After opening more than ten restaurants encompassing Spanish, Greek, Turkish and Mexican cuisines, receiving the prestigious James Beard Award and popularizing tapas for Beltway patrons, Chef Jose Andres has a new role as culinary historian.
"I'm going back to 16th, 17th, 18th-century books, because books to me are a very important way to say, 'This began here on that date and this is the first book that ever published that recipe with corn or that recipe with pawpaw," said Andres gesturing to an imaginary book in his hand.
On a recent spring day, just blocks from the White House, Maxime Holder and a team of French and American bakers are busy preparing and testing their first batches of bread; kneading, pounding and then listening for the crackle of a perfectly baked French loaf.
“Our family is passionate about bread,” explained Holder, Chairman of Groupe PAUL. “More than being an art, we think that giving good bread to people is something that is very important.”
Holder represents the fifth generation of a family business rooted in the craft of baking. His first memories of baking are with his father and grandmother in their bakery in the North of France.
When Earl Stinson started receiving radiation treatments for prostate cancer, he knew where to go for advice. He turned to Lindy Atkins, a cancer survivor and fellow "ROMEO."
"ROMEO (retired old men eating out) groups spring up all over the United States," Stinson tells CNN. "They have no organization, no members, no requirements, no dues and no officers, and if you try to organize it, you have a riot on your hands."
Across the country, men like Stinson and Atkins are joining the commitment-free club. These ROMEOS vacation in Florida, play golf during the week, and when they come together, they're just looking for fun. What it takes to become a real ROMEO is all in the name.
"No requirements," says Stinson. "Nothing required of us other than coming in and eating breakfast and talking about whatever you want to talk about."
D.C. bartender Derek Brown has served the President and the First Lady and now he’s serving us, offering step-by-step instructions on how to make the perfect holiday drink.
Brown’s reservations-only cocktail laboratory, The Columbia Room, is actually a bar within a bar. An intimate setting with just 16 seats, the cocktail club is hidden inside another popular D.C. bar, The Passenger, co-owned by his brother Tom. Together they serve up classic cocktails on a nightly basis.
“When people come into The Columbia Room, we really take care of them,” says Brown. "To us, making a great cocktail isn't enough. It has to be a great environment. It has to be great service. It really has to be about putting people in the right mood.”
Brown takes time with each of his guests, making the perfect drink according to their palate’s preferences. He shared his secrets with Eatocracy by teaching us a recipe for a traditional mulled holiday wine, Yule Glögg, and serving up a festive cocktail, The Jack Rose.
If you don’t have a holiday drink tradition, you will after this.