Sweet Spring! 7 Desserts Celebrating Cherry Blossom Season in DC

The capital’s Tidal Basin erupts into a flurry of pink as the cherry blossoms bloom at the end of March and beginning of April. The rosy buds mark the start of spring in the region. To commemorate the return of warm weather, chefs work overtime to create sweet treats which draw inspiration from and pay homage to the much-Instagrammed floral display. Here are seven desserts that celebrate cherry blossom season in DC.

Wildfire
Sing it with us, “Tastes so good make a grown man cry/Sweet cherry pie, oh yeah!” Just to be clear, this sweet vee was inspired by the pies baked in Door County, Wisconsin, — not Warrant’s hair metal anthem. Each generously portioned wedge is packed with the red stone fruit swimming in a sticky filling. Vanilla ice cream is optional though we can’t imagine why you’d want a slice without a scoop. That’s sounds practically un-American to us. Make a reservation at Wildfire.

Cherry Blossom Season in DC

Ted’s Bulletin–14th Street
There are fewer things that make our inner children happier than a pop tart. This seasonal, springtime-only version is packed with cherry filling and glazed pink. Pro tip one: ask the server to pop it in the microwave for 15 seconds, so it’s nice and warm. Pro tip two: Take a couple home, so your breakfast game will be on point the next morning. Make a reservation at Ted’s Bulletin.

Cherry Blossom Season in DC

The Pig
The cherry trees speckling the Tidal Basin were originally gifted by the city of Tokyo in 1912. To evoke those roots, pastry chef Audrey Valero has created a Japanese-styled dessert: matcha pistachio cake topped with black sesame ganache. It’s accompanied by a quenelle of miso caramel ice cream. If that’s not enough, order an additional scoop of azuki bean ice cream. Make a reservation at the Pig.

Cherry Blossom Season in DC

Centrolina
Even the Easter Bunny is envious of this egg. The three-foot-tall chocolate treat decorated with cherry blossoms towers over anything you can buy in the CVS candy aisle. The oversized oeuf will be displayed in the West Wing of the White House over Easter weekend while smaller versions will be used as a part of the annual Easter Egg Roll. Make a reservation at Centrolina.

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On the Menu: Chefs’ Favorite Condiments

Whether they buy them or make them, a condiment is often a chef’s secret ingredient. Used as finishing sauces or as an integral component of recipes, they take dishes from everyday to outstanding. Here are top chefs’ favorite condiments and how they use them in delicious dishes you’ll want to order (and you may also want to put them in your pantry).

Clay Conley, Grato, West Palm Beach, Florida
Chef Clay Conley of Grato is a fan of Calabrian chili oil. According to Conley, “It has a great balance of smoky and salty flavors, and just the right amount of heat to complement many dishes.” Currently, it’s being used to add heat to a cool dish of tuna crudo with tomato water and cucumber. Make a reservation at Grato.

Chefs' Favorite Condiments

Jason Halverson, Stones Throw, San Francisco, California
Stones Throw has become known for creative dishes such as Puffed Potatoes and Eggs with Cauliflower Mousse, Chives, Crispy Chicken Skin, and Squid Ink Conchiglie with seafood, but the Da Burger is a classic that never comes off the menu. Chef Jason Halverson is an admitted condiment junkie, but when forced to choose one, he picks the Japanese product Kewpie Mayonnaise. Says Halverson, “Kewpie Mayonnaise is like mayo on crack. I like it because it’s so versatile. You can add it to coleslaw, sandwiches, sauces, etcetera. It’s a hidden go-to ingredient. It’s not so cloying as regular mayonnaise. It’s in the secret sauce on the burger but also used as a binder in the tater tots.” Make a reservation at Stones Throw.

Chefs' Favorite Condiments

Chris Santos, Vandal, New York, New York
Chef Chris Santos says, “I’m a huge connoisseur of heat. I always have 40 to 50 hot sauces on hand, but Midori Sriracha is my new favorite. It has such a unique taste, and it was exactly what we needed for the Hong Kong egg waffles.” It’s used in the Chicken Katsu and Hong Kong Egg Waffles at new restaurant and lounge Vandal on the Bowery in New York, which features street food from around the world. Make a reservation at Vandal. 

Chefs' Favorite Condiments

Perry Hoffman, SHED, Healdsburg
Perry Hoffman chooses Kozlik mustard, a sweet and smoky mustard from Canada he found on the shelf in the SHED store and describes as more mild than Dijon or whole grain. Says Hoffman, “It’s salty sweet, spicy and it hits all of the flavor profiles. It’s the umami of mustards and I love it.” He likes it smothered on a roast chicken and as a base for a veggie dip. At the restaurant, it is used in the dressing for the mustard greens accompanying the Whole Poussin, which is served dramatically with head and feet attached. Make a reservation at SHED.

Chefs' Favorite Condiments

Edward Lee, Succotash, National Harbor, Washington, Maryland
According to chef Edward Lee of Succotash, just south of Washington D.C., Chung Jung One’s Gochujang Korean Chili Sauce — the next generation of the traditional fermented hot chili paste — gives foods a spicy and tangy flavor with a hint of sweetness. “It isn’t just spice for the sake of heat. It is nuanced and layered. It has sweetness and umami, lots of umami. It adds flavor and complexity,” says Lee, who mixes the sauce into the pimento cheese layer of his Tex-Mex-meets-the-South Pimento Fundido for a deep, tangy, spicy kick. Make a reservation at Succotash.

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Wacky Waffles: 10 Surprising Sweet + Savory Takes on the Brunch Bestseller #WaffleWednesdays

L’eggo your Eggos. Waffles just got a whole lot more interesting. Chefs are transforming the triangular breakfast staples into dishes worthy of dinner and dessert. Some of are sweet, some are savory, and all of them will make you do a double-take. Here are 10 wacky waffles that you won’t find at your local Waffle House.

MAX’s Wine Dive, Austin, Texas
Executive chef Mason Rodgers clearly doesn’t believe in restraint. A cheddar and bacon-enriched potato waffle comes topped with both a chicken fried lobster tail and porcini rubbed filet mignon. It gets a ladle full of green chili gravy for good measure. Make a reservation at MAX’s Wine Dive.

Waffles

Kapnos, Washington, D.C.
Your caffeination routine just got waffle-ized. Greek coffee amps up these tasty triangles. They’re capped with buzz-boosting chocolate-covered espresso beans, cinnamon butter, and sour cream-style crema. If that’s not enough of a pick me up, you can always order a coffee spiked with becherovka liqueur. Make a reservation at Kapnos.

Waffles

Yona, Arlington, Virginia
A pair of waffles comes decked out with Greek style taramasalata, roe, and briny tongues of uni. Chef Jonah Kim calls the dish “upscale stoner food.” We aren’t going to argue with him and will make sure to prepare accordingly. Make a reservation at Yona.

Waffles

Abigaile, Hermosa Beach, California
Who needs buns? This bacon burger with a bonus egg uses waffles instead of brioche. It’s the star of the Twenty Spot Munchie Box, which comes with fries and tots drizzled with whiz-style cheese and a Mexican Coke float. Make a reservation at Abigaile.

Waffles

Avenue Kitchen, Glen Mills, Pennsylvania
Crème brûlée, now in waffle form. We love cracking through the scorched sugar crust into the layer of custard, which fills the crags of the griddled round. So you feel marginally better about eating dessert for breakfast, they’re topped off with fresh berries. Make a reservation at Avenue Kitchen.

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Erin Go Bragh! 7 Delicious St. Patrick’s Day Celebrations

Forget mashed potatoes and watery boiled cabbage — Irish cuisine has gone upscale this March with mouthwatering menus featuring Gaelic steak with cream sauce, corned-beef arancini with whole-grain mustard sauce, and succulent Atlantic salmon. If that’s not enough to make you raise a glass of cheer, restaurants across the country are hosting a slew of musical acts, Irish trivia nights, and even sexy kilt contests for a sham-rocking time feting the Emerald Isle’s patron saint. Check out these seven not-to-be-missed St. Patrick’s Day celebrations.

O’Lunney’s Times Square Pub, New York, New York
St. Patrick’s Day at O’Lunney’s isn’t just about dinner; it’s about dinner and a show — with a full Irish breakfast to boot. The festivities start at 8AM, and the entertainment kicks off with Irish step dancers and bagpipers streaming through a jolly crowd enjoying the greatest amount of corned beef and cabbage that will be ordered all year. But besides the traditional, they like to add specials, such as a Gaelic steak topped with a whiskey cream sauce served with potatoes, potato and leek soup with bacon, onion soup, and a slew of Irish coffees, says Maureen O’Lunney, whose father Hugh opened the restaurant after moving to New York from County Cavan in 1968. “It’s just packed and so much fun,” she says. “St. Patrick’s Day here has a mighty history.” That included an annual visit from former NYC Mayor Ed Koch every March 17. Make a reservation at O’Lunney’s Times Square Pub.

St. Patrick's Day Celebrations

Fado Irish Pub, Seattle, Washington
With Seattle’s longest-running Irish tune session held every Sunday, Fado always has a bit of the ceoil agus craic (music and fun), but during March, it’s celebrated in spades. Featuring a full musical lineup on parade day on the 12th and also on the 17th, Fado encourages guests to “Paddy Hard,” starting in the morning with special brunch menus, and heartier fare like Guinness & cheddar bread and chicken and shrimp boxty, an Irish pancake made with grated and mashed potatoes. Those needing a time-out from the revelry can take a breather in “the confessional”; this special space in each of Fado’s 13 locations nationwide is dedicated to the father of owner Kieran McGill, whose dad owned The Confessional pub back in Dublin. Make a reservation at Fado Irish Pub.

St. Patrick's Day Celebrations

Mrs. Murphy & Sons Irish Bistro, Chicago, Illinois
Surely, Ireland’s patron saint deserves more than just one day, especially in a city so spirited as to dye the Chicago River green. For a full 17 days, Mrs. Murphy & Sons puts an upscale spin on such classic county fare as shepherd’s pie with ground domestic lamb and veal, carrots, leeks, pearl onions, and golden brown mashed potatoes, beer-battered Atlantic cod with homemade tartar sauce, curry ketchup, and hand cut chips, Guinness stew with braised Highland chuck, root vegetables, roasted barley, and mashed potatoes, and bread pudding featuring brioche, whiskey caramel sauce, cinnamon cream, and toasted walnuts. If the full schedule of Irish music isn’t enough to evoke the Emerald Isle, surely the surroundings — a painstakingly restored historic space with a bar built in Dublin and shipped across the pond — will. Make a reservation at Mrs. Murphy & Sons Irish Bistro.

St. Patrick's Day Celebrations

James Joyce Irish Pub and Restaurant, Baltimore, Maryland
Though literary scholars know James Joyce is more about reflection than revelry, anything but the opposite is true in Harbor East, where James Joyce Pub has helped revitalize the Baltimore landscape. March is the merriest of months, with music and special events nearly every night of the week, including burger day on Mondays with an Irish black pudding or Guinness burger and Whiskey Wednesdays. Those not ready to join the Guinness 100 Pint Club can get their fix with chef Pedro Flores’s award-winning Beer & Guinness Stew (crowned the best at the Maryland Irish Festival); or dig into Irish boiled bacon with crispy roasted potatoes, carrots, and whiskey mustard cream, bangers and mash, fish and chips, and for those watching their waistlines, grilled Atlantic salmon. Make a reservation at James Joyce Pub.

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