- The Washington Times - Sunday, July 31, 2005

A new cooking experience for time-starved Washingtonians is coming to the area.

Let’s Dish, which opens in Ashburn, Va., this month, gives families the opportunity to prepare eight or 12 meals, which are packaged, stored and cooked at a later time. The recipes include dishes such as Marinated Flank Steak, Prosciutto-Wrapped Chicken with Garlic Herb Cheese and Grilled Salmon Pesto Pasta Toss.

“In general, families are very busy,” said Elizabeth Marcotte, co-owner of Let’s Dish in Ashburn. “Let’s Dish will be a convenient, easy, cost-effective and fun way to prepare and serve healthy meals.”

The cost is $155 for eight meals and $195 for 12 meals.

Here’s how it works: Customers register on the company’s Web site (www.letsdish.com) for a two-hour session and select the meals they want to prepare from the monthly menu of usually 14 to 16 options. By registering in advance, the store can have fresh ingredients delivered for the sessions.

When customers arrive at the store, they receive a brief orientation and then go to stations, which are equipped with a recipe, directions, ingredients and storage containers.

Customers rotate through the stations, preparing the meals and adjusting ingredients based on their tastes. Each session can cater to as many as 16 persons.

When the meals are complete, they are wrapped in foil containers or plastic bags and labeled with cooking instructions. Each meal serves between four and six people.

The Let’s Dish staff handles the planning, shopping, chopping and dicing, and the cleanup.

The company, which started in Minnesota last year, has locations in Timonium, which opened in January, and Bel Air, Md., which opened last month. Another location is scheduled to open in Columbia in the fall. The 2,500-square-foot Ashburn store celebrates its official grand opening Sept. 7.

Eating Out

• Five Guys Burgers and Fries is continuing its expansion. The burger chain will open four new locations in Northern Virginia by the end of the year.The new restaurants, which range from 2,000 to 2,800 square feet, will open in Arlington, Centreville, Dumfries and Woodbridge.

• Media mogul Ted Turner has opened a second restaurant in the Washington area. Ted’s Montana Grill, which offers American comfort foods such as beef, chicken and homemade cookies, opened last week in the Crystal City section of Arlington. Another restaurant is in Alexandria.

• Redrock Canyon Grill is scheduled to open its second Maryland location in downtown Silver Spring today. The 7,200-square-foot restaurant will serve a combination of Southwest and American cuisine.

• Tysons Corner Center’s new wing expansion, opening in the fall, will include five new restaurants. Coastal Flats, which has a location in Fairfax, will offer seafood and American cuisine. Gordon Biersch Brewery Restaurant will open its second location in the Washington area. Brio Tuscan Grille will offer Italian cuisine, while Pauli Moto’s Asian Bistro will offer pan-Asian cuisine from Masaharu Morimoto, better known as the Japanese “Iron Chef” on the Food Network. Tysons’ expansion also includes a new T.G.I. Friday’s, which will be on the third level with a food court.

Donna De Marco can be reached at 202/636-4884. Retail & Hospitality runs every other Monday.

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