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Plus two authors discuss their latest food-related works. By Anna Spiegel
Relax with a number of summery wine events this week, including an outdoor festival and Riesling class. Photograph via Shutterstock.

Chef talks: Dan Barber, the chef/owner of the landmark Blue Hill at Stone Bars restaurant in New York, discusses his new book at Politics & Prose at 7 on MondayThe Third Plate: Field Notes on the Future of Food delves into ways we can revolutionize our food system through a more integrated approach. Copies of the book are available for $29.95. Check out our Q&A with the author ahead of time to learn more.

Go USA: Chances are you’ve been watching the World Cup, which kicked off last week. If you need another excuse, Team USA plays its first game on Monday. Check out the After Hours blog for a roundup of places to watch, with plenty of specials and discounts.

Vino pop-up: Spend the evening with Brookyln Oenology at Society Fair Alexandria on Monday during its “urban wine bar.” Guests at 6 and 7:30 seatings can meet the winemaker, taste, and snack on cheese and charcuterie. Reservations are $25.

Best happy hour: Washingtonian’s annual AT&T Best of Washington party is set for July 16, and we’re hosting the first of several happy hours to start the festivities. Head to STK on Tuesday from 6 to 8 for two free drinks, snacks, and the chance to buy discounted tickets to the big event. The $15 door donation benefits the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.

Summery sips: Vinoteca starts its Summer of Riesling celebration on Saturday with three months of tasting flights, classes, and specials by the glass. Head in early on Tuesday for the first class from 7 to 8:30, where you’ll sample a variety of Rieslings from around the world, learn about the grape, and snack on small plates ($40 per person).

Taste talks: Those who are looking to open their own restaurant, or are interested in the industry, can head to Taste Talks on Tuesday from 6:30 to 8:30, hosted by Spoon University and General Assembly. Hear from various industry experts about opening and operating a successful business, and come hungry.

Knish love: Laura Silver, author of Knish: In Search of the Jewish Soul Food, takes the stage at Sixth & I on Wednesday at 7. Tickets ($10) are available online only. A book signing follows the talk.

Ahoy: Top Chef at Sea Celebrity Cruises sets sail on July 27 to Bermuda, but you can get a local taste on Thursday at BéarnaiseTop Chef alum Spike Mendelsohn’s restaurant. The happy hour from 4 to 7 includes food and drink specials, and the chance to win prizes such as a $250 on-board gift certificate for the cruise.

Free bubbly: Et Voila! chef/owner Claudio Pirollo turns 40 on Friday, and offers all lunch and dinner guests a gratis glass of Champagne to celebrate.

No gluten, yes wine: Wildfire hosts a gluten-free wine dinner on Friday with guest speaker Vanessa Weisbrod, editor of Delight Gluten Free Magazine. The evening begins with a reception at 6:30, followed by a three-course meal ($75 per person).

Wine festival: The Milk Lady Markets’s Mid-Summer Wine Fest goes down on Saturday from 2 to 7 at the historic B&O Station in Silver Spring. In addition to 70-plus wines you’ll find a variety of local vendors and food trucks, live music, and more. Tickets start at $31 for an unlimited tasting pass (kids can enter for $10).

Fit fest: Ladies who love to eat and exercise can head to our Fit Fest from 9 to 2 on Saturday at American University. In addition to fitness classes you’ll find healthy snacks and drinks, cooking demonstrations, and more. Tickets start at $25.

Taste of the National Harbor: The Gaylord National hosts the first Taste of the National Harbor on Saturday from 7 to 9:30. Guests can sample fare from neighboring restaurants alongside beer and wine. Tickets ($40 per person) benefit the Children’s Miracle Network.

Posted at 02:28 PM/ET, 06/16/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
Plus the Inn at Little Washington hosts an open house. By Anna Spiegel
Find out who makes the best crab cake during a competition Sunday at the Source. Photograph via Shutterstock.

Tea at the Inn: The Inn at Little Washington hosts an open house on Tuesday from 1 to 5, with tea and sweets on the veranda. Guests can meet chef Patrick O’Connell and tour the inn’s presidential cottage and newly finished parsonage. Tickets are $75 or $60 for seniors over 60.

Taste of Penn Quarter: The annual Dine-n-Dash fundraiser returns on Tuesday. Guests can stroll around Penn Quarter, stopping by restaurants and food trucks such as Proof, Jaleo, and Red Hook Lobster Pound for unlimited eats and drinks between 6 and 10. Tickets start at $99, while VIP options include perks such as parties with José Andrés. All proceeds benefit World Central Kitchen.

Explore wines: Taste wines from the Greek islands at Iron Gate on Tuesday from 5 to 7. Vino master Brent Kroll, fresh off a trip to Santorini, leads guests through six wines ($28 per person). Try them in the bar or on the outdoor patio alongside seasonal snacks. On Thursday, head to the Partisan for Kroll’s sampling of six summery Rieslings for $40 between 5 and 8 (no reservations needed).

Cookbook signing: Celebrity chef Carla Hall signs copies of her new cookbook, Carla’s Comfort Food: Favorite Dishes from Around the World, at the Chevy Chase Lord & Taylor on Saturday. The Chew co-host will autograph copies from 1 to 3 when you purchase the book ($29.99).

Biodynamic wine dinner: Winemaker Blair Walter leads guests through Felton Road’s biodynamic wines during a pairing dinner at 701 on Saturday at 7. Guests will sip the New Zealand wines alongside dishes such as salmon crudo with fennel jam and a dry-aged rib eye with morels ($100 per person).

Keep on trucking: The first DMV Food Truck Week continues with a series of events. Gatherings include a food-truck supper club in Petworth on Thursday from 6 to 7:30, and more.

Truckeroo: The monthly food truck festival returns to the Bullpen on Friday from 11 to 11. Sample fare from 20-plus trucks, drink beer, and play cornhole.

Cup o’ beer: The second annual Kölsch Cup returns to Gordon Biersch Navy Yard on Saturday. You’ll find 20 different local variations on classic German summer ales. Tickets ($20) include a Kölsch glass and 20 sample tickets, and partially benefit the DC Brewers’ Guild.

Crabcake smackdown: The ninth annual Crab Cake Competition hits the Source on Sunday from noon to 3, with chefs from Le Diplomate, Osteria Morini, Doi Moi, and more vying to make the best. The $75 ticket includes all-you-can-eat crabcakes, oysters, clams, and more, plus unlimited beer and wines.

Posted at 01:30 PM/ET, 06/09/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
Plus two pig roasts and a wine festival this weekend. By Anna Spiegel
Two pig roasts and a barbecue festival make for a meaty weekend. Photograph via Shutterstock.

Sherry week: Monday marks the beginning of International Sherry Week, and Mockingbird Hill plans to celebrate with a week full of events. Drop in on Tuesday for $5 pours of Tio Pepe, Wednesday for a five-course pairing dinner, and more.

White wine class: Newish wine bar Flight begins a weekly series of Monday classes, starting at 6. The first topic: white wines. Co-owner Swati Bose leads the class through a tasting of new- and old-world varietals, with lessons on pairing and the winemaking process ($35 per person).

Virginian takeover: Graffiato’s monthly Industry Takeover gets some Southern flair on Monday with visiting chefs from Richmond spots such as the Magpie and Saison. Head over between 10 PM and 1 AM, and don’t forget the $10 cash-only cover, which goes toward Feed More.

Weeklong beer bash: The Brooklyn Brewery Mash Tour returns to town this week with a variety of events through Sunday. Activities include standup comedy at Red Rocks Bistro on Tuesday, a beer-y meal by Dinner Lab on Friday, Homebrewing 101 on Saturday, and more. Each event is priced individually.

Beer dinner: Flying Dog teams up with Zaytinya for a beer dinner on Tuesday at 7. Five brews are paired with dishes like spit-roasted lamb shoulder with local oyster tzatziki. Reservations are $65 per person.

Rhone wine tastings: Explore American Rhone wines at the Long View Gallery on Wednesday from 5:30 to 9 during a tasting event hosted by the Rhone Rangers. Guests can sip over 80 wines from vineyards like Bonny Doon, Tablas Creek, and more ($90 VIP; $65 general admission). Those interested in the Rhone varietal can also attend a seminar that day from 10:30 to noon, as well as two winemaker dinners on Thursday at Charlie Palmer and Willow.

Grub-fest: Ever wanted to chow down on a grasshopper burger or enter a cricket-eating contest? As of Wednesday, the opportunity is yours. The Occidental Grill hosts a pop-up “pestaurant” with Ehrlich Pest Control from 11:30 AM to 3 PM. The event will donate $5 for every buggy dish eaten to DC Central Kitchen, and $20 for anyone who enters the cricket contest.

Korean pop-up: Chef Danny Lee and visiting toque Jonah Kim host the first in a series of late-night Korean pop-ups at Mandu (K Street location) on Friday starting at 10. Drop in for a mix of snacks, dishes like Korean fried chicken, and soju cocktails (priced individually).

Pumpkin lovers, unite: Pumpkin beer may be more of a fall phenomenon, but Black Squirrel welcomes squash lovers on Friday at 5 for a celebration of the orange gourd. You’ll find four pumpkin brews on tap, plus pumpkin mac and cheese and veggie burgers.

The three Bs: The Beer, Bourbon, and BBQ Festival returns to the National Harbor on Friday and Saturday. Sip unlimited samples of 40 bourbons and 60 beers, chow down on a variety of barbecued meats, listen to live music, and more. Ticket prices vary.

Pig and oyster roast: There’s a new oyster in town, and Black’s Bar & Kitchen is throwing a party on Saturday from noon to 3 to celebrate. The Barren Island Oyster Company’s “ugly oysters” from Maryland may be oddly shaped, but the kitchen team loves their buttery taste. Party-goers can try them barbecued and on the half-shell alongside a whole roast pig, sides, and beer. Tickets are $25 per person, and include all-you-can-consume oysters and beer.

Adventurous lunch: Best-selling author David Baldacci discusses his new book, The Target, over lunch at the Willard InterContinental on Saturday at noon. The $85 ticket from Politics & Prose includes the meal and a signed copy of the book.

Drink up: Drink the District goes down on Saturday on the 500 block of New York Avenue, Northwest. Two sessions, from 1 to 4 and 6 to 9, include unlimited pours of more than 100 wines, eats from food trucks such as the Big Cheese, live music, lawn games, and more. Tickets start at $40.

Porky patio: The Heights hosts its annual “pig on the patio” roast in its roomy outdoor space on Saturday from 9 AM to 11:30 PM and Sunday until 10:30 PM. You’ll find nose-to-tail dishes like pig-ear fries, bacon Bloodys, Pork Slap ale, and more. Dishes and drinks are purchased individually.

Sunday supper: The annual Sunday Supper returns to Union Market at 5:30 with a number of star chefs, including celebrity chefs Art Smith and Jose Garces, Spike Gjerde (Woodberry Kitchen), and many more. The evening begins with a cocktail hour, followed by a three-course seated meal. Tickets are $250, with proceeds going to the James Beard Foundation Scholarships and the Good Food Merchants Guild.

Posted at 03:30 PM/ET, 06/02/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
Plus a New York-style bagel pop-up. By Anna Spiegel
Indulge in crawdads, southern beers, and jambalaya at Evening Star's crawfish boil this weekend. Photograph via Shutterstock.

Calling home mixologists: Amateur barkeeps hoping to see their own concoction on a restaurant menu can enter a contest held by Bastille. Whip up a Parisian-style drink inspired by the city’s gardens, now through June 13, for your chance to win two tickets to the RAMMY gala and a spot on the bistro’s summer menu.

Herndon Fest: The 34th annual Herndon Festival starts Thursday, bringing four days of carnival rides, live entertainment, family fun, and, of course, plenty of food. In addition to fair favorites like funnel cakes, you’ll find local food trucks such as Rito Loco, Thai and Greek eats, beer vendors, and more. Times and prices vary, so check out the lineup.

Local goddesses of food: Industree hosts Hail to the V, a series of discussions centered on women in the food and beverage industry. Four panels filled with some of the leading ladies of the local scene gather Thursday at E Street Cinema at 6, all “femme-c’d” by Carla Hall. In addition to the discussion you’ll find snacks and sips from the likes of Hank’s Oyster Bar. Tickets are available online for $60.

Hole-up: Those rueing the lack of New York-style bagels and bialys in Washington can check out a Bullfrog Bagels pop-up at Cork Market Friday through Sunday. Flavors including sesame and everything can be paired with house-made spreads like smoked salmon cream cheese and citrus-goat cheese. Those looking for orders of a dozen or more should call 202-265-2674.

Sinatra-style sips: BLT Steak pays homage to Frank Sinatra’s love of Jack Daniels and the brand’s new limited-edition whiskey, Sinatra Select, with a pairing dinner on Saturday at 6:30. Chef Jeremy Shelton matches Italian dishes such as veal Milanese with different Jack Daniels sips ($100 per person).

Virginia wine time: The Vintage Virginia Wine and Food Festival happens on Saturday at the Bull Run Events Center in Centreville. Sip vino from a variety of Virginia wineries, sample food truck fare, attend chef seminars, and more. Tickets for Saturday and Sunday vary, starting at $30 for adults, $7 for kids.

Bikes and brews: New Belgium Brewery’s national Tour de Fat festival returns to the Yards Park on Saturday, bringing together bikes, brews, and live entertainment. Guests can participate in a costumed bike parade and more two-wheeled events, and can sip a variety of beers and grab food from Mellow Mushroom and other vendors.

Go green: The Green Festival arrives in Washington, hosted at the Convention Center on Saturday and Sunday. Guests can watch vegan and vegetarian cooking demos, shop at the eco-friendly marketplace, listen to speakers on topics such as the vanishing honeybees, and much more. Tickets start at $10 for a day pass.

Taste of Tysons: A new food festival goes down on Saturday and Sunday: the Great Taste of Tysons, held at the Lerner Town Square at Tysons II. You’ll find cooking demos from chefs like Pabu’s Jonah Kim and Michael Friedman from the Red Hen, mixology lessons, live music, and a variety of eats and drinks. Ticket prices start at $59 for general admission.

More crawdads: Evening Star’s chef Jim Jeffords hosts the restaurant’s third annual crawfish boil on Sunday from 1 to 5. Guests can head to the front porch and back parking lot for a block party-style event, complete with a boil of crawfish, corn, and potatoes ($14 per pound), Southern beers and eats including jambalaya and fruit cobblers, and live music. Admission is free, with food and drink tickets for $1.

Chefs unite: Chef Frederik de Pue of Menu MBK teams up with Blue Duck Tavern’s Sebastien Archambault and Dan O’Brien of Seasonal Pantry on Sunday at 6:30 for the first in a series of collaborative dinners at de Pue’s restaurant. The multi-course menu ($95 per person) focuses on a seasonal ingredient—in this case, asparagus—with optional wine pairings for $55.

Posted at 03:10 PM/ET, 05/27/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
Plus late-night eats start at Bar Charley. By Anna Spiegel
Black Jack is just one of many hosting “cocktail program of the year” events this week. Photograph by Scott Suchman.

Loads of lamb: It’s baaa-ck! Lamb Jam returns Monday at 6 (or earlier at 5 for VIP admission). Local chefs compete to make the best lamb dish at the Eastern Market soiree, while guests sample, vote, sip plenty of beers, wines, and spirits, and catch butchery demos. Tickets are $60 general admission; $90 VIP.

Free rye: If you’re curious about local rye whiskey, stop by Jack Rose on Monday from 6 to 8 for a complimentary tasting of Catoctin Creek’s tasty spirit. 

The local scene: Curious about a chef and critic’s take on the Washington dining scene? Head to the Newseum on Monday at 7 for a talk with José Andrés and the Washington Post’s Tom Sietsema (likely in disguise). Tickets are $35 and available online. 

Cheap and late: Bar Charley introduces late-night specials through June. Stop in for half-price burgers and $5 wings from 10 to midnight on weekdays, and from 11 to 1 on Fridays and Saturdays. Early risers can also find deals at the regular happy hour from 5 to 6:30, including $5 and $6 draft cocktails and classics like Old Fashioneds, and $4 large mugs of beer. The deals run all-night on Mondays.

Historically-minded dining: Winston Churchill fans can gather at Plume in the Jefferson Hotel on Wednesday for a dinner with Cita Stelzer, author of Dinner With Churchill: Policy-Making at the Dinner Table. The evening starts at 6:30 with a reception, followed by a four-course meal with wine pairings ($175 per person). 

Cocktails of the year: The RAMMY-nominated restaurants for the best “cocktail program of the year” host special events on Thursday to celebrate their inclusion. Drinks and promotions vary by location; think $1 cocktails at Black Jack from 6 to 1, half-price raw bar fare from 10 to midnight at Hank’s on the Hill, and more. 

Traveling chef: The Restaurant at Patowmack Farm hosts guest chef Justin Severino of Pittsburgh’s Cure on Sunday at 6:30 for a special dinner. The toque, winner of this year’s “best new chef Mid-Atlantic” in Food & Wine magazine, prepares a four-course dinner alongside chef Tarver King. Reservations are $89 per person. 

Posted at 01:12 PM/ET, 05/19/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
Plus crawfish boils return to Bayou Bakery. By Anna Spiegel
Want to eat like the animals at the National Zoo? Head to Zoofari on Thursday. Photograph by Andrew Propp.

Beers and bowling: Pinstripes celebrates American Craft Beer WeekMonday through Friday brings a beery happy hour from 3 to 7, and again from 9 to close, with $3 brews from Victory Brewing Company, Port City, DC Brau, and more in the bar, bowling and bocce areas, and outdoor patios. On Thursday the focus turns to local 3 Stars Brewing with a social from 5 to 7 featuring samples of the beers, snacks, and a chance to meet the brewery’s team. No reservations are required.

Free ice cream: Mark your calendars: Local Häagen-Dazs locations offer free ice cream cones on Tuesday. Stop in from 4 to 8 for a single scoop of any flavor, including two new gelatos: caramelized banana chip and tiramisu.

Wine dinner: If Sancerre is your region of choice, head to Bastille on Tuesday for a dinner devoted to the Loire Valley wines. A five-course menu pairs dishes with whites, reds, and rosés from different producers ($119 per person).

Wine tasting and/or dinner: Alba Osteria plans two events around Manincor Wine Estate on Wednesday, a producer from the Alto Adige region of Northern Italy. First you can attend a tasting from 6 to 7 with three wines paired with small plates for $22. Then at 7:30 guests can opt for a five-course pairing dinner for $100 per person.

Taste of the embassies: Sample a global range of cooking at the Embassy Chef Challenge on Thursday, hosted at the Ronald Reagan Building. Over a dozen embassy chefs from Italy, Norway, Thailand, Botswana, and more come together to prepare their native cuisines alongside a range of beers, wines, and spirits, and the crowd votes for their favorite. Tickets are $250 online.

Zoofari: Over 100 local restaurants gather at the National Zoo on Thursday from 6:30 to 9:30 for the annual Zoofari celebration. In addition to all the eats you’ll find an auction, a grill-off, an international spectrum of wines and beers, and more. Tickets start at $175.

Aggio on the move: Chef Bryan Voltaggio pops up at Artifact Coffee in Baltimore on Thursday and Friday to preview Aggio’s upcoming Charm City location. Two seatings at 6 and 8:30 give guests a taste of the Italian fare and handmade pastas. Reserve a table by e-mailing

Crawfish return: If you’ve been missing the crawfish boils at Bayou Bakery, you’ll only have to wait until Saturday at 5 for the first of the season. The Louisiana mud bugs steamed with corn, potatoes, and spices go for $12 to $14 per pound, and you can wash them down with plenty of Abita beers.

Berry fest: The annual Montgomery County Strawberry Festival returns on Saturday to the White Oak Middle School in Silver Spring from 10 to 4. You’ll find tons of local berries, ice cream, and strawberry-inspired eats, as well as kid-friendly activities such as a petting zoo and face painting. Ticket prices vary by activity.

Taste of Arlington: One of the bigger food-focused events in Northern Virginia goes down on Sunday* at the Taste of Arlington. Sample fare from more than 50 local restaurants, drop into the beer/wine garden or Corona tent for refreshments, and bring the kids for a number of family activities. The crowd can also vote for their favorite dish among the eight Restaurant Challenge semifinalists to pick who’ll go on to the finals and open the next Ballston restaurant. Online tickets for the festival start at $35.

Brunch for fitness: Get your morning workout and breakfast in one at the Ritz-Carlton Georgetown, which launches its fitness brunch on Sunday at 10. Held weekly in the garden, hotel guests and locals can attend an hourlong, high-intensity boot camp class, followed by brunch at Degrees with bottomless mimosas and live jazz. Reservations are $40 per person.

Presidential drinking: Mount Vernon hosts its Spring Wine Festival this weekend, and tickets are still available for Sunday from 6 to 9 only (unless you want to book a $1,200 VIP table instead of a $38 general admission pass). Guests take a wine-centered tour of the mansion and property before tasting, and can buy fruit and cheese separately.

Looking ahead:

Love lamb? The annual Lamb Jam Tour returns on Monday, May 19, from 6 to 9 at Eastern Market. Local chefs from 1789, Zaytinya, Water & Wall, and more battle to make the best lamb dish, while guests watch butchery demos, sip local brews, wines, and spirits, and vote for their favorite eats. Tickets start at $60 for general admission, $90 for VIP (which includes an hourlong pre-party).

* Updated to correct event date from Saturday to Sunday.

Posted at 03:15 PM/ET, 05/12/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
Plus where to find all your margaritas and parties on Cinco de Mayo. By Anna Spiegel
Craft beer is the name of the drinking game this week with tons of events centered around the Savor festival. Photograph via Shutterstock.

Cinco de Mayo: Start the week off on a high note with plenty of margaritas and Mexican eats served at Cinco de Mayo celebrations across Washington. Some highlights for Monday included in our ultimate guide: a five-pork taco with a bacon “shell” from El Rey, $5 margarita specials at Masa 14 and other Richard Sandoval spots, El Chucho’s early opening with $3 Tecates, and more.

Big beer week: The popular Savor Craft Beer festival is sold out this weekend, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have tons of sudsy fun at bars and restaurants hosting related events around the city all week. You might start out on Monday with a five-course dinner at Birch & Barley paired with nine Funkwerks brews at 7 ($70); continue on Tuesday by heading to Jack Rose for a beer-cocktail competition between Boulevard and 3 Stars breweries from 6 to 9 ($15 entry includes two drink tickets); or snack on $1 Rappahannock oysters all night at Meridian Pint during a DC Brau and Baxter Brewing tap takeover starting at 5. has a stellar lineup of all the events.

Industry noche: Graffiato’s monthly Industry Takeover Night on Monday picks up the Cinco de Mayo theme, featuring chefs such as Seviche’s Anthony Lamas from Louisville, Kentucky, and Boston-based chef/restaurateur Michael Schlow (you can see a recipe for the fried chicken tacos he’ll serve here). As usual, the event runs from 10 PM to 1 AM, with a cash door fee of $10 partially benefiting La Cocina VA.

Spring into pork: Chef Kyle Bailey brings on “May-ham” at Birch & Barley/ChurckKey starting Tuesday, with a monthlong ode to pork. Starting this week, May 6 through May 11, you’ll find charcuterie boards with house-made hams, or a selection of swine treats including aged prosciutto and pork-butter-slathered bread. Going forward, groups of four-to-six guests can reserve a 20-pound suckling pig from Path Valley Farms—available Tuesday through Saturday—which Bailey stuffs with ramps and fennel, slow-roasts, and serves alongside sides like spring onion spaetzle ($95 per person, including beer pairings).

Biscuit bash: Bread lovers, your happy place is Art and Soul on Wednesday during a biscuit bash on the patio from 6 to 8. Five local toques will compete to win the crowd’s vote for who should be named Biscuit King or Queen. Rounding out the event: a whole lamb roast by Border Spring Farms, Rappahannock oysters, cocktails from Derek Brown, and more. Tickets are $55 and benefit Hospitality High.

Wine dinner: Head to the Capella hotel’s Grill Room on Thursday for a pairing dinner from chef Jakob Esko featuring Quintessa wines from Napa Valley. The dinner ($180 per person) starts at 6:30.

Food truck fest: The monthly Truckeroo festival returns on Friday to the Bullpen from 11 to 11. Bask in the sun with eats from 20-plus trucks, cold beers, cornhole, and more.

Mother’s Day: Treat the most important lady in your life to a celebration on Sunday. Check out our Mother’s Day dining guide for ideas of spots for brunch, and keep an eye out as we post gift guides, activities, and more this week.

Posted at 02:14 PM/ET, 05/05/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
Plus eats and tunes at Sound Bites, a benefit for DC Central Kitchen. By Anna Spiegel
Sound Bites returns with food, drinks, and tunes this weekend to benefit DC Central Kitchen. Photograph via Facebook.

Heady eating: The Pig continues its Head to Toe dinner series on Monday with a five-course menu centered on the cranium. Dishes include Malaysian fish-head soup, lamb brain tacos, truffle-stuffed calf’s eyes, and more. Brave eaters can make reservations ($70) online.

All gold everything: Daikaya launches Golden Week on Monday, a seven-day Japanese holiday. Look for specials such as the sparkling Golden Week Fizz, strawberry birthday cake in honor of former Emperor Showa, and fried chicken with golden honey. Prices vary by item.

Beer launch: Chef Geoff Tracy teamed up with Port City Brewing for a specialty house beer: NorthWestAle, an easy-drinking American pale ale. Get the first taste on Tuesday at the New Mexico Avenue location, which hosts a party starting at 7. Both Tracy and Port City founder Bill Butcher will attend, and $20 tickets get you two beers and snacks such as sliders and maple-bacon cupcakes.

Spring drinking: Get a preview of spring beers at the Sixth & I Synagogue on Tuesday at 7. Chris O’Brien, author of Fermenting Revolution: How to Drink Beer and Save the World, leads the tasting of environmentally friendly suds from DC BrauBaying Hound, and more. Tickets are $25 in advance.

The Backyard opens: Love al fresco barbecue? Then head to the reopening of Hill Country’s Backyard Barbecue on Thursday. The summer-long pop-up on the lawn of the National Building Museum serves a picnic-style menu with goodies including barbecue beef and chicken sandwiches, smoked meats, cold beer, slaw, and potato salad. Also in the mix: games such as cornhole and Jenga, live music, and more.

Sake science: Master sake sommelier Tiffany Dawn Soto leads a seminar on the science of sake on Thursday at Baltimore’s Maryland Science Center. The evening course, from 7 to 9, includes sake 101, samples, and help navigating menus. Tickets are $50 per person.

Drive-by dinner: The Union Market Drive-In movie series continues this Friday with the ’80s classic Diner. The parking lot opens at 6 for the 8 o’clock show ($10 per car), so you’ll have plenty of time to load up on frozen drinks from Suburbia and themed eats from market vendors.

Food fest: The National Harbor Wine & Food Festival returns on Saturday and Sunday from 1 to 6. The major fest along the Potomac River boasts all-you-can-taste wine, beer, and spirits; a cooking stage with demonstrations by Mike IsabellaBryan Voltaggio, and other chefs; menu tastings; and more. Ticket prices vary by package.

Chesapeake celebration: Grapeseed hosts ChessieFest on Saturday from noon to 3. Chessie the Chesapeake Bay monster will not be served, but you’ll find local oysters, bluefish, clams, and other seafood, wines and beers, a raffle, and more. Tickets are $25 in advance.

Road trip: If you’re looking to get out of town this weekend, the barbecue festival at Early Mountain Vineyards can be a good excuse. The picturesque Madison, Virginia, winery teams up with the Barbecue Exchange and Charlotesville’s Champion Brewery for a Sunday afternoon filled with wine, beer, and pork from 1 to 4. Tickets are $20, and entry is free for kids under 5.

Go Greek: The two-week-long Greek Easter celebration at Zaytinya culminates on Sunday when the restaurant transforms into anagorá, or Greek market. Vendors such as Demeter’s Pantry and the Mediterranean Way will sell products such as honey, oils, and salts; guests can sample Greek wines and brandies from importers; and the Pepe food truck will be stationed outside for lamb-shoulder sandwiches. Entry is free.

Eats and tunes: The fifth annual Sound Bites returns on Sunday to the Ronald Reagan Building’s Woodrow Wilson Plaza from 1 to 5. The benefit for DC Central Kitchen brings eats and drinks from 25 local restaurants, live music, wines and beers, a cocktail “mix-off,” and other fun. Tickets are $65 per person online.

Posted at 02:15 PM/ET, 04/28/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
Plus Bethesda Row Restaurant Week. By Anna Spiegel
Load up on spring brews at Capitol City Brewing Company’s beer fest this weekend. Photograph via Shutterstock.

Happy birthday, Del Campo: Chef Victor Albisu’s South American restaurant celebrates its first birthday with a tango dance party on Tuesday. Stop in between 7 and 10 for dancing, cocktails, snacks, and more. Tickets are $55 and can be ordered by calling 202-289-7377 or e-mailing

Hot happy hour: Those looking to spice up their Tuesday evening can head to Right Proper Brewing Company for happy hour with locally made Glover’s Pepper Sauce. From 5 to 8 you’ll find wings made with the condiment, samples of hot sauce flavors from chef/producer Jamie Glover, and $1 off all house beers.

Brews and bacon: Love pork and beer? Belga Cafe has a special dinner for you on Tuesday at 6:30, centered on Belgian ales and bacon. Five courses include dishes such as bacon-wrapped oysters and roast pheasant with bacon shavings, each paired with a different beer ($59 per person).

Celebrity chef dinner: The first leg of the James Beard Celebrity Chef Tour dinner comes to Kapnos on Wednesday. Visiting toques including Zahav’s Michael Solomonov from Philadelphia join forces with local notables such as host Mike Isabella and Scott Drewno for the meal. Tickets can be reserved online for $200 per person.

Artistic happy hour: Logan Tavern hosts a “meet the artist” happy hour on Wednesday from 5 to 7, with complimentary snacks and discounted drinks celebrating an exhibit by local artist Heidi Phelps. Sip cocktails inspired by Phelps’s art, such as one made with gluten-free gin and house-made rosewater, as you listen to Phelps talk about her pieces.

Dine out for a cause: The Dining Out for Life campaign returns to local restaurants on Thursday, where participating eateries will donate anywhere from 25 to 100 percent of sales to Food & Friends’s efforts to assist those living with HIV/AIDS. See the full list and the contribution percentages online.

A chef’s charity returns: The eighth annual World Festival from chef Art Smith’s national nonprofit, Common Threads, resumes on Thursday after a two-year hiatus. The event, held from 6 to 9 at the Liaison Capitol Hill, brings together 20-plus chefs and mixologists who create a global spectrum of drinks and eats. Tickets ($150) are available online.

Rockfish roast: Chef Todd Gray and his team launch a seasonal grilling/roasting series at Equinox on Thursday. The theme of the first: a Chesapeake Bay rockfish roast, which begins at 6 with beers and local oysters before the family-style seated dinner. Reservations ($95, all-inclusive) are required.

French Market encore: Georgetown’s annual French Market returns to the Book Hill neighborhood on Friday and Saturday from 10 to 5. The area’s many galleries, salons, and shops will offer specials and sales, while restaurants and cafes offer Francophile fare such as macarons, grilled merguez sausages, crepes, and more.

Restaurant-hop in Bethesda: Restaurant Week returns to Bethesda Row Monday through Sunday. The 16 participating restaurants, including Jaleo and Luke’s Lobster, will offer three-course lunches for $15 and dinners for $30.

Eat more oysters: The seventh annual Oyster Fest returns to Hank’s Oyster Bar in Dupont Circle on Saturday from 11 to 3. The all-inclusive tickets ($80) allow access to all-you-can-eat raw, fried, and barbecued oysters, popcorn shrimp, bottomless draft beers, and more. Tickets are available online.

Boil more crawfish: The annual Crawfish Boil goes down on Saturday at Pearl Dive, offering an unlimited amount of crawfish and Abita beers. Two seatings—from noon to 2 and 2:30 to 4:30—are available; tickets are $65 for each.

Carb-loaders welcome: Running the Nike Women’s Half Marathon on Sunday, or just really love pasta? Stop by Urbana on Saturday evening for all-you-can-eat pastas made with power veggies such as kale and sweet potatoes ($20 per person). Choices include whole-wheat bucatini with roasted tomatoes and arugula pesto, sweet potato gnocchi with grilled salmon, and kale gemelli with cauliflower and capers.

Spring beer fest: Forget Oktoberfest—Capitol City Brewing Company throws its first spring beer festival on Saturday at the Village at Shirlington from noon to 7. Beer fans can try more than 200 styles of beer from 45 breweries, snack on food from local vendors, and more. Tickets are $30 for drinkers, which include a tasting glass and ten beverage tickets; additional tickets are available for $1 each. Entry is free for non-drinkers and kids.

Posted at 12:09 PM/ET, 04/22/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
Plus: DC Brau celebrates its third anniversary. By Anna Spiegel
Take a break from spring holiday eating this week for new spring cocktails at the W Hotel’s scenic P.O.V. Lounge. Photograph courtesy of the W Hotel Washington DC.

Plan your Passover: One of the most important Jewish holidays begins at sundown on Monday, and we have a roundup of restaurants celebrating thoughout the week. Check out a modern Seder dinner at DGS Delicatessen, a farm-to-table version at Equinox, BLT Steak’s truffled matzo-ball soup, and more.

Happy beery birthday: Local brewer DC Brau celebrates its third anniversary with a party at Meridian Pint on Tuesday, starting at 5. Plenty of its brews will be on draft—including less-common sips such as Yonder Cities, aged in red-wine barrels—and you can drink $3 pints of the Public, Citizen, and Corruption ales all night.

Commemorative dinner: Two culinary powerhouses combine forces on Wednesday during a special dinner at Toki Underground with Rose’s Luxury. The eight-course meal is hosted in memory of chef Thang Le, with proceeds going toward Mission Excellence. Tickets ($100 per person) can be reserved by e-mailing

Taste of the sea: The tasting table dinner series has returned to Maple Ave, and you’ll find two centered on seafood on Wednesday and Thursday. Six guests are treated to five courses ($65 per person) starting at 7, plus an optional wine pairing for $25. Call for reservations.

Michelin stargazing: Curious to try fare from New York’s Michelin-starred restaurant, Rouge Tomate? You’ll have a chance on Thursday during a collaborative dinner at Blue Duck Tavern, starting at 7:30. Rouge chef Jeremy Bearman prepares a five-course meal themed around the idea of “health through food” ($175 per person). Call Blue Duck (202-419-6755) for reservations.

Drink in spring: The W Hotel’s scenic rooftop P.O.V. Lounge launches a spring cocktail menu on Thursday during a “rooftop riviera” soiree. You’ll sip five drinks at destination-themed bars, relax with Bliss spa treatments at several beauty stations, and more. Tickets are $55, with $10 of each sale going to the Washington Ballet.

Eat through Easter: Many restaurants are planning festive brunches for Easter this Sunday, so it can be hard to pick. We checked in with the top 25 eateries on our 100 Very Best list to help you decide between luxurious prix-fixe meals and casual brunch eats. Check in with us over the course of the week for more Easter coverage.

Planning Ahead

Celebrity chefs on tour: A limited number of tickets are still available for the James Beard Celebrity Chef Tour dinner at Kapnos on Wednesday, April 23. Visiting toques including Michael Solomonov of Zahav in Philadelphia join with local notables such as host chef Mike Isabella and Scott Drewno of the Source for the meal; spaces can be reserved online for $200 per person.

Posted at 02:49 PM/ET, 04/14/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()