In an episode of last season's "Portlandia," a celery salesman (Steve Buscemi) is mocked for his failure to get foodies and chefs to embrace the fibrous vegetable beyond their brunch Bloody Mary. It's low on the produce totem pole, unlike kale and heirloom tomatoes.
Well, "Portlandia" fans and producers take note: Celery has arrived. In D.C., anyway.
Washington area chefs have elevated celery's status by incorporating it in drinks with using celery juice, celery bitters or raw celery; in dips, soups and entrees; and, even in ice cream and other desserts. Take that, kale.
Celery in your drink...besides the Bloody Mary
Ripple in Cleveland Park has whipped up a cocktail whose name dieters will love. The Negative Calories includes Few American Gin, celery juice, lemon juice, simple syrup, egg whites and Bittermens Orchard Street Celery Shrub Cocktail Bitters.
Nopa Kitchen + Bar in Penn Quarter has its own take on the gin gimlet with their house carbonated Celery Gimlet. The drink combines celery juice, lemon thyme, lime juice and Beefeaters gin.
The Empress Lounge at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel mixes homemade celery syrup, Cointreau and Ketel One vodka in its Ground to Glass cocktail. The drink is garnished with a celery stick.
The Oval Room and 701 Restaurant takes the ingredients of a classic Waldorf salad and repurposes them into a cocktail. The Waldorf cocktail blends gin, Greek yogurt, lemon juice, walnut orgeat, honey, celery bitters and raw celery.
At DGS Delicatessen, the Tenth Ward Cooler features celery soda, celery shrub, vodka, lime juice and Kummel, an Eastern European caraway and cumin liqueur. It pairs well with pastrami and other smoked meats.
Celery for dinner
Cava Mezze has recently started adding celery root to its classic Greek soup, Avgolemono.
Aggio in DC is serving a bagna cauda, or warm dip, a dish that features celeriac baked in aromatic salt, hazelnut, and marinated sardines.
At contemporary Louisiana fish house Acadiana, diners can feast on red snapper with spicy celery root puree, shiitake mushroom, rapini and a pickled corn emulsion.
Chef Robert Wiedmaier's dish at Marcel's pairs sea bass with caramelized celery sautéed in Sauterne wine and vanilla and served with a marmalade of eggplant & bacon
701 Restaurant offers a mock risotto with celery root by cutting each piece of the vegetable to look like a grain of rice.
Daikaya features a dish called the Wasabi Tako, which features raw marinated octopus with granny smith apple, celery, olive oil and wasabi sprouts.
And finally, celery for dessert
Brabo's pastry chef whips up celery meringues alongside a chocolate beet cake with wild berry gelée and spun sugar in the Vanilla Chevre Bavarian. We're told the pastry chef doesn't like sweets so she incorporates savory components in her desserts.
Equinox has an apple galette with truffled celery root ice cream. The ice cream is made with an infusion of celeriac and black truffle.