Baked and Wired – A Georgetown Must!

Baked & Wired Cakecups Resized

There is certainly no shortage of coffee and cupcake shops in Washington, but one of my absolute favorites is a local gem in Georgetown known as Baked and Wired.  Sometimes you need that extra boost and on those days, my colleagues and I know exactly where to go.  Most visitors never notice the shop; located on an off the beaten path on Thomas Jefferson St, just south of the canal in Georgetown.  But locals know, the variety of homemade baked goods, breakfast items, ice cream sandwiches, coffee and tea will have you hooked in no time!

Baked & Wired Street View Resized

All of the baked goods are made in small batches with the finest ingredients so you can truly taste the quality.  They even offer gluten free and vegan friendly items for those following strict diets!  I love their signature Cakecups.  Described as “whimsical, rustic and delicious,” I highly suggest the Carrot Cake, Unicorns & Rainbows, Red Velvet and Texas Sheetcake.

Similar to The Grill Room at Capella Washington, D.C., Georgetown, Baked and Wired uses locally sourced ingredients, like their fresh milk and cream from Kreider Farms of Lancaster, Pennsylvania.  The fresh dairy products are seriously the secret behind the most delicious lattes, macchiatos and cappuccinos.

Baked & Wired Cakecups Resized

The breakfast quiche are dangerously good and another favorite of mine.  In fact, I’ve made it a tradition to treat myself to a “Manly” every other Friday.  This quiche has bacon, sausage and Gruyere cheese in a creamy egg custard and homemade crust.  There’s also a caramelized onion & goat cheese and mixed veggie quiches, which are both scrumptious.  You must taste one the next time you’re staying at Capella D.C.

Quiche Menu Baked & Wired Resized

With the fall season just around the corner, my friends at the shop gave me a sneak peek of what’s in store.  First, we can look forward to homemade “Chider,” a mix of chai and apple cider.  Next up, pumpkin doughnut muffins and pumpkin swirl brownies, I cannot wait!

Baked and Wired has become so popular at our hotel that we have even offered specialty cakecups as a sweet treat and welcome amenity for Capella guests.  Be sure to let your Personal Assistant know your preference so they can make sure you have it to enjoy each time you come back.  For more mouth watering updates, be sure to follow Baked and Wired on Instagram.

Like what you see? Stay tuned each month as I share insider experiences and recommendations.  As always, you can follow me, your Capella DC Insider, on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

Sommer Cocktails in der Capella Bar

rsz_marc_cocktail

Hier in der Capella Bar des Breidenbacher Hofs gibt es immer neue Sommer Cocktails zum Probieren.  Kürzlich saß ein Hotelgast an der Bar und sah dabei zu, wie unser Barkeeper Marc seine neusten Sommercocktails austestete.  Marc, der direkt das große Interesse des Gastes erkannte, lud den Gast dazu ein, eine seiner Kreationen zu verköstigen und dann sein Feedback dazu abzugeben. Zusammen stimmten Marc und der Gast den Cocktail ab, bis beide sich einig waren, dass der perfekte Sommercocktail kreiert worden war.

Der Cocktail, den der hilfsbereite Gast kurzerhand Limón à la Romana benannte, ist nun ein neuer Cocktail auf unserer Bar Karte.  Und zu Eurem Glück habe ich das geheime Rezept direkt gesichert!

sommer cocktails

Limón à la Romana

Zutaten:

  • 4cl Adler Gin
  • 1cl Dom Benedictine
  • 1cl Limoncello
  • 1cl Zuckersirup
  • 2cl Zitronensaft
  • Einige Salbeiblätter

Zubereitung:

Gebt alle Zutaten, ausgenommen der Salbeiblätter, in einen Boston Shaker und fügt einige Eiswürfel hinzu.  Pflückt die Salbeiblätter in kleine Stücke und mixt diese zusammen mit den restlichen Zutaten in dem Shaker.  Ihr werdet sehen, dass die Salbeiblätter nun schon klein sind, aber sie werden dem Cocktail ein wundervolles Aroma geben, wenn Ihr sie durch ein Sieb in den Cocktail drückt.

Wenn Ihr mich fragt, ist die beste Art diesen Drink zu servieren ein Cocktailglas.  Gebt die Mischung in ein schönes Glas und garniert den Cocktail mit einem Salbeiblatt.

Zuletzt kommt das Wichtigste:  Genießt Euren erfrischenden Sommerdrink!

Ich kann es kaum erwarten, Euer Feedback zu erhalten!

Discovering Mexican Cuisine With Capella Pedregal’s Marco Bustamante

Mexican Cuisine with Marco Bustamante

When hearing “Mexican food” people usually think of tacos, guacamole, nachos, tortillas and street food; but Mexican food is so much more.  Eager to discover more about Mexican cuisine and to share with you the principles of cuisine at Capella Pedregal, I spoke with our Food & Beverage Manager, Marco Bustamante.

Mexican Cuisine with Marco Bustamante

Marco, how would you define genuine Mexican cuisine? 
Here at Capella Pedregal it is important for us to show our guests that Mexican food is so much more than just Tex Mex or Tacos.  Although that is a part of the culture, there is so much more to it.  Mexican food is very fresh, diverse, and a source of amazing ingredients and spices.  It is hard to define Mexican cuisine as one style only because in every state or region of Mexico you will find differences in style, ingredients and culture.

What are the origins of Mexican cuisine and are they still evident in Mexican food that we eat today?    
Mexican Cuisine is the fusion of Native Mesoamerican cooking with Spanish.  Regionally you will see influences as well.  A perfect example of native fusion food is Mole.  Mole is a native sauce made from pureed chiles, which has been present in Mexican cuisine since pre-Hispanic times, but has slowly developed into what it is today.  Here we showcase the sauce in a dish of Blackened Mahi-Mahi with Green Mole, Celeriac, Horseradish, Pistachio, Cucumber and Meyer Lemon Slaw.

Which ingredients are the basis of Mexican cuisine today? 
Basic Mexican ingredients are tomato, cilantro, chilies, spices, corn, plantains, … The list can go on and on because it really depends on what region of Mexico you are in.  The principles of cuisine at Capella Pedregal are to offer artisanal, local, fresh and superb quality food.  Our team of chefs is constantly searching for the best produce and working with regional farmers to bring the ingredients to Cabo and offer them in our restaurants.

All of the restaurants at Capella Pedregal are based on a “Farm to table and Sea to table” concept.  Can you tell us more about how you choose produce for the hotel, where does it come from?
We work with farmers and distributors from all over Mexico to bring us Mexican ingredients.  Locally we personally selected our fisherman that deliver fish to us to ensure the best quality.  We work hand in hand with farmers from Miraflores and Southern Baja to develop new products, define picking times and visit the farms to gather creative ideas.  Additionally we are bringing products from all over Mexico; for example artisan smoked chiles from the market in Oaxaca, vanilla beans from Veracruz and chocolate form Merida.

What is your favorite Mexican dish? 
I love to eat and make ceviche!  They are simple to make but very diverse and complex in flavor.  My favorite Mexican dish that really changed the way I think about Mexican cuisine is Blue Corn Quesadillas with Oaxaca Cheese and Squash Blossom, which I first tasted 6 years ago in Mexico City.

Thank you Marco!  You have me ready to eat!
Thank you, it is always my pleasure!

Fishing With Chef Yvan Mucharraz And Chef On The Water Team

Chef On The Water

It doesn’t happen often that I get up on Sunday at 5 am, but this Sunday I knew it was going to be worth it.  Capella Pedregal’s Executive Chef Yvan Mucharraz invited me to join him and the team of Chef On The Water for a fishing trip.  Chef On The Water is a reality TV show, where selected chefs from Los Cabos and La Paz are challenged to catch the fish and cook their catch.  Excited to see what the day and the ocean would bring us, and to be part of behind the scenes of a reality TV show, I was up early, eager to join the adventure!

At 6.30am Capella Pedregal’s deep-sea fishing vessel, Auriga, was waiting for us at the Cabo San Lucas Marina.  The morning was still dark, but Chef On The Water hosts Mike and Charles, the show’s crew, Chef Yvan and I, and our fishing guides were ready to go.  We passed Land’s End and headed toward the Pacific side of Baja California Sur, where the captain knew a great fishing spot with Marlin, Tuna and Mahi Mahi.  After about 45 minutes of traveling at speeds up to 32 knots, we came to the stop.  Chef Yvan sat in the fishing chair and the show was on!

We didn’t have to wait long!  By 8.30am Chef Yvan had already caught 12 Mahi Mahi! With such success, everyone joined in on the fun.  Chef Yvan, Mike and Charles kept pulling Mahi Mahi on board.  By the end of the day the total count of Mahi Mahi caught was more than 40!  Much of the bounty was catch and release, but select specimens were kept so that Chef Yvan could prepare them for the show.  Everyone agreed- it was a fantastic fishing day!  In fact, Chef on the Water said this was their best fishing day in more than a year!

Chef On The Water After we returned to the hotel, Chef Yvan prepared two amazing dishes; “Chilpachole Style” Seafood Stew with Chickpeas, Fennel and Leeks; and Blackened Mahi-Mahi with Cucumber Slaw, Red Beet, Pistachios and Green Mole, which we savored at Don Manuel’s, while exchanging more fishing stories.

The Chef on the Water episode will air in November 2013, and you all will have the chance to vote for your favorite chef and dish.  You know who is my favorite!

For the updates on Chef On The Water and other events and happenings at Capella Pedregal and Cabo San Lucas, please connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

 

Descubriendo Los Vinos Mexicanos

Mexican Wines

Cuando la gente piensa en México, vienen a la mente nuestras playas, sol, artesanías, tacos, tequila… pero no muchos saben que México está adquiriendo cada vez más reconocimiento por su excelente producción de vinos y renombrados viñedos. La cultura vinícola está creciendo alrededor del país, y he pensado que Agosto, la época de la vendimia, sería un momento perfecto para hablar de vinos con el gerente de alimentos y bebidas de Capella Ixtapa Miriam Vasquez. A continuación un extracto de la conversación donde ella y nuestros chefs me recomiendan vinos mexicanos así como su perfecto maridaje tanto para verano como otoño.

Mexican WinesMiriam, nos puedes compartir un poco de tu conocimiento sobre los vinos mexicanos?
Como Ixtapa Zihuatanejo tiene un clima tropical, nuestros huéspedes tienden a elegir más el tequila y el mezcal, pero siempre disfrutan también una buena copa de vino. Algunas de las variedades de vino más famosas de México son el Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Nebbiolo y Tempranillo. En los últimos años, especialmente en zonas tropicales como Ixtapa, los vinos refrescantes y afrutados como los blancos y los rosados se han vuelto muy populares.

Cual sería tu vino mexicano favorito de este verano?
En Capella Ixtapa tenemos una extensa carta de vinos, entre los vinos mexicanos, resaltaría un par: el primero el Madero 2V, de Casa Madero, el cual es aromático y frutal, y perfecto para maridar con ensaladas y pescado. Y el otro sería el Gabriel de Adobe Guadalupe, el cual es intenso, bien balanceado y maravilloso para maridar con los platillos y cortes selectos que ofrecemos para cenar en nuestro restaurante A Mares.

En que te basas para seleccionar vinos para nuestra cava?
Siempre buscamos vinos jóvenes, ligeros y frutales; y partiendo de eso, complementamos la selección con vinos que pueden satisfacer hasta los más exigentes paladares y desde luego maridarse con platillos más complejos. Desde luego los vinos que se disfrutan más en un clima cálido como el de Ixtapa son siempre una prioridad. Dependiendo la temporada agregamos algunos vinos que acompañen a la perfección los cambios de temporada que nuestros restaurantes tienen también en sus menús.

Mexican WinesQue platillos y maridajes recomiendas este otoño en los restaurantes de Capella Ixtapa?
Recomiendo ampliamente las costillas de A Mares, un delicioso platillo cocinado lentamente en su propio jugo, y acompañarlo con una copa de Cabernet Sauvignon de Casa Grande. O probar la complejidad del Chardonnay de la misma vinícola, junto con los mariscos ofrecidos en nuestro Mercado de Mariscos.

Cómo te gusta disfrutar tu vino?
Para mí personalmente, la mejor manera de disfrutar un vaso de vino es durante la cena, en una hermosa velada, y lo más importante, excelente compañía.

Para más información sobre los restaurantes de Capella Ixtapa así como reservas, por favor visita nuestra página web.

 

 

Old World Spice And Wine At Capella Singapore

Meryem

This August, it’s all about spices at Capella Singapore.  I am very excited as we prepare for the Old World Spice and Wine Tasting Experience happening from the 29th of August through the 1st of September.

Meryem

One of the things I am looking forward to is to try the cuisine of our guest chef, Meryem Cherkaoui.  Chef  Cherkaoui  is a Moroccan chef, who has spent many years in France perfecting the exquisite French cooking techniques and incorporating the flavors of Moroccan cuisine.

Having visited Africa once on a holiday, I can well attest to the vibrant flavours and aromas that arise from all the exotic spices used in their cooking.  As such, I am truly anxious to savor the flavors of Morocco made with the intricacy and delicacy of the French kitchen.

Old World Spice And Wine Event At Capella Singapore

The other person I am very excited to meet at the Old World Spice and Wine Tasting Experience is Nora Gasparini, a perfumer who specialises in creating bespoke perfumes and fragrances for people.  Nora is based in Bali, which is home to the exotic scents also used by prestigious beauty brands such as Hermes and Dior.  I was thrilled to learn that she was no stranger to these exclusive spices and also uses them in her work.

What is particularly exciting about Nora is that, in line with the gourmet spice and wine event, she is bringing a selection of spice infusions created from edible spices.  Imagine being able to create your own special perfumes from ingredients in the kitchen!

One of the main highlights in the series of events is the Old World Spice and Wine Tasting Experience taking place throughout the grounds of Capella Singapore on Saturday the 31st of August from 11:30am to 5:00pm.  Chef Mereyem, together with the chefs at Capella Singapore, will be creating different stations featuring tapas made with spices from various parts of the world.  These tapas will also be paired with a selection of 26 rare Old World wines.

To add to the festivities, Nora will also have a station set up where she will be able to do personal consultations on creating unique scents and perfumes for each person.

Old World Spice and Wine at Capella Singapore is definitely an event to look out for.  I am eagerly waiting in anticipation for all the four days of exciting and epicurean adventures.

If you are interested in learning more about the event, please contact The Knolls at +65 6591 5046 or email knolls.singapore@capellahotels.com.  Hope to see you there!ND