Proof: Duck Confit with Scallion Hush Puppies

Proof Duck Confit

Proof is so much more than the place foodies eat before a Caps game. It’s a dining destination all on its own. The wine and food programs seem to compete for the role of the lead dancer. Is Proof a wine bar with food or a gastronomical, food-focused delight that has a solid wine list? Whichever you decide to be true, don’t order a beer here. It just wouldn’t be fair. We recommend an Oregon pinot from our favorite winemaker Patricia Green.

Back to the food from Haidar Karoum. The Best Thing on the Menu: Warm Duck Confit with Scallion Hush Puppies, Pickled Beech Mushrooms and Tomatillo Salsa Verde is rich, bright and light at the same time. The tart tomatillo salsa cuts the confit – you know duck cooked in duck fat. What could be better?

We’ve also never met a hush puppy we didn’t like. Some of our favorites are at Garden District and Lincoln. Proof’s hushies are a little on the lighter side, with very little grease and some tangy onion flavor.


There’s another dish on the menu that made a real impression. Let’s say you’re Santa Claus fueling up for a trip around the world. Or, Rob Ryan. Or Rex Ryan pre-weight loss surgery. Order the Cassoulet of Duck Confit, Crispy Pork Belly & House Made Duck Sausage. The meatiest, manliest entree we’ve ever seen with a calorie count that is likely higher than the entire contents of a Cold Stone Creamery. Order it anyway.

Duck confit not your BTM? Post your favorites in the comments section.

DC’s Top Food and Drink Trends 2013


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


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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


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.


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.

Garden District: Summer Feast for Two

Garden District

As we embark on the last real month of summer, we thought we’d share the perfect summer feast for two at Garden District, formerly known as Standard. Although there’s a fresh new name paying homage to the previous tenant, we’re pleased to see the menu remains unchanged.  The American South meets Bavaria at this community-driven Logan Circle smokehouse. There’s really something special about drinking German beers from steins that goes all too well with American BBQ.

The platter making up The Best Thing on the Menu consists of the pulled pork sandwich, barbecue brisket sandwich, hush puppies and Mexican style grilled corn. The biggest benefit of this platter is that it draws influence from different regions.  The chef, Tad Curtz, is not a monogamist when it comes to his ‘cue. He’s got vinegar-based North Carolina BBQ in one corner of the menu and sloppy, saucy Texas style in another.

The only sin we committed (besides gluttony) was not calling ahead to order a head.  For $25 bucks the chef will present you and your team of hungry hungry hippos with a full pig head so you can go after the jowls, tongue and beyond. While some might call this omission an epic fail, we’ve chosen to look at it as a reason to go back to Garden District, and soon. Before we know it, the Redskins will be under the lights, the leaves will be on the sidewalk and we’ll be asking where summer went.

The gates open at 5:00 p.m. Monday-Friday and noon on the weekends. We tell you this because thanks to top-quality beer and BBQ and an onslaught of great press, they’re due to be packed.  Just this month Garden District was named on Parade’s list of best BBQ. In an era of competitive reservations on 14th Street, it is somewhat refreshing that Garden District doesn’t reserve seats. Instead, you’re encouraged to grab some bench next to strangers and enjoy the camaraderie of consuming summer together.

Oh, and don’t forget the donuts! They’ll be available for just a dollar this weekend as a part of the neighborhood’s Mid City Dog Days (Aug. 3-4, 2013).

Our perfect platter for two not your BTM? Post your favorites in the comments section. Oh, and do rub it in (with salt) if you remembered to order the pig head.

If you like this, you might also like: Lincoln, Teddy and Ben’s Chili Bowl.