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Plus a new outdoor bar with fires and s'mores.   By Anna Spiegel
Get your fill of seasonal brews at the Hoppy Holidays Beer Festival. Photograph via Shutterstock.

Night of the industry: Graffiato’s monthly Chefs' Night Out returns on Monday. A $10 charitable door fee starting at 10 gets you access to free snacks and drink specials from Spike Mendelsohn, Austin Fausett of Trummer’s on Main, and more.

Feast for a month: The traditional Italian Christmastime meal, Feast of the Seven Fishes, can be ordered all month at Al Dente starting Monday. Tables of two and more can dine on a menu of sautéed clams, shrimp agnolotti, fritto misto, and more ($45 per person).

Drink outside: It may not feel like al fresco drinking weather, but then again most bars aren’t outfitted with fire pits, heaters, and blankets. You’ll find all of that and more at A Bar + Kitchen starting Monday, where guests can sip from a DIY hot-cider bar, order boozy warm cocktails, and assemble s’mores. If you like that idea, check out our guide to other great places to drink by the fire.

Holi-versary: Republic launches a weeklong celebration commemorating both its one-year anniversary and the holiday season. The festivities start on Wednesday with a new weekly happy hour, where pints of local beer are $5 from 9:30 to close. Other plans include a rock dinner concert on Friday with a $50 set menu starting at 8, and a birthday brunch on Sunday with live jazz and two-for-one mimosas.

Virginia vino: Brabo hosts a five-course Virginia winemaker dinner on Wednesday, with glasses paired by Barboursville, Boxwood, and Thibaut-Janisson ($95 per person). Call for reservations.

Drink more whiskey: Washingtonian's annual On the Rocks party goes down on Wednesday at the Maurice Electric Warehouse at Union Market from 7 to 10, and it promises to be quite the spirited affair with samplings of Scotch, whiskey, fine tequilas, gins, vodkas, and more. Tickets are $65.

Festivus: The Renaissance Dupont Circle Hotel commemorates the Seinfeld-ian holiday of Festivus throughout December. Events start on Wednesday with a set, family-style menu of jambalaya, meatloaf, and candy bar cupcakes, plus a Festivus pole in the lobby—and in the spirit of holiday giving, guests can donate to two local charities. Look for nightly specials going forward, including mini Reuben sandwiches and fried chicken bites.

Late-night pop-up: Anju, the late-night dinner series at Mandu's K Street location, caps off its 2014 run on Friday from 10 to 1. Drop in for eats from guest chefs Scott Drewno of the Source and Del Campo’s Victor Albisu, plus soju cocktails and other drinks.

Pappy hour: Jack Rose commemorates Repeal Day and the ability to drink freely with a Pappy Van Winkle “Pappy hour” from 5 to 7:30 on Friday. You’ll find the rare whiskey plus a few other varieties of bourbon and rye poured at discounted prices, and a 1930s-inspired five-course menu for $45 in the dining saloon.

Better than five golden rings: No, not four calling birds: 12 Christmas beers, brought to you by the Black Squirrel. Head in on Friday at 5 and Saturday at noon for a collection of seasonal brews, plus oyster stew and a holiday-themed burger.

Post-Prohibition party: Celebrate the end of Prohibition (81 years later) with the DC Craft Bartenders Guild at the Repeal Day Ball on Saturday at the Carnegie Library. More than 25 of Washington’s top barkeeps pour ample spirits, a live jazz band contributes tunes, and there’s a black-and-white photo booth to capture the 1930s-style fun. Tickets are $120 for VIP admission at 8, and $80 for general admission at 9.

Ho ho hoppy: Drink the District throws a Hoppy Holidays Beer Festival at Union Market on Saturday with bottomless pours of 50-plus seasonal beers, live music, and food truck fare. Three sessions run from noon to 3, 4:30 to 7:30, and 9 to midnight ($40 each).

Posted at 09:48 AM/ET, 12/01/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
Plus a Whistle Pig whiskey dinner at Bourbon Steak to start the festivities. By Anna Spiegel
Sip fine whiskeys at Bourbon Steak alongside pork at their "whole hog" dinner. Photograph via Shutterstock.

Pig out: Bourbon Steak hosts a dinner on Monday at 7 featuring WhistlePig whiskeys and plenty of pork. The four-course meal includes tastings of several whiskeys, as well as dishes prepared with rare Mangalista swine. Call for reservations.

Expand the stomach: Get ready for Thanksgiving at Et Voila's "stretch your belly" party on Wednesday during dinner from 5 to 10. Stop by for unlimited mussels and fries or Belgian beef stew for $29.95 per person.

Friendsgiving: Even if your Turkey Day involves tons of family, take a break and head to Republic for a "friendsgiving" on Wednesday starting at 8. Game night meets karaoke happy hour with board games such as Cards for Humanity and Monopoly, $10 seasonal cocktails—including some hot ones if it's chilly—and a karaoke competition starting at 10. Anyone looking to get extra-festive can order "bingers," beer and shot combos.

Popping on up: Buttercream Bakeshop and Ice Cream Jubilee team up for a sweet pop-up on Tuesday and Wednesday at the Navy Yard ice cream shop. Preorder Thanksgiving pies, take-and-bake scones, ice cream sandwich kits, and other holiday-themed desserts. Items are available for pickup from noon to 6 on Tuesday, and noon to 3:30 on Wednesday.

More at the market: Anyone looking for gifts or nibbles to satisfy a home cook can head to Union Market on Wednesday between 8 and 8 for a pop-up from food incubator Mess Hall. Vendors include True Tonics, Cajun Meets Asian, and Buttercream Bakeshop among others.

Thanksgiving: The big Turkey Day arrives on Thursday. Still in need of last-minute sides, pies, or even a whole feast? Check out our roundup of restaurants offering Thanksgiving to go. Looking for a reservation? There may still be openings at some of our 100 Best Restaurants that are serving holiday meals. Even if you're all set, check out these seven weird T-giving Frankenfoods for all your turkey-pop-tart needs.

Thank you-giving: Black Squirrel throws the ultimate low-key Thanksgiving, offering a $7 all-you-can-eat buffet on Thursday as a thank-you to customers. The spread of turkey, ham, roast beef, and sides starts at noon and goes until 2 AM (or when the food runs out). Wash it down with seasonal beers like Schlafly Pumpkin Ale, Champion Goin' Yam, and more.

Small is the new black: Head to Alexandria for a variety of small business-driven Black Friday sales, including a number of deals at food-centric shops such as La Cuisine, Olio Tasting Room, Spice & Tea Exchange, and more.

Shop the District: Skip the Walmart mega-lines on Black Friday and head to DC Brau on Small Business Saturday, which hosts the Made in DC Holiday Marketplace with Think Local First from noon to 5. A number of culinary vendors participate, such as Capital Mumbo Sauce, CrunkCakes DC, Junius Cold Brew Coffee, and more.

Posted at 11:00 AM/ET, 11/24/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
Drink fine booze for less at On the Rocks. By Anna Spiegel
Get discount tickets to our annual On the Rocks blowout. Photograph by Doug Van Sant.

One of our more spirited soirees is almost here: On the Rocks, an extensive cocktail party going down at Union Market on December 3. Tickets for the whiskey- and fine spirits-focused event can be purchased at the discounted early-bird price of $45 until Wednesday.

During the party, guests can mingle while sipping an array of whiskeys, high-end tequilas, gins, vodka, and Scotches. Snacks and live music round out the fun.

Passes are still available after the discounts run out, but the cost goes up to $65. Grab your tickets soon, and don't forget to check out scenes from last year's blowout.

Posted at 05:00 PM/ET, 11/18/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
Plus: Beaujolais Nouveau week arrives with deals, discounts, and a wine-filled party. By Anna Spiegel
Learn to make even better Thanksgiving leftovers during Blue Duck's cooking class. Photograph via Shutterstock.

Supper club returns: Chez Le Commis is back on Monday, popping up at Le Bon Cafe on Capitol Hill. Reservations have already been booked for the first session, but at 8:30 the doors open for a first come, first served four-course meal ($60, $90 with wine pairings). Don't feel like waiting? Try cassoulet to go starting at 6:30 ($20 for a two-person serving).

Week of booze: RAMW launches its second annual Cocktail Week on Monday. More than 55 Washington restaurants participate, preparing specialty cocktails paired with bites (price varies) through Sunday. Check out the full list of eateries and what they're serving on the event page.

Cookbook party: Award-winning chef Sean Brock of Charleston restaurants Husk and McCrady's heads to America Eats Tavern on Tuesday for a dinner surrounding the release of his new cookbook, Heritage. The meal ($60 per person) begins at 6:30 and includes dishes prepared from recipes in the book—guests take home a copy—as well as Trump Winery wines.

The three Fs: Those would be "funky," "foraged," and "fermented," the theme of a nearly weeklong dinner series at Boundary Road beginning on Tuesday. The kitchen offers a mushroom, cheese, and beer pairing ($30)—such as grilled lobster mushrooms, cabra la mancha cheese, and a five-ounce brew—starting at 5:30 nightly. No reservations required.

Get in the spirit: Wisdom barman/owner Erik Holzherr hosts a discussion and book signing on Tuesday at 7 with author Matt Teacher to mark the release of Teacher's new work, The Spirit of Gin: A Stirring Miscellany of the New Gin Revival. Learn more about the spirit while sipping a specialty flight put together by the duo.

Welcome, Deschutes: ChurchKey welcomes Oregon's Deschutes Brewery to Washington on Tuesday by offering six of its drafts, including chef José Andrés's collaborative Zarabanda beer. Stop in for the brews starting at 6, which can be paired with cheeses and desserts all evening.

Duck dinner: Chef Dean Gold hosts a quack-tastic meal on Wednesday at Dino's Grotto, where guests get a ten-tasting duck dinner with duck rillettes and pastrami, duck-schmaltz matzo soup, duck Bolognese, and more. Various seatings from 6 to 9:45 are either $79 or $89, all-inclusive, plus optional beverage pairings.

Winemakers on site: The team behind Sonoma's Idle Cellars visits Republic for a five-course pairing dinner on Wednesday at 7 ($80 per person). Each dish, such as hamachi crudo or braised short ribs with roasted mushrooms, is paired with a different glass of vino.

Beaujolais est arrivé: Washington welcomes the arrival of Beaujolais Nouveau this week. Two great dining options for celebrating the annual release of the French wine on Thursday: Central and Mintwood Place. The latter offers $10 glasses and $40 bottles alongside belly-warming boeuf bourguignon made with the vin, priced at a happy hour discount all night. Over at Central, guests can sip two kinds of Beaujolais as well as pick from a list of discounted Burgundies. The kitchen offers an à-la-carte pairing menu, with dishes such as crispy pork belly with braised green lentils and crepes Suzette. The promotion runs through Saturday. Feel more like a party? Head to Malmaison at 9, which throws a vintage-style soiree with French music, dancing, and an open Beajolais bar.

An evening chez Prune: Gabrielle Hamilton, chef/owner of New York's famed Prune and author of Blood, Bones, and Butter, spends an evening with guests at Buck's Fishing and Camping on Thursday. The meal, cohosted by Politics & Prose, is held in conjunction with her new cookbook, Prune. Chef Amy Brandwein prepares recipes from the book. Tickets start at $150, and include a copy of the book.

Sweet conversation: Cookbook author Dorie Greenspan appears at Sixth & I on Thursday at 6 to discuss her new work, Baking Chez Moi, and sign copies. Tickets are $15, or get two free passes with the $40 purchase of the book.

Free food: Delaware-based sandwich chain Capriotti's celebrates the one-year anniversary of its inaugural Washington location on Friday with a lunch giveaway at the M Street spot. The first 50 people in line at 11 receive a free Bobbie (Thanksgiving-style turkey). And yes, you may see Joe Biden.

Winter beer fest: The DC Craft Beer Festival arrives at the Washington Convention Center on Saturday, with 75 breweries offering tastes of more than 150 local and national brews. Tickets can be purchased for two sessions—2 to 4:30 or 7 to 9:30—and range from $49 to $110 for VIP experiences.

The leftovers: Far less troubling than the Guilty Remnant, but still problematic: Thanksgiving leftovers. Blue Duck Tavern is here to help with a class on Saturday that teaches guests how to turn day-old dishes into a feast of turkey dumpling soup, pumpkin pie milkshakes, and more. Tickets are $65, which includes tastes of several holiday dishes.

Tons of truffles: Sample the luxurious mushrooms at a fairly affordable price during Seasonal Pantry's Dine and Dash on Sunday. Chef Dan O'Brien prepares house-made fettucine with butter sauce and white truffles for $35, plus an optional glass of wine for $5. Seating is limited to 12 at a time between noon and 9, so call early for reservations.

Posted at 11:00 AM/ET, 11/17/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
Plus a Green Hat Gin cocktail class in the distillery. By Anna Spiegel
The stage is set for the Capital Food Fight. Photograph via Flickr user dccentralkitchen.

Speed-tenders: Start the week off on a boozy note at the Howard Theatre, which hosts an all-female speed-bartending competition on Monday to benefit breast cancer research. Competitors include the Gibson's Andrea Tateosian, Karen Hernandez of Kapnos, and many more. Tickets are $20 and include drinks and local eats.

Farm to feast: Love to eat local? The FreshFarm Markets Farmland Feast is your big-ticket event for the week, happening Monday at the Ritz-Carlton Washington DC. Guests can buy tickets for a cocktail and oyster reception ($150) or go for the whole shebang with a sit-down dinner afterward from some of the city's top chefs, sommeliers, and bartenders ($300). Ticket prices benefit the FreshFarm Markets and their charitable programs.

Celebrity chef battle: The annual Capital Food Fight returns to the Ronald Reagan Building on Tuesday at 6, bringing a slew of celebrity chefs including Anthony Bourdain, Carla Hall, Daniel Boulud, and more. Local toques battle it out on the main stage in a Top Chef-style competition, while more than 75 restaurants serve food and drinks to guests. Tickets are $250, with proceeds benefiting DC Central Kitchen.

More pop-ups: For anyone who missed two of the big pop-ups last week, there're more coming. On Tuesday, Mike Isabella will serve a limited menu of tacos, guac, and Mexican beer from the Pepita preview at G from 11 to 7. Then on Friday, Tiffany MacIsaac brings back her Buttercream Bakeshop sweets to Cork Market starting at 11.

Chef talk: Catch celebrity chef Marcus Samuelsson at Sixth & I on Wednesday at 7 for a discussion of his new cookbook, Marcus Off Duty: The Recipes I Cook at Home. Tickets are $35 and include a copy of the book (or get two tickets for $45).

Wine and a movie: Head to E Street Cinema on Thursday for a special screening of the documentary American Wine Story at 6:30, followed by a Q&A and tasting reception with the wineries and owners featured in the flick. Tickets are $50 per person.

Distillery class: Learn to make seasonal gin cocktails where the spirits are made during a Thursday evening class at New Columbia Distillery, which produces Green Hat Gin. Co-owner Michael Lowe also leads a tour of the space and production process. Tickets are $15.

Wine happy hour: Get a taste of Argentina's Bodega Catena Zapata winery at a discount during a Thursday happy hour at Del Campo from 4 to 7. Glasses go for $6 alongside free tastings of some higher-price bottles, and a raffle whose winner gets a rare wine.

Go Nordic: Hop on the Nordic food trend at B Too on Friday, where chef Bart Vandaele—a member of the Norwegian Seafood Council—prepares a three-course menu with dishes like grilled mackerel with pickled potatoes, cod with smoked leeks and shellfish sauce, and cinnamon waffles ($35.14 per person).

Oysters and apples: Friday marks the beginning of Virginia Cider Week, with a variety of tastings, events, and dinners. Most are in the Charlottesville/Richmond area, so plan a weekend road trip if you're closer to Washington. November is also Virginia Oyster Month, so check out five bivalve festivals happening this weekend (also in road-trip distance from the District).

Happy Birthday, DGS: The Dupont delicatessen turns two on Saturday and celebrates by bringing together some of their favorite chefs and producers for a family-style meal. Look for challah from bread king Mark Furstenburg, deviled eggs topped with Bev Eggleston's chicken cracklings, braised beef shanks courtesy of chef Jeremiah Langhorne, and more. The meal is available from 5:30 to 10 for $40, with an optional $18 beverage pairing.

Holiday cooking, Louisiana-style: Get ready for the holidays at Acadiana on Saturday, which hosts a New Orleans-style cooking class from 1 to 3. The session is $85 per person.

Calling shopaholics: General admission tickets remain for the otherwise sold-out Emporiyum, a food-lover's shopping extravaganza at Union Market on Saturday and Sunday. A national variety of chefs and vendors including Momofuku Milk Bar, Luke's Lobster, Austin's Paul Qui, Mike Isabella, and more sell dishes, drinks, and take-home items (which would make pretty great holiday gifts). General admission tickets ($20) are available online, as well as a workshop with Mast Brothers chocolates ($50). Bluejacket and Red Apron will also run a beer garden with grilled hot dogs that's open to the public.

Posted at 01:45 PM/ET, 11/10/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
Filipino snacks, tacos, a late-night chef party, and plenty of biscuits. By Anna Spiegel
Barbecued lamb tacos at Pepita are one of many pop-up eats this weekend. Photograph courtesy of Pepita.


Buttercream Bakeshop at Cork Market

1805 14th St., NW

Start your weekend on a sweet note with creative treats from pastry chef Tiffany MacIsaac, who brings desserts from her new Alexandria bakery to 14th Street. Pick up treat boxes with the likes of pumpkin whoopie pies, Fruity Pebbles cookies, Mexican-chocolate marshmallows, and more from 11 to 7, when you can also sample sweets-friendly wines and bubbly. Preorders have closed for cakes, but you can still snag them at a second pop-up next Friday.

Pepita at G by Mike Isabella

2201 14th St., NW

This weekend is likely your last chance to sample Mike Isabella’s Mexican fare from the upcoming Pepita Cantina before the restaurant opens in Ballston. Drop by Friday and Saturday evening for a four-course menu ($40 per person) with dishes such as red snapper ceviche, barbecued lamb tacos, chocolate tres leches cake, and plenty of margaritas.

Nonna’s Kitchen at Alphonse

1212 U St., NW

Eater DC brings word that U Street’s newest Italian market/cafe is launching a tasting menu on Friday ($90 per person). Chef Justus Frank, formerly of Fiola, serves rustic dishes from various regions of Italy alongside wine and cocktail pairings. The reservation-only meal will run Tuesday through Saturday going forward.


More tacos! (See above)

Late-night chef-tacular at Daikaya Izakaya

705 Sixth St., NW

Skip the bar crawl and head to this Penn Quarter izakaya between 11 PM and 1 AM for an impromptu gathering of big talents: Daikaya chef/co-owner Katsuya Fukushima, Jonah Kim (formerly of Pabu), Bar Pilar’s Jesse Miller, Danny Lee (Mandu), and Vermilion’s Will Morris. On the à-la-carte menu: great late-night fare such as Korean fried chicken, lamb belly and guanciale stew over rice, Filipino pork belly with pig ears and tofu, and “cup-o-pancit,” a cup of noodles with fried salted shrimp. Save room for bungeoppang (cakes shaped like fish) with soft-serve.


Mason Dixie Biscuit Co. at Union Market

1309 Fifth St., NE

The popular biscuit slinger sets up shop for an unspecified time at Union Market starting this week. Look for Southern-style biscuits with sausage gravy and eggs, fried chicken biscuit sandwiches, fresh rounds with pepper jelly, and more. The stall opens at 8 Thursday through Sunday, and serves until the biscuits run out.

Bad Saint at Dolcezza Factory

550 Penn St., NE

While you’re in the neighborhood, get a taste of the District’s first new Filipino restaurant before it debuts in Columbia Heights. Chef Tom Cunanan serves a merienda (snack-time) meal between 3:30 and 6 with dishes like ukoy, sweet potato-shrimp fritters, and lumpiang, crispy spring rolls. During the pop-up, Dolcezza serves Filipino-inspired gelato and sorbetto.

Biscuit Lab at Lyman’s Tavern

3720 14th St., NW

Can’t get enough biscuits? Don’t forget about this ongoing pop-up in Columbia Heights, which serves from 11 to 3 on Sundays. On the menu: drop biscuits, egg sandwiches, and a "redneck Benedict" with poached eggs and gravy.

Posted at 10:46 AM/ET, 11/07/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
The Chew star talks best dishes and how to tackle 75 restaurants in one place. By Anna Spiegel
Carla Hall with Capital Food Fight founder José Andrés. Photograph by Flickr user chris.

The biggest all-star fall food event in Washington goes down on Tuesday, November 11, with the return of Capital Food Fight at the Ronald Reagan Building. The benefit for DC Central Kitchen draws celebrity-chef emcees Anthony Bourdain and Carla Hall, local toques including Table's Frederik De Pue and Marjorie Meek-Bradley of Ripple battling in a Top Chef-style competition, and judges such as Daniel Boulud and Chopped's Ted Allen. In the audience: 75 Washington restaurants serving bites and drinks to party-goers until late in the evening.

Hall has been a fixture of the event for the past four years, as both a judge and a host. We spoke with The Chew star about highlights from the annual bash, judging with Bourdain, and the best approach for tackling all the drinks and eats.

Food Fight dishes that inspired a restaurant trip:

"After Victor [Albisu] competed, I remember going to Taco Bamba way the heck out in Virginia because I love his food. I've also gone to the Source for Scott Drewno's dumplings, and to Willow with Tracy O'Grady."


"I hate judging. I hate it so much! It's so subjective—it's based on taste, what you like, maybe what you want to have in that moment. I hate boiling down someone's dish that came from their heart. I'd rather host."

The most memorable dish of all time:

"Michael Mina, and it was my first Food Fight. He did a Korean barbecue broth, which was piping hot with mushrooms and all these aromatics. He served it with meat sliced very thinly, and we threw the meat into the broth to cook it."

The best eating strategy:

"I would get there early. Make a loop to see all the restaurants, then go back and decide what you're going to eat. If you're there with four people, divide and conquer. You can't eat everything anyway. If you have four people, each person can go to a line so you can taste as much as you can. Try to do that early so the time the food fight comes about you can get close to the stage so you can see the chefs. And, of course, think about what you're going to bid on."

Hosting with Anthony Bourdain:

"He's very fun, a tall drink of water. I love watching the interaction between Tony and José. I feel like it's the boys' club, and they're more than willing to bring me in. The first time I was working with them I had to pull out the stops with my auctioneering skills."

The after-party:

"I don't get to go! I'm taping the [Chew] shoot Tuesday, so I'm doing the Food Fight, and I have to get on the train to New York at 9. I have to be at work at 6:15 in the morning. I love it so much, that's what I'm doing."

The Washington restaurant where she's a regular:

"One of the places I keep going back to because I love the food is Ris. Every time I see her at an event I'm like 'Ris, you always do the most simple thing, but it's perfect.' She has the confidence to do a salad at an event, or soup and grilled cheese."

What keeps her coming back to the Fight:

"I've done so much with DC Central Kitchen, and I really believe in the way they empower people. I watch the way these people change their lives and change their families. It's an organization that we as chefs feel very much a part of. There're a lot of food and wine events, but we feel a connection. And, of course, the element of competition when we can come together in a fun way to compete."

The Capital Food Fight is on Tuesday, November 11, at 6. Tickets start at $250 per person.

Posted at 02:54 PM/ET, 11/06/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
Score access to Momofuku Milk Bar, Black Seed Bagels, big-name chefs, and more. By Anna Spiegel
Win VIP access to the Emporiyum for all your snacking and shopping needs. Photograph courtesy of the Emporiyum.

There's a new kind of food lover's festival in town, and it's looking pretty delicious. The Emporiyum, an artisan- and chef-driven marketplace, pops up at Union Market on Saturday, November 15, and Sunday, November 16. The extravaganza has attracted a large roster of well-known local and national names, including NYC's Momofuku Milk Barcoming soon to DC—Jack Rudy Cocktail Co., the upcoming Thip Khao from the Bangkok Golden team, Black Seed Bagels, Austin chef Paul Qui, Toki's Erik Bruner-Yang, and many more.

While anyone can snag tickets to spend the weekend browsing, shopping, eating, and drinking, we have a pair of VIP tickets to give away for each day. The passes earn early access from 10 to 11 (general admission is 11 to 4), a special gift bag, a variety of free snacks and beverages while you shop, and samples from select vendors. Note that VIP admission is already sold out to the public for Saturday, and is worth $40 per person.

So how can you score entry for you and a shopping buddy? In the spirit of the pre-holiday season, tell us about the best culinary gift you've ever received in the comments below. It could be a kitchen or bar tool, a meal, a cookbook, an ingredient, spirits, anything. As always, thoughtful answers get extra points. The first place-winner will receive passes for the sold-out Saturday spot, while the runner-up can enjoy the same stellar lineup on Sunday.

We'll announce the winners on Twitter at noon on Monday, November 10, so make sure to follow @Bestbitesblog.

Contest question: What is the best culinary gift you've ever received? Leave your answer in the comments below.

Posted at 10:15 AM/ET, 11/06/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
Including $2 million in raised funds and two chickens on the auction block. By Anna Spiegel
The 12th annual Farmland Feast has grown from a small dinner to a gala in the Ritz-Carlton. Photograph courtesy of FreshFarm Markets.

The 12th annual FreshFarm Markets Farmland Feast, one of the biggest fall food events, happens on Monday, November 10, at the Ritz-Carlton Washington DC. What began as a small group at Ristorante Tosca in 2002 has become a full-blown gathering of local food, farmers, chefs, sommeliers, and producers; much like the growth of the FreshFarm farmers markets, which have expanded to 13 locations in the larger metropolitan area. Tickets range from $150 for the cocktail reception to $300 for the sit-down dinner, which supports the nonprofit organization and its charitable programs. Here's a rundown of what to expect by the numbers.

$2,000,000: The amount of money raised since Farmland Feast began in 2002.

2: Quantity of live chickens one can win in the live auction, along with a coop from Rent a Coop.

520: Number of attendees expected this year.

50: Farmers who'll party along with guests at the event.

800: Bivalves Rappahannock River Oysters plans to shuck and serve at the oyster and beer bar.

36: Liters of local spirits used in the opening reception, including pours from Green Hat Gin, Boyd & Blair Vodka, and Catoctin Creek Roundstone Rye.

225: Bottles of local wine to be served from the likes of Barboursville Vineyards and Early Mountain Vineyard.

75: Tacos from Chaia DC for whoever bids on 25 week's-worth of food from the vegetarian taco vendor in the auction.

207: Number of head chefs and sommeliers who've participated in Farmland Feast since the beginning.

406,000-plus: Shoppers who frequent the 13 FreshFarm market locations per year.

Posted at 05:00 PM/ET, 11/04/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
Free eats and discount drinks for voters. By Anna Spiegel
Nothing says America like discount beer. Photograph via Shutterstock.

This roundup comes with a caveat: Technically it’s illegal to monetarily reward citizens for voting—or not voting—and that includes discounted/free food and beverage as well as hard cash. (Benjamin Freed penned an interesting article on the topic two years ago.) Luckily, the law is generally ignored by the feds when it comes to restaurant deals, evidenced by the fact that California Tortilla employees are still roaming free, and yes, they’re back at it with giveaways.

That being said, if complimetnary queso is what drives a significant number of voters to the polls, we’re all doomed anyway. Go enjoy free chips with a side of civic duty. We’ll update throughout the day.


1200-1216 Bladensburg Rd., NE

Show your sticker and get a $4 pint.

Boundary Road

414 H St., NE

Anyone who thinks their candidate is on a losing streak will want to drown their sorrows with this special: Natty Boh and a shot of Old Overholt rye for $6, all day long.

Bourbon Steak

2800 Pennsylvania Ave., NW

Look for swanky specials such as blue-state lobster corndogs, red-state A5 hot dogs with duck-fat fries, and a Hanging Chad cocktail made with vodka, habanero, and pineapple.

California Tortilla

Multiple locations

All locations except in the Ronald Reagan Trade Center give away free chips and queso to anyone saying “I Voted,” or to actual voters who shower their sticker.


2411 Mt. Vernon Ave., Alexandria

Show your sticker for a 15-percent discount on any domestic cheese.


1443 P St., NW

Vote, and then take a Tuesday funday at Commissary, which servers $2 drafts to stickered voters from 8 AM to 11 PM.

Degrees at the Ritz-Carlton

3100 South Street., NW

Conservative queso anyone? The bar area shows results while serving themed specials from 5 to 11 like the aforementioned cheese dip and “liberal fried pickles.”

The Dubliner

Four F St., NW

Happy hour pricing runs until 2 AM at this Capitol Hill spot, so head in for $8 specialty cocktails and $4 pints of Dubliner amber ale and Smithwick’s IPA.

Family Meal

880 N. East St., Frederick

One of the most decadent deals out there: free fried chicken (dine-in only) for sticker-holding voters.

Hank’s Oyster Bar Capitol Hill

633 Pennsylvania Ave., SE

The Capitol Hill location serves happy hour from 5 to close while showing the election results. Look for a bipartisan serving of blue and red punch, plus drink and oyster specials.

J Paul’s

3218 M St., NW

Watch the results on multiple TVs while enjoying extended happy hour from 4 to 11, including tasty $5 bowls of chili mac.

Kangaroo Boxing Club

3410 11th St., NW

Show your sticker from 6:30 to last call for a dollar off all drafts.

The Libertine

2435 18th St., NW

Yet another bar offering the chance to drown your woes in a beer and a shot of rye whiskey.

Liberty Tavern

3195 Wilson Blvd., Arlington

Show your sticker and get any of the wood-oven pizzas, like a white clam pie or pork sausage with smoked mozzarella, for just $10 (typically $13 to $16).

Nage Bistro

1600 Rhode Island Ave., NW

Get your sticker and head over for a gratis glass of wine, draft beer, or choice of one bar bite.

Nick’s Riverside Grill

3050 K St., NW

Appetizers go for $7 and drinks are discounted late into the night, from 4 to 1:30.

Nopa Kitchen & Bar

800 F St., NW

The bar servers a Bitter Sweet Victory cocktail made with infused calvados, pear vodka, and pineapple foam for $10 to sticker-bearers (usually $12). Televisions will also show the election results throughout the evening.

Red Velvet Cupcakery

501 Seventh St., NW

The first 100 people who show their “I Voted” sticker receive free cupcake pops.

Sprinkles Cupcakes

3015 M St., NW

Voters can buy one cupcake or scoop and get an extra free, while anyone under 18 can just say “election day” for the promo.


1433 P St., NW

Everyone wins at a viewing party with half-price appetizers, $4 house wines, and $4 select beers.

Tony & Joe’s

3000 K St., NW

Want to celebrate in style, but on the cheap(er)? This waterfront spot offers a 1.25-pound lobster dinner for half-price, along with a screening of election results.


2800 Clarendon Blvd., Arlington

Sticker-holders can drop by the patio or bar area of this Indian spot from 5 to 7 for $5 tapas such as fried calamari masala and veggie samosas, $4 beers, and $5 wine and cocktails including mojitos and rail martinis (for those who had a really hard election day). TVs will broadcast results.

Posted at 09:38 AM/ET, 11/04/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()