DC digest™

"Come quickly ! I'm tasting stars!" --Dom Pierre Perignon, French Benedictine Monk

"Delayed gratification is for later." --Aaron Quinn Brophy, American artist

DCdigest is about food & wine, theater, film, music, art and travel.

We host, list, advise and/or report on wine, gastronomic, cultural and social events.

Donna Christenson Founder, DCdigest Donna’s varied interests and background include being an ABC News television reporter, winemaker, educator, photographer, public relations consultant, wine judge and commercial real estate broker, including restaurants and wine bars as clients. She has contributed articles or photographs to publications and websites including The Georgetowner, Twenty Sips and The Georgetown Dish. A talented photographer, she studied at the Corcoran School of Art and had a solo show featuring 45 of her photos at a fine art gallery in Washington, D.C. Her public relations career culminated in being national director of communications for the American Red Cross National Headquarters. She holds two degrees in Communication, a B.A from Michigan State University where she was a Theater major and M.A. from Western Michigan University. She serves on the Board of the IBIS Chamber Music Society, a not-for-profit foundation of musicians from the Boston Pops, Kennedy Center Opera House, Washington National Opera and National Symphony Orchestras offering free and low-cost concerts to the community.

Jim Hoffman received his PhD. in Psychology from the University of Illinois and is a Professor of Cognitive Neuroscience at the University of Delaware. Jim’s interest in theater was sparked by landing the dream role of the farmer in a high school presentation of Oklahoma. Due to a lack of any discernible acting talent, he has shifted his focus from being on stage to writing about theater. His interest in the arts continues in his teaching of a course called Art and Illusion, exploring how artists use principles of perception to create their effects (think M.C. Escher). Jim’s current focus is on the psychology of wine tasting, which has required diligent study and extensive field work, all in the name of science!

Jake McGuire is a veteran DC photographer, writer and book publisher. He currently has seven coffee-table books in print. He spends several months each year roaming rural France enjoying the likes of truffle hunts with 400 pound pigs, and is working on an adventure book about food and wine in the far corners of France. As a freelancer his photos and articles have appeared in dozens of airline and travel publications. He was a staff newspaperman, former photo editor and restaurant critic at The Hill Newspaper. In this photo McGuire is trying bouillabaisse in Marseilles to see which restaurant has the best! It's a tough job, but someone has to do it! For more see: www.jakemcguire.com

Mark Lewonowski is in the final term completing his studies at Le Cordon Bleu in Ottawa, Canada. His earlier professional career began in the U.S. Air Force and led him to become a policy analyst with a Washington DC area federally funded research and development center. While living in Washington, Mark was an active member of La Confrérie de la Chaîne des Rôtisseurs, an international gastronomic society founded in Paris in 1950 and based on the traditions and practices of the old French royal guild of goose roasters. He also took care of the wine cellar of the Washington Chaine Bailliage for a couple years. In this photograph, Mark is enjoying a glass of Champagne at a Chaine Bastille Day dinner at the Inn at Little Washington.

Tom Rixey says he has been too busy practicing for his upcoming guitar concert and hasn't had time to post a biography about his photography and writing . . . but promises he will tell us more about himself sometime soon!

In the meantime, you can read his latest theater review here https://www.dcdigest.com/theater#h.p_SAU82ZRSNm6T

Dan McKay was a contributing music and theater writer whose reviews have been published in various daily newspapers. As a trumpet-player, Dan had the pleasure of performing under the batons of USAF Col. Arnald Gabriel and Donald Johanos, while later meeting and comparing notes with Chris Botti, Wynton Marsalis, Mstislav Rostropovich, Harry James and Dizzy Gillespie.

Dan’s career propelled him from covering global energy markets in executive editor positions for trade publications to become a senior business process consultant for Fortune 100 corporations and government departments. Besides performing arts, Dan loved to take the culinary skills he learned as a “sous chef” in a French restaurant across the street from Heinz Hall – home of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra –to private dinner parties.

Dan was a “bon vivant” who supported the performing arts through local non-profit arts organizations. As such, he was a positive influence in the planning, performance and coverage of local cultural events in the Washington, DC metropolitan area.

Gordon Chin was fortunate to have attended middle and high school at the Rhodes School across the street from the Museum of Modern Art and the Whitney Museum (at that time neighbors) on West 54th Street near Fifth Avenue in NYC. Having a student pass to both museums, he spent countless hours in front of Picasso’s “Guernica”, Monet’s “Water Lilies” and other masterpieces. Perhaps it was here that he developed a love for fine art, whatever the genre. He is also fortunate to live among a collection of studio art glass pieces, notably by Lino Tagliapetra, and ceramics, such as those by Eric Serritella and Ah Leon. His day job is at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center where he is a planetary scientist.

Cary Pollak has contributed food-related articles and restaurant reviews to local magazines and websites such as Capitol File, DC Style, www.WhiskandQuill.com and www.DCdigest.com for many years. He began to study food and cooking in earnest shortly after graduating from law school and soon was invited to become a cooking instructor for the Open University catalogue school in Washington, D.C. He continues to teach and has presented numerous cooking demonstrations at establishments such as Whole Foods, Williams & Sonoma and Kitchen Bazaar. His cooking activities have been featured in the Washington Post and in other newspapers and on radio talk shows around the country.

John Loggins is a DC based photographer whose passion for travel and history drives his interest in documenting cultures, political actions, and social events. Samples of the range of his photography work can be seen here.

Barbara Bennett studied art history in Europe under the guidance of Juan Antonio Gaya Nuno a renowned art historian, art critic and author, and later studied art at Christie’s in NYC under Edward Sullivan, contemporary Latin American art scholar and historian. She also studied dance for many years in New York City where she performed at City Center. Later, while traveling for 30 years worldwide as an international banker, Barbara was always drawn to the museums and galleries of each country visited. Ten years ago she founded Q Street Fine Art gallery in Washington DC which features contemporary local and international artists. Currently President of the Washington Opera Society, Barbara is a frequent and active attendee of DC theatre, music and dance performances. She holds an MBA in Finance and currently is CEO of Anari, Inc. a boutique merchant bank and institutional investor relations firm.

Rozanne Weissman is "Chief Guru" of Rozanne Weissman & Associates, an integrated marketing communications consultancy based in Washington, DC. She has won more than 60 awards for her national marketing communications multimedia consumer campaigns and collateral materials.An avid movie aficionado and "foodie," she shares her thoughts in social media (on Twitter as @PRlady007) and writes about film and food for DCdigest. She started reviewing restaurants early in her career for The Cleveland Plain Dealer under a French pseudonym so that various writers and reporters could share the byline, and restaurants would have no idea who the actual reviewer was. Her articles have also appeared in a number of newspapers and magazinesPrior to heading her consultancy, Weissman was Senior Director of Consumer Campaigns and Director of Communications and Marketing for the Alliance to Save Energy for 13 years, President of Animal Tracks environmental education operating foundation that was originally started by Wal-Mart on the profit end, VP of Corporate Communications for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, and marketing communications consultant for Discovery Communications and other clients, including an award-winning restaurant.

Judy Harris is a Certified Culinary Professional. Judy's classes have been featured in The Washingtonian Magazine, Alexandria Port Packet/Gazette, The Journal, The Washington Post, Crystal City Etc. and Better Homes and Gardens. She is a popular cooking instructor with over thirty years of teaching, and has offered classes with the Fairfax County Adult Education Program, Bloomingdale's, Williams-Sonoma, Fresh Fields and Physicians Committee For Responsible Medicine, and has cooked for two Georgetown restaurants -- The American Café and The Big Cheese. She has earned two diplomas at L'Academie de Cuisine where she also has taught, and has studied French Regional Cuisine in Paris at LaVarenne. She earned the title of Certified Culinary Professional of the International Association of Culinary Professionals.

Larry Moxter The Farm-To-Table trend popularized in recent years by numerous chefs and restaurants is second nature to Larry. Growing up in a large family on a Kansas farm, he learned first-hand how to grow the best tomatoes and other vegetables, and how wonderful they taste freshly-picked from the garden. Everyone learned to do whatever was needed …growing food, cooking family meals and tending to the animals. Inspired by his mom’s down-home fried chicken and other traditional dishes, Larry started cooking as a small boy and continued to do most of the cooking throughout his life. A current interest is exploring various food-pairings to find just the right complementary wine or craft beer combination. Skilled at woodworking (he once made a chair-base for Nancy Reagan), he also applies those artistic design talents to creating exquisitely-decorated cakes. Now retired from a career in Contract Management, he has more time to volunteer with projects like Habitat for Humanity, Boy Scouts, or First Tee, where he teaches kids to play golf.

Roger Lindberg became interested in wines while working as young television reporter in Northern California. It started with being assigned to cover a California chardonnay winning a wine tasting in France. Yes, it was THAT story captured in the book (and movie) Bottle Shock, and he only wishes he had the foresight then to write a book about it, but didn’t. However, his budding interest in wines did lead him to follow up on the story two years later when the French growers brought their wines to Sacramento for a rematch. That taste off resulted in a small TV news series on California wines and the oenology research being done at U.C. Davis. Some years later while working on Capitol Hill for a congressman from California, Roger helped organize the annual wine tasting reception for Members of Congress at the State Department. His interest in wines, and the ever expanding California wine industry in particular, continues to this day.

Richard Sommerfeld is a contributing food and wine writer and photographer for DCdigest. Living abroad for most of his working life in Africa, the Middle East, Europe and Asia fortuitously introduced a wealth of experiences with the cuisines of the world. Richard was Vice President of Finance & Investments for Resort Properties Group with hotels and resorts in Europe and Africa. As CEO of Dransfield Food & Beverage Holdings in Hong Kong, he was responsible for breweries in China, the UK and the US, as well as a large wine trading operation in southeast Asia. Richard was the first brewer of Chinese lager (Yixing) outside of China. He oversaw a highly innovative and successful product development program for Dransfield’s Redruth and Yixing breweries. His beers were featured at the annual dinner of the Parliamentary Beer Club in the UK, where he also received the Prince of Wales Award for Export Excellence.

Janet Rodriguez is better known to her friends as Jumpin’ Janet or JJ. Proud of her Cajun heritage, she was born not far from New Orleans, Louisiana in New Iberia, so cooking that area’s cuisine is in her blood. Her interest in photography developed when she commanded the 134th Military Public Affairs Detachment located on Fort Richardson, Alaska. Career moves took her to Kentucky, Georgia, Minnesota and now to the Washington, DC area. In 2006 she retired from the United States Army Reserves and now adds to our Homeland Security, working with Customs and Border Protection. She promotes her Cajun heritage by teaching and preparing traditional classic Cajun dishes; including jambalaya, fish coubion, seafood etouffee and absolutely the best carrot cake ever!

Barbara Twigg writes about food, wine, and the arts for DCdigest. An avid theater-goer, ballet enthusiast, and movie fan, the Yale graduate enjoys all the cultural riches that Washington, DC has to offer. Barbara is also a cocktail pianist in her own right, available to bring the musical glory of Gershwin, Cole Porter, and the great American songbook to your party or reception. On many Saturday mornings, she can be found volunteering at the National Gallery of Art. Her web site: www.btplayspiano.com

See how to reach Donna, Judy, Cary, Jim, Jake, Barbara, Dan, Roger, Rozanne, Larry, JJ, Barbara and Richard on the Contact Us page.

"Burgundy makes you think of silly things; Bordeaux makes you talk about them, and Champagne makes you do them."

--Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin

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