Washington D.C. Restaurant Week 2013 & Yellow Corn Soup

Washington D.C. Restaurant Week 2013

We might be more than half way through August, but Washington D.C. Restaurant Week 2013 is just getting started!  Beginning today, over 240 Award Winning Washington D.C. restaurants will be serving up specialty three course menus during lunch and dinner.  Each lunch costs just $20.13 and dinner is $35.13.  Restaurant week is one of the best opportunity’s to try out new restaurants at affordable prices.  Of course I’m most excited to announce that The Grill Room at Capella Washington, D.C. will be one of the participating restaurants.  The Grill Room’s Executive Chef, Jakob Esko and the rest of the team are excited to share their Contemporary American inspired menu, featuring organic seasonal ingredients with attendees.

I had the gracious opportunity to step in the kitchen during the menu planning & preparation stages to see what was cooking.  One dish that had me intrigued was the making of the Yellow Corn Soup.  I couldn’t take my eyes off the colossal amount of fresh corn on the cob, fennel, leaks and garlic just simmering away- the aroma was magical!  The colors and combination of flavors was unforgettable and blended perfectly together.  I could not help but ask Chef Jakob for the recipe, and he was kind enough to share it.

 Washington D.C. Restaurant Week 2013

And here it is, for you as well–

Ingredients:
15 ears corn
4 bulb fennel
2 bunch leek
Chicken st0ck ¾ gallon
2 qt cream
1 oz. cumin
1 oz. curry
1.2 oz. smoked paprika
1.4 oz. cayenne
4 cloves garlic
½ lb. butter

Directions:
Dice and then sweat the garlic, leeks and fennel in a pot until translucent.  Add corn and season with paprika, cumin, curry, cayenne and salt.  Cook for 5 minutes.  Add enough chicken stock to almost cover the corn.  Bring to a boil.  Add 2 quarts cream and bring to a boil.  If soup is too liquidy, let it reduce until slightly thickened consistency.  Blend well and strain through a fine-meshed strainer.

For those of you who are not here with us in Washington, D.C. I highly suggest trying this recipe at home.  To all the locals, I encourage you to make your reservations and join us as we celebrate the kickoff of Summer Restaurant Week starting today through August, 30th!

For reservations, please click here or call The Grill Room at 202-617-2424.

Lunch Menu

Dinner Menu

Back-To-School With Capella DC

Capella DC's University Move-In Special

Working at Capella Washington, D.C. has opened my eyes to so many local activities, meet-ups, eateries, venues, historical monuments, unique people and much more.  This month I am most eager to welcome the next generation of university students as the approaching move-in weekends near.  Capella DC is conveniently located approximately ten minutes from native Georgetown Universities, and a short drive from other major colleges like American University. As a matter a fact, you can actually view the historic Georgetown University campus from the rooftop of Capella!  Each of these universities represents so much of the history of Georgetown, D.C. and our entire country.  I can’t imagine a more vibrant location to learn, experience and understand the world than right here in the nation’s capital!

Capella DC's University Move-In Special

I remember this time last year when our initial team began preparing for the grand opening of Capella DC.  News of the upcoming fall semester was spreading quickly and as the weeks went on I remember spotting local students walking the streets of Georgetown, back-to-school shopping and of course breaking for ice cream at one of the local shops on M Street and Wisconsin Avenue.

I know that moving to college can be slightly stressful and frantic, so here are my tips for you to think about as your semester approaches:

1.  Pack lightly and try not to move EVERYTHING you own until you have truly determined the level of space and storage you have available in your place.  There is always time to make purchases after the move is complete rather than buying everything ahead of time.

2.  Remember to have fun while moving and un-packing!  I remember the day of my college move-in my mother made a short video capturing all of our moments together.  This process might seem like a pain, but looking back I know we made great memories that I will forever cherish.

To celebrate and help you cherish this moment, I’m excited to share a very special offer, exclusively for parents and students coming to Washington D.C. this August!  Enjoy your last weekend of summer in style with Capella Washington D.C.’s University Move-In Special, which includes:

  • A welcome amenity bag that includes a Capella journal, pen, water bottle, laundry bag, first aid kit and a personalized Capella magnet with emergency numbers and direct line to your Capella DC Personal Assistant
  • Sport’s Sack
  • $50 gas card presented upon check-out
  • Daily Continental Breakfast for three in The Grill Room
  • Overnight parking
  • Upgrade upon check-in (based on availability)

Parents and family traveling to D.C. now have an amazing opportunity to stay in a hotel that is local, personalized and professionally staffed by your Personal Assistant to manage all the weekend arrangements.

For more information on this exclusive offer, click here or e-mail us at res.dc@capellahotels.com.

I look forward to hearing about your story! Share your experience and photos with me during your stay on Instagram @CapellaDC!

The Grill Room: A Transformation

The Grill Room

I will never forget the preopening phase of Capella Washington, D.C., Georgetown and all the incredible work that was put in to creating this magnificent property.  Being a food and restaurant lover, I was also interested in the creation of The Grill Room and how exactly the designers would transform an empty space into an ultra-luxury restaurant.  I began to take short videos of the construction back in December. Each week I would take another video in the same place and throughout the different spaces so I would be able to create a time lapse when The Grill Room was complete.  Never could I have imagined that the space would turn out as spectacularly as it has!

The Grill Room

It is great to now see The Grill Room (and The Rye Bar) bustling with action from locals and visitors alike.  Executive Chef, Jakob Esko and his skilled culinary team are spinning out local contemporary American dishes and specializing in, bone-in meats and side table preparations that have to be experienced.  I can’t wait for you to have a taste for yourself!

But in the meantime take a look at what went into creating this signature space:

www.thegrillroomdc.com
Reservations: 202-617-2424

Capella DC’s Luis Colmenares

Luis Colemenares

Mr. Colmenares, how do I even begin?  Luis Colmenares is the most whimsical, funny, friendly and caring friends I’ve ever met.  His smile, contagious laughter and personality instantly brighten your day.  As the Lead Personal Assistant and Chief Concierge at Capella Washington D.C., Luis heads the hotel’s team of personal assistants and is charged with ensuring that guests’ individual tastes and expectations are fully satisfied.

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Anytime any of our team members or guests needs a suggestion for activities, hot new places to eat/drink, or a new happening event in town, Luis never hesitates and has the best suggestions!   I remember going out to dinner together at one of his favorite restaurants in D.C. and every single server, bartender and manager knew Luis and treated him like he was family.  Having served as concierge at the Capital Hilton Hotel, The Ritz-Carlton Hotel, the Mandarin Oriental and the Hotel Monaco, Colmenares’ knowledge of how Washington works in unparalleled.

I felt so honored to be able to sit down and interview Luis.  He is a legend in the industry and was recognized as “Concierge of the Year” in the 2012 Where Magazine Silver Plume Awards, one of the highest awards in the industry!  Working together the past seven months has been amazing and I wanted to share some insider details with you about our favorite D.C. Concierge!

Luis Colemenares

How long have you lived in D.C.?

I’ve been in D.C. for 26 years. I consider myself a native, and love the European flair of D.C. and how and easy and accessible it is to get around!

What is your favorite hobby?

I LOVE to cook everything and anything! I am not picky but when I do get homesick I like to eat black beans, rice, fried plantains, pulled beef and the lovely Arepas that my mom used to make me growing up in Venezuela.

What is one of the most unique experiences you’ve had with a guest in your career?

I will never forget when I had a guest request a live violinist playing when they walked into their room for the first time- taking “setting the mood” to the next level!

What are the top two requests you get most often from guests?

Touring the White House & The Bureau Of Printing and Engraving.

What is your favorite newspaper?

The Sunday New York Times- the arts, travel, and book review sections are fabulous! This is one of my ultimate favorite things to do, especially with a cup of tea!

Seafood At The Grill Room

Seafood At The Grill Room

If you are an East Coast native, I am almost positive we have at least one thing in common, the love for SEAFOOD!  It’s difficult not to love seafood when you live on the East Coast, where Chesapeake Bay crabs (my personal favorite) and many other types of seafood are so readily available and the quality cannot be beat.  I was so happy to learn that The Grill Room at Capella Washington D.C. would feature some of the most mouthwatering seafood dishes I have ever seen and I would like to share several of them with you.

Seafood At The Grill Room

For starters, Chef Esko presents the “Seafood Tower for Two”, featuring Main Lobster, Blue Point Oysters, Alaskan Crab Legs and Prawns, all served with a delicious champagne mignonette & cocktail sauce.  This first course has already won me over because it brings back memories of my childhood, when I learned how to open my first crab and lobster tail, so much fun!  The @CapellaDC Twitter followers have also been raving about the Seafood Tower, which tells me our Washington D.C. locals really love it!

Next up, the “Maryland Jumbo Lump Crab Cake.”  The dish is also served in mini crab cake slider form at The Rye Bar.  This dish is served with Piquillo Pepper Aioli & Radish Salad.  I have to tell you, my brother came to visit and when he tried the crab cake, he said it was the best one he has ever had in his life! (That says a lot coming from a boy who’s grown up in Maryland and has tasted hundreds of crab cakes in his lifetime).

For the main course, Chef Esko presents a variety of seafoods.  My personal favorite has to be the “Grilled Scallops”, served with Sundried Tomatoes, Pearl Barley, Caramelized Endives, Mustard and Sherry sauce.  Also on the menu, “Roasted Wild Rockfish” served with Parsley Risotto and Orange & Horseradish Shrimp- this is one of my go-to dishes for lunch!

With summer just around the corner, these are my picks for all the seafood lovers in Washington D.C. and guests planning to visit Capella D.C. this season.  View The Grill Room’s full menu here.

I love sharing culinary images and updates with you from The Grill Room & Rye Bar so be sure to follow me on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter and most recently, Instagram!

See you all soon!

Signature Cocktails At The Rye Bar

The Rye Bar

If you haven’t heard by now Capella Washington DC, Georgetown’s, The Rye Bar will feature a unique and special selection of cocktails, featuring the finest Rye Whiskey available.  Food & Beverage Manager Will Rentschler devised the plan to create our own barrel aged Rye Whiskey cocktail on the menu.  After some fun tastings and a few meetings, the recipe was finalized and plans were made to meet the distributor at his facility to mix and barrel the cocktail.

We began with an American Oak Barrel and then added the ingredients: Dad’s Hat Rye Whiskey, Dolin Vermouth and Byrhh quinquina (the term for sweetened fortified aperitif wines containing quinine and spices).  The barrel was then sealed  with a soft oak cork and gently mixed together by rolling the barrel  slightly back and forth a few times.

The Rye Bar

This process was so exciting that I was fascinated to learn more.  Hicham from LeDroit Brands, LLC explained to me that the inside of the barrel is charred, which is where the Rye will pick up colors and flavors of caramel, toffee, vanilla and wood.  He further explained that the barrel aging will remove some of the sweetness from the Vermouth and mellow the flavor of the rye whiskey.

If you are a Whiskey lover, I know you will enjoy this sophisticated cocktail that is the perfect balance of spice, fruit and sweet.  I know that I am looking forward to enjoying one when The Rye Bar opens!