Sip Into Spring with RAMW’s Spring Wine Fling

DC Spring Wine Fling 2015I don’t really need a reason to drink wine on a regular weeknight, but if you do, here’s one for you: it’s Spring Wine Fling!!! During this week-long (March 23-29, 2015) celebration of wine programs across the Washington, D.C. region, participating bars and restaurants are offering special flights, tastings and/or parings of seasonal wines. Last night, I sat down at Boss Sheperd’s, in part because I had never been and I figured it was a good excuse, to check out their spring wine fling offering. For $15, you can order a flight of three wines, sparkling, white, red or a mix from either category. I opted for the mix, though if you go, I recommend the sparkling wine flight that includes my favourite American bubbly, Gruet, Prosecco and Veuve Clicquot.

 

Spring wine fling flight at Boss Sheperd's

 

Outside of Boss Sheperd’s here is a list of notable bars and restaurants participating in Spring Wine Fling:

  • Occidental Grill & Seafood ~ It’s all about the most spring-friendly wine at the historical Pennsylvania avenue restaurant with $18 flights of specially selected rosé from different wine regions around the globe.
  • Ici Urban Bistro ~ Le Bar at the Sofitel Hotel and its restaurant ici gives you three flight options: a $31 Sparkling celebration that’s a Laurent Perrier champagne flight, a $31 American whites flight and a $28 Red Bodies flights.
  • Pizza Vinoteca ~ My new favourite Ballston spot rocks 36 wine by the glass daily, all for under $10, so it’s not surprising that it’s offering a great Spring Wine Fling deal! Through March 29, guests can chose 4-pour flights from any of the restaurant’s wine categories (sparkling, gold, amber etc.) for $14. Not to sound like a broken record, but i’m going to recommend the sparkling flight on this one: prosecco, nebbiolo brut rose, sparkling pinot noir and lambrusco. YES PLEASE! Bonus, for $15 you can get a brussels sprout pizza + a glass of gruner Veltliner or merlot-tannat. YES PLEASE times two!
  • Pinea ~ The new-ish restaurant at the W Hotel boasts a brand new mural by Gaia and here’s an excuse if you need one to go check it out: two 4-pour flights, one red and one white showcasing uncommon Southern European varietals.
  • Smith & Wollensky and i Ricchi ~ both restaurants are showcasing wines made by women. At Smith & Wollensky, the $20 flight feature wines by notable women winemakers, including a 2012 Bordeaux Lafite Reserve. At i Ricchi, it’s a $12 flight featuring 3 wines, from 3 regions and 3 (Italian) women.

You can find a complete list of participating bars and restaurants on RAMW’s website.

Cheers to Spring!

Saint Paddy’s Day Treats at The Sweet Lobby & Olivia Macaron

Two of the best macarons shops in Washington have cooked up special Saint Patrick’s Day treats! Obviously both are going green, though Olivia Macaron’s Irish Cream macaron has a hint of gold dusting too!

macarons

What would your ultimate Saint Patrick’s Day macaron flavour be? I love Bailey’s so I think that’s be a great flavour… but I also think an Irish Whiskey Caramel macaron would be pretty awesome!

Images courtesy of Olivia Macarons’ instagram and The Sweet Lobby’s Instagram

Olivia Macaron Venturing out of Georgetown

No, the Georgetown purveyor of colourful macarons is not opening a second boutique in Shaw. At least not yet (how great would it be though??) But there’s still some good news if you love Olivia Macaron but don’t love trekking all the way to M Street… you can now purchase a limited selection of macarons to go along your favourite coffee blend at La Colombe in Bladgen Alley.

Olivia Macaron now available at La ColombeObviously, there’s a lot less flavours available at  La Colombe, but it’s great to know that there are some available in Shaw right? Also, if you can’t make it to (or don’t want to) Olivia Macaron or La Colombe, Olivia delivers nationwide (just call 202.965.1000 for orders.)

La Colombe is located at 924 N St NW. Olivia Macaron is located at 3222 M St NW. 

New Éclair de Dessert Collection at Paul Bakery

Looks like it’s definitely éclairs season in DC! After introducing two decadent new éclair flavours for Valentine’s Day (framboise & trois chocolats,) Paul Bakery  is keeping the momentum going with a whole month of new limited edition éclairs. A new line-up of tasty éclairs with join Paul’s traditional flavours vanille, café and chocolate.

Eclairs traditionels at Paul Bakery

 

Jot down this schedule! The Un Éclair de Dessert campaign will debut on February 25 by tackling one of France’s most beloved dessert: the Paris-Brest. What’s that you ask? It’s actually kind of like an éclair! Named after a bicycle race that used to take place way before the Tour de France was a thing between the French capital and one of Brittany’s largest city, it’s also made with pâte à choux. But, instead of being oblong shaped, it’s round to resemble a bicycle wheel and filled with whipped cream. It also lacks the fondant layer that typically tops the éclair. Paul’s Paris-Brest inspired éclair will be available from February 25 to March 3, and will be filled with a buttery praline cream and enhanced with caramelized hazelnuts. WANT.

Eclair Paris Brest

 

The following week will see the springtime return of one of my fall favourite: Paul’s noix de pecan éclair, typically available around Thanksgiving. Don’t miss it! It will only be in stores from March 4 to 10, 2015.

Pecan eclair

 

Next, from March 11 to March 17 will come the éclair coconut, topped with finely grated coconut instead of ganache,

Eclair coconut

 

Rounding up the series will be the éclair framboise-pistache (March 18-25) and the éclair fraise-pistache (March 25-31.)

Eclairs at Paul

 

All of these eclairs will be available individually during their respective time-frame (and only then, so plan your visits to accordingly) at all of Paul’s location throughout the Washington, DC area (you can find a Paul near you here) for $5.65 each. A special box set with 3 éclairs of your choice will also be available for $15.99.

I’m planning on hitting Paul every week to try each flavour because, well, do i need a reason beyond loving éclairs and pastries in general? Is there one you’re looking forward to trying more than the others? I’d love to hear! Eclair meet-up anyone?

G’Eclair to Bring Trendy French Pastry to Adams Morgan

In 2009, I met my mom, aunt, grandmother and cousins in Djerba, Tunisia for a relaxing Mediterranean family vacation (you can read more about that trip here). I had to leave before everyone else because well, I’m the only one who lives in a country that doesn’t have 6-weeks of paid vacation days a year (grrr USA!) but did meet up with my dad in Paris for a quick 24 hours before flying back to D.C. My dad and I both have a mad sweet tooth and truly appreciate fine desserts, so these 24 hours turned into quite the pâtisseries marathon. And it was good timing: Éclair Week was in full swing at Fauchon, leading me to rediscover a forgotten childhood favourite.

eclair, fauchon

Fast forward to today. Saying that éclairs are the new macarons is about as over-said as saying that macarons are the new cupcakes. And yet, that’s pretty much exactly what I just said 😉 Éclairs are quite trendy right now, and they’ve never looked or tasted better! Some éclairs truly look like tiny pieces of art (see the stunning éclair Joconde below.)

IMG_2593

Fauchon's Mona Lisa éclair

One of the chef pâtissier to credit for the éclair’s relaunch from simple pastry a high-end dessert is Christophe Adam, who spent 15 years at Fauchon. Adam, who now has his own shop(s) called l’Éclair de Génie, and Guillaume Simonnet, of L’Atelier de l’Éclair, have Parisians lined up outside their stores to try their latest creations and flavours… They’re looking to spread the éclair gospel to the United States, with Adam slated to open a shop in SoHo this summer this year.  There’s already quite a few spot to get decent éclairs in New York: Kayser‘s are really good as are the ones at Michel Richard’s Pomme Palais, Daniel Boulud’s Épicerie Boulud, Dominique Ansel Bakery and La Maison du Chocolat. Pastry chef Jennifer Yee also offers a selection of éclairs at Lafayette Grand Café and Bakery (try it for brunch! Their bread comes straight from Poilâne!!). In Washington, well, it’s a bit more difficult to find good éclairs right now. Like a lot more difficult. So I have high hopes for G’Eclair (pronounced Gee-Clair not JAY-Clair), an éclair boutique that popped up on valentine’s day and will open soon inside frozen yogurt shop Spoon in Adams Morgan. The team behind G’Eclair is also behind Donburi, a Japanese restaurant focused on rice-bowls. Its owner James Jang and his business partner Grace Owens-Stively are getting into the éclair business and eventually plan to open their own small brick-and-mortar éclair shop.

G'Eclair in Washington, DC
GEclair

Over the weekend, Grace and James handed out free éclair samples. I braved the snow Saturday to try them out and wasn’t disappointed by the green-tea white chocolate mini-éclair and the miso-caramel one. There’s still a little bit of work to be done on the presentation I think. The pastries need to be finer and longer to look more refined, and the designs have room for more artistry too. But the flavours were spot on so I’m definitely hopeful and think I might have more reasons to visit Adam Morgan in the near future…

Dolci Gelati Cafe Now Spreading Happiness in Shaw

Unless you live in Takoma PGelato at Dolci Gelati Cafe in Shawark and already have easy access to chef Gianluigi Dellaccio’s sweet frozen creations, you’re probably like me and pretty stoked that Dolci Gelati Cafe just opened in Shaw. Equally exciting, chef Cedric Maupillier of Mintwood Place is slated to open his new restaurant, Convivial, next door…

Dolci Gelati is a labour of love for Gianluigi and Anastasia Dellaccio and I never tire of hearing the story of their business’ beginnings, which had Gianluigi drumming up business by going from restaurant to restaurant with a cooler of gelato strapped to the back of his vespa. Today, Dolci Gelati is a larger operation, with a production facility in Northeast Washington, a food truck and two retail locations. The newest one in Shaw is larger than the original Takoma Park location. The 1,200 square foot space has its own kitchen and gelato machines, as well as Dolci Gelati’s signature pistachio green on its walls and two luxurious chandeliers hanging from the ceiling.

I wanna swing, from the chandelier... from the chandeli-eeeeeer

The focus of the shop is gelato, of course, but that’s not all you’ll find. Immediately upon entering, you’ll notice the gelato counter and chalkboard menus of coppe gelato, or Sundae. I instantly fell in love with the pumpkin seed gelato and I wish we could have met sooner. We will have to rekindle our relationship comes next fall 😉 All gelato can be scooped individually or served in affogatos (hot or cold), gelato panini, shakes and even cookie sandwich. Towards the middle of the cafe is one of Dolci Gelati Cafe’s nolvety: a custom gelato pops counter, which allows you to dip a gelato popsicle into a variety of melted chocolates and sprinkle them with a variety of sweet toppings. Finally, there’s a beverage, sandwich and pastry counter. This winter, try Dolci Gelati’s signature Dolci Baci hazelnut hot cocoa paired with fresh house made whipped cream or homemade marshmallows. There’s also an assortment of pastries from the traditional Italian cannoli and tiramisu to croissants and tarts. Three sandwiches (ham & cheese, pesto caprese panini and prosciutto mozzarella panini) provide a savoury respite from all the sweetness around.

 

Dolci gelati custom popsicle bar

Dolci gelati owners Gianluigi and Anastasia  Dellaccio

 

Dolci Gelati Cafe opens in Shaw at 1420 8th street, NW. Check out my Tastemade video to learn more about the new space and its offerings.