I was so excited to have the opportunity to attend the Metropolitan Cooking and Entertaining Show in DC last weekend! MetroCooking DC is a two day annual event (this is their 9th year!) featuring celebrity chefs, cooking demonstrations from local James Beard award winning chefs, culinary classes, workshops, book signings, food and beverage tastings, and local food vendors.
Disclosure: I received free entry to MetroCooking DC in exchange for coverage. All comments and opinions are my own.
We just moved to the DC area two months ago and this was my first year attending the event. So far, I definitely love our new home and all it has to offer.
Today, I will give a recap of the events held last Saturday and the food vendors along with Sunday’s RAMW Grand Tasting Pavilion.
I started the day with an hour long cooking demonstration by Guy Fieri. He enlisted the help of WJLA news anchor Leon Harris. The duo were quite the hit and worked incredibly well together. I particularly loved that Guy brought up a young audience member to help him cook, the Step Stool Chef, and signed “Step Stool Chef You Rock- GF” on a wooden spoon for him.
Guy Fieri also had another cooking demonstration that afternoon, a book signing, and a special VIP meet and greet.
Bobby Flay was the big feature on Sunday. He had morning and afternoon cooking demonstrations, a book signing, and a VIP Meet and Greet.
For the morning demonstration, he made pan-roasted chicken, Kale and Wild Mushroom Paella, and Red Wine Sangria. I will definitely have to try the paella at home.
While I attended the Guy Fieri demo, Chad checked out Travis Beckett’s workshop on “Better Coffee Brewing at Home”. He learned a lot during the workshop and even took notes!
Beer, Wine, and Spirit Pavilion
He also enjoyed taste testing over 100 beers and wines at the Beer, Wine, and Spirit Pavilion. His favorite was the Schöfferhofer Grapefruit- a blend of Schöfferhofer Hefeweizen mixed with grapefruit juice.
James Beard Cooking Stage
We only got the chance to watch a couple of the cooking demonstrations. The first was from Chef Victor Albisu. He has two restaurants in the D.C. area- Del Campo (now closed), an upscale South American grill in D.C.’s Penn Quarter, and Taco Bamba, a takeout taqueria in Falls Church, Virginia.
For the demo, he made Chupe de Camarones and Ceviche. I got to sample the Chupe de Camarones and it was absolutely amazing. It is a Peruvian Shrimp Stew made with shrimp, shrimp stock, corn, potatoes, rice, aji amarillo, a little cheese, and an egg. I definitely need to look further into Peruvian cuisine for the blog now that I have better access to the ingredients.
The other cooking demonstration I got to see was from Chef Vikram Sunderam. He is the chef of two modern Indian restaurants in D.C- Rasika Penn Quarter and Rasika West End.
This year, he also won the James Beard Award for Best Chef: Mid-Atlantic. For the demonstration, he made Tawa Baingan, an Indian grilled eggplant dish stuffed with spiced mashed potatoes and topped with a peanut coconut sauce.
Following Bobby Flay’s demonstration, I made it to the James Beard Cooking Stage just in time to see Caitlin Dysart make Pate Choux topped with a Crispy Streusel Topping.
RAMW (Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington) Grand Tasting Pavilion
The RAMW (Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington) Grand Tasting Pavilion was the event I was looking forward to all weekend. Since we are new to the area, this was a great way to see all the amazing restaurants the DC Metro has to offer.
Due to pregnancy, I couldn’t taste test about 10 percent of the offerings, but everything I did try blew me away. I left the Pavilion completely stuffed and now have a long and exciting list of restaurants to try during our four year stay.
Sushiko (Chevy Chase, Maryland)– Hamachi Crudo
Paul (Washington DC)– Fruit Tartlettes and Mini Pastries
Morton’s The Steakhouse
Morton’s The Steakhouse (Washington DC and Arlington, Virginia)– Ahi Tuna Crisps
Carmine’s (Washington DC)– Meatballs
Elevation Burger (Arlington, VA; Oxon Hill, MD; and Hyattsville, MD)– BBQ Bacon Cheddar Burger
Medium Rare (Washington DC)– Steak and Frites Sandwich
Olde Towne Inn
Olde Towne Inn (Upper Marlboro, Maryland)– Seafood Fettuccine and Cornbread
MXDC (Washington DC)– Pollo and Hongos Tacos
Sweet Teensy Bakery
Sweet Teensy Bakery (Chevy Chase, Maryland)– Red Velvet Cupcakes, Pumpkin Bread, Double Chocolate Brownies
Hank’s Oyster Bar
Gifford’s Famous Ice Cream
Gifford’s Famous Ice Cream– Toasted Coconut
Osteria Marzano (Alexandria, Virginia)– Short Rib Ravioli
Floriana (Washington DC)– Gnocchi Bolognese
Dolci Gelati (Washington DC)– Tiramisu Gelato
Zenful Bites (Washington DC)– Ginger Limeade
The Fourth Estate at the National Press Club
The Fourth Estate at the National Press Club (Washington DC)– Calamari Cakes
BlackFinn AmeriPub (Washington DC and Merrifield, Virginia)– Queen City and Tuna Poke
Laconiko was a familiar brand to me. I bought a bottle of their Blood Orange Infused Olive Oil while visiting Occoquan. I absolutely loved it (it was particularly delicious in a batch of orange olive oil muffins).
Other infusions include lemon, basil, chipotle, Greek seasoning, lavender, rosemary, garlic, lime, and chives. All of their oils are 100 percent extra virgin. The name Laconiko comes from the region of Greece where the company’s private olive estate is located, Laconia.
DelGrosso is a pasta sauce company based in Pennsylvania. Their premium line of pasta sauces, La Famiglia DelGrosso, features an assortment of products made from imported whole peeled Italian plum tomatoes and named after individual family members.
I got the opportunity to try Uncle Joe’s Vodka Celebration. This particular sauce is created from whole Italian plum tomatoes, special spices, cream and a splash of vodka. Vodka cream sauce is a favorite of mine and this one definitely did not disappoint.
Spartan Oil was founded by Greek-American, Pericles Konstas, to offer the highest quality extra virgin olive oil to consumers. The olive oil is produced from the family’s ancient olive trees in Sparta, Greece that are harvested by hand, pressed mechanically within 24 hours of harvest, and is not filtered.
The olive oil is stored in all natural stoneware bottles that help keep the oil at a consistent temperature, are non-reactive, and prevent light transmission.
True Honey Teas
True Honey Teas produces single serve teas in pods with the addition of local organic honey. They are compatible with brewers that accept K-cup pods. During the brewing cycle, the honey gently mixes with the tea, instead of ending up at the bottom of the mug.
ChouQuette is an artisan chocolate and confection company based in Maryland. The chocolates are made with sugar, local butter and cream, natural infusions, and family-owned fair-trade Guittard chocolate.
They can also make custom chocolates for your special event or business.
Virginia Vinegar Works
Virginia Vinegar Works is owned by Jay and Steph Rostow in Nelson County, Virginia. As opposed to many commercial companies that use equipment to speed the process of vinegar manufacturing, Virginia Vinegar Works creates their vinegar using the traditional French Orleans method.
It takes longer, 2-3 months to create and 6 more months for aging, but the extra time definitely shows in their vinegar. Products include red wine vinegars, white wine vinegars, limited editions, and private labels.
SPAGnVOLA Chocolatier is a gourmet chocolate company based in Maryland. The chocolate is created from cocoa beans grown on their farm located on the mountain slopes of eastern Dominican Republic.
There is a boutique and factory in Gaithersburg and another boutique in Oxon Hill.
Balsamo’s Family Kitchen
7 Salad Dressing from Balsamo’s Family Kitchen caught Chad’s attention and he ended up taking home a bottle of their Canola Vinaigrette. Their salad dressings contain no artificial ingredients, preservatives, or trans fats.
Bee Raw Honey
Bee Raw Honey, owned by Zeke Freeman, offers raw honey that is not processed, heated, or filtered. I loved the pure flavor in the samples offered. Their products include multiple varieties of honey, tea, gift collections, and supplies.
Hale’s Homemade was created in 2011 by husband and wife team, James and Angela Hale. They currently produce three types of salsa using a blend of vine ripened tomatoes, onions, cilantro, and jalapeño :
“Hale Yeah it’s MILD!”, “Holy Hale its HOT!”, and “HOTTER than Hale” (an added punch of habanero). Their salsas contain no artificial ingredients and are preservative free.
Following the first day of the conference, Chad and I walked to Chinatown to look for a restaurant and found Daikaya. Daikaya is separated into two sections, Ramen (Sapporo-style) on the first floor and Izakaya (comfort bar food) on the second.
The Ramen section does not accept reservations, but we got on the list and only had about a 30 minute wait. The seating area is small, but turnover is fairly quick. We tried the Gyoza, Shio Ramen (center on bottom), and Shoyu Ramen (bottom right). The Shio Ramen was light and aromatic with a Chintan stock base. The Shoyu Ramen had a deeper flavor with the addition of a dark rich soy sauce.
For dinner on the second night, we decided to try one of the restaurants from the Grand Tasting Pavilion. The Ravioli di Short Rib Brasate (Short Rib Ravioli) from Osteria Marzano was one of my favorites and the restaurant wasn’t too far from us. It is tucked away on the first floor of an office building in Alexandria/Springfield, Virginia.
We started the dinner with a bread basket (filled with two slices of Ciabatta and two slices of Foccacia) served with a pesto olive oil dip. I ordered the Agnolotti di Magro (Spinach Ricotta Agnolotti with a Walnut Cream Sauce). Since Chad didn’t get to try the ravioli at the Pavilion, he picked it for dinner. Both entrees were wonderful. We actually preferred each other’s. Chad has since asked me a few times to recreate the Agnolotti di Magro at home.
For dessert, Chad ordered the Mixed Berries with Zabaione and I had the Tiramisu. They also feature a Nutella Pizza with Toasted Marshmallows, but there is no way I would have been able to finish one myself. It was great to find such an amazing restaurant for date night and the perfect ending to the weekend.