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A Delicious Spot, Malmaison

July 14, 2013

Shamim and Zubair Popal (Photo by: Judith Beermann) Shamim and Zubair Popal

As Joséphine's daughter, Hortense, was known to have called the Bonaparte family’s estate outside of Paris, "a delicious spot," so too is Georgetown’s latest upscale French café and bar.

Camille serves a Garden Gimlet cocktail (Photo by: Judith Beermann) Camille serves a Garden Gimlet cocktail

Malmaison, like the Popal family restaurateurs' other D.C. establishments (Napoleon Bistro and Café Bonaparte), offers fine dining with a comfortable Euro-chic vibe. Located on Water Street under the Whitehurst Freeway, the two-floor industrial space has views of Rosslyn and Key Bridge from its floor-to-ceiling garage door windows. Equal parts loft lounge and cozy dining room, the decorations in signature soft lavender on everything from upholstered seating to espresso cups and table linen, are an elegant contrast to the oversized black lacquered furnishings.

(Photo by: Judith Beermann)

The artisanal French liqueur, St. Germain, made of elderberry flowers, infuses many of the refreshing house cocktails, especially "Garden Gimlet," a blend of Citadel gin, fresh basil, rosemary, and yes, St. St.Germain.

The culinary team, headed by Gerard Panaud, has created a menu appealing to carnivores and herbivores alike. We started with the soup of the day, a fresh creamy artichoke with fragrant garlic. For appetizers, we tried the sautéed shrimp with ginger, mango and spinach and a foie gras medallion salad with asparagus and frisée.

Antonio serves a taste of artichoke soup in an espresso cup (Photo by: Judith Beermann) Antonio serves a taste of artichoke soup in an espresso cup

A smooth Gamay & Pinot Noir from Domaine Maison accompanied entrées of braised boneless short ribs with Bordelaise sauce and braised lamb shanks in a bean medley and mint sauce. Other dinner selections included a ravioli and bouillabaisse of vegetables in a safrron broth.

From cocktails to dessert (a mango tart with passion fruit sauce), service and presentation was as elegant as the surroundings.

Malmaison, at 3401 Water Street, is now open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Tel: 202.817.3340

Sauteed shrimp in Sauternes with ginger and lime sauce (Photo by: Judith Beermann) Sauteed shrimp in Sauternes with ginger and lime sauce

Foie Gras salad (Photo by: Judith Beermann) Foie Gras salad
Braised short ribs with mashed potatoes and glazed vegetables (Photo by: Judith Beermann) Braised short ribs with mashed potatoes and glazed vegetables

Braised lamb shanks in a bean medley and mint sauce (Photo by: Judith Beermann) Braised lamb shanks in a bean medley and mint sauce


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Lunching at Ris with Mrs. Brennan

June 30, 2013

David offers Markel freshly ground pepper for his salad (Photo by: Judith Beermann) David offers Markel freshly ground pepper for his salad

“The key to good etiquette is to bite, chew and swallow without offending the people around you.” With that, Mrs.Brennan, quoting Peter Post, grandson of the late etiquette guru, Emily Post, began her first summer etiquette class at Ris. For this actress, model, former D.C. cop and fourth generation Washingtonian, good manners is something Marianne Brennan knows a thing or two about.

Colton waits for his Red Pepper and Corn Soup to cool a bit (Photo by: Judith Beermann) Colton waits for his Red Pepper and Corn Soup to cool a bit

Over 30 years ago she opened an etiquette school briefly, before closing it to focus on raising a family. Now she's  bringing her love for manners back in full force. 

Currently serving as a private etiquette instructor and volunteer etiquette teacher to low-income middle school students at the Washington Jesuit Academy, she operates on one key principle: "It’s not where you come from or what you have, it’s how you treat people that matters. My lessons include table manners, how to write a letter, telephone manners, good grooming, how to shine a shoe and so on."

Ris Lacoste prepares lunch for Mrs. Brennan's class (Photo by: Judith Beermann) Ris Lacoste prepares lunch for Mrs. Brennan's class

This Sunday was all about sharing some of her signature dining out tips with Colleen, John, Briana, Markel, Madie and Colton.

Briana samples the sundae (Photo by: Judith Beermann) Briana samples the sundae

Before ordering, the mannerly students covered the basics, including seating , napkins ("always in your lap"), glasses and utensils ("from outer to inner"), glasses, ordering from a menu, tipping ("never too early to learn the 20% rule") and proper thank you's ("a firm handshake can help you land a job"). 

Some rules a bit more obvious than others: "Do not use your napkin to blow your nose" while others not so intuitive, "Always put a pat of butter on the plate with the butter knife before spreading it on your piece of bread and then return the knife to the top of the plate."

As famed chef, Ris Lacoste prepared a special luncheon menu that included Red Pepper and Corn Soup, Tagliatelle Pasta and Caramel Sundaes, Marianne explained, “I've held classes like this privately, but this is the first one in a restaurant. It's a great location and I just LOVE Ris!"  Her objective? "I want them to feel more comfortable dining out.”

David brings Colleen and Madie beverages (Photo by: Judith Beermann) David brings Colleen and Madie beverages

Markel expertly twirls the pasta around his fork (Photo by: Judith Beermann) Markel expertly twirls the pasta around his fork

Mrs. Brennan's lunch party at Ris is underway (Photo by: Judith Beermann) Mrs. Brennan's lunch party at Ris is underway

John enjoys his Caramel Sundae as Mrs. Brennan listens to Colleen (Photo by: Judith Beermann) John enjoys his Caramel Sundae as Mrs. Brennan listens to Colleen

When asked what brought them here,  most of the young culinary guests answered, "My grandparents." Adding Marianne, “It’s the grandparents that are picking up on a lack of manners."

Before adjourning for the afternoon, and following dessert, Ris Lacoste brought out a special treat for the class, Mrs. Brennan's favorite basil ice cream!

For more information and to schedule etiquette classes, visit Mrs. Brennan's School of Etiquette.


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Barbara Walters Honored by American News Women's Club

June 23, 2013

Veteran journalist, Barbara Walters received the American News Women’s Club (ANWC) “Excellence in Journalism Award” at a luncheon held at The National Press Club Friday. Since 1932, the ANWC, originally created for women in the newspaper business, has grown to include professionals in a wide range of communication fields. The organization also supports aspiring journalists with a scholarship program, and three were awarded at the luncheon.

Claire Sanders Swift and Ginny Daly giving Barbara Walters award (Photo by: Judith Beermann) Claire Sanders Swift and Ginny Daly giving Barbara Walters award

Benefit co-chair Ginny Daly, along with ANWC President, Claire Sanders Swift gave Walters the award, noting that Barbara, who has interviewed almost everyone, always "knows how to reel them in.”

"You know she is probably one of the greatest journalists of our time," Swift said. "She really is one of the true original women who broke barriers in the field of broadcast journalism."

Master of Ceremonies, Norah O’Donnell, co-anchor of CBS This Morning, introduced guest speakers, Ted Koppel, Sally Quinn, Howard Kurtz and Bob Schieffer.

Ted Koppel paying tribute to Barbara Walters (Photo by: Judith Beermann) Ted Koppel paying tribute to Barbara Walters

Describing what distinguishes Barbara from others, Nightline host, Koppel noted that she has “the guts of a lioness.”

Reminiscing about the ill-fated 1972 evening news pairing of Harry Reasoner and Barbara Walters, he said it was “like 'Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf' with Harry Reasoner playing both parts.”

About their long and cherished friendship, Sally Quinn after sharing stories about her son, Quinn's crush on Barbara, and the competitive world of morning news anchors, had this to say about the world's first female evening news anchor, "They’re all gone and we’re still here. I can’t imagine a world without Barbara Walters on TV."

Sally Quinn and Howard Kurtz (Photo by: Judith Beermann) Sally Quinn and Howard Kurtz

“This woman is the single best reporter I’ve ever competed against,” said Face the Nation host, Bob Schieffer. He told a rapt audience, "We went to India and were all vying to get an interview with the 80-year old Prime Minister, Moraji Desai whom we'd heard a penchant for drinking a pint of his own urine daily for health reasons. Not only did she (Barbara) ask him about it, he answered saying it was the secret to his long life, and before it was all over, they were discussing it like fine wine."

Norah O'Donnell intorducing speakers (Photo by: Judith Beermann) Norah O'Donnell intorducing speakers

"At a state dinner in Tehran, an unbelievably lavish New Year’s Eve dinner, the Shah had arranged a discotheque. Everyone was dancing. I said to Barbara, ‘Why don’t we dance over to President and Mrs. Carter?' We had heard he was secretly planning a trip to Egypt. We fox trotted over to the Carters. ‘Oh and by the way, are you going to Egypt?’ we asked. ‘Well, we practically broke each other’s legs to get the story.’

Bob Schieffer on traveling abroad with Barbara (Photo by: Judith Beermann) Bob Schieffer on traveling abroad with Barbara

Tributes by those who couldn't make it included First Lady, Michelle Obama, “One of many reasons to love her, is that she’s stayed true to who she is ... Her dog even sent my dog a gift.” Tom Brokaw, “I like Barbara Walters because she’s retired more times than me. And … she has GREAT legs.”

When Barbara Walters took to the podium, after thanking her hosts,  she pointed to friend and former Federal Reserve Chairman, Alan Greenspan in the audience, who was seated next to British Ambassador’s wife Susie Westmascot, “It was at the British Embassy that I got chicken pox. I’ll never forget you.”

Alan Greenspan (Photo by: Judith Beermann) Alan Greenspan

Describing the secrets of success, Barbara explained, "First of all I do not sweat on the air, never. I am never too hot, even when my co-anchors on The View are fanning themselves with menopause. 2) I never seem to have to go to the bathroom, and  3) When I go the theater, I never leave at intermission."

On her interview with Katherine Hepburn, made famous and parodied on Saturday Night Live, (the one where she asked her what kind of a tree she would like to be), Barbara said that she told her, ‘I see things in shades of grey.’ ‘I pity you,’ replied Hepburn. On why she never wears a dress, "I'll wear one to your funeral," promised the film star. Not believing it was possible to balance family with a career, Hepburn explained her choice, "I put on pants 50 years ago. I’ve lived as a man, I’ve made enough money, and I’m not afraid of being alone.” Walters, who has been married four times (to three different men) echoed Hepburn saying that she too made enough money and was never afraid of being alone.

Barbara Walters thanks guests for the tribute (Photo by: Judith Beermann) Barbara Walters thanks guests for the tribute

"I’ve met kings and queens. I’ve interviewed every president since Lincoln, she joked, before correcting herself, I mean Nixon. I’ve not interviewed The Queen (of England) or the Pope … yet. I hope to be interviewing the first female president."

In closing, Barbara, holding up her wine glass, quipped,"It's a good urine, not a great urine."


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