March 6, 2014
Special to The Alexandria Times
Jose Andres Kicks Off Oyamel’s Tequila & Mescal Festival
The Greatest Mexican Fiesta in DC
James Beard Award-winning Chef José Andrés and his partner Rob Wilder are at it again with the seventh annual Oyamel Cocina Mexicana’s Tequila & Mezcal Festival celebrating the heritage of these unique Mexican spirits. Beginning March 10th and continuing through March 23rd, Chef Colin King will highlight the flavors of Oaxaca and Jalisco, Mexico with a fabulous special menu and new tequila and mezcal cocktails. It all gets underway with a kickoff party on Monday, March 10th from 6 to 9pm along with live Latin music from Montuno. Food stations set up around the entire restaurant will pay tribute to Mexico’s exciting street food culture serving guacamole with comal-fired tortillas, whole baby pig cochinita tacos, street-style ceviches, goat leg barbacoa, esquites and comal-fried quesadillas. All to the strains of live Latin music from the band Montuno. Tickets for this event are $60.00.
Cocktail Rosa de Oaxaca and Agave en Lena – Photo credit Greg Powers
agava on lena
Cool cocktails created especially for the two-week fiesta include the signature Oyamel Margarita and an assortment of tequila and mezcal specialty cocktails - – the Naranja Dulce, Limón Partido, made with Reposado tequila, chamomile, orange blossom honey and roasted lemon; the El Jarocho, with Añejo tequila, house-made ancho chile pepper liquor and Cocci Americano Rosa; the Rosa de Oaxaca, made with Mezcal, hibiscus, raspberry and lemon, and the Agave en Leña, with Mezcal, Benedictine, agave nectar and house-made Oyabitters.
Cocktail Miramir and El Jarochoc – Photo credit Greg Powers
For the tastings and Q&A events there are samples from Del Maguey Mezcal with founder Ron Cooper; Siembra Azul Tequila with founder David Suro: and more from Maestro Dobel Diamone Tequila, Pierde de Almas Mezcal and Tequila Ocho. To learn more about the two-week festival visit oyamel.ticketleap.com/tequila-mezcal-festival.
Complimentary tequila & mezcal tastings will be held from 4pm – 6pm on March 11th -13th and March 17th – 20th. After the each tasting event the restaurant will host an intimate dinner featuring Ostiones con Salsa Piquín, oysters on the half shell, topped with salsa piquín, onion and cilantro; Ceviche Estilo Culiacán, marinated bass with Serrano, lime, onion, cilantro, tomatillos and house-made hot sauce; Ceviche de Chamoy, sliced Hawaiian Ono dusted with chile piquín, with mango and chile mulatos, chamoy, peanuts, cucumber, onion, lime and cilantro. Other highlights include Encurtidos, a variety of pickled winter vegetables with tomatillo, queso cotija and chile piquín; Cueritos, pork skin and chicharrons dressed with lettuce, lime, cilantro and salsa Cascabel; Veal Breast Birria, a braised veal breast with refried Rebosero beans, salsa guajillo, lettuce and radish, as well as Jalapeño Escabeche Relleno con Carne Seca, pickled jalapeños stuffed with dried beef and topped with chopped tomatillos.
Just think — by Cinco de Mayo you should be able to dazzle your peeps with your exceptional knowledge of all things to eat and drink Mexican!
Let the World Be Your Oyster
Chef Cory Bahr of Cotton Restaurant
Those were the words on the Gulf Oyster Industry Council’s swank invitation for a party at Acadiana where oyster shuckers, chefs (Chopped winner Cory Bahr among them), iconic restaurateurs and industry pros came together with the East Shellfish Grower’s Association to celebrate the coveted mollusk and ready the troops for Mardi Gras. The best of the bivalve was served to over a hundred guests including Senator Mary Landrieu, author and political strategist Donna Brazile, and WUSA9’s Andrea Roane.
On the raw side were Point aux Pins from Bayou La Batre, Alabama and Karako Bay rock oysters from St. Bernard, LA served up alongside local oysters from Rappahannock Oyster Co. and a unique oyster from Cape May, New Jersey whose meat was pearly white. Side tables held oyster condiments from mignonette and red cocktail sauce (heaven forbid!) to tartar sauce for the fried oysters.
Randol’s Serves Up Oyster Rockefeller Soup
Using Bay Courant oysters from Lafourche, Louisiana Randol’s of Lafayette, Louisiana served up their lusciously rich Oyster Rockefeller Soup; Cory Bahr of Cotton in Monroe, LA created Whipped Parmesan Cheese Gulf Oysters with sea beans, radish and caviar; Ruffino’s famed Baton Rouge Chef and Cookbook Author Peter Sclafani made Open-faced Oyster Ravioli; Drago’s of Metairie, LA Head Chef Tommy Cvtanovich made their signature Oyster Voisin, and all while servers passed around the best crab cakes ever from Acadiana’s Executive Chef Jeff Tunks. I even ran into transplanted native son David Guas of Bayou Bakery who gave me a few tips on making muffulettas for an upcoming Mardi Gras party.
Chefs Peter Sciafani, Katie Gross and Gino Sciafani from Ruffino’s
While shuckers were as busy as alligators in a chicken house, P&J Oyster Company President Al Sunseri talked with Whisk and Quill about the merroir of oysters. “Each Atlantic and East Coast oyster comes from the same species, Crassotrea virginica, yet oysters from different waters don’t taste alike,” he explained. “There’s a big difference in salinity and texture from inlet to cove and bay to bayou in Louisiana.” Sunseri should know. His family business has been operating in New Orleans’ French Quarter since 1876.
Before we left Chef Randol graciously gave us permission to print his restaurant’s recipe for their fabulous Oyster Rockefeller Soup. “Why not! You’re far enough away,” he assured us.
Oyster Rockefeller Soup
RANDOL’S OYSTER ROCKERFELLER SOUP
- 4 tablespoons of butter
- ½ a diced onion
- ½ a green bell pepper
- 1 rib of diced celery
- 3 tablespoons of all-purpose flour
- 1 cup chicken or vegetable stock
- 1 pint of heavy whipping cream
- ½ pint of fresh Louisiana oysters w/ juice
- 1 teaspoon of ground red pepper
- ¼ teaspoon each of white pepper, dried basil, dried thyme
- 8 ounces of chopped frozen spinach (drained)
- ½ ounce Pernod
- kosher salt to taste
Melt butter in a 4-quart saucepan. Add onions, bell pepper and celery and sweat until translucent, being careful not to brown. Stir in the flour and cook until dissolved. Add chicken stock, red pepper, white pepper, basil and thyme and reduce by one third. Add in the heavy cream and chopped spinach and reduce by half. Add the oysters and their juice and simmer for 5 minutes. Finish with Pernod and season to taste with kosher salt. Serve in a toasted bread bowl. Serves 4-6.
Photo credit Jordan Wright
March 3, 2014
Special to The Alexandria Times
Adam is played by Richard Isaacs, Luke by Fred Dechow – Photo credit Michael deBlois.
When Luke (Frederick Dechow) and Adam (Richard Isaacs) meet at a rooftop party in New York City they click, despite their disparities. Luke is a young aspiring actor and “cater waiter”, and Adam once an aspiring writer wallows in a mid-life crisis at a dead end job at his friend Holly’s candle shop. Though they have opposing views, Luke prays after sex and Adam is a dyed-in-the-wool atheist, they move in together. And though Adam feels as though all the end-of-the-world stuff and the who’s-going-to-heaven and who’s-going-to-hell routine is “a bit Vegas”, when Luke has a life-threatening accident Adam must take into account Luke’s religious philosophy.
Geoffrey Nauffts’ comic drama Next Fall, first brought to Broadway in 2010 by Producers Elton John and David Furnish, examines the opposing forces of conflict and sacrifice within a relationship in a script filled with wry wit, a steady stream of funny lines and deadpan sarcasm.
Brandon by Andy De, Arlene by Gayle N. Grimes and Holly by Suzanne Martin – Photo credit to Michael deBlois.
The play opens in a waiting room at New York’s Beth Israel Medical Center where Brandon (Andy De), Holly (Suzanne Martin), Arlene (Gayle Nichols-Grimes), Butch (Cal Whitehurst) and Adam await news of Luke’s condition. Adam has to figure out how to deal with Arlene and Butch, Luke’s homophobic parents who don’t know their son is gay. For the rest of the play the action shifts back and forth from the men’s Bleeker Street apartment, where the men’s relationship begins to strengthen despite their differences, to the hospital where Adam must hide their love from Luke’s parents.
In a clever technique Director Rob Batarla transitions the thirteen scene changes from hospital to apartment and back with music of the period and projections of grainy black and white photographs of the men throughout their five-year relationship.
Adam is played by Richard Isaacs, Luke by Fred Dechow, Butch by Cal Whitehurst – Photo credit to Michael deBlois
There are awkward exchanges between Arlene and Adam as when she surprises him by confessing her fears and a not very pristine past while Adam struggles to comprehend Brandon, Luke’s former boyfriend, who practices gay sex yet doesn’t believe in a gay relationship. Notwithstanding the proclivity of the three gay characters, the play addresses familiar themes of faith, commitment and love.
The cast in this provocative production is in synch throughout. Dechow plays Luke with subtlety and restraint, Isaacs gives Adam an endearingly derisive quality using a vast repertoire of facial expressions, and Martin imbues Holly with charm and verve. Whitehurst and Nichols-Grimes, both well known in the local theatre community, craft characters that reveal depth as well as empathy.
At Port City Playhouse at The Lab at Convergence, 1819 North Quaker Lane, Alexandria, VA 22302. Remaining performances are on the following dates – February 28, March 1, 7, 8, 11, 14, & 15 at 8pm. Matinees on March 8 & 15 at 2pm. For tickets and information visit www.portcityplayhouse.org.
March 4, 2014
Special to The Alexandria Times
Photo of Presley Ryan as Little Cee Cee by Margot I. Schulman.
Signature Theatre’s world premiere of Beaches opens with a bang. Presley Ryan, fresh off her appearance on NBC’s The Sound of Music with Carrie Underwood plays Little Cee Cee, the precocious child who would become a big star. Ryan gets the show off to a rollicking start with “What A Star” performing an electrifying song-and-dance routine worthy of Shirley Temple in her heyday. Ryan’s got mega-watt energy and sass galore and the show hits the heights whenever she’s on stage.
Beaches is based on the original novel by Iris Rainer Dart who also has written the lyrics to the two-and-a-half hour-long musical – - collaborating with Composer David Austin and scriptwriter Thom Thomas to bring her book to the stage. As you may recall the film version starring Bette Midler and Barbara Hershey was a huge hit and its anthem “The Wind Beneath My Wings” written by Jeff Silbar and Larry Henley (and the only song taken from the movie) took Midler’s career into the stratosphere.
That this interpretation is overly long, poorly written with awkwardly contrived rhymes and disjointed character segues, is only partially the fault of the writers, but ultimately there is just too much crammed into one show. It is most assuredly not the fault of the performers whose singing and acting is flawless, nor Scenic Designer Derek McLane’s set – - a spectacular composition of period furniture rising to the rafters, nor is it Costume Designer Frank Labovitz’s brilliant costumes from the 50’s to the hippie era through Cee Cee’s show biz career and disco outfits, to Bertie’s tailored wrap-dresses. Neither is it the fault of the story, a tender tale of true friendship between two women who couldn’t be more dissimilar yet who stick together through thick and thin.
Alysha Umphress as Cee Cee and Matthew Scott as John Perry -Photo credit Margot I. Schulman
Cee Cee and Bertie become best friends when young Bertie (played by Brooklyn Shuck) is lost on the beach at Atlantic City. The foul-mouthed Cee Cee “If ya call me Cecelia I’ll punch you in the mouth!” convinces Bertie, against her mother’s strict orders, to dip her toes into the sea. And thus their bond is forged only to have it tested when Cee Cee brings the sheltered Bertie into the fast and furious world of show business.
Six different actresses reflect the three stages from childhood to teenage to womanhood. And although Beaches is set in locations from New Jersey’s Atlantic City and Beach Haven to Florida’s Sarasota and Miami to California’s Carmel, oddly the production uses neither sand nor water, though there is one early scene in which mottled lighting at the edge of the stage is meant to signify water.
Photo of Mara Davi as Bertie (left), Alysha Umphress as Cee Cee (right) and Beaches ensemble by Margot I. Schulman.
Things begin to get complicated when boyfriends appear on the scene and jealousies and betrayals threaten to destroy the women’s friendship. But worse still are the show’s lackluster lyrics – - “Let’s be us again”, “Children they’ll make us new” and “a new life for me and my man” – - that are even more destructive. Some of the show’s twenty-four songs are as unquotable as they are strained as in the song “Normal People” when the women describe each other as “a Jew and a goy, a princess and a goddess” and each wishes the other had a “_ _ _ _”, a slang term that rhymes with stick. I thought I was watching a bad episode of the cancelled TV show Smash. And not to be a spoiler, but in this story Bertie comes back to life in an eye-roller of a duet, “God Gave You Me”, a ballad that stretches all credulity.
Still there is some fine acting and singing most especially from Alysha Umphress as the grown-up Cee Cee whose exceptionally beautiful voice and arresting presence are memorable. Notwithstanding the terrific cast, Beaches will have a lot to work out before it sees the footlights of Broadway.
Through March 30th at Signature Theatre (Shirlington Village), 4200 Campbell Avenue, Arlington, VA 22206. For tickets and information call 703 820-9771 or visit www.signature-theatre.org.
Special to DC Metro Theater Arts, Broadway Stars, and LocalKicks
Photo credit – Jordan Wright
Bistro Vivant Gets a New Chef
For those of us that crave the comforts of French country cooking, Bistro Vivant is a cozy McLean restaurant whose delicious food and solid wine list have beckoned me back since I first wrote about them last summer. Recently there has been a changing of the old guard and I wanted to see for myself if this hidden gem was still a contender.
Bistro Vivant’s new Executive Chef Katie Busch
Katie Busch, the restaurant’s new Chef de Cuisine, is a twenty-nine year old whiz kid with tons of experience from all the right places. Busch came to the 75-seat bistro bar via New York and Philadelphia where she honed her craft at Hospoda, Aureole by Charlie Palmer, Fishtail by David Burke and David Burke Townhouse, Eden South Beach, the Oak Room at the Plaza Hotel and The Modern – all top drawer dining destinations. She’s also cooked alongside the big boys at Striped Bass Restaurant and Brasserie Perrier under chefs Georges Perrier and Christopher Scarduzio. Street cred? She’s got it in spades!
Inside the cozy bistro
Busch plans to keep classic starters on the menu – - French onion soup, escargots de Bourgogne and foie gras – - though her twist on the sumptuous standard is to partner it with Marcona almond crumble, poached quince and cider gastrique. And I’m fairly certain you can expect to see her version of hand-cut beef tartare stay on the menu. She’ll prepare it deconstructed if you prefer, which I do, allowing the quail egg yolk, capers, cornichon and shallots to be combined at table. Her take on the newly-ubiquitous grilled octopus is my hands-down favorite – - a harmonious dish of lightly charred octopus, fingerling potatoes, smoked paprika, chorizo and green olives.
Foie Gras with Marcona almond crumble, poached quince and cider gastrique — Beef Bourguignon
Also on the winter menu is boeuf bourguignon. Busch’s version uses wild mushrooms, red pearl onions and tiny heirloom carrots to complement the savory slow-cooked beef. Her use of the au poivre sauce is to use the familiar green peppercorn on pan-seared duck confit paring it with crusty cheesy potatoes dauphinoise.
Steak tartare — Lobster Pasta with shellfish cream
A consummate schmoozer whose knowledge of wines is impressive Turkish owner Aykan Demiroglu is over the moon with his new chef and the restaurant continues to exude the same friendly Euro vibe as the day it opened. General Manager Shannon Paretzski, who reminds this writer of the ever-gracious Diana Damewood of the old Dominique’s Restaurant in DC, makes sure you are coddled and satisfied.
Agua 301 Opens on DC’s Capital Riverfront
Agua 301 along the Capital Riverfront
The redevelopment of the Washington Navy Yard area and the impressive Yards Park along the Southwest DC waterfront is becoming the latest hip hangout for the city. Already Blue Jacket and Osteria Morini have made a home in the Capital Riverfront neighborhood and DC’s Ice Cream Jubilee is due to open any day. Latest on the scene and just in time for the start of baseball season is newcomer Agua 301 boasting a familiar local chef Antonio Burrell, formerly of Redwood and Masa 14. Burrell is rocking out modern Mexican cuisine with innovative twists on the traditional tacos, burritos and guacamole.
Agua 301 Executive Chef Antonio Burrell
Husband and wife team Stephen and Amanda Briggs have partnered with Stephen’s stepfather, former U.S. Congressman David Bonior in the new venture. As expected high on the bar menu’s long list of drinks are Margaritas, and there are over a half dozen to choose from. I liked one made from blood oranges, Milagro Reposado and Cointreau. It was a lot easier than trying to decide on one of a selection of sixty types of tequilas, from blancos and reposadas to anejos and mezcals that are spelled out on the bar’s menu. Depending on your mood you might just want to stick to an agua fresca “mocktail” made with hibiscus, watermelon and pineapple. With its sweeping view of the Anacostia River, Agua 301 should be a great place to celebrate – or drown your sorrows – after a Nats game.
2941 Lightens Up
2941 Restaurant – Falls Church, VA
Last week I enjoyed the new “lightened up” menu of Bertrand Chemel and the savvy pairings of Sommelier Jonathan Schuyler at 2941. Chemel was not in the kitchen that night but his trusted Chef de Cuisine Kyoo Eom prepared dish after delectable dish from the winter menu.
A polished new look and an updated menu have kept 2941 from feeling fusty and out of date. Banished are the jellyfish décor and white linens. Featured are two of artist Jose Alvarez’s massive psychedelic paintings and a rare and ancient life-size amethyst geode that gives the space some added bling.
The versatile Chemel rises to the transformation with a flotilla of alluring new dishes sacrificing neither stylish cuisine nor top tier ingredients. In addition prices have dropped from $200.00 for the tasting menu to a more affordable $85.00 for a five-course tasting dinner. Add $45.00 if Schuyler pairs your food from the vast wine cellar.
Savoy Cabbage Soup — Smoked Burrata Ravioli
Small bites run the gamut from escargot or Mangalica ham tarts to mushroom tartine. I loved the Savoy cabbage soup with potato truffle and the crispy sea scallop with cod, cannellini beans and razor clam. Pastas are made in house and you’ll be hard pressed to decide. But I found the ultimate swoon to be smoked burrata ravioli. Imagine oozy burrata meets Asian spiced duck breast and earthy escarole for a dance around the plate.
Steamed Sea Bass — Sea scallop stuffed with bacalao and razor clam
Another brilliant marriage is the chef’s steamed Sea Bass atop sushi rice and a raft of poached celery hearts brightened by scallion-lime salad. It’s as light as a feather and reminds me of Michel Guerard’s cuisine minceur and his radical lightening up of traditional French dishes.
Pastry Chef Caitlin Dysart continues to dream up new versions of old classics for a dessert menu whose header reads, “Never Say Never”. So many charms, so easily swayed. I enjoyed the elegant throwback dessert Mont Blanc served with chestnut and Calvados ice cream, cocoa-hazelnut dacquoise, chestnut cream and hot chocolate – most assuredly not the kind sipped from your morning mug. Even more intricate a confection is her gateau de crepes, a many-layered cake filled with pecan praline mousse, pumpkin coulis and rum-soaked raisins. Dysart makes all the ice creams too. Don’t come crying to me if you can’t make up your mind.
Caitlin Dysart’s Gateau de Crepes
Over the past decade sophisticated home chefs have begun appreciating olive oils and vinegars that express the terroir of their origin, and the popularity of these artisanal olive oil shops has exploded. Ah Love Oil & Vinegar distinguishes itself from other stores with some of the most delicious and unique delicacies to be found.
Cary Kelly owner of Ah love Olive Oil & Vinegar
One of the ways world-traveler and owner, Cary Kelly, finds the very best for her shop is by scouring the New York Fancy Food Show each year sampling dozens of products and meeting producers from around the world. But she also takes an annual trek to California vineyards, where winemakers have recently begun getting into the olive oil business. On one of her trips to Sonoma Kelly found the B. R. Cohn Winery, a small boutique vineyard producing not just olive oil but also Chardonnay and Champagne vinegar made from their wines. Another company, the women-owned Grove 45 in Napa Valley produces a high quality olive oil made from olive trees grown from cuttings brought over from Italy.
Three Little Figs jam
But the bright Mediterranean-inspired décor of the shops features far more than fresh olive oils and aged balsamic vinegars. Himalayan salt block cooking surfaces share space with hand-carved Tunisian olive wood cheeseboards and bowls, and shelves are chock-a-block with delicacies like L’Epicurien’s Dark Chocolate Spread with Candied Orange Peel from France (sublime on a croissant) and Three Little Figs small-batch Balsamic Fresh Fig Jam made with whole sprigs of rosemary and aged balsamic vinegar – - perfect on brie or used as a glaze for salmon. The Pacific Northwest company’s Tomato Tapas Jam flavored with smoked pimentos, cumin, ginger and jalapeno is especially well suited for duck or lamb.
BabyCakes gluten-free, vegan and kosher Chocolate Chip Cookie, Fudge Brownie mixes
For the home baker there’s Brooklyn’s BabyCakes gluten-free, vegan and kosher Chocolate Chip Cookie and Fudge Brownie mixes, and Zocalo Gourmet gluten-free and organic Peruvian ancient grains products like purple corn flour, organic mesquite flour and sweet potato flour. Another wonderful gluten-free item are the DeCio pastas handmade in Arizona.
Zocalo organic Peruvian ancient grains purple corn flour, mesquite flour and sweet potato flour
This week Kelly will add a line of gourmet truffle products from La Rustichella. For the cook looking to elevate a risotto to new heights choose from white or black truffle oil or glam up pasta with the truffle paté spread or porcini mushroom spread.
In The Village at Shirlington, 4017B Campbell Avenue or in The Mosaic District, 2910 District Avenue, Fairfax, VA www.ahloveoilandvinegar.com.
February 20, 2014
Cary Pollak for Whisk and Quill
Earlier this month DC’s “Sugar and Champagne Affair” welcomed hundreds of guests who raised cane to benefit the Washington Humane Society. The much-anticipated event held in the Ronald Reagan Building draws both owners and their precious pets to a canine-themed gala. And it’s all for a good cause. Now that’s something to celebrate!
The glamorous fundraiser is the creation of Ellen Kassoff Gray. She and her top toque husband, Todd Gray, who is the Executive Chef at the venerable Equinox restaurant, Todd Gray’s Muse at the Corcoran Gallery, and the kitchen at the Salamander Resort & Spa in Middleburg, VA were co-hosts of the event.
Thirteen years ago Ellen correctly surmised that the local restaurant community and particularly many of the area’s talented pastry chefs would be happy to help her promote the cause of animal welfare, an issue she is passionate about. Ellen again served as Host Committee Chairwoman bringing along her two handsome German Shepherds to meet and greet guests and canine celebs, while Todd could be seen preparing and serving tastings of some of his specialties.
All types of pooches from tiny-as-a-teacup Chihuahuas to massive Marmaduke-sized dogs accompanied their owners to the festivities – many elaborately dressed up or sporting festively colored fur for the occasion. Doris Pasternak was accompanied by her rescue Poodle, Chilly, who has his own blog chillydogblog.com. And Dixie Eng and Julia Jacobus brought their Goldendoodles who regale their fans at GroovyGoldendoodles.com.
Kim and Mike Roberts’ English Bulldog, Ovie, sporting Alexander Ovechin’s #8 jersey
Smaller canine cuties included Kim and Mike Roberts’ English Bulldog, Ovie, who showed up wearing a replica of Washington Capitals’ hockey star’s Alex Ovechkin’s jersey. Kimberly Hammond’s Chihuahua-mix Todd, who has come a long way from being rescued after an oil spill, wore a mini-tuxedo.
Kimberley Hammond’s Chihuahua-mix, Todd, in evening wear
Almost eighty area chefs and wineries created a memorable feast. There were oysters and sushi along with other savory preparations, but the biggest draw of the evening was the sweet treats baked by some of our area’s most talented pastry chefs – from Taberna del Alabardero and their pretty pink and white confections with tufts of freshly made cotton candy, to Baklava Couture’s individual pastries with cinnamon walnut or pistachio fillings.
Doggie treats from Olde Towne Pet Resort
In keeping with the evening’s theme, the Olde Towne Pet Resort placed doggie treats in bowls as well as champagne flutes. Some of these morsels looked so good two-legged guests were hard-pressed to keep their paws off. And while Poste Moderne Brasserie offered homemade biscuits for pets, their owners could indulge in a version of s’mores with chocolate marshmallow confections on graham cracker crusts.
Salamander Resort & Spa’s Executive Pastry Chef Jason Reeves winning cake.
Guests eagerly awaited the highlight of the evening – a cake competition featuring the amazing artistry of our local pastry chefs. The spectacular winning entry was a cake made to look like a champagne bottle beside a pug licking its chops. Created by Salamander Resort & Spa’s Executive Pastry Chef Jason Reeves and Amy Tucker, the stunning confection was made with hand-painted and sculpted devil’s food cake and fondant that looked way too good to eat. Another whimsical creation was a velvety green sofa with a naughty dog trying to hide himself under a cushion. Pastry Chef Lauren Petri of The Hamilton who designed the clever cake, added a particularly humorous and challenging touch of a partially unraveled roll of toilet paper at the foot of the couch.
The Washington Humane Society relies on fundraisers such as the “Sugar and Champagne Affair” to continue their work protecting the animals of our region. Last year WHS Field Officers responded to over 17,000 calls to help animals in need. Plan to join in the fun next year, and bring your precious pup for a howlin’ good time.
Photo credits: Cary Pollak