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Look forward to a southern European restaurant from chef Barry Koslow. By Anna Spiegel
Chef Barry Koslow will serve southern European-inspired fare—such as this Serrano-ham-wrapped fig—at Pinea, opening in September. Photograph courtesy of the W Washington, DC.

The W Hotel has kept its new restaurant concept pretty hush-hush since Jean-Georges Vongerichten ended his contract for J&G Steakhouse in June. Today the hotel announced what will take its place: Pinea, a contemporary southern European restaurant focusing on the cuisines of France, Italy, and Spain.

Chef Barry Koslow, who parted ways with DGS Delicatessen last month, was already tapped to helm the new kitchen. Though the menu is still being developed, you can expect Mediterranean flavors, house-made pastas, and plenty of seafood. A merenda section of the menu, meaning “snack” in Italian, will be devoted to shareable plates of cheeses, charcuterie, pissaladière (savory, pizza-like pastries), and more.

Pinea, named after southern European pine trees, will open in September. Stay tuned for more details as they develop.

Find Anna Spiegel on Twitter at @annaspiegs.

Posted at 11:54 AM/ET, 07/25/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
Every morning, we’ll let you know where to find lunch on wheels. By Dora Grote

Happy Friday, food truck followers! The weekend is almost here, so treat yourself with specials such as peril y arroz con gandules (roast pork with rice and pigeon peas) at Borinquen Lunch Box and portobello tacos at Chef on Wheels.

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Posted at 11:00 AM/ET, 07/25/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
Ten of the tastiest food stories we’re reading this week.
What’s the secret weapon of America’s best ramen shops? Photograph via Shutterstock.

Anthony Bourdain gives a fascinating, freewheeling interview about eating his way through Benghazi, Gaza, and other parts of the world. “I used to think that basically, the whole world, that all humanity were basically bastards. I’ve since found that most people seem to be pretty nice—basically good people doing the best they can. There is rarely, however, a neat takeaway.” [Blogs of War] —Ann Limpert

A nice remembrance of the late, great Nadine Gordimer. Who apparently liked to relax and chat over whiskey and potato chips. [Salon] —Todd Kliman

The French ask, “What is house-made?” Good question, I’ve been wondering myself. [New York Times] —Anna Spiegel

What’s the secret weapon of America’s best ramen shops? One hint: It’s not house-made. [Eater National] —AS

Just in time for the mid-90s days: how to make summer rolls. (It’s easier than you think.) [Wall Street Journal] —AS

“An epic marathon of eating” is usually how I like to describe my Saturdays. In this case, it’s referring to the Tour de France. [The Salt] —Tanya Pai

In the battle of bored-by-the-menu chef versus fanatical diner, the key weapon is a simple mind trick. [New York Times] —TP

This Week in Millennial Food Trends: Forbes says millennials are buying more store-brand products because retail chains are tapping into a generational interest in snappy design and good marketing. I counter by saying many millennials are underemployed or suffer from chronically depressed wages, so private-label items are often the better economic choice. [Forbes] —Benjamin Freed

Three naked people broke into a restaurant to steal hamburgers, bacon, pepper, and a paddle board. The state where this brazen crime took place will not surprise you. [USA Today] —BF

Department of Overreactions to Less-Than-Enthusiastic Reviews (France Edition): A Bordeaux judge fined a food blogger about $3,400 and ordered her to change a headline after the owner of a restaurant she reviewed complained her post was the top result for the restaurant on Google. Quelle horreur! [Le blog Erik Wemple a.k.a Washington Post] —BF

Posted at 01:26 PM/ET, 07/24/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
Every morning, we’ll let you know where to find lunch on wheels. By Vicky Gan

Happy Thursday, food truck followers! Today’s specials include Old Bay rolls at Astro Doughnuts, pizza mac and cheese at CapMac, and maple-bacon cookies at Captain Cookie.

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Posted at 11:00 AM/ET, 07/24/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
What you need to know about DC’s newest outdoor bar. By Anna Spiegel
Sauf Haus Beer Garden brings German brews and outdoor drinking to Dupont. Photograph courtesy of Sauf Haus.

The newest addition to DC’s outdoor drinking scene debuts today with the opening of Sauf Haus Bier Hall. The two-story watering hole includes both an indoor bar and an open rooftop, with a Germanic theme throughout. Here’s what you need to know.

The vibe: Oktoberfest in July. While any bar serving beer outside can call itself a beer garden, owner Edwin Villegas (who also owns neighboring Public) wanted to take the concept back to its Bavarian roots. Both the indoor and outdoor spaces boast long wooden picnic benches and German regalia, plus a foosball table where patrons can act out World Cup fantasies in miniature.

The beer: Deutschland is also the focus when it comes to brews. The 16 taps are devoted solely to German beers, such as liters and half-liters of Warsteiner Dunkel, Hofbrau Hefeweizen, and the refreshing Schöfferhofer Grapefruit. A smaller beer and can list includes craft domestics, which are tasty to drink but less fun to pronounce.

The other drinks: Did we mention beer is main theme? House cocktails come in the form of beer-tails, such as a mix of grapefruit, hefeweizen, and house-infused vanilla vodka. A full bar is available, but you’ll only find a single brand of liquor per spirit, such as Tito’s vodka and Patrón tequila.

The food: Soft pretzels. There’s no kitchen to speak of, so you’ll have to head downstairs to Shake Shack for something more substantial during the opening weeks. Once the bar is up and running, you’ll find a cart on the top floor turning out Fells Point Meats brats and franks, and freshly shucked oysters.

The happy hour: Weekly specials include $2 off all drinks from 4 to 7 Monday through Friday.

The entertainment: A few flat-screen televisions on both floors. And occasionally, an accordionist in lederhosen.

On the horizon: Unlike seasonal beer gardens such as Dacha and Garden District, Sauf Haus will be open year-round. Plans include a retractable roof for the deck and warming drinks such as mulled wine for when the weather turns chilly.

The two-story watering hole includes an indoor section outfitted with a foosball table. Photograph courtesy of Sauf Haus.

Sauf Haus Bier Hall. 1216-A 18th St., NW; 202-466-3355. Doors open at 4.

Posted at 10:31 AM/ET, 07/24/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
The 2941 vet takes over at the Penn Quarter restaurant. By Anna Spiegel
Kyoo Eom, a 2941 veteran, takes over the kitchen at Poste. Photograph by Scott Suchman.

The home of the onion soup burger has a new chef. Kyoo Eom, a five-year veteran of 2941, is taking the helm at Poste. The South Korean-born chef also cooked in New York City under Daniel Boulud and Andrew Carmellini at two of Boulud's restaurants.

Though you won't see any big menu changes as of now, Eom—who took over from chef Dennis Marron—plans to roll out a few preview dishes during summer Restaurant Week. The fall could bring menu items such as asparagus-wrapped halibut with pommes rösti and côte de boeuf for two.

Perhaps Michelle Obama will drop by for another meal under the new toque.

Find Anna Spiegel on Twitter at @annaspiegs.

Posted at 02:58 PM/ET, 07/23/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
A pre-security spot for the historic DC restaurant. By Anna Spiegel

An outpost of the historic Ben’s Chili Bowl (pictured) lands at Reagan National Airport. Photograph by Scott Suchman.

Travelers through Reagan National Airport will be able to taste one of Washington’s iconic dishes with the opening of Ben’s Chili Bowl Wednesday. The outpost of the Ali family’s historic U Street spot serves its chili half-smokes in the pre-security area of the B/C Terminal.

This year has been an expansive one for the family-owned brand. March saw the debut of the first standalone sister restaurant in Arlington (a kiosk, similar to the one in the airport, serves FedEx Field and Nationals Stadium). An H Street branch is expected to open later this year. Still, much remains the same on the menu of fries, half-smokes, and, of course, chili.

Find Anna Spiegel on Twitter at @annaspiegs.

Posted at 02:05 PM/ET, 07/23/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
Nauti Foods launches on-the-water eats this weekend. By Anna Spiegel
People on the Potomac can now snag refreshments without heading back to land, thanks to Nauti Foods. Photograph by Andrew Propp.

Ever gotten a Dolcezza craving while kayaking the Potomac? Now theres a quick solution. Nauti Foods, the floating equivalent of a food truck, will begin anchoring north of Key Bridge on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday afternoons and evenings. On the menu: hot dogs, granola bars, ice cream, and more.

Co-owners Ari Fingeroth and Tammar Berger came up with the concept after spending years paddling on the river, often wishing theyd brought more snacks and supplies. Kayakers and paddle boarders will be able to pull up to the 24-foot pontoon boat, outfitted with coolers and a grill, to order a variety of beverages, snacks, and Hebrew National dogs. The duo have teamed up with a few local purveyors, including Dolcezza and Sticky Fingers, so you may find gelato pops and vegan baked goods on opening weekend. All to-go bags are outfitted with carabiners, so boaters can easily fasten their trash aboard or on life vests.

Larger vessels arent left out of the mix. Fingeroth says theyre still figuring out the best way to take orders, but big boats will be able to send in requests, which will be delivered by a paddle board outfitted with a cooler.

Though business hours are somewhat flexible, look for Nauti Foods between 3 and 8 on Friday and noon to 7 on Saturday and Sunday.

Find Anna Spiegel on Twitter at @annaspiegs.

Posted at 12:59 PM/ET, 07/23/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
Every morning, we’ll let you know where to find lunch on wheels. By Dora Grote

Happy Wednesday, food truck followers! Celebrate hump day by heading out for specials such as gazpacho and watermelon-feta salad at Big Cheese and lamb kebabs at Saffron Food Lovers.

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Posted at 11:00 AM/ET, 07/23/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
The Luther better watch out. By Anna Spiegel
Astro’s Old Bay doughnut stacked with fried chicken becomes available Thursday. Photograph courtesy of Astro Doughnuts & Fried Chicken.

Today is a glorious day for fried chicken news. First, Seasonal Pantry announced a crispy bird pop-up for August, and now Astro says on Thursday it will release an Old Bay-doughnut fried-chicken sandwich.

The platform for this ingenious mashup is a savory doughnut with Old Bay spice baked into the rounds and dusted on top. Stuffed inside is a fried-chicken breast, local lettuce and tomato, and your choice of dressing: barbecue, honey mustard, ranch, blue cheese, or Sriracha-buffalo (we may ask for the last two mixed together). You’ll find the over-the-top mouthful ($9) Monday through Friday in the Penn Quarter shop and Tuesday through Saturday aboard Astro’s Virginia food truck.

It looks like the Luther may finally have some competition.

Find Anna Spiegel on Twitter at @annaspiegs.

Posted at 04:05 PM/ET, 07/22/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()