Farid Fellag, Artisanal Baker

As promised, an introduction to the hands that bring us such joy in the morning. Farid Fellag has worked tirelessly ever since moving into the kitchen at Buck's Fishing and Camping. I don't have to tell you how difficult it is to walk over from across the parking lot early in the morning with a sheet pan overflowing with freshly baked pastries and not be tempted to take a bite out of every one of his warm creations. Enjoying a pain au chocolat in the morning with my cappuccino is a definite joy, and a warm slice of focaccia in the afternoon has become a necessary pause during most of my afternoons.
Farid learned the art of baking in Parisian patisseries after moving from his native Algeria in 1988, where he had pursued a career in accounting. Abandoning the cold world of numbers for one of textures, flavors and shapes, he developed the basic techniques for creating simple, delicious pastries. He often wonders why it's so difficult to find quality baked goods in this city, to which he moved in 2001. To him, it's a simple process of combining basic ingredients, working with your hands and having patience, curiosity and creativity. He has taken the lessons and experiences working in Paris and improved upon the process, utilizing a technique requiring up to four days.
The butter is added to the dough only after it has rested for a day. He then shapes the pastries on the third day; finally, baking them the morning after. As you might have already noticed, his hand is visible in each of his creations: each unique in shape and form but all sharing an irresistible texture and richness (even though he has assured me he uses less butter than his french colleagues).
I feel fortunate to have met him and glad that he has joined our extended family. It's always a pleasure seeing him in the morning and sharing dreams and plans for a continued friendship and hopes for even greater things to come.


Exhibit Opening in August

Patrick Donnelly produces original silk screen prints blurring the lines between the digital arts and painterly process. The prints capture moments from his life, transcribed into stylized illustrations, then combined into a new compositions that captures the emotions of those events. Broadcasting personal keepsakes of his secrets, common occurrences, and daily enlightenments in combinations of codified and tactile forms.

His background is as integrative and juxtaposed as his compositions. Patrick graduated with an interdisciplinary degree in Chemistry and Art from Carnegie Mellon University, and is currently pursuing his MBA at The George Washington University. Patrick works professionally as a graphic designer.

All pieces will be available for purchase.


District's Top Iced Coffee - get yours here!

Do you shy away from drinking cold coffee, thinking all it will taste like is the last third of your morning mug after it's been sitting on your desk for three hours?

The Washington Post Express daily wrote an article on the merits of cold-brewed coffee, naming ours one of the best places for the "District's Top Iced Coffee". Add in a nice quote from Javier, and bingo, we were asked by more than a large handful of customers today to take the challenge and try their first cold-brewed iced coffee. We use freshly ground Ethiopian Yirgacheffe beans and make the concentrate every day. Steeping the coarse grounds slowly in cold water overnight reduces the acid and bitterness that is produced, allowing the wonderful chocolate and mild roasted flavors to shine through very strongly instead. I've seen many customers drink their iced coffee straight, no sweetener or milk is needed. Some add milk or cream and a small splash of simple syrup or vanilla syrup to make it a little more rich. We don't recommend adding sucralose or raw sugar-- all it does is clump up in the bottom and/or float around as gritty specks in the drink. I prefer lots of ice and a big splash of soy milk, which adds some nuttiness and slight sweetness. And for goodness sakes, no whipped cream or syrup dribbles on top. Save those for an ice cream sundae over at Comet.

UPDATE: for those that would like to try the cold-brewing method at home, check out this recent NYT article on the small wonders of iced coffee.


CityPaper review of our croissants & focaccia

although I'm not quite sure why we the writer said we were an "unlikely" source for good croissants, he nonetheless became enamored of them and the focaccia, two of our newest baked goods from our new pastry chef and friend, farid. he crafts them right next door, every day, just for you. more about farid in a later post, but in the meantime, treat yourself to what has become for me a 15-minute daily ritual-- one of his croissants, pain au chocolat, or a round cream danish, and a classic cappuccino. we would love to hear your reviews. the best time to get your soon-to-be buttery hands on these are at 8am-- as soon as they come out of the oven every day.