Thursday, October 31, 2013

Recipe Corner: The Bijou

The Bijou is one of the first cocktails I fell in love with. Bijou is French for jewel, and the ingredients refer to individual jewels. Gin symbolizes diamonds, the sweet vermouth symbolizes rubies, and the Chartreuse represents emeralds. I’m not sure what made me fall in love with this drink. It’s certainly strong and decidedly herbaceous…which I guess I lean towards. Try one out next time you’re at Fiola. It’s a perfect cool weather drink.  


1.5 oz Gin (I prefer Ransom’s Old Tom)
1 oz Sweet Vermouth (I prefer Carpano Antica)
1 oz Green Chartreuse
Healthy dash of orange bitters


Add all ingredients to mixing glass.
Add ice. 
Stir into your favorite cocktail glass. 
Garnish with an orange twist.


What Jeff's Drinking Now ... The Darker Spirits

It’s cooling down which means I’m heading back towards the darker spirits. This time of year is also the time when Buffalo Trace does its annual release of the George T Stagg and Thomas Handy Rye. If you’ve missed out on them in the past, they’re here now for you to try.

This year’s Stagg has been aged just shy of 16 years. It’s bottled at barrel proof which clocks in at a hefty 128.2. The amazing thing is, the proof doesn't overshadow the taste. Even with the high proof, you’ll still get beautiful notes of vanilla, fudge, and tobacco. It’s okay to add an ice cube or two to the mix if you’d like. Either neat or on the rocks, this beauty is meant to be sipped.

Thomas H. Handy Rye is another fine example of what rye whiskey can be. This one has been aged for a little over 6 years. It packs a punch with its 128.4 proof, but like the George Stagg, you can still pick up great flavors. The toffee, clove and allspice still shine through. I would recommend a cube or two with this to open the spirit and temper the heat from the higher proof. Unlike the Stagg, it’s not been aged as to smooth out the edges. Then again, that’s why rye lovers enjoy!


Ask the Bar Man

Q: Jeff, what is your least favorite drink? – Emmet, Annapolis

A: This is a pretty easy one for me. It has to be the Long Island Iced Tea. I’m not trying to be a liquor or drink snob here. I’ve actually enjoyed a LIT many times especially in my younger days. Through school, I  practically lived off the Tuesday night special of $7 PITCHERS of them at the local watering hole. As you can imagine, I may have overindulged a time or two with that price and a college student’s budget. Now, we’ve all been there. For some it was tequila, others it was gin. For me? Long Island Iced Tea. I can barely type the name of the drink without having fuzzy flashbacks of horrible mornings.

I thought I was over the college-era drinking until one night when I lived in Philly. As a 20 something, I found a dive of a bar that had a Long Island Iced Tea special on Sundays. Huge mistake. Over a couple of hours, friends and I drank the cheapest of the cheap spirits not caring what the next day held. Forget the 9am meeting, I thought. Full steam ahead. Never have I felt worse. 

See, there’s the thing. When you’re drinking a LIT, you get the poorest quality spirit in most bars. They’re not pouring from their back bar. They’re reaching for spirits that cost them about $.10 an ounce. You’re not getting high quality at that price, and you’re not going to feel great the next day. 

Obviously, we don’t have those cheap spirits here at Fiola, but you’re still taking in quite a bit of alcohol. Ask one of us behind the bar to make you something delicious. You’ll thank us the next day. 


Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Anatomy of a Dish: Adriatic Seafood Brodetto

Brodetto is the fish soup or stew that is the symbol of the fish cuisine of the Italian Adriatic coast, from Venezia Giulia in the north to Molise in the south. Recipes vary in each community along the coast, but the dish originated among sailors who would cook their meals at sea from part of their catch. It was also the dish of fisherman and fishmongers, left with the little fish in their nets after they sold all the big ones at market.

In the middle Adriatic (such as Le Marche, where Chef Fabio is from), brodetti often include firm fleshed fish, cuttlefish, crustaceans, fresh tomato, onion and garlic, green peppers, chili and saffron giving the dish more "zing." So it is at Fiola. 

Adriatic Seafood Brodetto at Fiola
We start by marinating fish bones and crustacean shells overnight with aromatic herbs, garlic and citrus zests. The following day we start with a soffritto of onions, celery and garlic, which we sweat down in extra virgin olive oil until soft and translucent. Next we add green tomatoes, green peppers, finger chilies and saffron, and cook until those vegetables are tender.

We add the marinated fish bones and all of the aromatics, and cook them for approximately 10 minutes. We deglaze the pan with anise liqueur, and reduce by half, then add a dry white wine. Once the alcohol has cooked out, we cover the base with fish and shellfish stock, and simmer for approximately 1 hour. We blend the mixture, then strain it through a fine chinois, pressing the vegetables and bones well so that none of the precious flavorful liquid is wasted. 

We use this brodetto to open the mussels and clams for the stew, adding to its flavor, as well as poaching the fish, shrimp, calamari, and whatever else came from our fishmonger that day. Though the original brodetto recipe calls for 13 fish, one for each of those at the Last Supper, Chef Fabio's rule is that it must contain at least two different fin fish, two types of shellfish, and either calamari or octopus.

Buon Appetito!

When it Comes to Wine ... Fall for Amarone

Velvety and voluptuous, the Amarone della Valpolicella D.O.C. Classico Monte Sant'Urbano 2004 from Speri, one of a dozen or so noble family producers of Amarone producing wines only from their own grapes. For a special occasion, the 1990 vintage is exceptional, and showcases the true aging potential of Amarone.  

Speri, “Monte Sant’Urbano”, Amarone della Valpolicella,Classico 2004    

The key to the flavors of Amarone are in the production.  The grapes of Valpolicella are dried out to an almost raisin-like state.  This concentrates the sugars and other flavor components in the juice.  The final product can evoke a sensation of silken chocolate on the tongue with flavors of blackberries, figs, dates, and a touch of vanilla.  This rich wine is the perfect complement to the seasonal wild game dishes of the fall.  

Sweet Simplicity: Apple Panna Cotta with Chestnut Cream

Fall flavors are making their way onto our dessert menu!

Apple Panna cotta
Apple Panna Cotta

Our creamy local apple panna cotta is layered over a luscious chestnut cream. Topped with sweet and gooey candied chestnuts, tart apple granita, and crisp, raw apples tossed with finely chopped white pine needles and honey. 

Spoon in to this flavorful fall dolce!

Recipe Corner: Spit-Roasted Squab, or Piccione allo Spiedo

In the same way that a Cornish game hen is like a miniature chicken, a squab, or pigeon, is like rich wild game in a small package. The dark meat is so succulent that it is one of the few birds—wild or domestic—that doesn’t dry out quickly when grilled over hot coals. In Italy, there is a saying “En agosto, palombo rosto,” which translates as “In August, roast pigeon.” Actually, I like my squab to fatten up some more, as they will by the fall. Which makes them perfect this time of year!

Squab, getting ready for the grill ... 
Before grilling, season the squab with crushed juniper berries, sage, garlic, and prosciutto, then baste with olive oil infused with herbs and citrus zest. This herb oil would also be great on grilled meats such as lamb or steaks. If you don’t have a grill with a spit, don’t worry: The squab can also be roasted in a hot oven. 

This dish is even more splendid when washed down with a glass of brawny Le Marche Rosso Conero.

-- FT


2 tablespoons crushed juniper berries

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

6 squab, about 1 pound each

3⁄4 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing the birds
18 sage leaves
9 garlic cloves, skin left on, crushed
2⁄3 pound thinly sliced prosciutto, cut into 1⁄8-inch-wide strips
1 tablespoon chopped rosemary
1 tablespoon chopped thyme
3 bay leaves, preferably fresh, chopped
A 1⁄2-inch-wide strip of orange zest
A 1⁄2-inch-wide strip of lemon zest
1⁄2 cup dry white wine, such as Verdicchio or Pinot Grigio

In a small bowl, combine the juniper berries, 1⁄4 cup salt, and 11⁄2 teaspoons pepper.

Wipe the inside of the birds dry with paper towels. Brush or rub the squab with olive oil, including the cavities. Season the birds inside and out with the juniper mixture. Place the squab on a baking sheet. Stuff the cavity of each bird with 3 sage leaves, a garlic clove, and one-sixth of the prosciutto.

Cover and let marinate at room temperature for 20 minutes.

Prepare a charcoal fire or gas grill with a spit, or preheat the oven to 400°F.

Place the 3⁄4 cup olive oil in a medium saucepan and heat over medium heat just until warm. Remove from the heat, add the rosemary, thyme, bay leaves, orange and lemon zest, wine, and the remaining 3 garlic cloves, and mix well. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Set aside.

If using a grill fitted with a spit, skewer the squab on the spit. Cook for about 20 minutes, using a pastry brush to baste the birds with the herb oil every 5 minutes. Or place the squab in a large roasting pan and roast in the oven for about 20 minutes, basting every 5 minutes with the oil. When the squab is done, its skin will be crispy and golden and the breast meat will be medium to medium-rare. Transfer to a platter, cover loosely, and let rest in a warm place for 10 minutes before serving.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Anatomy of a Dish: Risotto "Cacio e Pepe"

Our Risotto "Cacio e Pepe" has become a favorite dish among guests. Here we break down the preparation in our Anatomy of a Dish.

Risotto "Cacio e Pepe"
We use Acquerello Carnaroli rice, which is grown in the rice fields of Piemonte in the province of Vercelli. In 1945 a Milanese rice grower crossed the Italian rice variety Vialone Nano with a Japanese strain to create Carnaroli, considered the “king of rice”. Carnaroli has the highest starch content of the japonica varieties grown in Italy, which yields a creamy, flowing risotto that is resistant to overcooking. However, Carnaroli is difficult to grow, prone to disease, and its grains break easily in processing, so it is typically more expensive than other rice varieties.

We start with a soffritto of shallots and a combination of butter and extra virgin olive oil. The shallots are cooked until soft and translucent. Then the rice is added, and "toasted" in the fat, a process called the tostatura. When the rice kernels change from translucent to slightly opaque, we deglaze the pan with a dry white wine, usually Verdicchio or Pinot Grigio. 

Once the wine has reduced, we begin to add the broth a little at a time, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon. After approximately 15 minutes, when the rice is just al dente, we remove it from the heat for the last stage in the cooking process, the mantecatura.  This includes the creaming of the rice with cultured butter and freshly grated Bonati Parmigiano Reggiano. We love the richness of the cultured butter, and the Bonati family is setting the standard for impeccable quality and production of Parmigiano Reggiano in all of Italy.

We plate the risotto in shallow bowls, and garnish with crushed black peppercorns, cubes of Parmigiano Reggiano, and a drizzle of Villa Manodori Balsamico. Villa Manodori Balsamico is produced by 3 Michelin Star Italian chef Massimo Bottura and crafted from trebbiano grapes. 

We add a few spoons of Parmigiano froth made from the rinds of the Parmigiano soaked in milk, and we often garnish with proteins such as roasted pheasant or duck confit, and mache or microgreens.

Buon Appetito!

Recipe Corner: Maria's Chilled Gazpacho

Heirloom Tomatoes at Fiola
At the Trabocchi home in Mallorca, the gazpacho is made every summer with the tomatoes, peppers, and garlic grown in the garden on the property.

Everyone tries to compete with the high level of standards set by “Abuela” (Maria's mother, Alicia) for making gazpacho. The tomatoes are grown on the oldest part of the property, San Julia. 

One interesting thing about Mallorca is that it’s crying for water. Having water for plants is a luxury. That means that only a small portion of the land is used for growing vegetables, which include tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, zucchini and melons. Because of the high temperatures in the summer, the tomatoes are super sweet. Even though our local and Texas heirloom tomatoes are wonderful, there is nothing that beats their taste! You can smell them even before you get to the garden.

Use the highest quality tomatoes you can find!


900 grams (2 lbs) heirloom tomatoes, chopped with their seeds and skins
1 red bell pepper, seeds removed
1 English cucumber, skinned
1 garlic clove, peeled and crushed 
Extra virgin olive oil 
Salt and freshly ground black pepper 


1. Combine the tomatoes, red bell pepper, cucumber, and garlic clove. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper, and drizzle with olive oil.

2. Allow to macerate for at least 24 hours covered in the refrigerator.

3. Puree the mixture in the blender until smooth, adding additional extra virgin olive oil as necessary. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.

Bravissimo! C-Cap Intern Receives Full Scholarship

Congratulations to our C-Cap Intern, Ramon Hagins, who received a full 3-year scholarship to culinary school and was featured on NBC News 4 with Jackie Bensen, along with Chef Justus Frank.

Bravissimo, Ramon!

C-CAP, which stands for Careers Through Culinary Arts Program, works with public schools to prepare underserved high school students for college and career opportunities in the restaurant and hospitality industry. 

Fiola and Casa Luca each hosted two C-CAP interns this summer, in culinary and pastry. Kudos to our Chefs for mentoring these aspiring culinary stars!

Chef Justus Frank

Sweet Simplicity: Seadas

A traditional dessert from the island of Sardinia, seadas are stuffed fritters filled with pecorino and drizzled with honey after frying. Seadas, also known as sebadas, get their name from the Sardinian dialect word “seu”, which is the animal fat used in candle-making and refers to sheen of the honey with which they are drizzled. 

Seadas have a romantic history; they were traditionally prepared by women for their husbands who were out in the spring pasture for long periods with the sheep. 

Chef Tom's version of Seadas could be a dessert, or even a cheese course! Glossy pillows of crisp dough are stuffed with three cheeses - Pecorino, ricotta, and Cacio di Roma - as well as lemon zest and orange zest. The warm fritters are tossed in wildflower honey, orange zest and Amaro, and served with fresh, seasonal figs. 

Seadas at Fiola

When it Comes to Wine ...

We have entered a season change. We are nearing the end of summer . . . but not yet in the fall.  The catch is, a lot of fall flavors and ingredients are emerging (anyone else looking forward to pumpkin spiced lattes?) and we need a wine that can work with anything. 

Enter the “Orange Wine”...

COS Rami
Orange wines are a style of making white wine that dates back into antiquity, before modern winemaking techniques. A white wine that is allowed to rest on the grape skins for longer and then is often exposed to more oxygen and aged in amphora or oak. 

Azienda Agricola COS, usually just called “COS”, is a winemaker from Sicily that is known for a natural and biodynamic style. This wine “Rami” is made from Inzolia/Grecanico, two local indigenous grapes that the majority of consumers have never heard of. 

This wine is a delicious gateway to the orange wine world. Rami conveys the vibrancy of orange peel and pear with a wonderful honeyed richness as well. Drink it with anything other than a salad. 

When you stop in, I can show you a few more advanced orange wine options too…

I have a bottle waiting for you,
John Toigo

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

What Jeff's Drinking Now: Colonel E.H. Taylor Rye

Colonel E.H. Taylor Rye

The Colonel Taylor line came out right after I had finished reading a book on bourbon and American whiskey. One of the more prominent figures in the book was Colonel E.H. Taylor. Taylor brought about legislation to control the production of American whiskey. Have you ever noticed “Bonded In Bond” on a bottle? You can thank Colonel Taylor for that. Before his legislation went through, anything and everything could have a label with bourbon slapped on it. People were passing off alcohol with anything from caramel to formaldehyde in it to give it color.

Of course, Taylor may have had a vested interest given his ownership of the Old Fire Copper Distillery which is now where the Buffalo Trace Distillery is. This leads us to Buffalo Trace putting out a whole line of product in his honor. There were 6 products in the line originally with 2 being very limited and 2 being released annually.

The Taylor Rye is one that is going to be released annually. The one I’ve been sipping on lately is beautiful. There’s the classic spice that belongs in every good rye, but the mid-palate finds the barrel coming through. There are nice notes of toffee and general sweetness which rounds back in to the spice we all know and love from rye whiskey.

We have plenty here at Fiola. Come by and enjoy a great example of what rye should be. 



Recipe Corner: The Don Ciccio

The Don Ciccio, named after the character in Godfather II, is one of the new cocktails on the Fiola list I’m excited about. While playing around with different ingredients for the fall cocktail list, I came across this lovely combination. 

It certainly is more suited for fall weather with the Scotch and herbal notes from the Benedictine and Chartreuse, but there’s enough lemon in there to brighten it up for the last bit of summer weather.   

The Don Ciccio

1 oz Sheep Dip Scotch
.75 oz Lemon Juice
.75 oz Benedictine
.75 oz Yellow Chartreuse

Shake. Strain into your favorite cocktail glass. Garnish with a wide lemon twist. 



Ask the Bar Man

Q: Jeff, how do you come up with the names for your drinks? - Frank from Brookland

A: I have to admit this is the toughest part for me when coming up with drinks. The flavors I can get pretty quickly or I can nail down a general idea of what I want to do with a drink easily. The names? That’s always been tough.

I will say there is always one drink named after my wife in some way on any list I do. That’s a given. After that, I’ll try to throw a play on words in there (The "Smoke Gets in Your Rye" is a great example). Given the nature of Fiola, there’s always an Italian turn of phrase that’s useful. Sometimes I’ll go with a random song that comes on while on my way to work. Other times, it’s in reference to a movie I watched the night before. 

Perhaps the funniest way I’ve heard of bartenders coming up with names is through dog track racing names. I’ve resorted to this a few times. The best one I came across was “A Point to Ponder”. Although, you have to wonder what the owners of the dog actually called him/her with a name like that. 

Ultimately, I still have a hard time thinking of names even with all of those resources. There are only so many songs in the world, so many usable dog names, and my Italian is limited. Anyone have any great ideas out there?



Monday, August 26, 2013

Labor Day Holiday Hours

Fiola will be closed in observance of the Labor Day holiday on Monday, September 2 and Tuesday, September 3.

We will reopen for lunch on Wednesday, September 4, and will subsequently resume our regular hours of operation. 

Buone Vacanze!

Monte Conero, Ancona, Marche, Italy

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Ask the Barman

Q: What makes DC such a good drinking town?Mark from Cleveland Park

A: There are so many factors that go in to that. First, the people sitting across the bar are more responsible that anything. As with their willingness to try new food, more and more people are experimenting with new liquors, flavors, and simply trusting the bartenders to come up with something based upon a flavor profile they’ve offered up; dealer’s choice if you will. 

People are moving away from walking in and ordering a scotch on the rocks or vodka martini while ignoring the bar/restaurant’s cocktail list. While there’s nothing wrong with having your favorite drink (I have plenty of those), it’s always nice to try a new drink.

Also, I believe we’re extremely lucky to have a lot of dedicated and talented people behind the bars in the city. No longer are people bartending to just put themselves through school or to make money in between “real” jobs. Now, there are passionate people who live and breathe the bartending craft. There’s been a noticeable shift towards a chef-like mentality behind bars not only with culinary twists on drinks but also in preparation.  Part of that is due to some of the top bartenders in the city have moved out from the kitchen to tend bar. Others have simply learned by watching their chefs and have integrated the kitchen prep into their bar prep. The line between bar and kitchen isn’t blurred just yet, but it’s not as straight as it used to be.

Drinking in DC has come a long way in the 6 years I've lived here. There weren't any straight cocktail bars when I moved here. Run through the list now. There are so many good ones with more coming. Obviously, I think we make great drinks at Fiola, but I think the competition will only make us better.



Bar Manager Jeff Faile

Friday, July 19, 2013

Recipe Corner: Gimlet

The Gimlet is a fantastic summertime drink. While most have been introduced to this drink with artificially sweetened lime juice, I think it is improved tremendously with fresh lime and simple syrup.

There are plenty of options for a gimlet. It can be done with vodka or gin, up or on the rocks. 

Me? I prefer it with a nice botanical gin and on the rocks on a hot summer day. Make one of these when you’re sweltering away on your porch. You’ll be glad you did.

2 oz Gin
.75 oz fresh lime juice
.75 oz simple syrup

Combine all ingredients in a mixing glass. Add ice. Shake. Strain into either a martini glass or over fresh ice. Sip. Smile. Repeat as necessary. 

Bar Manager Jeff Faile

What Jeff's Drinking Now: Bourbon, with a Nod to Mr. Elmer T. Lee

With the recent passing of Elmer T. Lee, I’m drinking single barrel bourbon. 

Elmer T. Lee worked in the bourbon business for years until passing away this week at the young age of 93. Lee was responsible for introducing Blanton’s in 1984, which revived a then-dying bourbon business by bringing about the trend of small batch bourbons and single barrels.

Elmer T. Lee, Photo from Buffalo Trace

What are small batch and single barrel bourbons, you ask? It’s simple, really. 

After the spirit is distilled, it is placed in barrels to age. The distiller will often place these barrels in warehouses, barns, etc.  Bourbon labeled “Single Barrel” is just that. It’s bourbon that comes from one single barrel from a warehouse. These bottles will vary from time to time in regards to taste, but generally you’ll get a fairly similar experience when it comes to the bigger producers. Small batch bourbon is a blending of barrels to eliminate the differences in taste all together putting out a consistent delicious product from bottle to bottle. 

Whichever way you decide to go, please raise your glass to Mr. Lee.


Bar Manager Jeff Faile

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Summer Dining in the Mediterranean Style

Our low calorie, low sodium Maria's Light Menu will keep you in shape for summer in the Mediterranean style, without sacrificing any flavor!

Our menu changes daily, but some of our recent offerings have included:
  • heirloom tomato gazpacho with roasted peaches tossed in a peach vinaigrette, garnished with Upland Cress
  • poached fish of the day, such as Atlantic wolffish, served with protein-rich quinoa and tender cockles
  • our light and brothy vegan bulghur soup studded with summer vegetables and finished with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil
Our Sgroppino of fruit sorbetto whipped with Prosecco is a perfect sweet finish to the meal. 

Maria's Light Menu is $28 for three courses and available exclusively at lunch.

Maria Trabocchi

When it Comes to Wine: For Summer, Pour the Pink

Cool off with these refreshing rosé wines offered by the glass, and take a sip of summer! 

Charles & Charles, Syrah/Mourvedre, Columbia Valley, Washington 2012 
"Rooty-tooty fresh and fruity" is how you could describe this blend from Washington state's Columbia Valley, which features aromas of wild strawberries and cherries, along with subtle florals like rose and hibiscus. With a touch of citrus, this lovely wine also has underlying tones of dried herbs and minerality.

Charles & Charles Rose

Mastroberardino, “Lacrimarosa”, Aglianico, Campania 2012
This vibrant and delicious offering comes from one of the premier producers of Southern Italy's Campania region, Mastroberardino. Lacrimarosa gets its hints of spiciness from the Aglianico grape, which makes a great base for this rosato, striking a nice balance between refreshment and depth of flavor.

Wine Director John Toigo

Sweet Simplicity: Summer's Late Bounty

We've experienced a late start to the summer fruit season.  But, ahhh, it's worth the wait! 

Pastry Chef Tom Wellings is now offering poached red peaches and peach-white wine granita to provide a cool finish on these sweltering summer evenings, paired with almond financier and peach gelato.

Pastry Chef Tom Wellings' new peach dessert
 Available starting next week ... be sure to try the grilled watermelon sorbetto, a surprising combination of smoky-sweet refreshment. And don't miss the wild Oregon plum "macedonia" with a semolina cake and sheep's milk yogurt sorbetto, offered on our tasting menu. 

Pastry Chef Tom Wellings

Recipe Corner: Melanzane di Graziella

Eggplant Graziella Style

When my godmother Graziella cooked over charcoal, the whole neighborhood knew that she was making dinner. The grown-ups would stand around with a beer or a glass of wine, making jokes and grilling sausages, lamb chops, and pig’s liver. You could watch the plumes of smoke catch the sunlight and disappear through the trees.

Just before dinner, Graziella would come out of the kitchen with a tray full of chicken or game birds ready for grilling. She would get the ball rolling with some eggplant thrown on the grill. As I write this, I can see myself kicking a soccer ball in the street with my playmates as Graziella took over the grill.

This version of her eggplant dish is substantial enough to serve as a vegetarian main course.

We used to have a trick for regulating the heat in a charcoal fire. Often everyone is eager to eat before the fire has burned down enough. If you keep some ashes from previous fires in a can, you can simply sprinkle them over the hot coals and—presto!—your fire cools down. If you need more heat, shake the grate to loosen the ashes and the coals will heat right up again.


6 large Italian (globe) eggplants
Kosher salt
1 garlic clove, coarsely chopped
1 tablespoon chopped dill
1 tablespoon chopped oregano
Grated zest of ½ orange
Grated zest of ½ lemon
½ cup extra virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing eggplant
Freshly ground black pepper

Slice each eggplant lengthwise in half. Using a paring knife, score the flesh about ¼ inch deep in a ½-inch crisscross pattern. Sprinkle lightly with salt and place cut side down in a colander set over a bowl. Cover with a kitchen towel and let stand at room temperature for at least 6 hours to drain.

Prepare a charcoal fire or preheat a gas grill to medium.

Rinse the salt from the eggplant and pat dry. In a small bowl, combine the garlic, dill, oregano, and orange and lemon zests. Whisk in the olive oil.

Season the dressing with salt and pepper and transfer to a small serving bowl or sauceboat.

Brush the surface of each eggplant with olive oil. Place cut side down on the grill and grill over medium heat, turning once, for about 6 minutes on each side, or until the cut surface is golden brown and the skin is wrinkled.

Arrange the eggplant on a serving platter and serve warm, each topped with a spoonful of dressing.

Fiola Wins Wine Spectator Award ... and more! Cin Cin!

We are pround to announce that Fiola has earned Wine Spectator's Best Award of Excellence for our 575 bottle wine list, featuring the best producers in Italy, France, Spain and the United States. 

Wine Enthusiast also recently named Fiola one of America's 100 Best Wine Restaurants in its August 2013 issue. Other top restaurants on the list include The French Laundry, in Yountville, Calif., Daniel and Eleven Madison Park in New York City, and Michael Mina in San Francisco.

Fiola Wine Director John Toigo was also featured in's Ask a Sommelier series, in which he described the greatest wine he's ever tried. Ask him about it in person on your next visit to Fiola ...

Fiola Wine Director John Toigo

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Casa Luca Now Open!

Now Open!

We can't wait to welcome you to our new restaurant, Casa Luca, located at 1099 New York Avenue NW (entrance on 11th Street). 

Our menu features antipasti, house-made pastas,traditional Marche flatbreads like "crescia" and "chichi", grilled meats and fish, and classic Italian desserts. We're excited about our list of wines on tap and affordable bottle selections, as well as our Italian inspired craft cocktails.

We are taking reservations at 202-628-1099 or via OpenTable.

We have a table waiting for you at Fiola and Casa Luca!

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Marche is Good!

Chef Fabio is proud to serve as am ambassador for his home region of Le Marche as part of the Marche is Good project.

Marche is Good is an integrated project created by Regione Marche and Confindustria Marche to bring the best kept secret of Italy to America. The project will feature cooking classes, tastings and other special events in New York City in the month of October, all highlighting the wine, spirits and gourmet products hailing from the Marche region of Italy.

From opera to design, art to culinary excellence, Marche has it all! Chef Fabio is proud to say that he is a chef of Le Marche.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Festival of Formaggi

Try our latest curated selection of artisanal cheeses from the best producers in Italy and the U.S. 

We've hand selected a variety of cow, sheep, goat and rich buffalo milk cheeses - many of which are limited production and highly seasonal. Now is the perfect time to try some of these rare and exceptional cheeses.

Try the award winning, farmstead washed rind "Georgia Red", or the juniper studded toma from Piemonte, "Juni",  which tastes like a gin and tonic in cheese form.

Ask your server for the day's selection, which is served with housemade cherry mostarda, fresh figs and walnut raisin toast. Perfect for a snack at Fiola Bar, or after your meal.

Save room for cheese!

Power Lunch at Fiola

According to Capitol File magazine, weekdays between the hours of 11:30 am and 2:30 pm, the epicenter of power in Washington shifts from Capitol Hill to Penn Quarter ... and Fiola! But even if you're not a member of Washington's political elite, we will make sure you feel that way when you dine with us. Join us for our Power Lunch, Monday through Friday, inside or al fresco on our gorgeous patio.

Choose from our delicious seasonal specials, such as softshell crab! Or select a low calorie, low sodium option from the popular Maria's Light Menu.

For those running short on time, we have brought back the Presto! lunch menu at Fiola Bar, where you can enjoy and entree and beverage for just $19.

We've got a table waiting for you at lunchtime!

Sweet Simplicity: Roasted Apricots

Pastry Chef Tom Wellings is now offering Albicocche Arrosto, or roasted apricots, on the Dolci menu. Chef Tom is roasting juicy apricots in honey, white wine, vanilla, and thyme, and serving them with a tangy sheep's milk yogurt sorbetto, with crunchy honey-oats, sliced almonds, vanilla spongecake, lemon balm, and a honey-milk froth.

Pastry Chef Tom Wellings' Albicocche Arrosto

When it Comes to Wine ...

Wine Director John Toigo leads his final wine tasting class of the season on Thursday, July 11 from 5:30 - 7:30 pm. 

The class will feature “Maria’s Favorite Wines of Spain”. These wines pulse with a rhythm that is uniquely Spanish, from a more obscure Mallorcan Callet blend to the reigning indigenous varietal, Tempranillo.
  • Lopez de Heredia, “Viña Tondonia”, Tempranillo, Reserva, Rioja 2001
  • Lopez de Heredia, “Viña Tondonia”, Tempranillo, Grand  Reserva, Rioja  1994
  • Jean Leon, “Vinya La Scala”, Cabernet Sauvignon, Grand Reserva, Penedes 2001
  • Jean Leon, “Vinya La Scala”, Cabernet Sauvignon, Grand Reserva, Penedes 1994
  • Los Astrales, “Astrales”, Tempranillo, Ribera Del Duero, 2009
  • Anima Negra, “AN”, Callet/Mantonegre/Fogoneu, Mallorca, Spain 2010
Price is $85 per person per class and includes snacks and a class packet featuring wine specifications, tasting notes, and more.

Payment must be made at the time of reservation. Email for credit card authorization form.

Class Cancellation Policy
Cancellations with a full refund are accepted up to 72 hours prior to tasting date. No refunds will be granted for cancellations after this point. If we must cancel or reschedule the class for any reason, your registration fee will be refunded or you may elect to transfer your balance to a future class.

There are no prerequisites for our classes. Our goal is to build our customer’s confidence in selecting wines and increase their enjoyment of wines.  

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Ask the Bar Man

Q: What is Amaro?  -- Will, Chevy Chase

A. Amaro refers to an Italian after-dinner liqueur that has been around for centuries. Monasteries have been making them for centuries for medicinal purposes, primarily to help aid in digestion. Around the mid 1800’s, the first commercially available amari (plural of amaro) started to become available. The brands which are still popular today such as Averna, Fernet Branca, Amaro Montenegro, and Zucca appeared then.

Unlike the many of the spirits being made today, there are no guidelines in what goes in amari or how they are made. They can range from being made with neutral grain spirits to wine to being distilled from beets or something like artichoke leaves.  Of course, this creates a wide array of flavors. Most are herbaceous, some say bitter, (which is what amaro means in Italian) but all are quite unique.

For an intro amaro, I always recommend Averna. It has caramel added to it to sweeten it up, and that certainly helps people enjoy it more than others. Fernet Branca has quite a bit of mint in its flavor profile. Don’t expect to drink an Italian mint julep, however! There are around 40 different herbs and spices in their recipe!

Amari isn’t for everyone, but I find them fascinating. After a heavy meal, I’ll ask about a restaurant’s selection or enjoy one when I get back home.  Next time you’re at Fiola, ask about our selection. You’ll be glad you did!


Bar Manager Jeff Faile

What Jeff's Drinking Now: Ain’t That A Daisy?

aint that a daisy April 2012
"Ain't That a Daisy"
The “Ain’t That A Daisy” cocktail is one of the more popular drinks at Fiola as soon as the weather warms up. It’s an eye catching tequila based drink that has that lovely combination of tart citrus and the sweetness of a homemade hibiscus cordial. Before you even ask, yes, it is a variation of a margarita.

The history of the margarita is cloudy at best. Much like the mojito, many bars and bartenders claim to be the first person to have made it.   What seems to be the most accepted history behind it is the margarita is itself a variation of a classic drink called “The Daisy.” The Daisy is a style of drink which involves a base spirit (gin, whiskey, vodka, tequila) plus citrus and grenadine with crushed ice and a club soda topper. Also, margarita translates into “daisy” which lends a little more credibility to this theory.

At Fiola, we make our tongue in cheek “Ain’t That A Daisy?” with Milagro silver tequila, lime juice, grapefruit juice, and hibiscus cordial. The cordial makes the drink a dark red color but does not overwhelm the drink with sweetness. The tequila still has enough of the agave and vegetal notes to come through as well making this drink essential sipping on a hot, summer day! Swing by a try one the next time the temperatures skyrocket!


Bar Manager Jeff Faile

Recipe Corner: Aperol Spritz

The Aperol Spritz is a classic low-alcohol cocktail from the Veneto region in Italy. This time of year when the weather is getting hot, it’s one of my favorites.  Aperol is a bitter liqueur from the makers of Campari. There is a little more sweetness to it than Campari making it easier for most to drink.  Even better, this is one of the easiest cocktails to make!

2 oz Aperol
3 oz Prosecco
Club Soda

In your favorite glass (I prefer a rocks glass but traditionally done in Italy in a wine glass) add the Aperol, ice, and then prosecco. Top the drink with club soda. Give the drink a quick stir to disperse the Aperol throughout the drink. Garnish with an orange wedge. Sip. Smile. Repeat as necessary.