The Source Brunch: Turnip Cakes

Turnip Cakes

When you hear the words “Dim Sum,” the encyclopedia of food in your brain probably pulls up images (and smells) of rusty carts being wheeled around by ladies who MUST be centenarians peddling chicken feet in something gelatinous along with unidentified deep fried parts. At the very least, you think of chubby dumplings.

But, there are no carts at The Source’s Dim Sum Brunch, a truly special treat available on Saturdays at the restaurant abutting the Newseum. Furthermore, The Best Thing on the Menu is not a dumpling, nor some noodles. Rather, the BTM is a set of humble turnip cakes dressed only in Szechuan sweet soy sauce and some wisps of green onion.

Asian food is as much about texture as it is about flavor, and that’s why this dish steals the show. Each LEGO-sized square is the best kind of chewy – keeping your mouth occupied long enough for your dining companion to tell a story. Those who have avoided turnips at family dinners for decades need not worry, there’s hardly a harsh radish taste. All you taste is the tangy sauce and a bit of earthiness.

Chive Dumplings

Chef Scott Drewno’s menu gives you ample opportunity to explore, and for a price that’s somewhat of a steal. Try 5 tastes for $32 or 8 for $42. Other can’t-misses include the Shanghai Noodles because they’re potpourried with fragrant chills and savory bits of oxtail; either the duck or lobster bao buns (an order comes with two baos, just like our city’s favorite panda); and the crystal chive dumplings bursting with kurobuta pork and Maryland crab. Pork and crab = the best kind of surf n’ turf.

Click here for more pictures from the meal.

Turnip cakes not your BTM? Post your favorites in the comments section.

Brainfood Burger Battle: Best of the Best

Mad Fox Brewery Co. Burger

Sunday’s Brainfood Burger Battle was a quintessential summer activity that left us smelling of mesquite and sleeping sitting up. Ten of the DC area’s top chefs got sweaty and smoky in the Poste courtyard to compete for bragging rights, and a good cause. It was so hot that the chefs had more wardrobe changes than a magician’s assistant, but they still managed to flip fantastic burgers. Click here for photos from the event available on the Best Thing on the Menu Facebook page.

While three official awards were given out, People’s Choice (Poste), Chef’s Choice (The Source) and Judge’s Choice (The Source), BTM had its own take on the carne contenders.

Best Meat Blend: The “110% Burger” by Poste’s Chef Dennis Marron

Poste's 110% Burger

This mathematically impossible sous vide burger was made out of brisket, chuck, short rib, beef cheek and bone marrow.

Best Lamb Burger: Firefly’s Chef Todd Wiss

Firefly's Lamb Burger

Lamb is encouraging burger lovers to think outside the beef. Until recently, you could only get a lamb burger at a Greek restaurant. Thank goodness for the newfound popularity and sweet, gamey flavor. The aioli on this bad boy was amazing.

Best Bun: Granville Moore’s Chef Teddy Folkman

Granville Moore's Beef Bulgogi Burger

Teddy used a pretzel bun to house his beef bulgogi burger.

Best Schmutz: Ripple’s Chef Marjorie Meek-Bradley

Ripple's Burger

Marjorie’s California-inspired burger game with two colorful dollops to dip your burger in: smoked egg yolk yellow and avocado green.

Best Outside the Bun: Iron Gate’s Chef Anthony Chittum

Iron Gate's Lamb Pita Burger

There’s only so much brioche one can eat. Kudos to Anthony for going with pita instead. We can’t wait for Iron Gate to open this August!

Best Overall: Our pick for best burger went to Mad Fox Brewery’s Chef Andrew Dixon.

Mad Fox Brewery Co. Burger

Andrew’s short rib burger was topped with crispy pork belly, beer cheese, relish, arugula, and a friend potato chip. It also came served on a pretzel roll.

Mad Fox Brewing Co. is located in Falls Church, VA. The best day to visit is Wednesday because they offer a uniquely concocted “Epic Burger” that continually changes. You can wash down your Epic Burger with another Wednesday special, the Crazy Cask. Mad Fox’s beer scientists go to work in creating a funky brew; a recent one involved Fresno chilies. The team at Mad Fox are fun, friendly and offer 10-12 of their own beers on tap. We can’t wait to make the trip.

All proceeds from the burger battle went to Brainfood, a non-profit youth development organization. The DC organization uses food as a tool to build life skills and promote healthy living. Local high school students participate in programs that include hands-on cooking classes, lectures, field trips and community service projects. Learn more at http://brain-food.org/.

Where can you get the best burger in DC? Post your favorites in the comments section.