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HEALTHY NEW YEAR

January 3, 2014

How 15 DC chefs and bartenders battled the bulge and made the world a healthier place
By Francine Cohen

Beet radish

Just as ubiquitous as the seasonal songs you hear in every holiday commercial this time of year is the rush for predictions, charitable donations, and resolutions that will surely make your world, and the world, a better place in the new year. 2014 will be no different.

There will always be plenty of ways that you, as hospitality industry leaders, will be asked to give. And let’s be honest, it gets a bit redundant. But it doesn’t have to be the same old same old. You probably feel like Chef RJ Cooper (www.rogue24.com) does as he remarks, “The dine around pass food over a table formula is tired, old and just cramped. A new concept of making mobile kitchens in venues so chefs can cook for 3 tables of 10 etc. would be much more fun.”

No reason you can’t have fun while doing good. Maybe this is the year it happens and you’ll be inspired to take a page out of the book of some Washington, DC based chefs and bartenders who found fun and healthy living through charity work in 2013. Last year, while supporting the American Cancer Society by co-chairing the Society’s annual signature culinary, wine and spirits event, Taste of Hope (www.tasteofhopedc.org), the Restaurateur/chef Mike Isabella (www.graffiatodc.com) rallied 15 Washington, D.C. chefs and mixologists for the inaugural Fit for Hope weight loss challenge.

The 12-week challenge kicked off on June 24th and culminated on September 24th at Taste of Hope. According to the Society, the latest recommendations for adults call for at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity or 75 minutes of vigorous intensity activity each week, or an equivalent combination, preferably spread throughout the week.

Faced with an invitation to support a new (to DC) charity event they turned what could have been just another “let me show up and park myself behind a white tablecloth draped 6 ft. long table and hand out food and drink while smiling and promoting my restaurant/bar” experience into something much more personally meaningful- for them and the charity they supported. While dropping pounds, each participating chef and mixologist was also charged with raising a minimum $2,500 during the 12 weeks and many turned to Continue Reading…

Eat Here Now

EAT HERE NOW – KANSAS CITY

August 5, 2011

By Seánan Forbes

Photo courtesy of the Kansas City Convention and Visitors Association

Kansas City’s not just about barbecue. There are restaurants, bars and coffee shops that would be mobbed were they in LA or New York, but the owners are happy in the Heartland. If you’re into coffee, then share in KC’s celebration of its independent roasters: The Roasterie (www.theroasterie.com) and Broadway Café and Roasting (www.broadwaycafeandroastery.com). Visit at the right hour, and you can catch one of Kansas City’s chefs fuelling up for another successful day.

Three-time Beard nominee Colby Garrelts and his wife, Megan, are an unstoppable pair: as parents, chefs (Colby handles the savory side; Megan, the sweet), and co-owners of Bluestem (www.bluestemkc.com, 900 Westport Road). They’re looking into opening a new restaurant, and are working on a cookbook – and their crew gets along so well that they hang out together when they have time off.

Photo by Bonjwing Lee

Where would they have you go in KC? In the great tradition of “eat dessert first,” let’s give Megan Garrelts the first word. “We go to Room 39 a lot,” she says. “It’s homey. It’s small . . . They have a great burger, great specials and soups . . . Ted [Ted Habinger, chef-restaurateur] is a great friend of ours.” Habinger’s worked for some of the best, including Danny Meyer. Room 39 is the ultimate in egalitarian treatment. Whether you spend hours drinking excellent cappuccinos and reading the newspaper, or order a five-course meal and a $200 bottle of wine, you’ll be shown honest grace and courtesy. Habinger wouldn’t have it any other way.

R Bar (www.rbarkc.com, 1617 Genessee Street) is another of her favorites. There’s “a great cocktail selection.” Just as important, “The ambience is just really cool. It has that old Kansas City feel. It takes you back in time.” Check the calendar for live music. R Bar’s drinks pair well with jazz.

Laughing, Colby Garrelts says, “The boys and I eat out almost every single day. We go hit the holes in the wall with the good lunches. These are the places that are the heart and soul of what we eat on a normal basis. We eat tons of pho.”   For that, they go to The Vietnam Café. (522 Campbell Street) and Kim Long Asian Market and Restaurant (511 Cherry Street) “It’s where the Vietnamese people go to eat, both of these places.” Look for “noodles, vermicelli, tripe – which isn’t really tripe – tendon, shank . . .” Garrelts’ one-word review: “Fantastic.

El Camino Real (902 N 7th Street, Kansas City KS). “They serve real gorditas – they hand-make all the gorditas – and they have those big pork shoulders with pineapple that drip and roast in the rotisserie. This is the real deal.”

El Pollo Rey (1101 Kansas Avenue, Kansas City KS) “All these people do is grill chickens.” You can buy a whole or half-chicken. You get fresh, warm tortillas, pickled vegetables, Mexican sodas – and it’s just spectacular.” Continue Reading…