Tag Archives: wine

Sensational Chocolate and Wine at Biagio

When people asked about what I did last Saturday, I casually replied, “Oh, you know, just your average Saturday afternoon admiring art and sampling fine wine and chocolate.” OK, perhaps I don’t respond in quite that highfalutin manner, but you get my drift.

Biagio Fine Chocolate. whose small, unassuming storefront belies an exquisite collection of chocolates from around the world, hosted an intimate afternoon of complimentary chocolate and wine tasting on Saturday. Set in their gallery, with jazz playing softly in the background, it was an elegant introduction to the intricacies of pairings.

A.M. Wine Shoppe, which recently opened up the street, provided the wines for the event. We started with a light and crisp Cava that paired beautifully with the milk chocolates. My favorite was a dark milk chocolate with Tibetan goji berries and pink Himalayan sea salt. It was salty, sweet, and slightly fruity all at once–and the bubbles from the Cava really brought out all of those flavors.

The next wine was Valpolicella, a pleasant Italian red with hints of cherry and currant. It paired nicely with the dark chocolates, of which the dark rum truffles (pictured above) were one of my favorites. Another dark chocolate sample, described by the shop as “unusual,” was certainly that. Made from 100% cacao beans with no added sugar, it was chocolate in its purest form. Interesting to compare and contrast with the others, but I certainly wouldn’t want to eat an entire bar.

We ended with voulet, a sweet Italian dessert wine that tasted like grape juice–only better, and with more floral notes. For our last chocolate, we tried spicy chocolate almonds (pictured below) from Scotland, which were, indeed, deceptively hot and spicy.

We left Biagio that day with plenty of chocolate and wine in our tummies, and smiles on our faces. It was a perfect way to beat the heat and indulge in some of the best chocolate and wine in town–without draining your bank account. I’ll definitely be back to Biagio for more events like this and to pick up a bar of that irresistible goji berry and pink HImalayan salt chocolate.

Biagio Fine Chocolate

1904 18th St.

Washington, DC 20009

202-328-1506

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Weekend Round-Up

Despite today’s beautiful and non-humid weather, this weekend promises to be as steamy and muggy as ever, with temperatures reaching into the nineties. (Obviously, this will do wonders for my hair and wardrobe.) If you’re looking to beat the heat with some Unpaid Gourmet-approved cheap eats and drinks, then keep on reading!

Saturday

Chocolate and Wine at Biagio: Indulge yourself at Biagio Fine Chocolate, one of DC’s best artisan chocolate shops, with a free chocolate and wine tasting from 3-6 p.m. Wines will be brought in from neighboring A.M. Wine Shoppe and paired with Biagio’s decadent seasonal chocolates. (My favorite pairing is Pinot Noir with dark chocolate–phenomenal.) You won’t want to miss this sinfully delicious afternoon! Check out Girl Meets Food for more details.

Taste of Reston: This 3-day event (Fri, Sat, Sun) touts itself as Northern Virginia’s largest outdoor food festival with samplings from over 30 area restaurants, including The Melting Pot, Chef Geoff’s, and Pitango Gelato. Make sure to be there on Saturday from 12-5 p.m. for the Guns n’ Hoses Chili Cook-off–the “ultimate battle of the heroes.” The police and fire departments of Reston will compete for the title of Best Chili and the audience will be the judge (which, of course, means samples!). Once you’ve had enough to eat, check out the other festivities which include live music, beer and wine gardens, a Kids Corner with games, and the best part–a carnival with rides! Tickets to the carnival cost $20, but admission to Taste of Reston is free of charge. Food tickets are $1/ticket or $20/24 tickets. Click here for more info.

Sunday

Festa Italiana: From 11:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m., DCers will be able to get a real taste of Italian cuisine at the Festa Italiana. Located at the Holy Rosary Church (just past the Judiciary Square metro), the festa will feature live music, Italian folk dance lessons, a silent auction, Italian car shows, and a medieval dance troupe visiting direct from Italy. And if all that isn’t enough to lure you to the festival, maybe the fantastic menu will: stuffed veal neck with salsa verde, torta filled with swiss chard, leeks, zucchini and parmesan cheese, pizza, gelato, and (my favorite) cannolis. Admission is free and details on this scrumptious event can be found here.

Father’s Day: It’s not too late to make reservations for Father’s Day brunch, lunch, or dinner, especially if you take a look at the Washingtonian’s handy guide. From steak at Dino’s to chocolate, bacon, and beer brunch at Coco Sala, to a sumptuous farmers market feast at Blue Duck Tavern, there’s no way Dad won’t find something he doesn’t like.

Happy weekend everyone, and stay cool!

Photo courtesy of Fast Forward Event Productions/Wikimedia Commons

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Weekend Round-Up

The weather forecast predicts gloriously warm temps in the 80s for this weekend. Woot woot! I am beyond excited to finally get out of this cold weather slump and dawn sundresses and sandals again. Luckily for me, and all Unpaid Gourmet readers out there, this weekend is full of fabulous events that offer good food, outdoor fun, and occasions to show finally show off your summer wardrobe. Here’s a list of events, compiled from some of my favorite D.C. blogs:

Saturday 5/1

Passport DC Embassy Tours: This Saturday, Washingtonians can travel around the world in one day. From 10 a.m.-4 p.m., embassies from Africa, Asia, the Middle East, Europe, and the Americas will all be open to the public for tours and activities. Each embassy will have booths, performances, and food (!) that will showcase their country’s culture. I’ll for sure be stopping by the Korean embassy, which will offer samples of delicious kimchi (their signature fermented cabbage) and Korean barbecue, and the Thai embassy, which will of course serve pad thai. For a complete schedule of events, click here. And please note: some embassies (e.g. Japan) require that you pick up tickets in advance. Thanks to the Going Out Gurus for pointing out this event!

Taste of Eighth: From 1-4 p.m., Barracks Row on Capitol Hill will host their annual Taste of Eighth event, where 14 restaurants along 8th St. will offer samples of their most delectable dishes. Participating restaurants include Cava Mezze (Greek small plates), Belga Cafe (Belgian fare), Levi’s Port Cafe (Soul food), Zest (recently opened, with American cuisine focused on using local ingredients), and many more. Tickets for food samples are $5 each or $20 for 5 tickets, and will be sold at retail shops on 8th St. Click here for more details. Props to Tasting Table DC for publicizing the event (and for your daily emails, which I would be lost without).

Cafe Green Opening Party: Prince of Petworth is one of the best sources for events and news all around D.C.–follow him on Twitter for the most up-to-the-minute updates (@popville). That’s how I found out about the Cafe Green Opening Party on Saturday! The restaurant will be open and serving its organic vegan cuisine from 11 a.m.-11p.m., along with a gift card raffle, music, and tons of specials. My friend is a big fan of Java Green (Cafe Green’s sister restaurant), so I’m sure the food will be excellent. Plus, there just aren’t many vegan restaurants in the D.C. area and it would be great to support one. Click here for more details–and menus!

Capital City Cheesecake Opening: If you’re in Takoma Park on Saturday, stop by Capital City Cheesecake for its grand opening. Capital City Cheesecake, or CCC, gained a following by selling their decadent cheesecakes online. Now, the bakery is finally moving to a brick-and-mortar shop, which will serve fresh baked bagels, truffles, and fair trade coffee in addition to cheesecake. Shoutouts to the Washington City Paper’s incomparable Tim Carman for scooping this event. Check out the Young and Hungry blog for more details.

Kentucky Derby Happy Hour at Acadiana: Put on your fanciest hat and heels and head over to the Kentucky Derby happy hour at Acadiana. From 5-7 p.m., the bar will offer $5 mint juleps and $5 Derby-inspired dishes to celebrate the race. See the Washingtonian for more details.

Sunday 5/2

Street Performance Festival at French Embassy: If you were disappointed with last week’s Georgetown French Market (which, in my opinion, was sorely lacking), then perhaps this event will satisfy your French cravings. From 12:30-6 p.m., la maison francaise will host more than 40 performances throughout the day. Performers include jugglers, acrobats, comedians, and more.  Patrons can nibble on dainty French pastries (like crepes, quiches, and croissants) and sip Mimosas while watching the show. Tickets are $5 in advance and $10 at the door; children under age 10 get in free. Click here for more details and props to the Washingtonian for finding the event.

Wags and Wine: For wine lovers in VA (or those in DC with cars), this is the event for you. From 1-4 p.m., Wags and Wine will offer over 40 wines to taste and food from Cafe Oggi, a popular Mclean restaurant. The event will be held at the Palladium’s Civic Green fountain courtyard and admission is $10. A portion of the proceeds will go to the Washington Humane Society, so animal lovers should check out the event as well. Click here for details; thanks to Tasting Table DC for the notice.

Bethesda Row Restaurant Week: Sunday marks the last day of Bethesda Row’s Restaurant Week–hurry over before these great deals end! As my friend Mary over at Girl Meets Food writes, guests can enjoy a three-course lunch for $15 or a three-course dinner for $30 at participating restaurants. These include Le Pain Quotidien, Jaleo, Lebanese Taverna, and many more. Check out the Web site for more details.

Have a wonderful, sun-and-food-filled weekend, everyone!

Jaleo Hour? I’m there!

Bacon wrapped dates at Jaleo Hour

Jaleo’s bacon wrapped dates may not have photographed well, but believe me, they sure tasted heavenly. And for $4 during Jaleo Hour, they were definitely worth both the wait and the price.

Jaleo Hour takes place Sunday-Friday from 4:30-7:00pm and features $4 tapas, drink specials, sangria, and draft beer. Normally, Jaleo’s tapas are a bit pricey at $6-12 each, which makes a visit to Jaleo Hour a total steal. My boyfriend and I snacked on garlicky gambas al ajillo (shrimp sauteed in with garlic and guindilla pepper), the aforementioned bacon wrapped dates, and the crusty complimentary bread and olive oil. I also had a glass of  Tempranillo & Garnacha for a mere $4 (wines are half-price), which was an excellent pairing to the tapas. In total, we spent only $12 on our Jose Andres tapas excursion.

The only drawback (or for some, it might be a plus) was the crowd. At 5:45 on a Friday night, we could barely squeeze into the bar and were lucky to even find a seat. I recommend going early if you have a big group or want to be guaranteed a seat. Despite the crowd, it’s still a fun happy hour and I’m certainly not going to complain–especially with a plate of those bacon wrapped dates in front of me. 🙂

Jaleo (3 locations)

1. Downtown: 480 7th St. NW Washington, DC 20004 (202) 628-7949

2. Bethesda: 7271 Woodmont Ave. Bethesda, MD 20814 (301) 913-0003

3. Crystal City: 2250 A Crystal Dr. Arlington, VA 22202 (703) 413-8181