A La Carte
These are a dozen of my best discoveries for 2014:
1. Oh My Son CD because Marcos Galvany's operatic tableaux is The Nutcracker for Easter.
2. Bastille Day at the Eiffel Tower because no one puts on a sound and light show like the French.
3. Living Well Health Club at The Washington Hilton because their olympic-size outdoor pool lured me into the gym. Thank you, Chan Frazier.
4. Georgetown Heritage because they're going to bring back the boat and save the C&O Canal.
5. A Brief Encounter because Hannah Yelland dazzles in this brilliant Kneehigh Theatre Company Production.
6. Bocce at Pinstripes because it's fun and a cocktail is within arm's reach.
7. Savannah Cupcake because these little gems are best in class.
8.The Price of Inheritance because Karin Tanabe's wit and intellect shine in her latest caper.
9. Pardi's Sagrantino de Montefalco Wine because this Umbrian grape is a reminder of Italy's warmth and charm.
9. POSTES because Claudine Sorel's interpretation of the French postman's bag is a modern classic.
11. Consider it Done because Bernardaud's Kintsugi Sarkis plates are here along with other treasures for the tableware obsessed.
12. sweetGreen Frozen Yogurt because yogurt isn't supposed to taste like it came out of a machine.
Remember the name Pardi. Soon you'll know it as the source of your favorite Umbrian wines and those beautiful woven jacquard linens adorning your table.
Via Umbria, Georgetown's new 'all things Italian made' shopping emporium held a special wine tasting event Friday evening. Guest of honor, Augusta Pardi flew in from Umbria to greet fans and friends, and share a little about her family's hundreds year old businesses.
The Tessitura Pardi weaving mill, now in Montefalco, established by three of Augusta's cousins in 1949, continues to produce home linens and interior design fabrics in the tradition of a Renaissance workshop. Says Bill Menard, "The Pardi family is synonomous with Montefalco. With Augusta, it's like walking with the mayor."
And the wine? Well, of course the Pardi family makes that too. Under the Cantina Fratelli Pardi label, the wines feature Sagrantino, "indigenous to the region and the most tannic of all grapes," explains Menard. Their 2008 Sagrantino de Montefalco D.O.C.G is 100% Sagrantino, a full-bdied garnet red wine aged for 18 months in oak barrels. It has the aromas of oak, coffee bean and espresso with a smooth hint of ripe blackberries. Incidentally, the D.O.C.G. means controlled designation of origin guaranteed, Italian's highest assurance of quality similar to A.O.C for French wines.
The tasting included the 2013 Pardi Trebbiano Spoletino D.O.C., a delightful golden wine with delicate herbal nuances and fresh citrus aromas.The third wine, 2008 Pardi Montefalco Rosso D.O.C. is a rich blend of Sangiovese, Sagrantino, Cabernet and Merlot that delivers ripe red cherry, white and black pepper, with a hint of orange peel.
Once you make your way past their enormous collection of colorful hand-painted Umbrian ceramics, you'll see the exquisite Pardi linens in the back of the shop. Via Umbria has holiday gifts for everyone on your list, starting with you.
Via Umbria is located at 1525 Wisconsin Avenue. Tel: 202.333.3904
"It's a completely different style of food," says Darrell Goodman, executive chef at the recently opened Mama Rouge. "I'm excited about the opportunity to expand my acument with this type of culinary."
The newest dining venue at Washington Harbour really is new. With its classic French cocktails, entrées and desserts, on the menu with exotic Asian dishes including Myanmar dumplings and Fishmonger Sriracha stew, the concept is "opening up our menu to more palates," explains general manager, Mark Underwood. "Our bistro is not French and Southeast Asian fusion, but rather "side-by-side, authentic, fresh (no freezers in the kitchen!) old-style, from scratch cooking."
Definitely French bistro-styled with 'help yourself utensils' on the tables, cozy furnishings and a relaxed bar with red leather stools, but gaze up and see a delicate bamboo one-of-a-kind chandelier from Thailand.
Starting with the cocktails, look for classic recipes inspired by the colonial period of French-occupied Southeast Asia. There's the Indo Classic 'Rose Cocktail' made with dry vermouth, cherry eau de vie, raspberry, and absinthe, and the ultra classic 'French 'Ritz 75' made with gin, Grand Marnier, lime, mandarin and bitters. On tap, be sure to try the wonderfully smooth white Belgian beer, Blanche de Bruxelles.
The L'Adage Saint-Emillion AOC, Bordeaux '12 was a lovely complement to the Mixed Grill (brisket, 48 hour flank steak and grilled lemongrass pork). Lobster and shrimp risotto, the 'Plats du Jour' for Thursday, was expertly prepared with a delicate dry vermouth sauce. Três French.
What's a French bistro without signature pommes frites? At Mama Rouge they are lightly crispy, thick and juicy.
Don't leave without trying the fresh, in-house made crème brûlée. Close your eyes and you'll swear you're in St. Germain..
Friendly, knowledgable service, a lively bar and a delightful journey for the seasoned palate.
Welcome to Georgetown, Mama Rouge!
Mama Rouge, located at 3000 K Street at Washington Harbour, is open for lunch and dinner. Tel: 202.333.4422