Posts Tagged ‘culinary events’
I’ve never been a huge fan of Valentine’s Day, but like Halloween, it’s a celebration/festivity that has taken on a life of it’s own. And 2012 is no exception, there are just a plethora of Valentine’s tastings for both the chocolate and non-chocolate lover – I’m not even sure if the latter exists! Some quick thoughts on Valentine’s and tastings: if you’re a restaurant or event provider who wishes to really draw people in this time of year, any theme with chocolate, sparkling wine (especially Champagne) or some over-the-top rich dish like braised meats seems to bring people in in droves – oh, and also any food/concept connected with Amore, for example oysters and fondue (both chocolate and cheese work). It’s also OK to add terms like “seduction”, “decadent”, “aphrodisiac” and even “libido” to your menu descriptions which breaks away from the everyday norm of exclusion of these concepts – Valentine’s gives you as the marketer the right to explore the racier side of life..and people will accept and forgive you for about a week! Of course, certain cultures are also associated with lasciviousness so French and Italian restaurants and themes have a distinct advantage. If you have a strong combination of all of these themes and concepts, you can also expect a marriage proposal or two to occur – and hopefully, not with your staff!
Oh, and to make all this information just a touch more confusing..Valentine’s Day is officially Tuesday, February 14th, but many events list their date on Saturday or Sunday as “official” Valentine’s Day events – it’s a celebration of love and romance, does it really matter what the official date is? I think not..
I will list the major tastings by date (Note: if you’re just looking for a listing of restaurants that have multi-course dinners especially for Valentine’s, here’s a pretty good list by Washingtonian):
Thursday, February 9th,
Sommelier Showdown (as part of the DC International Food and Wine Festival), 7:00pm-9:00pm
Ronald Reagan Building, 1300 Pennsylvania Avenue Northwest Washington, DC 20004
Tickets are $150/per person and can be Purchased Online
See top DC Sommeliers flex their knowledge at the Washington DC International Wine & Food Festival’s inaugural Sommelier Showdown. Our experts will engage in a friendly tête-à-tête and compete in a race of the taste, using deductive tasting to identify wines with hidden labels.
To complement the wines presented, the Showdown will feature five of DCs most noted chefs who will be tasked with bringing food and wine together, including Chefs Todd Gray (Equinox), Xavier Deshayes (Ronald Reagan Building), and Jaime Montes de Oca (Zentan).
SOLD OUT-Savory Syrah – A Global Tour
Chain Bridge Cellars, 1351 Chain Bridge Rd. McLean, VA 22101 Wine experts all agree that Syrah is one of the “noble” varietals, capable of making some of the most complex, layered and age-worthy wines in the world. But the kinship between a $10 Aussie Shiraz and a $70 Hermitage is pretty hard to fathom! So take a worldwide tour of everything Syrah/Shiraz can be and see if you can find some common themes. We’ll taste bargains from Australia and the South of France; classic American, South African and Rhone wines; and a couple of “big guns” from the Barosa and Cote Rotie. This class includes seven wines, Syrah-friendly snacks, and take-home descriptions of each wine and region covered. To reserve a space, email [email protected] or call 703.356.6500
How to Blind Taste Wine
February 9th (Thursday) Session 1: 6 – 7:30 pm; and Session 2: 8 – 9:30 pm
Adour in The St. Regis, 923 16th and K Streets, N.W., Washington, DC 20006
Wine Director Brent Kroll will conduct a sensory analysis on how to quantify wine flavors and origin.
Tickets are $60/per person.
Call (202) 509-8000 to Make Reservations
I hate picky eaters – not with a passion, but totally through self-interest: if you don’t try new things to eat and drink, you won’t be attending any of my wine or culinary events. Why? Because I always add adventurous foods and stories to TasteDC’s Events(blatant plug!) whenever possible. I’ve included in this Post below the complete menu from my 2006 “Unique and Unusual Food and Wine Festival”, check out the menu and click on link for photos.
As an anecdote, last night I taught the Wine Basics 101 class at TasteDC. I told everyone as I often do, that food is way more important than wine – you have to eat, wine is really just an added spice or nuance to the meal, no more. So I told everyone that food would be a primary focus of my introductory wine class – food and wine pairing, talking about food, cooking food, and experiencing food. I always say that if you understand how to cook and balance the flavors of a dish, then wine will come easy to you. I consider wine a missing component in a dish..well, let me digress.. So it was a small class of about 15 people and I noticed alot of ethnic/international diversity – a woman from India, one from Brazil, one from Togo (I think?) in Africa, and then a smattering of Americans from different parts of the country. DC is ethnically diverse. After talking about food and wine for awhile, I began to ask people for their favorite dishes and foods. The Indian woman mentioned she loved butter – which makes sense, because Indian food often incorporates ghee (clarified butter). To a Brazilian woman sitting next to her American boyfriend, I mentioned Feijoada and her eyes lit up – and all across the room most Americans acted disgusted when I mentioned that Feijoada is essentially the leftover parts of a pig stewed with beans – their equivalent to our chili. So I asked her if her boyfriend liked Feijoada..and then the long pause..that uncomfortable pause when a person begins to look for the right thing to say, for that special person to react in a certain way, and for the universe to somehow come to balance..no, her boyfriend didn’t like Feijoada, or for that matter anything she considered delicious, he was an..peanut butter and jelly sandwich addict! I don’t think I need to fill in the details..another woman at the event LOVED to eat food, oh she just adored food, she really enjoyed it..as long as it was white meat chicken “simply” prepared – no sauce, no seasoning, but grilling it was OK..oh, and she also enjoyed salmon..that’s it! Ohh, she had “tried” other foods (she said this in such a way like a young child looking for praise from her mother!) – gold star stuck to the forehead – but she would never consume these foods – too risky, I mean they would taste outside her comfort realm of chicken and salmon, simply prepared..I should have named this article “Peanut Butter and Jelly and a Little Chicken”..
No comment or explanation from me about the American palate – there’s plenty of discussion of that in my book I Drink on the Job – the only adjective that comes to mind is “limited (extremely)”..I’ll post more on this topic soon!
The complete Menu for TasteDC’s “Unique and Unusual Food and Wine Festival” below (Thumbnail Photos – Click to Enlarge – Here – Feel free to Post These Anywere, Permission Granted!
TasteDC’s 1st Annual “Unique and Unusual Food and Wine Festival”
Wednesday, October 25th, 2006
List of Chefs and Dishes:
Chef de Cuisine, James Phillips – Juniper Restaurant, Fairmont Hotel
1. Rattlesnake Gumbo with Sassafras Scented Rice
2. Pink Peppercorn and Wattleseed Crusted Ostrich Leg Roast with Diablo Hollandaise
Lebanese Taverna and 100 King Street
1. Veal Kidney with a Dijon Mustard Sauce – 100 King Restaurant
2. Hindbeh Bil Zayt (sautéed Dandelion Leaves in olive oil with garlic,
parsley, and caramelized onions) – Lebanese Taverna
Executive Chef Dan Wecker, The Elkridge Furnace Inn
1. Nut Crusted Sweetbreads with Pomegranate Syrup
2. Buckwheat Blini with American Caviar and Crème Fraiche
Executive Chef Daniel Labonne, Tabaq Bistro
1. Jerk Frog Legs with Jamaican Spices
2. Caribbean Tripe Stew with Grilled Bananas
Executive Chef Daniel Kenney, and Executive Sous Chef Neal Bailey, Willard Hotel
1. Barolo Braised Veal Cheek with Shropshire” Orange” Blue
2. “Bacon and Eggs”: House Cured Berkshire Pork Belly with Fried Quails Egg
Executive Chef, Russell Cunningham, Dupont Grille, Jury Hotel
1. Calf Fries
2. Smoked Duck and Fried Squash Blossom Salad with Port Reduction and Pumpkinseed Oil
Executive Chef Charlie Hansji, The Jefferson Hotel
1. Beef Bone Marrow and Liver Parfait
2. Lamb Brains in the Style of Peking
Executive Chef Jamie Stachowski, Restaurant Kolumbia
1. Terrine de Tête de Veau
2. Boudin Rouge, Black Mission Fig and Goat Cheese Strudel
Executive Chef, Stefan Jarausch, The Madison, a Loews Hotel
1. Stuffed Squash Blossoms, Braised Pigs Feet, Xerez Gastrique
2. Crostini of Beef Tongue, Basque Style
Executive Chef Bryan of Chef Bryan’s Kitchen
1. Llama Slider with Bleu Cheese and Rosemary Red Onion Jam
2. Grilled Cayman Tail (crocodile) with Smoked Tomato and Basil Butter
Executive Chef, Brian Boots, Elegance Ala Carte
1. Alligator Étouffée
2. Caramelized Fennel, Yucca and Jicama Puree served over Fried Sweet Potato Chips
Executive Chef Daniel Amaya, Dino’s
1. Polipo: Olive Oil Braised Octopus with Cici (garbanzos) and Lemony Vinaigrette
2. Crostata di Formaggi. Erborinato di Pecora Cheese Tartlet: cave aged raw sheep’s
milk cheese with natural bluing. Robiola La Rossa Cheese Tartlet: Cow and sheep
mixed milk cheese wrapped in cherry leaves that are macerated in grappa
As always, from Charlie “I Drink on the Job” Adler