BTMMY Award Winners

We’re pleased to present the winners of the first ever BTMMY awards. Not to get foodie sentimental, but this has been such a fun year of openings, trends, expansions and events. We’re really lucky to be District diners. Thanks to everyone who voted for their favorite restaurants, bars, chefs, etc.

Now, for the winners:

BTMMY Best Restaurant

Best Restaurant— Rasika

It seems we are curry craving, truffle nan hoarding, palak chaat junkies that can’t get enough of upscale Indian with a twist courtesy of Ashok Bajaj’s culinary empire. Congrats to Executive Chef Vikram Sunderam and his team for churning our consistent, flavorful food that has found a home in the hearts of DC foodies.

Here’s what to get when you go.

BTMMY New Restaurant

Best New Restaurant— Roses Luxury

DC can’t get enough of this Barracks Row newcomer that doesn’t take itself too seriously—between bold instructions on the menu to uncommon food combinations like strawberry pasta—it’s a blast. But, make it a Monday/Tuesday kind of thing because with all the accolades pouring in, and a no reservation policy, it’s bound to be packed. Order the octopus and the brisket. Better yet, bring a group of four and see if you can conquer the whole menu.

BTMMY Best Chef

Chef that is Absolutely Crushing it—Bart Vandaele

Yes, DC is a sucker for celebrity chefs. But we’re willing to bank on Bart Vandaele gaining your votes for other reasons—like his pulled pork stuffed cornbread waffle topped with avocado and a fried egg at B TOO or his Hoegaarden mussels at Belga Cafe. Fun fact, B TOO now does breakfast, just dodge the morning construction taking place out front.

Here’s what to get when you go B TOO.

BTMMY Cocktails

Best Cocktails—The Passenger/Columbia Room

Derek Brown is a force to be reckoned with when it comes to what’s in his shaker. From unique creations to a knack for personalizing cocktails with a guest’s preferences in mind, he continues to come out on top of the imbibing scene. His bar bartending team at The Passenger/Columbia Room is top notch. Make a reservation for the cocktail tasting menu so you can check an item off your DC imbibing bucket list.

BTMMY Beer Garden

Beer Garden— Biergarten Haus

H Street wins out in this category. Biergarten Haus decidedly came in as the beer garden you spent your summer at. And, it doesn’t have to end. The patio is open all year long, thanks to some sturdy heaters. So make your way through some Paulaner, Hofbräu, Franziskaner and other favorites.

BTMMY Sandwich

Hangover Curing Sandwich—Taylor Gourmet

Want to reverse the damages from last night and set yourself up for a great ‘lil Sunday? Start your day with a breakfast hoagie, or just about any hoagie, from Taylor Gourmet. There’s just something special about a sloppy, saucy sandwich with Philly roots that gives you back the spring in your step.

Here’s what to get when you go.

And finally, special congratulations to Julia H. for winning the random drawing for the $200 gift card to Jose Andres restaurants. Next year we’ll be back with bigger and better prizes. Thanks again to everyone who voted.

Graphic design by Curtis Rogers. 

DC’s Top Food and Drink Trends 2013

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A food blogger’s log of top trends in our nation’s capital, based on too many meals to count. As Heidi would say, you’re either in or you’re out!

Chez Billy Saucisse Merguez

Chez Billy

1. Small plates: You either love them or you hate them, especially if you live and eat on 14th Street. But one thing’s for sure, small plate hate and continued complaining about them is in vogue. Good places to get full-size meals? Chez Billy, West End Bistro, Poste and Table.

Spraga's Brisket

Sbraga

2. Brisket is back. Done right, this cut of meat can steal the show. Where to get it in DC? Roses Luxury, DCity Smokehouse and Garden District. It is also the Best Thing on the Menu at Philly’s Sbraga.

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Del Campo

3. Fernet is having a renaissance. Try it and you’ll taste hints of eucalyptus, saffron, cardamom and chamomile. Most popular in Italy and Argentina, fernet is typically mixed with soda water or it can be used in cocktails as a form of bitters. In DC, you can try it at Del Campo and Urbana.

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4. New restaurants are forgoing traditional websites and are opting instead for robust Facebook pages. Or, restaurants are choosing to create a simple single page, meant solely to point you to their social media accounts. This is such a smart money saver. There’s no need to pay an IT company to build and maintain a website when Facebook has built-in infrastructure for diners to interact with their favorite restaurants. Our new favorite spot, Mockingbird Hill, is one example: Their simple web page vs. their Facebook page.

Shaw DC

5. Shaw has become THE neighborhood for new restaurants, including Eat the Rich, Dacha Beer Garden, Mockingbird Hill, Thally, Table and more.

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Casa Luca

6. More than a handful of restaurants are jumping on the charcuterie bandwagon. A trend many enjoy, but others skip due to the availability of fine meat and cheese selections at gourmet grocery stores. If you’re pro-charcuterie visit: Casa Luca, The Pig, Churchkey/Birch and Barley, Proof, Urbana, Vinoteca and Etto.

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Revive Catering

7. Waffles are crushing it, sorry cronuts. DC has some of the best waffles to offer the world including Revive Catering’s red velvet chicken and waffles, B TOO’s blood sausage stuffed waffle and Brasserie Beck’s gingerbread waffle.

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Petworth Citizen

8. Cosmos and appletinis are out. Prohibition era cocktails are in. Big name Founding Farmers has 11 different prohibition era inspired cocktails like a Sazerac and a New York Sour. Then there are places like The Gibson, PX, The Passenger/Columbia Room, Bar Charley and Petworth Citizen.

Oyamel Fried Egg

Oyamel

9. Remember being twelve years old and requesting breakfast for dinner for your birthday? Fortunately, you can relive this small joy by visiting several DC restaurants. Ted’s Bulletin serves breakfast all day long, Oyamel has a killer egg dish and DGS serves “Benedictberg” well into the night.

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Taylor Gourmet

10. Whether you’re curing a hangover, fueling your marathon (or 5K!) training, or just gearing up for a Sunday on the couch watching football, monster sandwiches are the answer. The arrival of spots like Duke’s Grocery and food trucks like SUNdeVICH plus the continued awesomeness of Taylor Gourmet and Stachowski Market & Deli means you’ll never be without a good sando in hando.

Got a trend you’d like to share? Let us hear it in the comments section! Plus, see where we ate in 2013.

Top Five Eats to Beat the Heat

DC is at the height of swelter season and so we thought we’d provide some recommendations on five treats to eat in the heat. If you venture out in the humidity, head to the following five spots for these cool dishes.

Mari Vanna's Borscht1. Mari Vanna’s Cold Borscht

Borscht is the perfect chilled, colorful summer soup. Unlike its hot winter counterpart, laden with beef, potatoes and sour cream, this vegetarian version is light and refreshing. Just don’t wear your best summer whites to eat beets. For more on what to order at this charming Dupont Circle Russian establishment (besides vodka), click here.

B TOO's Fried Orange Sherbet2. B TOO’s Fried Orange Sorbet

This is like the tempera ice cream you would beg your parents for when they “dragged” you to a sushi restaurant to “expand your horizons” when you were little. Fried ice cream is back with a bang at B TOO. This temperature impossibility sits atop sweet, candied fennel and is surrounded by fried basil leaves. Quite simply, it’s summer on a plate. For more on this Top Chef-studded Logan Circle restaurant click here.

Sushi Taro's Sashimi Omakase3. Sushi Taro’s Sashimi Omakase

You may not know the meaning of the Japanese word omakase, but chances are you’ve eaten a tasting menu or two in your time. Omakase essentially means you’re getting the top, chef-recommended selections of the day. And at Dupont Circle’s Sushi Taro, where they fly in a large portion of fish from Tokyo, you’re in for a wild ride. Sometimes, it’s far more fun to let the experts decide! There’s nothing steamy about sashimi, it’s light and fresh and the perfect summer eat. For more on Sushi Taro, click here.

Del Campo's Scallop Ceviche4. Del Campo’s Grilled Scallop Sushi Ceviche

It’s sushi, no it’s ceviche, no wait, it’s both! Del Campo continues to turn out great grilled items and this one in particular is perfect for warm weather. The scallops sit atop nigiri sushi-like rice mounds and are adorned with a smoked uni sauce. A little bit of raw, and a little bit of heat. We just visited Del Campo in Chinatown and had the special opportunity to interview Chef Victor Albisu. Click here to hear his thoughts on the most popular, and most daring, menu picks.

Teddy's Crab and Avocado5. Teddy’s Crab and Avocado

Teddy’s is a great second edition to the presidential-themed dining establishments in DC. We admit that Dupont Circle’s Teddy might be a little more fun in the winter, when it’s time to pack on the pounds by eating game meat, carbs from the heartland and rich desserts. However, there are a couple items on the menu today that are ripe for summer consumption. The best of which is their crab and avocado dish served with grilled corn and a sauce that’s worth soaking up with their homemade breadbasket. See our pick for Best Thing on the Menu here.

Agree/Disagree with our top dishes? Tell us in the comments section or on the BTM Facebook page.

B TOO: Bloedworst Wafel Met Appeltjes

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Belgian bistro B TOO has opened at last, bringing a touch of famous to 14th Street in the form of Top Chef Star Bart Vandaele. We’re serious when we say that this brain child of Belgian cuisine starting culinary school at age 12. Chef Vandaele was in plain sight working away in the kitchen admiring his bright, shiny and new Logan Circle locale. It’s so new, that the downstairs dining den still smells of fresh paint.

After meal one, we discerned there is no doubt B TOO will play a major role in raising the bar for neighborhood fare. The Best Thing on the Menu: Bloedworst Wafel Met Appeltjes is just one example of creativity, color and flavor. The appetizer is essentially a fried waffle stuffed with blood sausage and served with caramelized apple, green apple sauce and vincotto cream.

We also sampled the foie gras lollypop, steak tartare, venison filet and fried orange sorbet. All winners. There is one thing all of these disparate dishes had in common: dollops. B TOO appears to have an unbreakable obsession with dotting each plate with vibrant blobs of colorful sauces.

If the food isn’t reason enough to make a reservation right away, the beer menu is nothing short of a bible. Even non-beer lovers will find a good match, which we recommend since wines by the glass are steep.

Can’t get enough of Chef Vandaele? Visit his other restaurant, Belga Café.

Bloedworst Wafel Met Appeltjes not your BTM? Post your favorites in the comments section.