Nycci Nellis and Lisa Espada hit it off immediately when they met five years ago at a cooking class taught by Galileo chef Roberto Donna. Though the two led quite different lives -- Nellis is married with five children and Espada is unattached -- the women bonded over their love of food and their frustration over the difficulty of finding out what was happening around town.

The result was: The List (, an electronic newsletter and interactive Web site that is quickly becoming one of the premier resources for all things food and wine in the Washington area and beyond. "D.C. has a reputation for not being a food town," says Nellis, "and it's just wrong."

Membership is free. Registered members receive an updated newsletter every other week. It includes comprehensive calendar listings for both local and national events. One recent list featured local champagne dinners and happy hours to which patrons can bring their dogs. A guest chef's column provides a forum for local and out-of-town chefs to write about their distinct passions for food and to include favorite recipes. The most popular feature is "The Buzz," industry-insider gossip about new chef hires and promotions, restaurant openings, restaurants in development and ones coming soon.

The site also offers members the option of creating a "My List" feature to save event listings on their personal calendar, or to store recipes, columns and industry news found on the site.

Since The List launched in January 2004, subscriptions have risen from 800 to almost 7,000. Subscribers range in age from 18 to 81. Nellis, whose first name is pronounced Nicki, now spends more than 40 hours a week maintaining and updating the site. "There is so much more going on than even we could ever have imagined," she says.

To register for The List, go to Name, address, e-mail and password are required.

-- Terri Sapienza

Nycci Nellis, left, and Lisa Espada, shown at Zaytinya, focus The List on the D.C. area food scene.