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Junior Patrick McCormic is one of five first time marketing interns at Bobby's Burger Palace this semester. McCormic performs marketing tasks for the restaurant, including contributing to its Tumblr, serving as a brand ambassador and organizing on-campus community service projects. Elise Apelian | Senior Staff Photographer

Junior Patrick McCormic is one of five first time marketing interns at Bobby’s Burger Palace this semester. McCormic performs marketing tasks for the restaurant, including contributing to its Tumblr, serving as a brand ambassador and organizing on-campus community service projects. Elise Apelian | Senior Staff Photographer

This post was written by Hatchet reporter David Harvey.

It’s never been just about the burgers at Bobby’s Burger Palace.

The K Street restaurant, owned by Food Network star Bobby Flay, has also been in the business of promoting its namesake’s brand since it opened in 2011. Now, it has another goal: Preparing the next generation of restaurateurs.

A GW junior is one of five first-time marketing interns at the restaurant this semester, taking part in what Flay calls “Bobby’s Burger Palace University.”

“The whole idea is to create energy around Bobby’s Burger Palace. We do a lot of charity work. We are involved in local meetings to get people more aware we are involved,” Flay said in an interview.

He added that he designed the intern position as “a dream for someone who wants to work in the restaurant” business. That’s what junior Patrick McCormic, an international affairs major who plans to pursue a career in food or sports marketing, hopes to get from the experience.

McCormic, who earns college credit and $8.25 for the position, mostly performs marketing tasks for the restaurant, including contributing to its Tumblr, serving as a brand ambassador and organizing on-campus community service projects.

For their first project, McCormic and his colleagues conducted a community survey to find out what students think about Bobby’s Burger Palace, and if they take part in one of the restaurant’s signature features – “crunchifying” burgers.

“Bobby is really interested to see what students want and think about Bobby’s Burger Palace and what burgers they like,” McCormic said. “Do they know about our money crunch discount? Do they know that [Bobby’s] accepts GWorld?”

McCormic first heard about the internship through GWork and Facebook, and wanted to help promote the brand and his international affairs degree inspired him to pursue marketing.

Plus, he said, “they pay in burgers.”

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Monday, Oct. 14, 2013 1:33 p.m.

Top 5 dishes from Taste of D.C.

Taste of D.C., an annual festival that draws thousands, shut down parts of Pennsylvania Avenue on Saturday and Sunday. Erica Christian | Contributing Photo Editor

Taste of D.C., an annual festival that draws thousands, shut down parts of Pennsylvania Avenue on Saturday and Sunday. Erica Christian | Contributing Photo Editor

This post was written by Hatchet reporters David Harvey and Ashlyn Frassinelli.

Taste of D.C. is one of the best culinary conventions on the East Coast. Local chefs from the region come together for a day and charge $ 1-3 to sample their dishes. Here are the top five delectable dishes you should check out.

Thai Lamb Curry from Border Spring Farm. Erica Christian | Contributing Photo Editor

Thai Lamb Curry from Border Spring Farm. Erica Christian | Contributing Photo Editor

1. Thai Lamb Curry from Border Spring Farm: This chili-like sweet yellow curry is complemented by tender lamb that melts in your mouth. It is almost like a soup bahraini, with complex subtle curry flavors such as cumin and ginger. Chef Frank Paris also raises the lamb locally in Patrick Springs, Va.. In addition to the killer curry, the booth also featured  lamb tacos and lamb sliders – the best lamb I have ever had. You can find this lamb at Union Market or Fresh Market at Penn Quarter.

2. Navy Bean Pie from Nutrition Synergies: This is the perfect dish for Thanksgiving. This mini pie is made from a navy bean puree that tastes like pumpkin pie flavored with cinnamon and nutmeg. Chef Nadine Bailey-Joyner sells these in farmers markets across D.C. Believing that fresher is always better, Bailey-Joyner focuses on local sustainable produce and uses only in season produce.

Guacamole from the Guacamole Bar. Erica Christian | Contributing Photo Editor

Guacamole from the Guacamole Bar. Erica Christian | Contributing Photo Editor

3. Guacamole from the Guacamole Bar: Guacamole is all about the freshness of the ingredients and this guac didn’t disappoint. It struck the perfect balance between red onions and lime – getting that crunch and sweetness of the onions without the punch. While the dish normally comes with tortilla chips, they used toasted tortilla instead to give the dish a burrito feel.

4. Smoked Gouda and Corn Bread from Olah Bistro: This is great take on your mac’ n’ cheese. The smoked flavor gives the macaroni a kick while the texture of the sweet corn bread provided a strong contrast to  the creamy mac’ n’ cheese. At Olah Bistro’s location on U Street, you can even add Bacon to get more flavor and smoke.

The Cheese and Beef empanada from La Tasca. Erica Christian | Contributing Photo Editor

The Cheese and Beef empanada from La Tasca. Erica Christian | Contributing Photo Editor

5.The Cheese and Beef empanada from La Tasca: Empanadas are a classic Latin American street food. These empanadas featured ground beef and cheese in a puff pastry accompanied by a light smoked paprika. The sauce gave it a good tang and the cheese balanced the rest of ingredients without overpowering a dish.

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The newest Chipotle Mexican-Grill, located in 2000 Penn., officially opened today, with lines out the doors and wrapping around the building.

Chipotle officially opened to all patrons after yesterday’s soft opening, where members of the Programming Council handed out coupons for free burritos to students.

This Chipotle does not accept GWorld, unlike the one located a few blocks off campus at 19th and M streets.

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Monday, Sept. 30, 2013 1:25 p.m.

Chipotle to open Oct. 8

Updated Sept. 30, 2013 at 4:40 p.m.

The Chipotle Mexican-Grill in The Shops at 2000 Penn. will open Oct. 8, a spokeswoman for the restaurant said Monday.

Photo used under the Creative Commons license

Photo used under the Creative Commons license

The restaurant will not accept GWorld, said Beth Hengeveld, a spokeswoman for Chipotle.

The chain’s new location, its 13th in the District, will include 33 seats for a total occupancy of 56. The restaurant signed a lease in December to fill the space formerly occupied by the UPS store and another Mexican eatery, The Burro.

Up until now, the closest Chipotle was at 19th and M streets, and that restaurant accepts GWorld. The burrito and taco eatery also tried to move to campus in 2005, looking to occupy the building that now houses Tonic Restaurant.

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Sunday, Dec. 4, 2011 12:34 p.m.

Scrumptiously Scott: Ceviche

Jordan Emont | Assistant Photo Editor

This post was written by Hatchet food columnist Scott Figatner.

You don’t need a stove to make a delicious seafood dinner. By marinating diced tilapia and shrimp in an acidic mixture, the seafood flesh actually cooks. Well, it’s not cooking per se, but the denaturing of the proteins mimics the process. With fresh ingredients, the South American dish is perfectly safe. My Peruvian ceviche is both low in calories and high in vitamins and protein. The seafood dish has a tender yet resilient texture, which along with ripe diced avocado, tomatoes and red onion, soaks up the flavor of the marinade, tangy with lime juice and slightly sweet from fresh coconut water. Served in a coconut bowl, the only other perfect accompaniment would be Peru’s national cocktail.

Sneak Peek: Check the blog next week for my take on the pisco sour.

Ingredients: (serves 2)

  • 1 coconut/ ¼ cup coconut water
  • 1 tilapia filet, diced
  • 1/4 pound peeled rock shrimp meat, diced
  • 3/4 cup lime juice
  • 1/8 habañero pepper, finely minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 tablespoons small-diced tomato
  • 3 tablespoons small-diced red onion
  • Salt and pepper
  • Cilantro, chopped
  • 1/2 avocado, diced

Important: Because the ceviche marinade will only kill surface bacteria, the tilapia and shrimp must be extremely fresh. It is best to prepare the ceviche on the day of purchase.

Directions:

1. To make the coconut bowl, use a screwdriver to make a hole in the base, drain the water and reserve.

2. Place the coconut on a towel in your palm. Use the blunt side of the knife to whack it forcefully where a natural line is visible – be sure to wear protective eye gear. Once a crack forms, continue to pound it until the crack spans its entirety. Pull it apart and fix jagged edges.

3. Generously salt the equally sized tilapia and shrimp cubes and mix with 1/4 cup of the coconut water, the lime juice (with habañero and garlic added), the tomatoes and the red onion. Make sure everything is submerged in the marinade. Refrigerate for 40 minutes, mixing at least once.

4. Generously salt to taste and add avocado and chopped cilantro. Add fresh ground black pepper. Scoop into the coconut bowl, draining the ceviche of excess marinade. Serve immediately as it will continue to cook.

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Jordan Emont | Assistant Photo Editor

This post was written by Hatchet food columnist Scott Figatner.

Mellow Mushroom Pizza Bakers
2436 18th St., NW

Ladies and gentlemen, children of all ages, Mellow Mushroom has come to town!

Straight ahead, hand-painted trapeze artists perform acrobatics on a patchy brick wall. To the right, poster-like images of circus freaks are inset in a wall of distressed wood, outlined with jazzy marquis lights.

Up above, a comical sculpture of a strongman – lifting a barbell with rotating Ferris wheels in the place of weights – balances precariously on a high wire atop a makeshift chandelier of iron weights and a glowing globe.

This circus is only the first floor of Mellow Mushroom Pizza Bakers’ newest location in Adams Morgan.

The ringmaster, owner Amit Mehta, 30, opened the restaurant with his sister Pooja Oct. 17.

“What’s unique about this Mellow Mushroom is our decoration,” said Mehta, who themed the eatery around a traveling circus while keeping the Adams Morgan vibe in mind.

This venue has been complimented for its unique design, which stands apart from the other of the chain’s 100 plus locations.

Mehta said the second floor was designed to look like the Big Top Circus’ backstage area. Ticket stubs spill across one wall while another displays mock circus animal crates that read, “Live Animals.”

But don’t worry; the food is equally as impressive as the décor. Mehta described it as “homey and unpretentious” and made with “good, natural ingredients.”

For the first act, off the “Munchies” menu, I tried a boat-sized loaf of garlic butter-basted cheesy bread, $5.75, which hit the spot when dipped in a special sauce as red as Bozo’s nose.

Act two was a jerk chicken hoagie for $6.95. Although half-size, it was full of flavor with sautéed mushrooms and green peppers, chunks of pineapple, tomatoes, spinach and feta. A pesto sauce with a fresh-from-the-market taste helped moisten the slightly dry chicken.

For the grand finale – drum roll, please – The Man-Eating Pizza! Okay, it was just myself consuming a 10-inch pie. For $13.95, we could taste two pizzas on one pie, made to order from dough sweetened with molasses and baked on a white pizza stone for extra crispiness.

The Philosopher’s Pie, normally $13.95 for a 10-inch pie, was a showstopper with steak slices blanketed by provolone and topped with Portobello mushrooms, artichoke hearts, kalamata olives, feta and mozzarella surrounded by a parmesan-coated crust. The Magical Mystery Tour, $13.50 for a 10-inch pie, is a pesto-based pie with mozzarella sun dried tomatoes, spinach, Roma tomatoes and feta. The pie is finished with a psychedelic “pesto swirl.”

With a bar on each of the restaurant’s three levels, 24 beers on tap and 40 bottled varieties, Mellow Mushroom has enough beer to quench a rowdy troupe of circus performers. Heck, send in the clowns.

A spacious rooftop seating area with 12 tables and an indoor bar is a charming place to eat and enjoy the view of 18th Street. Mehta said he plans to add more lighting and a tent to contain heat from the lamps. The added space makes Mellow Mushroom one of the biggest restaurants on the street, with enough space for 210 customers.

Open until 2 a.m. on Friday and Saturday, Mellow Mushroom is an exciting place to appease the late-night munchies. With a remarkable atmosphere and the food to back it up, Mellow Mushroom is no dog and pony show.

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Sunday, Nov. 6, 2011 2:24 p.m.

Scrumptiously Scott: Fall flavors

Jordan Emont | Assistant Photo Editor.

This post was written by Hatchet food columnist Scott Figatner.

On a chilly fall evening, there is nothing better than hibernating indoors with a warm glass of mulled apple cider and a rich, comforting meal.

My maple sage brown butter sauce takes comfort food to the next level. Just a taste of it will have your friends swooning. I enhanced brown butter, nutty and fragrant, with the subtle earthiness of sage and the caramel notes of dark maple syrup. Rounded out with half-and-half and dusted with fresh nutmeg, this dish is something you will want to “fall” for again and again.

Ingredients:

  • 8 oz. package of mushroom ravioli
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 tablespoons corn starch
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 ½ tablespoons chopped fresh sage
  • ¼ cup half and half
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup (Grade B if possible)
  • Black pepper to taste
  • Grated nutmeg

Directions:

1. In a medium saucepot, boil and salt water for the ravioli. Cook until al dente for about two to three minutes. Drain and set aside.

2. To make the slurry, whisk the cornstarch with two tablespoons of water.

3. In a large sauté pan over medium-high heat, melt the butter. When the butter froths, add the sage. The milk solids in the butter will eventually start to brown.

4. When all the butter is light brown, remove from the heat and add the half-and-half and the maple syrup. Whisk to combine and allow it to cool.

5. Add two tablespoons of the slurry and heat to a boil, stirring continuously and vigorously. Season well with salt and add pepper.

6. Lightly coat the ravioli with the sauce, sprinkle with fresh sage and dust with grated nutmeg. Serve immediately.

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Sunday, Oct. 16, 2011 10:27 a.m.

Scrumptiously Scott: Tabbouleh

Tabouleh

Jordan Emont | Assistant Photo Editor

This post was written by Hatchet food columnist Scott Figatner.

Parsley isn’t just a pretty garnish; it’s the basis for the Middle Eastern salad Tabbouleh. My Lebanese friend taught me this recipe, which is both simple and inexpensive. It’s also extremely nutritious and has been a staple of the Mediterranean diet for many centuries. I served the extremely addictive dish with lettuce leaves.

Ingredients:

Half cup of bulgur
4 bunches Italian flat-leaf parsley, de-stemmed
1 bunch mint, de-stemmed
5 large tomatoes
4 lemons, juiced
Olive oil
Salt
Romaine lettuce leaves

Directions:

Soak the bulgur until it is tender and thoroughly drain the excess water. Meanwhile, finely chop the parsley and mint leaves. It helps to grab a bunch of leaves with your fingers and cut them all at once. Slice the tomatoes into quarter-inch discs and make small cubes out of each slice.

Gently mix the parsley, mint, lemon juice and bulgur in a large bowl. Drizzle in olive oil and salt generously. Allow the flavors to marry in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to one hour. Serve with romaine lettuce leaves or pita chips.

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Tuesday, Oct. 11, 2011 11:32 p.m.

Scott’s Spots: ShopHouse

This post was written by Hatchet food columnist Scott Figatner.

ShopHouse
1516 Connecticut Ave., NW

Jordan Emont | Assistant Photo Editor.

Chipotle’s new Southeast Asian concept, ShopHouse, debuted in D.C. as a pilot restaurant Sept. 15. Although Chipotle founder Steve Ells has done zero advertising for the fast-casual restaurant, a ripple of excitement is spreading through D.C. With a company like Chipotle, this new concept has the potential for changing food culture on an international scale.

Unfortunately, the venue does not exactly live up to these expectations.

If it were not for the storefront sign, I would have thought I entered the wrong place. The décor of ShopHouse, or lack thereof, is drab at best. The exposed outlets and wires complement the blank white walls while the naked lights, although energy efficient, lack energy all together. A line of Sriracha bottles, some used, is the only wall art.

The industrial restaurant does not evoke the small family restaurant or “shophouse” feel of Southeast Asia. Tim Wildin, Chipotle’s New York based director of concept development, defended the interior design by telling The Huffington Post that he and Chipotle founder Steve Ells “really wanted the color of the place to come from the food.”

The food was certainly colorful, with meals featuring tender rice, lime and ginger flavored papaya slaw and bright green herbs. But the eye pleasing entrées left a bit to be desired in terms of taste.

One benefit of the restaurant is that the vibrantly colored offerings are laid out cafeteria style so that putting a bowl together is easy. Simply choose a starch: chilled noodles, brown rice or jasmine rice. Then, choose grilled chicken, pork and chicken meatballs, steak or tofu. Top it with long beans, corn, eggplant or Chinese broccoli. Pick your sauce: green curry, tamarind vinaigrette or spicy red curry. Garnish with pickled vegetables, papaya salad or Asian herbs and add some crunch with toasted rice, crushed peanuts or crispy garlic. You can also try these in banh mi form, sandwiched in freshly baked bread.

While my meal was well presented, the components of my food lacked finesse and balance. Vinegary eggplant will make your mouth pucker. As far as flavor goes, the small pieces of tofu get lost in a deluge of spicy, tongue-shriveling sauce. With the overpowering heat and flavor of the sauces in your mouth, everything starts to taste the same – and I didn’t even try the spicy red curry.

Anyone willing to try these sauces should purchase some bottled young coconut water, the subtle sweetness of which can cleanse the palate. I filled it up with water twice before the meal was over to calm my scorched buds.

I’m sure many Americans could benefit from organic meats, multi-cultural food and the existence of tofu in their cities. As for me, I’d rather eat a 1,000-calorie burrito than eat at ShopHouse again.

While Steve Ells may have stuck his foot in the proverbial door of Asian food, it is unclear whether or not he will ever truly gain his footing.

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Saturday, Oct. 8, 2011 7:13 p.m.

Tasting the town

Thousands crowded downtown Pennsylvania Avenue to take a sample-size bite out of D.C. dining.

The Penn Quarter thoroughfare was blocked to typical traffic, instead of cars, food trucks and tents lined the street, all a part of Taste of D.C. weekend long event.

Long lines of hungry attendees formed at tent after tent, offering sample size portions from local restaurants. Guests could purchase 10 tickets for $15 and redeem tickets for samples of food, ranging in cost from one to nine tickets.

Food trucks parked at the corner of 10th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue including Sauca, which offered beef sharma and Mumbai butter chicken and Surfside, offering entree size fish tacos.

U Street restaurant legend Ben’s Chili Bowl served their famous half smoke with optional, but strongly recommended,  chili and cheese.

An unusual infusion food item were the “japa-weiners,”Japanese infusion hot dogs from Windows Catering Company. The three hot dog topping options included the “Okonomi,” fried cabbage, okonomiyake sauce, bonita flakes and wasabi mayo, the “Nori,” shishito pepper cheese sauce, teriyaki onions, roasted nori seaweed, enoki mushrooms and pork, and finally the “Yama-Oroshi,” grated daikon radish, ponzu soy, roasted green onions and volcano sauce.

Taste of D.C., sponsored by Groupon, also features musical performances by Big & Rich on Saturday evening, Styx on Sunday and Rusted Root on Monday, as well as a chili eating championship, bier garden and culinary stage.

Taste of D.C. continues Oct. 9 from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Oct. 10

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