Monday, November 10, 2014

Metro Cooking DC 2014 - Day Two Summary

Bobby Flay at the Celebrity Theater

T'was smooth sailing on day two of the ninth annual Metro Cooking DC, thanks in large part to new management (E.J. Krause & Associates, Inc.) Want proof? Look no further than the RAMW Grand Tasting Pavilion, which was an absolute breeze (and joy) to navigate... a major improvement upon last year's edition. Even the food was better (read our review here.) However, man doesn't live on tastings alone (even 50 of 'em!) There were celebrities (Bobby Flay, perhaps you've heard of him) and a slew of book signings, cooking demos and vendors... more than enough to keep even the choosiest foodie happy.

Flay got things started in grand fashion, captivating a capacity crowd at the Celebrity Theater for a full hour in the morning (and again, later in the afternoon.) Between Flay and Saturday's headliner (Guy Fieri) you'd be hard pressed to find a more entertaining and polished duo in the cooking industry. The audience literally gobbled Flay up, peppering the Iron Chef with questions and advice: Flay even promised to promote using all of his ingredients, at the behest of one pushy attendee. Keep in mind, I'm the one who said pushy (trust me, she was.) Flay couldn't have been nicer. Case in point: Flay admitted that his wife wants his buddy (and fellow Iron Chef) Michael Symon to cook her final meal (ouch.) To be fair, she wants Bobby to be there (to help eat it.) What a sport!

2941 Restaurant's Caitlin Dysart at James Beard Cooking Stage

Todd English (MXDC) was on hand as well, signing copies of his new book Cooking In Everyday English: The ABCs of Great Flavor at Home. I really wanted to see him; but his appearance coincided with the Grand Tasting and... Do I need to explain myself? I was this close to falling in love with Medium Rare's Steak and Frites Sandwich; or was it the Jerked Pork Belly with Tomato Slaw & Lime Vinaigrette from Nage Bistro? Who knows? Suffice it to say, I was busy stuffing my face; so I can only hope Mr. English returns next year (preferably before or after the Grand Tasting.)

Kim Nelson of Daisy Cakes

I'd be remiss if I didn't sing the praises of a few vendors that caught my eye yesterday & Saturday. Hobby Hill Farm took top honors for Best Bite in Show, courtesy of their insanely good Sweet & Heat Tomato Jam. SuperSeedz wowed me with eight innovative flavors of pumpkin seeds; while the Walker Food Group put a smile on my face with a playful spin on popcorn (remember Life Savers' classic 5 Flavors?) Speaking of innovative... You simply have to try KIND's line of savory protein bars (may I recommend Roasted JalapeƱo and Thai Sweet Chili?) Did I mention each bar packs 10 grams of protein to boot? I could go on and on; but I'll let my camera do the rest of the talking. See you next year (I can hardly wait!)

Executive Chef Laurence Cohen of Carmine's

Adam Petyo & Andrew Kapanoske (r) of Medium Rare

Nage Bistro - 1600 Rhode Island Ave., NW

EatWell DC's The Pig - 1320 14th Street, NW

General Manager Jess Woods of Room 11

Smith & Wollensky - 1112 19th Street, NW

Co-Owner Sherman Outhuok from Thally

Zenful Bites

George's Mixes

Honest Fizz Zero Calorie Soda

Grey Ghost Bakery

Dress It Up Dressing

Indoor Smokeless Stove Top Grill

Rosca Ajos Garlic Grater