Tag Archives: free

Guinness Believer Tasting Lands in Philly

My friend Tarun and I were lucky enough to attend the Guinness Believer Tasting last night at the World Cafe in Philly.  When I first received the press release for the event, I have to admit that I was a bit skeptical.  Described as a “unique multi-media event led by a Guinness ambassador,” I wasn’t sure what to expect.  But after attending the packed  event, I can wholeheartedly say Guinness has made a believer out of me.

The evening began with a lesson in pouring, in which the audience got to pour their own pints of Guinness Draught.  We learned that it takes one minute and 19 seconds to pour the perfect pint.  For the perfect pint, tilt the glass at a 45 degree angle and fill the glass about halfway, pulling the handle towards you.  Once the foam settles, straighten the glass and fill it to the top, pushing the handle away from you, until the head is proud of the rim (meaning that the foam curves just over the glass, but doesn’t spill over).

Following the pouring lesson, our Guinness ambassador came out to start the show.  Both he, and the show, were quite entertaining and informative.  We raised (several) pints, chanted slàinte!, and learned about the history of Guinness.  Some interesting facts: Arthur Guinness, the founder, signed a 9000 year lease for the brewery at St. James Gate in Ireland, which is still the location of the Guinness brewery today.  And to those who’ve heard that Guinness is like a meal in a glass, apparently 12 oz of Guinness only has 125 calories.

We also sampled 2 other Guinness brews.  The Guinness Foreign Extra Stout was rich with a decadent chocolate flavor, reminding me of a more refined version of chocolate sodas from an old-fashioned soda fountain.  The Guinness Black Lager was lighter, with a heavy coffee flavor and slight bitterness from the hops.  Both were new reincarnations of the classic Guinness Draughts that I’d never tasted before, and I really enjoyed both brews.

The Guinness Believer Tasting was certainly a success in Philly, and it may be coming to a city near you soon!  Next week, they will be heading to Washington, DC, and to Chicago the following week.  Best of all, this event is free to all; just make sure to RSVP in advance.  Join Guinness enthusiasts and rookies alike to raise a pint in your city–slàinte!

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Not Your Instant Ramen Noodles

Walking through Bethesda during this weekend’s cold spell made me crave one dish: a hot, steaming bowl of noodles to warm me up. Luckily, I knew just the place. Ren’s Ramen, located in a quiet, nondescript mini mall on Arlington Road, has been dominating the D.C. foodie circuit since its opening last May. After months of reading about its “luscious, complex broth” and “righteously curly and chewy” noodles, I had been dying to try it. And Saturday’s tornado-like conditions (I may be exaggerating, but it was super windy!) presented the perfect opportunity.

Ren’s Ramen is situated in a tiny storefront; the room seat maybe 20-30 people. Wood tables and counters come unadorned, and a few banners with Japanese calligraphy and photos of Japan adorn the egg-yolk-yellow walls. Though some might say the restaurant lacks ambiance, I actually found it quite pleasant. The room felt alive with diners milling in and out, slurping on noodles, and chatting amongst themselves.  The wait staff was also quite friendly, greeting customers with a congenial “Konichiwa” (or “good afternoon”) as they walked in.

The real draw at Ren’s Ramen is, of course, the ramen. The shop specializes in Sapporo-style ramen, which to my knowledge, means a richer and fattier broth. My roommate, a vegetarian, ordered the Vegetable shio ramen ($11), which arrived with a heaping pile of seaweed, steamed cabbage, scallions, and bean sprouts. The broth, though heavily salted (the menu said “salt-flavored,” to be exact), was surprisingly soothing and smooth.

I ordered the Sapporo Shoyu ramen ($10, pictured at the top). The broth was much darker than the vegetable version, and flavored with soy sauce rather than salt. It was also verrrrry salty, and I could see a thin layer of fat glistening on the broth’s surface. These traits would usually turn me off of a dish right away, but somehow, at Ren’s Ramen they worked. The broth was so tasty, and complimented the chewy ramen noodles perfectly. And oh, those noodles. They were not the thin, cardboard-esque noodles found in cup-of-noodle. These noodles had a bite to them, a subtle eggy flavor, and a delightful chewiness that was quite addicting. And last, but not least, my ramen was adorned with 3 slices of roast pork. This was perhaps the best pork I have eaten in a while. The fat melted in my mouth and left a smoky, earthy flavor that was just heavenly. I wish there had been more than just 3 pieces, but then again, maybe that was better for my cholesterol.

After drinking about 5 glasses of water, we left Ren’s Ramen feeling full, content, and ready to face the windy weather. But, in typical glutton fashion, we somehow wandered over to Downtown Bethesda and…were lured into Georgetown Cupcake.

Now readers, I have to make a confession. This was a moment of weakness. Until then, I had made it a point not to succumb to the Georgetown Cupcake craze. Yes, I had heard from friends how good the cupcakes were, but I just could not stomach the whole waiting in line for 30+ min…for a “designer” cupcake. Plus, I am a loyal customer of Baked and Wired, which in my opinion, serves the best cupcakes in D.C.

But the sickeningly cute cupcake display and impossibly short line (only 10 people!) lured me in. And I have to say, I was very impressed with the array of flavors (from key lime to cherry blossom to chocolate squared) and the not-too-steep price ($2.75). I ordered a salted caramel because I love anything that’s sweet and salty (and caramel, for that matter). The cupcake was decent, though not mind-blowing, and it had too much frosting for my taste. I certainly wouldn’t wait in line for it again, but I do sort-of understand the appeal. It’s hard to resist a cupcake that’s as adorable as this:

To satisfy your next ramen and cupcake cravings, head to Ren’s Ramen and Georgetown Cupcake in Bethesda!

Ren’s Ramen

6931 Arlington Road

Bethesda, MD 20814

(301) 693-0806

Ren's Ramen on Urbanspoon

Georgetown Cupcake at Bethesda Row

4834 Bethesda Ave.

Bethesda, MD 20814

(301) 907-8900

Georgetown Cupcake at Bethesda Row on Urbanspoon

Unpaid Gourmet tip: Follow @GTownCupcake on Twitter to find out their free secret flavor of the day.

The Georgetown French Market Apr. 23-24

If you were planning to splurge on a spring trip to Paris, put those wallets away because Paris is coming to you, DCers! On April 23-24 from 10 a.m.-5 p.m., the Book Hill neighborhood of Georgetown is transforming into an open-air French Market selling everything from grilled merguez sausages, fresh baked baguettes, decadent pastries, and more. The market will span from along Wisconsin Ave. from P St. all the way to Reservoir Road. Nearby boutiques and restaurants will also participate, with some giving up to 70% off to customers. Personally, I’ll be stopping by Cafe Bonaparte, which will offer $4 sweet and savory crepes all day along with a coupon for a “free coffee with a purchase of a crepe.”

Conveniently that same weekend, Dean & Deluca will be hosting their Taste of Dean & Deluca event (which I wrote about here). So for those unpaid gourmets looking for a weekend of indulgent yet affordable eats, head to Georgetown for these two free and fabulous events!

Taste of Dean & Deluca Apr. 24-25

Dean & Deluca, the venerable gourmet shop long considered to be the epicenter of epicurean excellence, presents Taste of Dean & Deluca on April 24-25. From 11 a.m.-5 p.m., customers will be able to sample seasonal delights and enjoy live music in the store’s outdoor cafe. The ad did not specify what “seasonal delights” will be available, but personally, I hope they’ll offer those delectable macarons (pictured on left) and their phenomenal cheeses.

Though Dean & Deluca’s luxurious fare is usually out of our price range, that won’t be the case during Taste of Dean & Deluca: admission to the event is complimentary. To all the unpaid gourmets out there: mark this free foodie event down in your calendar!

Taste of Dean & Deluca

3276 M. St. NW

Washington, DC 20007

202-342-2500

April 24-25, 2010

11 a.m.-5 p.m.

Dean & Deluca Cafe on Urbanspoon

Free Cone Day at Ben & Jerry’s

As if free pastry day at Starbucks this morning wasn’t indulgent enough. Ben & Jerry’s Free Cone Day began today at noon, and the deal lasts until 8p tonight. An added bonus–the new spring flavors were released recently. Though I will always be an avid Cherry Garcia fan, I’m totally psyched to try their new Boston Cream Pie and Dulce Delish flavors.  Head to your nearest Ben & Jerry’s to claim your free cone!

Click here to find a scoop shop near you.