Sunday, December 4, 2016

Metro Cooking DC 2016 - Day 2 Summary

Try Carmine's Homemade Tiramisu... Trust me

I whet my appetite at yesterday's BBQ Bash, but true foodies know... MetroCooking DC is all mostly about the RAMW Grand Tasting Pavilion. Three hours (just one for me, I eat fast) of non-stop feasting, courtesy of 50 top local restaurants such as Carluccio's, Carmine's and Toro Toro. $57 never spent so well.

Of course, that's not all that was going on at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center. There were celebrity chef appearances galore, including Jacques PépinErik Bruner-YangCaitlin DysartDavid Guas and Tim Ma. And enough exhibitors (shout out to Milton's Local, who just replaced Benton's as the best bacon I've ever had) to keep you crazy busy before noon, and after 3. In case you missed it (and shame on you, if you did) I suggest circling December 9-10, 2017 (next year's MetroCooking DC) on your calendar for the ultimate culinary save-the-date.

The legendary Jacques Pépin holds court on the James Beard Stage

Dallas Popcorn

District Doughnut's incredible Vanilla Chai Creme Brûlée doughnuts

Moctec Mexican Products

Rosca Ajos Garlic Grater

Route 11 Potato Chips

Way Better Snacks

Zest Tea

DC Outlook's #1 "Bite o' the RAMW Grand Tasting Pavilion"... Circa

Top 10 Bites o' the RAMW Grand Tasting Pavilion...

10. Sugar Shack Donuts & Coffee: Good things come in small packages, and Sugar Shack's tiny Cranberry-Orange donut finished a close second for best dessert of the day.

Cranberry-Orange donut from Sugar Shack Donuts & Coffee

9. Bangkok Joe's: Coconut milk and a surprisingly tender roti (flatbread) propel this elegant bite (Lamb Massaman Curry Roti) into our top 10. Haven't been back since their grand reopening, but that's about to change.

Lamb Massaman Curry Roti from Bangkok Joe's

8. Colada Shop: Almost too pretty to eat, but don't let the good looks fool ya. Colada Shop's Tres Leches is lights out scrumptious. Rum-infused and terrific vanilla meringue topping. Can't wait to try their empanadas.

Colada Shop's Tres Leches

7. Zengo: I'm a big huge fan of Richard Sandoval, but have yet to have a full meal at Zengo. If the rest of the menu is as good as Zengo's glazingly yummy Chicken Meatball, I'm way overdue for an official visit. Be warned, it's a lot of teriyaki (is that a bad thing?) but I'm already planning on serving my (infinitely inferior) copy at our holiday party in a couple of weeks. Wish me luck.

Zengo's Chicken Meatball with Teriyaki Glaze

6. Paolo's: This Georgetown favorite celebrates its 30th anniversary next year, and one thing's for sure... they know how to make (a really, really good) pasta. Tortellini Rose was hot, plentiful and loaded with zesty fillings such as cheese, mushrooms, pesto and proscuitto. Yum.

Paolo's Tortellini Rose

5. Nage Bistro: Executive Chef Dwayne Motley never disappoints; so it's no surprise to see his braised oxtail with grits in our top 10. Dynamite grits, and oxtail is (shamingly) overlooked. Don't be afraid to order it... especially Motley's.

Braised Oxtail and Grits from Nage Bistro

4. Carluccio's: Not so much a bite, as a full-fledged meal. Tasty meatball, and to-die-for bruschetta (although I didn't get any of the promised yellow peppers, drat.) But the real star is Caponata, an eggplant stew stuffed with capers, olives and pine nuts. Run, don't walk to their Alexandria and Pike & Rose locations.

Carluccio's Meatball, Bruschetta & Caponata 

3. Carmine's: Carluccio's meatball was good: Carmine's was even better. If you've had them before, this comes as no surprise; but their homemade Tiramisu was nothing short of divine. How do they do it?

Carmine's Meatball & Homemade Tiramisu

2. Agua 301: It looks simple, but I could live on tacos... especially ones this good. The meat was expertly prepared (and marinated.) And the all-important texture of the taco was spot on. It's a miracle I didn't go back for seconds or thirds.

Agua 301's Brisket Taco

1. Circa Foggy Bottom: Unbelievable (brioche) bun, reminded me of a croissant. And the meat... tender & zesty, with a blue cheese slaw that had me smiling from ear to ear. Near perfection.

Mustard BBQ Short Rib Slider