A Visit with Cured DC

Count me lucky because my brother Chris is a jack of all trades. He is a contra-maestro Capoeria teacher, PhD grad of the London School of Economics, father (who’s already provided me great advice AND named his firstborn son after me), and an artisan food maker. To be specific, the man cures meat like its nobody’s business, and as family, I occasionally get the perk of first dibs. Like when he previewed his top-secret lamb prosciutto with me last week. I mean, damn. Lamb prosciutto.

Now, count yourself lucky if you live in the DC area because Cured DC products are now available at Derek Brown’s Mockingbird Hill Sherry and Ham bar, Glen Garden Market (the coolest new local market in Dupont Circle), and direct from Cured DC in a CSA form. For more, go here. And if you’ve got something to trade, maybe I can score you some of Chris’s duck prosciutto on the down low. Its next to impossible to get now that its on Mockingbird Hill’s menu.

 

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Terrier Bags

Terrier Bags

I wonder if these will be ready for my week in Chincoteague in August? These look pimping for the summer! Looking forward to seeing the various colorways DC-based Read Wall will give to these waxed canvas bags and totes. Damn nice to see the commitment Wall has to manufacturing his product in the US too. Only thing is the embossed Terrier emblem is too subtle on calfskin. Needs a pop of color!

 

5 Reasons DC Brau is Bro’s Best

While I’ve yet to get to a DC United match, I do imbibe plenty of DC Brau, DC’s best craft beer in my opinion. First, I love the fact that its local. Second, love that its available on tap in just about all my favorite locals, including DC Reynolds, which is no longer my local because I moved, but I return often for their killer patio and happy hour. Third, I love that its canned not bottled.

DC Brau Selection

Their award-winning sick graphic art and branding is super-crisp, and a can keeps the beer fresher and the hand cooler during the dog days of summer. Fourth, my favorite people like DC Brau and I’m a sucka from an endorsement from the Bourdain. It was his trip to Istanbul that inspired my wife and I to honeymoon in Turkey three years ago, and to unabashedly enjoy pork.

Fifth, the recipes DC Brau have got going are freaking dynamite. They are cleverly curated and balance experimentation with popular taste so they are very drinkable. You don’t have to be shy when trying El Hefe Speaks, a german-style wheat beer of the quite quaffable IPA, The Corruption. SO, if a six hits your deli case, I encourage you to GET U SUM!

DC Brau Bourdain

Billy Reid + Frye Coming to Georgetown

So I’ve been mapping the best menswear in DC and today during a little stroll in Georgetown I noticed that Billy Reid is coming to M street and bootmaker Frye is coming to Wisconsin Ave. Both are superb American-made  brands that offer impeccable gear. I simply can’t wait.

Interesting note about Frye. Though their iconic Harness boot was born decades earlier and inspired by the US Cavalry, the Massachusetts-based family of designers gained a bit of inspiration for another now iconic boot from the district. “During a 1938 trip to Washington, D.C., John A. Frye’s grandson and namesake met a U.S. Navy Admiral who noted his difficulty in finding the Wellington styles he liked so much. As a favor, John agreed to make him a pair. Frye continued to fill these requests for boots through World War II.”

By the way Jack Spade just dropped their first watch line at their Wisconsin Ave location. I checked them out at a recent launch party, and its not bad for their first line.  They’re very deliberately fashion watches and so I’ll stick to my Bell & Ross and Luminox, but no man would be mad if he received one as gift.

Jack Spade Camo Watch

Transitions

Sorry I haven’t put up a post in a while. I’ve been a little busy at work and on the home front. My wife is now 30 weeks pregnant and all our focus has been on preparing for the baby in May. To top it off we are closing on a house in Silver Spring this week! We’re thoroughly excited about all these major changes. Hell, we’ve only been in DC since August so its safe to say 2012 and 2013 are all about transitioning. Sure, if I thought I had my sh*t together before, its all about to be tested again. But I’m cool with that, life is and adventure and what is the point of life but to experience it? I can’t wait to get my Daddy on.

I’ve of course been exploring various approaches to raising a baby and taking care of house–and concluded one thing, it will be what it’ll be. No theories, no “systems” are going to change the fact that life likes to throw challenges in front of you to keep you on your toes, from leaky faucets to leaky diapers. I’m just blessed to be going through these transitions with my lovely, amazing, inspiring wife. It’s cliche, but we really do complete each other–where I am fast and loose she is studied and patient. Where I am subdued and cautious she is outgoing and adventurous. We remind each other of just how far we’ve come, of the obstacles we’ve dealt with, of the fun we’ve had so far, and look excitedly to the future.

So all these transitions of course deserve a few upgrades in the life-well-lived category. That’s where I want to buck the tradition of going ultra-casual. While I may have to adapt and go-with-it on the home and baby, I look forward to relishing experiences that are highly-structured, the kind that make you pause and savor the moment. Case in point, I recently learned how to make a proper whiskey sour. I know, a cocktail? Well, its one of the easiest place to go from casual to considered.

Here ya go, from the Real Men Drink Whiskey blog, here’s a recipe that uses all fresh ingredients including egg and fresh-squeezed lemon.

Whiskey Sour Ingredients

Whiskey Sour Four Roses

From Real Men Drink Whiskey:

  • Martini shaker
  • Rye straight whiskey (if you can’t find real Rye, not Canadian Rye, use Bourbon)
  • Fresh whole lemons (1 per drink)
  • Super fine sugar (I like to use berry sugar, as icing sugar tastes odd to me)
  • Large Egg (1 per drink)
  • Orange Bitters (not crucial, but highly recommended)
  • Ice

Note: This drink was originally created to be made with real Rye. It is the only whiskey I would use for this drink… but if you really can’t get your hands on true Rye bourbon will work nicely in its place.

More Notes: This drink makes a single, it will fill about half of your whiskey glass, double everything up for a full glass.

First, squeeze the shit out of a lemon into a standard short whiskey glass, removing any seeds. You’ll want to squeeze one lemon per drink, around 1oz.

Once your lemon is squeezed pour an equal amount of whiskey into the same cup (or measure the lemon and match it with the whiskey). I like to use just a tad more whiskey than lemon juice; again this will be around 1oz.

Fill a martini shaker ¾ full with ice.

Sprinkle 1 heaping teaspoon of sugar over the ice (you can use more or less of this to taste, if you like things a little more sour start with one flat teaspoon and work from there).

Pour the lemon/whiskey mix over the ice.

Crack an egg and add just the egg white on top of the ice. If you’ve never done this before just “juggle” the yolk from one half of the shell to the other, letting the white slide out into the shaker.

Put just 2 drops (not dashes) of Orange bitters into the mix. You’re not trying to flavor the drink orange, this is just to help round out drink for a complete full-bodied flavor.

Put the lid on the shaker and shake the living fuck out of your mix. You’ll want to shake harder and longer than you have ever shook any martini. The reason for this is to beat up the egg white, which will give the drink a perfect frothy meringue like head, and a distinct every-so-slippery texture.

Strain out the mix back into the glass, and enjoy.

Duck Duck Goose

I’ve had wild duck before. My dad once caught a wild duck. That’s right–caught it, not shot it. He was out fishing for perch and walleye on Lake Erie in an area popular with wild ducks and hunters. He noticed an injured duck struggling against the waves–he’d been shot but clearly was not taken. One cast and he was hooked up.

Later we plucked the feathers covering the bathroom with pin feathers. The supreme richness and full flavor of wild duck first catches you by surprise–even a small bite throws your taste buds into confusion as your palate readjusts to the meaning of  “duck.”

So, big fan of Hank Shaw, founder of the blog Honest Food, and author of Hunter, Angler, Gardener, Cook. He’s dropping a new book on how to take duck (and goose) to the next level, both wild and farmed. Now available for pre-order his new joint–DUCK DUCK GOOSE.

 

Duck Duck Goose

Cured DC

So my brother has a PhD from the London School of Economics. He works at RAND (that “consultant” to the Pentagon).  Sometimes I think he’s a CIA analyst because he occasionally makes clandestine trips to South America.  …But I ain’t scared. He’s also a passionate conservationist and outspoken defender of the weak and champion for social justice. But then again…he’s incredibly skilled with a knife.

In fact, he’s quite the butcher. After three years of self-training, including apprenticing under Mike Smollon, he’s ready to take the plunge into some serious butchery. He’s joined the culinary incubator at Union Kitchen in DC–already being praised by the press, Mayor’s Office and foodie scene, Union Kitchen promises to take the small army of food artisans in the area and give them a commercial home, launch advice and start-up expertise. Over the past few years I’ve tasted his bresola, guanciale, salumi, duck prosciutto, lardo, chorizo, and aged steaks among other delicacies.

I helped Cured DC move into their new digs over the weekend, after he wired up his new cure box. We had a wonderful lunch at Red Apron over in Union Market afterwards and discussed his future. He plans to offer a CSA-type approach with classic staples, and include limited edition cured meats with a special seasonal items. I can’t wait! For a full post with more pictures head over to Cured DC’s re-tooled blog here.

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And just in case you think he ain’t serious…here are couple of pix I snapped from his “secret stash”.

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That’s right, that’s prosciutto…

Seasonal Pantry

One of the best things about living in Brooklyn for several years was of course, the food. Access to Northeastern farms in Vermont, the Catskills and Hudson Valley, Pennsylvania and even New Jersey, great seafood from the coast inspired Brooklyn’s chefs and artisan foodmakers. So it seems Washington, DC also benefits from a nearby pantry–Maryland pick-your-own farms, the Shenandoah Valley, Virginia’s Piedmont, and of course the Chesapeake Bay bring riches, from farm to table.

Seasonal Pantry, the brainchild of chef Dan O’brien, brings the local larder to the Shaw neighborhood and provides a very fresh twist on eating local. From pork ragu to lemon confit, O’Brien prepares delicious take-home items that will knock your socks off. O’brien also cooks a full five-course dinner at the Pantry three times a week. On a recent visit we took home quite a few nice things, from scones to beef jerky.

We look forward to dropping in again soon, including hitting his new pub, A&D bar next door. O’brien told us he uses his homemade jams and syrups, and other ingredients in the cocktails, served alongside his charcuterie, all fresh, all seasonal. And get this, his next venue is focusing on Fried Chicken and Donuts. Hot damn! For more on Seasonal Pantry, check out the write-up NY Times gave them last year.

 

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