It’s that time of year to honor Spain’s favorite culinary tradition, paella. From September 17 through September 30, José Andrés and his culinary team at Jaleo will celebrate the Tenth Annual Paella Festival with a two-week event featuring inspired cocktails and dishes with special guest and the master of paella, chef Rafael Vidal of Restaurante Levante in Benisanó, Spain, the birthplace of paella.
The Jaleo team, led by head chef Ramón Martínez, has designed a program of activities that will allow Washington, D.C. to celebrate the spirit of Spain through a number of paella-inspired culinary events.
On September 16, as part of the annual Crystal City Vintage Crystal event, Jaleo will showcase their renowned giant paella with a cooking demonstration and shared samples.
On Monday, September 17 from 6 p.m. to 8 pm., Jaleo begins the festivities with a kickoff celebration at Jaleo Crystal City. The kickoff event is open to the public, but space is limited. Reservations can be made at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Chef Vidal’s paellas are inspired by the region of Valencia, and he is famous for preparing this dish in the authentic technique over a wood fire. His family has been serving paella for kings and queens for the past three generations. The rotating paella specials will be available all day at each Jaleo location and are priced between $40 and $65, which serves from 4 to 6 people. Featured items include Paella Valenciana, paella from Valencia with chicken and rabbit; Fideua negra con pulpo, paella of black noodles with octopus; Paella de pescados y mariscos, seafood paella; Arroz de verduras de temporada, seasonal vegetable paella; Arroz con col y costillas de cerdo, paella with Iberico ribs and cauliflower; Arroz caldoso de pollo y alcachofa, soupy rice with chicken and artichoke, as well as Arroz seco de bogavante, lobster paella. Standout cocktails available during the Paella Festival include: the refreshing Gold Standard, prepared with saffron infused gin, and the sweet-scented Cracked Nut Primed, with horchata and Spanish brandy. Both are priced at $12.00.
Additionally, guests will have the opportunity to learn how to make classic paella with head chef Martínez, who will lead two cooking classes throughout the two-week festival. Classes will be held on Wednesday, September 19 and on Wednesday, September 26 from 12 p.m. to 2 p.m. at Jaleo Bethesda. Classes are $25 per person and include a paella lunch (tax and gratuity not included). Seating is limited to 15 guests. Reservations can be made by calling (301) 913-0003. After the festival, starting October 1, Martinez will deliver 3 additional cooking classes in Living Social in their 918 F St. location.