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Nibbles and Sips Around Town – March 16th

The Cliffs of Moher - photo credit Jordan Wright

The Cliffs of Moher - photo credit Jordan Wright

Jordan Wright 

Go Green!

After a grand sweep through Ireland last May, I have become a huge fan of their hospitality… and especially of their food and drink.  I visited the Jameson Distillery (a bit of a jolt to sip whiskey at 11am) and had a private tour of the spectacular Guinness Storehouse with lunch in the Executive Dining Room where the Queen of England, clearly following my lead, enjoyed lunch the following month. The country has achieved extraordinary culinary successes over the past ten years.  So let’s cheer them on from our shores by toasting to the Emerald Isle.

Early poster art from the Guinness Storehouse in Dublin - photo credit Jordan Wright

Early poster art from the Guinness Storehouse in Dublin - photo credit Jordan Wright

Jordan Learning to pull the perfect Guinness

Jordan learning to pull the perfect Guinness

Drop in for a dram at the Irish-owned and brand new The Dupont Circle Hotel where they’ll celebrate their Irish lineage by literally going green – from LED lighting to the staff sporting leprechaun-green shirts.  Specialty cocktails and dishes that recollect the Emerald Isle will delight St. Patrick’s Day revelers at the hotel’s Bar Dupont staying open till 2:30am.

Get jiggy with these inspired cocktails: The Peppermint Patrick – made with Jim Beam Bourbon, Caramel Baileys, Crème de Menthe, Cream; Sweet Shamrock – Bushmills Irish Whiskey, Drambuie, Lemon Juice, Honey; The Irish 350 – Bacardi Limon, Southern Comfort, Smirnoff, Grand Marnier, Cream de Cacao, Orange Juice, Sprite [a 350 proof combination cocktail to honor the first St. Patrick’s Day Parade in the U.S. 350 years ago] and the Baby Guinness Shot: Kahlua, Baileys.

For two days only, March 17th and 18th, Café Dupont will offer two special brunches featuring these yummy Irish comfort dishes.  Bangers & mash: pork sausage served atop mashed potatoes with onion gravy; traditional Irish stew served with Irish soda bread; authentic shepherd’s pie; a full Irish breakfast with pork sausage, a rasher of Irish bacon, sautéed mushrooms, breakfast potatoes, baked beans and herb tomato.  That’s precisely how I remember it.   Sweeten it up with Bailey’s cheesecake or bread & butter pudding with vanilla custard.  www.thedoylecollection.com/dupont

Close by Signature Theatre in Shirlington is Samuel Beckett’s Irish Gastro Pub. For rugby fans who don’t want to miss the 2012 Six Nations Championship games, the pub will be running them all day on St. Paddy’s Day.  For a bit of good “craick”  (it means fun in Irish slang) the 19th Street Band and Oren Polak are on hand and Guinness, as always, is on tap.  The pub’s traditional hearty brown bread served with Kerrygold butter go great with their meltingly tender lamb stew. www.samuelbecketts.com

Party at the House of Sweden

Jordan and Lauren DeSantis at the launch party at the House of Sweden

Jordan and Lauren DeSantis at the launch party at the House of Sweden

Watching DeSantis's new TV series at the House of Sweden - photo credit Jordan Wright

Watching DeSantis's new TV series at the House of Sweden - photo credit Jordan Wright

Lauren DeSantis launched her new travel and food series show in style at the House of Sweden Wednesday night.  Sweden plays host to the first three episodes of the series that will air Fridays at 7pm and again on Saturdays at 1pm and 4pm on WETA.  Attorney by day chef by night, DeSantis is the lovely host of Capital Cooking where she showcases her talent and that of chefs in our area on her site www.capitalcookingshow.blogspot.com.

Ambassador and Mrs. Jonas Hafström lent their private chef, Frida Johansson, who created a delicious smorgasbord for the party showcasing Sweden’s delicacies including elk kabobs, crayfish skewers, shrimp and dill hors d’oeuvres and, for the sweet tooth, a sea buckthorn cooler, cloudberry cupcakes, and two kinds of macarons – lingonberry and licorice.  Skal!

Crayfish skewers at the House of Sweden - photo credit Jordan Wright

Crayfish skewers at the House of Sweden - photo credit Jordan Wright

Swedish sweets display is irresistible  - photo credit Jordan Wright

Swedish sweets display is irresistible - photo credit Jordan Wright

Very Cherry Celebrations Continued…

National Mall Cherry Blossoms

National Mall Cherry Blossoms

It’s the centennial anniversary of Japan’s gift of 3,000 cherry trees to our nation’s capitol and the gorgeous blossoms have opened early this year. Personally I prefer to see them at the end of their bloom time when they are cascading to the ground like pink snow, but there’s no reason not to start the celebrations now.  Here’s what’s going on around town.

The National Gallery of Art and the Smithsonian’s Freer and Sackler Galleries will present Japan Spring on the National Mall.  These concurrent exhibitions—Colorful Realm: Japanese Bird-and-Flower Paintings by Itō Jakuchū (1716–1800), at the National Gallery of Art (March 30–April 29, 2012), and Masters of Mercy: Buddha’s Amazing Disciples (March 10–July 8, 2012) and Hokusai: 36 Views of Mount Fuji (March 24–June 17, 2012) at the Smithsonian’s Arthur M. Sackler Gallery arrive in the nation’s capital this spring.  www.nga.gov

Legal Sea Foods tempts with dishes available exclusively at their Chinatown spot.  Highlights include the red salad with radicchio, crumbled Gorgonzola, candied pecans, dried cherries and balsamic vinaigrette; cherry glazed Atlantic salmon with watercress salad and potato gaufrettes; and a surf-and-turf with grilled hanger steak with a cherry demi glaze and crab stuffed potato and haricot verte.  A decadent cherries jubilee with vanilla ice cream completes the theme.  Cocktail enthusiasts will appreciate the Cherry Blossom made with Cherry Heering, lemon juice, Fee Brothers Cherry Bitters and topped with Cava.  www.legalseafoods.com/restaurants/washington-dc-7th-street

Sakura cherry blossom cocktail

Sakura cherry blossom cocktail

Cuba Libre Restaurant & Rum Bar hops on the bandwagon with several entrees to cherry-charm you Latin style.  Try Salmón con Salsa de Guindas, Cherry BBQ Glazed Grilled Salmon Fillet with Roasted Sweet Potato Mash and Fennel-Cherry Blossom Salad.  In the dessert department get your fix with the Pastel Rustico de Cerezas, Warm Cherry Clafouti with White Chocolate Ice Cream.  Instead of sipping one of the restaurant’s signature mojitos welcome the spring with vanilla-cherry Coke, a drink made from aged rum infused with cherry brandy and topped with Classic Coke.  www.cubalibrerestaurant.com

At Urbana Restaurant and Wine Bar lead bartender, Obinna Emenyonu, will serve the Tuscan Flor made with cherry and apple purée, vodka, yuzu and prosecco and served with a brandied cherry garnish.  www.urbanadc.com

At the 1789 Restaurant in Georgetown Executive Chef Anthony Lombardo is planning a dish of pan roasted duck breast with cherry quinoa, crispy duck confit and duck consommé and for dessert Pastry Chef Mallory Staley will create fried cherry pie.  Love that they have free valet parking!  www.1789Restaurant.com.

The Park Hyatt Washington wants you to try a special Sakura cocktail that will be available in the Park Hyatt Lounge and Blue Duck Tavern during the festival.  The Sakura is made from a combination of Prairie Organic Vodka, Cherry Puree, Cherry Syrup, Cherry Bitters, Va de Vi Sparking Wine and garnished with a Cherry.  www.blueducktavern.com.

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