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.
The scents of made-to-order sandwiches first started wafting from the doors of The Woodside Deli in 1947, when it began meeting the lunching, snacking, and catering needs of the residents of Silver Spring. Decades of success saw the business overgrow its original location and expand to one in Rockville, where a restaurant menu offers up chewy bagels, meaty diner fare, and philly cheesesteaks dripping with melted provolone cheese. High Holiday and Passover menus offer kosher treats, and catering services can fill bellies at bar or bat mitzvahs, corporate events, and baby’s-first-tax-return parties.
Although homemade prepared meals are the main business at Vignola Gourmet, the chefs also roll out Italian arancini rice balls stuffed with cheese and peas, stack hearty sub sandwiches, and twirl pasta with tomato sauce and parmesan cheese. The hand-lettered chalkboard sign keeps track of the kitchen's other recipes, such as classic caprese subs with mozzarella and tomato, as well as tortellini salad and meatballs served à la carte.
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.
My Kitchen's seasoned instructors set aside their professional-catering duties to demystify culinary secrets during hands-on cooking classes for adults and children. Grown-ups can delve into the gustatory traditions of the Mediterranean with an Easy Italian Gourmet course that spends three hours teaching the basics of whisking together such Italian classics as chicken marsala with linguine, tiramisu, and edible frescoes. Three-hour Introduction to Cake Decorating sessions flood senses with confectionery delights and teach attendees valuable pastry skills, including how to properly shellac buttercream icing, how to adorn desserts with palate-pleasing décor, and how to level a cake without a wrecking ball. Classes for children teach burgeoning sous-chefs how to handcraft fresh meals that don't include fruit-roll-up hors d'oeuvres or Play-Doh aperitifs, with sessions that occasionally focus on world cuisines from locales such as West Africa and Italy.