Endless Questions: Chef R.J. Cooper on Iron Chef America and Magical Food Rides


You’d think since leaving Washington’s swanky, Southern restaurant Vidalia earlier this year, Chef R.J. Cooper would have plenty of time on his hands, but he’ll tell you that’s not the case. Over the past six months Cooper has been overseeing the construction of his new restaurant, Rogue 24, working with Chefs as Parents and throwing in a little reality TV. Cooper kicks off season 9 of Food Network’s Iron Chef America, challenging the newly minted winner of The Next Iron Chef America, Marc Forgione.

I chatted with Cooper about the pressures of Iron Chef America and the magical ride that is his new venture.

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Look What the March Brought In

I actually went through with it. I proclaimed that I would get my (hungover) ass to the Dupont Farmers Market and with a few nudging texts from friend, westcoast, I made it. What I didn’t realize during my original proclamation was that it would be stinkin beautiful in DC and all of the hibernating foodies in the city would also make the trek to the market. That wouldn’t have been an issue had we not arrived at the market only 30 minutes before closing. (One day I will start a farmers market that opens at 11 am and closes at 4 pm.)

Here’s what March looks like at the farmers market.

Dupont Farmer's Market 2010 6 -- edited (500 x 497)

Celeb sighting! Recent James Beard Award nominee for Outstanding Chef, Jose Andres of Minibar, also hits up the late-shift at the market.

Dupont Farmer's Market 2010 9 -- edited (500 x 282)

I’ve been wondering what I’d find in early March. We’re about 6 weeks from the first asparagus stalks and ramps, right? So here we are with months-old apples. I tried a sample slice: sweet, juicy and a tinge mealy. We didn’t buy any.

Dupont Farmer's Market 2010 4 (500 x 332)

There were sweet potatoes.

Dupont Farmer's Market 2010 3 (500 x 332)

Lots and lots of sweet potatoes.

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A Bazaar Duel


Editor’s Note: When I (this is gansie) was 12 my jazz dance recital class performed to Paula Abdul’s Opposites Attract. At the time I thought it was the silliest thing I ever heard: how could two people that didn’t agree on a majority of issues actually like each other. Turns out almost every couple I know are comprised of fairly dissimilar people. Same is true for Britannia and his love-thang. Brit will experiment with rare ingredients; his boy doesn’t even like bananas. Here’s their he vs. he take on one of the most innovative and popular restaurants in the country.

On my not-so-recent trip to LA I decided to pay a visit to a not-so-new-restaurant, The Bazaar by José Andrés at the SLS Beverly Hills. The Bazaar’s food concept is similar to that of minibar in DC: adventurous meals in one bite. I was too impatient to wait for a reservation at minibar so I figured jumping on a plane was the easiest thing to do, natch.

The LA Times 4-star-rated Bazaar is an Alice in Wonderland of sorts, the décor is ostentatious and the furniture is playful. Exactly what is needed when one eats food from Andrés. Upon entering the restaurant you are greeted by Bar Centro, a place where the drinks are as simple as a Dry Martini or unusual as a Nitro Raspberry Daiquiri, which was worth every penny (how many pennies are in $20?)

For dinner there’s a choice of dining in one of two rooms, Rojo or Blanco, one room steeped in traditional Spanish flair or one of white drapes, white chairs and white tables. I have poor taste so I opted for the latter.

There were four of us dining, two friends from LA and my better half (Deej). If you are a regular reader to ES you will know that my other half is not so easy to please when it comes to his palette. Despite this we tried the Seven Wave tasting menu.

Here is my take and my bf’s barely clothed hatred take on our experience. And whatever Mr. Picky has to say, do know that the meal was a lot more expansive than we had anticipated and certainly worth the money.

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