Friday, December 30, 2011

Enter, Winter!




A change of pace and scenery! And, we’re really enjoying just that, at the fabulous Sanctuary Cap Cana in the Dominican Republic, where Todd is the Culinary Director. Along with 20 of our family and friends, we’re getting to know this fabulous property. From the bartenders to the line cooks, we’re meeting our “hospitality cousins” down here and exchanging lots of great information. Happy for some face time (and a little bit of sun time, too!), we’re psyched for a bright future here in the Caribbean. The spot in the photo above is Ellen’s favorite private event space. She’s looking forward to having classes held there, working on booking yoga and ecotravel journeys throughout the year. Watch this space for info!




On December 28, Todd was guest chef with Chef Pascal Messier (above) at Fishing Lodge, Cap Cana for a Festive, Seasonal Chef”s Dinner. The menu showcased the glorious Caribbean cuisine, including a Salad of Caribbean Spiny Lobster with Mango and Papaya, and Ginger-Pistachio Vinaigrette, as well as Crispy Local Pompano, Dominican Style, served over Coconut Rice with Avocado and Piquillo Pepper Relish.



From the bartenders to the line cooks, we’re meeting our “hospitality cousins” down here and exchanging lots of great information. Above are Chef Pascal Messier and the kitchen staff of Sanctuary Cap Cana.



Judge William T. Newman joined Todd in adding final touches to desserts at the dinner. Judge Newman is the husband of Salamander Hotels & Resorts CEO, Dr. Sheila C. Johnson.

Thanks to all who celebrated with us at our 12th-Annual Winter Solstice Dinner on December 16 and our Christmas Eve dinner. We are looking forward to seeing you back in DC for New Year’s Eve!


Saturday, December 31, 6 p.m. or 9 p.m. seatings: New Year's Eve Dinner at Equinox Restaurant: A beautiful and brilliant, flexible menu in seven courses includes stand-out offerings such as Lightly Cured Kampachi with Tangerine Confit, Basil Seeds and Ginger Oil; Hudson Valley Foie Gras Terrine with Shaved Fennel Salad, Rosemary Brioche and Persimmon Mustard. Again, our vegetarian guests will not be disappointed with options such as Chestnut Crepe "Crespelle" with Spinach, Tallegio Cheese and Compressed Asian Pear; and Corn Flour Tagliatelle Noodles with Chanterelle Mushrooms, Wilted Arugula and Housemade Goat’s Milk Ricotta. Desserts include Dark Chocolate Trio of 70% Chocoate Mousse, Dark Chocolate Brownie and Chocolate Sorbet. Structure your own menu of three, five or all seven courses—with or without wine pairings. (Please contact us for reservations.)


Saturday, December 31, 5:30 p.m.–10p.m.: New Year's Eve Dinner at Todd Gray's Watershed Restaurant: Just in time for New Year’s Eve, we’ll switch gears from “local & seasonal” Caribbean Spiny Lobster to “local & seasonal” Virginia Ham Beignets! Todd will prepare New Year’s Eve Dinner at Watershed, featuring Crispy Skin Arctic Char Served on Coconut Rice with Rock Shrimp and Green Onion; Grilled Creekstone Farms New York Strip with Englsih Stilton Butter, Roasted New Potatoes and Cabernet Wine Sauce; and Chocolate Souflée Tart with Vanilla Bean Ice Cream.  ($50; $70 w/wine).

Saturday, December 31, 5:00 p.m.–8p.m.: New Year's Eve Family Buffet and Movie Night at Todd Gray's Watershed Restaurant: Bring the kids along for a fun, relaxing New Year’s Eve. We’re offering something for the whole family: Our kids’ buffet will please them with our own takes on their favorites, including Crispy Chicken Strips, Macaroni and Cheese and Chocolate Chip Cookies. Our adults' menu will satisfy grownup tastes, featuring Cider-Braised Turkey with Apple-Pear Chutney, Cavatelli Pasta with Mushroom Bolognese and Pecan Bourbon Tarlets. (Kids under 12, $17; Adults, $30)

2012:

January 4, 6–9 p.m.: DC Food Blogger Happy Hour: Todd Gray's Watershed Restaurant. We are excited to be asked to host this casual gathering of a group of DC-area food bloggers, who usually meet monthly for a happy hour at a selected restaurant for food, drink and face time.

January 9–22, Winter Restaurant Week: Todd Gray's Watershed Restaurant: Join us for Winter Restaurant Week. We are offering special 3-course Lunch and Dinner menus that showcase our seasonal, regional cuisine. Lunch is $20.12 with selections that include Louisiana Creole Shrimp Salad, Panko-Crutsed Maryland Flounder Filet and Warm Apple Crisp. Dinner is $35.12 with selections that include Mid-Atlantic Seafood Chowder with Rappahannock River Oysters, Carolina Style Barbeque Shrimp, and Dark Chocolate Tart with Cinnamon Ice Cream. Wine pairings will be available for $20 additional, and beers will be offered at our Happy Hour prices. Please contact us for reservations.

Sunday, January 15, 11 a.m. – 2 p.m.: Market Brunch at Todd Gray's Muse at The Corcoran. Typical brunch offerings might include Baked Vegetable Frittata with Zucchini, Baby Spinach and Fontina Cheese and a seasonal quiche. Relax over brunch in the glorious Corcoran Gallery atrium while being inspired by live gospel music, in recognition of the birthday of the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. After brunch, take in the Gallery’s excellent “30 Americans exhibit, “a wide-ranging survey of work by many of the most important African American artists of the last three decades,” now extended through February 12. As always, Muse guests receive a $5 discount on Corcoran Gallery admission.



ALSO HAPPENING... 
  
Sugar & Champagne Affair, February 1, 2012: The Washington Humane Society presents the 11th annual dessert and champagne reception to honor local crusaders against animal cruelty: Washington Humane Society’s Humane Law Enforcement Officers, Animal Control Officers, and Humane Educators. This celebration of all things sugary and sweet showcases tastes from the DC area’s most talented pastry chefs complemented by some of the world’s finest sparkling wines. The VIP reception presents an exclusive savory gathering prepared by the finest chefs of the national capital region. For tickets and info, please visit the Washington Humane Society website.
 

February: Todd Gray's Watershed Restaurant: Friday Night Shrimp Boil: Following the great fun of our Fish Fry, Oyster Roast and Game Roast events, we are ready to party again with another family-style throwdown featuring (food description). Enjoy live music and beer from our local DC brewery, DC Brau. Price is $75, all-inclusive (2-for-1 rate for our NoMa neighbors in zip code 20002). Watch this space for the date! Please contact us for reservations.

New Cookbook: We are wrapping up a project very close to our hearts: an ethnically diverse family cookbook that mixes Jewish cooking with today’s modern cuisine trends from a professional and home-cook point of view. We have excellent collaborators who share our joy in the process of bringing to life this labor of love: co-writer, David Hagedorn; and, photographer, Renée Comet. As soon as we can, we’ll let you know how to get your own copy. Meanwhile, to learn a little about it (and to see some beautiful photos of our recipes), please visit Renée Comet’s blog, CometPhoto.

Photo by Renée Comet
RECENT BUZZ... 

On. Dec. 21, Todd joined James Beard award-winning radio host, Kojo Nnamdi on DC's NPR affiliate, WAMU 88.5 to discuss holiday food traditions, along with Pati Jinich, TV host and chef at the Mexican Cultural Institute. If you missed the program, you can check out the archive.


On the show, Todd recalled growing up in Virginia with oysters for his family’s Christmas dinner, and how he has enjoyed creating variations on Ellen’s family’s Hanukkah recipes, like his Yukon Gold and Sweet Potato Latkes. He shared that recipe with Katy Adams of the Washington Examiner.

Fireplace tables at Equinox are the best seats in town! DC food writer, Nevin Martell interviewed Todd in his piece on selected restaurants’ fireplaces for Washington Post's Express Night Out.

CityEatsDC writer Kelly DiNardo interviewed Todd for their “Grill The Chef” feature. Equinox and Watershed are featured on CityEatsDC, a new business from Food Network. CityEatsDC’s website carries info about the DC food scene and individual restaurants in their excellent blog posts, restaurant write-ups and slideshows—plus, diners can make reservations right on the site itself.

Roll Call reporter Warren Rojas interviewed Ellen about Todd Gray's Muse at the Corcoran for their article on museum restaurants.

Watershed recently had the pleasure of hosting Dr. Sheila C. Johnson, CEO of Salamander Hotels and Resorts, and Managing Partner of the WNBA’s Washington Mystics, and her guests, including Mystics’ Forward/Center, Crystal Langhorn. Some lucky Mystics fans were able to join them by contributing via the annual auction at Sibley Hospital’s Breast Cancer Awareness event. The Mystics posted this video to commemorate the occasion.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Tizz the Season


So much is happening this time of year: gatherings of family and friends, preparations for home and workplace holiday festivities and gift-giving, and observance of the season in various traditions. We’re busy, too, catering and hosting many private holiday events, and making plans with you in mind. We hope you’ll fit us into your busy schedule, because we’re inviting you to join us for...

Friday, December 16 at 7 p.m: We’ll celebrate the coming of the longest night of the year at our 12th-annual Winter Solstice Dinner at Equinox Restaurant. This special four-course menu is a collaboration between Todd and our new Executive Chef, Karen Nicolas. The meal will begin with the Chefs’ amusées, including White Truffle Fonduta Beignets. Other courses include hearty dishes such as Pan-Roasted Turbot and Juniper-Brined Medallions of Cervena Venison. And, for dessert...Winter Chestmut Cremeux with Brown Butter, Armagnac Toffee Sauce and Hawaiian Coconut Sorbet. All courses meet their match with paired wines. (Limited to 50 seats; $125 per person, all-inclusive; Reservations are required.)

Sunday, December 18, 11 a.m. – 2 p.m.: A great way to spend time with friends during this season would be to take a short break from the holiday tizzy by catching up over our Market Brunch at Todd Gray's Muse at The Corcoran, and strolling through the galleries (maybe even doing some shopping for holiday presents at the excellent museum shop). Typical brunch offerings might include Baked Vegetable Frittata with Zucchini, Baby Spinach and Fontina Cheese and a seasonal quiche. Relax over brunch in the glorious Corcoran Gallery atrium, and take in a lively musical performance of “diverse harmonic styling” by D.C.’s sensational female acapella group, Epic


Saturday, December 24, 5:30–10:30 p.m.: We will serve an elegant menu at Equinox Restaurant that can only be described as a Christmas Eve Feast. Guests may select from varied offerings such as Carpaccio of Virginia Black Angus Beef, Butter Poached Lobster, Duo of Roasted Aussie Lamb or Spice Rubbed Pennsylvania Duck Breast. Our vegetarian guests will find tempting sustenance in several courses designed with them in mind, including Green Swiss Chard and Garlic Agnolotti and Baked Ricotta and Spinach Gnudi. Our pastry chef brings the meal to a beautiful finish with an array of festive temptations, including a Chocolate “Bouche de Noel.” (Please contact us for reservations.)

Saturday, December 31, 6 p.m. or 9 p.m. seatings: New Year's Eve at Equinox Restaurant will begin with an oyster roast under the stars, continuing in style with a beautiful and brilliant, flexible menu. Seven courses include stand-out offerings such as Lightly Cured Kampachi with Tangerine Confit, Basil Seeds and Ginger Oil; Hudson Valley Foie Gras Terrine with Shaved Fennel Salad, Rosemary Brioche and Persimmon Mustard. Again, our vegetarian guests will not be disappointed with options such as Chestnut Crepe "Crespelle" with Spinach, Tallegio Cheese and Compressed Asian Pear; and Corn Flour Tagliatelle Noodles with Chanterelle Mushrooms, Wilted Arugula and Housemade Goat’s Milk Ricotta. Desserts include Dark Chocolate Trio of 70% Chocoate Mousse, Dark Chocolate Brownie and Chocolate Sorbet. Structure your own menu of three, five or all seven courses—with or without wine pairings. (Please contact us for reservations.)


Hope you will join us in toasting the holidays this year!

Holiday Gift-Giving Idea: We offer gift certificates for Equinox Restaurant, available online, and for Todd Gray's Watershed Restaurant, available at the restaurant. Cheers!

ALSO HAPPENING... 

December 28, at Sanctuary Cap Cana in the Dominican Republic, Todd will be guest chef with Chef Pascal Messier at the Blue Marlin for a festive, seasonal dinner. He says he'll be waiting w/egg nog! You can see the menu here...

Sugar & Champagne Affair, February 1, 2012: The Washington Humane Society presents the 11th annual dessert and champagne reception to honor local crusaders against animal cruelty: Washington Humane Society’s Humane Law Enforcement Officers, Animal Control Officers, and Humane Educators. This celebration of all things sugary and sweet showcases tastes from the DC area’s most talented pastry chefs complemented by some of the world’s finest sparkling wines. The VIP reception presents an exclusive savory gathering prepared by the finest chefs of the national capital region. For tickets and info, please visit the Washington Humane Society website.
New Cookbook: We are wrapping up a project very close to our hearts: an ethnically diverse family cookbook that mixes Jewish cooking with today’s modern cuisine trends from a professional and home-cook point of view. We have excellent collaborators who share our joy in the process of bringing to life this labor of love: co-writer, David Hagedorn; and, photographer, Renée Comet. As soon as we can, we’ll let you know how to get your own copy. Meanwhile, to learn a little about it (and to see some beautiful photos of our recipes), please visit Renée Comet’s blog, CometPhoto.


Photo by Renée Comet
RECENT BUZZ...

There was nice profile of Todd by writer Josh Novikoff in DCist blog—calling him a "Man of Many Roasts." After listing all of Todd's projects, Novikoff says, "Dude is Everywhere." So true!

Some bloggers joined us for the Friday Night Game Roast on Dec. 9.: Julie (AKA JMDC88) is a vegetarian, who tells us in her post that she felt welcome and included. Lauren DeSantis of Capital Cooking blog said in her post, "A great time was had by all. Even if you missed last Friday's feast, you can check out some upcoming Friday Suppers at Watershed beginning in February." Couldn't have said it better ourselves!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Festivities Starting... Now!


We've officially launched the holiday season! At Todd Gray’s Watershed, we just hosted the annual holiday party for our extended DC- restaurant-industry family, the Restaurant Association of Metropolitan Washington (RAMW). It was an unseasonably warm, almost balmy evening—perfect for cocktails on the patio...


...and Todd’s grilled oysters.


Then we moved indoors for Todd’s signature East Coast Seafood Gumbo and other hearty main dishes...


...saving room for a sweet ending to a convivial evening.


If you’re planning a holiday event for family, friends, colleagues or associates, book now to party at our place! We host events at any of our venues: Todd Gray’s Watershed, Equinox and Todd Gray’s Muse at the Corcoran. Or, our catering service can bring the party to your place!

The next party we’re throwing at our place is our Monthly Friday Night Roast, Hunt Country Fare on Friday, December 9, 7–10 p.m. at Watershed. If you missed out on our sold-out Friday Night Oyster Roast, please plan to reserve your spot for this casual, family-style mixed grill of countryside-sourced meat and fowl, including: Roasted Venison Denver Leg, Cider Brined Roasted Game Hen, and Pheasant & Port Wine Cherry Sausage. We’ll be gathering around the patio bonfire, listening to live music by The Walkaways and featuring beer from our local brewery, DC Brau. $75 per person, all-inclusive. ($75 / 2 people for our NoMa neighbors in zip code 20002). For reservations, please call 202-534-1350. 

Celebrate the start of the season with us at our Winter Solstice Dinner at Equinox. Todd and our new Executive Chef, Karen have designed a simple, elegant menu of food-and-wine pairings, as always showcasing seasonal elements and flavors, including: Pan-Roasted Turbot on the Bone with Leek-Wrapped Spaghetti Squash, Miners Lettuce and Infused Lobster Broth; Juniper-Brined Medallions of Cervena Venison with Italian Hazelnut Spaetzle, Slow-Cooked Endive and Quince Mostarda and Winter Chestnut Cremeux with Brown Butter, Armagnac Toffee Sauce and Hawaiian Coconut Sorbet. $150 per person, all-inclusive. Limit of 50 seats. Reservations are requested, please call 202-331-8118.

We will have details soon for Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve celebrations!

ALSO HAPPENING...

Market Brunch at Todd Gray's Muse at the Corcoran, December 18: Every first and third Sun., 11–2, in classic atrium of the Corcoran Gallery we offer a sumputous buffet of brunch classics, which may include dishes such as waffles, quiche, salads and desserts, along with hot mulled apple cider to ward off the chill. Muse guests are entitled to $5 off Corcoran admission, making it even more reasonable to have a fabulous Sunday of brunch and browsing through the current exhibits. Reservations suggested: 202-639-1786.

Sugar & Champagne Affair, February 1, 2012: The Washington Humane Society presents the 11th annual dessert and champagne reception to honor local crusaders against animal cruelty: Washington Humane Society’s Humane Law Enforcement Officers, Animal Control Officers, and Humane Educators. This celebration of all things sugary and sweet showcases tastes from the DC area’s most talented pastry chefs complemented by some of the world’s finest sparkling wines. The VIP reception presents an exclusive savory gathering prepared by the finest chefs of the national capital region. For tickets and info, please visit the Washington Humane Society website.

New Cookbook: We are wrapping up a project very close to our hearts: an ethnically diverse family cookbook that mixes Jewish cooking with today’s modern cuisine trends from a professional and home-cook point of view. We have excellent collaborators who share our joy in the process of bringing to life this labor of love: co-writer, David Hagedorn; and, photographer, Renée Comet. As soon as we can, we’ll let you know how to get your own copy. Meanwhile, to learn a little about it (and to see some beautiful photos of our recipes), please visit Renée Comet’s blog, CometPhoto.

Photo by Renée Comet
RECENT BUZZ... 

Katy Adams and Nikki Schwab have the scoop in their “Yeas & Nays” Examiner column on Todd “bringing DC cuisine to the Caribbean” (where we are heading with friends and family for a brief holiday season retreat)...The Grand Resorts at Cap Cana, in the Dominican Republic. 

Todd just had a wonderful time in the Dominican at the David Ortiz Celebrity Golf Classic. He got to compete with some great golfers, coming in third! Plus, the event raised much-needed funds for pediatric care in the Dominican and New England. Here's a pic of Todd with David Ortiz, Papi himself.






Friday, November 18, 2011

Holidays With Our Restaurant Family

Falling leaves and that nip in the air inspire hot mulled cider by the fireplace! That also means that the winter holiday season is drawing close. The holidays remind us of how grateful we are to be surrounded by family, and in our business that includes our team. We have some great plans for our holiday season, which you can read about below. To kick it off, we want to introduce some of our restaurant family. We'll be spending good times with each other this season, and hope you will join us!
Executive Chef Karen Nicolas (Photo by Emily Clack)
For the first time in over 12 years, Todd handed over the reins to a new Executive Chef at Equinox. We are proud to introduce Karen Nicolas, who started in mid-October. As Todd put it, “Chef Nicolas has the experience, talent and collaborative spirit to carry Equinox through the next decade of dining in Washington. I will continue to collaborate with Chef Nicolas on dishes, but her culinary vision will be reflected in the menu.”

Karen comes to us with more than 16 years experience in some of the country's most distinguished restaurants, including Gramercy Tavern in New York City, Simon Pearce in Philadelphia, Soul in Chicago, and Aureole in Las Vegas.

In Washingtonian magazine, Karen described some dishes that she is looking forward to serving our guests: "I want to do a savory chestnut flan or custard with porcini mushrooms, coffee soil, and candied coriander seeds. And I'm thinking about a sous-vide guinea hen dish with some quinoa, preserved lemon, and...roasted banana squash."
Citrus Marinated Beet Salad (Photo by Emily Clack)
Executive Pastry Chef Tom Wellings dreams up the dreamy desserts for all three of our restaurants. If you have been tempted by any of these delights on our menus, blame/thank Tom! He came to us two years ago with impressive experience at wd-50 in New York City, as well as Maestro and Restaurant Eve in Virginia. We love his philosophy: "The synergy between the pastry kitchen and Equinox’s savory kitchen elevates the dining experience, and allows diners to really engage with ingredients." 
Executive Pastry Chef Tom Wellings
Tom's dessert below, "Brown Sugar and Pear" (pear sorbet, brown sugar, cream and brandied milk) inspires thoughts of a good Sunday morning cereal—this dessert will evoke mornings in your jammies. Instead of using typical oats, he used buckwheat kernels and manna to give it honey-like sweetness (Manna is tree sap from the middle east—what the Israelites survived on in the desert during Exodus. Yes, it will be in the cookbook!)

Brown Sugar and Pear (Photo by Emily Clack)
Adding Todd Gray's Watershed to our group was a tribute to our love of Eastern Seaboard seafood—especially oysters! So, we needed an Oyster Master, and found Will Sexton. Most recently from Charleston SC, Will has intesive training in handling delicate seafood in the Japanese tradition for a sushi restaurant, and he honed his awesome shucking chops at Coast restaurant. The guy really knows his seafood and has mad knife skills! He has great ambitions for his work at Watershed, including hosting oyster tastings and educating guests about The Oyster Recovery Project's Shell Recycling Initiative.
Will Sexton (Photo by Emily Clack)
Will has even influenced the cocktail menus to change with the raw bar offerings.
In that spirit, we have the Grand Raw Bar Platter (below), a selection of east- and west-coast oysters, jumbo poached shrimp cocktail, steamed lobster and cucumber salad, Carolina mahi mahi, crudo with avocado, and noodle salad with jicama and orange. We like to think it pairs well with some of our new Happy Hour cocktails, including the Boyd & Blair (Boyd & Blair potato vodka, lavendar bitters, horseradish, lemon sour and red ink splash).

Raw Bar Platter (Photo by Emily Clack)
Will's demonstrating his shucking expertise at our (sold-out!) Friday Night Oyster Roast on November 18, 7–10 p.m. We're serving a selection of east coast oysters roasted on the grill; New England clam chowder; fried chicken and more. The Billy Triplett Trio will entertain and we're featuring local brew, DC Brau. 

ALSO COMING UP... 

Market Brunch: Sunday, November 20, 11 a.m.–2 p.m. is our next Market Brunch at Todd Gray's Muse at the Corcoran. Please join us in the exquisite atrium of the Corcoran Gallery of Art for a brunch buffet featuring our signature seasonal and locally-sourced menu, with dishes such as Brussels-Style Waffles with Cinnamon Maple Syrup & Whipped Vanilla Cream, and Baked Vegetable Frittata. Classical guitar by Jarret Laskey will accompany your meal as you gather your energy to tour the provocative 30 Americans and other great exhibits. For reservations, please email.

Thanksgiving Dining:  Let us cook for you! 
Join us for Thanksgiving Dinner at Equinox, 12–7 p.m.; or,
Menus feature Traditional Roasted Heirloom Turkey, 
Chestnut Brioche Bread Stuffing, Little Green Beans, Cranberry Compote—and so much more! 

Friday Night Game Roast: Friday, December 16, 7–10 p.m., we are hosting a Game Roast at Todd Gray’s Watershed. Last week’s Oyster Roast sold out, so, please be sure to make reservations to taste the offerings on this uniquely wild menu, featuring Warm Quail Eggs in Toasted Brioche, Pheasant & Port Wine Cherry Sausage, Chablis Poached Pear with Whipped Armangnac Vanilla Cream—and more. $75 per person, all inclusive. Please call for reservations: 202-534-1350.

Christmas Eve: Join us for Christmas Eve dinner at Equinox. We'll have all the delicious details soon.

Holiday Parties: 
We are booking holiday parties at Equinox & Watershed restaurants and happy-hour cocktail parties at Todd Gray’s Muse at the Corcoran. We also offer Todd’s holiday meals for you to bring to your own home and full catering services for larger parties.

Holiday Getaway to Cap Cana, in the Dominican Republic: Join Todd & Ellen at a luxurious tropical resort, Fishing Lodge Cap Cana, Dec. 26–30! Todd is the Culinary Director for Salamander Hospitality (a member of the Salamander Hotels & Resorts family). Please check out these very special rates for this exotic retreat!

Sugar & Champagne Affair: On February 1, 2012, The Washington Humane Society presents the 11th annual dessert and champagne reception to honor local crusaders against animal cruelty: Washington Humane Society’s Humane Law Enforcement Officers, Animal Control Officers, and Humane Educators. This celebration of all things sugary and sweet, showcases tastes from the DC area’s most talented pastry chefs complemented by some of the world’s finest sparkling wines. The VIP reception presents an exclusive savory gathering prepared by the finest chefs of the national capital region. For tickets and info, please visit the Washington Humane Society website.

New Cookbook: We are wrapping up a project very close to our hearts: an ethnically diverse family cookbook that mixes Jewish cooking with today’s modern cuisine trends from a professional and home-cook point of view. We have excellent collaborators who share our joy in the process of bringing to life this labor of love: co-writer, David Hagedorn; and, photographer, Renée Comet. As soon as we can, we'll let you know how to get your own copy. Meanwhile, to learn a little about it (and to see some beautiful photos of our recipes), please visit Renée Comet’s blog, CometPhoto.

Beignets (Photo by Renée Comet)
RECENT BUZZ:

Blogger Marissa Bialecki wrote a cool two-part profile of Todd on the DC News website, "We Love DC." Part two even includes Todd's recipe for Shrimp and Grits.



Saturday, October 29, 2011

Sunday Brunch at The Muse & Friday Oyster Roast at The ’Shed


Brunch can be just the inspiration you need to rise and shine on a Sunday. Todd Gray's Muse at the Corcoran serves up our signature cuisine in that museum’s glorious classical atrium, and we now host brunch on first and third Sundays of each month, 11 a.m.–2 p.m. Please plan to join us for our next one, Nov. 6.

This Tomato Tartine featured the last of
our summer tomatoes.
Photo by Emily Clack
Make a day of it at the Corcoran, fortifying yourself for a tour of the new gallery exhibits by starting with a leisurely Brunch in our Cafe, accompanied by live music. All of our menu selections feature seasonal, local ingredients—many sourced from the nearby FreshFarm Market, by the White House. Definitely plan to catch the Corcoran’s new 30 Americans exhibit—sure to evoke meaningful brunch conversation!

Almond Vanilla Cake
Photo by Emily Clack
Our varied Brunch menu offers a range of dishes to satisfy everyone, including:
• Brussels-Style Waffles with Cinnamon Maple Syrup & Whipped Vanilla Cream
• Path Valley Roasted Beet Salad with Danish Blue Cheese & Spiced Pecans
• Chef’s Selection of Virginia Sausage; and,
• Trickling Springs Yogurt House-Made Granola with Early Autumn Berries.

For Brunch reservations, please phone 202-639-1786, or email here.


OYSTER ROAST  Todd Gray's Watershed  Fri., Nov. 18, 7–10 p.m.

Photo by Emily Clack
At Todd Gray's Watershed, our September Clambake and October Fish Fry were a blast. So, we're really looking forward to our November Oyster Roast! Our new oyster shucker, Will Sexton will ply his considerable expertise at this event. He acquired these skills in several distinguished Charleston, SC seafood restaurants before joining our Watershed family in September. 

Our Oyster Roast menu:
• Selection of East Coast Oysters Roasted from the Grill 
  with Drawn Lemon Butter and Horseradish
• Classic New England Clam Chowder
• Rosemary Buttermilk Biscuits
• Annie’s Southern Fried Chicken
• Baked Potatoes with Vermont Cheddar, Smoked Bacon & Sour Cream
• Iron Skillet String Beans with Toasted Almonds & Sweet Onions
• Chocolate Banana Bread Pudding

Again we'll feature beer by our popular local brewery, DC Brau. Simo, our bar manager is designing a special cocktail menu featuring Boyd & Blair, an excellent potato-based vodka we just discovered. He already dreamed up this unique concoction for our new “Boyd & Blair Hour” bar menu (available Mon.–Fri., 5–7 p.m. at Watershed):
The Boyd & Blair: 
Boyd & Blair Potato Vodka
Lavender Bitters, Horseradish, Lemon Sour, Red Ink Splash

The Billy Triplett Trio will play their blend of “down home organic original and cover folk rock bluegrass jams.” And, to keep everyone toasty for this al fresco event, we'll tent the patio and crank up the heat lamps!

Thanks to DC's Brightest Young Things blog for a great article on our October Fish Fry. As writer Kimberly Cardena points out, our hope is to do more for Watershed's neighborhood, NoMa, than to simply bring our "delicious interpretation of Mid-Atlantic coastal cuisine.... [We're] actively working to be a neighborhood gathering place..." 

In that spirit, for the Oyster Roast, our regular, all-inclusive rate is $75 per person—but it’s $75 for two NoMa/20002 neighbors. For all details, please visit Watershed’s events page. For reservations, please email us.

ALSO COMING UP...

Farmland Feast: “The locavore party of the year” is how DC Magazine describes this annual event, the primary fundraiser for our area’s invaluable resource, FRESHFARM Markets. On Mon., Nov. 7 at 6 p.m., Todd will join forces with a fantastic group of DC-area chefs to prepare a five-course autumn dinner with local food and wines to benefit the Market’s mission of reaching “both underserved and well-served populations of shoppers: friends, families, neighbors, environmentalists, gardeners, health professionals and, most important, healthy eaters.” For more market and event info, and to buy tickets, please visit the FreshFarm Market website.

Capital Food Fight 2011: Nov. 10, 6 p.m. is the DC Central Kitchen (DCCK) annual chefs’ challenge, and Todd will be competing against three worthy opponents, including Brian McBride of Blue Duck Tavern. Only for such a good cause would we go into battle, given our Kumbaya mentality! Also, we'll join some of DC’s other best restaurants in serving tastes of our signature dishes from Equinox and Watershed. It’s all to help raise funds for the many important DCCK programs: from feeding the hungry to culinary job training to school meal programs. Get in on the excitement, taste the great food, and, most important—help a great organization help a great many people in need! Please see info and buy tickets on the Capital Food Fight website.

Holiday Dining: We’re hosting Thanksgiving Dinner at Watershed and Equinox, with menus featuring Traditional Roasted Heirloom Turkey,
Chestnut Brioche Bread Stuffing, Little Green Beans, Cranberry Compote—and so much more! And, we’re booking holiday parties at those restaurants and happy-hour cocktail parties at Todd Gray’s Muse at the Corcoran. We also offer Todd’s holiday meals for you to bring to your own home, and full catering services for larger parties. More delicious details to come!

Holiday Getaway to Cap Cana, in the Dominican Republic: Join Todd & Ellen at a luxurious tropical resort, Fishing Lodge Cap Cana, Dec. 26–30! Todd is the Culinary Director for Salamander Hospitality (a member of the Salamander Hotels & Resorts family). Please check out these very special rates for this exotic retreat!

New Cookbook: We are wrapping up a project very close to our hearts: an ethnically diverse family cookbook that mixes Jewish cooking with today’s modern cuisine trends from a professional and home-cook point of view. We have excellent collaborators who share our joy in the process of bringing to life this labor of love: co-writer, David Hagedorn; and, photographer, Renée Comet. It's off to the publisher this week! As soon as we can, we'll let you know how to get your own copy. Meanwhile, to learn a little about it (and to see some beautiful photos of our recipes), please visit Renée Comet’s blog, CometPhoto.

Whitefish Salad on Toasted “Everything Bagel”
Photo by Renée Comet




NEW BUZZ:

Huffington Post's Rachel Tepper writes about Todd’s and Ellen’s personal food preferences in her article, “Todd Gray, Equinox Chef, Is A ‘Domestic Vegan’ At Home.”

In time for Halloween, Ellen talked about “Robert,” the personal ghost that lives in their home, on Metro Connection (a DC-based program on National Public Radio’s WAMU-FM).










Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Falling Forward



Goodbye to a long, hot, strange summer with earthquakes, hurricanes and…other disturbances. Those kinds of changeable conditions are creative fuel for us, given our longtime commitment to seasonal, regional fare. And, we draw on that nurtured fluidity in responding to some high-profile critiques of our newest restaurant, Todd Gray’s Watershed.

People ask us, “What do you think of these negative reviews?” Sincerely, we believe that criticism, even when it stings, offers us a chance to reflect on ways to improve. And we’re genuinely grateful for that opportunity. When anyone takes time to offer us feedback, we consider it seriously—whether it’s from mainstream-media food critics, the growing community of knowledgeable food bloggers, contributors to yelp!, or a neighbor.

We’re proud of Watershed—especially for bringing our creative cuisine to the developing NoMA neighborhood. And, as we learn from valued feedback, we expect that our guests’ experiences will only continue to improve. We always hope to satisfy the high standards for food and service that you have come to expect from us.

In the spirit of focusing on that goal, we have a new chef taking the reins at Equinox: Karen Nicolas, former sous chef at Gramercy Tavern in New York City and Dry Creek Kitchen in Healdsburg, CA. We'll be sure to introduce and welcome her here in a future post.

The Watershed Patio
Watershed’s Shrimp & Grits
A Friday Night Fish Fry is a great opportunity to enjoy Watershed. Please join us on Oct. 21 at 7 p.m. for an eastern-seaboard tribute to traditional coastal dishes, when we’ll also feature DC’s newest brew, DC Brau. To see our tempting menu and other details, please visit Watershed’s website.

Here are some photos of Watershed’s September Clam Bake...





ALSO COMING UP...

State of the Plate D.C.: We will be attending the conference, State of the Plate D.C.: Sustainable Meat and the Culinary Community, at George Washington University on Mon., Oct. 17. With several other distinguished restaurant owners, chefs and nonprofit organizers, we’ll share the panel, “Making the change: Restaurateurs and chefs share their experiences.” For conference info, please visit the State of the Plate D.C. website.

Take a Bite Out of Breast Cancer: Throughout October, 24+ DC area restaurants are donating portions of sales to Take a Bite Out of Breast Cancer and PinkJams! to promote breast cancer awareness to young men and women. Please dine at Watershed on Sun., Oct. 23, when we are donating 25% of profits to them. For more info, please visit the PinkJams!/Take a Bite website.

Sunday Brunch at Toddy Gray's Muse at the Corcoran:  Beginning on Sunday, Oct. 23, Todd Gray's Muse at the Corcoran is bringing back the tradition of brunch at the Corcoran Gallery of Art. Every other Sunday we'll present a bounteous buffet of Todd’s finest savory and sweet brunch offerings. On Oct. 23 we will also feature a jazz singer. The Gallery has several exciting new exhibits, including “30 Americans,” which “showcases works by many of the most important African-American artists of the last three decades.” For full details on café hours and the museum, please visit the Corcoran website.

Sunday Brunch buffet at Todd Gray’s Muse at the Corcoran
Recent brunch fare included this fresh-baked,
deep-dish quiche and seasonal fresh fruits.

Farmland Feast: “The locavore party of the year” is how DC Magazine describes this annual event, the primary fundraiser for our area’s invaluable resource, FRESHFARM Markets. On Mon., Nov. 7 at 6 p.m., Todd will join forces with a fantastic group of DC-area chefs to prepare a five-course autumn dinner with local food and wines to benefit the Market’s mission of reaching “both underserved and well-served populations of shoppers: friends, families, neighbors, environmentalists, gardeners, health professionals and, most important, healthy eaters.” For more market and event info, and to buy tickets, please visit the FRESHFARM Market website.

Capital Food Fight 2011: Nov. 10, 6 p.m. is the DC Central Kitchen (DCCK) annual chefs’ challenge, and Todd will be competing against three worthy opponents. Only for such a good cause would we go into battle, given our Kumbaya mentality! Also, we will join some of DC’s other best restaurants in serving tastes of our signature dishes from Equinox and Watershed. It’s all to help raise funds for the many important DCCK programs: from feeding the hungry to culinary job training to school meal programs. Get in on the excitement, taste the great food, and, most important—help a great organization help a great many people in need! Please see info and buy tickets on the Capital Food Fight website.

Photo by Renée Comet
New Cookbook: We just began working on a project very close to our hearts. With the working title, Kitchen Conversions, it’s an ethnically diverse family cookbook that mixes Jewish cooking with today’s modern cuisine trends from a professional point of view. We have excellent collaborators who share our joy in the process of bringing to life this labor of love: writer, David Hagedorn; and, photographer, Renee Comet. We will be telling you more about this, but meanwhile, to learn a little about it (and to see some beautiful photos of our recipes), please visit Renee Comet’s blog, Cometphoto.


Sunday, March 13, 2011

Mallets & George Foreman Grills


We like to make the boys of St. Alban's to work for their lunch and really what's better to do on a Friday afternoon then pounding a chicken?  After a tutorial from Chef Gray all the boys immediately took the mallet and showed that bird who was boss.  (I was quite impressed by their skills.) Paillard chicken was on the agenda and the cooking group was shown how a dish that can sound a bit daunting can easily be made with a few ingredients and a few tools.  


So they got their hands dirty pounding and marinating, and then grilled those bad birds on an everyday George Forman grill.  Who says you have to give up the grill during the cold months?  The beauty of the George Forman is it is compact and can achieve great results when used correctly.


The boys even achieved those fancy grill marks by placing the chicken at 5 o'clock, and then turning it clockwise to 7 o'clock.  Even I took away a few tricks from class.


But every good chicken needs a saucy friend to accompany it, so as the grills kept cooking they put together an amazing Maple Mustard sauce.  Who needs those pre-made sauces in the grocery aisle when you can make a fresh batch that is even more delicious?!


DC chefs better beware because these boys have skills.  They even learned the art of presentation and how to schmear the sauce so artfully across the plate before placing their protein on top.  Below you can see Chef Gray demonstrating the finer point of decoration.


It was a tasty success for all!  Thank you to Dos Gildas for inviting us into her class.  So we enjoy bringing the joy of cooking to a new generation of budding foodies.  

Here is the recipe for the Maple Mustard sauce.  You definitely should whip some up with your next dinner:

3/4 c, Whole Grain Mustard
1/4 c. Dijon Mustard
2 tbs. Maple Syrup
1 tbs. Balsamic Vinegar
3 scallions thinly sliced
1/4 c. toasted pine nuts
tt Salt & Pepper

Combine all ingredients and mix well.