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Dining: A tasty 10 years

Trendy restaurant trio celebrates milestone with great deals

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SEI, dining, gay news, Washington Blade
SEI, dining, gay news, Washington Blade

SEI (Photo courtesy of SEI)

The owners of OYA, SAX and SEI are celebrating their 10 year anniversary in Washington this month. OYA (777 9th Street N.W.) and SEI (444 4th Street N.W.) both serve a modern version of Asian cuisine. SAX (734 11th Street N.W.) is the newest addition to the restaurant group and not only does it serve up a variety of French dishes, but also behind a glass-enclosed stage there are regularly scheduled burlesque performances.

All month, each of these restaurants is celebrating the anniversary with “Gift Extravaganza,” is the company’s way of saying thank you to its patrons. Diners can purchase a $100 gift card and receive two bonus gift cards of $50 each. Purchasing these gift cards also automatically enters the purchaser to win one of five amazing prizes. First prize is “The Extravaganza” which allows the winner to host a three-hour party at SAX with open bar for 75 guests. Second prize is a five course wine-paired dinner for up to 10 people. Third prize is a specially prepared five course wine-paired dinner at OYA, SEI or SAX for up to five guests.

Having eaten and enjoyed meals at OYA several times over the past five years, I decided to make a reservation at SEI one night when my husband and I were craving sushi. Having just returned from Central America where we had some of the best and freshest sushi and sashimi, including tuna rolls wrapped in fried plantain, we were hoping for some standout rolls at SEI. While our main desire was sushi, we started dinner with the wasabi guacamole with lump crab meat served with wonton chips. Although heavier than the sushi we planned to have, it was a delightful way to start dinner with the crab meat adding richness to this refreshing appetizer.

We ordered four sushi rolls for dinner including what our charming waitress, Melinda, refered to as their “signature roll” the Fish and Chips. This was flounder, potato crisps and wasabi tartar. We also had the tuna serrano, the kobe tataki, and the spicy yellowtail. On top of those rolls we also had the Honmaguro Toro Sashimi; the fatty blue fin tuna with orange miso and fresh wasabi. Fatty tuna is an extra special treat so if it is on the menu I recommend splurging on this sashimi, whose luscious velvety texture that melted in your mouth made it well worth the $24 price. Don’t bother contaminating this sashimi with soy sauce — it’s delightful without it.

I found the “Fish and Chips” roll to have a very basic flavor profile, and I believe it’s a “signature roll” because it’s an approachable flavor and texture for a wide range of people. The Kobe Tataki had a layer of raw Kobe beef of the outside with spicy crunch and watercress oil. This was a favorite roll of the evening and was a creative spin on sushi. The spicy yellowtail was topped with a slice of fresh jalapeno and served with yuzu jalapeno soy which somehow managed to light your mouth on fire with every bite. If you’re a spicy fan like I am, then this is a great roll for you, but if you shy away from heat then select another roll from the numerous options. The winning roll for my husband and I was the well-balanced tuna serrano, it was fresh and flavorful. With just a light dip in your soy sauce and wasabi, it tasted exactly like fresh artisan sushi should taste.

There are many additional items on the menu at SEI including other sushi rolls, small plate dinners, large plate dinners and sliders including the sea bass sliders that a diner at the adjacent table had selected, and they looked divine. We finished our meal by splitting the chocolate fondant dessert, which was the equivalent of a chocolate lava cake with melted chocolate oozing from the center of the moist chocolate cake.

Overall, SEI serves up good tasting and approachable sushi rolls with fresh ingredients and some creative pairings. I have never experienced any service issues at OYA and the same seemed to be the case at SEI with the waitstaff being educated on the offerings and willing to help patrons. There’s nothing groundbreaking about SEI, but it is definitely worth visiting, and just like with OYA (and I assume SAX) you never know who will be dining at the table next to you.

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My Rehoboth Beach culinary tour

Myriad answers to the age-old question: ‘What’s the best restaurant in town?’

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(Photo by Ethan Bean)

I’ve had the privilege of indulging in Rehoboth’s evolving culinary scene for decades — from dining on Chez La Mer’s rooftop to sipping cocktails at the Blue Moon bar before the roof was installed.

The last 30 years have brought almost unthinkable change to the once seasonal small town getaway. New town homes that overlook Route 1 are going for more than $1 million. There’s not much off-season at all these days with food festivals and other events that draw tourists year round. Indeed, hotel occupancy rates for October’s Sea Witch Festival exceed those for July Fourth weekend. 

The upside to all this growth and change? Rehoboth’s culinary scene has exploded with high-quality restaurants and bars proliferating in town and thriving up and down Route 1 from Lewes to Fenwick Island and even Ocean City. In fact, the chef at Fenwick’s One Coastal was just nominated for a prestigious James Beard Award. Matthew Kern will be the first-ever Delaware chef in James Beard Awards’ history to be named a finalist in any culinary category, according to the Delaware News Journal. He will be among five chefs competing for the title of best chef in the Mid-Atlantic region. The awards are announced June 10.

As a part-time Rehoboth resident, I frequently field questions from visitors wondering: “What’s the best restaurant in town?” That usually leads to a prolonged text exchange with me offering endless choices in various categories. In an effort to answer that age-old question in a more organized fashion, I offer this roundup of my favorite haunts in the Rehoboth area in a range of styles and budgets. (And please note: These are just my opinions based on lots of experience. Inclusions/omissions are not intended to slight anyone. These things are subjective so it’s OK if you don’t like my picks.)

HIGH-END DINING

Rehoboth offers a handful of options for a truly high-end experience. For a traditional steakhouse, there’s Houston White Co. (315 Rehoboth Ave.), where an eight-ounce filet runs about $45 and a USDA Prime Porterhouse is $85. Side dishes are priced separately and shared, ranging from a $6 baked potato to $11 onion rings. The setting is probably the most formal in town. A small bar in front is always busy and staffed by friendly, knowledgeable mixologists. 

Eden (23 Baltimore Ave.) has a beach chic vibe and the menu is probably the most reliable in town. The ahi tuna — my go to — is perfectly seared and delicious rare. There’s an extensive wine list and the bar is always lively with entertaining staff. The upstairs dining room is ideal for a large party or special event. 

By far the best new restaurant to open in recent years is Drift (42 1/2 Baltimore Ave.). If you’re looking for an upscale, special occasion seafood indulgence, this is the spot. The lobster French toast gets all the press, but the entire seafood menu is as good as any in D.C., from local oysters to the crispy Atlantic swordfish schnitzel. The coveted bar seats go fast and there are only a handful of them at the unique bar that opens to the outside so go early. And this isn’t the place for a large party; the kitchen is small so take a date here if you really want to impress. The outdoor patio is lovely in good weather but the interior is beautifully decorated so that’s the better bet.

Since 1981, the Blue Moon (35 Baltimore Ave.) has been at the forefront of Rehoboth’s restaurant and bar scene, constantly evolving and working to feed and entertain us all. The restaurant is consistently rated among the best in town. It’s intimate and charming and some of the wait staff have been here for many years making it feel like a homecoming when you arrive. The Sunday brunch remains among the best in town, complete with white tablecloths and welcome scones. In the off-season, you can’t beat Tasting Tuesdays, a three-course dinner with wine pairings for $49. Many of us miss the old days of the Moon as a sometimes-raucous bar and dance club, but happy hour is back with half-price cocktails and appetizers, Monday-Friday, 4-6 p.m. So go for a drink and stay for dinner and enjoy crab cakes, lobster risotto, duck breast, and more.

Ah, the Back Porch (59 Rehoboth Ave.) — a true pioneer in establishing Rehoboth as a culinary destination. So many naive tourists walk past the Back Porch because it’s set back from the street, down an alleyway. But those who make the stroll are rewarded with French-inspired food and a convivial bar that’s vaguely reminiscent of Key West. It’s not fancy and fussy; it’s worn and welcoming with an elevated menu and a spacious two-story outdoor dining room. Rehoboth is inexplicably lacking in outdoor dining spots; there aren’t nearly enough al fresco options for a beach town. If you’re on a budget, give it a try for lunch or brunch. The menu doesn’t seem to change, but that’s OK when the food is this good. A true locals place, there’s always a friendly face at the bar and everyone misses bartender Bee Neild who retired last year after nearly 50 years. The Back Porch is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year; let’s raise a glass to the next 50.  

La Fable (26 Baltimore Ave.) is owned by Megan Kee, a beloved restaurateur in town with an impressive track record (she also owns Houston White and Bramble & Brine in Lewes; more on that later). Kee’s unmistakable style — pairing antique furniture and tableware with modern flourishes — can be seen everywhere from the piano-turned-bar to the mismatched vintage china. She pulled off a remarkable feat, turning the rather unappealing basement setting at La Fable into an authentic and charming French bistro. You’ll find all the French favorites here, from escargot to boeuf bourguignon to steak frites. The space is small so make a reservation. 

I offer these high-end options with two caveats/pet peeves. When paying in excess of $45 for an entree, I do not expect to sit on a plastic chair. Also, I do not appreciate overly familiar service just because the waiter is “gay too!” At those prices, a comfortable chair and formal service should be the norm.

MID-PRICED DINING

The high-end scene may be small but there are a plethora of quality mid-priced restaurants that beckon. 

My favorite in this category is the always-reliable Henlopen Oyster House (50 Wilmington Ave.) with its wide selection of fresh raw oysters and equally impressive draft beer list. Henlopen does the high-low thing so well, for example pairing an indulgent dozen Wellfleet oysters with a pint of cask beer. There are lobster rolls, salads, the best steamed shrimp in town, and much more on the menu. It’s a popular place, usually with a line forming before it opens. So go early and be patient — it’s always worth the wait (they don’t take reservations). No matter how packed the bar gets, the two Amys always offer the best service with a welcoming smile. This is my go-to when asked for seafood recommendations in Rehoboth.

As I mentioned, there are too few places for quality outdoor dining/drinks in Rehoboth Beach. You’ll find a handful of touristy hotel restaurants on the boardwalk along with the requisite fast food and Grotto’s pizza joints but there just aren’t enough places for an elevated bite. Above the Dunes (101 S. Boardwalk, 2nd floor) has the best view in town; sit at the bar and try one of their grain bowls. One of the best outdoor spots is the rooftop at JAM (210 2nd St.). The space has seen multiple concepts come and go in recent years, including the aforementioned classic Chez La Mer, Papa Grande’s, the disappointing Unwined, and before that the much-missed Azzurro. But JAM took over the space last year after relocating from Baltimore Avenue and offers the same quality food (burger specials and the salmon salad are highlights) but with a view. Grab a seat on the second floor outdoor deck and enjoy the breeze.

JAM’s rooftop is one of the few places to enjoy a great meal al fresco in Rehoboth Beach. (Washington Blade photo by Daniel Truitt)

Across the street from JAM is the charming and underappreciated Aroma Mediterranean Cuisine (208 2nd St.). If you like hummus with homemade pita, falafel, kebobs, koftes, and more from the Med, then this is your spot. Try the hummus flight with three samples, including sundried tomato. Delicious.

A Rehoboth stalwart, Café Azafran (18 Baltimore Ave.) never disappoints with its small plates, dinner specials, and, of course, bustling bar featuring Washington Blade three-time Best Rehoboth Bartender winner Holly Lane, who sings (sometimes in French) while pouring drinks. Take a group of friends and order an array of small dishes to share, like the shrimp a la plancha, stuffed arancini, and ratatouille Provencal. There’s no better way to embrace family style dining. 

One of the biggest and happiest surprises in Rehoboth’s dining scene came the night I reluctantly walked into Michy’s (19287 Miller Rd. on Route 1). Reluctantly because the restaurant sits unassuming in a strip mall off Route 1 surrounded by supermarkets and nail salons. You couldn’t find a more unexpected location for one of the area’s best restaurants. But don’t let the location deter you; inside, the décor is warm and eclectic with a small bar and lively dining room. There’s a top-notch menu, including short ribs, sea scallops, and a spicy horseradish crusted salmon, but the daily specials are the stars here so be sure to order whatever special the chef is offering. There’s always a local fish option with a creative preparation. 

AFFORDABLE DINING

Let’s face it: When you’re at the beach, you don’t always want inventive and elevated. Sometimes you just want to wander into a place in your bathing suit and still find a good meal at a fair price. 

For that moment, there’s nothing better than the Starboard (2009 Rt. 1), just down the highway from Rehoboth in Dewey Beach. The Bloody Mary bar is legendary and now comes with a dedicated “sommelier” to assist in choosing from dozens of mixes, hot sauces, pickled vegetables, and more. But the real standout here is the crush — orange, grapefruit, watermelon, lemon, and more — cranked out by the busiest and best bartenders in the area (especially Doug and Shelley). The food is consistent and satisfying, if heavy on the portion size. The crab cakes, burgers, and salads are a good bet. If you’re nursing a hangover, the breakfast skillets will ease your pain. You can design your own omelet or choose from many of their egg creations. Pro tip: Share an entrée as the portions are huge. This used to be dominated by college kids enjoying summer break, but a more mature crowd, including the gays, have discovered Starboard’s many charms, which include a DJ and live bands all weekend.

Back in Rehoboth, the gay-owned Goolee’s Grille (11 S. 1st St.) offers some of the best breakfast dishes in town, including chipped beef, waffles, sandwiches, and more with a mimosa or Bloody to wash it down. There are occasional drag brunches and watch for the popular Greek night dinner specials. If the lines are too long in town for breakfast, venture across the highway to the new Eggcellent (19730 Coastal Highway), a locally owned restaurant that is open seven days 7 a.m.-3 p.m., meaning no dinner. So the focus is breakfast all the time with omelets, avocado toast, pancakes, and more. Don’t let the strip mall vibe fool you; the interior is gorgeous. 

Need a break from pizza and crab cakes? Grab a table on the second floor deck at Mariachi Restaurant (14 Wilmington Ave.) and enjoy some of the best Mexican and Spanish fare in town. You’ll likely be met at the door by Yolanda, the tireless owner who greets locals with a gregarious hug before bringing pitchers of irresistible margaritas to your table. The vast menu offers traditional pollo asado and carne asada along with paellas and assorted seafood dishes. The chips are plentiful and the salsas perfectly spiced. Mariachi opened in 2006 and won over locals by staying open during the off-season so the crowd is always a spirited mix of tourists and residents. 

HONORABLE MENTIONS

For the ideal rustic beach bar, complete with sand, the ever-popular Purple Parrot Biergarten (134 Rehoboth Ave.) beckons. The food is standard bar fare but go for the vibe — beers and cocktails outside served from a bar with a flower-covered roof and bartenders in bathing suits. Aqua Bar & Grill (57 Baltimore Ave.) offers outdoor dining and drinks as well and is always packed with gay revelers all summer long.    

Looking for something new? Check out the Libation Room in the back of Summer House (228 Rehoboth Ave.), a restaurant with a dark, speakeasy vibe or the brand new outdoor garden arranged around a gurgling fountain.

If you’re not counting carbs and are looking for a satisfying lunch to take to the beach, pick up a hulking sandwich at Frank & Louie’s (58 Baltimore Ave.) or the iconic chicken salad at Lori’s Café (39 Baltimore Ave.).

OUTTA TOWN

If you’re an old pro and have already exhausted Rehoboth’s many dining options, venture up or down Route 1 for something different. Ocean City isn’t known as a fine dining destination, but things are changing. Check out Liquid Assets (9301 Coastal Highway) and don’t be deterred by the entrance in a strip mall through the liquor store. The restaurant’s high-end menu includes Maryland crab, blackened rockfish, steamed local oysters, along with steaks and even vegan options. Browse the extensive wine list or, better yet, wander around the shop and pick a bottle from the shelves. Not far away is Ocean View/Millville with its own growing roster of appealing restaurants. One of the best is Melissa’s (35507 Atlantic Ave.), with a small menu featuring a fish of the day, seafood pasta, and shrimp or lobster fried rice. Back north in Lewes is a gem of a new discovery. Located behind Bramble & Brine (102 2nd St., Lewes, the former Buttery) is the Pink Pony, a bar and restaurant serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner that pays homage to one of Rehoboth’s first gay bars of the same name. Owner Megan Kee can often be found on her laptop at the bar and seems to know everyone who walks through the door. It’s welcoming, friendly, and the décor a real throwback. Check it out.

Our independent restaurateurs and their dedicated staff need support, so skip the chains and enjoy the diverse array of Rehoboth-area restaurants this summer.

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Dining

New D.C. restaurants opening just in time for spring

Mexican fare, burgers, fancy cocktails, and more on tap

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Many restaurants, bars, and hotels are planning events across the city for the National Cherry Blossom Festival later this month.

Shaking off winter slumber, the D.C. dining scene this spring is gathering steam. Just a taste of the openings and happenings are below:

Already Open

Pascual (732 Maryland Ave., N.E.): This modern Mexican restaurant is helmed by chefs Isabel Coss and Matt Conroy of Lutèce, and run by The Popal Group (which also owns Lapop and Lapis). Pascual gets its name from the patron saint of cooks and kitchens. The menu, which rests on fire-grilled dishes, is inspired by Coss’s Mexico City roots, and both chefs’ past work at top Mexican restaurants. Pascual plans to add a daytime bakery and coffee shop called Volcán.

Moon Rabbit (927 F St., N.W.): Chef Kevin Tien abruptly closed his Moon Rabbit restaurant on the Wharf a year ago during union negotiations by staff of the Intercontinental Hotel, where the restaurant was located. This reopening represents a welcome comeback of this fine-dining Vietnamese restaurant. The restaurant concept will be the same, but will have new dishes for the new space.

Joia Burger (3213 Mt. Pleasant St., N.W.): It’s smash patties and French fries that make up the entire menu of this fun-filled carryout spot. Run by Purple Patch chef/owner Patrice Cleary, she brings burgers (including veggie burgers) in a family-friendly and homey atmosphere, as well as vibrant ube soft serve as a nod to her Filipino heritage.

Coming soon

Press Club (1506 19th St., N.W.) is an intriguing new spot from industry old-timers including Will Patton (from Bresca and Jônt). Located in Dupont Circle, it will be a new bar and cocktail lounge based on the format of records (i.e. sides A and B). The a la carte “Track List” menu is a cocktail menu that rotates biannually featuring the team’s favorite spirits and techniques. The curated “Play List” menu is a bi-monthly rotating cocktail flights highlighting more seasonal ingredients, presented tableside with supplemental bites. The cocktails will draw inspiration from songs loved by the founders and are arranged to resemble the flow of a record.

Immigrant Food (4245 N. Fairfax Dr.): The restaurant group combining global dishes and advocacy is set to open a new spot in Ballston. Immigrant Food has three locations already: the Planet Word Museum, by the White House and in Union Market. The restaurant will feature both indoor and outdoor dining areas by the Ballston Metro.

 Bar Japonais (1520 14th St., N.W.): This restaurant is still forthcoming in the former Estadio space, set for later this spring. It will be a take on its sister restaurant Bar Chinois in Mount Vernon Square. Bar Japonais will bring together French and Japanese influences. Developed in the izakaya style, the restaurant will have Japanese-leaning food and French-leaning cocktails, and has weekly events in the works.

Dogon, at Salamander Hotel (1330 Maryland Ave., S.W.), is a highly anticipated opening from celebrity chef Kwame Onwauchi. The opening represents his return to D.C. with a concept inspired by D.C. Surveyor Benjamin Banneker and Onwauchi’s heritage to the West African Dogon tribe. Pronounced “Doh-gon,” the restaurant will serve vibrant cuisine through an Afro-Caribbean lens and draw from Onwuachi’s unique Nigerian, Jamaican, Trinidadian, and Creole background. 

Alfreda (2016 P St., N.W.): A pizzeria in Dupont Circle, named for the chef’s grandmother. The pizzas – made on a sourdough crust and including gluten-free options – are based on more traditional techniques, but using global flavors. The menu also includes salads, small plates, and a long wine list.

Beresovsky’s Deli: Gay-owned KNEAD Hospitality + Design is teasing a deli later this year. It will be located inside the preexisting Mah-Ze-Dahr Navy Yard location. 

Events

The Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington (RAMW), is expanding from its winter and summer Restaurant Weeks to give diners another opportunity to celebrate the change of seasons with Spring Wine Fling. Spring Wine Fling is a platform for local eateries to highlight their wine programs with creative pairings. Participating locations will showcase their wine programs through curated wines paired with two-course prefix $55 menu offered during dinner service. 

National Cherry Blossom Festival: RAMW is also working with the National Cherry Blossom Festival. The National Park Service has anticipated peak bloom dates for 2024 between March 23–26. The festival has developed a full list (called “cherry picks”) of where to eat as part of the celebration. Many restaurants, bars, and hotels have also set up activations and events across the city.

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Dining

Pastry chef Alex Levin creates desserts with global influences

And now he’s on a quest to bake the perfect chocolate chip cookie

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Alex Levin

A decade as a decorated pastry chef in Washington, D.C., and Alex Levin knows how to create a global realm of desserts. But he also knows that the whole is tastier than the sum of its parts.

Levin serves as Executive Pastry Chef and as part of the executive team for Schlow Restaurant Group, where he’s worked since 2017. He’s crafted desserts for the group’s breadth of restaurant cuisines, from Spanish at Tico (recently rebranded as Japanese Nama Ko), American at now-closed Riggsby, Japanese at Nama and Nama Ko, and Italian at the several Alta Strada spots. He also throws an annual sold-out bakery pop-up for Thanksgiving and for Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year. “There’s something fun and so meaningful to spend nine straight days making food that will be a part of so many people’s celebrations,” he says.

Yet as a gay man, he also strives for representation and a focus on supporting the LGBTQ community.

After graduating from Yale and focusing on a career in management and finance, Levin fled that industry to attend the Culinary Institute of America to follow his passion for pastry and restaurant management. After graduation, he trained at restaurants like Jean Georges and Cafe Boulud in New York, and moved to D.C. in 2013 to open Osteria Morini as pastry chef. There, he made a name for himself, earning a spot on Eater’s Young Guns in 2015 and in 2016, he earned the title of Best Pastry Chef from the Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington. 

It was a time of invention in the dessert space. Levin was deeply embedded in some of that boundary-stretching.

“When I first became a pastry chef, all of my mentors were pushing me to create deconstructed desserts. I really fell in love with that approach, because it challenged me to think very far outside of the box to have a guest really understand that a plate with five components on it could be considered a lemon tart.”

Yet at Schlow, running dessert programs across the city for an increasingly demanding clientele, his approach evolved. The deconstructed version might look more beautiful, but he realized that it also has to taste even better than its classic counterpart.

“I realized that sometimes there is no reason to alter a classic dessert but to add perhaps a modern shift. That’s where I feel most comfortable now. It allows me to continue to express creativity both visually and with flavor to create the best version of a classic dessert.”

At Alta Strada (which has landed in the Washington Post’s Dining Guide for several years), Levin leans in to the restaurant’s homey style, with a touch of his signature flair, in the several desserts he makes. Traditional bomboloni get a glow up, given depth and tang with ricotta, vanilla, and orange in the batter and receiving a liberal dusting of cinnamon sugar; they’re served on a platter with chocolate hazelnut crema (i.e. liquid Nutella). He also crafts a brownie-cheesecake mashup: a whipped ricotta (sense a theme?) cheesecake sits atop a rich brownie, the black-and-white dessert set off by a single Luxardo cherry on top.

At Nama Ko, Levin’s menu is more concise but takes some additional liberties. The star is the Miso Honey Black Truffle soft serve ice cream, drizzled in chocolate sauce and caramel, under a shower of chocolate and toffee (there’s also a passionfruit sorbet with ube shortbread crumble). Now an expert at adjusting his soft serve machine to the right ratio of sugar, dairy, and flavor, Levin matches the sushi restaurant’s entrees with the ice cream’s balanced umami. Speaking of matching: he also plates a matcha crème brulee.

“When planning the dessert program for Nama Ko, I wanted to do something totally different for dessert — something the restaurant could be known for all on its own. The program had to be fun and allow the guests to have a Japanese dessert but with a twist. Once we landed on soft serve, the proposed flavors needed to have a level of simplicity and complexity.” The rollout received accolades, including in Washington City Paper and Eater’s Soft Serve map.

Levin, though, also serves as director of Strategic Business Initiatives. He coordinates operations, recruiting, reporting, marketing, menu design, and photography. He is constantly rethinking: refining his rotating selection of chocolate bonbons for special events, using colored cocoa butter for visual effect. He stays up on cookbooks, YouTube, and Instagram as resources for explanations and demos, “even how to braid a challah dough using a new technique.”

After coming out in 2000, Levin says he never encountered much homophobia in the culinary industry. In D.C., he works to support LGBTQ groups, personally and through his restaurants. “That might mean making Thanksgiving desserts for SMYAL’s annual Thanksgiving dinner for the kids, or even transforming one of our restaurants into a destination for D.C.’s annual Pride.” Levin also picks up a shift at the special seated dinner tables at the annual Chefs for Equality event, one the largest (and most fabulous) fundraisers for Human Rights Campaign.

Levin won’t rest on his soft serve laurels, continuing to find creative space. Stay tuned to his latest project, going on three years: to create “the best chocolate chip cookie. The current version is pretty close, but I continue to make some small modifications to improve the outcome.”

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