Grapevine: Capital Cheers @ Food Network — 8/5/15

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Several DC area bar owners alerted us to the fact that the Food Network recently toured some DC bars and picked out a dozen recommended for visiting.

You can read the full feature, Capital Cheers: The Best Bars in Washington, DC, as a slideshow on the Food Network website.

To peak your interest, Food Network blogger Laura Hayes visited the following establishments and offers light commentary on them:

Cocktail Bar: 2 Birds 1 Stone (1800 14th St. NW, DC)
Brewpub: Bluejacket (300 Tingey St. SE, DC)
Speakeasy: Dram & Grain (2007 18th St. NW, DC)
Date Night: Iron Gate (1734 N St. NW, DC)
No-Frills Bar: Tune Inn (331 Pennsylvania Ave. SE, DC)
DC Haunt: Off the Record (The Hay-Adams, 800 16th St. NW, DC)
Sherry Bar: Mockingbird Hill (1843 7th St. NW, DC)
Beach Bar: Pop’s SeaBar (1817 Columbia Rd. NW, DC)
Wine Bar: Flight Wine Bar (777 6th St. NW, DC)
Beer Garden: Dacha Beer Garden (1600 7th St. NW, DC)
Brewery: 3 Stars Brewing Co. (6400 Chillum Pl. NW, DC)
Distillery: One Eight Distilling (1135 Okie St. NE, DC)

We at Parklife DC have visited them all personally except for the Flight Wine Bar and One Eight Distilling. Perhaps it’s time to change that before the summer is over?

Food Park: Alex McCoy @ Food Network Star — 8/2/15 (S. 11, Ep. 9)

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Chef Alex McCoy prepares ramen on the latest Food Network Star. (Photo courtesy Food Network)

Well, live television was the death of our hero.

DC Chef Alex McCoy was competing in this season of Food Network Star, and he did reasonably well, but he finally was eliminated from the competition in the ninth episode! So close!

Let’s recap.

At the beginning of the episode, contestants were given a small challenge and then later they competed in a bigger challenge — a typical setup for Food Network Star.

This week, both challenges revolved around participating in a live television segment. In the first, the remaining four contestants prepared a dish and appeared individually in two-minute segments with blogger and model Catherine McCord. Each contestant had 30 minutes to prepare a meal to fit a theme. Alex received the theme of preparing a one pot meal “for a hot date.”

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Food Park: Alex McCoy @ Food Network Star — 7/26/15 (S. 11, Ep.8)

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Alex McCoy presents a 4th of July meal on the latest Food Network Star. (Photo courtesy Food Network)

Once again, this season’s Food Network Star Comeback Kid rose to the occasion.

And so DC Chef Alex McCoy delivered one of his best episodes yet in the reality show competition last week after nearly facing elimination from the contest in the previous week.

“Last week, I was on the bottom but it wasn’t like I edged anybody out. Someone walked off! I’ve got a lot to earn from the judges this week, and I’m going balls to the wall with the food,” Alex said.

Among five finalists last week, all were men, and the contestants faced a small challenge followed by a bigger one, as usual, this episode.

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Food Park: Alex McCoy @ Food Network Star — 7/19/15 (S. 11, Ep. 7)

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A row of food trucks at the 2012 DC Curbside Cookoff (Photo by Alex Levine)

Hot Slap Tacos!

If you’ve been watching Food Network Star this season, you have encountered the phenomenon sparked by the team of Chefs Alex McCoy and Dom Tesoriero. In the last episode Sunday, the two paired together for a food truck challenge, and things got heated! But more on Hot Slap Tacos in a minute.

First, let’s recap the beginning of the episode. Food Network Star, Season 11, has featured Chef Alex from DC, and we’ve been cheering him on to win the competition. The last episode (#7) on Sunday, July 19, featured a challenge where contestants operated food trucks.

Prior to that, the six remaining contestants engaged in a smaller challenge, where Food Network Star host Bobby Flay directed the chefs to make a version of their favorite brunch, but to make it portable. The winner of this mini-challenge would get an advantage in the bigger challenge — a typical scenario in Food Network Star.
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Food Park: Alex McCoy @ Food Network Star — 7/12/15 (S. 11, Ep. 6)

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Kerry Washington, Craig Robinson, and David Alan Grier, right, sit down for a meal in PEEPLES. David Alan Grier hosted the last episode of Food Network Star. (Photo by Nicole Rivelli)

Man, last week was a rough week for DC contestants participating in Food Network Star!

Chefs Alex McCoy and Emilia Cirker gave us little to feel good about, despite laughs from bona fide movie star David Alan Grier, who showed up to serve as guest host for a reality show challenge.

The latest episode of Food Network Star, “Improv,” saw the worst performance by Alex to date, although he continued to make some really tasty food. And Emilia finally got bumped from the program. Although there were still a few weaker contestants overall, she delivered a terrible second-act performance that sealed her exit.

We’ll recap that later. First, the remaining seven contestants faced off in an opening pizza challenge last Sunday. Under the guidance of guest judge Pastry Chef Duff Goldman, the contestants competed to impress Darin Harris, CEO of CiCi’s Pizza, with a pizza featuring “kicked up flavors.”

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Food Park: Alex McCoy @ Food Network Star — 7/5/15 (S. 11, Ep. 5)

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Former Miami Dolphins football player Eddie Jackson (above) teamed up with DC Chef Alex McCoy last week. (Photo courtesy Food Network)

Today, on the Food Network at 9pm Et, catch the sixth episode of Food Network Star, Season 11.

The competition includes two chefs from the DC area — restaurant owner Alex McCoy and blogger Emilia Cirker. The two survived last week’s episode, “The Perfect Match,” and they both did particularly well in that episode’s challenges. Here at ParklifeDC, we’ve been behind Alex this season, so we are going to recap his progress last episode to bring you up to speed before tonight’s challenges.

In the opening challenge last week, Alex and seven other remaining contestants faced a cook and critique challenge. Each contestant chose their favorite ingredient, and Alex chose Asian five spice powder (Sichuan pepper, fennel seeds, cloves, star anise and Chinese cinnamon). But instead of cooking with that ingredient, each chef swapped ingredients with a partner after a surprise announcement by Food Network Star hosts Bobby Flay and Giada De Laurentiis.

Alex swapped ingredients with contestant Dominick Tesoriero of Staten Island, who chose ricotta as his favorite ingredient. With Dom’s ricotta, Alex chose to make a Smoked Salmon and Ricotta Sandwich. But after the contestants prepared their dishes, Bobby and Giada surprised them again and asked them to switch back so that the original selector of the ingredient would critique the meal made from it.

Dom called Alex’s sandwich “classic” and said he would enjoy eating it at a brunch. Alex hailed Dom’s Beef Noodles with Five Spice Broth as good — an Italian chef’s take on an Asian dish. Both men performed well in the challenge, but neither won it.

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Food Park: Alex McCoy @ Food Network Star (S. 11, Ep. 4) — 6/28/15

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Chef Alex McCoy (Photo courtesy Food Network)

Tomorrow is the Fourth of July! And the Fourth of July is all about getting together with family and friends for food and fun (and fireworks, of course).

So what better way to mark the occasion than to discuss the food in last week’s Food Network Star, which saw the remaining nine contestants in the 11th season compete in teams against each other for a July 4 picnic battle?

As you know, we’ve been cheering for DC Chef Alex McCoy in our blog, so we are going to recap how well Alex performed in this past episode, Episode 4. This will bring you up to speed so that you can watch him cook in Episode 5, set to air this Sunday, July 5, at 9pm ET on the Food Network.

Last week, Alex joined up with two other contestants in one of three teams. Each team was named after the colors of the U.S. flag –- red, white and blue — and Alex was on team blue with Arnold Myint of Nashville and Eddie Jackson of Houston. (Eddie is a former NFL football player for the Miami Dolphins, by the way, and his performances on this show have generally been pretty entertaining.)

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