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Take A Look at the ‘Latest Dish’

The most read column in Foodservice Monthly is the one that belongs to the dean of reporting on the restaurant scene in Washington DC … Linda Roth Conte. Before blogs, before the obsessive food network and reality television, before food sections became foodie world … you know when it was a laundry list of homemaker recipes and grocery ads … Linda was keeping tabs on Washington chefs and restaurants. What’s cool is that Linda is just as relevant in today’s world as she was 20 years ago (we don’t count much beyond that). I thought as we put together the June issue, I would showcase Linda’s column.

The foto is from Mighty Leaf’s “Tea on Tap” program.

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Tasty Trends Tea Off at NRA Show

by Linda Roth Conte

Tasty Trends – the NRA Show Round-Up: The country’s largest restaurant show was buzzing with tea – hot tea, cold tea, flavored tea, fusion tea, organic tea, hand-crafted tea. Tea drinkers now have their day – or year at least – as tea drinks appear to be giving coffee drinks a run for the money. Thirty-two booths showcased tea, and more offered tea-making equipment. The PR firm (not mine) for Mighty Leaf Tea Company got my attention and my vote for best display. My favorite item of the show was a tie: Cholives – chocolate olives for chocolate martinis or dessert garnish, and Bagel O’s – pre-filled (think flavored cream cheese) bite-sized bagels that appear to be the quintessential bagel holes. The most useful item was the Wine Doggy Bag, especially since regulations in DC are changing so guests can take home unfinished bottles of wine in a sealed bag.

It’s official. The St. Regis Washington, DC has restaurant star power, partnering with internationally acclaimed chef, Alain Ducasse, to open “Adour by Chef Alain Ducasse” restaurant on property. Don’t try to translate into English, as Adour is named after a river in southwestern France where Ducasse was born. The St. Regis star power extends to New York-based award-winning architect, David Rockwell, and his Rockwell Group as the design firm for Adour. A September opening is planned.

Mauricio Fraga-Rosenfeld plans to expand his burgeoning empire when he opens Peruvian-themed Yaku in the Odyssey condominium building in the Courthouse Square sector of Arlington. Yaku, which means “water” in Quechua, the Inca language, will serve Chinese-influenced Peruvian dishes, called “chifa.” Chef Gisela Laos was imported by Mauricio from Peru where she ran a culinary school. Never one to be satisfied, he also plans to open in Glover Park’s Grog & Tankard space. Next on his list? A national rollout of a new concept – stay tuned.

Cure Bar & Bistro is the new name of the spot in the Grand Hyatt Washington hotel (not Ardenz which I had previously reported) where Butler’s Cigar Bar used to be. Cure is open and well.

Bill Thomas will open Breadsoda in Glover Park space on Wisconsin Avenue where my Bakery & Café used to be. Breadsoda is a slang term for beer. Guess what they will feature? Yes, beer , wine and coffee drinks –as well as sandwiches. Thomas also owns Bourbon in Glover Park and in Adams Morgan.

We’ve got all kinds of bars in this region – coffee bars, wine bars, dessert bars. Now we have a mozzarella bar. Chef Domenico Cornacchia, formerly of Café Milano, has opened Assaggi, an Italian restaurant as well as mozzarella bar – in downtown Bethesda where Centro used to be. The mozzarella is from California and (in the spirit of supporting local farmers) Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains, as well as Italy. Produce and meats are also from local farms in Pennsylvania’s Amish country.

Andy Seligman, owner of The Angry Inch Saloon in Adams Morgan is getting a fresh look as well as a new name. The popular bar will become True Story by mid-summer (according to plan) with a new décor by up-and-coming designer John Hutson, who also did the design for Seligman’s other place in Adams Morgan, Grand Central.

Fire and water translates to a new restaurant at an old firehouse. Old Engine Co.12 on North Capitol Street was sold to Brian Brown, who plans to turn the three-story 10,000 square-foot space into 2020 Martini. This is a concept developed by Twyla Garrett of Cleveland-based Garrett Entertainment Corp. Building renovation cost is expected to peak around $2.4 million, while another $1 million is slated to build the restaurant. The restaurant will be similar to Garrett’s Cleveland concept — a restaurant and martini bar serving brick-oven pizzas, pasta and sushi. Sushi and pizzas will be served via conveyor belt. A coffee lounge is part of the formula, as is a rooftop deck. The 30-foot martini bar will have water running through it and fire atop it – hence the fire and water theme. An opening date has not been determined.

Ye old’ Childe Harold off Dupont Circle is now Darlington House. It offers an Italian-influenced New American menu. The upstairs salon focuses on dinners; downstairs street level (the cantina) includes an outdoor patio with deluxe bar fare. Owner Fabio Beggiato also owns Sesto Senso, Andalu and Cleveland Park Bar & Grill. He plans to open a third-floor library lounge that will offer cappuccino, pastries and WiFi.

Bodega, a tapas-focused Spanish restaurant, opened where Manhattan Café used to be on M Street in Georgetown. It offers tapas and traditional paellas and is owned by the same Moroccan family of the nearby News Café.

Learning how to cook is the first step, be it a profession or a hobby. That’s the plan for veteran L’Academie de Cuisine instructors Susan Holt and Susan Watterson. They plan to start their own school for the public, CulinAerie (pronounced “culinary”) this fall. The Logan Circle area facility will offer two kitchens with flat screen TVs and customized workstations. Will a “training restaurant” be the next step – a la the CIA?

On the Calendar: Don’t forget to Set the Global Table on Sunday, June 29 at the RAMMY Awards at the Marriott Wardman Park. Have you practiced your acceptance speech and bought your tickets yet?

Visit your favorite chefs this summer at local farmer’s markets – visit www.freshfarmmarkets.org for a full calendar.

Linda Roth is president of Linda Roth Associates, LLC specializing in marketing, promotions and publicity in the hospitality industry. Contact Linda at 703-522-0703 or linda@lindarothpr.com or visit her Web site at www.lindarothpr.com.

About the Author

Michael Birchenall is Editor and Publisher of Foodservice Monthly, a regional trade publication covering the foodservice industry of the Mid-Atlantic (DE, DC, MD, VA). Foodservice Monthly has been recognized as the Restaurant Association of Maryland's Allied Industry Member of the Year and by the Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington as the Joan Hisaoka Associate Member of the Year.

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