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Friday, November 30, 2012

We Made It From the Market: Liquid Autumn Soup

Originally posted at Borderstan.

Autumn and I have a love-hate relationship. On the one hand, it's the season of my birthday, and more importantly, delicious root vegetables. On the other hand, it's also getting freaking cold outside. Lucky for us, there are plenty of ways we can mitigate the latter by utilizing the former. In the form of awesome, warm-you-to-your-core soups.

One of my favorite soups to keep away the cold comes courtesy of the brilliant Patrick O'Connell at the Inn at Little Washington, and the first time I ever tasted it, I immediately tracked down the recipe. It's a little bit sweet, a lot soulful, and definitely will be one of the best soups you'll ever have.

Liquid Autumn Soup (makes 2 quarts, or 6-8 servings)

1 stick butter
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup peeled, cored, and chopped Granny Smith apple
1 cup peeled and chopped rutabaga
1 cup peeled, seeded, and chopped butternut squash
1 cup peeled and chopped carrots
1 cup peeled and chopped sweet potato
1 quart chicken stock
2 cups heavy cream
1/4 cup maple syrup
Salt and cayenne pepper to taste

Melt the butter in a saucepan/pot, add the fruits/vegetables to cook. Stir occasionally until onions are translucent. Add chicken stock and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook for 20-25 minutes until tender. Transfer mixture to a blender or food processor and puree. Strain through a fine mesh sieve and return to saucepan/pot. Add cream, maple syrup, salt, and cayenne, and bring to simmer again. Serve and be warm!

Taste Test: 5 Forks

Thursday, November 29, 2012

First Look: Hanoi House

Plaudits: None
Neighborhood: 14th Street/U Street

The Setup


Wait. You're telling me that a Vietnamese restaurant is opening up? And that it's two blocks from where I live? Right in the middle of the 14th Street/U Street restaurant revolution? And that it won't just be someone's Americanized interpretation of banh mi and pho, but rather food from someone whose grandmother is Vietnamese? And they'll serve banh xeo?

Book me. Two seats. Opening night.

The Vibe

The travails of the now-old-Blackbyrd space are well-known at this point. First its second floor was confiscated by next-door big brother Marvin. Then the prolific Hilton brothers, the restaurateurs who I've joked before have seemingly opened every new restaurant on U Street, decided to start fresh with the real estate, transforming it into what can only be described as a high-speed collision between a nightclub and a Vietnamese-American living room.

What do we mean by that? Well, gone are the upscale post-industrial warehouse touches of Blackbyrd (the gaslights, the cages on the booths, the unfinished feel) replaced by something slicker and smoother and definitely more black and red. While the seating arrangements remain the same, the booths have been given a fresh coat of black lacquering, and new upholstery, and the walls have been covered in sharp and bright tints: Venetian red with the yellow star above the booths (albeit a decorative touch that may unnerve some of your Viet friends and family), and blue with red and yellow flowers on the back wall. A few Asian accents are included here and there (metal boxes of looseleaf tea, the tall standing screen blocking the old stairs, those ubiquitous paintings of Vietnamese women), but the rest is dedicated to what may be described as French Louis XIV decor (the baroque red drapes, the stylized mirrors atop the bar). Still, the overwhelming feeling is that of a lounge, from the consistent thumping of a Hilton-approved playlist overhead to the dimness; with the new black paint job, the interior is even darker than Blackbyrd used to be.

The Food


I had half a mind walking in to order the entire menu, but as Official Co-Writer/Girlfriend of DCWD Texas reminded me, that was neither prudent nor possible; for one, we arrived later in the evening on this opening Tuesday night so things had already run out, and the banh xeo I so desperately was craving was not on the night's offerings. No matter.

Still, what pleased me greatly about this Hilton-Vietnamese collaboration was that it played fairly straightforward with Vietnamese cuisine. I can appreciate a chef's desire to modernize or update a dish (like say the now erstwhile Ba Bay kitchen), but sometimes I also just want the closest facsimile to my mom's cooking that geography can provide. From the opening night menu and from preview menus online, it seems like Chef James Claudio is sticking to traditional dishes, from spring rolls and summer rolls, to the vermicelli and pho bowls that populate most every menu in Eden Center. For this Vietnamese guy, there's also something psychologically pleasing about having the Vietnamese (cha gio, goi cuon, bun thit nuong) be the bold-faced name of a dish, rather than a parenthetical. Kudos for that. What's even more comforting is the lack of U Street inflation; prices remain fairly similar to what you can get at other Vietnamese restaurants around the area.

We started out with a few drinks, her a Too Beaucoup (raspberry, vanilla, tea, honey, lemon, gin and bubbles), me a New Dynasty (red plum, lime, Thai basil, star anise vodka). Both were nice, with hers a nice punch of fruit, and mine being very basil-forward. In retrospect, the Arvin Rifle (coffee, chicory, milk brandy), a play on ca phe sua, probably would have been the best bet.

Given that banh xeo was out of the question, Texas and I decided to order a representative five dishes off the menu: goi cuon (summer roll), goi du du (papaya salad), bun tom nuong (vermicelli with shrimp), pho bo (beef Tonkinese soup), and chuoi chien (fried bananas). For me, these also represented dishes I felt fairly strongly about; my mom's goi du du is one of my favorite childhood dishes, pho still is and will always be my comfort food of choice, and I almost always order chuoi chien if it's on a menu. So expectations were high. I'll also caveat all of the following by stating for an additional time that this was opening night, and so there are bound to be a few missteps here and there.

Because of how straightforward Vietnamese the dishes were, it's almost hard to describe any of them in great length; their orthodoxy in this case was their success for me. To wit, the appetizer round was a solid start because they melded well with what one might expect at Eden: Texas's goi cuon were good, the rice paper wrappers done perfectly, the filling remaining light, and the shrimp cooked wonderfully. My goi du du was also nice, representing a very faithful reproduction of the same salad of my youth, right down to their selection of the right beef jerky (a little spicy and a little dry). My one complaint about the salad was the omission of nuoc mam (fish sauce), or any dressing to bind the whole thing together. Without it, the salad remains a more one-note affair; to the kitchen's credit, when I asked our server for a cup, they instantly provided one, and it succeeded in making it great.

For our entrees, Texas's bun tom nuong left a little to be desired, solely because of its lack of bun (vermicelli). The flavors were all there: the generous serving of basil and mint, the once-again nicely done shrimp, the unprompted inclusion of nuoc mam. Still, when the greens outnumber the actual noodles, it's hard to get the full impact of the dish. Again, I'll chalk it up to the lateness of the dinner hour.

The real satisfaction for me came in the form of the pho. I think a successful pho broth is one in which the multitude of flavors are balanced, and are allowed to soak in. Often times, especially with the short-order-expedient way that pho is produced, the broth is either too watery or too beef forward. Here, Chef Claudio succeeds in bringing out a number of flavors, spices like star anise or cinnamon or nutmeg. That by itself, would merit success. The ingredients themselves are also delicious, with chunks of eye round that are lovely. I'd have to put it way past Pho 14, and very near to personal favorite Pho 75.

The last dish of the evening was the chuoi chien, a personal oft-indulgence. The bananas were fried beautifully, with a light crisp rather than deep-fried like so many Thai chuoi chiens. Still, had we had a touch more of the caramel sauce it sat atop, it would have been awesome; normally, chuoi chien comes topped with honey, and I was looking for more of the sweetness that the caramel sauce provided.

The Verdict


Honestly? Yes, there were slight missteps (the lack of nuoc mam on the salad, the need for more noodles and caramel sauce on their respective dishes), but all of them were eminently fixable and easily chalked up to the opening night jitters. And most importantly of all, the flavors were all on point and were exemplary in their brightness and their faithfulness to tradition. At its core, the reinvention of Blackbyrd as Hanoi House is one that's successful, with all the tools to be very great, and definitely a restaurant that this Vietnamese guy will be excited to come back to for more.

Food Rating: ****
(out of 5)
Date Rating: 3 Hearts (out of 5)
Dress Code:
Casual
Bar Rating:
Party in the USA
Vibe:
Energetic
Cost:
$
(out of 5) (less than $25 for two)

Hanoi House on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

First Look: El Chucho


Plaudits: None
Neighborhood: Columbia Heights

The Setup


For my birthday, Official Co-Writer/Girlfriend of DCWD Texas, knowing me perfectly, organized an offal tour of DC. On this trip around the city to taste various offerings of different parts of the pig (or cow), the second stop of the excursion was new Columbia Heights taco shop El Chucho.

The Vibe

Anyone who's been to restaurateur Jackie Greenbaum's eponymous spot in Silver Spring will instantly understand the decor of El Chucho: bright colors beginning from the electric blue exterior to the sharp black and yellow of the logo. The feel of the interior is that of a Mexican border town cantina mixed with a 50s diner. Central to the space is a bar on the left side of the restaurant, a ten diner-stool L-shape with a wall of liquor, tequilas, and bright multicolored Mexican day-of-the-dead skulls. Across from it are a series of eight hightop diner-style two-tops with one large four-seater in the back and a set of large dice hanging from the exposed ceiling. Everything is brightly colored and retro chic. There's also some seating out front and a rooftop, though we didn't see the latter on this trip.

The Food


It being Monday night, the tacos were half off during happy hour, a deal we were more than happy to take advantage of. On this trip, we tried two of El Chucho's margaritas and two of their tacos. Texas had the ginger margarita as well as the calabacita tacos: a deep fried zucchini atop a mix of squash blossoms, poblano peppers, black mole, and queso fresco. Without a protein to bind it, the taco felt a little lacking, a bunch of supporting ingredients in search of a lead. But each piece was a nice accent to the others, especially the flavorful black mole. Her margarita was also good, with sharp bites of ginger and a sweet finish.

For me, I picked the house silver margarita (which was on tap), and the tripas tacos: crispy beef chitterlings, foie gras, lemon, and parsley. While the tacos were a little light as far as the foie went (in the sense that you got hints of flavor, but never any large piece of unctuous goodness. Still, the overwhelming flavor is that of tripe with punches of acid from time to time, which while interesting, is not for the everyday eater. Overall, as a taco, it was solid, and as a presentation of intestines, definitely an interesting bite for the culinary adventurer. My margarita was similarly a hit, smooth with a nice lime kick.

The Verdict


A solid spot for tacos, with great deals at happy hour and not.

Food Rating: ***
(out of 5)
Date Rating: 3.5 Hearts (out of 5)
Dress Code:
Casual
Bar Rating:
Hipster Hangout
Vibe:
Chatty
Cost:
$
(out of 5) (less than $25 for two)

El Chucho Cocina Superior on Urbanspoon

Monday, November 26, 2012

Quick Bites: TaKorean at Union Market

One of the familiar faces in Union Market is TaKorean,  a well-known food truck that's set up brick and mortar roots. The offerings are the same: tacos or taco bowls, in either bulgogi steak, tangy chili-sauce-ginger-soy chicken, and tofu caramelized in hoisin. I tried all three, topping each with the napa-romaine slaw, a lime crema, cilantro, and sesame seeds.

Each taco has its merits. The tofu is the vegetarian favorite and is pleasantly mild, whereas the bulgogi is heftier with a hint of Korean spice. The chicken is my favorite though, a mix of Asian flavors that meshes well in the taco format. All three are quick but filling bites, and a nice midday pick-up.

Food Rating: ***
(out of 5)

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

First Look: Izakaya Seki

Plaudits: Washington Post's 2012 Fall Dining Guide
Neighborhood: U Street

The Setup


Needing to find a dinner spot for myself, Official Co-Writer/Girlfriend of DCWD Texas, and Official Friends of DCWD Sam and Shawn, we decided on one of the most surprising inclusions in Tom Sietsema's latest Fall Dining Guide: U Street's new Izakaya Seki.

The Vibe


When we lived down the street, the space that Izakaya Seki now occupies was a dilapidated townhouse in a block of V Street that was slow to turn around. Now, like the rest of the neighborhood around it, it's gentrified quickly and into something that's pretty cool. On the first level is a simple ten seat bar surrounding an open kitchen that recalls something out of Jiro Dreams of Sushi. The wall behind it is similarly staid: wooden wall panels painted a thin coat of stark white with a few black coat hangers on it. In the window, a small bar for pre-seating drinks.

Upstairs is more of the same decor. The staircase is lined with a shelf of sake bottles, but the walls are all still white. So are the tables, two large fours to one side, while on the other side, a row of half-booth two tops. The service is friendly and helpful throughout, but I expect the coolness of the experience is greatly improved if you can sit downstairs instead of upstairs.

The Food


There being four of us and it being an izakaya restaurant, we ordered quite a lot of food before we got full. Izakaya Seki succeeds in large part because it lets its high-quality ingredients speak for themselves. First out was a special and one I was very excited about: nine sizable pieces of fatty tuna. We chose to have it sashimi, and while it was not the most buttery piece I've ever had, but definitely nice fleshy pieces of goodness.

Next up came two similarly colored dishes with very different tastes. First, the uni starter with quail egg: five solid chunks of bright creamsicle-colored sea urchin atop a raw quail egg. Preparation is minimal which is nice, allowing the uni's natural unctuousness and saltiness to come out. Second was definitely the weirdest dish we ate: monkfish liver in a yuzu miso vinaigrette. Much like sweetbreads, the liver chunks were oily and mealy-in-a-good way, with their mild flavor enhanced by the citrus tart of the sauce.

From there, the dishes got even better. The yamakake (tuna tataki on top of mashed potatoes) had a soy-based sauce that brought together the outside sear and tender inside. A dish of croquettes filled with bechamel, crab, and corn was deliciously creamy and bright pops of flavor. And perhaps the standout dish of the night was the hamachi kama, a whole yellowtail grilled to perfection which fell apart in lemony, meaty chunks.

Other grilled izakaya were also well-cooked and flavorful. Squares of beef tongue glazed with yuzu and miso were salty and fatty, wonderful little guilty pleasures; pieces of skewered pork belly provided similar indulgences. Among the other dishes: rock shrimp fritters that presented much like tempura, a surprisingly successful fried rice with garlic and shiso leaf (surprising in how much better it was than other restaurant fried rice), and a trio of vegetable salads (kinpira with burdock, carrots, chili, and walnuts; kiriboshi with sun-dried radish, wood ear mushrooms, and carrots; and hijiki with carrots).

 



The Verdict

Great Japanese food in a cute setting if you grab a seat downstairs.

Food Rating: ****
(out of 5)
Date Rating: 3 Hearts (out of 5)
Dress Code:
Casual
Bar Rating:
N/A
Vibe:
Chatty
Cost:
$$$$
(out of 5) ($75-$100 for two)
Pairing
: Afterwards, we headed a few blocks down to Jack Rose to sample some of the best cocktails and the largest whiskey collection (purportedly) in North America.

Izakaya Seki on Urbanspoon

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Fiola, Part Deux

On our first trip to Fiola, Official Co-Writer of DCWD CC and I sat at the bar and delighted in noshing on the early returns from Fabio Trabocchi’s return to D.C. Jealous of that trip, I took Official Co-Writer/Girlfriend of DCWD Texas for a more formal sit-down at the restaurant, well after the national accolades began flooding in. Would this trip match that incredible hype?

While some of the restaurant’s a la carte entrees are quite pricey, all things considered, the chef’s tasting menu runs favorably with others in the city; the five-course will set you back $125 a person, but allows you to either go with chef’s choice, or pick five courses off the regular and dessert menus. Intrepidly, we opted to split the difference with me cherry-picking the best menu dishes that we both wanted to try, while Texas left her fate in the hands of the kitchen.

Our collective memory of the evening, heavily influenced by the potent cocktails we had alongside the meal, can’t recall all of the latter’s offerings. But what we did pick, and what we do recall, was nothing short of breathtaking. My first course, a tomato gazpacho with hints of cucumber and basil, is dressed up simultaneously by stracciatella and Maine lobster. Both are buttery, sumptuous bites that accent the soup’s sense of fresh and refresh. Both on its face, and the way it tastes, it gives an impression that is simulatenously simple yet luxurious.

My second dish is another decadent bite, but one with more straightforward Italian roots: veal sweetbreads on an eggplant funghetto with a dusting of fennel pollen. The sweetbreads are immaculate, tender and chalky-in-a-good-way, with a wonderful warming flavor to them. The eggplant base was a little aggressive for my tastes, and might easily have been replaced by any number of other components. But the sweetbreads were so fantastic as to overshadow that shortcoming.

The middle course was one of Fiola’s signatures, a duo of tuna carpaccio and roasted tomatoes layered atop one another with olives, yuzu, sorrel, and sea salt. To say the portion was generous would be an understatement; while our waiter admitted to upping the ante (“you ordered a lot of appetizers, so I wanted to make sure you had a full meal”), the tuna “carpaccio” were full quarter-inch thick slices that neatly blended with the tomatoes, such was the extent of their size and the richness of their color. Beautiful, delicious, and definitely worth its place on the menu.

My last entree was a lobster ravioli with lobster chunks. Texas and I were split on how we felt about this dish. For me, it was a nice bite, with well-pasta combining with buttery pieces of lobster to form a straight shot of luxury. Perhaps not the single best lobster ever, but definitely enjoyable. For her, the lobster was a tad bit underwhelming, and a little bit one note.

For her part, we together only could recall two of her dishes. Texas’s first dish was similar to my starter, enjoyable due in large part to being clean in flavor and refreshing. Jumbo lump crab generously towered on top of compressed watermelon, itself a cylinder of small diced cubes. The compression has the effect of promoting watermelon’s sweetness over its wateriness, a quality I usually am not overly fond of; this preparation turned me around on watermelon. Together with more cucumber and basil, the dish was pleasant and light and a perfect summertime starter. Her entree was braised veal cheeks, tender and stringy-in-a-good way, with a very rich and traditional flavor profile.

Our desserts were both delectable: mine a panna cotta-like cream topped with mixed berries and a crumble, hers a rich chocolate hazelnut cream with gelato.

The Verdict


Still five stars in my book.

Food Rating: *****
(out of 5)

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Seventh Hill Pizza

Plaudits: Washington City Paper's Young and Hungry's Top 50 2010, Washington Post 2010 Fall Dining Guide
Neighborhood: Capitol Hill
 

The Setup


Down in Eastern Market for the night, Official Co-Writer/Girlfriend of DCWD Texas and I decided to grab a bite at Seventh Hill Pizza.

The Vibe

There isn't much to say about Seventh Hill, a cozy and typical pizzeria. To wit, the bare white walls, the brick oven behind the counter, the black and white checkered floors. Still, its decor is clean with funky yellow accents with the square metal bar stools. A few black high-top fours sit to one side, while a few small round tables sit in front; the main draw though is the sizable patio where six or so tables of four lie. Overall, the vibe is fun and the atmosphere family-friendly.

The Food


On this trip, we split a Potomac Avenue, a pizza with an olive oil base, topped with mozzarella, parmesan, felino salami, arugala, and pesto. There are only a few metrics that you can use to measure pizza, and Seventh Hill aced them all. The crust shouldn't be a distraction: this one was crispy and crunchy and thin. The toppings should pack a punch: here, the arugala and salami provided a nice salt bite to each piece. And lastly, the cheese should bind the whole thing together: the blend of white cheese here made for an enjoyable slice.

The Verdict


One of the better slices in the District. Just a shade below Comet Ping Pong and 2 Amy's as our favorite.

Food Rating: ****
(out of 5)
Date Rating: 2.5 Hearts (out of 5)
Dress Code:
Casual
Bar Rating:
Quiet Drinks
Vibe:
Chatty
Cost:
$
(out of 5) (less than $25 for two)
Pairing
: Head down the street to board game shop Labyrinth to pick up one of the store's unique games.

7th Hill Pizza on Urbanspoon

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Date Ideas: The Cheese Course at Seasonal Pantry


This week's Date Idea takes us to Mt. Vernon Square's Seasonal Pantry, the market store built into an old townhouse that is equal parts charming and enticing. With weathered wood floors and floor-to-ceiling shelves of farm-canned jams, spice blends, and other assorted farmers' market delectables, its a wonderful addition to the neighborhood. Beyond its storefront and its supper club, Seasonal Pantry also holds some classes on behalf of Righteous Cheese, a cheese shop that just opened a brick-and-mortar in Union Market.

This class focused on wine and cheese pairings, specifically those from Northern Italy. Unlike others we've been, the portions were pretty sizable for a tasting, allowing the 12 of us seated around the long table to take multiple bites out of each cheese and really appreciate each for its own merits. Our favorites were the Brunet, a goat cheese from Piedmont that was alternately bright and earthy and paired with a lovely brut prosecco, as well as the Piave Vecchio, a sharp cow's milk cheese that brought out lovely flavors from the moscato it was paired with.

All in all, a great experience with a really knowledgeable teacher in a wonderful space.

Food Rating: ****
(out of 5)

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

First Look: The Satellite Room

Originally posted at Borderstan.

Plaudits: None
Neighborhood: U Street

The Setup

At this point, we could probably run a weekly article with the headline, “Hilton Brothers Open New Bar” and we would still be right more often than we’d be wrong. And you can hardly blame them. They’ve perfected the combination of a slightly upscale, dim bar space with a rooftop/patio, hip decor, and a limited menu into a recipe for printing money. Marvin, at this point the grand old dame of the empire, is a U Street staple. Blackbyrd went through one iteration as a seafood restaurant, and will reinvent itself as a pho/banh mi restaurant in 2013. Even relatively low-key 18th Street Lounge remains a powerful enough draw that a taxiful of twentysomethings once had our group of friends roll down our windows at a stoplight to see if we were going to “The Lounge.”

It’s enough to get a little bit of Hilton Brothers fatigue. Still, wanting a quick bite and drink before an event later in the night and with a need to stay on U Street, it seemed like almost too ideal a time to try out The Satellite Room, the newest addition to the Hilton collection, with Official Friends of DCWD CC and Biz.

The Vibe


If you didn’t know The Satellite Room existed, you’d be hard-pressed to find it. Tucked away on 9th St north of V St, its location is both disadvantageous and fortuitous. On the one hand, it’ll likely be the watering hole of choice for pre- and post-concert crowds from next-door neighbor 9:30 Club; on the other, CC and Biz both had trouble finding the bar, obscured as it is, and they were actually tlooking for it.

Find it though, and you’re in for a delightfully fun space. Like its Hilton brethren, it embraces its milieu, in this case a stripped-down warehouse from the looks of it, based on the exposed concrete walls and unfinished floor. Still, a fresh coat of paint and a sizable collection of pop art does a lot to make the space shine. Light bulbs hang over a row of small booths on the right side of the space opposite the main bar, a black-and-white tiletop with a giant script neon “Satellite” sign on the wall above it. Bar seating sits in the front window, while more tables sit in the back. Capping it off is a large covered patio behind the main bar.

The Food

Where Satellite Room follows its more recent Hilton contemporaries is in its menu; namely that it has one. The bar serves a neat mix of diner staples and light Mexican fare; to wit, a nontrivial section of the menu is dedicated to make-your-own tacos and one of the notable sides is elote, sweet Mexican corn with Mexican cheese. Still, the majority of the menu would fit right at home in a Johnny Rocket’s.

Take our own meal for example. CC and I both went with alcoholic milkshakes, selecting two of the ten options available, all named after characters from classic TV. CC went simple, picking the Vincent Vega, vanilla with Bulleit bourbon, while I went with the Latka Gravas, an espresso hazelnut with Hennessey VS. Both were delicious, sweet but dangerously enjoyable, with the bourbon providing a strong kick, but no typical bourbon burn, while the Latka was a straight shot of blended coffee bean (though a little light on any kick or sweetness that the other shake had).

The few bites we had to eat were also enjoyable. A patty melt is satisfying with the added surprise of marble rye, a straightforward and meaty dish. Its side of thin-cut fries is similarly tasty.

The Verdict


Overall, a solid place to grab a drink or a bite before you head to a show. I know I’ll be back to try the other eight milkshakes I missed.

Food Rating: ***
(out of 5)
Date Rating: 4.5 Hearts (out of 5)
Dress Code:
Casual
Bar Rating:
Hipster Hangout
Vibe:
Calm to chatty
Cost:
$$
(out of 5) ($25-$50 for two)
Pairing: 9:30 Club. Can I interest you in Motion City Soundtrack, maybe?

Satellite Room on Urbanspoon

Monday, November 5, 2012

We Made It From The Market: Lamb Short Ribs

Today, we're introducing (re-branding? re-titling?) a new series of posts called We Made It From the Market. Essentially these posts will look at ingredients we picked up from farmer's markets and what we made with them. Without further ado: lamb short ribs.

The meat in question is a rack of short ribs provided by Border Springs Farm, located in Virginia about a mile from the North Carolina border and with a permanent shop in Union Market. We adapted the following Patrick O'Connell recipe from his Refined American Cuisine cookbook meant for rack of lamb for our use.

Lamb:
3 one-and-a-half pound racks of lamb, each comprising about 8 rib bones (we substituted for short ribs)
1/2 cup Dijon mustard
1/2 pound brown sugar
1 cup coarsely chopped pistachios
Salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Season lamb with salt and pepper, and bake in a roasting pan for 25 minutes. Let rest for 5 minutes. Whisk mustard and brown sugar together. Using a pastry brush, coat meat with mixture and roll lamb into pistachios. Bake for an additional 10 minutes.

Rutabaga Rosti:
2 large baking potatoes, peeled
1 medium rutabaga, peeled and quartered
1 medium onion, chopped
1/2 cup clarified butter
Salt and pepper

Steam potatoes and rutabaga for 15 minutes. Shred both and fold in with onion. Season with salt and pepper and form into cakes. Heat clarified butter in skillet and brown cakes on both sides, about 5-7 minutes. Remove and drain on paper towels.

Gingered Carrot Sauce:
1 quart carrot juice
1 one-inch chunk ginger root, peeled
1 1/2 cups creme fraiche
Salt and pepper

Simmer carrot juice and ginger root in sauce pan over medium heat, whisking occasionally until mixture is reduced to 1 cup. Remove ginger root and whisk in creme fraiche. Season with salt and pepper.

Place lamb on top of rutabaga cakes and top with sauce. Enjoy!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

DC Wrapped Video: Episode 1: Mr. Yogato

Part of the reason we've been a little behind on regular posts is because Official Co-Writer/Girlfriend of DCWD Texas and I have been hard at work at a new venture for the blog. We'd like to present DC Wrapped Video, hosted on our new Youtube Channel. Sadly, this blows the cover on whatever modicum of anonymity we had left, but I suspect it doesn't quite matter anyway.

Our first episode takes a look at the neighborhood spot nearest and dearest to my heart and the subject of one this blog's first posts: Mr. Yogato.



Enjoy!