A La Carte

Savannah Cupcake Takes The Cake

March 19, 2014

Bambi Frazier with Ben's exclusive mini-sweet potato pie (Photo by: Judith Beermann) Bambi Frazier with Ben's exclusive mini-sweet potato pie

“Perfect product, perfect timing,” says Kamal Ali, co-owner of Ben’s Chili Bowl. As Kamal and his brothers Nazim and Sage prepared to open in Rosslyn earlier this month, they were looking for a dessert line for their expansion.  Savannah Cupcake has the seal of approval from Kamal’s daughter, who “instantly fell in love with the carrot cake.” Since their vision for a dessert line also included sweet potato pie, a Ben’s exclusive mini-pie was quickly added to Bambi Frazier’s menu.

mini-sweet potato pie (Photo by: Judith Beermann) mini-sweet potato pie

It was four years ago that this former Savannah news anchor and writer turned to professional baking.  “There’s a wicked sweet tooth in our family. Both my mother and grandmother are amazing bakers,” she says, and grinning broadly, “My granddaddy ate donuts for breakfast.”

Officially launched in 2014, Savannah Cupcake was "named after the city we love. It’s the place two of our children were born, and where we hope to return one day and open a bakery.”  

Bambi waving to her husband and daughter (Photo by: Judith Beermann) Bambi waving to her husband and daughter

In the meantime, business is booming here. In addition to selling at Ben’s, Bambi hand-makes her cakes in small batches, and delivers free of charge anywhere in DC (with a two dozen minimum). She also offers home and corporate catering.  

Ordering is directly through the Savannah Cupcake website.

If you’re wondering (as I did before I tasted them) why DC needs another cupcakery, you haven't had a Savannah Cupcake. Bar none, the best cupcake around. Seriously. My favorite is the pineapple coconut. But all are truly delicious, and taste even better than they look.

(Photo by: savannahcupcake.com)

Ben's Chili Bowl is located at 1725 Wilson Boulevard in Arlington, VA.

(Photo by: savannahcupcake.com)

Follow Savannah Cupcake on Twitter: @savcupcake

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Not Amused in Robins Hood

March 17, 2014

(Photo by: Judith Beermann)

One January morning in 2010, while admiring an enormous congregation of chubby robins (they were cold!) through our office windows, Hugh Jacobsen and I discovered we were looking at the same tree.

Turns out, the robin tree was behind Jacobsen Architecture and my home office in the East Village.

Incidentally, Hugh's beloved late wife (Simon Jacobsen's mother), was named Robin.

So, last week, Simon and I decided our tree needed a name. While the feathered friends in Robins Hood think today's St. Patrick's Day snowfall is no way to usher in spring, they remain unruffled.





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Fiola Mare: Pearl on the Potomac

March 9, 2014

(Photo by: Judith Beermann)

Fiola Mare isn't simply "bringing back the waterfront to Georgetowners," as Maria Trabocchi says. It's finally offering us the place we've dreamed of for authentic Mediteranean seafood. world-class views and now, cuisine to match. Bravo Fabio!

Market Counter (Photo by: Judith Beermann) Market Counter

Open since mid-February, the restaurant with wall-to-wall windows on the Potomac, was, until recently, office space. Nestled between Nick's Riverside Grill and the edge of Waterfront Park, from wherever you sit, you're invited to select freshly caught fish and seafood prepared as you choose.

Bianca Sicilia (Photo by: Judith Beermann) Bianca Sicilia

This waterfront dining destination includes two bars, one accessible to the restaurant’s several semi-private dining areas and outdoor veranda, named after Fabio and Maria's daughter Aliche. The servers debone your selection tableside, unless you choose to tackle it yourself.

Fiola Maine Lobster Ravioli (Photo by: Judith Beermann) Fiola Maine Lobster Ravioli

As with any Trabocchi establishment, (Fabio's third, following Fiola in Penn Quarter and Casa Luca downtown, named for their son), there are signature dishes you must try. Start with the Fiola Maine Lobster Ravioli. Be sure to sample the Acquerello Risotto, a mix of squid ink, calamari, sea beans, cod tripe and "Kokotxas" Venetian style.

Fiola Mare Oysters & Caviar (Photo by: Judith Beermann) Fiola Mare Oysters & Caviar

A test for any Italian restaurant worth it's sea salt, the Frutti di Mare, and theirs does not disappont: east & west coast oysters, Middleneck Clams, Penn Cove Mussels, Maine Lobster, Catalina Sea Urchins, head-on prawns, Peektyoe Crab, tuna tartare, and Razor Clams.

A lovely Bianco Sicilia (Sicilian Chardonnay) which the sun and old oak barrels has softened, was the perfect complement to the stunning array of exotic sea creatures.

The menu changes daily, but a permanent fixture is the 'Maria Menu,' Meditteranean healthy, low sodium and low calorie, but high on flavor and texture.

Save room for dolci. The spumoni (pistachio and olive oil gelato, Amarena Cherries and green strawberries) was the best we've ever tasted.

There are also hand-made Venezuelan gems of chocolate truffles coated with real silver and gold.

Like its owners, Fiola Mare is casually elegant, and, as Maria says, "We want the place to feel like home but remain classically elegant," so yes, there is a dress code.

Spumoni (Photo by: Judith Beermann) Spumoni

Chocolate bonbons: orange & Cointreau, Passionfruit, Earl Grey & cardamom, coffee & cardamom (Photo by: Judith Beermann) Chocolate bonbons: orange & Cointreau, Passionfruit, Earl Grey & cardamom, coffee & cardamom

Maria and Fabio Trabocchi (Photo by: Judith Beermann) Maria and Fabio Trabocchi

Fiola Mare is located at 30350 K Street. Tel: 202.628.0065

Semi-private dining room (Photo by: Judith Beermann) Semi-private dining room

(Photo by: Judith Beermann)

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