Friday, March 29, 2013

Recipe Corner: The Vesper

The Vesper is the original James Bond Martini. It does not serve this drink well to shake it, however. This is a stirred cocktail and garnished with a lemon twist. This is a great introductory gin drink for the non-gin drinker. The vodka will cut down the botanical nature of the gin, and the Cocchi Americano adds a little citrus and bitter note to the drink. Take this one for a spin this Spring!

2 oz of London Dry Gin
1 oz of vodka (I prefer a potato based vodka)
.5 oz of Cocchi Americano

Bar Manager Jeff Faile

Build a Better Bar IQ: Vermouth

Whenever someone asks for a martini at the bar, I inevitably follow that order with a question: Would you like any vermouth in that?  Some people look at me like I asked them if I could take a swing at them with a baseball bat.  Others say, “Only a splash” or “In and out”.  It pains me vermouth has lost its place in the martini or depending on the style, as an aperitif.

Most people’s first interaction with vermouth was with that bottle that sat on their parents’ liquor shelf for years. You reached for it, tasted it, and immediately thought what evil person would ever invent such a thing! The first problem with this is that vermouth probably should have been thrown out the week after G. Gordon Liddy was caught snooping around the Watergate, and you tried that bottle when Reagan was shot outside of the Hilton.

You see, vermouth is wine based, and just like that bottle you opened two nights ago, it has a limited life span.  Its origins go back to Turin, Italy when Carpano started making the first branded vermouth in 1786. Turin was then in the Savoy Kingdom which occupied most of northwest Italy. At the time, the winemakers didn't make the best wines (Hard to imagine that being the case given the great wines of the Piedmont today). As a result, both winemakers and shopkeepers started adding various herbs and spices to the wines to make them more palatable. One of the more popular additions was wormwood, or as the Germans called it, “vermud”, hence the name vermouth.

To me, vermouth is essential in a martini. I love the multi-layered flavors coming through. At home, I might be one of the more liberal users of vermouth. My martinis are equal parts vermouth and gin. I love vermouth on the rocks during the summer. That limited lifespan I referred to earlier? I don’t have to worry about that. Now, I don’t ask you to love it as much as I do, but I will ask you give it a chance. You’ll be glad you did. 

-- Jeff

Bar Manager and Mixologist Jeff Faile

What Jeff's Drinking Now: Gin

Even if the weather outside doesn't agree with the calendar about it being Spring, I’m starting to drink gin. I will sacrifice my liver for you all in hopes of drinking Spring weather into existence.  Which gin has been my gin of choice so far? DC’s own Green Hat.

Green Hat Gin has only been around for a brief period of time, but it certainly doesn't show through in the product. We’re pouring batch 13 at the bar, and they've certainly hit their stride with it. Obviously, there’s juniper there, but there’s also celery and floral notes to it making an extremely well rounded gin. This could be a great gin for a martini, gin and tonic, or a fantastic choice for a gin rickey

Come by and try it in all three!

Bar Manager and Mixologist Jeff Faile

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Fiola Nominated for 4 RAMMYs

 Following our 2012 win for Best New Restaurant of the Year, we are delighted to share the great news and express our gratitude to you, our guests, for receiving 2013 RAMMY Award nominations in the following categories: 

Fabio Trabocchi
Chef of the Year

Tom Wellings
Pastry Chef of the Year 

Elizabeth Zelaya
Employee of the Year

Hottest Bar Scene

 We thank you for your loyal support and patronage!

The RAMMYAwards, known as the "Oscars" of Washington DC area restaurants, recognize and award excellence and achievement in the restaurant industry. Winners will be announced at the RAMMY awards gala on June 23.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Jeff Faile Demos "Smoke Gets In Your Rye"

Fiola Bar Manager Jeff Faile demonstrates how to make his popular cocktail, Smoke Gets in  Your Rye, in this new video from the Washingtonian. This video is a supplement to the magazine's Great Bars 2013 issue, out this month.

Bar Manager and Mixologist Jeff Faile

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Fiola's Killer Cocktails

The March issue of Washingtonian magazine includes its annual Great Bars feature, which includes mention of Fiola (of course!) as well as a sidebar featuring Bar Manager Jeff Faile's inventive and delicious "Smoke Gets in Your Rye". Cheers, Jeff!

Featuring Bar Manager Jeff Faile's Smoke Gets in Your Rye

The Fiola Bar is buzzing, with live jazz on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and our festive Happy Hour, with drink and food specials from 4 pm to 6 pm on Monday through Thursday.

Doughnut March Madness!

Washingtonian magazine has launched a Doughnut Derby featuring the city's best sweet fried dough! 
Pastry Chef Tom Wellings' Bomboloni 
Choose Fiola's ethereal ricotta bomboloni to win! Submit your complete bracket online by the deadline, March 10.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Power Up! with Power Foods on Maria's Light Menu

Maria Trabocchi
This month we are focusing the popular Maria's Light Menu on "powerfoods", those vegetable, fruit, grain, nut and seed products that serve as powerful sources of clean proteins, vitamins, minerals, beneficial enzymes, antioxidants, good fats and oils, and other nutrients.  Maria's menu already features low sodium, low carbohydrate options. 

The powerfoods on the Maria Light Menu will change daily, but you can expect to find items like goji berries, quinoa, radicchio, baby kale, and whole wheat pasta. 

Goji Berries (goh-gee)
Originally from the Himalayan Mountain region, the naturally dried goji berries (also known as wolfberries) have long been touted for their medicinal purposes, including enhancing the immune system, improving eyesight, and protecting the liver. They are high in Vitamin A, and have a slightly sweet, sour flavor. Some varieties tend more toward a distinct "berry" flavor, others taste more like a sundried tomato.

Quinoa (keen-wah)
An ancient grain-like crop grown for its edible seeds, which provide a complete source of protein. Quinoa originated in the Andes mountains of South America, and was one of the three staple foods of the Inca civilization.

Radicchio boasts an antioxidant content that rivals blueberries and spinach!

Baby Kale
This versatile green is an excellent source of both vitamins A (as beta-carotene) and C, along with a decent amount of fiber. Kale also delivers vitamin B6, which helps maintain healthy nervous and immune systems, as well as iron and calcium. Perhaps most impressive, this versatile green contains especially high amounts of phytochemicals that may help safeguard the eyes from macular degeneration and cataracts.

Whole Wheat Pasta
Whole grains provide a longer supply of sustained energy and are high in dietary fiber.

We hope to see you at Fiola for a new definition of the "Power Lunch"!

Recipe Corner: Easter Lamb

Easter Lamb
Agnello Pasquale

Serves 6

Easter is our biggest feast, comparable to Thanksgiving in America. At my house, we fasted the day before Easter, in keeping with religious tradition. We would cook up plenty of eggs, wrapping them in onion skins and flowers and then boiling them. In this way, they acquired rich color which made for beautiful accents for dinner the next day. The priest came to our house to bless the eggs (and anything else we wanted him to bless!). Alongside the eggs on the Easter table, we put some olive branches, also blessed by the priest. The main course was the Paschal lamb. This recipe, which includes a lamb stew and a separately cooked rack of lamb, all garnished with fried artichokes, has been in my family for generations. The only thing I have omitted is the split and roasted lamb’s head. Consuming it was an honor reserved for the men in the family. I am sorry that this custom has not transplanted well across the Atlantic.

2 1/2 pounds boneless lamb shoulder, trimmed of excess fat and cut into ½-inch cubes
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
12 tablespoons (6 ounces) unsalted butter
¼ pound pancetta, cut into ¼-inch dice
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 sprig thyme
1 sprig rosemary
4 cups dry white wine, such as Verdicchio or Pinot Grigio
4 cups chicken stock
2 ½ quarts sunflower or peanut oil
1 rack of lamb, 7 or 8 chops
Juice of ½ lemon
12 baby artichokes
4 large eggs
½ cup dry bread crumbs
¾ cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
3 tablespoons grated lemon zest
¼ cup finely chopped Italian parsley

For the Lamb Stew
Lightly season the lamb shoulder with salt and pepper. Put on a plate and let stand at room temperature for 20 minutes.

In a Dutch oven or other large heavy pot, melt 6 tablespoons of the butter over medium-high heat. Add the pancetta and sauté for 4 to 5 minutes, or until it begins to crispy. Add the onion, garlic, thyme, and rosemary and cook for about 10 minutes, or until the onion is soft and translucent. Remove from the heat and set aside.

Place a colander over a medium bowl. Melt the remaining 6 tablespoons butter in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Working in small batches so as not to overcrowd the pan, add the cubed lamb and sauté for about 3 to 4 minutes, or until the meat has browned. Transfer to the colander to drain. When all the lamb is browned and drained, add to the pot with the onions.

Set the pot over medium-high heat and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon. Add the wine and sue a wooden spatula or spoon to scrape any caramelized bits from the bottom of the pot. Reduce the heat to simmer and cook until the wine has reduced by two-thirds.

Meanwhile, heat the chicken stock in a medium saucepan.

Ladle the warm stock into the pot and quickly bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to low and let the stew cook gently for about 1 hour and 20 minutes, or until the lamb is very tender. (The stew can be made ahead. Remove from the heat and cool to room temperature, then cover and refrigerate for up to 1 day.)

Twenty minutes before cooking, remove the rack of lamb and the stew (if made ahead) from the refrigerator. Season the rack with salt and pepper and set aside.

Preheat the oven to 375. In a deep fryer or deep heavy pot, heat the oil to 350F.

For the Artichokes
 Combine the lemon juice with 4 cups water in a large bowl. Working with 1 artichoke at a time, cut off ¼ inch from the top of the artichoke and discard. Cut off the bottom of the stem. Break away the green outer leaves until you reach the tender yellow leaves. Using a paring knife, trim the heart and stem, cutting downward from the base of the leaves to the end of the stem, creating a smooth line. Cut the artichoke lengthwise in half. Using a spoon, scoop out the fuzzy choke. Place the cleaned heart in the lemon water.

For the Rack of Lamb
To cook the rack of lamb, heat a large cast-iron skillet or heavy oven proof sauté pan over medium-high heat. Place the rack fat side down in the pan and brown the meat in its own fat, about 4 minutes on each side.

Turn the rack fat side up, transfer the pan to the oven, and roast for about 8 minutes, or until it reaches an internal temperature of 125F, for medium-rare. Transfer the lamb to a platter, cover with aluminum foil, and let rest for 10 to 12 minutes.

Meanwhile, gently warm the stew over medium-low heat.

In a bowl, thoroughly mix the eggs, breadcrumbs, Parmigiano, and lemon zest. Season lightly with salt and pepper, and set aside.

While the lamb rests, cook the artichokes:

Line a baking sheet with paper towels. Drain the artichokes and pat dry. Using a slotted spoon, place the artichokes, in batches, in the hot oil and cook for about 3 minutes, or until lightly golden. Transfer the artichokes to the prepared baking sheet. Blot with paper towels and season with a little salt.

Just before serving, remove the stew from the heat. Mix in the egg mixture and stir until the sauce thickens. If the sauce doesn’t thicken, warm it slightly over very low heat; do not overheat, or the eggs will scramble.

Spoon the stew into a large serving dish. Slice the rack into individual chops and arrange around the stew. Garnish with the artichokes and sprinkle with the parsley. Serve immediately. 

Sweet Simplicity ... Cherry Blossoms!

The city will kick off the National Cherry Blossom Festival later this month with the peak bloom dates expected the last week in March. In honor of these delicate and beautiful blossoms and as as celebration of this beloved springtime celebration, starting the week of March 11 Pastry Chef Tom Wellings will be offering two cherry blossom themed desserts:

  • Vanilla Panna Cotta with Cherry Blossom Honey and Toasted Marcona Almonds
  • Macarons with Amarena Cherry and Cherry Blossom Buttercream

Pastry Chef Tom Wellings

Wine Class Series with John Toigo

Wine Director John Toigo
Price $85 per person, including a tasting of foods selected for pairing and a class packet featuring wine specifications, tasting notes, and more.

All classes are held from 5:30 to 7 pm.

Take advantage of special pricing by purchasing a series (not including the April 4 class, “The Older the Better”)
3 classes $225
4 classes $315

Thursday, March 14, 2013
“Baby, it’s Cold Outside”
Sure, it’s March. But the weather is still showing us it’s not quite spring. We’ll explore (and of course taste) these wines that are perfect for winter and the lingering transition to spring.
These are the big, velvety wines you want to drink by the fireside on your bear-skin rug.
  • Poggio al Tesoro, “Sondraia”, Bolgheri 2008
  • Tasca d’Almerita, Tenuta Regaleali, Cabernet Sauvignon, Palermo 2008
  • Firriato, “Camelot”, Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot, Trapani 2003
  • Brancaia, “Blu”, Maremma 2008
  • Tommasi, “Ca’ Florian”, Amarone della Valpolicella, Classico 2001              
Thursday, April 4, 2013
“The Older the Better”
***$170 per person***
It’s all about VINTAGE. These wines are old …. but we’ll taste some younger incarnations of the same wines to explore the benefits of aging. This class will feature some truly exceptional wines.
  • Canalicchio di Sopra, Brunello di Montalcino, Tuscany, Italy  2007
  • Canalicchio di Sopra, Brunello di Montalcino, Tuscany, Italy  2004
  • Canalicchio di Sopra, Brunello di Montalcino, Tuscany, Italy  2001
  • Canalicchio di Sopra, Brunello di Montalcino, Tuscany, Italy  1999    
  • Ferriere, 3rd Growth, Margaux, Bordeaux, France 1995
  • Cantina Vignaioli, Elvio Pertinace, “Castellizzano”, Barbaresco, Piedmont, Italy 1997
  • Mastroberardino, “Radici”, Aglianico, Riserva, Taurasi, Campania 1999
Thursday, May 2, 2013
“Bubbles for All Occasions”
From Champagne to Prosecco to Franciacorta … the methods and makers of sparkling wines and what makes the amazing Italian sparklers such a good value.
  • Mazzolino, Metodo Classico, Brut, Rose, Oltrepo Pavese, Lombardy NV
  • Ferrari, “Perle”, Metodo Classico, Brut, Trento 2006
  • Ca’ del Bosco, Brut, Franciacorta, Lombardy NV 
  • Pierre Moncuit, Grand Cru, Blanc de Blancs, Brut, Le Mesnil, Champagne, Frane NV
  • Billecart-Salmon, Brut, Rose, Mareuil-Sur-Ay, Champagne, France NV
  • Zardetto, Prosecco, Brut, Veneto, Italy NV
  • Giacomo Bologna, “Braida”, Bracchetto d’Acqui, Piedmont, Italy 2010
Thursday, June 6, 2013
“The World Cup of Pinot Noir”
In the wine cellar as on the soccer field, there are different styles. We’ll taste pinot noirs from France, Italy and the United States , as well as a newcomer from New Zealand.
  • Ca’ del Bosco, “Pinero”, Sebino, Lombardy, Italy 2007
  • Frédéric Magnien, “Herbuottes”, Morey-Saint-Denis, Burgundy, France 2007
  • Clouds Rest, “Limited Release”, Sonoma Coast, CA 2007
  • Loimer, “Dechant”, Kamptal, Austria 2007
  • Bodega Chacra, “Barda”, Mendoza, Argentina  2010
  • Spy Valley, “Envoy”, Marlborough, New Zealand 2007
Thursday, July 11, 2013
“Maria’s Favorite Wines of Spain”
These are the Spanish wines we love to drink.
  • 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
Frequently Asked Questions
To register for classes or for more information, please email us at or call (202) 628-2888.

Payment must be made at the time of reservation via credit card or cash.

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.  

Allergies and Dietary Restrictions
If you are registered for one of our classes and have an allergy or dietary restriction, please let us know in advance by emailing  so that we can do our best to accommodate you.