The Dish: Tasty Bites

by Editorial

A ‘roguish’ fundraiser, dining deals and Turkish coffee on the go.

By Anne Kim-Dannibale

James Beard award-winning chefs R.J. Cooper and Patrick O'Connell. (Photo by Alexandra Friendly)

How do you get through 24 courses of meticulously prepared dishes? It’s not easy, but it helps if your dining mates include fellow foodies, a good dose of humor and a great cause. I was lucky to get all three at the return of chef R.J. Cooper‘s “Rogue Sessions,” a rotating showcase of some of the country’s best chefs cooking side by side with Cooper and his staff for an evening benefiting the guest chef’s charity of choice.

This outing starred The Inn at Little Washington‘s Patrick O’Connell, standing over 7 feet tall in moon boots (all the better to reach over in a tiny open kitchen) and wearing “tattoo” sleeves. The humor came in the form of two fit fellas decked out in leaf-covered briefs, the original “Adam” and “Steve,” who occasionally served and cleared plates, while gamely playing along. All told, the sold-out event raised $35,000 for Food & Friends, a nonprofit that provides meals and nutrition counseling to people living with HIV/AIDS and other life-threatening illnesses.


"Egg in an egg" topped with caviar.

Chicken "oyster" with cream and leek.

Virginia ham with shaved apple, arugula and parmesan.

Coffee on the Go

It’s officially Turkish Cultural Heritage Month. To celebrate, the American Turkish Association is sponsoring a mobile Turkish coffee truck. Starting Sept. 18 through the end of the month, a gaggle of Turkish women will be touring Washington, handing out samples of the country’s rich java. The month-long celebration culminates in exhibits at the Textile Museum and a symposium at the Smithsonian Institution.

Catch your cuppa at the following locales:

Sept. 18, 1509 Connecticut Ave. NW, Dupont Circle, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Sept. 20, 1010 Vermont Ave. NW, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Sept. 21, 3051 M St. NW, Georgetown, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Sept. 22, Textile Museum, 2320 S St. NW, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Sept. 23, Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian, Maryland Ave. NW, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Sept. 25, 908 17th St., Farragut North, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Sept. 26, 1509 Connecticut Ave. NW, Dupont Circle, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Sept. 28, World Bank, 1818 H St. NW, noon to 3 p.m.
Sept. 29, 3051 M St. NW, Georgetown, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

On the Menu

Tickets are still available for the first anniversary celebration of the Black family‘s Pearl Dive Oyster Palace and Black Jack Thursday, Sept. 20. At $50 bucks a pop — a steal — revelers get unlimited seafood plus signature dishes, an open bar upstairs at Black Jack, and live music by no less than two bands. If that weren’t enough to convince you, you’ll also get to sample two new oysters that the Black family developed with Rappahannock River Oyster Company and proceeds from the evening go to Food & Friends.

Politicos have a new power lunch spot thanks to restaurateur Ashok Bajaj. His 701 restaurant, helmed by 2012 rising star RAMMY winner Ed Witt, is offering a new three-course lunch special priced at $25 per person, not including tax and tip. Starting Sept. 24, the lunch crowd can wheel and deal over dishes like fig and arugula salad with guanciale and goat cheese in a vanilla vinaigrette, chestnut and butternut squash ravioli with sage brown butter and ricotta and a flourless chocolate truffle cake with smoked caramel ice cream.

There’s no better festival than one that celebrates Spain’s national dish, paella. Jaleo‘s 10th annual “Paella Festival” offers diners several varieties of the famous dish at all of its locales through Sept. 30. The paellas are inspired by chef Rafael Vidal of Benisano, Spain’s Restaurante Levante. Jaleo head chef Ramon Martinez is also leading cooking classes Sept. 19 and Sept. 26 from noon to 2 p.m. in the Bethesda location. Twenty five dollars per person gets you a paella lunch in addition to instruction. Reserve at 301-913-0003.

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