Friday, December 02, 2016

DC Food & Beverage Collective does delicious dinner at MANDU with Chef Danny Lee (11-30-16)

Earlier this year the local chapter of AIWF broke off and created our own local charity to support various food and educational projects in DC. This was my first event with the DC Food & Beverage Collective ( and it was swimmingly wonderful. Membership is inexpensive and the benefits are great, so consider that. I also asked Samuel if he would like to join me for his first "event tasting dinner" in DC and as soon as he saw the menu laden with dumplings he was in!

Mandu now has two locations in DC ( at Dupont Circle and now at K St, NW in the NoMa Disctrict. You may recall that Tuesday was the day of horrid rain around rush hour at 615pm, so it took us almost an hour to get there, because (rant) DC drivers suck in anything other than perfect conditions. Once there, the rain let loose and we were forced to find a lot and due to a basketball game at Verizon, the lots all charged $20! I felt jipped, a bit damp and was getting sore on arrival, so I ordered an Aloe Sojoutini made from Korean rice wine (akin to sake) and aloe. It was refreshing, relaxing, delicious and not sweet, and during Happy Hour they are $4.00!!!

The group was seated in the upstairs private dining room at two long wooden tables and it was a bit noisy from the crowds down below filtering up to us, but we all had a super time.
Chef Danny Lee came out to describe each dish and take questions and we were all transported for several hours to Korea! As always, many of the photos of the meal are on FB.

First Course:
Mandu (shrimp, veggie, and beef & pork dumplings)--Samuel adores these, but I still couldn't get him to try the shrimp!! The veggie was superb indeed.
Hobak Jeon (egg battered and pan fried zucchini)-a simple dish dipped in a soy-sesame sauce like the dumplings
Pa Jeon (mini seafood & green onion pancakes)-Think treyfe latkes that are delicious...getting ready for Hannuka!
Korean Fried Chicken-Double-freid wings in a spicy soy glaze that was totally irresistible, which is awesome from me since I am not a wing man, but the spicy sauce was indeed magnificent.
These were paired with Mandu Soju - soju infused in house with cloves and pomegranate, the Korean rice wine used for the Sojutinis as well, and while the clove essence and flavor was prominent, the wine was excellent and with some of the spice, a brilliant pairing.

Second Course:
Chap Chae (stir-fried clear sweet potato noodles with mixed veggies)--these were clear noodles like the Asian rice version, but made with sweet potatoes instead for a truly novel taste
Yujacha Korean Salad w/Citron Vinaigrette, Orange Segments, Toasted Pine Nuts and crunchy Toasted Rice(think mini krispies)
La Crele Sancerre 2014, France was our Sauvignon Blanc that was probably the most citrus intense SB I have ever had from France and worked awesomely with the citrus vinaigrette.

Third Course:
Bulgogi (sweet soy marinated slices of grilled ribeye)
Dak Gui (spice marinated slices of grilled chicken breast)
Yache Gui (seasoned and grilled mixed veggies and tofu) including black beans, broccoli and sweet potatoes with sides of pickled cucumbers and superb kimchi for dipping.
Dduk Bok Gi (long rice cakes simmered in Gochujang broth made from Korean chili paste)-These were the most fascinating dish made from pressed rice into long cylindrical cakes which were served in the most excellent of spicy sauces. I am in love with gochujang and could eat it on everything!!
Steamed rice was prominent for all the dishes to be served with as well as lettuce wraps generally for the Bulgogi to be wrapped in, but the leaf size was a bit too small to really fill up with much!
Les Vignobles Gueissard Bandol 2012 from France was a beautiful intense red that went well with all the various intense spices.

Assortment of Mochi Ice Cream(chocolate chip) with Sweetened Red Beans
Makkoli - Korean unfiltered rice wine was the funkiest wine I have had in years and honestly not to my liking.

We all had a ball and loved the novelty of the food, even though many of us had been to Mandu before and enjoyed many of these varied flavors and dishes.
If I had to change one thing, it would be the very hard uncomfortable wooden chairs that my sorry tuchus was truly ready to leave after 3 hours! Oh and maybe the funky Makkoli!

Kudos also to our team of servers, but especially Jun, who had every drink served in minutes and every need filled from extra kimchi to more wine before we could even ask!