RAMW 2012 Summer Restaurant Week
Favorites from DC's expanded restaurant week.
August 10, 2012
A dish from Belga Café's winter restaurant week.
Over 230 restaurants are participating in the annual Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington (RAMW) Summer Restaurant Week, which takes place August 13 through 19. This year’s event will be the largest and most diverse Restaurant Week to date, with fine dining establishments and casual eateries located across an array of areas across Washington, Maryland, and Virginia. Enjoy the best dining in the region as each restaurant crafts their premier three-course, prix-fixe lunch and dinner menus.
Some highlights? Celebrity chef and former Top Chef contestant Mike Isabella has two restaurants, Graffiato and Bandolero, participating this year. Restaurant Ris is offering a selection of Julia Child’s signature dishes on a special “All Things Julia” package as part of the celebration surrounding the pioneering chef’s 100th birthday. The lunch menu costs $20.12, and dinner is priced at $35.12. To book reservations and view a complete list of participating restaurants, visit restaurantweekmetrodc.org.
Top Wine, Cuisine, Accommodations at Goodstone Inn & Restaurant
Idyllic ambiance and endless wine options abound in Middleburg.
July 31, 2012
Recently named one of “America’s 100 Best Wine Restaurants” by Wine Enthusiast magazine, Goodstone Inn & Restaurant in Middleburg, VA offers the quintessential romantic fall getaway in the heart of the region’s wine and equestrian country. Awarded for its extensive and creative wine list, fine dining, and superior service, Goodstone features contemporary American-French cuisine made with farm-fresh ingredients.
Guests can select wines by the glass or bottle, or request recommended pairings to bring out the locally-grown food’s exceptional flavor. The wine list consists of approximately 400 choices from 12 countries, and patrons can also participate in unique wine-focused dining—the private wine cellar dining room seats 12 guests and houses over 1,500 bottles of wine from across the globe. Goodstone Inn & Restaurant also frequently hosts special wine tasting dinners.
The five-star inn’s elegant accommodations include 18 guestrooms and suites in six individual residences; the property—located on 265 acres of rolling hills and farmland—was once a private working farm and homestead. Condé Nast Johansens recently awarded Goodstone Inn with their “The Most Excellent Inn in North America” award for two consecutive years in a row. 36205 Snake Hill Road, Middleburg, VA, 540-687-3333
Drybar to Make DC Debut in October
We chat with Alli Webb, genius behind the blowout-only salon.
July 27, 2012
Alli Webb, expert stylist and mother of two, seamlessly blended practicality and creativity when she founded Drybar in Los Angeles in 2010. Seeing a gap in the market for affordable yet professional blowouts, Webb created Drybar, a strictly blowout salon that places an emphasis on customer service. Drybars now have a cult-like following in California, Texas, Arizona, Georgia, and New York, where satisfied customers appreciate the $40 blow-drys and an assortment of styles for any day or occasion—from sleek, straight “Manhattans” to the “Cosmo’s” bouncy, loose curls, or an “Up-tini” up-do. Next up: Washington, where two DC-area locations are set to debut in October. Once opened, appointments can be booked by phone, website or iPhone app. 4840 Bethesda Avenue, Bethesda; 240-483-4277; 1825 Wisconsin Avenue, NW; 202-609-8644
You have worked with a long list of famous musicians and celebrity stylists in both public relations and salon settings; what inspired you to create Drybar?
ALLI WEBB: Drybar was created out of personal necessity. Being a curly hair girl, I loved getting blowouts, but there were only two choices out there for woman—a discount chain salon where the experience is off, or a full service where you have to pay upwards of $80 for a blowout. I saw a huge hole in the market and wanted to create a fun, cool affordable bar where woman could get a great blowout at a great price, and have fun doing it!
Tell us a bit about Drybar’s business model.
AW: It's a very simple concept. All we do are blowouts. No cuts, no color. We also don't up charge for anything! Long, thick, curly, or straight hair, it's always one flat price of $40.
What products do you use at Drybar, and how do you pick your stylists?
AW: We use Moroccan Oil and L'Oreal Professional. Our stylists go through an extensive audition process before they are hired. Once hired, they are trained with our elite group of Master Stylists.
Do preferred styles differ by region?
AW: We definitely see a lot of Mai Tais (messy, beachy hair) on the West Coast and quite a few Southern Comforts (big hair, lots of volume) in Dallas. So yes, I'd say we have different favorite styles from city to city.
Will a DC-inspired 'do be added to the menu?
AW: Our menu has something for everyone. But if we see any DC-specific trends emerging, we'll definitely consider a menu addition!
How would you describe Washington’s hair trends?
AW: Washington is known as being a conservative city, but I've seen a lot of fabulous women with great hair in this town.
What can guests expect from each visit?
AW: Amazing customer service, beautiful hair and having a blast while sitting at our bar watching a chick flick (while they charge their iPhone!). We are obsessed with making every Drybar guest leave looking and feeling like a million bucks.
What type of atmosphere do you aim to create at Drybar?
AW: It's all about the atmosphere. Aesthetically, we wanted to create a warm and friendly space that was also clean, feminine, and sophisticated. Our goal was also to create an atmosphere that looked, felt, and smelled nothing like a traditional salon. Beyond the design, we are really obsessed with every little detail that goes into making the Drybar experience special and unique. It starts with over-the-top customer service, a carefully curated music playlist and movie line-up, complimentary champagne, as well as spa water infused with fresh fruit. The list goes on and on, but let's leave some surprises!
Citi Open Tennis Match Takes Over the Capitol
From July 28–August 5, the annual tennis event brings matches and more to DC.
July 25, 2012
Part of the US Open tennis series, Washington’s annual Citi Open is a chance to see world-class hard-court tennis from players such as Olympic silver medalist Mardy Fish, currently ranked number 12 in the world, and James Blake. Events throughout the week include a National Parks Recreation Family Day on July 28, a wine tasting night (presented by Lexus) on August 2, and a chef challenge on July 30. A portion of the proceeds benefit the Washington Tennis & Education Foundation. Ticket prices vary by day. William H.G. FitzGerald Tennis Center, 16th and Kennedy Streets NW, 202-721-9500
Q&A With: Debra Messing on HIV/AIDS Advocacy
Acclaimed actress shares story behind her other role.
July 23, 2012
Actress Debra Messing—best known for her Emmy Award-winning role in the television series Will & Grace, and her latest acting challenge on the TV hit Smash—is also a world-traveling ambassador for Population Services International (PSI). The Washington-based global health organization is dedicated to improving the health of people in the developing world, focusing on serious challenges like a lack of family planning, HIV/AIDS, barriers to maternal health, and the greatest threats to children under five, including malaria, diarrhea, pneumonia, and malnutrition.
Messing will be in Washington at the Corcoran College of Art + Design on Wednesday, July 25 with Norway’s Crown Princess Mette Marit for the 2012 Impact Awards. The event honors men and women from the fields of art, science, government, and media who are making a lasting impact in the fight against AIDS and HIV.
Capitol File had the opportunity to ask Messing a few questions about her second career as an AIDS/HIV activist.
In 2010, you testified before Congress, highlighting the need for more HIV/AIDS funding in developing countries. What has happened in the two years since you came to Washington for those meetings?
DEBRA MESSING: Today we are talking about creating an AIDS-free generation—that’s very different from two years ago. If you look at progress over the past decade, a dramatic and complete picture emerges. New HIV infections and AIDS-related deaths are at the lowest levels since the peak of the epidemic in 2001. The number of people living with HIV decreased by more than 25 percent between 2001 and 2009. But there are still two new HIV infections for every one HIV-infected person placed on treatment. So clearly there is still work to be done.
I’ve recently returned from a trip to Zambia in my role as an Ambassador for the global health organization, PSI. One thing people will be talking about at the International AIDS 2012 conference is the importance of “combination prevention” or packaging HIV prevention tools to approach prevention from every angle—for example, when we get more people tested, and more men circumcised and encourage fewer sexual partners, and make condoms readily available—we start to see greater results.
What kind of HIV-prevention initiatives are having the most success here in the United States and abroad? Are they different here in this country?
DM: There’s still no single HIV intervention that offers complete protection. The power is in combination. Attacking HIV prevention from multiple angles—condoms, male circumcision, counseling, and testing, stigma and discrimination along with other interventions—reduces the chances of new infections dramatically.
When do you have time to devote yourself to international aid work?
DM: My dear friend and favorite acting teacher, for whom my son is named, died of AIDS complications. It destroyed me. I vowed I would do what I could to change how people with HIV/AIDS were treated.
So my role as an advocate for HIV and AIDS issues is personal, and very important to me. I make it a point to find the time in my schedule to visit programs and meet the people who benefit from them. I try to keep the issue front and center for policy makers because I understand the pain and loss that results from an inability to prevent and treat HIV.
What do you hope will come from your work on behalf of PSI?
DM: There is a person behind every statistic. My role is to share the stories of people I’ve met to those who have the power to build a stronger global response to the AIDS epidemic. It’s incredibly important to put a human face on this issue. And, increasingly it’s a woman’s face.
We haven’t done enough to prevent new infections, and we aren’t reaching enough people with the treatment they need to stay alive. I simply want to contribute. I want to be part of the solution.
5 Odd Foods Around DC
Creative dishes with unexpected ingredient combinations abound in the Capitol.
July 19, 2012
Quench's Choco-Frito sundae redefines salty-sweet.
Restaurants around Washington are offering creative dishes with inventive ingredient combinations, resulting in marriages of unique, mouthwatering flavors.
Start your “Odd Foods” tour at Café Saint-Ex on 14th Street in Northwest by ordering house-made bread and pork butter spread. Comprised of rendered pork fat, the odd-sounding combination actually tastes like fresh bacon and melting butter on warm, fresh bread. 1847 14th St. NW, 202-265-7839
Another tasty snack can be found at Founding Farmers in Penn Quarter. The flavors of their “popcorn of the day” change daily, ranging from ranch style to Mexican chocolate to Old Bay butter and beyond. 1924 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, 202-822-8783
Stemming from the seemingly ever-lasting cupcake craze is Bourbon Steak’s savory BBQ pulled pork “cupcake”—a rich cheddar-and-scallion biscuit filled with succulent smoked pork shoulder. The made-to-order comfort food does brisk business after 5 PM; call 20 minutes ahead to ensure you snag one. 2800 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, 202-944-2026
For dessert, upscale neighborhood bar in Rockville, Quench, offers a fired-up take on sweet and salty cuisine with their Choco-Frito sundae. Homemade dark chocolate-and-cinnamon spice Mexican ice cream rests between two layers of Fritos Corn Chip brittle and candied Frito crisps, and is topped with cinnamon whipped cream and a dark chocolate drizzle. 9712 Traville Gateway Dr., Rockville, 301-424-8650
Another odd-sounding but tasty sweet is the Italian-inspired cheesecake at Assaggi Mozzarella Bar in Bethesda. Brown-sugar caramelized rosemary pancetta is mixed with a blend of mascarpone, sheep’s milk ricotta cheese, and orange zest, then baked on an almond crust. 4838 Bethesda Ave., Bethesda, 301-951-1988
Be Beautiful Be Yourself Fashion Show at Sewall-Belmont House
Support the Global Down Syndrome Foundation's important mission.
July 17, 2012
Support the Global Down Syndrome Foundation’s dedication to improving the lives of those affected by Down syndrome at the Be Beautiful Be Yourself Fashion Show this Thursday, July 19 (6:30 PM). The evening will spotlight models with Down syndrome, a celebrity musical performer, and expert speakers to raise awareness about the chromosomal disorder. $250, RSVP by calling 703-683-7500. Sewall-Belmont House, 144 Constitution Ave. NE
3 Favorite Resort 2013 Lines
DVF, Michael Kors, and Dior reveal exquisite Resort collections.
July 16, 2012
Regardless of where your winter travels take you, Diane von Furstenberg’s Resort 2013 collection has pieces suited for every coast and continent. Inspired by America’s iconic shorelines and skylines, the “Zoom” line features a feminine mix of relaxed fits and structured pieces. Von Furstenberg recently traveled to Bhutan, Nepal and India, and her versatile pieces reflect a wardrobe that requires minimal packing. Cheerful separates with feminine ruffles, pleats, and prints take any sightseer from daytime to evening.
Bejeweled collars. Satin and python prints in vibrant hues. Metallic lace and ikat patterns inspired by the women in Istanbul. All of these details can be found in Michael Kors’ Resort 2013 collection, which has the designer’s signature sporty take on American glamour. Coats, shorts, knits, swimsuits, and floor-length gowns are styled according to what Kors calls “opulent minimalism,” making this simple, yet luxurious collection appropriate for the Capitol’s chicest.
Designer Bill Gaytten’s last collection for the house of Dior is timeless and feminine, with graphic silhouettes, flared frocks, full skirts, floral prints, and belted dresses. Wearable shapes include flattering 1950s-era waist-defining pieces with peplum tops and skinny trousers. Clean-cut yet bold, this upscale collection is full of chic staples for a vacation on the high seas or a dinner in your hometown.
Belgian Restaurant Week: July 14-21
Sample Belgian bites, RSVP for a dinner at the ambassador's residence, and more.
July 13, 2012
Taste the best of Belgian cuisine—waffles, mussels, beer and more—during Belgian Restaurant Week July 14-21. “Brew at the Zoo,” the National Zoo’s annual fundraiser, kicked things off on July 12 with a VIP event, but the fine eating options continue through the 21st.
Traditional and modern delicacies are front and center at participating restaurants like Belga Café, Brabo, Brasserie Beck, Et Voila!, Marcel’s, Granville Moore’s, and Locolat; all offer prix-fixe menus from July 14-21. Other events during the week include special brunches and chef competitions.
Embassy of France Honors Bastille Day
Celebrate Bastille Day a bit early at the Embassy of France this Friday.
July 12, 2012
Celebrate Bastille Day a bit early at the Embassy of France this Friday, July 13 (7 AM-12 AM). The Embassy’s celebration is set to feature an elaborate buffet of French cuisine, pastries, wines, and spirits curated by Washington’s premier French chefs. Between cocktails and dancing, bid on luxury items and art as part of the silent auction. The event benefits Le Comite Tricolore, a non-profit dedicated to helping Washington’s French-American community. $90. 4101 Reservoir Rd. NW, 202-944-6400
Celebrating the White House Correspondents’ Association’s annual dinner at Carnegie Library.