Since opening Mélange in September, D.C. chef Elias Taddesse has wowed customers, influencers, and critics with a cooking style that punches up American fast food with touches of haute French cuisine and traditional ingredients from the Ethiopian kitchen. To start February, the chef has added a Mélange-style French dip, his first new Ethiopian-American remix since introducing the city to doro wat-style fried chicken and beyaynetu (veggie platter) patties. Taddesse’s new creation starts with whole ribeyes he’s aged in a coating of niter kibbeh, clarified butter seasoned with aromatics, herbs, and spices. It’s topped with caramelized shallots, sliced jalapenos, and a senafich (Ethiopian mustard seed) cream sauce. An accompany broth nods to kikil, a thin stew traditionally made with potatoes, turmeric, and lamb or goat. In addition to limited quantities of the new sandwich (pickup only, $16), Mélange is also selling a couple new items geared toward customers following keto diets: an $18 box with braised short rib, wild mushrooms, smoked beef fat poached cabbage, and marrow jus; and a grilled avocado salad ($9) with crème fraîche chive vinaigrette and greens.
In other news ...
- Montgomery County, Maryland, is still observing an indoor dining ban that dates back to mid-December, but County Executive Marc Elrich has proposed lifting it with capacity capped at 25 percent. That could become official with a vote by the county board next week. [WBJ]
- Washington Post food columnist Tim Carman looks at how the local Ethiopian food scene, emblematic of a resilient cuisine that’s communal by its very nature, has changed during the pandemic. [WaPo]
- There’s a petition to bring a Waffle House to D.C., probably from people who’ve never experienced the greasy spoon glory of Lincoln’s Waffle Shop downtown [W]
- Cheesecake Factory is opening in the downtown spot that formerly housed Jeff Buben’s Woodward Table on March 30. [W]
- Washington City Paper spotlights the work of the D.C. Fridge Collective, which has distributed 6,500 pounds of fresh produce and served more than 500 prepared meals to the public over the past six months. [WCP]