Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Jack Rose Dining Saloon: Got Whiskey?

Jack Rose Dining Saloon
2007 18th St. N.W.
Washington, DC 20009

Jack Rose Dining Saloon is the love child of Bill Thomas, Stephen King, Michael Hartzer and few other folks.  They have what I believe to be the largest collection of spirits in the Mid-Atlantic region.  Approximately 1500 bottles of spirits.  If you can't find your preferred whiskey here, it doesn't exist.

Photographer Mike Palmer had decided that he wanted to get some more shots for his portfolio, and I'm always willing to write about restaurants, so he ran a contest.  The winners got free photo shoots.  I got some blog-fodder, and we've been having a good time doing it.  Pictured above is Michael Hartzer, executive chef.  My friend Melody Stone of Oakville Wine Bar fame is the general manager.
We started out with Stuffed and Roasted Red Peppers.  They're stuffed with eggplant, garlic, and cheese, then served with vermouth cream and basil.  Kind of home-y in conception, but also avant in the flavors brought together.

Peekeytoe Crab Toast.  Nice combination of heats, both temperature and Scovilles, as well as textures.  The lemon set off the sweetness of the crab nicely too.

 Mike getting his groove on.  He shoots quickly, and he does a great job in processing too.

 This is the Grilled Chop of Venison.  The sauce is fresh cherry "Jack Rose" sauce.  It's got some wine in it and has a nice combination of tart and sweet.  It was served rare and still had a great texture.
Nice shot.

This is Michael Hartzer putting the final touches on the Roasted Loin of Boar.

Excellent texture and seasoning on this.

Michael squared.
Once again, great shoot with Michael and wonderful hospitality from Sarah Spigelman, the event and marketing director.  This is a wonderful place to come with friends.  They have an open deck on the roof where you can sit and have a nice whiskey, a cigar (they sell them there), and just kick back.  If you go, let them know you read about it on Pleasures of the Table. 
For more information on shoots by Michael reach out to him at
Jack Rose Dining Saloon on Urbanspoon

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Le Zinc: New chef, new shoot!

Lunch time photo shoot at Le Zinc 2/23/12.
(202) 686-2015
3714 Macomb St. N.W., Washington, DC
This is a new menu item at Le Zinc, from my fabulous cheffriend (just coined a word) Janis McLean.
Crispy skate with a saute of haricots verts, wild mushrooms, hazelnuts, and lemon caper sauce.

This is the woman behind the line, Janis McLean.  If you're a fan of my blog you've read about her before when I posted about 15 RIA.  She's been a friend for years and always has a piece of advice when I ask about cooking something.
She's been through some great kitchens including Red Sage, Morrison-Clark, redDOG Cafe, and 15 RIA.

Nice shot of the frites servers standing patiently, waiting for some hot fries.

Pan-seared sea scallops with cauliflower puree, caper and white raisin sauce.

Another closer shot of the dish.  Very pretty.
The grilled rockfish boullabaisse veloute had a terrific, rich tomato flavor.  The shrimp and mussels were cooked just right, not overdone as you get in some places that don't care quite as much.   

Chocolate Hazelnut Truffle Tort.  Not much more you can say about this.  It's rich and decadent.

This is Sous Julio Dupuy on the left, mugging for the camera with us.
A great lunch shoot done way too quickly for my tastes.  I only got a fork full of everything to try, but it was great.  Next time we'll have to come in for dinner and spend the evening enjoying and taking pictures.
If you like what you saw, the pictures were done by my friendtographer (Oh! coined another one) Michael Palmer.  He's done shoots for CityEats (lots of them) 2941, Elisir, and many more.  Look him up!
Thanks for reading folks.  As always, comments and questions are welcome.
Bistro Le Zinc closed it's doors for good September 2013.
Bistrot Le Zinc on Urbanspoon

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Behind...and in front of the scenes at LivingSocial's 918 F St. Inaugural Event

LivingSocial is getting...well, social.  The brick and mortar facility they've created is pretty cool.  A lot of good companies/people were involved with the project including Winmar Construction, VSAG Consulting, FDS Design, Streetsense, and yours truly.
Let's start by exploring the venue itself.
This is the demo/teaching kitchen.  It's beautiful if you get excited by shiny stainless and haute technology.  There are monitors all over that display the feed from the automated camera covering the action at the head cooking station.  Imagine you and 30 of your closest friends learning how to make signature dishes from the famous chefs who actually created them.  This is a stellar idea as these chefs would normally have to shut down their restaurants to do a teaching class like this, and the view wouldn't be nearly as good.

Acres of stainless....

A little artsy treatment from Snapseed and Hipstomatic.

All the tools you could need.  Top notch, shiny and new!

This is one of the mixed-use spaces that was set up as a dining room for the trial-run event I attended.
This shot was taken in the bar downstairs.  It has a cut-out in the ceiling that allows you to view the live music area from below.

Another mixed-use room.  This venue has many.  Too bad Bob Ross isn't still would have been fab to have him teach people how to make love to their trees here.

This is the restaurant kitchen where Mike Isabella was pulling it all together for our introduction to his new menu. This was the first night the Living Social facility on F St. was open, and Mike used the opportunity to showcase his menu for Bandolero, his new restaurant that will be opening in Georgetown in late spring.

Here are the items we got to try.  We had a table of four (and what a foursome it was) so we just asked them to bring us one of everything....
These glasses were being prepped for the appetizer cocktail which was a favorite of the table.

Various dips and guac.

Fresh tortilla chips and pork rinds for dipping.  Tasty.

Crispy fish....

Steak, crab...

The texture of this tamale was perfection.

More interesting beverages...they wanted to make sure we had a happy time!  My favorite was the City of Gold (in the champagne glass).

Short ribs braised to perfection.

Tasty veg soft tacos...
This is a shot I took just before Mike had all the servers gather round so he could explain the offerings to them.  He puts together some tasty food.  Graffiato is still one of my favorite places to go.
Posted by PicasaHere's a shot of Mike after the festivities, grabbing a much-deserved drink with John McCarthy of MICROS.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Fanfare Eatery - A new concept by Glory Days Grill

Fanfare is a new concept by the folks who bring you some of the best sports-bar food and entertainment.  Their IT director is a pretty forward thinking guy.
This is a view you see as you walk in the front door and look left.
This is looking towards the kitchen.
If you turn around when you enter the front door, you'll notice this on the wall.
It's a self-service terminal on the wall.  If there is a line to get in you can just order your own stuff!  Pretty cool.  They will also be using online ordering shortly, so you can use your smartphone to order a couple dozen wings and a shake to go!
Lots of screens in this place.  This looks like a standard menu board, but it's actually large flat-panel displays that show a rotation of different pictures and specials.  Easy to keep up to date and you don't have to get it re-printed every time you change a price or add an item.
More screens in the kitchen.  These tell the cooks what to make, how many, and how fast to do it.  It also ties into reporting so that the managers can tell which cooks are getting it done quickly, and which are not.  It can also alert the mangers to things like particular menu items taking too long, which can prompt them to re-configure how they prepare particular items.
Another shot of the digital menu boards.
The terminals on the counter have a big touch screen in the back so you can confirm your order and they can tell you about specials or promote specific items.
I like the look on the bathroom doors.  They were pretty clearly labeled, though it's apparent the fun-police came and made them use the universal symbols for men and women over their much more creative, though completely legible signage.
Another view of the dining room.
Lots of tasty sauces available, including a few of their own.

You can see my order on the screen!  This screen tells the cooks exactly how long my ticket has been in the kitchen.  After a preset number of minutes the ticket will turn yellow, and then after several more, red, which alerts the kitchen to the fact that they better light a fire under that puppy and get my food out!
You'll notice the production items (items that are ordered frequently) on the top row reflect my order.  There may be so many tickets that the cooks can't see them all at once without scrolling, but they can always see how many of their most popular items they need to have working at any given moment.  Notice the burger spot has a 2 in it, and there are 2 on my order.  Same with the wings.  The fry-guy knows exactly how many wings he has to have either in the fryer or in the drawer at any time.
Here's one!
Can't leave Fanfare without some wings in ya.
And there's the other.

If you have any questions or comments about the technology, writing, pictures, or restaurant please get in touch.  I'd love to hear from you.