but I don't think I've seen or heard any other opinions on the tiny, 15-table eat in/take out joint. True to the name, TNR has just that-- a decent assortment of teas, bubble and otherwise; various rice-based and rice-topping dishes; and your basic noodle soups and stirfries. Nothing particularly exciting, but decently inclusive.

Anthony ordered the spring rolls, which were just as one expects cheap spring rolls to be: greasy, crunchy, cabbagy, and rolled. Good times. He followed with the beef with scallions over rice, which was again, just that. My kung pao tofu was tasty, although a little too sweet for me, and definitely lacking in veggies. I suppose if you ask for tofu thats what you get, but fried tofu smatterred with peanuts does not a dinner (for me) make.

After a bit of confusion over the bill (we got the wrong one, which was $5 higher), we paid and were on our way. I was satisfied, if not particularly impressed. Give it a shot, see what you think.

TNR Cafe (TNR doesn't have a working website)
2049 Wilson Blvd.
Arlington, VA 22201
Phone: 703-875-0428

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

With Jose, it's always a festival

Below is a press release from Jose Andres' people about a new festival featuring pintxo, a "small bite" tapas from the Basque region of Spain. It looks like a great opportunity to get some really good food for a really good price. Enjoy!


Good Things Come in Small Bites with Jaleo’s Pintxo Festival
Featuring Patxi Bergara from Bar Bergara in San Sebastián

Washington, D.C. (August 28, 2007) — From October 9th through the 23rd, Chef José Andrés brings a favorite treat from Spain’s culinary capital San Sebastián to Washington during Jaleo’s Pintxo Festival. A pintxo (PEEN-cho) is a “small bite” tapa from the Basque region of northern Spain typically served on a palillo (toothpick) or a slice of bread. During this two week celebration, Jaleo will feature special pintxos inspired by guest chef Patxi Bergara of the award-winning Bar Bergara in San Sebastián, plus a “Pintxo Hour” featuring $1 pintxos and demonstrations at FRESHFARM Markets in Dupont Circle and Penn Quarter.

Jaleo’s Pintxo Festival will begin with a kickoff party from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Tuesday, October 9th, featuring complimentary pintxos. Guests will be transported to San Sebastián with the recreation of an authentic pintxos bar scene at the Jaleo Crystal City. Everyone is welcome.

During the entire festival, Jaleo will feature a changing assortment of 10 pintxos of the day offering Washingtonians the opportunity to sample a wide variety of these unique small bites. Pintxos, inspired by Bar Bergara’s recipes and priced from $1.50 to $3, will be available throughout the day.

Special $1 pintxos will be available during “Pintxo Hour” from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. at all three Jaleo locations (dates available posted below). During “Pintxo Hour” pintxos will be presented at the bar for guests to enjoy on the honor system with the bartender counting toothpicks to determine the bill just as it is done in San Sebastián. Guests can also wash down these tasty bites with a zurito, a small glass of beer that traditionally accompanies pintxos, or with a glass of txakoli (chah-koh-LEE), a slightly sparkling white wine from the Basque country. Jaleo will also offer a txakoli sangria during the celebration

Jaleo chefs will demonstrate classic and modern pintxo recipes at FRESHFARM markets, Sunday, October 7th at the Dupont Circle Farmer’s Market at 11 p.m. and at the Penn Quarter Farmer’s Market on October 11th at 5 p.m.

Guest chef Paxti Bergara owns and operates the legendary Bar Bergara in San Sebastián, which has been in the family for over 50 years. Under the direction of Patxi and his wife, Blanca Ameztoy, Bar Bergara evolved to become the first modern pintxo bar with more sophisticated, refined and elaborate offerings including a tasting menu. Accolades include “Best Pintxos Selection” at the Lo Mejor de la Gastronomía conference in San Sebastián, and an honorary member of the cofradia del pintxo (Pintxo Association) and the cofradia de anchoas (Anchovy Association).

With its rich gastronomic heritage, the coastal city of San Sebastián, or Donostia in the Basque language, is Spain’s undisputed culinary capital. The city and its environs are home to restaurants by some of the best chefs in Europe like Arzak, Berasategui and Mugaritz. Good food isn’t just left to the professionals. San Sebastián is also home to numerous gastronomic societies, private organizations whose members get together at their tkoko or club to cook together.

Pintxo Hour for Jaleo, at all three locations, takes place on these dates from 5 to 6 p.m.:

Wednesday, October 10

Thursday, October 11

Monday, October 15

Tuesday, October 16

Wednesday, October 17

Thursday, October 18

Monday, October 22

Under the direction of Chef José Andrés, Jaleo is an award-winning tapas bar with three locations in the Washington metro area. Jaleo is located at 480 7th Street NW in Washington, DC, (202) 628-7949; at 7271 Woodmont Avenue in Bethesda, Maryland, (301) 913-0003 and at 2250-A Crystal Drive in Arlington, Virginia, (703) 413-8181. For more information please visit the website,

Tuesday, August 28, 2007


I love this article from Drudge about Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Not only is he a holocaust denier and a complete nut, he's evidently really handy in the kitchen.

In a state controlled TV interview he said, "Before (I became president) I used to do the grocery shopping. Now sometimes I help in the kitchen and I know how to make all the Iranian food."

The idea of the man who is trying to obtain nuclear weapons to destroy Israel trying to obtain arugula to liven up his salad is simply hilarious.

Congratulatons America - You're Fat!

Friends of mine often joke that I have the eating habits of a fourteen year old girl. Sure, sometimes I'll splurge and have a second cup full of carrots...or two fried dough dishes within twenty four hours, but I generally eat pretty healthy.

Well who's laughing now? Probably not the people of Mississippi, where 30% of the adult population is classified as obese. A report released today by the Trust for America's Health, states that following Mississippi, West Virginia, Alabama, Louisiana, South Carolina, and Tennessee, all have 27% or above of their adult population dangerously overweight.

But what about the children; they are our future after all. Well, if they really are, it's going to be a pretty overweight future. Washington D.C. leads the nation with almost 23% of children considered obese, again, followed by primarily southern states: West Virginia, Kentucky, Tennesee, and North Carolina.

Surely there has to be some healthy people, right? Well surprise, surprise, they mainly live in some fairly wealthy states and states not in the south. Colorado, Massachusetts, Vermont, Hawaii and Connecticut have the healthiest adults; while Utah, Wyoming, Colorado and Idaho have the healthiest children.

This shouldn't come as a shock to anyone. People grabbing that double cheeseburger because it's the only thing they can afford, and southerners eating their local fare which just happens to include sugar laden sweet tea and fried pork fat are going to be heavier than urbanites who can buy healthy at Whole Foods.

The actual report is 120 pages - read it. It's enough to make you pass up on that second helping of fried dough.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

I guess Cathal Armstrong was busy that night

Following in the steps of Roberto Donna, Jose Andres, and Morou, Agraria chef Ricky Moore will be leaping into the arena at Kitchen Stadium in Iron Chef America - coming soon to a boob tube near you!

Upon hearing this I was honestly surprised. Why Agraria? I can think of a hundred better places in the city to eat...hell, Washingtonian thought of a hundred better restaurants. Perhaps if the list was the 101 top restaurants in Washington he could have made it, but surely an "Iron Chef" can put out better food more consistantly than say...Butterfield 9.

The real reason I feel that Chef Moore was chosen is because of the idea of the restaurant. Organic, sustainable, straight from the farm to your plate. We're down with that - but Iron Chef, if you wanted a good sustainable chef who'd look good on TV, how about giving Barton Seaver a call?

Friday, August 24, 2007

Happy Birthday Horribly Fatening Sandwich!

Let's all give a shout out to the Big Mac, who is celebrating its 40th birthday today. Congratulations Big Mac, my first memory of you is eating lunch at a friend's house and that friend devouring two of you. You were utterly disgusting then, and you haven't changed a bit.

Forty years after McDonald's franchisee Jim Delligatti in Uniontown, Pennsylvania decided that one greasy burger wasn't enough; the Big Mac can be found around the world for as little as $1.45 in China (probably with some sort of lead based paint, or other lead based product, or hell, just a slice of lead) and as much as $7.61 in Iceland.

So how did I celebrate this wonderful birthday? I had real hamburgers at Matchbox in Chinatown.

Nuts to you McDonald's, I'm sticking with Matchbox.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Got Wine?

Happy Food Day folks! In an attempt to entertain and inform, here's some news from our friends at the Washington Wine Academy - I've copied and pasted the press release below.

Mark the Calendar as September 20th is The California Wine Cruise with
DC Harbor Nights “Yacht Socials on the Potomac”
Washington, D.C. (August 22, 2007) ---The Washington Wine Academy announces

DC Harbor Nights on the Potomac River, with a California wine tasting event onboard a luxury yacht, September 20th from 6:30 PM to 10 PM, to honor the official California Wine Month. Those wishing to learn more about award-winning wines can participant, leaving the hustle and bustle of the city behind to sit back and enjoy a buffet of tempting fare from Fresh Start Catering, complemented by live music by local artists, plus the wine tasting of featured California vintages, lead by experts from the Washington Wine Academy, while cruising along the Potomac on a spectacular, professionally staffed, private yacht.

The three-hour cruise begins with boarding at 6:30 PM and departs 7:15 PM with about 2.5 hours of actual cruising time on the river. The all-inclusive ticket price of $68 per person covers all food, beverages, taxes, gratuity and entertainment for “Yacht Socials on the Potomac” evenings.

For a group discount, organizers can purchase five tickets, and receive the 6th ticket for free. To qualify for the special price, all tickets must be purchased at one time using the same credit card. DC Harbor Nights “Yacht Socials on the Potomac” sail from Capital Yacht Charters, Washington Marina, 1300 Maine Avenue, SW. For more information and to purchase your tickets today, visit DC Harbor Nights at or call 703-971-1525.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007


What's the best part about my job? Food segments = free food!

I was sad when 2 Amy's couldn't find someone to do a pizza segment for my production week. However, the slice of pizza I just had made things all better.

Does this mean that I can have two?

Along with bottled water, trans-fats seem to be pretty high on the public's food hit list. Once thought to be a primarily urban phenomenon of banning trans-fats, government's long reach has reached a sanctuary of deep fried fatty goodness - state and county fairs.

According to the New York Times, the Great Indiana State Fair has banned trans-fats from their food vendors.

The issue of trans-fats has always been a rough one for me. I'm not a huge fan of government telling people what they can or can't use in their kitchens (or their food carts in this case), but the dangers associated with trans-fats can't be understated. Either way, I somehow doubt that this issue will stop with the Farris Wheels and fried oreos of the Great Indiana State Fair.

Just take it out back...

It's the post that just won't die. For whatever reason I just can't bring myself to finish writing about Restaurant Week, so here it is, the very (very, very) short version of RW '07 continued.

Tenpenh gets it. They understand what RW is all about, and do it very well. The atmopshere is incredibly comfortable, and even on a busy Friday night the service was running on all cylinders.

Starting off with a refreshingly delicious salmon tartare, I decided on the beef tenderloin for my entree. Two large wonderfully cooked pieces of cow sitting on top of a kimchee-noodle cake and served with a spicy (but not too hot) chili hollandaise.

To be honest I don't remember what I had for dessert (Jill, help me out here), but we left the restaurant with a very positive impression overall - so much so that I'd put it only behind Zola as far as our best Restaurant Week find.

After we left, Jill and I decided to go to Central (conveinently located next door) for drinks - more on that later. In short, Central was amazing (best oysters and bread I've ever had) - but I want to hold off on writing something official until I actually have a meal there.

Dinner on Friday was followed up by lunch at Hook in Georgetown on Saturday. Located in a prime spot on M St. NW, Hook is one of the hottest new restaurants in town, and RW gave us a good excuse to go try it out.

With a new menu each day, you're guaranteed to get whatever is freshest - and the taste definately shows. Hook is all about clean - its atmosphere, its service, its food, are all sharp, professional, and what you'd expect out of the biggest buzz generator this side of the Potomac.

The crudo concept provides a very refreshing first course, and the tuna I had for my entree was perfectly cooked (I generally like my tuna raw, but this was done very well, and the portion size was solid as well).

Hook is fortunate enough to have Heather Chittum handling their desserts, ensuring whatever you get for your final course will be one to remember.

Overall it was a very successful Restaurant Week. From the bread at Zaytinya, to the beef at Tenpehn, to the tuna at Hook, every restaurant left me with something to remember, and left me wishing that the next Restaurant Week would come sooner than later.

1001 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC

3241 M St. NW
Washington, DC 20007

Monday, August 20, 2007

No, we're at the right place...

At first the host didn't believe me. Asking if there was a wait, he thought I was asking about the establishment next door - Ray's the Steaks. While I gladly would have eaten at Ray's, I was at the right place - I was at Guajillo.

Guajillo Grill (Pronounced wa-hee-yo), located in the same strip as both Ray's and Pho 75, was the venue for a meeting of the blogs - otherwise known as dinner with Farah and Gordon.

The meal started off with your standard chips and salsa, the chips were freshly made, and the salsa was served in a warm stone bowl. They weren't my favorite I've had in the area (that still goes to Guapos), but the warm salsa was a surprisingly nice touch.

Jill and I then split a Ceviche; served in a margarita glass, the flavors were quite good, but this shrimp ceviche was lacking in well...shrimp. If there was another handful or two of shrimp, it would have been perfect. For $11, I found it lacking.

For my entree I decided on the carnitas - marinated pork in onions and garlic - the pork was flavored wonderfully, and served with a nice side of black beans and onions. The dish overall was pretty solid, though the pork could have been hotter (temp. speaking) and I could have used a little rice with the dish.

I can't speak entirely for it, but Jill got some sort of chicken mole dish that smelled incredible - a great mix of sweet and hot, I might give that a try next time I'm there.

The real highlight of this meal was dessert. I had never eaten Sopapillas before, but the fried bread with honey, cinnamon and caramel, served with a side of vanilla ice cream was simply amazing. Fairly light for something fried, it was one of those dishes where if it was healthy, I'd eat it every day.

As our meeting and meal came to a conclusion, there was nothing but smiling faces all around. The service was incredibly gracious, the food, sans a few minor details, was pretty good, and the price, though slightly inflated, was reasonable.

In an area filled with quality restaurants, Guajillo Grill is a welcome addition, and one that warrants another visit in the future.

Guajillo Grill
1727 Wilson Blvd.
Arlington, VA 22201


Thursday, August 16, 2007

OMG Bourdain!

Good morning fellow foodies. And why is it a good morning? Because Farah of The Deep Dish has been so kind to alert the world of the fact that Anthony Bourdain is blogging on Bravo's website about Top Chef.

The writing is so...Bourdain. Crisp, refreshing, with the power of an out of control eighteen wheeler. If he keeps writing, I may never get back to work.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

I do what I'm told...

...and when I'm told it's my turn to make dinner, I just can't say no. So what was on tonight's menu?

First Course: Seasonal Tomatoes, Goat Cheese, and Basil Salad

Second Course: Turkey Cheeseburgers on Brioche with Grilled Sweet Potatoes

Dessert: Tofutti Cuties

Ok, so the dessert is cheating just a little. But the heirloom and beefsteak tomatoes, goat cheese and basil thing worked out really well - complimented with a little olive oil and sea salt - it was incredibly easy to make.

The turkey cheeseburgers were first grilled to the point of being rare, and then with the monterey jack cheese on top, thrown into the broiler with the sweet potatoes to finish everything off.

The bread, brioche from Breadline, was simply incredible. For $5.50 for a loaf I still have enough to last me the rest of the week.

The cuties? I just had to unwrap those.

This is about as fancy as I get right now. But for pretty simple food, it tasted really good.

Royalty on the TV

BREAKING NEWS: Television loves food.

Ok, so it's not exactly breaking news; hell, there's a whole damn network dedicated to the stuff. But as someone "in the business", I love doing food segments. It's with this in mind that I wish today that I worked for the Today Show, who had America's King of Food, Thomas Keller on to do a little cooking.

Because I don't know how to put video directly into the blog, you'll have to click on the link - but still, watch and enjoy!

And if you know how I could put this straight on the blog, please email me and tell me.

High expectations, full stomachs - Our evening at Zaytinya

Last Tuesday I was nervously squrming in my chair, watching the little clock on my computer, waiting for my work to be done so I could sprint downstairs and the seven or so blocks east to Zaytinya.

Now before I begin, allow me to provide a bit of disclaimer - a lot happened during this meal, and if I were to recall every detail I'd end up with a three page post that even I wouldn't read. So I'm going to try to hit the highlights and keep brevity as a priority.

The experience started at the bar - as any good experience always does - where I met good friends Lisa and Danny and waited for Apples to arrive. After a long wait at the bar (due to the fact that we arrived rediculously early), a couple drinks and a basket of bread (more on that later), we were brought to a table.

Throughout the meal the service was adequate, with some minor hicups; courses were mixed up, the pacing wasn't the best - but most of this was fairly excusable considering it was Restaurant Week, and the place was packed.

Zaytinya's Restaurant Week menu (which is available until August 25th) consists of five courses - four primary courses and a dessert, and equates to an awful lot of food.

I didn't realize it while I was eating it, but I consumed a lot of bread. The bread is the same type they serve at Lebanese Taverna - a wonderfully light pita type bread, hollow in the middle, and served warm. It's damn tasty, and before you know it, you've eaten your weight in bread.

Instead of giving you a blow by blow (or bite by bite) description of the meal, I'll give you a few highlights that I thought stood out:

-Fattoush (Round 1): Incredibly refreshing and really beautiful; I don't eat veggies, but I really enjoyed that.

-Kalamari Me Spanaki (Round 3): Squid is always a success with us, and this was done very well, accompanied by spinach and dill butter.

-Greek Yogurt & Apricots (Dessert): Another really pretty dish, I've never really given apricots a full try, but they were paired perfectly with the vanilla yogurt. This was probably the dish that stood out the most in my mind - probably because I had never had anything like it before.

Obviously we've had over a week to digest our meal and come to a conclusion or two. I think the general consensus (between Jill and I), was that the meal was solid, the bread was amazing, and the atmosphere was pretty cool. But the service was average at best, and the food wasn't revolutionary or breathtaking.

Did I enjoy my meal? Yes. Would I go again? Probably not - at least not to get basic tapas. I feel as if I could have gotten that meal at a dozen places in the DC area (most of which are probably owned by Jose Andres), I get a sense that Zaytinya is, or has the potential to be something really special, I just didn't see it last Tuesday.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Congratulations to us!

We've made it! 100 posts, dozens of meals, and thousands of calories, and we couldn't be prouder.

So what are we going to do to celebrate? Break open a bottle of champagne of course!

What? You mean there's no champagne? Well the Daily Mail in the UK, by way of Drudge, tells us why: increased demand around the world has created a shortage of the bubbly stuff in Britian, and that shortage could spread to the United States.

The cause of this? An incredible increase in exports to developing countries such as India and China, coupled with a finite supply.

It'll be interesting to see if other luxury food items follow suit as the palates and pocketbooks of developing countries grow.

Hopefully by the time we hit 200 posts, there will be a few drops of the good stuff left over for us.

We've been slacking

It was a long week for us folks - and while it's a poor excuse, work has kept us from our blog duties.

However, this week looks a bit more sane, so this is what you can expect over the course of this week:

Restaurant Week Reviews


-TenPenh and Central


Review of brunch at the Carlyle in Shirlington

Review of the first two episodes of the new Feasting on Asphalt.

Wow, I'm getting tired just thinking about it! Keep an eye out though, you'll have a lot of reading once the week is done.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Then I guess I'll have the chicken...

I suppose you can call it a sign of the times. Follow me now - High priced and dangerously obtained foreign oil means more ethanol production. More ethanol production means more corn consumpton. More corn consumpton means less corn for cows. Less feed for cows means less steak for restaurants.

The New York Sun, by way of Drudge, reports that New York City is seeing a shortage in prime cuts of beef. It'll be interesting to see if this shortage travels down to DC, and if it'll effect the price of our favorite steaks.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

My brush with sushi greatness

Those of you who know me well know that I'm lucky enough to be in a position to meet some pretty amazing people. Being an Associate Producer on a daily TV show, even one that no one has ever heard of, grants you incredible access, and an ability to reach out to just about anyone.

So when I decided I wanted to do a segment on sushi, I knew I had to get Kaz Okochi, the mastermind behind Kaz Sushi Bistro.

Luckily, Chef Kaz took time out during the first day of restaurant week to come on our show, Daily Cafe, and give us a demonstration. I must say, it was one of our best segments yet.

Thank you Kaz!

Monday, August 6, 2007

What's in your freezer? - Farah

A special thanks to our friend Farah of The Deep Dish for sending in a picture of her boyfriend's (and a good friend of mine) freezer.

At first glance it appears to be a lot of chicken and ice cream - which is a winning combination!

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Feasting on good television

You'll be hard pressed to find a bigger Alton Brown fan than myself. From Good Eats to Iron Chef America, his witty food banter and informative nuggets make him my favorite Food Network personality.

Last year when he came out with Feasting on Asphalt I was in complete awe. Almost every moment of the four part documentary was pure TV gold. So how excited was I when I found out that Alton will be cruising along the Mississippi in the second version of Feasting? Oh so incredibly excited!

I'm going to try my best to write a little something after each episode. I'm not quite sure I can do justice to Alton's travels, but I'll certainly give it my best shot.