Tuesday, August 17, 2010

DC Beer Week!

First there was DC Restaurant Week...and now there's DC Beer Week!

Described as a week long celebration of beer culture, DC Beer Week kicks off on August 20th with a party at the Rock and Roll Hotel sponsored by the Washington City Paper. Including craft beers and music pairings and featuring, Beer Director Greg Engert of ChurchKey, Founder & Brewer Brian Strumke of Stillwater Artisanal Ales, Tracy Jill Doty from the NIH, Cobra Collective, New Rock Church of Fire and many more.

Additional events run throughout the week including:

Sunday, August 22nd  - Join us on the Potomac Riverboat Company’s “Cherry Blossom” for a three hour cruise of the Potomac river while sampling over sixteen different craft beers, wine, bourbon and light appetizers.  Purchase Tickets at: www.capitolloungedc.com/beercruise

Monday, August 23rd - Belgian 5 Course Dinner. Granville Moore's joins Susan Greene of Global Brewers Guild for an entertaining night of Belgian and Belgian style American Beers and a 5 course dinner carefully pairing and integrating the beers with the food. $70/person Call 202-399-2546 for reservations.

Tuesday, August 24th - Kramerbooks & Afterwords Cafe "Brooklyn Brawl" Beer and Cheese Tasting. Come and taste some of the finest beers from NY's largest Craft Brewer- Brooklyn Brewery. The beers will be artfully paired with Cheeses from International Gourmet. The beers include, Brewmasters Reserve, Black Ops, Brooklyn-Schneider Hopfen-Weisse, Local One Lager, Brown Ale

Wednesday, August 25th - Capitol Lounge Beer and Barbeque with Great Lakes Brewing Company. Low country barbeque and other backyard cuisine washed down with some of the finest brews from Great Lakes Brewing including Eliot Ness Amber Lager, Commodore Perry IPA, Dortmunder Gold Lager, and Edmund Fitzgerald Porter. 6:00 pm – 10:00 pm. Capitol Lounge Side Bar. $45/Person All Inclusive. http://www.capitolloungedc.com/dcbeerweek/

Thursday, August 26th - The Reef presents "Rogue Ales Oyster Fest". 3,000 Oysters, 3 Shuckers, 3 Levels, 7 great beers from Rogue Ales! Dead Guy, Kells Irish Lager, Imperial IPA, Imperial YSB, Orgasmic, Somer Ale, John John's Hazlenut 5pm-10pm.

Friday, August 27th - Big Hunt Michigan Blowout Night featuring specials on Founders, Bells, and New Holland. Get your Wolverine Gold and Blue or Spartan Green on.

Saturday, August 28th - Closing out the week with a big party, the Beer Week Finale will be at RFD from 5 pm to midnight.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Two Crabs Walk Into A Bar...

Three years ago someone in our group at the Quarterdeck ordered a hamburger. And I vaguely recall two things - everyone taking turns confirming 'You ordered a hamburger?' and that when it came out, it looked good. Very good, as I remember.

And this is noteworthy only because that's the first and only time in the five summers we've been organizing these annual group pilgrimages to the 'Deck that I've ever seen anyone deviate from the generally acknowledged gameplan: pitchers of lite beer, several baskets of fries and onion rings, and piles of steaming, Old Bay coated, fresh crabs.

Oh, there was a third thing - an enthusiastic, full-mouthed thumbs up offered from Hamburger Guy right before we all resumed Crab Fest. For $34.95, we'd rather spend the night picking as many crabs as we can before they close the kitchen. We're not about to mess with what works.

When you go, and you absolutely should, there aren't many tips to improve what has already been finely tuned. Get a reservation for outside( it's always packed!), and if you can, try to get your tables under their covered patio. Obvious but worth remembering. There's nothing much to see inside and if an evening thunderstorm blows through, you won't need to scramble around for a dry seat.

And definitely get the crabs. Though it will be obvious when you sit down and see everyone else around you tearing into them too. At least make visit #1 crabs. You can try the burger next time. That's what I've been telling myself for the past three years.

Rating: B+, limited options but what they do, they do very well

Sunday Foodie-ing

Whenever we have a quier(er) weekend at home, I like to spend time on Sunday doing food prep and getting us ready for the week. This usually means selecting a few recipes, grocery shopping and preparing some of those foods in advance.

This week, in addition to the usual preparation, I decided that I hadn't baked any bread in a while so I made quite a bit so we can freeze it for the future. Note - most people think that baking bread is really hard - not so! I don't have a bread maker...but I've found that my Kitchen Aid stand mixer makes bread baking a breeze. Just assemble the dough right in the mixer bowl and use the bread hook. Seriously simple!

If you like Italian bread, Emeril has a really nice and very simple recipe that has been a winner everytime. For the version that I made today I used just one packet of yeast and made one giant loaf instead of breaking it into two loaves. In addition, I've found that the recipe works better if you cook it for 50 minutes at 350, instead of at the higher temperature. Serve it with pasta, make delicious sandwiches or even bruchetta.

To try something different, I also took on this recipe for cinnamon raisin bread....except that I omitted the raisins. The recipe says that it yields three loaves...but I ended up with 3 regular sized loaves and one small loaf. This is a great recipe to make and keep some for yourself and give some to friends to share. The smell of the house from baking all this bread is just amazing!

Finally, to go along with the green salads I'm going to bring to work for lunch this week, I decided to make a simple orzo salad. I used this recipe, but omitted a few of the ingredients(forgot to buy the spinach and pine nuts). Instead I used red onion, olives, fresh made feta from the Arlington farmer's market, fresh basil from my garden and tarragon and the dressing the recipe suggests. I'll likely add some shrimp to serve with it. Tastes yummy!

So while the week rushes by so quickly, causing stress and leaving little time to really cook....I've found that doing a little food prep on Sunday takes the pressure off on weeknights.