Recently, I had chance to visit DC during the happiest of hours. IT started a JALEO where none other than Chef Jose Andres was entertaining his mentor, Ferran Adrià, and friend, Gastón Acurio (seen left).
Why is Chef Adia Andres' mentor? He was the head chef of Spain's El Bulli restaurant in Roses on the Costa Brava, and is considered one of the best chefs in the world. I asked Chef Andres what I should order from his tapas menu and he ordered his oyster dish, served warm with delicious olive oil, parika and potatoes. Yum.
Chef then invited myself and my friend to join them at the 10th anniversary of Zatinya 2 blocks away. Delighted, we took the invitation to continue the gastronomique fun. A full lamb was roasting on a spit in the open kitchen, attractive guests mingled and key executives from Think Food Group circulated the crowd.
Wine was flowing and special house cocktails. A few hors d'oeuvres were served along with enormous bowls were filled with house specialties of hommos, baba and roasted red peppers with feta, olive oil and oregano dip. OMG, I fell in love with the latter. I sampled and enjoyed Mayssaya Classic Bekaa Valley 2010, a rich red wine. MASSAYA winery is run now by two dynamic Lebanese brothers who have harnessed the potential of their fabulous terroir to the know-how of two French wine-making dynasties. Since Biblical times, Lebanon has been acclaimed for its prized Bekaa Valley wines. Today, this bijou winery, with its clay-limestone vineyards, nestled between the mountains and the Mediterranean, produce a range of unique wines that captures the spirit of the Levant.
While at Lebanese Taverna Harbor East, I had chance to replenish my glass with the same MASSAYA make, model 2009 and it was also very tasty. I learned that the hommos was originally taken at Zatinya from Lebanese Taverna who once had a small ownership in the DC spot.
Starting on October 1st, 2012, José Andrés and his team at ThinkFoodGroup added Pepe food truck’s on-the-go culinary creations to devoted fans in Maryland and Virginia and expanding service to DC’s nightlife at places such as concerts, exhibits, festivals. Suitably named Pepe, a nickname for José, the food truck serves in Montgomery and Arlington counties. Pepe announces its locations via Twitter and Facebook. Hungry fans can keep track of the food truck’s location at www.facebook.com/pepefoodtruck, and www.twitter.com/pepefoodtruck. The truck serves Spanish cuisine at the moment, but there is a thought that Andrés may change the menu (and even the truck name) at a moment’s notice! Current menu items are sandwiches ranging in price from $8 – $20 (most are $10).
Pepe offers a rotating selection of “flautas,” based on the ultimate Spanish sandwiches José Andrés grew up with in Spain. “Flautas” are elongated sandwiches layered with some of the most delightful ingredients, making them perfect for easy grab-and-go dining. Pepe’s menu will include: Butifarra ‘Burger’: Spanish pork burger with alioli and brava sauce; Pollo Frito: fried chicken breast with lettuce, piparra peppers, alioli, and brava sauce; Escalivada: roasted eggplant, red peppers, sweet onions, spinach, and mojo rojo; Pepito de Ibérico: seared Ibérico pork and Serrano ham with roasted green peppers, caramelized onions, and alioli; Spanish Grilled Cheese: Manchego, Murcia, Valdeón, membrillo, and fresh goat cheese; Tuna Bocata: Spanish tuna, mayo, chives and hardboiled egg; Fútbol Club Barcelona: thinly sliced chicken, bacon, lettuce, tomato, and shallot mayonnaise; Jamón Serrano y queso Manchego: Serrano ham, Manchego, and olive oil; and Pepito de ternera: seared beef tenderloin, caramelized onion, piquillo pepper confit, and blue cheese. Prices range from $8 to $14 each (Ibérico and specialty sandwiches can range to $20).
In addition, Pepe offers a variety of his signature (non-alcoholic) cocktails such as Sangria, and Pepe Tonic priced from $3 to $4 each. Seasonal soups such as Chicken Noodle and the classic Gazpacho will also be available, served with warm ficelle bread, priced at $8. For dessert, Pepe will serve a Chocolate and Hazelnut Ice Cream Flauta, a chocolate cookie sandwich with hazelnut ice cream, priced at $5.
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