Surprising as it sounds, tasty, fresh-baked bagels are hard to come by in Washington, DC. Thank goodness for Pumpernickels Bagelry & Delicatessen, located in the city’s Chevy Chase neighborhood. Sure, the place serves pizza, sandwiches and cold side salads, but the star of the show is the bagel – toasted, served with a schmear, or as the basis for a breakfast sandwich. Pumpernickels offers the usual suspects, including poppy, cheddar cheese, onion and rye, but also creates fresh blueberry bagels, sun-dried tomato bagels and, of course, pumpernickel bagels. They serve some kosher meats, and vegetarian options include a breakfast scramble made with tofu. Further guilt-free options extend into lunch, with meatless versions of meatball and parmesan subs and a vegan BLT. Grab one of the few outdoor tables or plan on taking your meal to go; this is a tiny operation, light on amenities and short on space.
Chef Moses has a surefire way to ensure everything he cooks brims with the best ingredients and flavors—he imagines it's for his mother. The veteran chef cooked his first meal, which was a steak dinner, for his mom at the age of 10 before eventually going on to train at the Culinary Institute of New Orleans. The burgeoning cook then honed his skills by working under renowned chefs Emeril Laggasse and Paul Prudhomme at their respective restaurants.
Today, the now-seasoned chef creates his own signature dishes—such as a crawfish bisque and pasta jambalaya—that blend old family recipes with his own unique additions, earning himself features in Louisiana Cooking Magazine and on WWL-TV News. All the while, he cooks with a firm grasp on the differences between Cajun and Creole cooking, which mostly come down to the spice level, origin, and astrological sign of Cajun and Creole shrimp. In addition to using catering trays as his canvases, he showcases his culinary talents during classes that teach novice chefs how to prepare their own restaurant-quality meals.
Potomac gets a taste of the Big Apple at Brooklyn's Deli & Catering, where caraway seed-spangled rye bread bookends stacks of pastrami, corned beef, and brisket. All of this meat is slow-cooked on-site and sliced paper-thin?owner Guy Brandt won't have it done any other way. His sandwiches range from standbys like tuna melts and Philly cheesesteaks to specialty items, such as the Esther's Delight: pastrami, cole slaw, and Russian dressing on pumpernickel.
The deli delivers more than just sandwiches, though. There's matzoh ball soup and stuffed cabbage, plus Dr. Brown's soda for washing it all down. Rugelach and hamentaschen also sit enticingly on the counter, awaiting the universal signal for dessert: three belly-pats in quick succession.
For chef Daniele Catalani, there’s nothing political about food. The Tuscany-born chef delights political bigwigs and locals alike with a menu composed of highly seasonal, homestyle Italian food. Catalani earned his culinary bona fides working in restaurants throughout Europe, and he made his way up to the exclusive chef position at Galileo by the age of 23. He also appeared on Iron Chef America in 2003 during the battle of Donna vs. Morimoto, where he assisted in spatula-to-spatula combat. Today, he fills Toscana Cafe's menu with classic entrees such as gnocchi with basil pesto or ravioli with roasted eggplant and goat cheese.
It starts with dough made from scratch each day. Chefs continue the pizza-making process by ladling on sauce made in house from freshly peeled Italian tomatoes, basil, oregano, garlic, and a pinch of salt. Whole-milk mozzarella then melts around gyro meat, eggplant, sausage, and other toppings in the rippling heat of an oven. Washington Deli’s owners supervise the entire process, drawing on pizza expertise accumulated during formative years spent in New York. Their workers rush from the kitchen, carrying paninis, boxed lunches, and platters—including vegan and gluten-free options—to fuel workplace parties or collapse the flimsy tables of rival offices.