“I didn’t want simply a badass tattoo,” says Sou’Wester’s chef de cuisine Eddie Moran. “I wanted one that was very meaningful to me.” Raised a Catholic, he was looking to get a piece that reflected both his upbringing and his passion for cooking. Researching through the annals of church history, he stumbled across Saint Lawrence of Rome. This patron saint of chefs was burned to death on a gridiron. “Here’s someone who feeds people out of the kindness of his heart,” says Moran. “Then he’s grilled alive like he’s a piece of food.”
The Curtain Call at Opera Ultra Lounge combines sorghum, bourbon, Thatcher's apple spice ginger liqueur and muddled fresh cherries.
New England has a long-standing love affair with maple syrup, but below the Mason-Dixon Line, it’s all about sorghum syrup. Made by boiling down the juice from sorghum cane stalks, the golden liquid has a sweet, earthy flavor that’s been described as molasses without the bite. Chefs and mixologists are fans because sorghum can sweeten the savory, add depth to desserts or bring a twist to a cocktail. No matter how it’s used, sorghum puts a spotlight on Dixieland cuisine. “The South is shining right now,” says Sou’Wester chef de cuisine Eddie Moran. “It has really great food made with these amazing ingredients that you can’t get anywhere else.”
Before Moran was a Washingtonian, he did a culinary tour of duty through the Southern states. During a sojourn in Little Rock, Ark., he was introduced to sorghum when somebody poured it onto a bowl of hot grits. “It reminded me of growing up in California,” he says, “except we used maple syrup on cereal instead.” When Moran moved to D.C., he decided to play around with the amber liquid to see how he could put a spin on it. The result is a duck breast glazed with a gastrique of sorghum, cabernet vinegar, star anise, clove and peach pieces. The dish, above, is topped with a small salad of fresh local peaches, making it an ode to both the season and the South.
Mandarin Oriental, 1330 Maryland Ave. SW; 202-787-6140. (Smithsonian)
Finish reading about my other three sorghum picks on the Express website now.