Monday, November 4, 2013

Metro Cooking DC - Day 2 Summary

Debi Mazar & Gabrielle Corcos (r) at Celebrity Theater

40 Bites of Heaven

So much for taking it easy: Day two of the the eighth annual Metro Cooking DC show at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center was bigger, better and tastier than ever, culminating in a smörgåsbord of deliciousness... a Grand Tasting to benefit the Capital Area Food Bank. Thousands of area food lovers were on hand to sample foods, and enjoy cooking demos with celebrity chefs Timothy Dean, Jason Roberts, Debi Mazar & Gabrielle Corcos. Me? I'm still smiling over lunch.

There's a reason I titled this post "40 Bites of Heaven." Some of the top restaurants in the DC Metropolitan area participated in the Grand Tasting Pavilion, providing tasty samples from their menus... Venison & wild boar chili from Dean & Deluca, Grilled salmon ceviche from Del Campo, Cauliflower soup with bacon & date jam from Pulpo. You name it, and odds are... it was here.

Chef Jason Roberts shows how to test a meringue

Top honors for creativity go to the fine folks at Taberna Del Alabardero, who wowed the crowd with its mix of serrano ham, tomato sauce & cotton candy (see below.) If not for Café Dupont, it would have walked away with the title of "most talked about" dish; but that would mean overlooking Silvan Kramer's glorious presentation of braised short ribs, Swiss chard bone marrow & Virginia stone grits, tucked inside a clever tin. That tin... Everybody was talking about it, and with good reason: Clever, clever. P.S. The ribs were delicious, to boot.

Silvan Kramer, Director of Food & Beverage at Café Dupont

Speaking of delicious, Shaw upstart Thally raised the bar with it's scrumptious bite of beet with spiced goat cheese, fig, walnut oil & bread crumbs. Beautiful to look at, and even better to devour. Right next door (so to speak) The Hamilton and the third best taste of the day... Apple cider-braised beef short ribs with sweet potato puree & Brussels sprouts. I could have hidden in this corner all afternoon. Best of all, the employees of each establishment couldn't have been nicer or more patient. I wish the same were true for the folks at the 1789 Restaurant station, who appeared almost resentful of those wishing to try their slow roasted pork shoulder. Talk about getting the cold shoulder.

Greek Cookie Tasting with Amy Riolo & Luigi Diotaiuti (r)

Palette cleansers were available too, led by a yummy hibiscus ginger tea (Bourbon Steak) and my favorite drink of the day... Cinnamon pepper-infused tea with cranberry, grapefruit & club soda from Café Saint-Ex. Also worth mentioning - Cedar's Red Burro mocktail (black berry puree, ginger beer & lime.) Life is good: If only there was room for dessert...

OK, who are we kidding? There were lots of sweet treats available, including an assortment of breads, cakes & macarons from Paul; and a dynamic duo (pumpkin bread, red velvet cupcake) from Angela Winter's Sweet Teensy in Bethesda. Honorable mention goes to Dolci Gelati, who turned me on to my new favorite... Pistachio Gelato. Sweet.

Brad Turner AKA "The Grill Sergeant" 

After that, I won't lie... I was stuffed like a suitcase. I walked around, snapped some photos and sat in on Debi Mazar & Gabrielle Corcos's cooking demo at the Celebrity Theater. I even bought a few items at the Holiday Bazaar, before finding my way home (and a much-needed nap.) I can't wait until next year!

Taste of the Day from Café Dupont

Runner-up Taste of the Day from Thally

Most Creative goes to Taberna Del Alabardero