• There were all sorts of rumors about who would take over the big Olives space in downtown DC. We heard whispers of Mario Batali and Giada De Laurentiis, but publicist Linda Roth Conte tells us it’s another Italian chef—New York’s Scott Conant—who has signed a deal. Conant is the brains behind Scarpetta, a very well-liked Italian restaurant in Manhattan’s meatpacking district, where he’s known for—among other dishes—his decadent polenta, mixed with Parmesan and heavy cream, and a simple spaghetti pomodoro. His plans are to open another branch here. We can’t argue with that.
• Capitol Hill gets a new pizza joint with the opening of SeventhHill, whose brick oven is overseen by the owners of Montmartre, a French bistro next door. The 11 pies are named after landmarks (Union Station, Navy Yard) near the restaurant.
• The New York Post has recommended ten reasons to visit Washington because, says author David Landsel, “Washington, DC, is quickly becoming unrecognizable as the place we may remember from class trips.” His recommendations include drinks at the Gibson and PX, crabcakes at Blue Duck Tavern, Hook—if for no other reason than Rahm Emanuel and Madeleine Albright eat there—and BlackSalt. Market Lunch at Eastern Market got a nod, as did the Dupont farmers market and Sweetgreen (“way better than Pinkberry”). Landsel suggests Etete and Sidamo for Ethiopian and the “interesting Tex-Mex menu” at H Street Country Club.
• Last night, Food Service Monthly’s Michael Birchenall chatted with Yannick Cam, chef/owner of the late Le Paradou (among many other vaunted restaurants here), who said that he’ll open a new restaurant in about a month. Bistro Provence in Bethesda will have 45 seats, an open kitchen, and, says Cam, lots of organic and local ingredients. In March, he’ll open a second-floor tasting room.
• Bread master Mark Furstenberg, who started (and later sold) downtown DC’s Breadline, will open the doors to his newest venture, G Street Foods (1706 G St., NW; 202-408-7474), on Monday. He takes inspiration from international street foods, which explains such menu items as a Montreal bagel, an Indian lentil salad, a Vietnamese banh mi sandwich, and a Chicago hot dog. The breakfast-and-lunch spot will also have breads for sale, including brioche, Roman pizza squares, and his deliciously crusty Palladin loaf, named for the late chef Jean-Louis Palladin.
• Spike Mendelsohn, owner of Michelle Obama favorite Good Stuff Eatery, unveiled his Michelle Melt at the burger joint. The former Top Chef contestant’s creation is an homage to the First Lady’s healthy-eating agenda and includes a free-range turkey burger, caramelized onions, Swiss cheese, tomato, lettuce, and herb mayo, all on a wheat bun. Proceeds from sales of the burger will go to DC Central Kitchen. We’re guessing Mendelsohn created the sandwich to thank Michelle, whose staffers are frequent Good Stuff customers. Only in America is a First Lady honored with a burger.
• In more “see Michelle eat” news, food blog Eater reported that she lunched at Gramercy Tavern—the seasonally driven New York City restaurant that was the longtime home of Tom Colicchio—yesterday afternoon. The last time the Obamas ate in New York, they went to Dan Barber’s farm-focused Blue Hill.
• Okay, last bit on Michelle: At the Pittsburgh Summit this week, she gave G20 presenters’ spouses honey from the White House beehive alongside a specially designed porcelain tea set. Assistant White House chef Sam Kass estimates that the hive will produce more than 100 pounds of honey this year.
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