Stir It Up

Todd Gray rumbles with Chilean chef

July 7, 2011

Chef Todd Gray’s Watershed restaurant dipped w-a-a-a-y  South of the Border – to Chile – Thursday evening to host Chef Pilar Rodriguez’s cuisine and pisco drinks as a celebration of Chile’s exhibition at the Fancy Food Show this weekend.

Pisco (Photo by: Natalia Janetti) Pisco
“I’m going to be the chef’s assistant this evening,” chuckled Gray, the RAMMY’s 2011 Chief of the Year, as he chopped, sautéed and poured oil for the event’s personable woman executive Chilean cook, Pilar Rodriguez.

Server presents a tray of savory Chilean lamb chops in adobo with roasted native potatoes and blueberry chutney (Photo by: Natalia Janetti) Server presents a tray of savory Chilean lamb chops in adobo with roasted native potatoes and blueberry chutney
Alejandro Buvinic, the Chilean Trade Commissioner in Washington, chatted up the tasting crowd of 60 or so members of the media at Watershed, in NoMa’s Hilton Garden Inn.  They sampled dishes that bore Chilean titles that flowed off the tongue, but translated deliciously to grilled scallops in garlic oil, lamb chops, king crab stuffed potatoes, crab chupe,  red-wine braised beef, and beyond.

A bar poured exceptional Chilean wines paired with each course.

Pitchers of pisco drinks served as a prelude at the celebration, marking Chile’s entry into the international culinary scene. One pisco drinker noted that to this day both Peru and Chile affectionately battle on the origin of the drink. Both countries view it as their national spirit. But wherever you go, pisco – distilled from grapes -- is a great way to lighten up the conversations, as proven last night.

As an interesting twist, instead of the traditional lemons used in pisco sours, the event’s bartenders used papayas, which created a smooth mellow favor that lulled one into indulging glass after glass.

The Fancy Food Show, open to the trade only, runs Sunday through Tuesday at the Washington Convention Center.  Chilean food, wine, oil and other products will be among the more than 180,000 products from more than 80 countries at the show. It is North America’s largest specialty food and beverage event.


Cooking Chilean style (Photo by: Natalia Janetti) Cooking Chilean style

Click here to share your thoughts.

Tudor Place, neighbors square off at ANC

July 6, 2011

As neighbors of Tudor Place continue to press for changes to the historic site's expansion plans, the Georgetown ANC voted unanimously Tuesday for a resolution that earned praise, unusually, from both sides of the debate.

Commissioner Tom Birch led the discussion, saying “a gentle hand” is needed to meet the valid competing interests.  There is agreement that Tudor Place is an irreplaceable historic site of buildings, grounds and a treasure-trove of documents and artifacts dating back to George and Martha Washington. However, the opponents point to what they see as the negative impacts on views, trees and the historic fabric that will result from the location, size and height proposed for the greenhouse and collection and archives storage building. 

Birch’s unanimously approved resolution commended the Old Georgetown Board for its continued thoughtful review of the project (including a site visit), asked for more detailed architectural drawings and urged early consultations with zoning officials to avoid future conflicts over zoning requirements.

Drawing of Tudor Place's current plans (Photo by: The Georgetown Dish) Drawing of Tudor Place's current plans
“This is a good resolution,” said Tudor Place Executive Director Leslie Buhler as she stressed the “evolving” nature of their plans.   

Jack Maier, one of the objecting neighbors, also agreed with the ANC position.  “I support the recommendation of the OGB, [and it’s] appropriate to get the [zoning authorities] involved.”

The OGB is the federal advisory body on historic preservation for Georgetown.  The Tudor Place is on the agenda for its regular monthly meeting on Thursday.

Click here to share your thoughts.

Ever worry about your heart?

July 3, 2011

If so, you might be interested in the University of Maryland Medical Center’s ad on page 1 of Sunday’s Washington Post Magazine – especially if your heart is in the right side of your chest, rather than the traditional left side.

That right side is where the ad shows the heart surgeon marking the imminent cut.  Hope the malpractice insurance is up-to- date.

Not clear if the Medical Center, its ad agency, or the WP’s ad or production folks were responsible for what surely is a reversed photograph.

Click here to share your thoughts.