D.C. Restaurant Week Winter 2016: 9 Winning #RWDMV Dishes

Metropolitan Washington Restaurant Week starts today and runs through January 31. It’s a delicious way for you to mix up your dining routine, explore blossoming neighborhoods, and experience some of the area’s best restaurants – at a hefty discount. Three-course, prix-fixe meals cost $22 for lunch and $35 for dinner (excluding tax and gratuity). Given the chill that’s in the air, we wanted to suggest to you 9 of our favorite warming and winning dishes that you can try during D.C. Restaurant Week Winter 2016. So start planning where you want to go and what you want to eat. And, act quickly – these tables will go fast.

Founding Farmers, Tysons Corner, Virginia
You’ve never had eggplant marinara quite like this. Rounds of the purple veg are deep fried then stacked up in a mini cast iron skillet with layers of ricotta cheese and mushroom cream and finished off with plenty of nonna-style ragu. It’s comfort incarnate.  Make a D.C. Restaurant Week reservation at Founding Farmers.

D.C. Restaurant Week Winter 2016

Zentan, Washington, D.C.
There are few dishes more warming on a winter’s day than a bowl of ramen. A spicy miso broth cradles circlets of char siu pork, a slightly runny boiled egg, a handful of golden corn kernels, and bean sprouts. Remember: slurping isn’t just acceptable; it’s considered a compliment. Make a D.C. Restaurant Week reservation at Zentan.

D.C. Restaurant Week Winter 2016

Evening Star Café, Alexandria, Virginia
How could you pass up a dish called the Fairytale Pumpkin? We couldn’t. A ring of roasted pumpkin wedges accented with brown butter and a speckling of rye crumble sits atop sunchoke puree. You’ll leave feeling certain you’ll live happily ever after. Make a D.C. Restaurant Week reservation at Evening Star Café.

D.C. Restaurant Week Winter 2016

Penn Commons, Washington, D.C.
These ravioli pair the rich earthiness of wild mushrooms with the sweetness of caramelized onions. Coronated by a mélange of onions, carrots. and other root vegetables, the flavor-packed pasta is lavished with a ladle full of rich sage cream. We like to sop up the last of the sauce with the restaurant’s rightfully adored pretzel baguettes. Make a D.C. Restaurant Week reservation at Penn Commons.

D.C. Restaurant Week Winter 2016

Pennsylvania 6, Washington, D.C.
When temperatures dip, we love filling up with a big bowl of carbs. This mezze maniche rigate bolstered by lamb shoulder ragu will do the trick nicely. Frankly, we’re getting hangry just thinking about it. Make a D.C. Restaurant Week reservation at Pennsylvania 6.

D.C. Restaurant Week Winter 2016

Tico, Washington, D.C.
Slightly spicy and gloriously gooey, this Manchego rich mac ‘n’ cheese warms the belly and the heart. Everyone at the table should get their own portion because it’s too good to share. It might sound like we’re promoting greediness, but we’re just being pragmatic. Make a D.C. Restaurant Week reservation at Tico.

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Where’s the Beef? 11 Alternative Burgers Without an Ounce of Moo in Them

We have absolutely no problem with a classic beef burger – like we could turn down an American icon? – but, sometimes we want to switch up our routine. Luckily, Angus ain’t the only protein in play in the patty game anymore. Chefs are utilizing unconventional meats sourced from the land and sea. From shrimp and salmon to kangaroo and bison, these burgers are far from your average Big Mac. Here are 11 alternative burgers that buck the convention that is beef.

Azu, Ojai, California
This is one lean, green burger machine. The primo patty is forged out of grass-fed, fat-marbling-free bison. Don’t worry, there’s still some gluttony involved. It comes topped with onion jam, Gorgonzola, and bacon — and there’s a side of fries. Make a reservation at Azu.

Alternative Burgers

Badmaash, Los Angeles, California
Sacred cows are left out of the equation when it comes to making these alternative burgers. Instead, well-spiced lamb takes the lead. Served on a brioche bun, they come with red onion ringlets, iceberg lettuce, juicy Roma tomato slices, and paprika-pepped mayonnaise. Make a reservation at Badmaash.

Alternative Burgers

The Commoner, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Chef Dennis Marron didn’t want to follow the flock when he was designing his burger. So he created one out of lamb to stand out from the herd. It comes capped with Moroccan-spiced aioli, Indian relish, and whipped goat cheese. Make a reservation at The Commoner.

Alternative Burgers

Sambar, Culver City, California
Here’s one done the Bombay way. The chicken burger comes with a plethora of flavor-boosting toppings, including crispy chicken skin, hempseed chutney, and summer fruit chutney. Warning: it may inspire you to book a trip to India — and we will not cover the cost of the ticket. Make a reservation at Sambar.

Alternative Burgers

Sepia, Chicago, Illinois
We want this burger baaad. Sorry, couldn’t resist. The Middle Eastern-inspired round is made with lamb and finished off with pickled eggplant, fiery harissa aioli, and feta crumbles. Make a reservation at Sepia.

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Cheese? Please! 11 Epic Grilled Cheese Sandwiches #ultimatecomfortfood

When temperatures start to dip and the days stay darker longer, there is nothing we crave more than grilled cheese sandwiches. They’re a welcome throwback to the days when mom would griddle one for us as a snack on chilly school day afternoons. But the sandwiches of today go way beyond the two slices of Wonderbread and preternaturally orange American cheese of yesteryear. Chefs are transforming the humble sandwich by using fantastic fromage and A+ add-ons. Here are 11 epic grilled cheese sandwiches.

Ripple, Washington, D.C.
Any sandwich called the Quack Attack is automatically cool in our book. This beyond epic concoction is rich with Cambozola, an indulgent combination of French soft-ripened triple cream cheese, and Gorgonzola. As if that wasn’t enough for quack addicts, there’s also duck prosciutto and a sunny side up duck egg. Make a reservation at Ripple.

Epic Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

Murray’s Cheese, New York, New York
There’s only one word to describe this grilled cheese: amazeballs. Yes, that’s really a word. Look it up. The Spaniard oozes with Idiazabal, a smoky, nutty sheep milk cheese from Spain (duh!), which is complemented by Serrano ham, spicy chorizo, roasted red peppers, and romesco sauce. Make a reservation at Murray’s Cheese.

Epic Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

Big City Tavern, Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Better bring your appetite if you want to take down this bad boy. A shroud of melted Provolone is draped over a mound of shaved ribeye perked up with zingy horseradish mayo and sweet caramelized onions. A bib isn’t required, but it is encouraged. Make a reservation at Big City Tavern.

Epic Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

Buddy V’s, Las Vegas, Nevada
You can eat this Italian grilled cheese with a fork and knife. Not that we’re recommending you do that; we’re all about getting our hands dirty. Cake Boss Buddy Valastro’s sandwich features fried mozzarella and sits in a pool of tomato ragu and Genovese pesto that’s perfect for dipping. Make a reservation at Buddy V’s.

Epic Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

Delicatessen, New York, New York
Chef Michael Ferraro didn’t want to simply use a few hole-y slices of Swiss for his Reuben riffing grilled cheese, so he substituted in four cheese mac ‘n’ cheese. Yes, you read that correctly. Of course, there’s also braised corned beef, sauerkraut, and pickles. It might not be what your zeyde (grandfather) grew up eating, but it’s a sandwich worthy of a new generation of deli-goers. Make a reservation at Delicatessen.

Epic Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

Brick & Mortar Kitchen, Richmond, Texas
Get a little bit of the South in your mouth. Plump with pimento cheese, this sandwich epitomizes everything we love about comfort food from below the Mason-Dixon line. And, it comes with a bowl of tomato basil soup, which is a million times better than anything you ever got out of a Campbell’s can. Make a reservation at Brick & Mortar Kitchen.

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Healthy Eating Trends: Top Restaurants for Your New Year’s Resolution

Just because you made a resolution to rid yourself of those holiday pounds off doesn’t mean you can’t have fun when eating out. From the crunch of kimchi-topped sweet potato fries with cashew-chipotle drizzle to the panache of whole-roasted fish presented tableside, there’s a lot more than salad and carrot sticks to enliven any January day with these restaurants embracing healthy eating trends to help you stick to your delicious dining New Year resolutions.

Healthy Eating Trends

Organic Grill, New York, New York
Business starts booming at the Organic Grill on New Year’s Day. “I think everyone is trying to start their resolutions off right,” jokes owner Julia Chebotar of her family-owned mostly vegan, organic restaurant in East Village. It’s easy to see why if you check out this season’s brunch menu, featuring dishes enticing enough to turn any carnivore’s head (or appetite) — think loaded kimchi sweet-potato fries with cashew chipotle drizzle, cabbage, scallion, sesame seeds, hemp seeds, sriracha, and vegan or dairy cheese. Chebotar says she likes to make the January menu fun for those new to a “clean” lifestyle, and anything that features greens like kale or spinach is a big seller, especially the new sweet green + kale frittata. Organic Grill also features an extensive lineup of veggie burgers, organic wild salmon and tilapia, juice cleanses, and raw foods. Make a reservation at Organic Grill.

Healthy Eating Trends

Marin Restaurant & Bar, Minneapolis, Minnesota
Chef Mike Rankun busts the bluster of Minnesota with California-themed cuisine using local produce. Ham, fig, and blue cheese flatbread on a whole-wheat crust, jerk-spiced pork chops with mashed sweet potatoes, or grass-fed beef tenderloin with potato puree, spinach, and balsamic Cipollini onions may sound like heartier fare, but those counting calories don’t have to fear the pitfalls of dining out — each item on the menu is presented with its nutritional content. Rankun spotlights both small and large plates, and cuts calories and fat year-round by swapping out butter for olive oil and using starchy liquid from ears of corn in lieu of heavy cream to thicken soups. Make a reservation at Marin Restaurant & Bar.

Healthy Eating Trends

Puritan & Company, Boston, Massachusetts
It should come as no surprise that Boston chef Will Gilson, whose family owns the Herb Lyceum garden and greenhouse in nearby Groton, puts the focus on fresh in January. Puritan & Company will supplement its normal Sunday brunch menu with BEATNIK juices, a collaboration between father David and son, for everything from energy boosting to detoxifying, cleansing, or just reviving after a night of partying. For those who’ve toasted 2016 with a bit too much spirit, pick hangover cure Beet the Blues, made with beets, blueberries, lemon, and apple and packed with vitamin C, antioxidants, potassium, and fiber. Make a reservation at Puritan & Company.

Healthy Eating Trends

Blowfish Sushi, San Francisco, California
Sushi is always a top choice for the health-conscious year-round, but January is a great time to try something new, says Blowfish Sushi’s Brigid Kealy. One of her favorite dishes — which features no rice — is great for those counting carbs: Tokyo Ceviche. The classic Japanese sunomono (cucumber salad) is topped with fresh crab, shrimp, tuna, and octopus, and then crowned with a mango, grapefruit, and cucumber sorbet made by a local creamery. By highlighting fresh local produce from California farms, Kealy says sushi can be a surprising way to embrace vegetarian options, like miso-marinated eggplant nigiri to potrero veggie roll with two types of tofu, carrot, and asparagus. Make a reservation at Blowfish Sushi.

Healthy Eating Trends

SOL Cocina, Scottsdale, Arizona
All preconceptions of overfilled burritos and gooey nachos can be dropped at the door at SOL Cocina, where James Beard-nominated executive chef Deborah Schneider — inspired by her trips just south of Arizona’s borders — maintains a healthy menu of entrees that are wood-grilled or braised in their own juices, vegan, vegetarian and gluten-friendly dishes, beans prepared without fat or oils, and 34 fat-free salsas made from fresh fruits and vegetables. Dressings are created with fresh juices and thickened with ticker-friendly avocado in lieu of eggs or mayonnaise. New seasonal menu additions include tacos (roasted squash or grilled shrimp agave), although, for traditionalists, Schneider says her baked chile relleno (traditionally filled with cheese and fried) feels indulgent without having to make several trips to the gym. Other resolution-friendly hits are the Hot & Raw Ceviche, with fresh citrus, habanero chiles, avocado, and cucumber served with sweet potato and red beet chips. Make a reservation at SOL Cocina.

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