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New York & D.C.

New York & D.C.

Off-Menu - Sn 1/Ep 4Off-Menu - Sn 1/Ep 4

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NYC's long immigration history and numerous urban and ethnic clusters have greatly influenced its food and culture. Steeped in rich history, Washington, D.C. is home to all three branches of the government — but it’s not all politics and power suits.

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- I'm Aida Mollenkamp. I'm a chef and writer with a passion for exploration, and I'm in search of the best food a city has to offer. Whether it's a locals-only favorite, or a chef secret special, join me as I go Off-Menu in New York City. - [Aida Voiceover] New York might be the nation's ultimate dining destination. In the city that never sleeps, the five boroughs offer every kind of food imaginable. Manhattan is the most well-traveled, but Brooklyn is taking the lead when it comes to hip new hot spots, for those willing to go that extra subway stop across the river. I'm meeting up with Liza de Guia, the force behind food.curated., a James Beard-nominated storytelling series about locals and their passion for food. Walking around New York with Liza is like having a golden ticket to all the best restaurants, starting with Dough. Fany Gerson recently opened her Manhattan location, after starting a small shop in Brooklyn. People line up around the block for her doughnuts, and it's not hard to see why. - My name is Fany Gerson, and I'm the Chef/Founder of Dough Doughnuts. And we're at our shop in the Flatiron District. I spend a lot of time working on the dough itself, hence the name . The constant behind Dough is to make something that's so iconic and elevate it. - Tell us what are your favorite flavors right now? - It's hard, but the hibiscus, and the passion fruit, are my favorites. - The hibiscus is so pretty. - [Fany] So the hibiscus, and then on the top it has candied hibiscus. - Just the glaze looks gorgeous. It's sexy. It's a sexy doughnut. - I want a top in that color or something. - [Fany] And this is apple jam. So we have a jam that we make in-house with Granny Smith apples. And then it has cinnamon sugar on top, a little bit of powdered sugar, and then an apple chip that we make as well. - Okay, so this one, chai cream. - [Fany] Chai pastry cream topped with dark chocolate, and toasted almonds. - Both of those are right up my alley. You're a very good saleswoman. What is it about Dough that you just love? - It feels like a gift, every time I sit down with one. And just visually, they pop. - No, they're beautiful. - And I don't think you've ever seen a doughnut that looked anything like this before. Look at that. - Oh my goodness. Hold on, hold on, I'm concentrating, I'm concentrating. Here we go, triple Lutz, double eight. I don't even know what I'm saying. Mmm. - That apple jam is so, it's sweet. - What I love about this is that it's almost like she filled it with the smoothest applesauce you've ever had. Okay, okay, okay, okay, okay, and hibiscus, which I'm actually the most excited about. - Visually, it's so beautiful that it reads to me as a pastry. - It does. This one feels like a classic French pastry that you would go to, I feel like it's a doughnutisserie, right? - Doughnutisserie. - Not just a patisserie, not a doughnut shop. - You better trademark that. - She's a doughnutisserie. - It doesn't jump out at you, the passion fruit, but it's very subtle. - It's very subtle. This one is like, you know I'm here. We can be friends. I'll come out sooner or later. - I think if you take a really big bite, Aida, - This is the shyest doughnut in the bunch. - you will taste more of the hibiscus. - Okay. - That was a dare, and it worked. - But you're right. I actually do taste a lot more of the hibiscus. But we got one more to go, chocolate chai. Ooh! - Ooh, fun! Mmm. That cream is light in there. - You know what there needs to be more of? Chai cream. - Mm-hm, everywhere. - I think that we should have chai pudding. - In the world. - And chai cream, and chai fudge pops I'm just, I see a bright future for chai cream. Oh my goodness. Good stuff. - Yeah. Did it give you enough sugar rush for the rest of the day? - I think so. - We have a lot of food to eat today. - Okay, I think I am powered up and ready to go. I'm turbo-charged on doughnuts and coffee. - [Aida Voiceover] New Yorkers will tell you their subway system is the best in the world. And who am I to argue? But on a day like today, there are more scenic options, one of which is my favorite way to get to Brooklyn, the East River Ferry. New York is famous for pizza and character, and Paulie Gee's in Brooklyn excels at both. If you make claims about the best pizza in New York, you're liable to start a riot, but any list would need to have Paulie's pies, made with only the best locally-sourced cheeses, meats, and veggies. - I'm Paulie Gee, and this is Paulie Gee's Greenpoint Pizza Joint. What I love about pizza is its simplicity. My pizza oven was built by an artisan in Naples, and shipped over here. It's a wood-fired brick pizza oven, similar to what was found 2,000 years ago in Pompeii. - I brought her because I have a very particular pizza that I love here that I tell everyone across the country to come have. - Well, I know you want the Hellboy. - You know. He knows. See, I come here all the time. - We get to watch you do your magic? - Yep. - Okay, let's see it. - [Paulie Voiceover] First, we stretch our dough, to the size that the pie needs to be. We learned the move called the Egyptian, where you hang the dough off the end of the table, from an Egyptian pizza maker who we were trying out one night. The Hellboy is a pie with Italian tomatoes, grated Parmigiano, delicious hot soppressata from Salumeria Biellese. And we put it in the oven. The pie doesn't take longer than 90 seconds to cook, and it's finished with Mike's Hot Honey. - It's a spiced honey with special chiles from Brazil. - Ah. - Ooh. - What we have here, - The excitement is building. - That's the Hellboy. - That is gorgeous. - Mmm. - Oh my, that is really good. - Paulie knows what he's doing. - Yeah, he really does. It's like, - It's simple too. It's not very complicated. - But I like that acid in your sauce. That just works. - I love balancing sweet and savory. - Yeah, apparently. - The other pie you gotta have is the Monte Cristo. You're not gonna find this pie anywhere else. Mild Gouda, thinly sliced Canadian bacon, and when we bring the pie out of the oven, we finish it with pure maple syrup. - Paulie, I would never have thought of the Gouda on the pizza. This is like breakfast. - I love that. - And dinner. - Mmm. - Became my two favorite things in one. - It does remind you of waffles. - Right? - Yeah. Reminds you of breakfast. - This has been a carb-fest that is totally worth it, by the way. We started the day with doughnuts, going to the next step with some pizza. I like your style, girl. - Now I know I fed you a lot of food already. - Yes. - A lot of heavy carbs, but do you still have room, Aida, for one more meal? - I say yes to the challenge. - So for the icing on the cake, I'm gonna take you to a part of Brooklyn where the food scene is completely blowing up right now. - [Aida Voiceover] Another must-go in the heart of Greenpoint is the secret restaurant, Luksus. This hidden gem in the back of a Scandinavian beer bar is the brainchild of Daniel Burns. Having done time at Noma, and opened the test kitchen at Momofuku, his Michelin-starred Luksus is bound to impress. - My name is Daniel Burns. I'm trying to do a new Nordic seasonal tasting menu restaurant that focuses on the products found locally here on the East Coast. We wanted to do somewhat hidden restaurant that is in Greenpoint, which is sort of different for the neighborhood, but I think the neighborhood is moving towards having more things like what we're trying to do here. I've narrowed down to one snack, and then one of the main servings, and the dessert. - Okay, well looking forward to trying it. - So first, should we do the first snack? - Yes, please. - Yes, please. - So this one is actually oysters Black Point, Nova Scotia oysters that are marinated, and then fried. - I like this, like live frying, right in front of our eyes. - I know, I love the open kitchen. - [Daniel Voiceover] So we have the braised cabbage that's cut out into rounds, roasted sweet potato puree with dill, and then we have the fried oyster on top. - I love it. - I love it. I just love the new take on the taco. - Mmm, I never thought I would want sweet potatoes with oysters, until I just tried this. And in the slight brininess. - The dill really brings it together too. - So with the snacks, we wanna serve something refreshing and bright. - Like a Sour Bikini. - Sour Bikini, yeah. So like Sour Bikini. So this one's from Evil Twin. - Cheers, by the way. - Cheers. - Cheers, thank you, Chef. - You're welcome. - Thank you. - It has almost a grapefruit note to it. - Oh, it's great. It does have a grapefruit flavor to it. - It's refreshing. - Very refreshing, yeah. - This almost feels like karma and grapefruit juice. I really like that. - So the next one, I'm gonna do the scallop dish. Nantucket Bay scallops that are raw, sliced. So this is roasted maitake puree, with sea urchin. There's also a dulse puree. So it's a red seaweed that's dried out. And a chip made out of roasted maitake mushrooms. Just quickly fry this. With the chips, we usually do some kind of dusting, so it's dried scallop, dried black trumpet mushrooms, and vinegar powder. - You should sell that on supermarket shelves . - [Daniel] And then a silver berry vinaigrette. - I love the color. - Yeah, it's quite a... - [Liza] It's like pinky-red. - [Aida] Thank you. I love that we started with a hibiscus doughnut, which was that color, and now we're ending with, it's like a plate full of silver berry. - On the same color. - Our food is just so well color-coordinated today. It's perfect. Do you know what my favorite thing is? Mushroom chips. It's like a new play on surf and turf, almost. - Now, dessert time? - I think so. - Sounds great. - Yeah. - So we do a lot of vegetables in dessert. So this one is just a chocolate crumble. This blue hubbard squash that we roast, and then blend with some maple syrup, and then cranberries. There's also a small amount of heat from a pickled pepper liquid that's made into a gel. This is the green juniper ice cream. - This is like if a good London gin became an ice cream. - Yeah, yeah, it does remind you immediately of gin. So this one is the squash meringue with roasted chestnuts folded in, and then, raw, sliced chestnut. - [Liza] Another beautiful plating. - Okay, squash, cranberry, hello perfection. Oh my goodness. This has so much flavor. If there was like a PSI measure for flavor per square inch, I think you maximized it on this meringue. - Catch the spiciness a little bit? - I'm catching the pepperiness of it, yeah. - We've had this beautiful day, wandering around, and I think you just gave us the dessert that's the perfect finish, so thank you for that. - Thank you, Chef. - Thanks for coming by. It's been a pleasure to have you. - We're just gonna nurse this a little bit. - We will lick this plate clean. - Exactly. Liza, thank you so much. This day has shown me a little Manhattan, a little Brooklyn. I feel like I have a really good idea of what's happening right now in food, and it's all delicious. - I'm so glad you enjoyed your trip, and why not end on a beautiful sunset with our newest, most beautiful tower? I mean, you have a full belly. I fed you well. I am happy. - [Aida Voiceover] D.C. is steeped in history. But the District has begun to make a name for itself outside of Capitol Hill. The food scene has taken the District by storm. From artisan markets to neighborhood hot spots, Washington, D.C. is one of the most culturally diverse cities in the country. I'm meeting up with Mary Kong-DeVito, the Founder of D.C.'s popular food blog, Girl Meets Food. Mary has seen the dining scene here do a complete 180 in the last decade. The list of top restaurants and new openings has become too many to name. One such success story, Dolcezza, opened in 2004 in a tiny kitchen. Now with seven locations and growing, owner Robb Duncan and team make handmade gelato every morning at their factory in the Union Market neighborhood. - My name's Robb Duncan. I'm Co-Founder and Owner of Dolcezza Gelato along with my wife, Violetta, and this is our gelato factory and coffee lab. That's what we call it. I guess what makes our stuff special and different is really the approach that we take with it as far as working with the ingredient while it's in season in the local areas. We'll use cucumbers in cucumber season. We'll combine it with mint and vodka, or cucumber tarragon gin, or when the hot peppers are in season, we'll do a hot pepper sorbet. We have a sorbet, which means no milk or cream, no dairy, and this is of the pomegranate, which is in season right now. - That is gorgeous-looking. - It's beautiful. - Yes, so I mean, this is a, from one of the most painful flavors that we make, meaning we get the pomegranate, we have to split the pomegranate, we beat it on the back to dislodge the seeds, and then the kitchen looks like bloody murder with red splattered everywhere. So it's an incredible process, and very messy. - That is a very sophisticated take on a berry. - You got the brightness. - It's really bright. - You got the nuttiness. I mean, there's four ingredients in this. There's water, there's sugar, there's fresh pomegranate juice, and there's a little hint of lime in it, that you don't really pick up directly, but it's just to also brighten it up, and kinda bring everything together. - I really taste the labor of love in there. - The next flavor that we have is called Crookneck Pumpkin. Now the crookneck pumpkin is the pumpkin that everybody pre-50s kind of used to use to make pumpkin pie. And they're the ancestor of the butternut squash. What we do with the crookneck pumpkin is we cut it, we bathe it in spices, which are ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, and brown sugar. - [Aida] That's like fall right there. - Yeah, the whole kitchen smells amazing when we do this. And we roast 'em in the ovens around 450 degrees for about an hour, to really caramelize the vegetable. And then, we take it out, we puree it, and then mix it into the hot milk and cream. The big difference between this pumpkin, the crookneck pumpkin, is it's all about the pumpkin, that's highlighted by the spices, as opposed to the inferior pumpkin being covered up by all the spices, which is kinda typically what you get in your grocery stores with the holiday flavors. It's all, all you taste is spice. - Sure. - Wow. - It's the quintessential fall flavor, here especially. - That's fall in a bowl, right there. - Yeah, it's amazing. - Mmm. What's incredible about this is this is actually a very delicate flavor that you guys have here. Thank you for having us. - [Aida Voiceover] Washington, D.C. is home to the world's largest enclave of Ethiopians living outside their country, giving rise to some great restaurants. Mary's taking me to Zenebech. Originally a bakery that supplied neighboring restaurants with injera, the spongy, sour flatbread that is the base for nearly all Ethiopian dishes. - Oh, it's beautiful, wow. Thank you. That looks amazing! That looks seriously good. - So, goden tibs. Tibs usually means it's some kind of sauteed meat. And Shiro wat. Wats are usually stews. That's Doro wat, which is a chicken stew. That's kitfo, it's kinda like steak tartar. Collared greens, there's cabbage, potatoes, and carrots, and then, that's like a cold tomato salad. - Do you have a favorite of all of her preparations on here? - I tend to like the tibs. It's marinated for a long time. It's soft, it's grilled, it's kinda crispy too. - The tibs is really excellent. It's got that great char to it, and it's a little bit sweet. Anything that has chilis in it, I'm a fan of. I think what's really unexpected is people will come to D.C., see the monuments, and they're not thinking Ethiopian food. - Away from all the monuments, and all the memorials, there's neighborhoods and pockets of great places that, I guess, maybe only the locals know. - Those greens are fabulous. They're cooked just a little bit, and I appreciate that there's that bright, cleanness there. - A little different from American collared greens. It's firmer, and there's almost a little smoothness to it. So I like the tomato salad, because it's almost like a palette cleanser. It's raw, and it's tangy, a little acidic from the vinegar, and it's got a little bit of jalapeno peppers, so it's a good mix. - And how did you come to decide that Zenebech is your favorite? There's just so much to choose from. - It's been my personal mission to try all of the Ethiopian restaurants in D.C. - Do you think you've done so? - Yeah, I think I have, and this is my favorite. - Wow! That's quite a claim. Why Zenebech? - So I think it's really authentic. It's very flavorful. And also they make all their injera in-house, daily, so it's very fresh. And I start to suffer from withdrawal if I'm not here regularly. - [Aida Voiceover] Situated on the banks of the Potomac River, the National Mall is two miles of pathways, monuments, and memorials. It's the perfect place to take in some history, enjoy the park, or visit any one of the Smithsonian Museums, and go for a stroll before our next great meal. Derek Brown, also known as D.C.'s King of Cocktails, recently opened Mockingbird Hill. Coffee bar by day, sherry bar by night, it was nominated one of the best new cocktail bars of 2014. Inspired by the tiny bars of Southern Spain, Mockingbird Hill serves local and imported hams, and other small plate delicacies, next to an incredible list of sherries. - My name's Derek Brown, and we're at Mockingbird Hill in the Shaw neighborhood of Washington, D.C. So sherry is a beautiful beverage on its own, but it really just comes alive with food, and food comes alive through sherry. One of the best pairings, and it happens to be a traditional pairing as well, is sherry and ham. So what we've done here is we've picked a bunch of local hams. So we have chorizo and lomo, that's from Red Apron, which is a local butcher with fantastic stuff. We have Surryano ham, which is kind of a play on the word serrano. So it's from Surry, Virginia, it's by Edwards & Son. And then we have a Prosciutto Americano, from La Quercia, which is very traditional, sort of Prosciutto style. So you get a chance to try ham that's from around the area, which I think is really cool. Then we have some of the more traditional ones, like this is a pan con tomate, it's a, just a really simple pairing with sherry, tomato, and fino, or just like Maine heaven. This is one of our more unusual pairings, which we think goes crazy. It's Cabo-de-mancha cheese, from Firefly Farms. We put local honey on it with coffee grounds, and then just a couple little bites of pickled garlic, and Castelvetrano olives that I like a lot on it. - So if somebody's going to come here, and they're just dipping their toe into this world, you would say, start it off with fino and ham. - Yeah, and this is actually something in the South of Spain, a special inheritance that you get. - Ham, cheese, I'm happy. - I really wanna try the Surryano, 'cause this is something I do not get access to on the West Coast. Mmm. - Did he say that was from Virginia? - Surry, Virginia. But if you blindfolded me, and told me it was from Serrano, I would think it is. - Fat is flavor. I like fat. I love how the dry sherry cuts the fattiness of the ham. It's a nice contrast. It's delicious. - A lot of times, if you pair food with wine, you might just, the wine's playing a supporting role, and I think here, the sherry is really a costar. - Absolutely, absolutely. Meats, cheeses, wine. What else do you need? - Speaking of cheeses, I need to try this. I love cooking with coffee grounds and honey, putting that on pork and things like that, so it seems like it's all in the same realm, a place I really like. - Yeah, this is a particularly good cheese. - Mmm. How's the pan con tomate? - It's great. Crisp, balanced and just a little bit of green onions on it. - You have been spoiling us. This is all fabulous. - Well, it's not over yet. - Okay. - So we have one more thing. There's this tradition in bars of doing a pickle back. Have you heard that? - Mm-hmm. - Where you do a shot of whiskey, a shot of pickle juice. She created the fino back. So what you're gonna do is you're gonna take a shot of this, and then we're going to follow it with garlic juice. - Cheers! - Cheers! - Thank you, Derek. - Mmm. That's tasty! - That's better than a pickle back. - Yeah. - Savory, garlicky, all the things that I like. - Great. - It's delicious. - And this pickled garlic you have is so mellow. It has a little bit of sweetness, and it just really worked well with that fino sherry. - Have you ever done anything like that before? - No, I haven't. That is really something special. - Realistically, nobody ever orders it unless we talk to them about it, because it's so unusual. Fino and garlic juice, that's just not something most people are gonna order. So we're really excited when we get a chance to talk to people, and bring them into this weird world of fino and garlic. - I think it helps when you're here with us, giving us kind of one-on-one consultation of what to order. If only everybody could have that, I think everybody would be ordering the sherry back. Well, thank you for giving us the royal treatment. - Cheers. Thank you all so much for coming. - Cheers. - Thank you. - That was an incredible day. You think D.C., you think steak, and instead I got gelato, and Ethiopian food, and sherry and jamon. I mean, thank you. - We ran the full gamut. It was so much fun today. Thank you so much for joining me. - Yeah .

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