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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 ()
Plus Valentine's Day weekend activities. By Nelson Billington
Chef Victor Albisu hosts a local and national range of visiting talents for the James Beard Celebrity Chef Tour. Photograph by Scott Suchman.

Puerto Rican cooking class: Jose Adorno from Graffiato heads up the first in a new cooking class series at G by Mike Isabella. In this small course, hosted on Monday and Tuesday from 6:30 to 9:30, Adorno will teach participants how to make Puerto Rican dishes such as arroz con pollo and tostones rellenos. Complimentary wine will be served throughout the demonstration, as well as samples of the dishes. Tickets ($75) are available online.

Culinary panel: Industree hosts a Tuesday afternoon discussion from 2 to 5 with chefs and restaurateurs including Ashok Bajaj, Roberto Donna, Ari Gejdenson, and more, focusing on their war stories, trials, and successes. Drinks and small bites are served along with the conversation about how each panelist has developed his or her brand. Tickets ($15-$50) may be purchased online, or at the door.

Seeing stars: The James Beard Celebrity Chef Tour returns to Washington with a stop at Del Campo on Wednesday. The cocktail reception and prix-fixe meal is prepared by a host of local and international big-name chefs, including Jamie Bissonnette of Boston's Coppa and Toro, Erik Bruner-Yang (Toki Underground), Antonio Soriano from Astor Bistro in Buenos Aires, Michael Schlow (Tico), and many more. The event starts at 6:30; tickets ($195 per person) are available online.

Baby in the cake: Ever wondered why its customary to put a baby inside of a Mardi Gras king cake? Interested in the history of revelry before Lent? Such questions are answered on Wednesday from 6:45 to 8:45 at the National Museum of African Art by historian Emily Landau. The author speaks about her book, Spectacular Wickedness: Sex, Race, and Memory in Storyville, New Orleans, and discusses the meaning of global party of food." King cake will, of course, be served. Smithsonian members receive special pricing at $30; general admission is $42 (available online).

Hone your coffee skills: Coffee fans can head to Tryst Coffeehouse on Thursday night for Thursday Night Throwdown, featuring latte art competitions between local baristas. Enjoy live music from 7 to 9 courtesy of Gramophonic, and bring a date to kick off the Valentine's weekend with bar specials and $1 coffee from 9 to close.

Visit with a brewer: Rob Tod of Allagash Brewing Company drops into ChurchKey on Thursday from noon to 4 with two new limited-release sour beers: Currant Affair and Monmouth Red. You'll also find another 12 Allagash brews on tap. Admission is free and open to the public, with beers priced per pour.

Bubbly delight: Righteous Cheese gives couples a new way to celebrate Valentine's Day with Friday and Saturday evening classes (7 and 8, respectively). Fromager Carolyn Stromberg leads a course (limited to 30 participants) on pairing cheese with Champagne. Besides imbibing, youll learn the history and story behind each of the cheeses, as well as try Co Co. Sala chocolates and cocoa-covered figs. Tickets, available online, are $69 for Friday and $78 for Saturday.

Old-school cocktails: Buffalo & Bergen serves an old-fashioned cocktail flight on Friday and Saturday, featuring four beverages designed to tell the story of a couples relationship: flavor profiles range from light to fiery and bitter. Served on a preserved wooden board, participants will be given the opportunity to sign their plank and memorialize the experience. Tickets are $40 before tax and gratuity.

Valentine's Day: The most romantic (or, to some, dreaded) day of the year is here. Valentine's Day is Saturday, and restaurants and bars are celebrating all weekend long with special menus, themed meals, and more. No reservations yet? Check out what our Top 25 restaurants have planned, which include a number of casual and no-reservations spots for the romance-averse. On the other hand, for those who like excess, there are some insane desserts out there, not to mention a $1,500 catered meal that comes with gold handcuffs.

Posted at 02:22 PM/ET, 02/09/2015 | Permalink | Comments ()
Plus: Fatty Sundays pretzels hit Union Market. By Anna Spiegel
Brooklyn's Fatty Sundays heads to Union Market for a four-day pop-up. Photograph courtesy of Fatty Sundays.

Drink more vermouth: Vinoteca has been urging drinkers to explore the world of vermouth with weekly happy hours and tastings. Come Monday, guests can try barrel-aged vermouths from barkeep Horus Alvarez, who infused the fortified wine with herbal elements and aged it for weeks. The tapping runs from 7 to 8, but you can sample special vermouths all night from 5 to close.

Greek nose-to-tail: Zaytinya hosts a whole-animal dinner on Tuesday at 7 commemorating the festival Choirosphagia, an island celebration where an entire pig is butchered and served. Cookbook author Aglaia Kremezi helps prepare the five-course meal, which includes pork-stuffed grape leaves, slow-roasted pork neck with fig sauce, and spit-roasted shoulder with all the accompaniments. The dinner is $75; space is reserved by e-mailing

Get in the game: Chef John Manolatos prepares wild-boar ragu and venison stew for a four-course game dinner on Wednesday, alongside wine pairings from Justin Abad. The prix-fixe meal is already a good price at $70 including alcohol, tax, and tip, but you can get a 30-percent discount by using the promo code HUNTER30 when you book through the event page. The restaurant also offers bottles of the paired wines to take home at retail value through partner Arrow Wines.

Sweet night: Sugar & Champagne returns to the Ronald Reagan Building on Wednesday. Tickets to the benefit for the Washington Humane Society can be purchased on several tiers, including general admission ($90) that includes desserts and bottomless bubbly, and a VIP chef's tasting with savory eats ($150).

Shop for good: Barracks Row cookshop Hill's Kitchen teams up with Share Our Strength for a charity-shopping event on Thursday from 6 to 8. Seven local bartenders and chefs have picked out their favorite goods—so gifters can say Spike Mendelsohn approves of their apron choice—and there'll be mocktails and cheese for snacking. Partial proceeds from the sales benefit the No Kid Hungry campaign.

Live from New York: Pretzel fans can stop by Union Market starting Thursday for an interactive pop-up from the Brooklyn-based pretzel shop Fatty Sundays. Daily DIY "workshops" mean you can make your own pretzel treat with various toppings, or grab a bag of premade flavors like salty toffee, PB&J, or pretzel brittle. Gluten-free options are also available. The pop-up runs until the end of the week from 11 to 8, and returns February 13 through 15.

Korean fried chicken, hot buttered shoju: These are just a few of the dishes and drinks you'll find at Anju on Friday, the reoccurring late-night pop-up at Mandu's K Street location. The a la carte menu comes courtesy of visiting chefs Jonah Kim of the upcoming Yona, Haidar Karoum (Proof/Estadio/Doi Moi), Adam Bernbach (2 Birds 1 Stone) and the Red Hen's Mike Friedman and Sebastian Zutant. So yes, an all-star cast. Head in starting at 10 for what should be a great night.

Bartend for two: The Fairmont Hotel begins a series of couple's cooking classes on Saturdays in advance of Valentine's Day. First up this weekend: home mixology 101, featuring "his and her" cocktails, which includes tastings and recipes ($85 per person, $150 per couple). All classes are hosted from 4 to 5:30.

Pop-up drinks: Miss the Passenger? Then head to a pop-up of the beloved watering hole at Bar 7 on Sunday from 7 to 1. The lounge is on the same block as the recently closed bar space. Expect live-band karaoke, tiki drinks, and likely a number of chefs/bartenders in attendance.

Posted at 02:35 PM/ET, 02/02/2015 | Permalink | Comments ()
Where to find barbecue-filled watch parties, bottomless craft beer, takeout specials, and more. By Anna Spiegel
Restaurants such as Fuego Cocina offer dining and drinking deals for Super Bowl, like $5 tacos and guac. Photograph by Scott Suchman.

Super Bowl Sunday: a great day in sports, and an even a better day to indulge in beer and foods fit for a linebacker. Washington restaurants and bars are going all-out, offering free eats, hearty barbecue platters, taco deals, and tons of drink specials, as well as catering and party-platters for the home crowds.

Food-and-Drink-Filled Watch Parties

Bottomless beer at City Tap House

901 Ninth St., NW

Unlimited craft drafts for $35 is pretty great deal, and this beer bar's 40 lines will be flowing with Allagash, Weinhenstephaner, DC Brau, Three Stars, and much more (though guests have to pick one kind of brew for the special). The kitchen prepares Super Bowl-friendly eats like a cheesesteak with duck-fat fries, pretzels with smoked Gouda dipping sauce, and Buffalo-chicken pizza ($6 to $10).

Beer-BQ Bowl at Jack Rose

2007 18th St., NW

The competition isn't just for sports fans at JR, where the kitchen pits two varieties of barbecue—Carolina chicken and Kansas City pulled pork—against each other. Plates ($10) include the meats and sides, and can be rounded out with snacks like fried chicken skins, bourbon-glazed wings, and $5 beers, $6 punches, and $7 whiskeys. The party begins at 5.

Barbecue and shots at Hill Country

410 Seventh St., NW

In addition to the catering options (below), football fans and booze hounds can watch the game over $4 shots of the three Js (Jameson, Jack, and Jim Beam—not together, thankfully) and $3 bottles of PBR, Miller, and Coors. The regular barbecue menu is available.

Five for $5 happy hour at Fuego Cocina

2800 Clarendon Blvd., Arlington

Wide-screen televisions and $5 specials are the name of the Super Bowl game at this Mexican spot, which serves discount margaritas, taco platters, guac, and burgers all day and night.

Free grilled cheese, wild-boar chili, and happy hour at Dino's Grotto

1914 Ninth St., NW

Skip the sports bar and head to this Shaw Italian for a watch party accompanied by free apps like wings with Gorgonzola dip, meatballs, wild-boar chili, and fried grilled cheese sandwiches. Happy hour runs all night, with $8 cocktails, $4 beers, and dishes such as pots of steamed mussels and a dry-aged burger (both $10).

Open bar and pizza at Arcuri

2400 Wisconsin Ave., NW

Get the Advil ready for Monday morning after this special: bottomless draft beer, rail drinks, and house wine starting at 6 until the game is called ($50 per person). Don't forget to pad the stomach with the kitchen's wood-fired pizzas. The restaurant also offers several takeout packages for 5 to 15 people, which must be ordered 72 hours in advance.

Buffet and a free pitcher at RedRocks

2501 Columbia Pike, Arlington

Pizza, wings, and hot dogs are all up for grabs on a buffet spread, plus tables get their first pitcher of beer for free. Reservations are $20, all-inclusive, for the offer, while other menu items and drinks cost extra. E-mail to secure a spot. The restaurant also offers several takeout packages for pizzas, subs, and wings.

All-night happy hour at Vinoteca

1940 11th St., NW

The specials start at 5 at this wine bar, which serves specials throughout the evening like 15 varieties of wine for $5 (by the glass), $5 Peroni, and a mozzarella sandwich with roasted squash and kale ($7).

100 kinds of $1 sandwiches at 100 Montaditos

Multiple locations

One of the cheapest options for Super Bowl dining can be found at this Spanish chain, which throws a "dollermania" promotion at its three Washington locations in Arlington, Bethesda, and Navy Yard. Large groups are welcome for the menu of $1 sandwiches--offered in 100 different varieties--$2 sangria and beer, and $3 premium beers and salads. The restaurants boast multiple 60-inch televisions for the game.

Oysters and grinders at Ris

2275 L St., NW

If a sports dive is your nightmare, drop into this upscale West End restaurant for a watch party at the bar featuring food from chef Ris Lacoste. The menu of $6.49 snacks includes fresh-shucked oysters, Italian grinders, homemade pizzas, sweet potato guacamole, and more. Cocktail specials include a Cape Codder and margarita for $10.

Three-foot sandwiches from G include Italian cold cuts and crispy chicken Parm. Photograph by Greg Powers.

Catering/Takeout Specials

Barbecue picnic from DCity Smokehouse

8 Florida Ave., NW

Feeds: 5 for $70

A great option for a pack of carnivores, this includes two pounds of pork ribs and tips, 15 pit-smoked wings or a whole chicken, a pound of any sliced meat (brisket, pork belly), and five small sides.

Three-foot sandwiches from G by Mike Isabella

2201 14th St., NW

Feeds: 15 to 18 ($85 to $105)

Impress a sandwich-loving crowd with a variety of three-footers from the catering menu, which range from Italian cold cuts to chicken Parmesan and spiced baby goat with harissa. Orders must be placed 72 hours in advance.

Build-your-own tacos and sandwiches from Hill Country

410 Seventh St., NW

Feeds: 4 for $85; 10 for $190

Pit-smoked beef makes a tasty filling for either tacos or sandwiches, and you can mix and match for a bigger crowd. The taco package comes with corn tortillas and fixings like pickled jalapeños and salsa verde, while sandwich platters are accompanied by buns, chipotle mayo, slaw, and barbecue sauce. There's also a classic barbecue feast option (serves 5 for $99), with a pound of brisket, a whole chicken, ribs, sausages, and sides.

Delivery pulled pork and fixings from Kangaroo Boxing Club

3410 11th St., NW

Feeds: 10-plus, starting at $90

DC residents can get their party fare delivered on Sunday (the restaurant started as a food truck). Packages can be ordered online and include five pounds of pulled pork, brioche buns, bacon mac and cheese, and sauce.

A buffet spread from the Market at River Falls

10124 River Rd., Potomac

Feeds: A couple or crowd; items priced individually

A large Super Bowl menu includes smoked turkey or classic beef chili, miniature crabcakes, spiced shrimp, wings, and even sushi platters for lighter eaters.

Slider kits and ribs from Bethesda Barbecue Company

4917 Elm St., Bethesda

Feeds: 10 for $125

Bethesda's newest barbecue joint dishes up a feast for a crowd that includes a slider kit with buns and a pound each of pork and brisket, pimiento cheese puffs, ribs, wings, and more. Orders must be placed by Wednesday for Sunday pickup.

Wild Boar Chili from Bidwell

1309 Fifth St., NE

Feeds: Varies; sold by the quart.

Union Market is a great place to load up for a Super Bowl party, including special packages of wild boar and black bean chili to-go from Bidwell. Quarts go for $15, and the restaurant recommends ordering ahead by emailing The kitchen also makes a mean "drunken" bean dip. Here's the recipe.

Posted at 11:56 AM/ET, 01/27/2015 | Permalink | Comments ()
Plus a Timber Pizza Co. pop-up. By Anna Spiegel
Fat Pete's (above) is one of the DC Meat Week barbecue spots. Photograph by Scott Suchman.

More restaurant week: The official Metropolitan Restaurant Week is over, but Alexandria Restaurant Week continues through Sunday. Participating spots offer either three-course dinners for $35 or a meal for two at the same price. A number of eateries also serve discounted lunches.

Meat week: Seven days of carnivorous eating have begun. DC Meat Week runs through Sunday, with nightly gatherings like all-you-can-eat barbecue at Hill Country on Monday and a barbecue-eating relay at Pork Barrel on Tuesday. Specials vary by restaurant, so check out the full lineup.

Happy Birthday to the Boss: Anyone craving fried chicken and/or $1 whiskey shots can head to Boss Shepherd’s on Monday for a special celebrating Alexander “Boss” Shepherd. The politician was born in 1873, so you’ll find a fried chicken dinner for $18.73 through Saturday.

Burns dinner: Mad Fox Brewing Company hosts a Robbie Burns dinner on Monday; the culinary tradition honors Scottish poet Robert Burns. The reception begins at 6:30 followed by a five-course meal that includes riffs on traditional Scottish dishes such as haggis, plus beer pairings ($75 per person). The brewery also offers à-la-carte specials throughout the evening, Scotch tastings, and a bagpipe player.

Taste of Napa: Blue Duck Tavern hosts two California winemaker dinners this week. First up on Tuesday is Peter Franus of Peter Franus Winery. Then on Thursday, Michael Mondavi visits the restaurant and pairs his wines. Both meals are four courses, start at 7, and are $155 per person.

Carb-tastic: Paleos need not apply to Osteria Morini’s beer and pasta dinner, happening Thursday at 6:30. The Italian restaurant teams up with DC Brau for a reception and three-course pasta meal paired with the local brews, plus warm chocolate cake and Penn Quarter Porter to finish. The meal is $85 per person; reservations can be booked by e-mailing Alice Mayeron at

Seeing stars: Michelin-starred Italian chef Stefano Cerveni from Ristorante Due Colombe prepares a collaborative wine dinner at Fiola on Thursday. The five-course dinner is paired with wines from Ca’ del Bosco, and features dishes like red prawn crudo with purple potatoes, “sparkling” risotto, and olive oil-poached beef ($200 per person). Call the restaurant for reservations.

Pop-up pizza: Timber Pizza Co., which operates a mobile wood-fired pizza operation, sets up shop at the Dolezza Factory on Friday for a special dinner. Guests can try the pizzas during the five-course meal, paired with DC Brau brews ($65 per person). The later seating is sold out, but spaces remain for 6 PM.

Posted at 02:10 PM/ET, 01/26/2015 | Permalink | Comments ()
Plus the launch of Women in Beer at the Black Squirrel. By Anna Spiegel
The Bombay Club is one of many places participating in Winter Restaurant Week. Photograph by Scott Suchman.

Metropolitan Washington Restaurant Week: Winter Restaurant Week brings $20.15 lunches and $35.15 dinners to hundreds of eateries this Monday through Sunday (with some extensions). How does one decide where to go? Check out our guide to what the restaurants on our 100 Very Best list have planned, as well as tips for finding the best deals and meals. A number of restaurants are also offering alternatives, including brunch specials and discount cocktail flights.

Chocolate and beer: What's not to like? J. Chocolatier's Jane Morris teams up with brewmaster Greg Engert for an evening of chocolate and beer pairings at Bluejacket on Wednesday at 6. Tickets are $60.

The women of beer: The Black Squirrel launches the first in a series of Women in Beer events on Thursday, focusing on females in the brew industry. Up first is Mary Wolf, the owner of Wild Wolf Brewing Co., who'll be joined by Lean In DC and DMV Girls Pint Out at 5. The event is free, but RSVPs are encouraged. Wild Wolf beers will also be served in the dining room alongside discount patties for burger night.

Cookbook signing: Carla Hall of The Chew—and future purveyor of hot hot chicken in Washington—signs copies of her cookbooks at Room & Board on Thursday from 6:30 to 8:30. Two books—Cooking with Love: Comfort Food That Hugs You and Carla’s Comfort Foods: Favorite Dishes from Around the World—will be available, along with light refreshments. RSVP for the free event here.

Alexandria Restaurant Week: If you can't get enough of Restaurant Week, the city of Alexandria launches its own version on Friday (through February 1). The format is slightly different than the RAMW-sponsored version above, with Virginia eateries offering $35 three-course prix-fixe meals or a $35 dinner for two. A number also serve special lunches.

Sips & Suppers: A national lineup of big-name chefs, including Alice Waters, Carla Hall, Charles Phan, and many more, head to Washington this weekend for the annual Sips & Suppers. The fun starts on Saturday at the Newseum with a cocktail party, where guests can try drinks from top bartenders and snack on hors d'oeuvres from local chefs; VIP ticket holders have the added perk of meeting big-name toques and getting special food/drinks ($95 regular admission/$200 VIP). Then on Sunday, a few seats are left for Suppers, where accomplished toques such as Zahav's Michael Solomonov teams up with Adam Sobel of RN74 in San Francisco for multi-course dinners in private homes (starting at $600 per person). Proceeds benefit DC Central Kitchen and Martha's Table.

Popping up: Chef Rob Rubba, most recently of Tallula, runs a pop-up on Saturday at the Dolcezza Factory to preview his upcoming restaurant. The interactive, family-style meal starts at 7 and centers on duck; courses include zucchini bread with foie gras mousse and roasted duck breast with house-made duck sausage, scallion crepes, and duck confit rice. Wines and brews are included in the $75 price, as well as tax and tip.

Bring on the meat: The annual DC Meat Week kicks off on Sunday at Urban Bar-B-Que Company. Participants gather at 6:30 for a carnivorous night. Check out the full schedule for the following week, which includes stops at Pork Barrel, Hill Country, and more.

Posted at 02:59 PM/ET, 01/20/2015 | Permalink | Comments ()
Plus Black Squirrel kills New Year’s resolutions with a pork belly-mac-and-cheese burger. By Anna Spiegel
Stop by Trummer's for a hot cocktail tasting, including this rum cocoa with candy cane foam. Photograph courtesy of Trummer's on Main.

Goats and wine: Poste chef Kyoo Eom whips up a series of goat dishes on Tuesday to pair with wines during a Goats and Grenache dinner at 7. The meal includes goat carpaccio, pappardelle with braised goat shoulder, roasted goat leg, and more, all paired with Grenache wines. Reservations are booked by phone, and the meal is $68 per person.

Shopping and bubbles: Slate Wine Bar hosts a sparkling wine tasting alongside a jewelry showcase on Wednesday from 6 to 9. Try two kinds of premium bubbly for $10 while browsing baubles from designer Tatjana Djordevic.

Hot drink tasting: Warm up at Trummer’s on Main on Thursday with a hot cocktail tasting, starting at 6. Guests can taste all the new warm, boozy drinks on the menu in front of the fire for $35, such as rum-spiked Valrhona cocoa and hot sangria alongside savory snacks.

Dollah chowdah: Legal Sea Foods commemorates National Soup Month with $1 cups of classic New England clam chowder on Thursday. Drop by any local branch for the deal, limited to one per person with the purchase of an entree.

Thai pop-up: Chef Mackenzie Kitburi prepares a pop-up Thai meal inspired by her aunt’s cooking on Friday at DC food incubator Mess Hall. Limited tickets remain for three, six, and nine-course options ($45 to $90), with beer and wine available à la carte. Seatings are staggered from 6:30 to 8:30.

Just say no: The Black Squirrel reminds us that 35 percent of New Year’s resolutions are broken by February, and is speeding that process along at a beer- and food-filled party on Friday. Bell’s Brewing takes over ten taps, while the kitchen whips up a diet-busting burger topped with bacon, pork belly, and mac and cheese. The party starts at 5 and goes all night, with happy hour from 5 to 7.

Posted at 05:07 PM/ET, 01/12/2015 | Permalink | Comments ()
Plus an early snow-day special at Urbana should the flakes fall. By Anna Spiegel
Let it snow...and then head to Urbana for $5 pizza and cocktails. Photograph by Scott Suchman.

Farewell, Industry Takeover: Graffiato hosts its last Industry Takeover Night on Monday, two years after it began. The idea is the same—free late-night snacks and drink specials from 10 to 1 with a $10 charitable door fee—though you'll likely find bigger crowds and more chefs than usual. The cast includes toques and bartenders from within the Mike Isabella Concepts restaurant group.

Possible snow-day special: And it begins. Given Tuesday's forecast, Urbana is already ready with a special should the flakes begin to fall: $5 pizzas topped with the likes of duck sausage, goat cheese, and figs to go or stay (a deal, as they're typically $15), two snow-day cocktails, and specialty hot chocolate. The specials will hold anytime it snows, so keep those fingers crossed.

Tap takeover: Local brewery 3 Stars Brewing Company takes over the taps at the Coupe's bar for a week, starting on Wednesday. Look for flights, food pairings, specials, and beery brunch.

Happy birthday, Elvis: Tex-Mex chain Chuy's is know for its celebrations of the King's birthday. This Thursday, the new Northern Virginia locations in Springfield and Fairfax get in on the party for Elvis's 80th, offering one free entrée to costumed guests, complimentary Twinkies, food and drink specials, T-shirt giveaways, and more.

Popping up: There's some good news and bad news about Bad Saint's Filipino pop-up at Crane & Turtle on Saturday and Sunday. The bad: The $65 dinners sold out in less than three hours. The good: The eatery is taking names for a waitlist on Tuesday between noon and 1. Call 202-670-4409, and good luck.

Wine dinner: Cap off the week with a Sicilian wine dinner at Al Dente on Sunday at 6. The $75 meal from chef Roberto Donna and Maurizio Farro of Cantiniere Imports includes five courses and pairings (call for reservations).

Posted at 04:57 PM/ET, 01/05/2015 | Permalink | Comments ()
Plus nine restaurants serving a Feast of the Seven Fishes. By Anna Spiegel
Boqueria serves a Spanish-style bottomless brunch on weekdays for the holidays. Photograph by Scott Suchman.

Holidays! They're here: Hanukkah, Christmas Eve, and Christmas, all rolled up into one week of festive fun. Keep on top of it all with our holiday guide, which includes where to eat, who's serving what, recipes, presents for food lovers, and more.

Feasts of the fishes: Regardless of your holiday orientation, the Feast of the Seven Fishes, an Italian seafood meal typically served on Christmas Eve, is worth enjoying. Check out our guide to nine restaurants offering special menus this week.

Whiskey tasting: Start the short holiday week with a brown liquor sampling at Little Miss Whiskey's on Monday at 7:30. For just $7 the bar pours six samples of fine whiskey, such as Lagavulin 12-Year and Johnny Walker Gold. Tickets are available online.

Calling last-minute shoppers: Alexandria's Holiday Market continues this week, and there are plenty of gifts and eats for food lovers. Drop by from 11 to 8 on Monday and Tuesday, or 11 to 2 on Wednesday (Christmas Eve) for gifts from the Capital Candy Jar and Artfully Chocolate, dishes such as French crepes and German schnitzel, and a bar with mulled wine to keep things warm and boozy.

Clementine Fest: Jaleo's annual Clementina Festival continue this week, with a variety of citrus-themed dishes and drinks. All three locations serve clementine gazpacho with scallops, duck confit with clementine sauce, the citrus juice with gin and lime, and more (priced individually). The celebration runs through December 28.

Holiday soiree: Cashion's opens its doors to friends, neighbors, and newcomers on Tuesday for a holiday party with bottomless sparking wine and eggnog, passed snacks like stuffed mushrooms and oyster sliders, and a buffet starring a maple-glazed pork leg and sides. Tickets are $50, and must be purchased in advance.

Tuscan pho: Starting Friday, Dino's Grotto offers a special menu of bollito misto, a.k.a. "Tuscan pho," a traditional Italian meal centered on meats and vegetables cooked in a hearty broth. You'll start with a bowl of the brew and house pasta, followed by a platter of seasonal vegetables and potatoes and a bounty of meats. The family-style lineup is $39 per person, with an optional $25 wine flight.

Unlimited tapas: Boqueria starts its weeklong unlimited-brunch deal on Saturday, served on both weekdays and weekends. Head in for unlimited Spanish tapas such as chorizo-potato tortilla and local pork sausage with salsa verde, plus bottomless sangria, wine, mimosas, draft beer, and more ($39 per person). The deal starts at 11:30 on weekdays and 10:30 on weekends, and runs through January 4 (reservations accepted).

Posted at 02:07 PM/ET, 12/22/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
Plus the return of Jaleo’s clementine festival. By Anna Spiegel
Foie gras abounds on H Street during Foie La La, much to the displeasure of this goose. Photograph via Shutterstock.

Deck the halls with…liver? Foie La La, a celebration of all things foie gras, starts at nine different H Street restaurants on Monday. Spots such as Boundary Road and Ocopa compete to make the best foie dishes, and diners can vote for their favorites online.

Clementine festival: The annual clementina festival returns to Jaleo on Monday through December 28. Look for dishes and drinks starring the seasonal citrus, including clementine gazpacho with scallops, seared calamari with artichokes and clementines, and a brandy-and-sherry cocktail with the citrus juice. Dishes and cocktails are priced individually.

War of the Roses: Barkeep Owen Thomson of Rose’s Luxury takes on Jack Rose’s Trevor Frye at Compass Rose on Monday, where host/barman Jack Caminos also contends. The challenge: Make a holiday cocktail with a rose as one of the ingredients. Tickets ($20) include one of each drinks, and benefit St. Jude’s and N Street Village.

Hanukkah: The Festival of Lights starts Tuesday, and Washington restaurants and bars offer plenty of ways to celebrate. Browse our Hanukkah guide for family-style feasts, themed cocktails, all-you-can-eat latkes, and more.

A taste of the stars: StarChefs hosts a party on Tuesday at Union Market’s Dock 5 with its Rising Star award-winning chefs, artisans, barkeeps, and sommeliers. Bites and drinks are served by a variety of big local names. Tickets are $125 for the VIP reception starting at 5:45, and $95 for general admission at 6:30.

Bad sweaters, good songs: Republic throws an ugly sweater sing-along party on Saturday with live band karaoke starting at 10. Guests can down house-made eggnog and mulled wine ($10 each) to fuel up for the competition, and the best/worst sweater wins a $100 gift card.

Posted at 03:31 PM/ET, 12/15/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()