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Georgetown Tour – Part 1

The IACP 2015 Annual Conference was held in Washington, D.C. this year. There are always optional city tours on the first day of the conference and out of all of the options, I chose the Georgetown Tour. We visited 4 different places in Georgetown as part of the tour.

This is the first year that Lori went with me on the tour. She always travels with me when I attend the conference, but she normally is out shopping. We had a grand time on the tour – learned a number of things, ate some really good food and enjoyed some very nice beverages. Because I have so many pictures, I’m going to break our day up into two posts. In this post, I’m going to show you our stops at Pizza Paradiso and the Hotel Capella.

Pizza Paradiso is one of the top pizza places in D.C. Ruth Gresser is the owner and head chef at PP. Our group had the basement of the restaurant to ourselves for our pizza making and class. They brought us pizza dough for us to make our own pizzas. We had three types of sauce to choose from as our start – tomato sauce, a roasted tomato sauce and pesto. We then had a variety of meats, cheeses, veggies and herbs to put on the pizza. Once we built our pizza, they took them to the oven.

While they were cooking, Ruth showed us how to make a simple pizza dough, how to prepare the dough and then how to stretch it out into a circle ready to become a pizza. (When I do pizza at home, I never get them to come out round – I’m going to try again now that she showed me how to do it.)

Here are a bunch of pictures from our pizza outing:

Pizza Paradiso

Table with our 3 sauces

The downstairs room (And Lori)

The Toppings

Closer view of the toppings

Waiting for our dough

Making our pizza

Pizza ready to cook

Lori and our tour guide Rachel intently making their pizzas

Some snacks while we waited

Ruth Gresser demonstrating making pizza dough

Gathering the dough

Kneading the dough

Dough ready to form

Making the starting circle

Stretching the dough

My finished pizza (It was REALLY good!)

Just as our pizzas arrived, we had to leave to go to our next stop. They put our pizza in a box for us – I ended up buying one of Ruth’s Cookbooks and then we were off to Hotel Capella for Champagne Cocktails and Appetizers in their bar/lounge.

While the building is not new, the hotel was opened in the last couple of years. They pride themselves on attention to details and the guests. They told us that they have a staff ratio of one to one. The place looks fabulous and I decided that if I had to ask, I probably couldn’t afford to stay there. (I did look online later and rooms start at $550-$600 per night – maybe one of these days….)

We started with a champagne cocktail and they served us a variety of appetizers. The highlight of this stop is that they were going to show us how to saber a champagne bottle. Instead of pulling the cork our of the top of the bottle, you use a saber to knock off the top of the bottle. The glass neck with the cork still in it goes flying off leaving the top of the bottle sheared off. (Check out the video below to watch it.) I was amazed at how smooth the top of the bottle was. After they demonstrated, they asked for a volunteer. Since no one else stepped up, I volunteered. After they had me pose for some pictures with the bottle and saber, I took the saber and knocked the top off of the bottle. (In the picture below – if you look on the ground about three tables away from me, you’ll see the top of the bottle with the cork in it. The gave me that to bring home with me.) I was amazed at how little force it took to open the bottle this way. Also, we lost almost no champagne when we did this. I was originally expecting the champagne to come flying out! They told me the secret is to get the top of the bottle very, very cold.

After we opened the bottles, we went back inside to enjoy the champagne with some more appetizers. (Thought about trying Champagne with pizza – should go great, but decided this wasn’t the place to pull out my box….)

Hotel Capella

Hotel Capella

Champagne Cocktail

One of our hosts showing us what was in the cocktail

Some small bites to go along with the cocktail

Explaining how to Saber a Champagne bottle

Preparing to Saber the bottle

Ready to go

Sabering Champagne at Hotel Capella

Bottle after meeting the Saber

They made me pose before I started

Sabering the Champagne

After I opened the bottle

Bottle and Saber

Close up of top of bottle

More small bites for our champagne

Some more small bites

Bar at Hotel Capella

Lori and I on the hotel terrace

Our time here was up and we were off to our next stop. I’ll show you the next two stops and all the pictures next week….

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