Flight club: Wine at Bourbon Steak beats basement boxing anytime. House sommelier Julian Mayor competes with Neighborhood Restaurant Group wine director Brent Kroll to see who can choose the best pairings for a five-course tasting menu, starting at 6. Reservations are $100 per person.
Dogs and drinks: Head to the Loews Madison Hotel with your four-legged friend for a "yappy hour" on Tuesday from 5:30 to 7:30. Treats and drinks for dogs and humans alike will be available, as well as items from local pet businesses such as Wylie Wagg and Barkley Square. Partial process go to City Dogs Rescue. Admission is free, but online RSVPs are encouraged.
Fly like a dog: The Daily Dish teams up with Flying Dog for a dinner on Tuesday at 6:30, where a five-course menu is served with five different brews ($65 per person). Reservations are required, and include giveaways like work by artist Jim Ritter and Washington Nationals tickets.
Women and whiskey: Join your favorite brown liquor-loving ladies at Roofers Union on Thursday for a Catoctin Creek whiskey tasting. Chef Marjorie Meek-Bradley pairs small plates with three of the local distillery's whiskeys, and Booze for Babes author Kayleigh Kulp will discuss the spirits alongside Catoctin co-owner Becky Harris. Tickets are $45 and include a copy of the book.
Have an "epicurience": Here's some food-loving fun for your Labor Day weekend. Epicurience Virginia, a food and wine festival cohosted by Saveur magazine, runs Friday through Sunday at Morven Park in Leesburg. The lineup of events includes local wine, beer, cheese, and cider tastings, chef demos, cookbook signings, and more. Tickets start at $85 for general admission, $125 for VIP.
Sweet tasting: RareSweets, the sugar shop set to open in CityCenterDC this fall, holds a pre-opening affogato tasting at La Colombe on Friday from 1 to 4. Drop by for the Italian specialty, which combines the shop's espresso with scoops of RareSweets's ice creams in milk chocolate, vanilla bean, dark caramel, and other flavors ($3 each).
Pie contest: The fifth annual Bake Bethesda Pie Contest goes down at 9 on Sunday morning at the Bethesda Central Farm Market. Kids, adults, and local culinary students can enter in their respective categories by Wednesday for a chance to compete. A panel of judges will choose the winner, and pie sampling begins shortly after (with a recommended donation to the Manna Food Center).
DC Beer Week: The beeriest seven days in Washington are upon us: DC Beer Week 2014. Each day is stacked with multiple tastings, parties, seminars and more, from a DC Brau-sponsored crab feast at the Quarterdeck on Monday to Old Ebitt’s “Brewhaha” suds-fest on Friday, and tons more. Prices, locations, and times vary, so make sure to spend a few minutes checking out the full lineup.
More Restaurant Week: Missed Summer Restaurant Week the first time around? Fear not. We have a roundup of eateries offering extensions throughout the month of August, from fine dining spots like Fiola to neighborhood haunts like Mintwood Place, Graffiato, and many more. Alexandria Restaurant Week also runs through Sunday, so look for options at your favorite Virginia spots: $35 dinners for two, or three-course set menus of the same price.
Doggie dining: Join the EatWell DC restaurants, including Commissary, the Pig, and more, for the third annual Dining Out With Dogs on Monday. Each eatery will donate 15 percent of its proceeds to City Dogs Rescue from 5 to close, and will serve a special vodka-based cocktail whose sales will entirely benefit the rescue operation. Happy hour runs until 7 at each location, plus special late-night discounts from 10 to 11. Kids also eat free from the children’s menu until 6:30.
Top Chef rules: Catch Bravo’s new series, Top Chef Duels, with one of the local stars at Kapnos on Wednesday night. Chef Mike Isabella will watch alongside fans as he faces off onscreen with his former fellow Top Chef competitor Antonia Lofaso in an Italian-style cooking duel. Join him at Kapnos for a viewing party plus happy hour in both the restaurant’s bar and neighboring G Sandwich.
Rock-solid cooking: Chef Rock Harper guest-cooks at Taberna Del Alabardero on Thursday alongside his host, Javier Romero, during a Spanish-American fusion wine tasting and dinner. A portion of the ticket sales ($99 per person) will benefit DC Central Kitchen.
Doggie wall of fame: The upcoming Fairfax location of the Austin restaurant Chuy’s hosts a photo shoot/fundraiser on Saturday from noon to 3 at Uptown Pet Bistro & Boutique. Dog lovers and their four-legged companions can be photographed for the restaurant’s “La Chihuahua Bar” community dog wall, and receive a free future Chuy’s appetizer with $5 donations to Friends of the Fairfax County Animal Shelter.
Pig roast: Get your fill of swine at Society Fair’s Southern-style pig roast on Saturday. Reservations ($29) start at 5:30 and run until 8:30 for a feast of roast pork, watermelon salad, succotash, and more.
Rare sherry: Eager to try what specialists call the “unicorn” of the sherry world? Head to Mockingbird Hill on Saturday at 3 for a tasting and class featuring Palo Cortado sherries, considered some of the best in the world. Tickets are $45 online.
More and more dogs: If you didn’t get a chance to dine out for the pups at City Dog Rescue earlier this week, check out Vinoteca on Sunday for the Dogs and ’Tails fundraiser (through August 31). The promotion starts with a party on the back plaza, where they’ll have a bocce tournament, dog adoption section, food and drink specials, and more from 4 to 8. Make a $10 donation to CDR and get happy hour pricing all night; for the rest of the week, buy any house-made grilled dog or “dog days of summer” cocktail to benefit the rescue organization.
Share food: The Alexandria Food Swap returns on Sunday, hosted at Friendship Firehouse from 2 to 3:30. Participants bring homemade, foraged, homegrown, and other self-procured edibles to exchange. Online tickets are $5.
Washington Restaurant Week: It’s baaack! Summer Restaurant Week returns, with 200-plus restaurants serving $20.14 lunches and $35.14 dinners throughout the area. With so many options, how does one choose? Start by checking a few of our guides, including a roundup of new restaurants participating in the promotion, and tips for finding the best deals, meals, and more. The 100 Very Best Restaurants list is also a good place to start.
Lambrusco week: Call it the week of weeks. The Neighborhood Restaurant Group launches Lambrusco Week on Monday with a happy hour at the Partisan from 5 to 7:30. You’ll find seven varieties of the charcuterie-friendly Italian wine for $6 a glass at the restaurant, and flights paired with cured meats ($17 to $30). Red Apron locations are also celebrating with special pricing and tastings.
Drink like the President: The Smithsonian Associates host a Tuesday evening seminar focused on favorite tipples of American presidents. Learn about FDR’s martinis, Truman’s bourbon, and more, all while sipping samples from 6:45 to 8:45. Tickets are $60 for nonmembers, $50 for members.
Free food alert: Washingtonian readers voted California Tortilla “best Mexican” in our 2014 Best Of Washington survey, and the chain is celebrating with a taco giveaway on Tuesday. All locations will serve free tacos all day long (limit one per customer).
Seeing stars: Dino’s Grotto teams up with local 3 Stars Brewing Company for a dinner on Wednesday. The four-course meal includes dishes such as pasta with eggplant and grilled pork ribs, and comes with drink pairings for each item. Tickets range from $59 to $69, depending on which seating you choose.
Rum for it: Washingtonians can celebrate National Rum Day starting Thursday, with a number of events through the end of the week. Rum United hosts everything from a tasting and cigar party on the Graham Hotel rooftop to a boozy barbecue at Jack Rose. Check the schedule, as ticket prices and times vary. Over at Cuba Libre, guests can sip half-price rums from 5 to 7 on Friday and Saturday, and will find mojito and rum flights through the rest of the month.
Chef’s choice: Wildfire goes more upscale with a chef’s table on Thursday at 6:30. The $60, four-course menu from chef Eddie Ishaq includes dishes like hamachi crudo and bison filet with foie gras butter, and can be paired with wines ($75 total). Call for reservations.
Snacks and a movie: Headed to the Avalon Theater on Thursday for The Hundred-Foot Journey starring Helen Mirren? Drop by Macon Bistro & Larder before or after the culinary-themed flick for complimentary small bites paired with $15 wine flights from 4:30 to 9.
Alexandria Restaurant Week: Find more dining deals in Alexandria as it starts Restaurant Week on Friday (through August 24). The offers vary slightly from the Washington version, with participating restaurants serving a three-course set menu or a dinner for two, both priced at $35.
Crab week: The Hyatt Regency Chesapeake Bay launches crab week on Friday. Overnight guests at the hotel can try a variety of crab dishes, tour a historic crab house, catch cooking demos, try crustacean-friendly wines, and more. A number of kids’ activities are included.
DC Beer Week: One of the beeriest weeks in Washington officially starts on Sunday: the sixth annual DC Beer Week. The official kickoff party goes down on the water with a brew-filled cruise aboard the Odyssey, co-hosted by Ommegang and Boulevard Brewing Company (tickets start at $95). Other events include an all-you-can-eat-and-drink barbecue at Hank’s on the Hill, a lobster boil at City Tap House, DC Brau’s brunch at Granville Moore’s, and more.
Remember Dîner en Blanc, the all-white culinary flash mob, a.k.a. the Guilty Remnant of pop-ups? Well, now we have the scoop on the menu.
The September 4 event is BYO everything, from tables and chairs to “fine china” and silverware. Though you can also bring your own meal to the undisclosed location, the St. Michaels catering company Gourmet by the Bay has signed on to prepare picnic baskets for two. Options range from a $72 European-style selection with “lobster salaad” [sic], pâté, truffles, and more, to a $52 mezze platter with various dips, spreads, and salads. Potential guests should register for the waitlist of what the website says is “several thousand people” by August 11 (an additional $40), and place their catering orders by August 19.
The only thing you’re not able to bring? Alcohol. A spokesperson for the event says no outside booze is permitted due to the liquor permit. Hard liquor and beer are already shunned at the gathering—très déclassé—but participants will be able to buy wine and Champagne from Gourmet by the Bay when they register. Also, don’t forget your cigarettes.
Guest chefs: Graffiato’s monthly Industry Takeover Night goes down on Monday at 10. The roster of visiting chefs cooking up complimentary bites includes Mike Friedman of the Red Hen and David Varley of Seattle’s RN74. A $10 door charge benefits Live to Fight.
Need for mead: Explore the world of modern mead at Doi Moi, which hosts a four-course dinner on Tuesday with Brad Dahlholfer, founder of B. Nektar Meadery. Reservations are $60 per person, and can be made by calling the restaurant.
Cuban night: Learn about drinks from Old Havana at Cuba Libre, which hosts a rum, mojito, and ceviche class on Tuesday and Wednesday at 6:30. The evening includes a cocktail workshop with James Beard Award-winning chef Guillermo Pernot, plus plenty of tasting. Tickets ($59) are available online.
Fuel your brain: Author Neal Barnard speaks about his book, Power Foods For the Brain, on Tuesday at Whole Foods Market in Tenleytown. Topics include what you should be eating to strengthen your diet, and strategies for changing your consumption to reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease. The event is free and runs from 6:30 to 7:30 PM.
Plenty of Pinot: Sip Oregon Pinot Noir during a wine dinner at Range on Tuesday, starting at 7. The evening features a number of bottles selected by master sommelier Keith Goldston. Fill up on regionally sourced cuisine including grilled octopus, Hudson Valley duck breast, and pastry chef Johnny Miele’s chocolate semifreddo. Reservations ($150) are available by calling the restaurant.
Seafood feast: We The Eaters throws a sustainable seafood dinner at Cedar on Thursday at 6. The evening includes a cash-bar cocktail hour with passed hors d’oeuvres, a three-course dinner, and discussions of sustainability and sourcing from chef Aaron McCloud and other seafood purveyors. Tickets are $85.
Perfectly paired: Ballston’s Big Buns partners with DC Brau for a collaborative dinner on Thursday from 8:15 to 10:15. Each of the five courses, such as tater tots with Sriracha mayo and a lamb burger with andouille sausage, pickles, and curry sauce, is paired with a “generous pour” of beer. Tickets ($42) include tax and gratuity.
Truck fest: The monthly food truck gathering Truckeroo returns to the Bullpen on Friday from 11 to 11. A number of vendors, including the always-popular Captain Cookie, TaKorean, and BBQ Bus, will be in attendance, and you can sip cold beers from the bar. Admission is free.
Summer treat: Take a weekend day trip to Orange, Virginia, for Edible Fest on Saturday. Chefs and local markets sell food and drinks highlighting central Virginia’s role in the farm-to-table movement. Forrest Pritchard, the author of Gaining Ground, A Story of Farmers’ Markets, Local Food and Saving the Family Farm, will speak at the festival. Tickets ($7) are available online.
Beer dinner: Chef Geoff’s Foxhall Road location hosts a Schlafly beer dinner on Saturday at 7. Cofounder Tom Schlafly will discuss the brews, each paired with a dish in the six-course meal. Tickets ($59) are available online.
Brewery tour: Join chef Kyle Bailey and beer director Greg Engert on Saturday at 4 for a tour of Bluejacket, followed by a four-course dinner and beer tasting at the Arsenal. For those looking to simply see the brewing operations, short tours are also available. Tickets ($99) for the full experience are available online.
Sunday surprise: Typically you’ll find Erik Bruner-Yang in the kitchen at Toki Underground, but he’s cooking at Boundary Road on Sunday night as part of a new guest chef series. Each Sunday in August the guest toque will prepare whatever dishes he or she wants for the late-night menu, and also pick a movie for guests to watch on the big screen.
Find Anna Spiegel on Twitter at @annaspiegs.
Celebrate Peru: Local Peruvian restaurant Las Canteras celebrates Peruvian National Day on Monday with a special menu featuring traditional dishes such as ceviche and prime beef lomo saltado ($39.50 for four courses). An incentive to arrive early: The first 50 guests receive a Pisco sour for $5. This is the only menu for the evening, and seatings are available at 5, 7, and 9:30.
Southern takeover: DGS Delicatessen features two collaborations this week for its Southern-Jewish mashup, “schmutz and schmaltz.” Louisiana chef Wes Morton, formerly of Art and Soul, offers a three-course menu with dishes like smoked whitefish salad and jambalaya on Tuesday from 5 to 9:30 ($35 per person). On Thursday you’ll find a tap takeover from Three Stars Brewery and “meat and three” on the menu for $19.95, with choices such as smoked brisket and grilled corn with pastrami butter.
Chef-ologists: Six local chefs try their hand at mixology on Wednesday for the second iteration of Chefs Behind Bars, a fundraiser at Buffalo & Bergen for Share Our Strength. Sample drinks and bites from Union Market vendors between 6 and 8:30, and vote for your favorite cocktail. Tickets ($40) are available online.
Korean for night owls: Mandu continues its series of late-evening “anju” pop-ups on Friday, this month led by chef Katsuya Fukushima of Daikaya. Expect more Korean-inspired bar snacks and plates from 10 to 1 at the K Street location.
Biscuit heaven: New biscuit purveyor Mason Dixie Biscuit Co. teams up with Dolcezza for a pop-up at its Union Market-adjacent factory on Saturday and Sunday from 11 to 3. Stop by for biscuit sandwiches stuffed with Benton’s bacon or fried chicken, platters smothered with gravy, and several spreads and jams for slathering. You’ll also find a biscuit sundae with sweet-corn gelato and blackberry jam.
Cool down: The historic Mount Vernon estate hosts ice cream-making demonstrations every Saturday in August from 10:30 to 12:30. Unusual flavors include those popular at the time of George Washington, such as oyster, Parmesan cheese, or tea ice cream. This event is free with a paid admission to the property ($18 for adults, $9 for children ages 6 to 11, free for children under 5).
Bon appetite: Strathmore presents the Appetite Festival, featuring food celebs including Giada De Laurentiis and Andrew Zimmern. A variety of chefs lead talks, tastings, and cooking demos, and you’ll also find food trucks, live music, and more. Tickets range from $50 up to $225 for an all-access weekend pass.
Celebrity chef tour: The James Beard Celebrity Chef Tour returns to Washington with an all-star dinner at the Source on Monday, August 4. Toques including CityZen’s Eric Ziebold, Peter Chang of China Cafe, and Top Chef winner Kristen Kish cook for guests; the menu includes special drinks and pairings. Tickets are $200 per person.
Italian wine dinner: Bibiana starts the week on a winey note with a dinner on Monday highlighting vino from Prá winery. The Italian producer is known for its Soave and Amarone varietals, which you’ll sip with a three-course menu. The meal begins at 7:30 ($145 per person, all-inclusive), and must be reserved by calling 202-216-9550.
Happy birthday, Hemingway: Mockingbird Hill commemorates the author’s 115th birthday on Tuesday with a happy hour from 5 to 7. Author Phil Greene will sign copies and recount tales from his book, To Have and Have Another: A Hemingway Cocktail Companion, while mixologist Chantal Tseng will mix specialty sherry drinks.
Beery hour: Brightest Young Things and New Belgium Brewing host a happy hour at Bar Pilar on Tuesday from 5:30 to 7:30. Guests can sip $5 Grätzer, a smoky summertime brew, as well as other beers from the brewery, and get free caricature artist paintings. Admission is free.
Brunch for dinner: Like something stiffer than coffee with your flapjacks? Try Penn Social’s Pancakes & Booze Art Show on Thursday. The event, from 8 PM to 2 AM, involves more than 50 emerging artists, live music, body paint, and an all-you-can-eat pancake bar.
California wine dinner: Restaurant Eve hosts a meal with Failla wines on Thursday at 7. A six-course meal will be paired with the West Coast wines ($200 per person). E-mail email@example.com for information and reservations.
Paella class: Head to Taberna Del Alabardero on Saturday for a paella cooking class from 10 to 2. Chef Javier Romero leads guests through five different recipes, which you’ll taste with a gratis glass of sangria or house wine. A recipe book is also included. Reservations ($110) are available online.
Sweet preview: Get a sneak peek of the treats from Rare Sweets at Salt & Sundry during a pop-up on Saturday and Sunday from noon to 2. Pastry chef Meredith Tomason, who’s opening her shop in City Center this fall, will have DIY s’mores kits, brownies, peanut brittle, and more.
Find Anna Spiegel on Twitter at @annaspiegs.
Brew at the Zoo, one of the biggest beer- and animal-fests in Washington, will bring the best of both worlds to the National Zoo Thursday night as Friends of the National Zoo hosts the sold-out festival among the lions and elephants. Here’s a rundown of the event by the numbers.
162: Kegs storing 2,511 gallons of beer to be guzzled by festival goers.
74: Craft breweries serving their beers, from local spots such as 3 Stars and Mad Fox to Louisiana’s Abita, Otter Creek in Vermont, and more. It’s the biggest number of participants ever, topping last year’s collection of 60.
11,200: Pounds of ice chilling the beer, though the heat and humidity may drive that number up.
100: Pounds of ice that J. Paul’s approximates going through for its two kegs—32 gallons each—serving an estimated 1,000 people.
$110,000: Average amount raised by the event, but the 2014 Brew at the Zoo could top this estimate. Proceeds benefit animal care and conservation at Smithsonian’s National Zoo. Overall, the event has generated about $880,000.
2,000: Animals of nearly 400 different species living at the 163-acre zoo, attracting nearly 2 million visitors each year.
9: Number of years Brew at the Zoo will have been held at the National Zoo since 2006.
3: Years the event has included a beer-naming contest, where the public creates and votes on wildlife- or conservation-themed beer names. Pale Alephant scored the win last year, with Zebrew as the judges’ favorite in 2012. This year Port City is making a special beer just for the event, which will be named as part of the contest. Our top choice: Running Red Panda Ale (oh, Rusty).
40,000: Families who are now FONZ members since the organization was created in 1958.
Bastille Day: La Fête Nationale is on Monday, and while restaurants and bars have been celebrating all weekend, you can still find some day-of events. A good option for shaking off the post-weekend blues: half off French wines at Vinoteca all night long.
Go Belgian: Belgian Restaurant Week returns on Monday. A variety of events are planned, from a special three-course dinner menu with Belgian beer pairings at Et Voila! ($39.95) to daily rotating festivities at Belga Cafe.
Tequila!: July is National Tequila Month, and both the Georgetown and 14th Street locations of El Centro DF are celebrating. Head to either branch for a tequila dinner on Monday, with seatings at 6 and 8 (there’s another round next Monday, July 21). The evening begins with a reception, followed by a three-course dinner with pairings, and a chance to meet representatives from the tequila companies ($69 per person).
Best of the best: One of the biggest culinary events of the summer goes down on Wednesday at the National Building Museum: Washingtonian’s AT&T Best of Washington party. You’ll find 60 top restaurants, an open bar, silent auction, and plenty to keep you entertained throughout the evening. Tickets (starting at $125 for general admission) are expected to sell out by Monday, so get yours soon.
Fans of Philly: Washingtonians may not be big Eagles fans, but we can get behind an Ode to Philly Night at City Tap House featuring a tap takeover from Philadelphia-based Yards Brewing Company on Thursday at 5. Look for ten different drafts, plus specialty eats, two kinds of cheesesteaks (fancy and whiz), soft pretzels, German buttercake, and more.
Baltimore-bound: Former McCrady’s chef Jeremiah Langhorne, who’s planning to open a restaurant in Washington, heads a pop-up at Baltimore’s Artifact Coffee on Thursday. Expect a locally foraged menu from Langhorne and chef/owner Spike Gjerde, available from 6 to 10 through Saturday.
Birthday open house: Vermilion celebrates its 11th year in Alexandria with a recently renovated space, which will open to the public on Thursday at 8 for a no-admission party. Guests can listen to live music, try a special menu from chef Will Morris, and toast the restaurant at 11 with free bubbly.
Rooftop soiree: Hit the roof during Del Campo at Dusk, a Friday evening party from 6 to 9. Former Pabu chef Jonah Kim contributes to the East-meets-West menu that combines, sushi, ceviche, sake, and pisco cocktails. Tickets are $65, all-inclusive, and available online.
Insider fun: Graffiato’s monthly Industry Takeover Night returns on Monday with guest chefs Jeff Black (the Black Restaurant Group) Spike Gjerde of Woodberry Kitchen, and newish Bourbon Steak toque Joe Palma, with Republic mixologist Brett Robinson behind the bar. Doors open at 10 for free food and drinks, with partial proceeds from the $10 cover charge going toward Central Union Mission.
Happy birthday, Trummer’s: Trummer’s on Main marks its fifth year in Clifton with a five-day anniversary party starting on Wednesday. Each day brings a different celebration, including Saturday’s all-you-can-eat pig roast and oyster grill-out on the patio from 1 to 3 ($35 per person) and a throwback dinner on Sunday featuring favorites from the past ($38 per person).
Anju part two: The second anju, Mandu’s late-night Korean pop-up, goes down on Friday with guest chefs Kyle Bailey and Tiffany MacIsaac. Drop by the 18th Street location between 10 and 1 for a variety of Korean snacks and entrées, as well as cocktails from Doug Atwell of Baltimore’s Rye.
Christmas party: Sit near the air conditioning and channel winter at Black Squirrel, which hosts a Christmas in July celebration on Friday. The evening starts with a Christmas cookie happy hour from 5 to 8 where the sweets are passed around for free, and you can order a variety of holiday beers like Sly Fox Christmas Ale and He’Brew Monumental Jewbelation.
Dog days: A Bar + Kitchen launches a series of dog-friendly happy hours on Saturday from 5 to 7. The first benefits the Beagle Freedom Project, an organization that rescues beagles from harmful testing labs. You’ll meet the four-legged members of “DC7,” a group of dogs that were taken from a DC lab a year ago and since adopted, while sipping specialty drinks like the bourbon-based Hound’s Tooth. Treats for dogs include beef-flavored water and biscuits.
Historic baking: Explore the sweet side of history during a baking class with historian/pastry chef Amanda Moniz at the Hill Center on Saturday from 11 to 1. The hands-on course centers on two types of 19th-century cakes, and includes recipes to take home ($40 per person).
Beer fest: The American Beer Classic touches down at RFK Stadium on Saturday with a bounty of brews from craft producers and ballpark-style eats. Tickets start at $65 for general admission, which includes unlimited tastes for four hours starting at 6, due to weather, (VIP entrance begins at 5).