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Posted at 3:55 PM ET, 10/31/2008

Chefs: They're Just Like Us!

By Julia Beizer

They wear their team colors on their sleeves -- or in this case, pumpkin.

"I want people to get fired up for this game," says Firefly's chef about this week's showdown with the Steelers. (Courtesy of Daniel Bortnick)

The masterpiece at right is the handiwork of Daniel Bortnick, chef at Firefly and lifelong Redskins fan. No stencils were used in the carving of this stoop decoration; Bortnick did all the knifework by hand. "I've been doing the same pumpkin for the last three years, so it gets better every year," the 31-year-old chef said.

Bortnick, a season-ticket holder, goes to every home game with an always-growing group of family and friends. He hasn't been doing much cooking this year -- thanks to the addition of a new baby -- but, as you might expect, his tailgate food is probably better than yours. For Monday night's game against the Pittsburgh Steelers, he'll be cooking Hog-Injected Roethlis-burgers (that's bacon-infused patties) for his pregame crowd.

As I mentioned in yesterday's chat (and as Metrocurean details here), Firefly is offering a Colorado-themed special this month to coincide with the Phillips Collection's "Over the River" exhibit. One of the featured menu items is Rocky Mountain oysters and, well, if you don't know, you better ask somebody . . . or just check out the Wikipedia entry. Bortnick's not listing the special on the menu -- to prevent any number of potential misunderstandings/disasters -- but daring diners can order the fried and General Tso-coated small plate for $9.

"The staff ate it and everyone was delightfully surprised," Bortnick said, noting that the dish tastes like sweetbreads. You can taste for yourself until Jan. 25. Less adventurous eaters can opt for a Colorado-inspired cocktail or dessert.

-- Julia

By Julia Beizer  | October 31, 2008; 3:55 PM ET
Categories:  Restaurants  
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