Author Archive

Hungry Lobbyist

A beer snob with a reporting problem gives us the scoop on the best bars to be seen, not seen, and her yeas and nays on entertaining. If you’ve been in DC for more than an hour, you probably know Nikki Schwab, or at least of her. You definitely have seen her work all those times you were stuck on the Red Line, and you’ve certainly seen her out and about at all of the District’s hottest parties and events, either covering them for a story, hiding in the bushes stalking celebrities, or imbibing beverages because it’s DC and that’s what we do.

A Profile of One Chef & Three Owners Doing Everything Right at Beuchert’s How they’re locally sourcing, scratch making everything, preserving DC’s history, and proving Tom Sietsema was completely wrong. Welcoming, warm, and comfortable; old made new again; timeless in a place surrounded by the constant movement of people carrying ideas to shape and mold the world. The place is Beuchert’s Saloon, the wood is worn and bares the imprints of footsteps from the family whom called this place home in the 1800s. Rich with history; the colors deep, dark, telling stories – if you know to ask – of a DC gone, but never forgotten. The atmosphere is fantastically original, yet reminds you of your favorite bar in Alphabet City, the ski lodge where you had the best cider of your life in Jackson Hole, that old saloon in Austin that made the best burger you’ve ever had, or a memory of family and friends – Beuchert’s is truly a bar that everyone can, and should, call home.

Feasting Famously with Eric Wohlschlegel DC real estate mogul and founder of talks real estate, food, and trends Ah, home ownership in The District, the dream of everyone who seeks to establish their home base in Francis Underwood’s playground. From the 22 year old skinny jean wearing 10th Street hipster, to the 28 year old Congressional Legislative Director, we all want to solidify our DC cred by paying way too much money for way too little square footage.

Feasting Famously with Beth Kanter Author of Washington DC Chef’s Table Cookbook dishes about the book and more Beth Kanter is a DC-based author who knows her way around the restaurant scene – from K Street to Bethesda, cookbooks to Michelin guide books; Beth knows the area’s culinary scene very well. Which is why I was surprised at how quickly she responded when I asked about doing this interview.

TO: Mr. Conan O’Brien FROM: DC Residents Whom Are Proud of Their Landmark Establishments Dear Mr. O’Brien, On behalf of all District dwellers, we hope you enjoyed your time here in our Nation’s Capital. We truly love our city and we hope you were able to drink it all in while you were here – it always goes down smooth. We also want to congratulate you on your almost perfect performance at the annual White House Correspondence Dinner. You were very funny. That is, until you started to make fun of the Hilton Hotel, the service, and the quality of the hotel thereby insulting a notable DC landmark as the staff and other employees stood in the back and listened. Not cool bro, we need to have a chat about that.

The Italian-born Chef at Al Tiramisu chats about his passion for fresh ingredients & love of cooking You’ve walked past it a million times, or at least something like it. A busy row of restaurants, a grocery store, a sandwich shop, a liquor store, an awning with a jester on it, a pizza place; a seemingly endless row of options and choices. Yet this particular awning with a jester on it nestled on P Street NW right off Dupont Circle, is home to an eccentric bald Italian with a red scarf around his neck and bow tie pasta fabric shaped buttons on his Chef’s coat, who is doing incredibly simple yet amazing things with impeccably fresh product. His name is Luigi, and his restaurant is Al Tiramisu.

The man behind the modern, country fare inspired Cedar talks about his passion for food Upon walking through the street level door to Cedar located off a busy downtown intersection, you are met with stairs that lead you to the basement-style restaurant. As you descend, the street noise dissipates with every step you take leading you closer to the modern bar and dining area house in a speakeasy-like setting. Calmness and serenity take over as you sit comfortably and quietly in the warm, inviting atmosphere. The drink is cold and strong, which is perfect as your day was long and tiring. The smell of house made wild boar sausage being seared in a skillet makes your mouth water. You’re hungry, and cozy, and Chef Aaron McCloud is doing tasty things with farm fresh food in the kitchen, and you want it all.

The Culinary Helm & Heart behind Capitol Hill Staple Ted’s BULLETIN  Ted’s BULLETIN: never heard of it, go now. Worried they won’t have something you like? Stop it, just go now. You don’t like leaving downtown for the Hill for lunch? Shut up already, will you please just go now! It’s not just the 1950s diner/malt-shop inspired motif that makes you feel comfortable. In fact, more often than not this border line “cliché” feeling can turn off some diners. But not here, not at Ted’s BULLETIN, and not with Chef Eric Brannon manning the helm. Overseeing the culinary aspect of Ted’s since its opening, Chef Eric believes in quality product – as evidenced by the housemade pop-tarts, pastries, burgers, and malts they are known for – but also quality service. Treating the lobbyist in a suit ordering a grilled rib-eye the exact same as the Eastern Market-dwelling mom and her two kids (stroller in tote and all) ordering milkshakes and sugar-coma inducing homemade pop-tarts, Chef Eric believes everyone should feel comfortable here. Ted’s BULLETIN is proof that one can pull off a theme-inspired restaurant if there is heart behind the meatloaf and black and white movies broadcast in the back room. Thankfully Chef Eric was able to make time in his schedule to pull up a chair and chat about why he loves Ted’s, what his food philosophy is, and an exclusive, sneak peak at what’s next in store for the popular matchboxfoodgroup.

Feasting Famously with Necessary & Proper Fashion-Forward Founders Lauren & Van Dish about Cooking, Hosting, and Entertaining As I’m walking to PJ Clarke’s Sidecar to meet the founders of the popular DC-based fashion blog Necessary & Proper, Lauren and Van, I find myself oddly nervous. Am I dressed appropriately (that’s silly, of course), will they be nice, down-to-earth, absurdly well dressed, and easy to talk to? The answer to all of the above, as I soon found out, is a resounding “yes.” Launched in January 2012 as a site to showcase their personal fashion sense, trending styles, local brands and entertaining concepts, Necessary & Proper soon became a top blog for social-style in the District. Not taking themselves too seriously, Lauren & Van show the masses how to combine patterns, colors, and textured fabrics into cohesive outfits. Haven’t we all struggled with what is the proper attire when walking through the park in the snow? Or what to wear when playing in a pile of leaves? Is my Smith Point outfit acceptable to wear again to Martin’s Tavern brunch (the answer is no)? These are some of the fun and admitting outlandish, photo-shoots (sans the last one) that Lauren and Van use to showcase their fashionable combinations.

Feasting Famously with Emily Hines Private Affairs Director of DC’s New Members Only Hot-Spot, Sidecar As non-pretentious and seemingly unassuming as they come, Emily Hines looks like the out-of-your-league girl next door on first meeting. However, a few short sentences into a conversation and you not only realize how nice and charming she actually is; but that she is very knowledgeable about her craft and really doesn’t have time for your B.S.

Top Chef Season 10 contestant and owner/Chef of DC’s own Belga Café lunches with us for his thoughts on the DC food scene, where he thinks it’s trending, and wonders if DC is ready for Michelin stars. Walking down the restaurant and bar lined Barrack’s Row neighborhood of Capitol Hill, I see many familiar haunts that serve cold beer, and I am sure, decent food. Yet I am comforted with each step I take as it brings me closer to Belga Café. Opened in 2004 by Chef Bart, this place has been consistently cranking out some seriously delicious Belgian-inspired food, providing amazing mussels, and some of the all-around best dishes (and beers) to be found in The District. However, it’s not Chef Bart’s entertaining and hilariously hard-to-understand-sometimes performance on Top Chef Season 10 that brings me here…ok, well, it sort of is. I mean, come on, who wouldn’t want to have lunch with this guy. He’s always happy, he had a crazy ass partner Josie in the last challenge that resulted in his elimination (tear), oh yeah, and there’s mussel’s on the half-shell with garlic butter and an ice cold Kasteel Rouge waiting for me on the inside. Onward we march in the name of food journalism!

Feasting Famously with Allie Hagan The Suri’s Burn Book author dishes on eating/drinking in The District and what “Suri” would think of the DC food scene.  Blogging takes time. Blogging well takes talent and time. Blogging as the personality of a celebrity child commenting (judging) other celebrities, their children, and their choice in attire – and turning said blog into a book – takes time, talent, and an entire set of skills that many of us are completely void of. However, Allie Hagan, George Washington University alumna and seven-year Washington, DC resident mastered this art with the launch, and extreme success, of her blog Suri’s Burn Book, and subsequent printed book bearing the namesake. Suri’s Burn Book is, as stated on the website, “A study in Suri and the people who disappoint her.” Suri, in this case being Suri Cruise, the daughter of Katie Holmes and Tom Cruise. On the blog, Allie (writing as the fashion-forward, ever-judging “Suri”) despises her mother’s sense of fashion, loathes the children of Will and Jada Smith, and desperately wishes to save Penelope Kardashian-Disick from whatever doomed fate she is certain to fall prey to. But what of Allie Hagan the person? I chat with her about the Washington, DC food scene, get the scoop on some of her favorite restaurants, and sneak a few comments from “Suri,” in this FamousDC exclusive.

Feasting Famously: Suzie Robb Half the brains, all the boobs behind, and totally crushin’ on Mike Isabella. Launched in April 2012 by Suzie Robb, Eric Wang and one other anonymous writer as a dating (boobs), eating (bacon) and drinking (bourbon) website, has quickly spread throughout the DC area like a Spike Mendelsohn restaurant. Suzie says she bought the domain name initially because it was catchy and available. “I started it because I had a bottle of wine to myself and I decided to write about my feelings,” she jokingly adds as we sit down at District Commons in Foggy Bottom. She bought the domain in February, discussed the idea with the two other partners of the site, and tada, triple-B was born shortly thereafter. “The name is what makes people go to the site,” she says, “and hopefully the content is why they stay.”

Feasting Famously: Jennifer Farley Not so simple recipe developer & photographer behind Savory Simple. There’s no denying that we live in an age of an almost toddler like longing for information, visual and mental stimuli, the likes of which a 1980 public library could not satisfy. Between the various social media sites that spring up like weeds in a garden – once you master In this over-stimulated, ADD information-driven world, there is one medium that has been trending for quite some time with no sign of fading: food blogging. However, as with all great trends, the market tends to become oversaturated quickly. When this happens, the good rises to the top, and the bad falls by the site, another one is taunting you as being behind the trend – the jumping continues as your brain tries to filter between information it needs, information it wants, and things are just pure stimulative. Jennifer Farley, and her blog Savory Simple, exemplify the good side of food porn. Not only do her pictures make me want to lick my computer screen, but thanks in large part to her formal culinary training (L’Academie de Cuisine, 2010), she produces original recipes along with the photos; win-win.

Feasting Famously with Chef Geoff Tracy Geoff Tracy, aka Chef Geoff, is the man behind the wildly popular Chef Geoff’s DC restaurants, of which there are four, and his one non-name sake, Lia’s. The restaurants are known for their inviting, non-pretentious atmosphere; the cuisine freshly American; and the happy hours bring college students and K Street lobbyists alike together over affordable “supermugs,” burgers, and pizzas. However that is “Chef Geoff” the restaurants, but what of Chef Geoff the owner?