Nibbles and Sips – Del Ray Artisans Gallery

Jordan Wright
May 2010

Healthy Snacks Fuel Local Garden Volunteers

Under the crape myrtles at the Del Ray Artisans Gallery - photo by Jordan Wright

Under the crape myrtles at the Del Ray Artisans Gallery - photo by Jordan Wright

Under the guise of calling power bars and lemonade food reporting, I’ll relate last week’s triumph at Alexandria’s Del Ray Artisans Gallery’s gardens, which I have been curating with a small but dedicated group of gallery members for the past ten years or so. The single-story clapboard gallery charted its renaissance on a dirt-and-trash-strewn lot where our all-volunteer gardeners have helped to transform the blighted property into an award-winning garden often featured on Del Ray’s House and Garden Tour. Usually we have eight to ten folks during spring and fall to weed, plant, mulch and prune, keeping the grounds up to snuff for the Gallery’s monthly shows.
Mayor Bill Euille and SunTrust and King Street Wireless Volunteers at the Del Ray Artisans Gallery for Spring Garden Cleanup - photo by Jay

Mayor Bill Euille and SunTrust and King Street Wireless Volunteers at the Del Ray Artisans Gallery for Spring Garden Cleanup - photo by Jay

This year we got herculean help from a batttalion of volunteers. From SunTrust Bank: Steve Truitt, Brian MacDonnell, Bob Dail, Jill Fields, Chris Hartman, Lori Caumeil, Mark Leonard, Lauton Brown, and Jim McCormack. From King Street Wireless: Remy Kauffmann, Allison DiNardo, Robert DiNardo, Judy Harmatz and Bruce Kauffmann.

What an amazing, upbeat, cheerful and hard-working group they were. We thank them all for their participation. Drop by and see the results!
Though we are not on this year’s tour, make sure to stop by and visit the gallery and sit along the garden path on the benches beneath the crepe myrtles. And, if you’re of a notion, there might be a few weeds left for the plucking.

This year Del Ray’s House and Garden Tour is this Saturday, May 22nd from 11am to 5pm. Go to www.delraycitizen.org for tickets. Or visit www.thedelrayartisans.org.

Nibble and Sips – Georgetown Safeway

Jordan Wright
May 2010

Georgetown’s “New” Social Safeway is a Lollapalooza!

Temperature-controlled WIne Room at the Georgetown Safeway - Photo by Jordan Wright

Temperature-controlled WIne Room at the Georgetown Safeway - Photo by Jordan Wright

Georgetown’s “Social” Safeway celebrated its grand opening with a gala celebration. The store, which has been sorely missed by its neighbors ever since it was shuttered for the rebuilding, has returned in breathtaking splendor. Now patrons can revel in its many new specialty departments.

Here are some neat things about this 71,067 square-foot “Grocery Store for the 21st Century”:

DC Society photographer, Albert Mogzec in front of the lens with friend - Photo by Jordan Wright

DC Society photographer, Albert Mogzec in front of the lens with friend - Photo by Jordan Wright

* It’s open 24 hours a day and has a 24-hour pharmacy. (Things could get a lot more “social” after the bars close.) It is the first LEED-certified grocery store in the District, and Safeway’s second LEED-certified store (the other is in Santa Cruz, Calif.). It features include a sit-down sushi bar, an Italian-style gelato bar; pizza oven and an open-flame hearth oven where European style Artisan breads are baked fresh daily.

* There is a flower market to rival any high-end florist. I spotted dozens of orchids, stalks of exotic ginger, pink and yellow cymbidiums, white hydrangeas, brilliant red anthuriums, kangaroo paws and huge modernist palm fronds, elephant ears, and of course, the usual posies. Many arrangements are gift-ready and echo the lavish displays seen in our poshest hotel lobbies.

* A “Nut Bar”, reminiscent of an old-fashioned candy store, offers a large selection of warm, ready-to-eat nuts that can be flavored with chocolate or ground to make spreads and butters.

* A vast greengrocer section featuring some very exotic fruits and the city’s largest selection of fresh organic produce.

* A deluxe version Starbucks coffee bar serving until midnight.

The new sushi bar at Georgetown's "Social" Safeway - Photo by Jordan Wright

The new sushi bar at Georgetowns Social Safeway - Photo by Jordan Wright

* An indoor/outdoor seating area with fireplace, HD televisions, complimentary WiFi, and open balcony overlooking Wisconsin Avenue.

* Ongoing events, such as cooking demos by local chefs, and wine and cheese tastings are held every Thursday. And in a lavishly appointed wood-paneled and temperature-controlled wine room that rivals any purveyor in town, their wine (and beer) selection purports to be the largest of any retailer in the District.

Bonus: All parking is now underground, making for pleasant shopping come rain or shine!

Nibble and Sips – Buddha Bar

Jordan Wright
May 2010

Buddha Bar – Hot and Glamorous, World Class and Here

WJLA's Leon Harris and the stunning Holly Macke at Buddha Bar - photo by Jordan Wright

WJLA's Leon Harris and the stunning Holly Macke at Buddha Bar - photo by Jordan Wright

Only world-class cities like Moscow, Paris, Tokyo, New York and Dubai have Buddha Bar…until last week…when DC’s newest, screeching hot, upscale haunt with the world-music vibe opened to the public. Before the velvet ropes went up Washington Life held a swank reception for the well-heeled and well-known and believe me there were plenty of “nibbles and sips” to go around under the acquiescent gaze of the eighteen-foot Buddha. Buddha Bar is known for its eclectic music mixes. They have a dozen CDs out of their signature in-house mixes, ranging from operatic arias and New Age to Samba and Bollywood, and everything in between. I have an enormous collection of two so far and they are among my very favorites.

That night House DJ, Parisian Allan Davis, was spinning to Raspberry Saketinis, champagne, sushi and crispy Vietnamese spring rolls. Yum yum!

Co-owner Michael Don, “I’m originally from Soviet Georgia,” told me, “It’s all about the food here. That’s number one to us!” On that note we’ll have to return for a proper meal and let you know.

www.BuddhaBarDC.com

Nibble and Sips – Ritz-Carlton Pentagon City

Jordan Wright
May 2010

Ritz-Carlton’s Twentieth Anniversary Celebration

Ritz-Carlton Executive Chef Fredric Chartier with his vegetable tower - photo by Jordan Wright

Ritz-Carlton Executive Chef Fredric Chartier with his vegetable tower - photo by Jordan Wright

When the Ritz-Carlton opened its elegant doors in Arlington twenty years ago, they were a pioneering luxury hotel
Ritz-Carlton's Anniversary Celebration cake - Photo by Jordan Wright

Ritz-Carlton's Anniversary Celebration cake - Photo by Jordan Wright

in their Pentagon City neighborhood. Since then they have become an important destination hotel for high level diplomatic and military visits, a home to Presidential Inauguration events and VIP guests from around the globe.

Last week they invited their loyal clientele to join them in celebrating two decades of success, with a sumptuous reception in the ballroom that featured signature cocktails and the glories of the kitchen prepared by recently appointed Executive Chef, Frederic Chartier. The baby-faced Chartier, who has staged at The Four Seasons and George V in Paris, brings Modern French cuisine to the hotel’s fyve Restaurant Lounge. The evening capped off with Pastry Chef Dallas Marsteller’s divine desserts, including scrumptious mini-strawberry shortcakes.

www.RitzCarlton.com/PentagonCity

Nibble and Sips – Poste Moderne

Jordan Wright
May 2010

Poste Moderne Brasserie in the Hotel Monaco

A sample of Poste's herbal spirits - photo by Jordan Wright

A sample of Poste's herbal spirits - photo by Jordan Wright

A lunch at Poste Moderne Brasserie in the Hotel Monaco’s garden took advantage of a temperate but breezy afternoon. Sous Chef, Jenn Flynn, was at the helm at last week’s lunch hour and I sampled many a wonderful dish
Poste Moderne's Sous Chef Jenn Flynn in the organic garden - photo by Jordan Wright

Poste Moderne's Sous Chef Jenn Flynn in the organic garden - photo by Jordan Wright

from the open kitchen. In particular a knockout Asparagus Carbonara made with tesa (an in-house two-week cured pork belly) ramps (get’em while you can!), spring onions and morels (see my story on Morels recently posted). Another unimpeachable dish is the Pineland’s Farm Steak tartare on house-made brioche, and a curious but playful Tasting of Salted Caramel with caramel ice cream, coffee-caramel crème brulee and caramel popcorn. Crunch, slurp, lick. A crisp 2007 Tavel Rose from Ferraton Pere et Fils sealed the deal.

By now those of you who know the restaurant are well aware of Executive Chef, Rob Weland and his total commitment to local farm sourcing. But it doesn’t get more close-in than his patio gardens with their vast assortment of organic vegetables, lettuces, fruit trees (pawpaw!) and herbs used in both the dishes and cocktail flavorings.

Asparagus Carbonara at Poste Moderne - photo by Jordan Wright

Asparagus Carbonara at Poste Moderne - photo by Jordan Wright

www.PosteBrasserie.com