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"Top Chefs in DC" - The Chef from Palena

  • Jun 26, 2013 · 7:00 PM
  • This location is shown only to members

This is the first event of our new series called "Top Chefs in DC",  for discovering some of our cities best chefs. This series will be periodically hosted besides our regular Wine and Food pairing events.

At our next event, we will visit Palena Cafe run by Chef Frank Ruta, who was a personal Chef to the Carters and the Reagans at the White House.

Palena, a small town located in the Provence of Chieti in the Abruzzo region of Italy, is the home town of Chef Frank Ruta’s mother. Around town strawberries and raspberries grow wild. Prickly clumps of juniper dot the paths and untamed flora cover the hillsides. The environment influences the cooking wherein tradition still reigns. Local ingredients are commonly used in what is known as “cucina genuina” or genuine cooking.


Ruta's style is a refined, modern mix of French and Italian flavors, grounded firmly in tradition and technique. On any given night at Palena, there might be a consomme with roasted squash, delicate wood pigeon ravioli; sardines served in a Sicilian-inspired sweet-and-sour sauce of pine nuts, raisins and apple; or rabbit stuffed with escarole and herbs alongside pickled eggplant and crab apple mostarda.

In his first review of Palena in December 2000, Post critic Tom Sietsema called dinner there "required eating for anyone who aspires to cook in this city."

As with our other events, we require no commitments from our members to prepay or buy a fixed price dinner. Our objective is to allow our members to select what they like, getting to discover new cuisines, wines and friends.

Please do not RSVP if your plans of attending are likely to change, as we have a very limited seating with this restaurant and any no shows or late cancellations will minimize our future efforts of making these group reservations.

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  • Pat

    Great evening! Interesting company, delish food, covered the map in conversation! This was first meeting with the group, thanks Rodolfo for bringing us together, great restaurant choice!

    1 · June 27, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    I had such a great time. Thanks Rodolfo! Met lots of nice people & food was delicious!

    1 · June 26, 2013

  • Rodolfo

    Great company, Interesting & Varied conversations and the food was delicious.

    June 26, 2013

  • Patricia C.

    Do I ever feel flakey? Yes! I just realized that I'm starting a new Spanish class tomorrow night so can't go to dinner. I'll see if my husband can still come.

    June 25, 2013

    • Rodolfo

      Please confirm if you husband plans to attend this event, so we could plan the reservations accordingly.

      June 25, 2013

    • Jayson

      Sorry Rodolfo, can't make it this time but looking forward to joining you all in the future.

      June 25, 2013

  • Mark

    I will definitely attend!

    1 · June 25, 2013

    • Rodolfo

      We look forward to seeing you at your first event with our group Mark.

      June 25, 2013

  • Patricia C.

    My husband will be coming, too. Not sure if I included him in my RSVP originally.

    June 25, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Turns out, logistically, I won't be able to make it tomorrow night, but am definitely interested in this series and am hoping to be able to make it the next "Top Chefs in DC" event!! :)

    1 · June 25, 2013

  • Marina

    I am sorry, but something came up. I see there are folks waiting so hopefully someone else can go now.

    June 23, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Have prior plans.

    June 20, 2013

  • Rodolfo

    I have increased the spots and moved those on the wait list to the RSVP list. Please update your RSVP's if and when your plans of attending have changed, so we have a fair count for managing reservations and others can get a spot. This place has some great reviews and am looking forward to sharing the experience, with all of you.

    June 17, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Sorry I can't come. Sounds great. But my parents arrive for a visit that day. Enjoy!!

    June 16, 2013

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