Best Thing at the Party: Sugar and Champagne

Sugar and Champagne

More than a hundred dogs sniffed each other, got gourmet treats and snuck gelato licks from their two-legged companions at the Washington Humane Society’s fundraiser Sugar and Champagne. There were 800 people  in attendance for the event at the Ronald Reagan Building and
International Trade Center. Yes, dogs were allowed inside of one of DC’s most prestigious venues. So let’s get to it, the food that is.

Founding Farmers panna cotta

The Best Thing at the Party: Sweet Corn Panna Cotta with Bacon Blueberry Sauce was made by none other than the team from Founding Farmers. They always use bacon really well and have a knack for bringing out the best in fresh produce, so it’s not a surprise that they took the cake. Well maybe not the cake…those accolades belong to Baklava Couture.

Baklava Couture Cake

Their semolina cake with hat tips to baklava’s sticky, crunchy texture was the perfect bite. They got my gold coin in the cake vote. You can find Baklava Couture products at FRESHFARM Markets (seasonal), Todd Gray’s Muse Cafe at the Corcoran Gallery of Art and The Mediterranean Way.

Bacon Candy

Finally, we’d like to call out the very best contraband at the party (those in violation shall remain nameless). The bacon candy on a stick was otherworldly. Mmmm – thick cut and covered in a syrupy, caramelized glaze. OMGet me some more. Bacon and other meat products were apparently banned, due to the stir it would create among the four leggers. Whoops.

Click here for more pictures from the event. Click here to learn about pet adoption.

Sweet Corn Panna Cotta not The Best Thing at the Party? Share your favorites in the comments section.

Top Five Dates in the District

Bacon-wrapped dates at Jaleo

Sorry Match.com members, this is a different kind of date.

Dates, or in most cases “dátiles,” have made a comeback on the capital culinary scene in the past couple of years. You can find them on big-name menus like Jaleo and Komi but also at Wholefoods, enabling you to take your dates on the road.

Here’s a round-up of Best Thing on the Menu’s top five dates in the District:

1.     Jaleo: Dátiles Con Tocino Como Hace Todo El Mundo – Fried dates wrapped in bacon served with an apple-mustard sauce

2.     Komi: Dates stuffed with mascarpone cheese and dusted (generously) with sea salt

3.     Boqueria: Dátiles con Beicon – Dates stuffed with almonds and Valdeón, wrapped in bacon

4.     Founding Farmers: Bacon-Wrapped Dates – Dates with blue cheese filling and balsamic glaze

5.     P Street Wholefoods: Dates stuffed with a mild cheese and topped with candied walnuts

Bacon-wrapped dates are also known as “Devils on Horseback.” They were quintessential cocktail party appetizers in the 1960s and 1970s when daring and exotic finger food was in demand.

However, the name of the dish and the dish itself actually dates back to the late 19th century with its close sibling – “Angels on Horseback” (oysters wrapped with bacon).

Their origins are somewhat mysterious, but most accounts stem from Cornwall in the south of England at the turn of the last millennium, where Norman raiders would disguise themselves is suits of armor made by layering rashers of bacon.

The best part about Devils on Horseback, besides the sweet and smoky flavor, is that they can be made very quickly and with only a simple set of ingredients.  Yet, we guarantee they will impress your dinner guests.

Discovered other tasty dates in the District? Share your favorites in the comments section.