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.

FB

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.

Taylor Gourmet: Cottman Avenue

Taylor Gourmet Cottman Ave

When you enter a Taylor Gourmet you’re likely to be overwhelmed by the many streets of Philadelphia to choose from – 31 to be exact. Some favorites include Federal Street with layer upon layer of cold cuts; Pattison Ave stuffed with roasted pork and broccoli rabe; or the Callowhill with meatballs and marinara.

The Best Thing on the Menu: Cottman Avenue is in another league. It tastes like an afternoon spent gathering ingredients at the Italian Market in South Philly. Pepperoni, roasted red peppers, basil and fresh mozzarella top a fried and breaded chicken cutlet with just the right amount of girth.

We imagine you’ve tried Taylor Gourmet, maybe you’ve ever tried the Best Thing on the Menu. But, have you tried all the different ways to Taylor? BTM presents Teach Me How to Taylor – like Teach Me How to Dougie – but more delicious:

Football Sunday Taylor – Whether it’s a 1:00, 4:25 or 8:25 kick-off, Taylor Gourmet is your best friend on Sundays. Invite your friends and order a couple of larges. They’ll deliver them hot and ready to your house.

Late Night No Inhibitions Taylor – The 14th Street and H Street locations are open until 3:30 a.m. Come when the bars close, order, take a picture of your food and look at the picture in the morning to see what you threw down. You may surprise yourself with photos of fistfuls of risotto balls.

The Morning After Taylor – Breakfast hoagies are back. Good morning Filbert Street – bacon, hot capicola, eggs and American cheese!

Turn that Frown Upside Down Taylor – Have you taken Twitter to air your misgivings about sandwiches no longer on the menu? Consider it an opportunity to actually try something new OR move their current menu items around like a Rubik’s Cube to create your old standby.

I Just Finished a Marathon Taylor – For these rare occasions, the Philly Landfill is your must-order menu item: Genoa salami, roast pork, peppered ham, roasted red peppers and sharp provolone.

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There’s one more we’re waiting to try this December:

It’s My Birthday Taylor – This is when you beg the guys behind the counter to make you their best risotto balls because you plan to stick birthday candles in them in lieu of a cake. It also means you’re turning five…

However you Taylor, we’re super grateful to the sandwich bromance of David Mazza and Casey Patten for bringing a bite of Philly to the District.

Cottman Avenue not your BTM? Share your favorites in the comments section.

Top 5 Surprise Picks for Vegetarians

Vegetarians

Chances are, if you’re a vegetarian in the District, you’ve already “steaked” out your go-to restaurants that reliably offer vegetarian fare. However, with more and more inside-the-beltway diners celebrating fresh produce done right, vegetarian stunners are springing up on menus in unexpected places. In an effort to expand your options, we share with you Top Five Surprise Picks for Vegetarians:

Mandu

Potato

While Korean BBQ and vegetarians don’t necessarily sound synonymous, Mandu (now with two locations) is a vegetarian mecca. Almost every dish can be made vegetarian (if it’s not born that way to begin with). Choose from sizzling bibim bap, egg-dipped zucchini and eggplant, glazed veggies and tofu off the grill or chap-chae sweet potato noodles, just to name a few. This is a chance for vegetarians to get in on Korean cuisine that’s surpassing sushi as the frontrunner Asian food in pop culture. See the menu here.

Kapnos

Eggplant

Kapnos, which BTM visited earlier this month, captured our veggie-loving hearts. They have 20 items on their menu that are vegetarian, and many of them contended for our top pick. From smoky hen of the woods mushrooms to potato garlic phyllo pies, you really can’t go wrong. Not that you have to, but you could easily make a meal out of their delicious bread and flavorful dips (four of which are vegetarian). See Mike Isabella’s menu here.

Firefly

Cabbage

Also ringing in with around 20 vegetarian options is Firefly. It’s no surprise that this forest-canopied restaurant treats its veggies with tender loving care. We can personally attest to the Goat Cheese Gnocchi, which we selected as the Best Thing on the Menu. Also delicious:  Farro Salad, Fried Green Tomatoes and 3 Bean Risotto. See the menu here.

Volt

Raddish

Why should fancy tasting menu adventures be for meat eaters only? We imagine that’s what star chef Bryan Voltaggio asked himself when he designed the “Tasting of Fruits and Vegetables” menu at Volt. Six mouthwatering courses showcase earth’s natural candy in ways we’ve never thought of. See for yourself, here. We’re headed there in two weeks and will report back.

Taylor Gourmet

Bok Choy

Moving now from gourmet tasting menus to Taylor Gourmet. Why shouldn’t you be able to enjoy a hoagie just because you don’t eat hog? Taylor Gourmet, with its multiple locations, has five great hoagies (subs, grinders, heroes, sandwiches …) just for you. We’re particularly intrigued by “Christian Street,” containing portobella mushrooms, arugula, roasted red peppers and goat cheese. In case you have room after hoagie heaven, don’t forget Taylor Gourmet’s risotto balls. We’ve already requested these in lieu of a birthday cake this year. Here’s hoping the candle stays put. See the menu here.

Other suggestions for surprise vegetarian-friendly spots? Share with us in the comments section.