Food & Fashion in DC – Guest Contributor Rodney Branche
Yet another addition to the ATFDC family, Rodney Branche our newest guest contributor and Executive Chef at Copa Catering here in the DC Metro area, will be sharing with us the dynamic relationship between food and fashion in DC through the lenses of his own experience and that of individuals in DC. This is his first post for ATFDC.
by ATFDC Contributor Rodney Branche
The National Harbor is considered to be one of the most vibrant, sparkling jewels in the magnificent crown of our Washington metropolitan area. Located on the edge of the Potomac River. Here you will find nautical vessels of all types at the piers and panoramic views of the city from the shore. Not far from the rivers edge, various restaurants, hotels and shops are nestled along well planned walkways.
At 163 Fleet St. you will find “Critique Boutique”, a unique clothing store that provides fine upscale clothing and accessories for women. The owner, Toni Foster chooses her select clothing from independent designers from around the world, such as Matti Mane (Israel), Ana Lili (Miami), and Joseph Riekoff (Canada), to name a few. They use various textures, fabrics, prints and colors of quality to place emphasis on individuality and personal style that reflects the stores image.
Ms. Foster’s establishment was one of the first clothing stores at the development and has been there for two successful years. Her life long ambition was to open her own shop and has become a reality for the former Lobbyist.
As a native Washingtonian, Foster has witnessed many changes in the Washington area over the years, especially in the area where she attended Cardoza H.S. Near the popular U st. Corridor. Not long after graduation, the local fashion world embraced her as a model in her early years. Later she became a Labor Lobbyist, this one of the reasons she does not seek designers that mass produce their items, this is to maintain a “unique” identity for her clientele as well as her store.
Toni stays fit by eating sensibly, maintaining a diet of fresh salads, water, and tea. A small kitchen on the premises makes life much easier for the busy boutique’s staff.
While out on the town with friends and family, Toni’s favorite dining spot is “The Source”, owned by celebrity chef, Wolfgang Puck at 575 Pennsylvania Ave. N.W. Washington, D.C. 20001. This was his first restaurant here in the D.C. area, located on the same block of the Newseum. (which has a cafe inside also owned by Puck)
“Alaskan King Salmon” a favorite of Ms. Foster, is steamed to perfection under the masterful direction of Executive Chef, Scott Drewno, who creates menus for all three levels of the restaurant. The ground floor casual bar and lounge, the Second Level dining room with surrounding mirrors with spectacular views of the Penn Quarter, and the lower level private dining room for special events. The restaurant also has a two story glass rack on the wall with over 2,000 bottles of wine to pair with their culinary delights!
The lounge menu offers what they describe as an exotic Japanese menu with offerings like a traditional Isakenyu menu. While the upstairs menu expresses contemporary interpretations of Asian dishes to create that special flair for taste and sense of adventure.”Lacquered Chinese Duckling” with Black Plum Puree or “Crispy Suckling Pig” with Wild Huckleberries to tantalize the taste buds!
For dessert, there are delightful teasers like the “15 Layer Carrot Cake” and “Turtle Cheesecake.” Fantastic 3 course lunchtime specials are available for the “daytrippers” as low as $22.00
featured image courtesy of EatMeDaily.com
Rodney is C.E.O. and Executive Chef at Copa Catering here in the DC Metro area. Also he functions as Editor-in-Chief of Copa Fine Food, Wine & Fashion Magazine, submitting related articles from around the world. As a former Fashion Photographer in D.C. and New York in the late 70′s, Rodney has developed a keen eye on the Fashion Industry ever since. After traveling the world in the U.S. Navy he had the great opportunity to see and taste the various culinary styles of all imaginations, which lead him to becoming a Chef and later founding Copa Catering. @Thunderdog58