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Plus Bethesda Restaurant Week begins. By Nelson Billington
Grab a Red Hook Lobster roll at the first Truckeroo on Friday. Photograph by Scott Suchman.

Restaurant week begins: Bethesda Restaurant Week runs Monday through Sunday. Eateries like Jaleo and Luke’s Lobster offer two-course lunches for $15, and/or three-course dinners for $30. More information and a list of participants is available online.

Book talk: Nora Pouillon, early champion of the organic foods movement in DC and pioneering restaurateur, speaks about her new memoir My Organic Life: How a Pioneering Chef Helped Shape the Way We Eat Today on Monday at 7. Head to Sixth & I for a conversation about Restaurant Nora’s forty-year history, and the importance of local food systems. Tickets ($14) are available online.

Roof party: Masa 14 opens its deck on Tuesday from 6 to 9 for hor d’oeuvres and a new spring dinner menu. Two drinks are included in the affair, and the discounted happy hour menu is also available. Vote afterwards for your favorite dish and receive a voucher for a complimentary return trip. Tickets ($25) are available online.

Beer n’ whiskey: Farmers Fishers Bakers hosts a pairing dinner on Tuesday with local brews from 3 Stars and brown liquor from Utah’s High West Whiskey distillery. Each of the five courses will be matched with a different beer and taste of rye or bourbon. Tickets ($75 per person) are available online.

Purposeful dining: Make a difference in the lives of children and adults facing HIV/AIDS, cancer, and other serious illnesses during the annual Dining Out for Life campaign. Participating restaurants like BlackSalt and Tosca pledge between 25 and 100 percent of sales to Food & Friends’ life-saving services on Thursday.

Chesapeake feast: PassionFish presents a wine dinner with seafood and produce from around the Chesapeake region on Thursday from 7 to 10. Try a local soft shell crab spider roll, Maryland rockfish, and jumbo lump crab cakes alongside Bay watershed wines. Tickets ($130) are available online.

The trucks are back in town: The monthly Truckeroo food truck festival returns to the Half Street Fairgrounds in Navy Yard on Friday. Expect the same format: food and drinks from 20-plus trucks between 11 and 11, live music, lawn games, and cold beer from the Bullpen bars.

French market: Francophiles welcome the return of Georgtown’s annual open air French Market and sidewalk sale on Friday from 10 to 5, and Saturday from 11 to 4. In addition to live entertainment, shopping sales, and family activities you’ll find foods like grilled sausages, crepes, pastries, and other Gallic eats (all priced individually). Admission is free.

Oyster festival: The 8th annual Oyster Fest goes down on Saturday at Hank’s Oyster Bar in Dupont from 11 to 3. Tickets ($80 per person) include all-you-can-eat oysters (raw, fried, and barbecued), popcorn shrimp, Old Bay fries, and onion rings, and bottomless craft draft beers.

Wine festival: Get a taste of Virginia wine at the Great Grapes Wine & Food Festival on Saturday and Sunday from noon to 6, where 20-plus vineyards offer casual tastes of their bottles. The gathering is at Lerner Town Square at Tysons 11, and easily walkable from the Tysons Corner Metro Stop (there’s also free parking). Live music, food, and a free kids area round out the fun. Tickets (starting at $25) are available online.

Beer festival: The Capitol City Spring Beer Festival returns on Saturday, with over 35 Mid-Atlantic breweries pouring four-ounce samples. The festivities run from noon to 7 at the Village at Shirlington location. Tickets are $30 for drinkers, free for attendees.

Boozy brunch: Spend Saturday afternoon sipping tequila and feasting family-style at Tico, which hosts an agave-centric brunch from 1 to 3:30. Guests start with a meal of shared plates like spicy fried chicken and green chili grilled cheese, followed by an agave tasting and seminar. Tickets ($80) are available online.

Tastes like spring: 2941 welcomes the arrival of spring ingredients on Sunday with a special seven-course dinner. Dishes include wood-grilled and braised local lamb, jumbo white asparagus with morels, and a rhubarb vacherin. Wine pairings are available, and seatings are offered between 5 to 8 ($75 per person; $150 with pairings).

And get your tickets now…

Next week James Beard Award-winning chef Sean Brock of Charleston’s Husk and McCrady’s collaborates on a dinner at Jack Rose Dining Saloon alongside host chef Russel Jones. The duo will prepare "A Night of Southern Hospitality” on Wednesday, April 29 from 6 to 9, which includes a multi-course meal, tastes of rare Stitzel-Weller whiskeys, and an open bar offering select wines, beers, and spirits. Tickets are $125, and benefit local charity Jeeps for Joy. Tickets are still available online.

Posted at 02:28 PM/ET, 04/20/2015 | Permalink | Comments ()
Plus free gelato at the launch of Dolcezza in CityCenterDC. By Nelson Billington
Celebrate the return of warm weather at Roofers Union roof deck party, with cocktails, spring sausages, and more. Photograph by Scott Suchman.

Cocktail competition: Some of the District’s top barmen and women break out their shakers on Monday for District Swigs, a cocktail competition at American Ice Co. from 7 to 9. Talents from Bar Pilar, the Gibson, Dram & Grain, and more create sips using ingredients from co-host 4 Bros. Bar Essentials. Admission is free.

Grand tasting: Head to the National Building Museum on Monday from 6 to 9:30 for Taste of the Nation, an annual chef-filled benefit in support of No Kid Hungry. Sample fare from over 100 Washington restaurants, drink cocktails from top mixologists like Derek Brown and Gina Chersevani, and get cookbooks signed by celebrity chefs like Bryan Voltaggio and Hugh Acheson. Tickets ($120 to $170) are available online.

East meets west: Chefs Harper McClure of Brabo and Tim Ma (Maple Ave., Water & Wall) team up for a collaborative East Meets West dinner at Brabo on Tuesday, starting at 7. The evening is the first in a monthly series that brings together top toques from the Washington region. Dishes include live sea scallops and oak-smoked poussin. Secure reservations by emailing events@braborestaurant.com, or call 703-894-3440 ($65 excluding tax, gratuity, and beverage).

Equal pay, cheaper wine: Capitol Hill wine shop DCanter commemorates Equal Pay Day on Tuesday with bottle discounts and a clothing drive benefiting Dress for Success. Female customers receive a 22% discount on wines (the number reflects the pay disparity between men and women), while anyone can drop off gently-used professional apparel for women in need returning to the workforce.

Rooftop launch party: Celebrate the return of warm weather on Wednesday from 5 to close on the rooftop of Roofers Union. Chef Marjorie Meek-Bradley serves dishes from her new seasonal menu, while springtime sips like slushies and Pimm’s cups go for a discount ($5 each). Admission is free, with food and drinks priced individually.

Wine dinner: Osteria Morini hosts a dinner on Wednesday at 7 highlighting the vineyards of Italy’s Emilia-Romagna region. In addition to four courses and wine pairings, the evening includes a welcome reception. Purchase wines from the event at DCanter afterwards. Tickets ($115, excluding tax and gratuity) can be purchased online.

Sweet competition: Head to Poste's patio on Thursday from 6 to 8 for a tasting competition between some of Washington’s top pastry chefs. Guests can sip complimentary sparkling wine and try savory snacks from the restaurant while sampling sweets from participants like Carri-Anne Hamer of Pearl Dive and 2941’s Caitlin Dysart. Proceeds benefit Brainfood, a nonprofit dedicated to empowering young people through food. Tickets ($25) are available online.

Wine extravaganza: Celebrate World Malbec Day on Friday with complimentary vino at Rural Society from 4 to 6:30. Sip complimentary samples of eight Argentine Malbecs paired with small bites from chef Louis Goral. Admission is free.

Oyster meets wine: Join Black’s Bar & Kitchen resident fishmonger MJ Gimbar and sommelier Alicia Chyun for an oyster and sparkling wine class on Saturday from noon to 1. The seminar covers concepts like minerality, salinity, and acidity in the varietals and bivalves. Each ticket ($45) includes a dozen oysters, a flight of four sparkling wines, tax, and gratuity.

Italian wine dinner: Chef Roberto Donna teams up with Alessandro Barosi of Cantiniere Imports on Sunday at 6:30 for a dinner at Al Dente centered around organic Italian wines. Dishes on the menu include stuffed red peppers with bagna cauda sauce, and braised beef cheeks over potato puree. The evening costs $75, exclusive of tax and gratuity. Call 202-244-2223 for reservations.

Emporiyum returns: Take a road trip to Baltimore for the return of the Emporiyum food fest on Saturday and Sunday, starting at 10. Local and national vendors and restaurants such as Woodberry Kitchen, Fatty Sundays, and Sfoglini Pasta Shop sell ready-to-eat dishes, pantry items, and other edibles. Tickets ($15 to $40) are available online.

Gelato giveaway: The newest Dolcezza shop debuts in CityCenterDC on Sunday, and they’re marking the occasion with complimentary mini-cones of gelato from 2 to 5. Drop by for a taste of the seasonal flavors.

Posted at 01:28 PM/ET, 04/13/2015 | Permalink | Comments ()
Plus bar tending 101 at Eat the Rich. By Nelson Billington
Try snacks from Toki Underground (above) at One Eight Distilling. Photograph by Scott Suchman.

Gin on the patio: Urbana partners with New Columbia Distillery for a patio debut party on Tuesday from 6 to 9. Taste a series of new warm-weather cocktails made with Green Hat Gin, like a white negroni and aperol spritz ($7). The event is free and open to the public.

Empanada special: Did you know that Wednesday is National Empanada Day? Commemorate the savory pastry on the patio at Rural Society from 11:30 to 6:30. The restaurant serves empanadas, chorizos, Quilmes beers, and glasses of Malbec. Reservations are not needed. Food and drinks ($3 to $6) are sold individually.

Wine dinner: Head to Republic in Takoma Park on Wednesday at 7 for a collaboration dinner with Acorn Wines from the Russian River Valley. Chef Danny Wells pairs dishes like seared duck breast and potato gnocchi with pours from the vineyard. The dinner costs $85, and reservations can be secured by calling (301) 270-3000.

Peak blossom social: One Eight Distilling hosts a cherry blossom party with Toki Underground on Thursday from 7 to 10. Guests can roam the production facility, sample bites from chef Erik Bruner-Yang, and try cherry blossom-themed cocktails made with spirits from the distillery. Tickets (for guests 21+) are $20, include the first plate and cocktail, and are available online.

Pizza popup: Can’t wait for chef Ruth Gresser's Veloce Pizzeria to open downtown? Drop by the patio of the Dupont Pizzeria Paradiso on Saturday from 9 to noon for a pop-up on the sidewalk. Preview dishes from the upcoming menu includes egg-topped breakfast pizzas, calzones, and a smoked salmon pocket, alongside drip Compass Coffee. All items are $5.

Secrets of smoke: Head to the Restaurant at Patowmack Farm on Saturday at 11 for a cooking class lead by chef Tarver King. The course centers around cooking with charcoal, and guests will be treated to a yakitori lunch paired with Japanese beers in addition to instruction. Reservations are required for the two-hour session ($85 per person).

Book signing and dinner: Chef Bryan Voltaggio hosts a dinner at Aggio in Chevy Chase on Saturday at 7. He will also sign copies of his new book Home: Recipes to Cook with Family and Friends. Admission also includes a ticket to the DC Design House for a subsequent date. Tickets ($250) are available online.

Party primer: Learn the basics of bartending from the team at Eat the Rich on Saturday from 11 to 3. Participants learn shaking, muddling, stocking, and serving. Tickets ($65) are available online.

Greek easter: The springtime celebrations continue with the arrival of Greek Easter on Sunday. Three top restaurants offer special meals: Zaytinya, Iron Gate, and Kapnos. See our Easter roundup for more details.

Posted at 02:52 PM/ET, 04/06/2015 | Permalink | Comments ()
Plus dining guides for Passover and Easter celebrations. By Nelson Billington
Head to Osteria Morini for a beer and dinner paired with their delicious pastas (above). Photograph by Scott Suchman.

Whiskey meets the boss: Local distillery Catoctin Creek teams up with Boss Shepherd’s on Tuesday at 6:30 for a collaboration meal, and release of a new whiskey barrel. Sip cocktails mixed by the distillery’s owners Becky and Scott Harris while sampling chef Jeremy Waybright’s multi-course menu. Secure your seat ($89 excluding tax and gratuity) by calling 202-347-2677, or by emailing boss@boss-shepherds.com.

Foodie benefit: Head to the Longview Gallery on Tuesday from 6 to 9 for Eat4Life, an annual fundraiser in support of colon cancer research. Chefs including Scott Drewno of the Source will be on hand with dishes, while the bar mixes cocktails. Online tickets start at $50 for food only, and go up to $100 for eats, open bar, and raffle tickets.

Belgian feast: A Nordic feast is on offer at B Too on Wednesday at 7, where chef Bart Vandaele will recreate his recent dinner at the James Beard House in New York. The menu ($119 per person) is served alongside wines from Newton Vineyards in Napa Valley, and includes dishes like hay-smoked lobster. Call the restaurant for reservations.

Pint night: Join fellow gamers on Wednesday at Republic for an evening filled with booze and board games. From 9 until close order discount $5 from local breweries like Denizens Brewing Co. and The Brewer’s Art. There's no cover charge; further details are available on their website.

Vegan celebration: Active vegans can head to Sticky Fingers Bakery on Wednesday from 5 to 8 for a networking event organized by DC Vegan. Admission is free and food a la carte, but guests can also buy a $20 combo plate and beer, cocktail, or cocktail.

Carb-load: Local brewery DC Brau teams up with Osteria Morini for a beer-filled pasta dinner on Thursday at 6:30. Guests begin with charcuterie platters and beers, and move on to a three-course pasta meal paired with more brews. Tickets ($75 per person) can be purchased online.

Plan your Passover: Pesach begins at sundown on Friday, and plenty of restaurants are offering holiday meals and drinks. Browse our guide for where to find Seder dinners, catering platters, and Passover parties.

Get ready for Easter: Take the kids to the Fairmont Hotel in Georgetown on Saturday from 11:00 to 12:30 for a morning of Easter decorating. Families can paint chocolate eggs, and take pictures with the Easter Bunny. Children will take home their creations. Spots for children ($45 per person) are reserved online.

Easter Sunday: Easter celebrations begin this Sunday, and continue through next weekend in the case of Greek Easter. Looking to feast? Here’s a roundup of what our 100 Best Restaurants have planned, from traditional springtime meals to Greek Easter festivals and a vegetarian spread.

Spring wine class: In the spirit of spring Eno Wine Room in Georgetown hosts a tasting and seminar on Sunday from 6 to 8. The class focuses on rosés from Virginia, Sonoma County, California, and Languedoc, France. Seats ($50 per person) can be secured by calling 202-295-2826 or by emailing info@enodc.com.

Posted at 04:26 PM/ET, 03/30/2015 | Permalink | Comments ()
Plus Jack Rose commemorates 2,015 bottles of whiskey. By Nelson Billington
Try Jaleo's classic paella dish (above) for $6 during National Paella Day. Photograph courtesy of Jaleo.

Bring the kids: Meridian Pint, Brookland Pint, and Smoke & Barrel host a kid-friendly happy hour on Monday from 5 to 7 benefiting Miriam’s Kitchen. Bring any healthy, low-sugar/sodium breakfast cereal and get a kids’ meal for free.

Wine week: The Restaurant Association of Metropolitan Washington hosts its Spring Wine Fling from Monday to Sunday. A variety of restaurants such as Ripple and Aggio offer specially priced wine flights and pairings, as well as seasonal selections. Prices vary by restaurant.

Secret social club: Dolcezza Factory continues its series of Secret Monkey Social Clubs on Monday at 7:30. Enjoy six newly crafted punches, and watch cabaret acts by local performer while Shayna Blass. Admission is free (21+ only), and punches are $9 each.

Local pours: Denizens Brewing Co. in Silver Spring teams up with the Daily Dish on Tuesday at 6:30 for dinner. Enjoy a social hour before the dinner begins, where brewmasters from Denizens will be on hand to talk about the art of crafting beer. Dishes like stuffed calamari and porter-braised lamb shoulder are paired with beers. The evening ($70 excluding tax and gratuity) can be reserved online.

Beer dinner: Belga Cafe hosts a collaborative five-course dinner with Van Honsebrouck Brewery on Tuesday at 6:30 in honor of the beginning of spring. Belgian beers are paired with dishes like cherry tomato salad with arugula dressing, and poached lobster with blood orange hollandaise. Tickets ($59 exclusive of tax and gratuity) can be reserved by calling 202-544-­0100

Happy birthday, chef: Michel Richard celebrates his birthday on Tuesday in true chef style. Central’s head toque, David Deshaies, prepares a menu of favorite dishes including crab cakes with leek tartare, prime au jus, and cake for two. Guests can opt for the three-course meal ($65), or pick individual dishes from the menu. Reservations are available by calling 202-626­0015.

Prepare for Pesach: The Jewish Food Experience has teamed up with local chefs in advance of Passover, who’ll demonstrate a few top holiday dishes at area Whole Foods. Look for DGS Delicatessen’s Nick Wiseman making quinoa risotto with preserved lemon at the Vienna shop on Tuesday from 6:30 to 7; the Red Hen’s Mike Friedman demoing brisket-style short ribs at the Rockville branch on Sunday from 4 to 5; and Amy Brandwein of the upcoming Centrolina at Kentlands on Sunday from 6 to 7 cooking up matzo pasta with lamb ragu.

That’s a lot of whiskey: Jack Rose Dining Saloon celebrates a landmark number in their whiskey collection, the biggest in the western hemisphere: 2,015 bottles. Drop by on Wednesday from 6 to 9 for a meet-and-greet with Willett master distiller Drew Kulsveen, a book signing with bourbon historian Michael Veach, and specials. Admission is free.

Steak meets whiskey: Join chef Will Artley of BLT Steak and Dad’s Hat Rye Distillery on Thursday at 7 for a “whole barrel dinner. ” Collaborative dishes include bread made from spent rye grain and barley malt, and a ribeye grilled on wood from one of the barrels. Herman Mihalich, founder of the distillery, will be on hand to answer questions. The evening ($100 excluding tax and gratuity) can be reserved by calling -202-689-­8989.

Happy paella day: National Paella Day is this Friday, and all three locations of Jaleo celebrate with individual $6 plates of their classic paella Valenciana (typically only served in large, shareable form). Cooks at the Crystal City branch will demonstrate how to make the dish on the restaurant’s outdoor patio all day, giving away free portions until 4.

Sri Lankan cooking class: Chef and food writer Skiz Fernando hosts a Sri Lankan cooking class at the Hill Center on Saturday from 11 to 1:30. Be prepared to get your hands dirty while making dishes like chicken and eggplant curries, coconut roti, and lentils. Tickets ($75) are available online.

Posted at 12:38 PM/ET, 03/23/2015 | Permalink | Comments ()
Plus cherry blossom season begins with the Pink Tie Party. By Nelson Billington
Chef Mike Isabella dishes up porky treats at a past Cochon 555 party. Photograph by Jeff Martin.

Birthday happy hour: Boqueria celebrates its third anniversary in Dupont with an all-night happy hour on Monday. Drop in for discounts on wines, sangria, and specialty cocktails, as well as a selection of tapas.

Head to trotter: Looking for an adventurous night out? If so, head to the Pig on Monday and Tuesday at 7 for the final dinner in a series focusing on whole animal butchery. The menu features a variety of unusual offal dishes, such as Filipino-style crispy pig intestine and Indian duck giblet curry, all paired with a beer or wine. Tickets ($70, not including tax or gratuity) are available online.

Barbecue pop-up: Brookland's Finest teams up with Sloppy Mama's food truck for a week-long barbecue pop-up menu at the restaurant starting on Monday. Drop in for an a la carte menu of smoked wings, pulled pork sandwiches, and ribs with mac n' cheese and slaw. There's also a weekly three-course beer dinner on Tuesday with DC Brau ($35 per person).

Happy St. Patrick's Day: The green beer was flowing this weekend, but the real Irish holiday is on Tuesday and plenty of bars and restaurants are still celebrating. Check out our St. Patrick's Day guide for parties like the Dubliner's all-day bash, corned beef and Irish whiskey at Star & Shamrock, a special three-course menu at BLT Steak, and more.

Rum class: Redwood hosts their last cocktail class on Tuesday at 7. The evening focuses on the history, production, and popular use of rums. Participants will learn about the spirit by mixing and sampling various recipes. Tickets ($25) are available online.

Moonshine night: Leave the bathtub gin at home and head out for a moonshine tasting on Wednesday. Guests snack on light bites while learning more about "the beverage of the mountains." Distillers like Sonoma County Distilling and Catoctin Creek will be on hand with their own brews. Tickets ($45) are available online.

Pink tie party: One of the biggest events of the spring party season happens on Thursday at the Ronald Reagan Building: the annual Pink Tie Party, a celebration of the National Cherry Blossom Festival. Local chefs will be on hand with samples of their sweet and savory dishes, and an auction offers the chance to win weekend getaways and special culinary experiences among other items. Tickets ($225-$300) are available online.

Pork pre-games: Cochon 555 goes down on Sunday (see below), but if you can't wait for the big event, there are two official pre-parties. First up on Friday, Bluejacket/the Arsenal throws a Chef's Series dinner at 7, where talents like host chef Kyle Bailey and Spike Gjerde (Woodberry Kitchen) prepare a paired five-course dinner ($100 per person). Then on Saturday Del Campo serves a large-format feast at 7 with the theme "big beef vs. heritage pig" ($130.95 per person).

Cocktail dinner: Can’t get enough of Catoctin Creek in one week? Join distillery owners Scott and Becky Harris on Friday at 6:30 for an evening of whiskey, history, and dining. The event begins at 6:30 with a tour their Purcellville, Virginia distillery that’s been in operation for more than a hundred years. Chefs Wes Rosati and Maria Aros prepare a four-course meal afterwards. Tickets ($99 not including tax or gratuity) are available online.

Paella class: Javier Romero of Taberna del Alabardero hosts a paella class on Saturday from 10 to 2. Learn the art of making the Spanish rice dish while sampling five of chef Romero’s specialities. The class includes a recipe book and a glass of wine or sangria. Tickets ($100 all inclusive) are available online.

Beer festival: Join brewmasters from DC and all over the country on Saturday at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center for a day of tastings and seminars at the DC Craft Beer Festival. Guests sip unlimited two-ounce samplings from 75 breweries; some will feature newly-released beers. Participating producers include Old Ox, Port City, and Allagash, among many others. Tickets ($50 to 75) for both sessions are available online.

Oyster festival: Take a road trip this weekend to Madison, Virginia (near Charlottesville) for Early Mountain Vineyards's annual bivalve festival. The winery teams up with Rappahannock Oyster Company on Saturday from 11 to 5 for a day of eating and drinking. Guests can order crab cakes, fresh oysters on the half shell, oyster chowder, and a small selection of picnic items (priced a la carte). Tickets ($12 in advance, $15 on site) include a wine tasting and a commemorative glass.

Pig party: One of the most popular food events of the season goes down on Sunday at Union Market: Cochon 555, a national pork-filled competition that stops in Washington each year. A lineup of top chefs including Spike Mendelsohn of Bearnaise, Victor Albisu (Del Campo, Taco Bamba) and Vidalia's Jeffrey Buben roll out their best heritage pig dish, which guests can wash down with a variety of wines, beers, and craft spirits. The prize is big (which can mean good eating for attendees), as the winner goes on to the final competition in Aspen. Tickets ($130-300) are available online.

Posted at 01:00 PM/ET, 03/16/2015 | Permalink | Comments ()
Plus Michelin-starred chef Gerard Pangaud’s tasting dinner at Malmaison. By Nelson Billington
One Eight Distilling throws a pie-filled pi day party on Saturday. Photograph courtesy of One Eight Distilling.

Ongoing: Oyamel’s Tequila and Mezcal Festival; the Yona noodle bar pop-up at G sandwich shop.

Tap takeover: Head to Open City for a weeklong tap takeover by Silver Spring microbrewery Denizens Brewing Co. Six brews like Southside Rye IPA and Ponch’s Porter are on draft, and happy hour includes specials on the beer and food. Items are priced individually.


Argentina meets Italy:
Join Del Campo chef Victor Albisu and Amy Brandwein of the upcoming Centrolina in CityCenterDC for an Italian-Argentine dinner on Tuesday at 6:30. The meal explores the historical culinary ties between Italy and Argentina with dishes like veal carpaccio, bistecca fiorentina, and chorizo. The dinner ($75 per person, including tax and gratuity) can be reserved by calling 202-289-7377.


Tequila tasting:
Redwood continues their cocktail classes with a tequila tasting on Tuesday at 7. Bar Manager Mike Barlow and Room 11’s Nate Mann will be on hand to teach participants about the history and varieties of the versatile spirit. Learn creative uses for tequila while sampling and mixing yourself. Tickets ($25) can be purchased online.


In loving memory:
Toki Underground hosts its third annual Bel’le Dinner in the memory of chef Thang Le. The four-course meal ($50 per person) is a collaboration between chefs at Toki, Rose’s Luxury, and Ghibellina, and will partially benefit the non-profit organization To Write Love On Her Arms. Space is limited; email neil@tokiunderground.com for reservations.


Whiskey tasting:
Diageo House hosts a fundraiser on Thursday from 6 to 8 for Common Threads, an initiative that supports healthy eating and food instruction for underserved communities.. Guests can try a range of single malts and blended whiskeys while enjoying refreshments. Entry also includes raffle tickets for items such as gift cards to top restaurants in the area. A suggested donation of $125 is requested, and tickets can be purchased online.


DC’s Transylvania Convention
: The Libertine in Adams Morgan devotes itself to the Rocky Horror Picture Show on Friday night starting at 5. Guests can try themed foods and drinks, hang out with the costumed staff, and dress up themselves for a ten percent discount. The movie will play all evening, but the real show starts at midnight. Admission is free and open to the public.


Seeing (Michelin) stars:
Malmaison’s Michelin-starred chef Gerard Pangaud cooks a seven course meal on Friday at 7. The seven-course tasting menu goes all-out with wine pairings and dishes like foie gras and black truffle soup, roasted squab, and lamb chops. Seating is limited to 24 people ($200 per person). Call 202-817-3340 to reserve a spot.


Pasta making class:
Urbana continues its series of cooking classes on Saturday from 2 to 4. Chef Ethan McKee shares his knowledge of homemade pastas such as pappardelle noodles, raviolis, and gnocchi. The course includes snacks and complimentary beverages as well as instruction, with samples and recipe cards to take home. Tickets ($45 all-inclusive) can be reserved by calling 202-956-6650.


Pi day celebration:
DC’s newest liquor producer, One Eight Distilling, teams up with Whisked! on Saturday for a Pi Day party. The distillers offer tours and tastes of their spirits, while guests can also buy pies and quiches by the slice (or pre-order whole ones) from the bakeshop. They’ll also have recipes on hand to encourage experimentation with spirits and baked goods at home. Admission is free, and space on tours is offered on a first-come basis.

Posted at 08:33 AM/ET, 03/10/2015 | Permalink | Comments ()
Plus—Gypsy Soul launches a month-long chili cook-off with local firefighters. By Nelson Billington
Head to Gypsy Soul for a month-long chili cook-off featuring local firemen on Mondays. Photograph by Jeff Elkins.

Drink more tequila: Oyamel launches their eighth annual Tequila and Mezcal Festival on Monday with a kick-off party from 6 to 9 ($60 per person). Guests can sip samples of the spirits from multiple stations and try dishes paired with specialty drinks. The festival runs until March 15, with daily drink and food specials (priced individually).

Party before Purim: Celebrate the Jewish holiday of Purim at Commissary, which throws an early Pre-Purim-Palooza on Monday from 7 to close. Enjoy a bottomless Israeli-style buffet of hummus and falafel, or order brisket and latkes alongside drink specials. Tickets ($18) are available online, and partially benefit the Jewish Food Experience.

Chili cook-off month: Gypsy Soul welcomes the upcoming World Police & Fire Games in Virginia with a month-long series of chili cook-offs on Mondays. Each week a Fairfax County firefighter will have the chance to win earnings for the games by competing against chef RJ Cooper to make the best chili; guests at lunch and dinner receive two bowls and a voting ballot for $10 while supplies (50 portions) last. The first responders win either way--all proceeds are donated if their chili dominates, while 50-percent is given if Cooper makes a better meal. The competition and styles of stew can be followed via social media (first up this week: red chili).

Wine and cheese: Flight Wine Bar teams up with Righteous Cheese on Tuesday for a special tasting. Guests can try an unusual variety of red, white, sparkling, and dessert wines as well as Sherries paired with artisanal cheeses. The event runs from 6 to 8, and tickets range from $10 to $40 depending on the number of pours you select. Email info@flightdc.com for more information.

Wines from Spain: Join Taberna del Alabardero on Tuesday for a Spanish wine dinner from 6:30 to 9:30. Chef Javier Romero prepares a seafood-centric menu with dishes like like Spanish ceviche and pasta with squid to pair with a range of wines, but there's also a blood orange-glazed duck breast for the carnivores. Tickets ($99) are available online.

Ramen pops up: The month-long Yona noodle bar pop-up begins at G by Mike Isabella on Wednesday, with an à-la-carte menu of ramen bowls, pork steamed buns, and dry-fried wings from the upcoming Ballston eatery. Chef Jonah Kim's special lineup runs during the evenings, Wednesday through Saturday (regular sandwich shop hours and the Sunday gravy tasting remain as usual). Call 202-234-5015 for reservations.

Beer bash: One of the biggest beer-filled parties of the year goes down on Saturday with the return of the DC Brewer's Ball. Over 30 regional craft breweries fill the National Building Museum with tasting stations, alongside food from host Matchbox Food Group, Hank's Oyster Bar, Cava Mezze, and more. The event runs 7 to midnight, cocktail attire encouraged. Tickets ($135 per person) are available online.

Living the whiskey life: Head to the Grand Hyatt Washington DC on Saturday night for a brown liquor-filled evening at Whiskey Live. The celebration of spirits from 6 to 10 includes unlimited tastings from producers like Dickel and Catoctin Creek, a dinner buffet, and live entertainment. Tickets ($129) are available online; use promotion code "wldram" to save 15 percent.

Labeling seminar: Do you understand what the terms organic, natural, gluten-free, and GMO really mean? If not, join the DC Metro Celiac Organization on Saturday from 2 to 4 for a seminar that helps buyers understand the labels. Sarah Scholl, a health coach and physical therapist, leads the discussion on how to make informed dietary decisions. Red Bandana Bakery and Zenful Bites will be on hand with delicious sweets. Tickets ($5) are available online.

Kids cooking class: Maggiano’s in Chevy Chase features a St. Patrick's Day-themed cooking class for kids ages five to 12 on Saturday morning from 9 to 10:30. Both young ones and parents start off with a robust Irish breakfast while learning how to make shamrock shakes, Dublin pie, and Irish macaroni and cheese. Tickets ($15 per child, $25 for adults) are available online.

Slow food: New Belgium Brewery presents an afternoon on the art of slow food from 1 to 4:30 on Sunday: Pickled, Braised, and Brewed. Tickets ($45) to the event at Mess Hall include a biscuit sandwich, slow-made meat tasting, two chef demonstrations, and a hands-on pickling course. Beers are sold separately, and there's also an after-party at Brookland Pint to keep the suds flowing.

Posted at 11:14 AM/ET, 03/02/2015 | Permalink | Comments ()
Plus the Source serves a Year of the Sheep Chinese menu. By Nelson Billington
Learn to shuck fresh oysters at the Hill Center. Photograph via Shutterstock.

Eat more sheep: The Source celebrates Chinese New Year with an ongoing tasting menu available through Friday. The five-course lineup includes traditional dishes such as caviar-topped tea egg custard and New Year dumplings, as well as symbolic items like a soy-marinated "sheep chop" with five-vegetable stir-fry ($110 per guest, $155 with wine pairings).

Whiskey dinner: Join Willett Distilling Company and the Partisan on Monday for the restaurant's first spirits-focused dinner at 7. The night begins with a whiskey flight and discussion of aging rye. Then participants are offered several different bourbons with their meal, with seasonal dishes like braised pork belly and a Maryland caramel cake ($95 per person). Reservations can be made by calling 202-524-5322.

California drinking: Head to STK in Dupont Circle on Tuesday evening for a five-course tasting menu paired with wines from Napa Valley's Trefethen Family Vineyards. Save room for the vanilla crepe souffle paired with a late-harvest Riesling that features hints of citrus and roses. Reservations for the 7 o'clock dinner ($125 per person) can be made by calling 202-296-1880.

Get schooled: The Hill Center offers a variety of interesting culinary classes this week. Up first on Wednesday at 7, the Charm City Meadworks owners team up with Sona Creamery for a mead and cheese sampling ($25 per person). Then on Thursday at 7, Peter Martone of the District Fishwife leads an Oyster 101 class, including lessons on how to shuck the bivalves alongside cold beers ($65 per person). Anyone interested in history and cooking can take a baking class on Saturday at 11 with cookbook author Amanda Moniz, where she'll guide participants through the lives of the first two African-American cookbook authors: Malinda Russell and Abby Fisher ($45 per person).

New Zealand wine dinner: Wildfire in Tysons Galleria hosts a wine dinner on Wednesday with selections from Oyster Bay in the Marlborough region of New Zealand. Ally Burkett is the featured speaker, and Edwin Amaya creates the five-course menu. The evening ($80) begins at 6:30, and reservations can be made by calling 703-442-9110.

Warm up: Sip soup for the greater good at Empty Bowls on Thursday, a fundraiser for the Capital Area Food Bank at the Bethesda Blues & Jazz Supper Club. Guests sample soups out of artisanal bowls from area restaurants like Black’s Bar & Kitchen and Cava Mezze from 11:30 to 2, alongside fresh-baked breads ($25 per person). Tickets are available online.

Salt sensation: Salted author Mark Bitterman discusses the history and current culinary status of salt on Saturday during a Smithsonian Associates seminar from 1 to 5. Bitterman, who runs a specialty store called the Meadow, will conduct a salt sampling and teach participants new ways of using a cook's most important seasoning. The afternoon seminar takes place in the S. Dillon Ripley Center; tickets ($65 to $75) are available online.

Italian cooking class: Learn how to make traditional Italian dishes such as a panzanella salad, roasted pork with dried mushrooms and beans, and fresh biscotti on Saturday at Osteria Marzano. Chef Carmine Marzano invites guests in the kitchen from 11 to 2 for the class, lunch, and a glass of Champagne ($85 per person). Reservations can be made by e-mailing info@osteriamarzano.com.

Posted at 03:52 PM/ET, 02/23/2015 | Permalink | Comments ()
Plus Mardi Gras happenings around town. By Nelson Billington
Grab $10 and head to Hill Country for a chili cookoff and benefit. Photograph by Scott Suchman.

Drink more wine: Take a road trip to Richmond this week for the Virginia Wine Expo, which starts Tuesday and runs through Sunday. The event, held at the Greater Richmond Convention Center, offers the chance to taste and buy more than 450 Virginian wines, plus a bounty from the “guest region” of South Africa. Ticket prices vary by day and various events.

Venetian feast: On Tuesday evening Fiola hosts a dinner to celebrate the Carnival of Venice and the beginning of Lent. The three-course meal includes dishes such as scallop crudo and salt cod, branzino over risotto, and ricotta bomboloni. Wine pairings are included with each course ($60 per person). The menu is served all evening; reservations can be made by calling 202-628-2888.

Mardi Gras week: Washington bars and restaurants celebrate Fat Tuesday with Cajun feasts, live music, block parties, and New Orleans-inspired cocktails. Check out our Mardi Gras guide for all the happenings, including a few rescheduled or altered events due to Tuesday’s snow.

Happy Chinese New Year: The Source commemorates Chinese New Year on Wednesday with two celebratory events. First, chef Scott Drewno leads a dumpling-making class from 6 to 7. Then, from 7 to 9, lauded Szechuan chef Peter Chang takes over the lounge, preparing a variety of dim sum specialities alongside two special Atlas Brew Works ales. Tickets are available online and are $50 for the lounge party or $100 for both events. In addition, the restaurant serves a special five-course New Year’s menu ($110 per guest) starting Friday through February 27.

Cooking for a cause: Join nearly 60 female chefs on Wednesday night for the annual Turn Up the Heat gala, a benefit to fight ovarian cancer. Guests sample dishes and drinks from top women toques and mixologists; proceeds benefit the Ovarian Cancer National Alliance. Tickets ($175 to $325) can be purchased in advance by calling 202-331-1332, or at the door.

Family dinner, kung fu-style: The Fainting Goat joins the Chinese New Year fun—it’s the year of the goat, after all—with a celebration on Thursday. Guests can make reservations between 6 and 9 for a family-style feast ($39 per person) that includes dishes like Szechuan goat, tea-smoked duck, dumplings, and more, plus $4 Tsingtao beers and lucky cocktails. As for entertainment, kung fu movies are screened and traditional lion dancers will perform.

French wine dinner: On Thursday night beginning at 6:30 L’Auberge Chez Francois hosts a wine dinner. As part of a series, this meal focuses on the Jura and Savoie regions of Eastern France, plus a five-course pairing menu ($125 all-inclusive). Seats can be reserved online.

Cocktail connections: EdibleDC takes over the Long View Gallery on Thursday evening for a night of drinks and eating. Tickets ($65 to $85) include tastings of 20 drinks and 15 small plates. Craft distillers and vintners from New York, Philadelphia, and Richmond will be on hand to answer questions and entertain participants. Head over to La Colombe afterward for an after-party with coffee, dessert, and gift bags filled with edible treats.

Wintry brews: Just in time for frigid weather, the Black Squirrel rolls out 13 varieties of dark stout beers on Friday starting at 5. Specialty menu items include a stout-infused burger to pair with the brews.

It's chili weather: Head to Hill Country on Saturday afternoon from 1 to 3 for the second annual chili cookoff and fundraiser for nonprofit MicroGreens. Tickets ($10, available only at the door) includes ten samples of chili. Drink specials are also available.

Posted at 03:37 PM/ET, 02/17/2015 | Permalink | Comments ()