Thursday, October 28, 2010

Restaurant Review: Masa 14 (Left A Bad Taste Again...)

During the early part of the summer, I had heard a lot about Masa 14, one of the newer restaurants located on the 14th Street Corridor.  I'd heard so many wonderful things about it so I decided to try to host my 30th birthday happy hour & fundraiser benefitting the March of Dimes there. 

I contacted the events staff about 2 months in advance and told them what I was planning.  We went back and forth via email for about a week, then the person kept telling me that he would have to ask his manager if he could accommodate my party.  My request was quite simple so all I really needed was a yes that date is available or no.  All I wanted to do was have 20-30 people and to order several platters of food for my guests to enjoy.  After, several days of not hearing anything, I decided to look else where. 

Finally, I received an email indicating that they would not be able to handle my request.  To this day, I still don't know why 1) they couldn't accommodate 20-30 people when it's a huge space and 2) why I had to go through all the rigmarole. (I ended up having my event at Local 16, they were extremely accommodating and it went off without a hitch.)

After that Masa 14 left a bad taste in my mouth and I vowed to never support them...that was until last night.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Wegmans Comes to Prince George's County

Today, October 24, at 7:00AM, marks the opening of the newest Wegmans.  It is located in the newly developed Woodmore Towne Centre off of 495 (Exit 17) and 202 in Lanham, Maryland.

The people of Prince George's County, MD, a largely African-American suburb of Washington, DC, are excited about this highly anticipated new grocery store along with the other retail outlets that will be coming to the area soon, including Costco and a JC Penney (I'd prefer a Bloomie's or Saks but that's better than nothing).  Best Buy opened the last week of September, which was much needed after the closure of Circuit City in 2008. 

Growing up in Prince George's County, my parents were always forced to shop elsewhere, mainly across the bridge in Virginia, to find department stores and supermarkets that were of a higher quality than those offered to residents of the county.  Now, many years later we are finally getting something no other surrounding area has, Wegmans, and everyone is excited. 

While a new grocery store may not seem like much, Prince George's County has been without for so long it's nice to see we are finally being afforded the same opportunities as other affluent communities in the Washington, DC metropolitan area.

To read the press release for the Wegmans Woodmore opening, click here.  To learn more about the Woodmore Towne Center development project, click here.

If you aren't familiar with Wegmans here's a little blurb I pulled from their website.
Wegmans Food Markets, Inc., is a 77-store supermarket chain with stores in New York, Maryland, Virginia, Pennsylvania and New Jersey. The family-owned company, founded in 1916, is widely recognized as an industry innovator. For 13 consecutive years, it has ranked high on the FORTUNE magazine’s list of “The 100 Best Companies to Work for,” placing #3 in 2010. 

9001 McHugh Drive
Lanham, MD 20706

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Saks Fifth Avenue - Key To The Cure 10/21

It's that time of the year again!

Join Saks Fifth Avenue in Chevy Chase, MD as they celebrate their annual Key to the Cure (KTTC) event. 

On Thursday, October 21, from 6:00- 9:00 PM, join prominent members of the community, local socialites and most importantly, cancer survivors from the Washington, DC area, including Tanya Snyder, wife of Washington Redskins owner Daniel Snyder.  It will be an an evening of shopping, entertainment, and tasty cuisines from local restaurants.

This weekend, Saks will donate 2% of sales during the shopping weekend, up to $500,000, to Suburban Hospital. For more information and to purchase tickets, click here.

Can't attend your local KTTC event (either here in MD or around the country), you can still purchase a t-shirt.  The 2010 KTTC t-shirts are available now at Saks Fifth Avenue in Chevy Chase.  Proceeds benefit women's cancer programs at Suburban Hospital!  To purchase the t-shirt online, click here.

Photo Credit: KTTC Co-Chairs Maura Fitzgerald Shannon and Linda V. Courie modeling the specially designed Donna Karan 2010 Key to the Cure t-shirt. 

Saks Fifth Avenue Chevy Chase
5555 Wisconsin Avenue
Chevy Chase, MD

Monday, October 18, 2010

Slice of Life & Free Pie Tastings - October 19-22

Just heard about this great holiday fundraiser that will benefit Food & Friends, a local charity that provides meals to those in need in Washington, DC and the surrounding communities.

Slice of Life is the only area pie sale allowing you to purchase your Thanksgiving pies while making an impact in the lives of thousands in need in your community. This large-scale bake sale is in its 4th year. As a supporter you can purchase pies for you and your family, as gifts for friends and for us to deliver to our clients on Thanksgiving Day. (This excerpt was taken from the Food & Friends website)

As an added incentive, for every pie that is purchased it will provide a full day of meals for one of their clients.  According to their website, in 2009 nearly 5,000 pies were sold. What a great cause! 

In addition, they are offering free pie tastings this week!  See below for the locations and times.

FREE PIE TASTINGS (as listed on their website)

Tuesday, October 19th
Outside the Marriott at Metro Center (12th & H, NW)
11:30am - 1:30pm

Wednesday, October 20th
Outside the CVS at
6 Dupont Circle

11:30am - 1:30pm

Thursday, October 21st

Downtown Silver Spring (
Ellsworth Drive
near Potbelly's)

11:30am - 1:30pm

Friday, October 22nd
Outside of Logan Tavern
(14th & P, NW)
5:00pm - 7:00pm

With Thanksgiving quickly approaching, why not help out Food & Friends by purchasing a pie or two for this worthy cause?  For more information and details, please visit:

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Things to Do: Beach Bums & Bellinis is Back!!!

Just heard that Beach Bums and Bellinis is back for the months of October and November.  If you are not familiar with it, it's a weekly event held on Sundays in the morning.  Each week a different exercise instructor will teach an hour long class and afterwords you will be served brunch on the rooftop of the W Hotel. 

Classes fill up quickly, as I learned during the summer, so if you see a class you're interested in taking, my advice is to register ASAP.  See below for more information, taken from the W's website.

Escape to the W Washington D.C. rooftop Sundays this fall for our next round of wildly popular Sunday brunch and fitness sessions: Beach Bums & Bellinis: Jetset Edition! Get your bum in jetset shape, as each week you'll be entered for the chance for a stay at one of eight W properties around the world: W Vieques, W Barcelona, W Hollywood, W South Beach, W Mexico City, W Santiago, W Istanbul and W Montreal.   WHAT? 
A series of exclusive fitness classes on W’s rooftop hosted by lululemon athletica ambassadors from the capitol's premier studios followed by a rewarding bottomless bellini brunch overlooking the White House. Each session will be inspired by a W city.

WHERE? W Washington D.C.’s rooftop, 515 15th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20004


Class: 10:45AM - 11:45 AM
Brunch: 12 noon


$49 per session (Tax and gratuity not included for brunch)To register and find out the more specifics about the classes being offered, click here.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Restaurant Review: Cafe Atlantico

Just realized I never posted some reviews from Restaurant Week (RW). 

I made reservations for Cafe Atlantico for the Friday of RW. Ended up meeting one of my friends there at 8:00 for our reservation and both of us were starving.

When I arrived there was a huge crowd of people inside and out on the side walk.  The hostess informed us  that there would be a wait and that we were welcomed to wait by the bar.  Since it was so crowded, that was not really a viable option so I found a little nook near where the valet guys were and we stood there.  Soon others followed our lead and that area got a little crowded too. I was glad when we finally got a seat.

Around 8:45 we were seated and since we were way beyond famished, we quickly surveyed the limited RW menu and ordered.  My first dish was the "beetsteak" tomato salad.  It was an interesting mix of flavors but nothing special.  The second dish was the pork cheeks served with rice and pureed black beans.  It wasn't seasoned how I liked it but once I mixed in the incredibly spicy pepper sauce that was on the plate (see photo #2 the red spots on the right side of the plate) it made it more flavorful. 

The first two courses weren't all that impressive, so I hoped the dessert would make up for it.  Unfortunately, I was wrong.  I ordered the chocolate cake with some lime flavored whipped topping and vanilla ice cream.  Didn't really like the pairing of the cake and lime topping so I stuck with the ice cream.  The cake wasn't as moist as I liked so I ended up eating the cold stuff instead.

I would definitely have to say I was severely disappointed.  One of my friends swears Cafe Atlantico is one of her favorite restaurants, wish I could've said the same.  It was surprising as well since I love the other restaurants that belong to the Think Food restaurant group (Zaytinya, Jaleo, Oyamel). 

Maybe I'll give them another try one day, when it's not Restaurant Week.  Not a fan of restaurant that severely limit their menus and "create" dishes that they wouldn't normally serve.  On a more positive note, seems like it would be cool for happy hour, when it's not so crowded since they do have tasty mojitos.

Food C
Ambiance B
Service B-

Cafe Atlantico
405 8th Street NW
Washington, DC 20004
(202) 393-0812

Monday, October 4, 2010

Restaurant Review: Sonoma Restaurant & Wine Bar

Before I start this post, all I can say is I don't know why I had never been to Sonoma Restaurant & Wine Bar before last week.  That place was absolutely amazing! 

On a Friday evening, I went with a friend who was in town from LA to Sonoma. It's located on Pennsylvania Avenue SE between 2nd and 3rd Streets.  If you're driving by and blink you'd easily miss it. 

When you walk up to the building it's evident that it's an old building and has historic DC charm.  There is a small area for patio seating in the front that can accommodate about 10 people, since it was brisk we decided to take our chances to wait inside for a seat inside.  Once you walk in you're greeted by a huge fully stocked wine bar on one side and a beautiful exposed brick wall on the other.  There is also a large staircase that leads to the upstairs more lounge like area.  It was reserved for a private party so we didn't have a chance to check it out.

Since it was a Friday night and we didn't have reservations, there was a wait but we found a seat at the bar and enjoyed a glass of wine.  The wine list by the glass and bottle were very extensive and offered us many options to enjoy.  While we waited, the incredibly friendly hostess walked over to us every 10 minutes to give us an update on the status of our table, which was nice because that never happens.

Once we were seated, we could barely focus on the menu because of the food that was arriving at the table next to us.  Everything looked so good, we didn't even know where to begin.  Eventually we decided on a few things. For our appetizers we shared an arugula salad with goat cheese, bacon, beets with a bacon vinaigrette and the house-made meatballs in polenta.  From the first bite we were in love, not with each other, but with the food. Within a matter of minutes, both plates were empty.

For the main dish he had the Braised Beef Ravioli with potato and mushroom marmalade and I had the North Carolina Shrimp & Grits.  The beef in the ravioli was very tender, well seasoned and melted in your mouth.  The shrimp, which were more like jumbo prawns, were grilled to perfection with light seasoning and the grits were so smooth and creamy.  We polished off both dishes and were pleasantly full.  I didn't have room for dessert so I ordered a nice, ice-cold glass of Moscato d'asti, which was by far one of the best I've ever had.

To top things off a group of middle-aged men all dressed in black suits caught our attention.  We both speculated they were part of a musical group.  Apparently it was one of their birthdays and they sang the most impressive rendition of Happy Birthday that I'd ever heard in my life.  They followed up with another song where they harmonized like nobody 's business.  I definitely would have paid to hear them sing like that again.  I'm sure that isn't a frequent occurrence but it made a wonderful night even better. 

Sonoma Restaurant & Wine Bar is truly a hidden gem and I will be making it my point to make sure more know about it.  Nothing is better than attentive service and food that is to die for. Just thinking about it is making me want to make my next reservation.

Food A+
Ambiance A
Service A

Sonoma Restaurant and Wine Bar
223 Pennsylvania Avenue SE
Washington, DC 20003