Up Next: DC Cocktail Week

We Got a Preview and It's Gonna Be Great

By AJ Dronkers + Photography by Raisa Aziz, Edible DC

Need a new watering hole? Looking for a creative date night? Over forty area restaurants and bars will celebrate DC Cocktail Week featuring specially priced cocktails and food bites from Monday, November 13 through Sunday, November 19. It's your chance to get out and explore old favorites, find undiscovered gems and try some newbies. We attended a preview at the fabulous Jack Rose Dining Saloon and got to sample creations from a handful of the participating restaurants and bars.

Convivial "A Rose by Any Other Name" -- features local Capitoline Rose Vermouth, Cherry Herring, and China China Bigellet Amer. Paired with Chef Cedric Maupillier's Roasted Cauliflower Blanc-Manager with pomegranate, mint, and za'atar. This perfect pairing is available all night in the entire restaurant for $18.00.

Convivial "A Rose by Any Other Name" -- features local Capitoline Rose Vermouth, Cherry Herring, and China China Bigellet Amer. Paired with Chef Cedric Maupillier's Roasted Cauliflower Blanc-Manager with pomegranate, mint, and za'atar. This perfect pairing is available all night in the entire restaurant for $18.00.

Sally's Middle Name's "USS Republic" -- Republic Restoratives Apple Brandy and Rum Barrel Borough Bourbon with Cocchi Americano, Sfumato. paired with a smoked pork shoulder croquette with apple honey-mustard. $16 for the pairing.

Sally's Middle Name's "USS Republic" -- Republic Restoratives Apple Brandy and Rum Barrel Borough Bourbon with Cocchi Americano, Sfumato. paired with a smoked pork shoulder croquette with apple honey-mustard. $16 for the pairing.

Indique "Gin + Garam Masala Tonic".

Indique "Gin + Garam Masala Tonic".

Dram & Grain "Porridge in a Potstill" -- Virginia Highland Port-Finished Malt Whisky, Malted Barley Orgeat, Madeira, Lemon, D&G Barrel-Aged Bitters.

Dram & Grain "Porridge in a Potstill" -- Virginia Highland Port-Finished Malt Whisky, Malted Barley Orgeat, Madeira, Lemon, D&G Barrel-Aged Bitters.

Full list of participating restaurants:

District of Columbia

  • Bar Dupont (Dupont Circle)
  • Cedar Restaurant (Penn Quarter)
  • Charlie Palmer Steak (Downtown)
  • China Chilcano (Penn Quarter)
  • Claudia’s Steakhouse (Downtown)
  • Convivial (Shaw)
  • DBGB (Penn Quarter)
  • Dino’s Grotto (Shaw)
  • District Distilling Co. (U Street)
  • Dram & Grain (Adams Morgan)
  • Etete (U Street/Shaw)
  • Farmers & Distillers (Mt Vernon Triangle)
  • Fig & Olive (Penn Quarter)
  • Firefly (Dupont Circle)
  • Graffiato (Penn Quarter)
  • Hard Rock Café (Downtown)
  • Indique (Cleveland Park)
  • Jack Rose Dining Saloon (Adams Morgan)
  • Kapnos (U Street)
  • Mintwood Place (Adams Morgan)
  • miXX Lobby Lounge and Wine Bar (Penn Quarter)
  • Muze (Downtown)
  • Nazca Mochica (Dupont Circle)
  • Occidental Grill & Seafood (Downtown)
  • Oyamel (Penn Quarter)
  • Pennsylvania 6 (Downtown)
  • Quarter+Glory (U Street)
  • Sally’s Middle Name (H Street)
  • Silver (Cathedral Heights)
  • Sixth Engine (Mt Vernon Triangle)
  • Slate Wine Bar + Bistro (Glover Park)
  • Stable (H Street)
  • Taqueria del Barrio (Petworth)
  • Zaytinya (Penn Quarter)

Maryland

  • City Perch Kitchen + Bar (Bethesda)
  • Jaleo (Bethesda)
  • Silver (Bethesda)
  • Sushi Ko (Chevy Chase)

Virginia

  • BaBa (Clarendon)
  • Jaleo (Crystal City)
  • Mazagan Restaurant & Lounge (Arlington)

 

Big Fun at Rappahannock Co. Beer Festival and Pig Roast

5th Anniversary Party Celebrates Farmers, Makers & Community

Pen druid, The center of the action in sperryville.

Pen druid, The center of the action in sperryville.

By David Amini, special to Edible DC

Rappahannock’s 5th Annual Beer Festival and Pig Roast took place this past Saturday, October 28th on the grounds of Pen Druid Brewery in Sperryville, VA. Folks of all ages came out to celebrate.  The weather was in the upper sixties with sunny skies and a breeze that brought with it the smell of fall. It was a gorgeous day to be outside. 

This festival is a true celebration of the land and community. It was wonderful to see local farmers, brewers, distillers and entrepreneurs working together and collaborating in such a capacity, while emphasizing environmental impact, humane practice, and nourishing traditions---a refreshing and communal way to celebrate the arrival of fall.

Casey from the Farm at Sunnyside prepares a wood roasted pig.

Casey from the Farm at Sunnyside prepares a wood roasted pig.

Starting around noon, The Farm at Sunnyside prepared platters of smoked pork roasted over a local wood fire through the night. Heritage Hollow Farms of Sperryville provided the pastured pork, raised in the orchards and forest just around the corner from Pen Druid. The roasted pork came with potato salad and coleslaw made with vegetables grown by The Farm at Sunnyside, located in Washington, Virginia, just north of Sperryville. Kimchi and fermented vegetables from Number 1 Sons were served alongside platters, also using many vegetables grown by The Farm at Sunnyside. 

Farm at Sunnyside preparing pork for platter.

Farm at Sunnyside preparing pork for platter.

Guests had the option of drinking beer from Pen Druid and Hopkins Ordinary, both breweries local to Sperryville. Pen Druid offered three special release beers for on site consumption as well as take away, notably the Spontaneous, a spontaneously fermented beer made with turbid mashed, aged hops from Rappahannock County, organic raw wheat from The Farm at Sunnyside and Virginia malt from Copper Fox Distillery which is right next door.

Spontaneous, a special release from Pen Druid.

Spontaneous, a special release from Pen Druid.


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David is a native Washingtonian who enjoys cooking and baking with fresh and healthy ingredients. If he’s not cooking, you might find him hiking the Billy Goat, catching a good folk show, or browsing the farmers' market. (IG @dmamb)

Meet The Block 

Food Mart Cool Comes to the ‘burbs 

Words and Photos by Vina Sananikone 

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You might miss The Block if you weren’t looking for it. Hiding next to a Kmart in a strip mall in  Annandale, VA, The Block looks unassuming from the outside, but step through the doors into  the 5,000-square-foot food hall with five eateries, a bar, a casual lounge and cafeteria-style seating and you’re in a different world. 

Appropriately named, The Block feels like you’ve stumbled into a happening block party, an eclectic mix of couples making sweet eyes at the bar, families having dinner, gym goers popping in for takeout and groups of friends laughing over sweet treats. 

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Arturo Mei, founder and owner of Snocream Company, wanted to expand after seeing the success of his Taiwanese shaved ice and growing number of devotees who loyally followed his whimsically painted vintage school bus, the Sno Bus, from location to location. Inspired by food halls in Los Angeles and New York, Mei converted a vacant billiards  parlor into a bustling food hall and a place for culinary entrepreneurs to set up shop without having to invest in their  own brick-and-mortar space.  

Only a few months after its soft opening in December 2016, The Block has seamlessly soared to  popularity, a hip yet chill spot to meet with friends for dinner or a snack, with flavors ranging from Hawaiian poké to Thai noodles.  

One of Mei’s goals when he opened The Block was to create an environment of DC restaurant/bar vibes in the suburban landscape, without the hassle of parking woes and crowded streets. Pleased with The Block’s reception in Annandale, expanding The Block is a real possibility. Mei is  exploring the idea of opening more locations, with pop-ups possible in some cities.  

Snocream’s Sno Bus still lives behind The Block. Keep an eye out for the bus and perhaps he’ll open The Block near you. 

Meet the Vendors

Pokéworks

Poké, a dish of marinated raw fish with Hawaiian roots, is DC’s latest food craze and is especially delicious in the dog days of summer. Pokéworks, with franchised locations from San Jose to Vancouver, serves up myriad choices from signature Hawaiian Classic or a Choose Your Own Adventure style of ordering: Have your poké in a bowl over rice, or as a burrito or a green salad; pick your protein (salmon, tuna, tofu and more); and select add-ons such as edamame, seaweed salad, crunchy lotus chips and avocado (yes, we know, avocado costs extra). 

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Snocream Company

A Taiwanese twist on traditional ice cream and boba milk tea, Snocream is the one that started it all. Imagine a marriage between shaved ice and ice cream, with frozen blocks of ice cream thinly shaved and capped with fun toppings and drizzles such as mochi, pineapple jellies, condensed milk and Fruity Pebbles. Snocream’s ever-changing menu includes black sesame, pandan and mango—equally delectable and almost too pretty to eat. 

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Munch

Doughnut ice cream sandwiches, need we say more? Snocream’s sister ice cream and doughnut stand, and the latest addition to The Block family, offers flavors like matcha Oreo and ash coconut, with occasional too-adorable-for-words doughnuts shaped like baby pandas and Totoro. 

Balô Kitchen

Asian comfort food from chef/owner and creator of the PhoWheels food truck Huy Ngyuen, including Belly + Rice (24-hour pork belly, pickled mustard greens, pineapple fish sauce and jasmine rice cooked in chicken fat) and Filipino Sigsig Tacos (pig ears, pork belly, chicken liver, chicharron and Tabasco mayo). Try the Short Rib Pho French Dip sandwich and the Pig Frites: deep-fried sous vide bacon and smoked spicy mayo over fries. 

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Roots

Thai street food by Virginia native chef/owner Joey S., with fan favorites Boat Noodle Soup, red chicken curry and specials of fried whole red snapper w/tamarind chili sauce. With bowls of rich broth, tantalizing aromas and the cacophony of people, you’ll swear you were in a busy street market in Bangkok. 

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Block Bar

Craft cocktails and specialty drinks inspired by Arturo Mei’s travels and Asian-inspired snacks from Balô Kitchen. Bites at The Block Bar include Chick-Arrones (fried chicken thigh and skin with Korean Gochujang glaze) and Flaming 151 Squid (a shot of 151 over dried squid, lit on fire and served with hoisin-sriracha sauce). Maybe watch your eyebrows with that last one. 

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4221 John Marr Dr., Annandale, VA 22003, 571-275-1135. Open daily from 11 am to 10pm. Bar is open until midnight Sunday–Wednesday and until 2am Thursday–Saturday. 

Edible DC Magazine Announces Winners for Awards

Hundreds gather at District Winery to celebrate EdibleDC Award winners and finalists

Edible DC team announced the winners for the inaugural Edible DC Magazine Awards, sponsored by Caviar on Monday evening, Oct. 16. Nominations were submitted in August, and an Edible DC Awards panel of judges met in early September to select the top three finalists in each of the fifteen original categories for this year’s awards. Each award category had two overall winners, a Judge’s Choice Award selection and a People’s Choice Award based on the amount of support a nominee gathered from on-line community voting. The awards were given at a ceremony at the newly opened District Winery followed by a gala celebration.

“We worked on the concept of awards program to recognize our area’s progressive food movement-whether that’s a school garden program, an innovator in food access or a unique chef and farmer partnership. Frankly, we were overwhelmed by the number of nominations. The response overall has been simply tremendous and I think the food community has really appreciated the spotlight shining on the often unsung heroes of our local food movement,” said Edible DC’s Susan Able.

EdibleDC Magazine finalist gather at District Winery on Monday, October 16th for the inaugural EdibleDC Awards. (Photo by Jai Williams, @jaithephotog)

EdibleDC Magazine finalist gather at District Winery on Monday, October 16th for the inaugural EdibleDC Awards. (Photo by Jai Williams, @jaithephotog)

“Caviar is proud to be the title sponsor for this incredible event and present the Farmer x Chef Collaboration Award. We believe in creating true mutual partnerships with restaurants, listening to one another to collectively deliver the best experience to diners. Similarly, farmers and chefs must form trusting relationships with each other, and this connection is where every delightful Caviar meal begins,” said Patrick Beard, General Manager of Caviar D.C.

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The awards ceremony was held at DC’s first winery, the recently opened District Winery in Yards Park. The venue overlooks the Anacostia River and is restaurant and event space on three floors. Over four hundred guests attended the event. Food was served from The Oval Room, Sally’s Middle Name, Coton & Rye, Whaley’s, Dino’s Grotto, Chaia, Seyou and Eat and Smile Catering. Drinks were provided by Waredaca Brewery, Green Hat Gin, Republic Restoratives, Lost Rhino Brewing. Desserts were from Trickling Springs and Rare Sweets Bakery.

Bill Young, a Senior Project Manager at HapstakDemetriou, the architecture and design firm who designed District Winery, presented the award for Best Use of Local Seasonal Ingredients.

He told the audience, "To be locally sourced, is to be sustainable. The word 'sustainable' is not just a buzz word anymore, at least not in the architecture world. It is now actually code or law. At District Winery, we had to design the space with limitations set forth by the new DC Green construction code. Everything we specified on the job had to be reviewed and approved by the DC Green Commission. We had to be sustainable. The finalists listed here didn’t have to be sustainable. They want to be sustainable. It's important we recognize and appreciate that." 

The 2017 Edible DC Awards award winners and finalists in each category are:

Best School Garden, brought to you by Larry Allen Homes

  • Potomac Crescent Waldorf School (Judges Pick)
  • Capital City Public Charter School (People’s Choice)
  • Janney Elementary (Runner Up)

Best Chef Garden 

  • Garrison Chef Rob Weland (Judges Pick)
  • Urbana Chef Ethan McKee (People’s Choice)
  • Evening Star Cafe Chef Keith Cabot (Runner Up)

Best Community Garden 

  • Capital Area Food Bank’s Urban Demonstration Garden (Both Judges Pick & People’s Choice)
  • Marion Street Garden – City Blossoms (Runner Up)
  • UDC East Capitol Community Garden (Runner Up)

Best Home Cook Garden, brought to you by American Plant

  • Vivian and Hajj Turner (Judges Pick)
  • Angie Bryan (People’s Choice)
  • Elaine Broadbent (Runner Up)

Leadership Award 

  • Sydney Daigle, Director, Prince George’s County Food Equity Council (Judges Pick)
  • Lindsay Smith, Regional Food Systems Value Chain Coordinator, Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (People’s Choice)
  • Dena Leibman, Executive Director, Future Harvest CASA (Runner Up)

Best Local Farmer

  • Up Top Acres (Judges Pick)
  • Mountain View Farm (People’s Choice)
  • P.A. Bowen Farmstead (Runner Up)

Best Local Brewery

  • Lost Rhino Brewing Company (Judges Pick)
  • Atlas Brew Works (People’s Choice)
  • Waredaca Brewing Company (Runner Up)

Best Local Distillery

  • New Columbia Distillery Garden (Both Judges Pick & People’s Choice)
  • Republic Restoratives (Runner Up)
  • KO Distilling (Runner Up)

Best Local Winery, brought to you by Potomac Construction Services

  • Early Mountain Vineyards (Both Judges Pick & People’s Choice)
  • The Vineyards at Dodon (Runner Up)
  • Black Ankle (Runner Up)

Best Food Access Program 

  • DC Greens Prescription Rx (Both Judges Pick & People’s Choice)
  • Arcadia Center for Sustainable Agriculture’s Mobile Market (Runner Up)
  • Joyful Food Markets (Runner Up)

Best Food Education Program 

  • BrainFood DC (Judges Pick)
  • FRESHFARM Foodprints (People’s Choice)
  • Arcadia’s Veteran Farmer Program (Runner Up)

Best Farmers Market, brought to you by sweetgreen

  • Takoma Park Farmers Market (Both Judges Pick & People’s Choice)
  • Columbia Heights Farmer Market (Runner Up)
  • Fairlington Farm Market (Runner Up)

Best Chef x Farmer Collaboration, brought to you by Caviar

  • Chef Tarver King x Patowmack Farm (Judges Pick)
  • Chef Rob Weland x One Acre Farm (People’s Choice)
  • Chef Kyle Bailey x Spring House Farm + Old Line Fish Co. (Runner Up)

Best Use of Surplus Food, brought to you by MOM’s Organic Market

  • Nourish Now (Judges Pick)
  • Community Food Rescue a program of Manna Food Center (People’s Choice)
  • Together We Bake (Runner Up)

Best Use of Local/Seasonal Ingredients, brought to you by HapstakDemetriou+

  • Eat & Smile Catering (Judges Pick)
  • Chaia, Farm to Taco (People’s Choice)
  • Dino’s Grotto (Runner Up)

The EdibleDC staff recognizes the distinguished judges who brought expertise in many fields from gardening, farming, food policy, food and spirits. The judges included:

  • Jay Youmans, Master of Wine & Certified Wine Educator, Educational Director and Owner of the Capital Wine School
  • Sam Fromartz, Journalist, author and co-founder/Editor-in-Chief of Food & Environment Reporting Network
  • JuJu Harris, Organic Gardner, food educator and author
  • Mary Cheh, Ward 3 Councilmember, District of Columbia
  • Kim Rush Lynch, Agriculture Marketing Specialist, Prince George's County
  • Al Goldberg, Founder and CEO, Mess Hall
  • Laine Cidlowski, Executive Director, DC Food Policy Council
  • Nycci Nellis, CEO/Publisher of The List Are You on It, Co-host, WTOP's Foodie and the Beast
  • Gina DeMatteis, Marketing Director, American Plant

Edible DC Magazine is a quarterly print and digital publication dedicated to telling the story of the food and drink culture of the DMV. Launched in 2014, Edible DC has continued to push the boundaries on what sourcing local and seasonal looks like for Washingtonians. Edible DC has won numerous industry awards including three Eddy Awards for Best Feature, our social media program and our Instagram account which has grown to 47,000+ followers with over 78,000+ photos tagged by readers with #edibledc. 

Caviar is Square’s food ordering service that offers an easy way to get delivery or pickup from the best restaurants in town. Customers can order ahead on the web, or instantly from Caviar’s free mobile app for iOS and Android. Caviar provides customers with quick, reliable delivery service no matter where they are in Washington, DC.

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Fire, Flour & Fork: All About Richmond's Premier Food Event

Virginia is for Lovers at Smoke on the Water, a Fire, Flour & Fork event along the James River.

Virginia is for Lovers at Smoke on the Water, a Fire, Flour & Fork event along the James River.

Experience one of the region's hot food scenes Nov. 2 - 5

By Susan Able, Edible DC

We sat down with event organizer, Maureen Egan to talk about the fourth year of Fire, Flour & Fork and what’s coming up for what has become the region's "can't miss" November food event in Richmond.

Edible DC: Tell our readers what Fire, Flour & Fork (FFF) is all about?

Maureen Egan: This is the 4th year of FFF. It's 37 events in 4 days, Nov. 2-5 in Richmond, shining a light on Richmond's cuisine scene and also inviting some super out-of-town guests. FFF gives our culinary stars a chance to show off and share what they've built here with a larger audience. It’s Richmond. We love producing quirky and unexpected events that show the connections between our vibrant restaurant scene and farmers and makers. But we designed FFF to be a more intimate experience than many other food festivals. We don't put thousands of people in a convention center or under a tent. Our background is in food tours, so we like that intimacy. We put together a curated mix of events that include behind-the-scenes tours, small classes in restaurants with, for instance, the pasta maker or sake expert and of course, larger scale Signature Events like Carnaval Latino and Chaat It Up that have a party atmosphere with dancing, performances, music and plenty of worthy food and drink. 

Last year's Smoke on the Water was a sold-out evening of great food, great friends and a lot of fun.

Last year's Smoke on the Water was a sold-out evening of great food, great friends and a lot of fun.

EDC: What is new and exciting at this year's event?

ME: Our theme this year is “Globally Inspired/Locally Made” so our Signature Events (and some of the smaller tours and classes in restaurants) have a global flair. Smoke on the Water is all about Global BBQ this year with Jamaican, Vietnamese, Indonesian and Korean bbq--plus a vegetarian take. Carnaval Latino will put the focus on many of the region's smaller restaurants who often aren't a part of the bigger food festivals. Plus it will connect our coffee and chocolate cultures with their Central American partners.

Our 3rd annual Dabney Dinner, honoring Richmond's own 19th-century caterer and restaurateur, John Dabney, who began his illustrious career while still enslaved, will feature the premiere by Field Studio of a documentary about his life and legacy. We're honored to hold the dinner at First African Baptist Church, which was Dabney's own congregation, and to have Michael Twitty, author of The Cooking Gene, as our special guest. Michael Hall of Spoonbread Bistro and Velma Johnson of Mama J's will put together a menu that pays tribute to Mr. Dabney.

My partner in FFF, Susan Winiecki, and I have written Richmond's Culinary History: Seeds of Change, which will be published in the nick of time--24 chapters that tell how the city has evolved over the centuries using the lens of food and its makers. Of course there's a chapter on John Dabney! We'll be doing book-signings Saturday at our Class Pass sessions.

Author, wine expert and instructor in living the good life on his blog the ModernGentleman, Richmond's Jason Tesauro will be on hand to promote panache and wine knowledge at the Quirk Hotel.

Author, wine expert and instructor in living the good life on his blog the ModernGentleman, Richmond's Jason Tesauro will be on hand to promote panache and wine knowledge at the Quirk Hotel.

EDC: You've got a great line-up of guest speakers--who are you excited to hear from?

ME: Don't tell the others, but Gabrielle Hamilton, who will lead off our Class Pass day of talks, book-signings and demos at The Valentine downtown on Saturday, Nov. 4th is killer. All ticket holders will get to hear her be interviewed by CherryBombe's Kerry Diamond before breaking off into smaller groups for the rest of the day's sessions. Zarela Martinez will be doing a demo and talking of her storied life and career during the day and headling Carnaval Latino that night. Kristen Kish will be on a star-studded panel talking about women in food with Kerry Diamond, Joy Crump and Jessica Wilson. Michael Twitty at the Dabney Dinner should be powerful. And then there's Richmond's own James Beard-nominated for Best Baker, Evin Dogu, doing a demo sharing the story of her grandmother's and her own recipes for pogaca. When she gave me some of the backstory, I honestly teared up.

You can make your cookies and eat them, too. On Sunday, 11/6 from 2:00 to 4:00, there will be a cooking class about cookies from around the world with pastry chef Sara Ayyash, the woman who creates the famous gingerbread houses at The Jefferson Hotel. Meant for parents and children together.

You can make your cookies and eat them, too. On Sunday, 11/6 from 2:00 to 4:00, there will be a cooking class about cookies from around the world with pastry chef Sara Ayyash, the woman who creates the famous gingerbread houses at The Jefferson Hotel. Meant for parents and children together.

EDC:  Some events may be sold out, can people still get tickets? 

ME: Tours, classes, dinners and lunches here and there are still available, including our kickoff luncheon at Shagbark with Walter Bundy welcoming Chris Hastings and Jeremiah Bacon which will have all sorts of extras thrown in to start things off well.

Liquid Launch on Thursday is a great way to see the flood of liquids--mead, cider, beer and coffee--in the gritty and growing Scott's Addition neighborhood. There's also a great dinner on Thursday night with Scott Crawford of Crawford & Sons returning to his Richmond roots at The Daily to cook with Michelle Williams, Trevor Knotts and Dallas Miller.

Carnaval Latino will take advantage of the multi-sensory Nuestras Historias: Latinos in Richmond exhibit at The Valentine and our tenting of beautiful Clay St. will be a big party with specialties from Colombia, Venezuela, Mexico and elsewhere with some mezcal for good luck as well as music, dancing and some surprises.

We'll end Sunday with a Bhangra at Chaat It Up, headlined by Hemant Mathur (Michelin-starred) and hosted by Sunny Baweja of Lehja who is finally getting recognition (at Sugarland, at Atlanta Food & Wine and from D.C. food writers) for his inventive Indian dishes. It will be a tour of India through food and drink and dance. So excited to have Bhangra performances from student groups from University of Richmond and Maggie L. Walker Governors School.

We added some Sunday events so you have more reasons to hang around Richmond. Putting a Shine on Holiday Cocktails will be a great time at Graffiato with Kristel Poole and Belle Isle Moonshine and Jason Alley will put on a Philly-style sandwich spread with Philly native and San Francisco Big Chef Tom Pizzica at Comfort Sunday as well. 

For tickets and more information go to FireFlourFork.com


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Maureen Egan co-founded Real Richmond Food Tours after writing Insiders’ Guide to Richmond, VA for Globe Pequot Press in 2010. She has created numerous tours throughout Richmond’s historic neighborhoods that showcase their culinary and cultural offerings to thousands of visitors and residents alike. In 2014, Maureen co-founded Fire, Flour & Fork, an annual gathering for the food curious that puts Richmond’s cuisine scene front and center for 4 days in November. She co-authored Richmond's Culinary History: Seeds of Change in 2017.

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Real Richmond Food Tours takes a group of 12-16 on food tours all around town most Saturdays. We meet chefs and owners and sample their specialties and hear the history of the area and discover what's going on now on a 1.5 mile walk, and depending on the week, Church Hill, Jackson Ward, Carytown/Museum District, Downtown, Shockoe Slip and Shockoe Bottom, The Fan and elsewhere are places we visit. For more information or to schedule a tour, go to http://realrichmondva.com/

 

 

Chef Vikram Brings his A Game to a New Cookbook and a Family Meal

 Recipes from Rasika: Flavors of India Make for A Spiced-Up Cookout

The Sunderam family gathers over a Indian-style casual meal. In the background, a 1964 Airstream named Lucy.

The Sunderam family gathers over a Indian-style casual meal. In the background, a 1964 Airstream named Lucy.

By Susan Able, Photography by Tom McCorkle, Styling by Limonata Creative

Published Oct. 10 by Ecco, 336 pages. There are two book signings this weekend. Ashok Bajaj of Knightsbridge Restaurant Group has invited people to join in the celebration of this highly anticipated cookbook. The first signing is Saturday, October 14, 2017 from 1 PM to 3 PM at RASIKA WEST END. The second book signing is Sunday, October 15, 2017 from 4 PM to 6 PM at RASIKA. RSVP to: rsvprasika@heatherfreeman.com by October 12th.

Published Oct. 10 by Ecco, 336 pages. There are two book signings this weekend. Ashok Bajaj of Knightsbridge Restaurant Group has invited people to join in the celebration of this highly anticipated cookbook.

The first signing is Saturday, October 14, 2017 from 1 PM to 3 PM at RASIKA WEST END. The second book signing is Sunday, October 15, 2017 from 4 PM to 6 PM at RASIKA. RSVP to: rsvprasika@heatherfreeman.com by October 12th.

Chef Vikram Sunderam is a busy guy. Not only does this executive chef oversee the kitchens at Rasika and Rasika West End, (arguably two of the best Indian restaurants in the U.S.), but he also worked with owner Ashok Bajaj to develop the concept of the Knightsbridge group’s new gem and runaway success, Bindaas.

Menu items for Bindaas’ Cleveland Park diners are Indian street foods, authentic food truck cuisine that is served to the lunchtime throngs in Sunderam’s native city of Mumbai. Bindaas, which means “cool” in Hindi, offers a flavor-packed lineup of small plates served in a casual, buzzy setting. Just like in Mumbai, it’s food meant for the moment or to take with you, and the minute it’s finished you’ll start craving it all over again.

A new Bindaas is slated to open in Foggy Bottom this fall, so there’s no rest in the foreseeable future for Sunderam. But he’s thrilled to see the Bindaas concept take hold and that the cookbook he co-authored with Bajaj and food writer and chef David Hagedorn, Rasika: Flavors of India, will be released in October. Over two years in the making, the book has 120 recipes and beautiful photos that capture the colorful cuisine. “It was a very unique and novel experience,” he tells me. “The foundation for it is based on Ashok’s years of being a restaurateur. His anecdotes are engaging and really tell a great story. I think people are going to find it very special.”

Chef Vikram Sunderam relaxes in front of a vintage Airstream at a family cookout.

Chef Vikram Sunderam relaxes in front of a vintage Airstream at a family cookout.

Sunderam takes time for himself with morning exercise and a daily reading or mediation before the dinner service. He lives in McLean, and cherishes his time with his family. Sunderam’s wife, Anjali, is an artist; his son, Viraj will start Georgetown this fall; daughter, Nidhi, graduated from Virginia Tech this year and has recently started her career in Chicago. So the summer included two sets of grandparents who made the long journey from India to see their grandchildren graduate from high school and college, and a road trip to help settle Nidhi in Chicago.

When they can, the Sunderams love to gather, and connecting over meals is one way to share time during the busy weeks. Anjali is usually in charge of the meals, and Sunderam explains that while the family eats and enjoys all cuisines—Italian, Chinese, Mexican—Indian food is chosen for family celebrations.

Anjali Sunderam handpaints glassware seen in this photo. @sovereigntreasures on Facebook for more information.

Anjali Sunderam handpaints glassware seen in this photo. @sovereigntreasures on Facebook for more information.

Sunderam was happy to share some of these family-favorite recipes that capture the flavors of Bindaas, Rasika and his native home, pulled from the new cookbook. I asked if home cooks ever get overwhelmed when trying to make Indian food at home, with the many and varied ingredients, spice mixtures and multiple steps somewhat unfamiliar to the average person here.

Sunderam flashed his easy smile and said, “First of all, that is what we did with this cookbook—we tried to simplify the language and methods so its easier to try the recipes. And hey, I believe in the possible. I think people will love taking this on as a project. ‘Come over tonight, I made food from Rasika.’ Don’t you think that sounds like fun?”

I do.

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Chicken Kathi Roll

This a personal favorite of the Edible DC team. It is a spicy, addictive addition to a casual dinner, cookout or picnic. These rolls taste great hot or cold, and their egg-battered tortilla wrap is sturdy enough to pack, doesn’t become mushy and, trust me, tastes just as good the next day (yes, and it was breakfast). Worth the effort? Totally. - From Rasika: Flavors of India.

Makes 6 rolls

Filling:

¼ cup canola oil

½ teaspoon cumin seeds     

2 cups finely chopped red onion

¼ cup ginger garlic paste

2 cups finely chopped tomato

½ teaspoon ground turmeric

½ teaspoon deggi mirch    

2 teaspoons ground coriander

1 pound boneless chicken meat, all fat removed, diced into ¼-inch cubes

1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh Thai green chili

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon garam masala

1 teaspoon chaat masala     

1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro leaves

For the rolls:

6 (8-inch) whole-wheat flour tortillas

6 large eggs, beaten

¼ teaspoon salt

1½ tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

Canola oil, for brushing

In a heavy-bottomed casserole over high heat, heat ¼ cup oil until it shimmers. Add the cumin seeds and let them crackle. Add the red onions and sauté, stirring occasionally, until the onions are soft but not brown, about 5 minutes. Stir in the ginger garlic paste. Reduce the heat to medium and cook, stirring, until the odor of raw garlic dissipates, about 3 minutes.

Add the tomatoes and return the heat to high. Stir in the turmeric and cook until the water has evaporated from the tomatoes and the mixture looks mushy, about 5 minutes. Add the deggi mirch and coriander and cook for 2 minutes. Stir in the chicken and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Reduce the heat to medium, cover the pot and cook until the chicken is tender and cooked through, 10 to 12 minutes. Add the Thai chili, 1 teaspoon salt, garam masala, chaat masala, lemon juice, and 2 tablespoons cilantro. Set aside.

To start the rolls, beat together the eggs, ¼ teaspoon salt and 1½ tablespoons cilantro in a medium bowl. Keep by the side of the stove.

Preheat oven to 180°F.

Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until very hot. Working 1 at a time, warm 1 tortilla on each side for about 30 seconds. Brush each side with oil and brown on each side for 30 seconds. Spread 2 tablespoons of egg mixture on the entire surface of the tortilla. Flip it over (some egg will come off) and spread 2 tablespoons of egg on the other side. Flip it over and let the egg cook for several seconds. Hold on an ovenproof plate in the oven while you repeat with the other 5 tortillas or chapatis.

To assemble the rolls, warm the filling and keep it warm over very low heat. Take a tortilla from the oven and place it on a cutting board. Spread ½ cup of the chicken filling on the bottom half. Starting with the edge closest to you, roll the tortilla into a log. Halve it diagonally and transfer to the oven while you roll the other. (Doing 2 or 3 at a time gets the job done faster.) Serve warm with Mint Cilantro Chutney. You can also substitute the chicken with lamb meat from the leg.

Mint Cilantro Chutney

This is an easy winner not only for your Chicken Kathi Rolls but for all sorts of things coming off the grill—chicken, salmon, lamb, burgers. Very easy for a big reward.

1¼ cups roughly chopped fresh cilantro, including stems and leaves

½ cup packed mint leaves

¼ cup water

3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1 tablespoon ginger garlic paste

2 teaspoons coarsely chopped fresh Thai chiles

½ teaspoon cumin seeds

½ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon sugar

Put all ingredients in a mini blender, NutriBullet or food processor and blend until smooth. If you are using a full-size blender, double the recipe so the blades can reach all the ingredients. Refrigerate in an airtight container for 3 days; you can freeze the extra for use within the next month. Note that for a creamier chutney, you can add 3 tablespoons of whole fat yogurt, but it can’t be frozen.

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Pao Bhaji

Madly popular in Mumbai, Pao Bhaji is what Chef Sunderamhas called our version of a “vegetarian Sloppy Joe.” It’s on the weekend menu at Bindaas, and served aboard an Indian yeast roll, the Ladi Pao (the next recipe).

Serves 4

1 cup coarsely chopped carrots

1 cup cauliflower florets

¼ teaspoon ground turmeric

1 teaspoon salt

4 Ladi Pao (see headnote)

Masala

3 tablespoons canola oil

½ teaspoon cumin seeds

2 cups finely chopped yellow onion

2 cups finely chopped tomato

¼ teaspoon ground turmeric

4 tablespoons pav bhaji masala, such as MDH brand

2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh ginger

1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh Thai green chili

¼ medium green bell pepper, finely chopped

¼ medium red bell pepper, finely chopped

½ cup English peas (fresh or frozen)

2 medium Idaho potatoes, boiled, peeled, cooled and coarsely grated

5 tablespoons unsalted butter

3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

2 teaspoons salt

1 cup water

2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

Bring a medium saucepan of water to a boil over high heat. Add the carrots, cauliflower, ¼ teaspoon turmeric and 1 teaspoon salt. Cook for 3 minutes. Drain the vegetables and let them cool. Chop them finely by pulsing them in a food processor. 

Make the masala. In a large saucepan over medium-high heat, heat the canola oil until it shimmers. Add the cumin seeds and let them crackle. Add the onions and cook, stirring often, for 4 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium. Cook the onions for another 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned and soft.

Stir in the tomatoes. Return the heat to high and cook for 5 minutes, stirring, until the tomatoes have turned into a mashed consistency and most of the water has evaporated.

Reduce the heat to medium and add the ¼ teaspoon turmeric, pav bhaji masala, chopped ginger, Thai green chili, red and green peppers, peas, potatoes and chopped cauliflower and carrots. Stir to combine well. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add the butter, lemon juice, 2 teaspoons salt and 1 cup water and cook for 5 minutes. Add the cilantro.

Serve hot in bowls with Ladi Pao and Kachumber on the side.

Ladi Pao

Ladi means “sheet” in Hindi and Pao means “bread.” Indian bakeries churn out dozens of sheets of these soft, fluffy yeast rolls daily, many destined for food trucks or restaurants to be served with Pao Bhaji. Some food historians believe the Portuguese introduced these soft buns to India, but wherever their origin, they are very popular for casual Indian dining.

Makes 20 rolls

4½ teaspoons (2 packets) rapid-rise yeast

3 tablespoons sugar 

1¼ cups warm (110°F) water

4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting 

⅓ cup instant milk powder, such as Carnation brand

2 teaspoons salt

2 tablespoons softened unsalted butter, plus 1 tablespoon melted unsalted butter 

1 large egg, plus 1 large beaten egg, for egg washing

Cooking spray

1 tablespoon milk

Put the yeast, 1 tablespoon sugar and ½ cup warm water in a medium bowl. Give it a stir and let it activate for 10 minutes, until it foams vigorously. 

Then, put the flour, milk powder, salt and remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer outfitted with dough hook attachment. Run on low speed for 30 seconds to mix the dry ingredients. Turn the machine off.

Add the activated yeast mixture, 1 egg, softened butter and remaining ¾ cup water to the dry ingredients. Run the machine on medium-low until the dough comes together around the hook. Remove the hook, scraping any dough off of it and adding it to the bowl. Cover with film wrap and let it rise until doubled in size, about 30 minutes. 

Grease a 9- by 13-inch baking pan with cooking spray. Dust the counter with flour. Dust your hand generously with flour to turn the dough out onto the counter. (It will be a little bit sticky.) With floured hands, knead it a few times until it is only a bit tacky.

Weigh the dough and divide the weight by 20. Then weigh out portions of that weight (about 2 ounces) and roll them into balls using the palms of your hands. Fit dough balls into the baking dish in 4 rows of 5. They will be touching each other. Cover loosely with film wrap and let the rolls double in size, about 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350°F while the rolls are rising. 

In a small bowl, beat the remaining egg with the milk. With a pastry brush, brush the tops of the rolls with the egg wash. Bake for 25 minutes, until golden, turning the pan around halfway through so they brown evenly. Remove the rolls from the oven and brush with 1 tablespoon melted butter and let them rest for 10 minutes before serving. Serve in a breadbasket lined with napkins, folding their edges over the rolls to keep them warm. 

Mango lassi is a must have with spicy food. To make a serving for eight, blend 64 ounces of full-fat, plain yogurt, 2 cups of mango pulp, 1/2 teaspoon green cardamom powder, honey or sugar to taste and a couple of ice cubes. Voila!

Mango lassi is a must have with spicy food. To make a serving for eight, blend 64 ounces of full-fat, plain yogurt, 2 cups of mango pulp, 1/2 teaspoon green cardamom powder, honey or sugar to taste and a couple of ice cubes. Voila!