A La Carte

Santé to The Sovereign

March 16, 2016

Jane at The Sovereign's main bar (Photo by: Judith Beermann) Jane at The Sovereign's main bar
"This is a pet project of Greg's," says Jane, the bartender. Indeed. Beer director, Greg Engert and chef Peter Smith are celebrating the rich history and culture of Belgian beer and food with their recent opening of The Sovereign (formerly Blue Gin and Champion's) in Georgetown.

With two bars (one upstairs), The Sovereign offers draft from 50 small craft breweries and 350 choices of bottled beer. "We're a Belgian restaurant with a really excellent beer program," Jane continues as she explains the difference between the Thieriez Blonde and Thiriez Biere de Noel. Both wonderful. The Biere de Noel is a bit richer with herbed hops while the Blonde is light and dry. The drafts are divided by Crisp, Roast, Fruit+Spice Bright, Tart & Funky, Hop and Fruit+ Spice Dark. There's also a very extensive wine list. If it's your first time, you'll definitely want to sample the Gueuze Lambic (a bit champagne-like) and the Kriek Lambic (with hint of dark cherries).

Bitterballen, Saucisse Ardennes, Croqquettes de Crevettes & Marinated Mussels (Photo by: Judith Beermann) Bitterballen, Saucisse Ardennes, Croqquettes de Crevettes & Marinated Mussels

The decor is as inviting as any long-established neighborhood pub with its red leather bar stools, wood furnishings and low light. Packed by 6:30 on a weekday is a very good thing.

The Sovereign's beer room (Photo by: Judith Beermann) The Sovereign's beer room

Friendly, extremely knowledgable wait staff abound. Not an easy job navigating that beer menu, but after a brew or two, it's time to decide between saffron, pesto or provencal-seasoned mussels all "sourced exclusively from fifth generation Dutch mussel farmer Theo de Koning at Acadia Aqua Farms in Bar Harbor, Maine." We chose the saffron, aromatic with smoked sausage and roasted garlic). Decisions, decisions. Croquettes de crevettes (baby shrimp) or croquettes de fromage (Gruyere cheese). We tasted both, and the Bitterballen ('croquettes-like' crispy fried bruin beer-braised beef)!

Saffron Dutch Mussels and frites (Photo by: Judith Beermann) Saffron Dutch Mussels and frites

In addition to the moules, house specialties include Carbonnade Flamande (braised short ribs with fingerling potatoes, baby carrots and herbed butter) and Blanquette de Veau (white wine and creme-braised veal breat with wild mushrooms. carrots and stoemp).

Make room for dessert. The Belgian Chocolate Torte does not disappoint. A whipped concoction of dark chocolate mousse and milk chocolate cremeux, ganache and dark chocolate shavings, it's a reminder that Belgian chocolate is unmatched. 

The Sovereign is located at 1206 Wisconsin Avenue in Georgetown

The sovereign (Photo by: Judith Beermann) The sovereign

Belgian chocolate torte (Photo by: Judith Beermann) Belgian chocolate torte

(Photo by: Judith Beermann)


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Gunther Stern Shines a Light on Georgetown's Homeless

March 8, 2016

As The Washington Post reported this weekGunther Stern is a champion of the often hidden faces of homelessness in Georgetown. "The Georgetown he sees daily is not the one of travel books or magazine spreads, where shoppers can find a lavatory faucet with “crystal egg handles” for $2,500. His Georgetown is one where panhandlers are fixtures on the red-brick sidewalks, sometimes to the annoyance of residents and business owners. His Georgetown is one where a man under an overpass looks through photos with hands callused on top and a woman in a donated coat leafs through a cookbook at the library for a dessert she will never make."

This past October, Ellen MacNeille Charles opened her most elegant and exquisite Georgetown home to friends and neighbors for the 2015 Spirit of Georgetown Benefit, to honor Gunther Stern for his 25 years of service to the Georgetown Ministry Center (GMC).

Councilmember Jack Evans presented the "Freddie" Award to Stern for his dedication to the homeless and GMC, thanking him for dedicating his professional career to rebuilding and empowering the lives of people who are homeless by building relationships with these most service-resistant individuals in hopes of getting them off the streets.

Under Stern's remarkable leadership, GMC has grown from a small outreach center to a warm and welcoming clubhouse that provides people with a sense of respect and community. Advocating for those without a voice, Stern recently spoke before the Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee of Congress about changing laws to better serve the people who are mentally ill and homeless.

Thanking his host and guests, Stern spoke passionately, "When we talk about homelessness, what we are really talking about is profoundly mentally disabled people who have been allowed to languish on the streets because of antiquated laws. Let's talk about how we can fix the system."

As guests applauded his service, Stern closed by saying, "Next year we should honor Georgetown for being one of the most caring communities on earth."

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Beard Papa's Choux à la Crème

February 10, 2016

Nobuko Pierce filling choux pastry (Photo by: Judith Beermann) Nobuko Pierce filling choux pastry

Close your eyes and you'll think you're biting into classic creme-filled French puff pastry. But it's Beard Papa's, a new Japanese bakery that opened a couple of weeks ago on Wisconsin Avenue at Dumbarton Street. The franchise's first DC location is a welcome addition to the neighborhood.

General manager and owner, Nobuko Pierce was busy inserting creme into her choux when The Georgetown Dish stopped by. Each one individually filled, and all light, delicate and delicious.

(Photo by: Judith Beermann)

There's also Paris-Brest on the menu though inexplicably spelled 'Breast.' Perhaps a bit of humor or a translation thing, similar to the company's mascot which draws inspiration from Santa Claus as "a symbol of happiness and delight" and all the more charming than the obvious Papa's Beard.

Perfect for a decadent breakfast-on-the-run or light dessert any time.

Beard Papa's is located at 1332 Wisconsin Avenue in Georgetown. Tel: 202.410.3140

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