A La Carte

Mexican-Inspired Bandolero a Crowd Pleaser

June 17, 2012

Mike Isabella (Photo by: Graffiato) Mike Isabella

Since former Top Chef contestant Mike Isabella opened Bandolero last month, Georgetown’s new hot spot has been packed every night. A 20-something bar crowd filled the street level main dining room Friday evening, while upstairs proved a bit lighter and quieter for small group conversation when The Georgetown Dish stopped by.

The salsa roja is hot and the beans are tipsy (frijoles borracho) at this “Mexican-inspired” small plates eatery. Dishes are filled with “flavors that are definitely global,” says general manager James Horn.

Guacamole salsa roja, masa crisps, chicarrones (Photo by: Judith Beermann) Guacamole salsa roja, masa crisps, chicarrones

Bring a designated driver and sample from the dozen brands of tequila or mixed cocktails with clever names like 'Remember the Maine' (rye, sweet vermouth, cherry heering and absinthe) or 'Aviation' (gin maraschino liqueur, lemon juice, crème de violette).

When it comes to taco fillings, the selection is trans-continental and exotic: octopus, charred asparagus, crispy mahi mahi, skirt steak and suckling pig.

Bandolero general manager, James Horn (Photo by: Judith Beermann) Bandolero general manager, James Horn

Server, Michael Austin (Photo by: Judith Beermann) Server, Michael Austin

A Bandolero signature dish, the Queso Fundido comes to the table with a sunny side up egg and ready to be mixed with the duck confit, maitake and manchego cheese.

Suckling pig taco with apple, habanero and mustard (Photo by: Judith Beermann) Suckling pig taco with apple, habanero and mustard

Have a Chilean Petit Sirah with the Alambres (spicy hanger steak and chimichurri).  Salut!

Bandolero is at 3241 M Street. Tel: 202.625.4488

(Photo by: Judith Beermann)

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Saving Georgetown's Valley of Eden: Part 3

June 13, 2012

From Parts 1 & 2 you know the treasure that is Dumbarton Oaks Park, and how it's being restored by the National Park Service and Dumbarton Oaks Park Conservancy.

Forsythia Gate (Photo by: Judith Beermann) Forsythia Gate

As Dumbarton Oaks Park Conservancy president, Rebecca Trafton says,

"We're starting with a Signature Project covering two acres of the park, but we're also planning ahead." What she means is that everyone should have a chance to experience Georgetown's enchanting 'Valley of Eden.'

"We must envision a restoration of the entire 27-acre park, in a way that is both environmentally sustainable and will capture the spirit of Beatrix Farrand's original design."

(Photo by: Judith Beermann)

In the meantime, perhaps it's time you see for yourself how enchanting this naturalistic landscape- a magical combination of woodland, meadows, and a stream with many small waterfalls, bridges, and terraces- really is, even while beset by invasive plants and stormwater runoff.

Landscape architect Liza Gilbert and Dumbarton Oaks Park Conservancy president, Rebecca Trafton, discuss plans to make the park more accessible (Photo by: Judith Beermann) Landscape architect Liza Gilbert and Dumbarton Oaks Park Conservancy president, Rebecca Trafton, discuss plans to make the park more accessible

Access is from one of three spots:

1) Lovers' Lane from R Street in north Georgetown 200 feet east of R and 31st Streets.  There's a green-on-white wooden plaque pointing the way to “Dumbarton Oaks Park.”  It descends to the Park entrance on the left at the bottom of the hill.

Lovers' Lane (Photo by: Judith Beermann) Lovers' Lane

2) Off Massachusetts Avenue from Whitehaven Street near the Danish Embassy, down the dirt path. 

Whitehaven Street access near Danish Embassy (Photo by: Judith Beermann) Whitehaven Street access near Danish Embassy

3) From Wisconsin Avenue, on Whitehaven Street past the British School and a Georgetown University building. Turn right onto a dirt path and continue down the hill until you enter the park.

(Photo by: )

As part of the 3100-acre Rock Creek Park, Dumbarton Oaks Park is connected to trails throughout the city. But as a rare designed landscape, created as the "wild garden" component of the original 53-acre Dumbarton Oaks estate, this Park is unique. Deteriorated cultural artifacts- grottoes and a pebble path, a long stone bench overlooking the stream, an old stone pump house- tell the story of a much-loved landscape that once was. Now, once again, the Park is beginning to receive the love and attention it deserves. 

With the support of the Georgetown community, this magical oasis can be saved, to reward visitors for years to come.

For more information, visit Dumbarton Oaks Park Conservancy.

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Walter Grio Shooting for Change One Click at a Time

June 11, 2012

Event at Peacock Cafe for Children's Law Center (Photo by: Walter Grio) Event at Peacock Cafe for Children's Law Center

He was visiting Stockholm on business in 2006 with his new camera when a make-up artist asked if he would mind taking a few photos of three Swedish models. Mind?! Walter Grio eagerly agreed and when it came time to be paid, they asked how much? He hadn't planned on charging them, and said,"Rather than pay me, please support your favorite charity."

Thus began an accidental career as a philanthropist/fashiontographer. Walter had been traveling around the world as a software engineer for Oracle and it was time to settle in one place. In late 2009, that place was Washington, D.C.

Walter Grio at Peacock Cafe (Photo by: Judith Beermann) Walter Grio at Peacock Cafe

The Georgetown Dish caught up with Walter at Peacock Cafe, coincidentally two years to the day where he had his first D.C. show, a charity event for Children's Law Center.

Walter's promise: "All the money from every photo shoot that I do will go to a nonprofit organization.” He bought the domain name, created a website, and registered “Shoot for Change” at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. His vision is that “Shoot for Change” will take on a life of its own and will become a kaleidoscope of highly skilled photographers, models, designers, stylists, and a creative community with one thing in mind: to shoot for change and inspire the world one click at a time."

Shoot for Change reached the $100K mark in 2011. Not a bad start.

Walter's love of the arts inspired him to start the first Shoot for Change Scholarship at the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School at American Ballet Theatre. In August of this year, the first recipient will be announced.

Italian designer Valentino (Photo by: Walter Grio) Italian designer Valentino

And whom would Walter most like to shoot? "I'd love to photograph the First Family," he said. " I've set it up already in my head ... The President taking a photo of Michelle while I'm photographing him and his family."

For more information about this remarkable photographer, visit Shoot For Change.

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