Raising the Bar!
DC’s Columbia Room is now officially the “Best American Cocktail Bar.” “We’re exceedingly proud to have won this award, and we’re also extremely proud to bring it back to DC,” says Derek Brown, the co-owner of Columbia Room and the president of Drink Company. Columbia Room edged out three other contenders at the “Tales of the Cocktail” festival: Anvil Bar and Refuge of Houston, Attaboy of New York, and Trick Dog in San Francisco — “bars we greatly admire,” says Brown.
The Columbia Room started as a bar-within-a-bar at The Passenger, located at 1539 7th St. NW. Last year, it moved into its own space at 124 Blagden Alley, NW. The 2,400-square-foot location has three different spaces within, including The Punch Garden, the Spirits Library, and the Tasting Room. It also features full-time Chef Johnny Spero, formerly of Minibar, who pairs many of the drink and course offerings available on a nightly basis.
Brown credits Angie Fetherston, the CEO of Drink Company, and head bartender JP Fetherston, as well as the entire staff. “We have so many hardworking people who are part of this,” he says, adding, ”Awards are cool, don’t get me wrong, but the best single thing a person can do is become a return guest. That’s when you’ve really won.”

Excellence in Annapolis and Bel Air
The Double T Diner in Annapolis and 510 Johnnys of Bel Air, Md. have been recognized with an Achievement of Excellence Award by the American Culinary Federation. The award, given during the ACF’s annual convention in July, recognizes foodservice establishments and the chef or kitchen for their commitment to excellence in foodservice. Establishments must have been in business for at least five consecutive years, have employed the same chef or kitchen manager for a minimum of two years, and be open a minimum of five days a week.
Double T Diner restaurants serve breakfast food, lunch, dinner, and homemade desserts at eight locations in Maryland. Four of them are open 24 hours a day, including the Double T Diner at 12 Defense Street in Annapolis. Johnnys 501 is a live music and sports bar at 510 Marketplace Drive in Bel Air.
The American Culinary Federation boasts more than 17,500 members in more than 150 chapters nationwide. It offers educational resources, training, apprenticeship, and programmatic accreditation. ACF’s 2018 event series will take place in Charlotte, North Carolina, Feb. 25-27; Newport Beach, California, March 18-20; and conclude with Cook. Craft. Create. ACF National Convention & Show, July 15-19, in New Orleans. Start planning!

Author! Author!
On September 1, historian and author David McCullough will discuss his latest work, The American Spirit, Who We Are and What We Stand For, at DC’s iconic Hay-Adams Hotel. McCullough has been acclaimed as a “master of the art of narrative history.” He is a winner of two Pulitzer Prizes, two National Book Awards, and has received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian award. In his latest book, McCullough has collected some of his most notable speeches in a brief volume designed to identify important principles and characteristics that are particularly American. It is a timely tome, to be sure.
The Hay-Adams’ Author Series, where literary crowds honor literary masters, is an on-going event, which welcomes outstanding writers in a historic setting at the Top of the Hay. Tickets are priced at $90 per person (all inclusive), which includes a three-course, prix fixe menu with wine pairings. The menu, themed around the book, will be created by Vice President & General Manager Hans Bruland and Executive Chef Nicolas Legret. McCullough will sign and personalize copies of his book after the luncheon. Tickets go on sale August 11 and will be available online at or by calling (202) 638-6600.

Testing, testing, testing…
Culinary innovator José Andrés and ThinkFoodGroup launched its first ThinkFoodLab pop-up in mid-July, featuring food from “Pepe,” the company’s popular food truck — known for its casual Spanish fare. From its space in Market Square at 701 Pennsylvania Ave., NW, the company’s research and development chef team is testing several fast-casual food options in a consumer-facing space. “ThinkFoodLab will give us the opportunity to test fast-casual concepts with a direct line to our guests,” notes Joe Raffa, executive chef of ThinkFoodGroup. “We’re looking forward to bringing an expanded menu of Pepe offerings to Penn Quarter for this first pop-up and then testing new and exciting fast-casual ideas at ThinkFoodLab.”
The pop-up’s offerings include Spanish Style sandwiches or bocatas of José’s native Spain, including the Pan de Cristal sandwich made with light, crispy traditional Spanish bread. In addition, there are grab-and-go sandwiches, salads, and homemade Leche Merengada soft serve.
How long with the pop up be around? The team members haven’t set a date. Once they feel they’ve perfected the Pepe concept within this brick-and-mortar setting, they’ll move on to the next idea. Stay tuned!

Viva Sous-Vide!
Cuisine Solutions’ Chief Scientist and Founder of The Culinary Research and Education Academy (CREA), Dr. Bruno Goussault, has been named one of the 100 greatest visionaries by The Einstein Legacy Project, in a publishing milestone, the world’s first 3D-printed book – Genius: 100 Visions of the Future.  Dr. Goussault is recognized in both the culinary and scientific worlds as “the father of sous-vide” for his work pioneering and innovating the cooking technique in 1971.
As chief scientist for Cuisine Solutions, he oversees all the scientific aspects of the company’s sous-vide cooking processes, methods, parameters, and quality assurance programs. Goussault helped design and build five sous-vide cooking manufacturing facilities in the U.S., France, Chile, Brazil, Norway, and Africa. He founded Centre de Recherche et d’Etudes pour l’Alimentation in Paris in 1991, where he has trained many of the world’s top chefs on the application of precise temperature sous-vide cooking.
Bruno Goussault obtained a Ph.D. in economics from the University of Paris Pantheon, a post graduate degree from the d’Etudes et du Developpement Economique et Social, and a M.S. degree in food technology from the Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Industries Agricoles et Alimentaires.

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