African Restaurant Week- DC,Maryland and Northern VA


2012 Inaugural Restaurants Participating in DMV African Restaurant Week:


-And So Much More Tasty African Cuisine

*Special African Restaurant Week Discounts will be available*

Filipino Cassava Cake Recipe


Cassava Cake is a classic Filipino dessert made from grated cassava or manioc, a woody shrub where the starch that is used to make tapiocaare derived.Being a popular dessert, differentrecipe versions are available for Cassava Cake.



  • 2 packs grated cassava (about 2 lbs total weight)
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • ½ can evaporated milk
  • 2 pieces raw egg
  • ¼ cup butter, melted
  • 6 tbsp cheese, grated
  • ½ cup condensed milk
  • 14 tbsp sugar


  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • ½ cup condensed milk
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 2 tbsp cheese, grated
  • 1 piece raw egg


Click to Check Out Fun Cooking/Food Apparel 

For the Beltramis, making olive oil and cheese is a family affair


Ciao!” says the short, elderly woman standing behind the counter. On her apron are the words “Gastronomia Beltrami, Cartoceto, Italy.” This is Elide Beltrami, wife of Vittorio Beltrami, a man who has been ordained the “Einstein of cheese” by famous chef Lidia Matticchio Bastianich. With a wide, warm smile, Elide makes me feel as welcome as if I were walking into my local corner store.1-20190607_111054

However, Gastronomia Beltrami is not just your average corner store. Inside the front glass case are piles of pecorino cheese, made from the milk of the Beltramis’ sheep. To the left, stacked on wooden shelves, are jars of fig and other fruit jams, made by Elide and her family and wrapped in brown paper and ribbon. Lastly, on a wide oak cupboard are bottles of glistening green olive oil—a product that brought this family name much praise in the early 1900s—harvested from the Beltramis’ groves and pressed in a 500-year-old palace.

A petite woman in her mid-thirties with short dark-brown hair comes from the back and flashes a smile. This is Cristiana Beltrami, the daughter of Vittorio and Elide Beltrami. “Let’s go on a tour,” she says and I follow her to her car. As she drives, Cristiana explains that she has worked at the shop for 15 years, since graduating with a degree in economics from the University of Urbino.  READ MORE

See More Articles by Nandi Alexander

Get Your Tickets to New York Food and Film Festival 2012

Image from the Chicago Food and Film Festival

It’s baaaaack. NYC Food and Film Festival will take place on October 18th and this time MCCN is a media sponsor.   To us it was a natural fit because we feature the film and foodie section on our main website at .   MCCN’s editor Crystal Johnson is a foodie with a masters degree in English/Screenwriting. Last Year MCCN had the opportunity to cover both the New York and Chicago Festivals.

The Food Film Festival sprang from the imagination of Festival Director George Motz, the documentary filmmaker behind the award-winning Hamburger America film and book, along with co-creator Harry Hawk, formerly of Schnack and Water Taxi Beach. Through documentaries, features and short films, the Festival showcases the best, and the most memorable, of the world’s favorite foods. Along with a heaping helping of mouth-watering films, Motz, Hawk and company serve up the food that guests are watching on the screen for a multi-sensory, full-bodied experience.  If your are registered at, you get 10% of the ticket price.  Once registered you may access a code.  See Details

Tickets are now available. Hope to see you there.

Read Coverage of NYC Food and Film 2011

Read Coverage of Chicago Food Film 2011

Not Speaking Spanish Doesn’t Make You Less Latino

NBCLATINO.COM-San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro stepped into the spotlight with a rousing keynote address. Suddenly everyone wants to know more about him. The broad outlines of his life are intriguing; Castro grew up in a single parent home, the son of a fiery community activist. He is handsome, with a broad smile and an identical twin brother. But aside from his impressive speech, the media has zeroed in on Castro’s language ability, or rather, his lack of it.  He is not fluent in Spanish, which merited headlines inThe Daily Caller and The Huffington Post.  The New York Times called it “a fact he isn’t eager to advertise.” The implication seems to be that Castro is less than authentic because he doesn’t speak perfect Spanish. However, it is pointless and misguided to use language as a litmus test of whether Castro is “really” Latino.  READ MORE

Review of Paula Shoyer’s The Kosher Baker



Clearly author and baker Paula Shoyer’s love for baked treats knows no bounds.  There is a world of kosher dessert selections available for the elementary baker to the professional.   The notion of kosher at first thought seems to be allocated only to those with religious dietary restrictions but Shoyer points out that the lactose intolerant can enjoy her delectable dessert and bread offerings because of the non-dairy ingredients guidelines of kosher cooking and baking.

Co-reviewer Sydrene Levy and I both were struck by the attention to detail and order Shoyer demonstrates in The Kosher Baker.  Not only did Levy fondly recall recipes of her bubba (grandma) but was impressed with extensive international options from crepes to red velvet to biscotti.  In today’s growing multi-cultural society, people are seeking more than traditional cultural recipes to prepare for guests.  For those looking for all your Jewish comfort food desserts, never fear, Shoyer has recipes such as babka cake, mandelbread, hamentaschen and more. paula265

When first acquiring this book, I strongly suggest reading what Shoyer has to say in the introductory sections.  It will help tremendously, then happy hunting through the bevy of recipes.  It is great how she separates the book by Quick & Elegant, two-step desserts, and multiple step desserts & breads. With innovative fusion style recipes, any upscale foodie would be pleased to add The Kosher Cookbook to his or her cooking library.

Shoyer allows you to get to know her.  Clearly she is a social creature with lots of stories to tell and she laces food oriented memories throughout the book.  Shoyer studied baking  at the Ritz Escoffier Ecole de Gastronomi Francaise in Paris, France.  She went on to start Paula’s Parisian Pastries Cooking School in Washington, D.C.  but is in demand for teaching classes all over the country.

Spice-O-Meter: Sugar and Spice and Everything Nice

Puerto Rican, Black and Proud Super Model Joan Smalls

During Fashion Week Joan Smalls was named number one super-model.  The shares a quote from Smalls, “I just have something to prove,” #Puerto Rican-born supermodel Joan Smalls told W Magazine in July. “I know I’m representing a group — Black, #Latin, whatever you want to put me with — and I want to show that they are beautiful the way they are. I think that’s really important for our youth to see.”

New York Vendy Awards 2012

Chinese Mirch with Indian flavors. Dumplings with sesame noodles. Photo by

MCCN’s Nataki Hewling and Simone Baptiste got the opportunity to cover the New York Vendy Awards 2012.  I got the opportunity back in 2010.  It’s a great event held on New York’s Governor’s Island.  If you don’t live in New York but want to a real taste of what one of the world’s culinary capitol’s has to offer then schedule going to this event.  In 2010 the lines were very long and Baptist reports, “The  lines are long but the food is great at the Vendy Awards.

Photo by
Simone Baptiste via cell

Attend this with friends,  we suggest having each one hold a space in line.  By close  the day’s end one of staffer’s posted via facebook mobile, “I…Can’t…Eat..Another…Thing. Wait is that a snowball stand? Just one more thing and I am done.”  Click here to find out who won the Vendy Cup.

Visit our Photo Gallery on Facebook

The African Heritage Food Pyramid

The research, provided by a conglomerate of experts, nutritionists, and culinary historians, is said to connect individuals with their roots of African Diaspora that they may not have access to regularly. Featured foods on the pyramid include watermelon, mango, various types of greens, and plantains in the fruits and vegetable category. The pyramid includes a section exclusive to herbs and spices. Chicken is particularly highlighted in the meats category, and a slice of sweet potato pie is suggested as the dessert of choice. The pyramid also shows Africans playing basketball for exercise.

At first look, these food pyramids could be offensive. However, after examining the offered information, the diagram only appropriately categorizes foods regularly consumed by the ethnic group from a cultural perspective. Like the USDA food pyramid, the African Heritage Food Pyramid is meant as a tool to illustrate how much Africans should consume of the traditional foods they may already eat–while celebrating their roots in African American cuisine.  READ MORE

Review of Zen Buffet With Four Locations in California

Honestly, I am usually such a snob about buffets but when my friends asked me to join them, I said yes because dining together is about so much more than the food itself.  Our destination was Zen Buffet in Woodland Hills, CA.  There are three other locations in Monrovia, San Gabriel and Long Beach.

The location in Woodland Hills is clean, somewhat chic but it maintains the make yourself comfortable homestyle feel.  It is a very large location  Think Vegas buffets with their elegance and pride.  Zen Buffet does it right.  The price is reasonable considering what you get such as sushi, California rolls, Mongolian barbecue, crayfish, shrimp, crab legs and more.  The foods styles featured are Japanese and Chinese cuisine.   With dishes such as lemongrass chicken, pepper steak, ribs as well many other menu items.  (Read More for Food photos, locations and Website)

Review by Crystal A. Johnson