Thursday, September 30, 2010

Friday Foolery

It is almost Friday and despite the rain I am so ready to enjoy tomorrow.  And there are a few things to look forward to in the next couple days, which always helps as well:

1. Olga, the mastermind behind Mango Tomato, will be demonstrating at CHOP market tomorrow, Friday, afternoon.  

She will be making a Curry Butternut Squash soup , which I think will be a very good addition to the stock pile of cold weather recipes.  So you better stop on by to have a taste and grab a copy for yourself.

2.  Saturday is Crafty Bastards and this is one of my favorite events of the entire year!  Local and some out of town crafters will be setting up shop in Adams Morgan to sell their wares from unique clothing and jewelry, kids' toys, accessories for your home, etc.  It is a very cool craft fair and you should definitely come check it out between 10 am-5 pm.  
Here is a link to the site if you would like to learn more about it:

3.  Oktoberfest!!!  We cannot forget about that, and it all month so you have plenty of time.  Who cares if you're not German, everyone is allowed and should celebrate.  It's just like Cinco De Mayo, even if you are not Mexican you know you will be drinking a very large margarita that night, so let's not pretend otherwise.  So whip out your lederhosen and get your Prost on! There are way too many events and local places to name but I did do a fun little search for you that you can check out for ideas:

4. I just found this Youtube video and it seriously just made my evening and I hope it will bring a smile to your day as well.

Have a great weekend!!!


Monday, September 27, 2010

Things are heating up.....

1. Last Friday night was the first ever Mid Atlantic Red Fruit Festival that our very own Ellen Kassoff Gray spearheaded with the DC International Food & Wine Festival.  And it was an amazing, red, juicy, tomato filled event!  The creativity of our local at-home chefs was mind blowing and I overheard so many people giving the event a big thumbs up.  My personal favorite is the above tomato tart prepared by April Fulton.  Yum!!  I had 2 helpings because it was just blowing my mind.  There was no opportunity to try everything as I was working the front door and by the time I could get inside some dishes had been cleared out!  I was a very sad panda about that, but it was amazing to see tomatoes making everyone so excited.  Here are a few other photos of the event and you can see more info on the winners here:

2.  Chef Gray was featured in a CNN piece, just today, to discuss his work with Murch Elementary School and bringing healthy food option back to the cafeteria.  You can check out the video here:  We are so happy to have an active role in the Let's Move Program and hope that we can continue to encourage other to take an active role in bettering their own children's schools.

3. And of course we continue to play in the kitchen.  We are working on some exciting new dishes and can't wait to show you what we are up to.  So stay tuned....


Tuesday, September 21, 2010

October = Virginia Wine Month

WINE TOUR Throughout central and northern Virginia, wineries like Barboursville Vineyards combine tasting and history.

Picture taken by Carol T. Powers for The New York Times

And as we are only a little over a week away from October 1st I thought I should let you know.  (And that is actually a pic of a VA vineyard)

This month is full of great wine-centric festivals, including the Mount Vernon Wine Festival and Virginia Wine Festival, as well as wineries hosting many events on their property.  It is worth a trip across the river to go check out some of our fine local vintages and pick up a few good bottles for all those holiday events that are fast approaching.  

We are also super excited about a documentary coming out on PBS next month called Vintage: The Winemaker's Year.  Here is the synopsis:  

Vintage: The Winemaker’s Year is a feature length documentary exploring the rapid growth of the wine industry in Virginia and its increasing impact on the state’s cultural, social, and economic landscape. The film premieres on PBS stations across the nation in October 2010 in coordination with Virginia Wine Month.

You can find further information here:

Definitely something worth checking out to learn more about what is happening so close to where we live.


Saturday, September 18, 2010

A little food trivia....

Equinox has been busy testing out some new recipes for the menu as this weather cools and Fall is fast approaching.  Yesterday they tweeted: 

Monterey white seabass with little neck clams, chorizo and saffron broth appearing on the menu this weekend w/ Pernot Puligny Montrachet '08

And I was immediately wiping up pools of drool of my desk.  But I also began to think about saffron that day as well.  I am a sucker for saffron.  In college I used to go to my Iranian-Jewish friend's house for Shabbat every Friday and her Mom would make the most amazing saffron rice for this special meal.  This was my first introduction to this "a little dash packs a punch" spice. Now when I see it on the menu I am immediately sucked in and want to try.

Saffron is a pretty interesting plant with a very long history.  The spice comes from the dried stigmas of the saffron crocus and it takes 75,000 blossoms or 225,000 hand-picked stigmas to make a single pound which explains why it is the world’s most expensive spice. But not only is saffron prized for it's taste but also it's color.  The word saffron originates from the Arabic word zafran which means yellow.  And anyone who has had saffron know that it colors everything a rich golden yellow color.  In India this color is considered the epitome of beauty and is the official color of Buddhist monk's robes.

It originates from the Mediterranean, but has been brought to many other countries through the Roman Empire and Muslims from North Africa with the largest current importer being Spain.  It turns out that it is even cultivated in small quantities throughout the US, which I was completely unaware of, but is considered a more earthy and not as potent varietal in the gradations of saffron experts.

Whooooo!  What a complicated and intricate history this little plant has.  If you want even more info, because trust me there is so much more, check out Wikipedia or one of the many online spice encyclopedias for a quick reference about this spice.  Or just come over to Equinox and try our new menu and experience saffron for yourself.


Thursday, September 16, 2010

You say tomato, I say toe-mah-toe

The Mid-Atlantic Red Fruit Festival is just a week away and I am so excited with our finalists' entries: 

Main Courses:

Mary Cunningham’s Grilled Heirloom Tomato Pizza,
Amy Angelo’s Lasagna Stuffed Tomatoes,
April Fulton’s Tomato Tarte,

Appetizers & Soups:
David Tarre’s Nuovo Caprese with Corn-Fried Mozzarella,
Rosemary Lawler’s Cream of Tomato Soup with Seafood,
Olga Berman’s Roasted Tomato & Dark Cherry Balsamico Soup,

Beverages & Sauces:
Amanda Hine’s Grilled Peach With Tomato Raspberry Sauce & Basil Whipped Cream,
Christiana Aretta’s Green Tomato Ketchup,
Maria Alvarez’s Simo’s Bloody Mary,

Mario Raymond’s Panzanella with Lemon Rosemary Sorbet,

McKenzie Severson’s Caprese Cupcakes,
Jessica Sidman’s Green Tomato Marbled Goat Cheese Ice Cream,
Maggie Sklar & Sandy Ibrahim’s Sundried Tomato Goat Cheesecake,

I am especially intrigued by the desserts, aren't you?  I will be all over that on September 24th and will try to remember to leave you some to try.

You can pick up tickets by usung this link:  And what beeter way to kick off your weekend than at a festivall supporting our local homecooks and chefs.


Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Food in the News

                                          (AP Photo/Cook It Raw, Erik Refner)
The "Cook It Raw" event that is taking place this year at Levi Lapland, Finland has been hitting the news quite a bit.  And there is definitely good reason to see what these incredible chefs are up to.  If you are not familiar with the "Cook It Raw" event the premise is that chefs come into a new location each year (this is the 3rd event) where they hunt, forage, and fish and then prepare meals while trying to leave the smallest footprint on the environment.  This is a sustainable and locavore mentality to the umpteenth power, and it is  super exciting to see what they came up with.

I think this event brings to light how we need to brings ourselves back to the earth, dirt, and root of food and cooking.  We cannot continue to turn a blind eye to things like overfishing, pumping animals full of hormones, global warming, etc. when it inevitably will affect what we will be able to eat in the future.  Chef Bottura, from Milan, Italy puts it best when he states "Our cuisine is no longer about liking or not liking something," he explained. "It's about trying to influence everyday life. If I put aesthetics and ethics together, that is the future of cuisine."

Definitely read this Associate Press article to find out more about this extraordinary event:


Sunday, September 12, 2010

Chefs Move to Schools

Most school lunch programs in this country are abysmal, to say the least. But with an outstanding spokesperson in the White House, Michelle Obama, who has spearheaded the Let's Move Program, one can only hope that our next generation of eaters will be more conscious of what they put in their mouths.

Chef Gray, along with other great chefs, have stood behind her efforts with their participation in the Chef's Move to School branch of her program.  By adopting a school, Murch Elementary School to be exact, Chef Gray hopes to make kids active participants in where their food comes from; there by making them more excited to eat those fruits and veggies parents are always trying to convince them to eat.

Just this past Saturday Chef Gray, along with his son Harrison, spoke to "A Chef's Table with Jim Colman" about the importance of this program and teaching our children good eating habits from day 1.  You can listen to the podcast of the show by clicking here:

Hope you enjoy.


Saturday, September 11, 2010

Let's Give them Something to Talk about......

While food is the main attraction at Equinox, your definitely should round out the meal with a great glass of wine.  Chef Todd and Ellen have a serious love of wine and that has spilled over into the restaurant as well as the recent renovations.  The back room, that can be used for special events, is also our very own little chapel to liquid grapes.  In fact, Tasting Table wrote up a wonderful article on our wine list, which is definitely worth a gander: 

So come on by and make Travis, in-house sommelier, work for his paycheck and ask what will go with that dish you just ordered.  It is well worth it.


Thursday, September 9, 2010

What we are excited about...


"Irena Salina's award-winning documentary investigation into what experts label the most important political and environmental issue of the 21st Century - The World Water Crisis."

This is an eye opening documentary and definitely worth your time to watch.

Slices Of Watermelon Watermelon!  Recipes are in the works so be on the look out.

Chef Gray has been up to a lot of trouble lately and by trouble I mean some awesomeness.  Besides just receiving the American Culinary Federation Cutting Edge Award, he has a couple of cook off competitions under his belt. He tied with Chef Kaz Okochi of Kaz Sushi Bistro and Masa 14 at the Legg Mason Tennis Classic and won Cadillac's Culinary Challenge Test Drive against Chef Eric Ziebold of CityZen.

Anything you're excited about and would like to share with us?


Thursday, September 2, 2010


   Featuring the talent of renowned Mid Atlantic Chefs:

Todd Gray, Equinox Restaurant
RJ Cooper, Rogue 24
Jerry Edwards, Chef’s Expressions
Beej Flamholz, Beej Flamholz LLC
Matt Hess, The Wine Kitchen
Kaz Okochi, KAZ Sushi Bistro and Masa 14
Mike Lund, Food
Chefs Christophe Poteaux and Michelle Garbee-Poteaux, Bastille

Meet The Judges

Meet The Judges of The Mid-Atlantic Red Fruit Festival’s Tomato Recipe Contest :
Bonnie Benwick {The Washington Post}
Marybeth Albright {DC Magazine}
Nycci Nellis {}
Ed Bruske {The Slow Cook}
Laura Anthony {US Botanical Garden}
Annie Lou Bayly {Daily Candy}
Julia Rapley {Vice President of Events and Sales Ronald Reagan International Trade Center}