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The ten tastiest articles we're reading this week.
How many licks does it take to get to the center of a scorpion pop? Photograph via Shutterstock.

Favorite local chef-lebrity José Andrés makes margaritas on the Ellen show, finds nuts sexy, has so much energy. [Eater National] —Anna Spiegel

A New Yorker sues Mario Batali for $10 million, charging a list of complaints against the landmark restaurant Babbo. Usually the wafting smell of garlic is a good thing? [Grub Street] —AS

The New York Times collects interesting Thanksgiving recipes from every state, plus DC and Puerto Rico. Representing the District: shrimp-stuffed mirlitons (which will never taste as good as they would in New York, obviously). [New York Times] —AS

If you think a gluten-free diet does wonders to the body, just try taking coconut oil to the veins. [New Yorker] —AS

It takes a team of people—including a set designer, a food stylist, and an animal trainer—around a month to make one of those under-five-minute "tiny hamster" videos. And people say Americans are lazy. [Washington Post] —Tanya Pai

A brave Bon Appétit-er provides an answer to a question that's been floating around in the back of my mind since childhood: Who actually buys those lollipops with insects inside—and, more important, what do they taste like? [Bon Appétit] —TP

This Week in Millennial Beverage Trends: What do young people want to drink? Appartenly they want clear alcohols, and two kinds in particular. "They are looking for Ciroc and DeLeón," says Sean Combs, also known as the leading marketer for said brands. [Fortune] —BF

Kevin Durant has a new gig, but it's not with the Wizards. Instead, he'll be the new pitchman for Sonic Drive-In. And, just so all you #KD2DC fans know, the closest Sonic is 26 miles away in Edgwater, Maryland. [Eater] —BF

New Orleans residents are being advised to thaw their turkeys before deep-frying them, because nothing ruins Thanksgiving quite like exploding poultry. [Vice] —BF

Remember when everyone freaked out that a Russian company was taking over the most all-American of beers, Pabst Blue Ribbon? Well, false alarm: PBR still means USA. [New York Times] —Michael Gaynor

Posted at 12:49 PM/ET, 11/21/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
The bright orange van went missing from Alexandria. By Anna Spiegel
The Popped! Republic truck has been stolen. Photograph via Facebook.

Bad news on the road this morning: The Popped! Republic food truck has been stolen. The popcorn vendor tweeted that the van was taken Thursday night from Alexandria and is asking anyone who spies the vehicle to contact the authorities immediately.

The Popped! truck typically dishes out some of the best snacks on the road, with interesting popcorn mixes such as kettle corn and Old Bay. Hopefully the bright orange van—not exactly an inconspicuous presence on the road—is found soon.

Posted at 10:54 AM/ET, 11/21/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
Every morning, we'll let you know where to find lunch on wheels. By Caroline Cunningham

TGIF, food truck followers! Take a pre-weekend break for bibimbap with Korean pear from Kimchi BBQ Taco or cannellini bean-spinach soup aboard Mediterranean Delights.

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Posted at 10:50 AM/ET, 11/21/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
The hot restaurant auctions off a table to the highest bidder. By Anna Spiegel
The auction winner receives a coveted table at Rose's Luxury. Photograph by Lauren Joseph.

An infamously tough table at the no-reservations Rose's Luxury just became easier to attain, at least for a patron with $500-plus to spend.

Chef/owner Aaron Silverman has teamed up with nonprofit World Food Program USA and eBay Giving Works for a charitable auction; the restaurant always donates 25 cents per customer to WFP. The prize: two reservations at the white-hot restaurant, a free meal, and a 22-karat gold-gilded platter signed by the culinary team. Winners are asked to cover their own alcohol, with their bid wholly going to provide school meals for children.

Bids have already started—at the time of this posting the highest is $510—and run through November 30.

Posted at 10:26 AM/ET, 11/21/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
The local 'cue scene is heating up. By Ann Limpert
Andrew Evans is finally making his way into DC. Photograph by Laura Olsen.

Good news for fans of the ribs and pulled pork at Andrew Evans’s Barbecue Joint—you don’t have to trek to Easton or Pasadena anymore to satisfy a craving. After months of negotiations (“You’d think I was building a kitchen for the queen,” Evans says), he recently signed a two-year lease for a barbecue counter at Union Market. He plans to start serving in early December.

Evans says the project is “more akin to a barbecue butcher in the South or Texas than a restaurant.” Customers can buy cut-to-order ribs, pork butt, brisket, and Sriracha-and-beer sausage by the pound, then load up on house-made sauces, rubs, and sides such as collards and cornbread. “No redneck nachos or other goofy things,” he says.

Evans, who graduated from the CIA and once owned the elegant Inn at Easton, plans to get creative with weekend specials, like veal short ribs. We’re looking forward to his pork belly: “Most people braise it to death or make bacon, but I treat it like ribs,” he says. That means brining it, giving it a rub and a turn in the smoker, then finishing it off with a barbecue-sauce glaze.

Evans will smoke the meats in Pasadena, then deliver them to DC while they’re resting. “It’ll be just like what I’d do at a barbecue competition,” he says.

Posted at 12:03 PM/ET, 11/20/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
Every morning, we'll let you know where to find lunch on wheels. By Hallie Golden

Happy Thursday, food truck followers! If you need some comfort in the chilly weather, try hearty kebabs and stroganoffs from Saffron Food Lovers or gumbo-style soup with rice, chicken, and vegetables at Borinquen Lunch Box.

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Posted at 10:30 AM/ET, 11/20/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
Plus where to find free s'mores and hearthside happy hour. By Anna Spiegel
Sip hot cocktails and roast marshmallows by the fire at popular Washington bars. Photograph via Shutterstock.

Cold weather is officially here, but instead of dreading the chill we're scheming where to get our next drink by the fire. Here are eight great spots that offer hot cocktails, happy hour discounts, and free s’mores, all by the light of live flames. When it gets frigid, faux-fires just don’t cut it.


Barcelona

1622 14th St., NW

Watch the lively 14th Street foot traffic from the restaurant’s front patio while warming your hands by the large fireplace. Blankets and heat lamps help keep things toasty. Get there early on warmer days, as space fills up fast.

Specials: A new “social hour” in the bar area runs Monday through Friday 4 to 6, with $5 specialty drinks and glasses of wine (four whites, three reds), $3 drafts, discount sangria, and $4 tapas like Spanish meatballs and pan con tomate.


Biergarten Haus

1355 H St., NE

One of the few year-round patios is a great place to perch with a group under heat lamps and down large liters of German beer to keep warm. Snag a spot by the outdoor fireplace or fire pits and get ready to toast s’mores along with your bratwursts.

Specials: Happy hour runs Monday through Friday 4 to 7, with $5 specials: beers such as Spaten lager and Oktoberfest, house wines, Jagermeister/Fireball, and eats like loaded fries or currywurst.


Bourbon Steak winter lounge

2800 Pennsylvania Ave., NW

Faux-fur blankets, live fire pits, and heat lamps warm guests on the brick-walled patio, strung with twinkle lights. Barman Duane Sylvestre’s hot drinks include steamy buttered rum and spiked cocoa, among others.

Specials: No deals as of now, but here’s one big perk: You can call and reserve seats by the fire pits in advance.


Chez Billy

3815 Georgia Ave., NW; 202-506-2080

The original French bistro—recently joined by a sister eatery in Georgetown—boasts a large hearth, which warms the rustic dining room and bar. In addition to deals you’ll find hearty dishes such as boeuf bourguignon and French onion soup.

Specials: Weekend happy hour! Tuesday through Saturday 5:30 to 7:30, look for $5 Stellas, glasses of wine, and a seasonal cocktail. The specials also run 5:30 to close on Sunday.


L’Auberge Chez Francois

332 Springvale Rd., Great Falls

While you’ll have to order a meal to sit near the hearth in L'Auberge's more formal dining room, anyone can drop by the casual Jacques’ Brasserie and have a hot drink by the outdoor fire pit (open nightly, weather permitting). A new autumn menu includes a number of Champagne cocktails, mulled wine, and spiked cider.

Specials: Happy hour at the brasserie bar runs 5 to 6:30 Tuesday through Friday, and 3 to 4:30 on Sunday. The menu offers a variety of French dishes and drinks.


Poste winter lounge

555 Eighth St., NW

Snuggle under a blanket with your date in the outdoor lounge, set with comfy couches and warmed by fire pits and heat lamps. Hot cocktails like salted caramel rum cider and bourbon toddies keep things toasty, as do nibbles such as spicy chicken skewers. The lounge is open Thursday through Saturday 4 to close, at 42 degrees or above.

Specials: Free make-your-own s’mores with house-made marshmallows offered daily.


Murphy’s Irish Pub

713 King St., Alexandria; 2609 24th St., NW

Many Irish pubs claim fireplaces, but few fuel them with actual wood. That’s not the case at these lively sister spots in Alexandria and Woodley Park, which host trivia nights, musicians, and a $9 brunch deal.

Specials: In addition to daily specials, weekday happy hour runs from 4 to 7 and includes half-price drafts, appetizers, and Jameson.


Ritz-Carlton Georgetown

3100 South St., NW

Even locals can feel like luxury travelers in the swanky lobby, lit by a huge fireplace. A “s’more-elier” serves complimentary Valrhona chocolate treats nightly, while you’ll find specialty cocktails, wine, and beer from the adjoining Degrees bar.

Specials: More free s’mores! Nightly from 6:30 to 7.

Posted at 10:22 AM/ET, 11/20/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
Fresh options for dining and drinking. By Anna Spiegel
Score a free brunch drink for looking dapper at Second State. Photograph by Andrew Propp.

Late-night weekend happy hour at DC Harvest

517 H St., NE

Drink cheap and late in the bar, which offers discounts from 11 to 1 on Friday and Saturday. Boozers will find $5 drafts and wines by the glass, $3 Natty Boh cans, and $6 specialty cocktails. Snacks are also on special, such as $4 Bloody Mary oyster shooters, $3 lamb sausage sliders, and $4 cheese plates.


Second State launches Sunday brunch with free drinks

1831 M St., NW

Don your Sunday best—dresses for ladies, jackets for men—and get a free glass of Veuve bubbly or craft rye whiskey upon arrival at the new brunch. Dishes include blue crab Benedicts, foie gras burgers, and more.


Shophouse Opens at Union Station

40 Massachusetts Ave., NE

Another Washington location of Chipotle's Southeast Asian concept opens in Union Station on Thursday. Look for the same line of tasty, customizable rice, noodle, and salad bowls.


Zaika launches weeklong happy hour

2800 Clarendon Blvd., Arlington

An extensive happy hour starts at this Indian spot, which offers discounts from 5 to 7 Monday through Friday, and noon to 7 on Saturday and Sunday. Look for $5 brews, wines, and rail drinks, $6 mojitos, and $9 martinis while lining the stomach with $5 small plates such as tandoori wings and samosas.


Vegetarian menu at Trummer's on Main

7134 Main St., Clifton

Chef Austin Fausett offers a fall garden menu centered on seasonal fruits and vegetables. Frequently changing dishes could include house-made burrata with arugula pesto and cranberry vinaigrette, roasted garlic soup, and sweet potato rosti with chanterelles.

Posted at 02:30 PM/ET, 11/19/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
Turkey pop-tarts, stuffing soup, and (shudder) pie-flavored vodka. By Anna Spiegel
Skip the turducken and go for Ted's turkey pop-tarts instead. Photograph courtesy of Ted's Bulletin.

Turducken isn't the only Frankenfood that pops up on Thanksgiving. Something about the excessive nature of the holiday makes chefs think: Sure, why not put a cheesecake on top of a pecan pie "crust"? Should you crave something more extreme than the traditional five-carbs-on-one-plate, here are seven solid options.

Stuffing soup at Baby Wale

1124 Ninth St., NW

Everyone's favorite Thanksgiving side in liquid form. Buttery croutons float in a rich, stuffing-y stock, perfect for scooping with a spoon without shame.

Turkey pop-tarts at Ted's Bulletin

Multiple locations

Like your favorite breakfast pastry, minus the fake strawberry, plus a savory filling of turkey and house-made stuffing. A cranberry sauce glaze and dollop of sweet potato mash finish off this toasty strudel. Preorder for pickup November 24 through 28 (closed Thanksgiving).

Thanksgiving pizza at Arcuri

2400 Wisconsin Ave., NW

If Pizza Hut were behind this dish there'd be a stuffing-stuffed crust, but we'll take the mild excess of a pie topped with roasted turkey, chestnuts, Brussels sprouts, cranberry mostarda, and bacon. Available through November.

Pumpkin-pecan cheesecake-pie at Cheesecake Factory

Multiple area locations

Who needs homemade crust when you can just swap in another pie? The Factory's turducken of desserts blends a pumpkin pie and cheesecake, which sits atop a whole pecan pie "crust". Appetite spoiler alert: A slice clocks in at 910 calories—almost half the FDA's recommended number per day—and 59 grams of sugar.

Leftover popovers at BLT Steak

1625 I St., NW

The downtown steakhouse celebrates Black Friday each year by offering its signature popovers filled with yesterday's feast: roast turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce, and truffled whipped potatoes ($10 at the bar or to go). We don't recommend shopping for tight pants after.

Pumpkin doughnut muffins at Baked & Wired

1052 Thomas Jefferson St., NW

Could muffnuts be the next cronut? Yes, at least on November 27. Baked pumpkin muffins are dusted doughnut-style with a tasty coating of cinnamon-sugar.

Imitation pecan pie vodka from Pinnacle

Multiple (too many?) local liquor stores

Best swigged direcly from the bottle while crying and reheating a box of Stouffer's Thanksgiving Tonight.

Posted at 01:45 PM/ET, 11/19/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
Every morning, we'll let you know where to find lunch on wheels. By Caroline Cunningham

Happy Wednesday, food truck followers! Thaw out on this freezing day with a steaming bowl of lentil soup from Habebe or $10 crabcakes from Crab Cab.

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Posted at 10:11 AM/ET, 11/19/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()