20 Culinary Questions with Washington, D.C., Food Writer Nevin Martell

IMG_8718Nevin Martell may be a New York native, but he’s made himself very much at home in Washington, D.C., over the last decade, and he definitely knows how to dine like a local. A freelance food and travel writer, Martell is the author of the recently published travelogue-memoir Freak Show Without a Tent: Swimming with Piranhas, Getting Stoned in Fiji and Other Family Vacations. He is a sucker for foie gras and truffles and has been an OpenTable member since 2007 — as well as a super-adventurous eater since birth. He says, “Traveling the world, I’ve gotten stoned on kava in Fiji, eaten tree frogs in the Dominican Republic, and noshed on grasshoppers in Mexico. In the spirit of adventure, I’m always willing to try anything. I’ve always wanted to eat on Easter Island, so if anyone is looking for a culinary story on the most remote point in the world, let me know!” You can follow his gourmet exploits at NevinMartell.com and on Twitter @nevinmartell

1. What are some of the best qualities of the Washington, D.C., dining scene? Over the last several years, D.C.’s restaurant scene has started growing at an explosive rate. New eateries are popping up every day and everywhere. Despite the fierce competition, the dining community remains tightknit, supportive, and highly collaborative. That goes for the food writers in town as well.

2. Any restaurants at which you’re something of a regular? It’s hard to become a regular when you’re always trying new restaurants and eating out on assignment. However, I have become a common sight at G by Mike Isabella, La Mano Coffee Bar, and Republic.

3. If I come to D.C., where must I dine? Rose’s Luxury, Rasika, Little Serow, Toki Underground, and Blue Duck Tavern. A sandwich at Woodward Takeout Food or Stachowski’s is highly recommended. If you’re willing to drive, The Inn at Little Washington, Bryan Voltaggio’s VOLT, and The Restaurant at Patowmack Farm are all worth the trip.

4. Last best restaurant you dined at? The Restaurant at Patowmack Farm. Tarver King is equal parts chef and artist, so his food is as beautiful and creatively constructed as it is delicious.

 5. Restaurants you’d most like to try but have yet to — anywhere? In reality, this wishful list is hundreds of restaurants long. However, here are some highlights: The French Laundry, Alex Atala’s D.O.M. in Sao Paolo, Sushi Mizutani in Tokyo, L’Arpège in Paris, Momofuku Ko in NYC, and Le Pigeon in Portland, Oregon.

6. Favorite city for dining outside your own? New York City. Also, Clinton, New York, because that’s where my mother lives and I have the softest spot in my heart for her cooking.

7. Destination dining cities you’d love to visit? Tokyo, Casablanca, and Sao Paulo, Brazil.

8. What’s your overall favorite type of cuisine? This is the Sophie’s Choice of questions for a food writer! I can’t possibly pick a single cuisine.

9.  Small shared plates, tasting menu, or app/entrée dessert? I love to simply let the server know my preferences and let the chef go to town.

10. Dish you can’t resist ordering when you see it on a menu? Sticky toffee pudding.

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August Restaurant Weeks: Dine for Less!

PBRWThe dog days of summer may not be here, but the savings days are! Restaurant weeks are happening now, and whether you’re on the road, or staying close to home, you won’t want to miss your chance to enjoy steals on meals this month.

* Alexandria Restaurant Week offers $35 three-course dinners for one or $35 dinners for two, August 15-24. Book now.

* Downtown Atlanta Restaurant Week features $15, $25, and $35 prix-fixe menus, August 9-17. Book now.

* Baltimore Restaurant Week has something for everyone with $15 lunches and $20 and $30 dinners through August 10. Book now.

* Downtown Cincinnati Restaurant Week is serving up $35 dinners, August 11-17. Book now.

* Dallas-Fort Worth Restaurant Week begins next week. Get ready for $25 lunches and  $35 or $45 dinners, August 11-31. Book now.

* Denver Restaurant Week is just around the corner. Reserve for $30 gourmet dinners, August 23-29. Book now.

* Houston Restaurant Weeks have begun. Feast on $20 lunches, $25 brunches, and $35 + $45 dinners through September 1. Book now.

* Hudson Restaurant Week is happening now. Don’t miss $13 and up lunches and $25 and up dinners through August 8. Book now.

* Miami Spice is heating up. Get in on $23 lunches and $39 dinners through September 30. Book now.

* New York City Restaurant Week is on! Celebrate with three-course $25 lunches and $38 dinners through August 15. Book now.

* Coolinary New Orleans has rolled into the Big Easy. Let the good times roll with two- or three-course lunches for $20 or less and three-course dinners for $35 or less through August 31. Book now.

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Congratulations to the 2014 RAMMY Award Winners!

RAMMY-WinnersThe 2014 RAMMY Awards were held on Sunday, June 22, 2104, and we’re thrilled to congratulate the winners of Washington, D.C.’s tastiest annual awards. Congratulations to all the winners, including:

Fine Dining Restaurant of the Year:
Fiola

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2014 RAMMYS: Join Us at the Awards!

The 2014 RAMMY Awards will be held on Sunday, June 22, 2104. The so-called Oscars of the D.C. dining scene, the RAMMYs recognize excellence in multiple categories. We’ll be there when the winners are announced at the awards ceremony at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, D.C. Buy tickets today to cheer on your favorites and to sample amazing eats and tasty drinks.

Congratulations to all the nominees, including:

Fine Dining Restaurant of the Year:
Fiola
Marcel’s
Minibar
The Restaurant at Pawtomack Farm
Trummer’s on Main

Upscale Casual Restaurant of the Year:
Oyamel
Proof
Ripple

Everyday Casual Restaurant of the Year:
Graffiato
Pearl Dive Oyster Palace
Pizzeria Orso

Favorite  Gathering Place of the Year:
Cashion’s Eat Place

New Restaurant of the Year: Continue Reading