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Given the last rez went for $1,075, good luck. By Anna Spiegel
Grab a table or kitchen stool for Rose's Luxury on New Year's Eve. Photograph by Scott Suchman.

Check your internet connection and poise that clicker: Rare reservations for a night at Rose's Luxury begin at 11 on Tuesday morning. Chef/owner Aaron Silverman offers online bookings for New Year's Eve throughout the restaurant, except for second-floor bar stools which will be f̶o̶u̶g̶h̶t̶ ̶o̶v̶e̶r̶ ̶l̶i̶k̶e̶ ̶c̶a̶b̶s̶ ̶a̶f̶t̶e̶r̶ ̶l̶a̶s̶t̶-̶c̶a̶l̶l̶ reserved for walk-ins.

The menu also differs from regular service: a $95 prix-fixe that includes a choice of three small plates and one "family-style" portion for every two guests, plus dessert, a pour of bubbly, and mystery prizes. A $50 deposit per person is required while reserving, assuming you're lucky enough to get to that point.

Can't score a table for NYE? Rose's announced a second charitable auction for a reservation that includes free food and a signed plate. The last one garnered 30 bids and went for a whopping $1,075, which benefited World Food Program USA. Offers for the current two-person table are up to $390 and run until December 11.

Good luck all around. I'll be adding lychees to a delivery pork sausage pizza come December 31 and wishing I were there.

Find Anna Spiegel on Twitter at @annaspiegs.

Posted at 05:42 PM/ET, 12/01/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
The bright orange van went missing from Alexandria. By Anna Spiegel
The Popped! Republic truck has been stolen. Photograph via Facebook.

Bad news on the road this morning: The Popped! Republic food truck has been stolen. The popcorn vendor tweeted that the van was taken Thursday night from Alexandria and is asking anyone who spies the vehicle to contact the authorities immediately.

The Popped! truck typically dishes out some of the best snacks on the road, with interesting popcorn mixes such as kettle corn and Old Bay. Hopefully the bright orange van—not exactly an inconspicuous presence on the road—is found soon.

Posted at 10:54 AM/ET, 11/21/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
The hot restaurant auctions off a table to the highest bidder. By Anna Spiegel
The auction winner receives a coveted table at Rose's Luxury. Photograph by Lauren Joseph.

An infamously tough table at the no-reservations Rose's Luxury just became easier to attain, at least for a patron with $500-plus to spend.

Chef/owner Aaron Silverman has teamed up with nonprofit World Food Program USA and eBay Giving Works for a charitable auction; the restaurant always donates 25 cents per customer to WFP. The prize: two reservations at the white-hot restaurant, a free meal, and a 22-karat gold-gilded platter signed by the culinary team. Winners are asked to cover their own alcohol, with their bid wholly going to provide school meals for children.

Bids have already started—at the time of this posting the highest is $510—and run through November 30.

Posted at 10:26 AM/ET, 11/21/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
The local 'cue scene is heating up. By Ann Limpert
Andrew Evans is finally making his way into DC. Photograph by Laura Olsen.

Good news for fans of the ribs and pulled pork at Andrew Evans’s Barbecue Joint—you don’t have to trek to Easton or Pasadena anymore to satisfy a craving. After months of negotiations (“You’d think I was building a kitchen for the queen,” Evans says), he recently signed a two-year lease for a barbecue counter at Union Market. He plans to start serving in early December.

Evans says the project is “more akin to a barbecue butcher in the South or Texas than a restaurant.” Customers can buy cut-to-order ribs, pork butt, brisket, and Sriracha-and-beer sausage by the pound, then load up on house-made sauces, rubs, and sides such as collards and cornbread. “No redneck nachos or other goofy things,” he says.

Evans, who graduated from the CIA and once owned the elegant Inn at Easton, plans to get creative with weekend specials, like veal short ribs. We’re looking forward to his pork belly: “Most people braise it to death or make bacon, but I treat it like ribs,” he says. That means brining it, giving it a rub and a turn in the smoker, then finishing it off with a barbecue-sauce glaze.

Evans will smoke the meats in Pasadena, then deliver them to DC while they’re resting. “It’ll be just like what I’d do at a barbecue competition,” he says.

Posted at 12:03 PM/ET, 11/20/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
The former Pabu toque and restaurateur team up for Yona noodle bar. By Anna Spiegel

Chef Jonah Kim. Photograph by Greg Powers.

Big news for Arlingtonians: chef Jonah Kim, recently of the shuttered Pabu at the Four Seasons Baltimore, will open Yona, a noodle bar at 4000 Wilson Boulevard. Restaurateur Mike Isabella is a partner in the project, but will not oversee the menu.

The Ballston eatery is set to be a full-service restaurant, open for lunch and dinner. The Korean-born, Japanese-trained Kim plans to serve traditional tonkotsu (pork-based) ramen, as well as several riffs on the noodle soup. Evenings will bring small plates—think steamed duck buns, crispy Brussels sprouts, and Korean double-fried chicken with a spicy bourbon glaze. Lunch will be geared more toward the business crowd, with quick eats like donburi rice bowls. Taha Ismail, the beverage director for Isabella’s restaurant group, Mike Isabella Concepts, is behind the sake, beers, and cocktails.

Yona is slated for spring 2015, and will mark yet another expansion for MIC. Isabella is slated to open two eateries next door: Kapnos Taverna in December, and Pepita next year. Could Wilson Boulevard become the new 14th Street? Possibly, if Isabella has anything to do with it.

Posted at 10:23 AM/ET, 11/18/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
Chef Lindsay Autry heads to the Dupont restaurant. By Anna Spiegel

Chef Lindsay Autry heads to Firefly. Photo by South Moon Photography/Alissa Dragun.

News of chefs on the move: Lindsay Autry, a finalist on the Texas-set Top Chef season nine, will take over at Firefly. A representative for the restaurant says current toque Todd Wiss is headed outside Washington to work at sister Kimpton Hotel properties.

Autry comes to the Dupont Circle stalwart from Florida, where she held executive chef positions at the Sundy House and the Omphoy Ocean Restort. She’s often described her cooking style as a blend of Mediterranean and Southern flavors, stemming from her hometown of Fayetteville, North Carolina. She made it to the second-to-last episode on her Top Chef season, losing to Sarah Grueneberg and Paul Qui, the Austin chef (and occasional DC popper-upper) who went on to win the title.

Look for new items coming from Autry in the coming weeks.

Posted at 09:25 AM/ET, 11/18/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
Lobster ME brings "lobsicles" to the Westfield Montgomery Mall. By Anna Spiegel
Behold: the lobsicle, which can also be ordered deep-fried. Photograph courtesy of Lobster ME.

Finally, lobster-on-a-stick has arrived. Lobster ME, the Las Vegas-based seafood spot and creator of the "lobsicle," opens its first East Coast location in Westfield Montgomery Mall on Friday. The new eatery is part of a multimillion-dollar revamp for the shopping center, which recently added the upscale ArcLight Cinemas and a "dining terrace"—a.k.a. fancy food court.

While lobby-pops are a big attraction, the menu (sample) boasts crustaceans folded into mac and cheese cheese or tacos, chilled atop salad, and tucked into a global variety of rolls. There's also a "not lobster" section with the likes of hot dogs or fish and chips. Then again, when you're in the presence of a deep-fried lobster-pop, there should be no other option.

The eatery opens on Friday, November 21, and will serve from 11 to 9 Monday through Saturday, and 11 to 6 on Sunday.

Posted at 12:31 PM/ET, 11/17/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
Two of Washington's beloved bars say farewell in January. By Anna Spiegel
Say goodbye to the Passenger and Columbia Room before January 1. Photograph by Chris Leaman.

It's been a rough time for closures of some of the District's beloved bars. First came the news that Duffy's shuttered after eight years. Now the Washington Post reports that the Passenger and Columbia Room will close their doors January 1. The building where both are housed is slated to become an office space by Douglas Development.

Though the blow is a tough one for fans of Derek and Tom Brown's path-paving watering holes, the news isn't entirely unexpected. Hogo, the Browns' rum-heavy tiki bar next door, already bid farewell this summer. According to the Post, the brothers always knew there was an expiration date on the spaces when signing the leases, just not exactly when the end would arrive.

The good news: Plans are underway to resurrect the Passenger and Columbia Room. The latter is already set for a new home in Blagden Alley for the end of 2015, and will grow considerably in size from its ten-seat incarnation. When it comes to Passenger, things are less certain. Tom is currently looking for other Shaw spaces, which, as we know from the recent boom, are increasingly hard to come by. We'll update when details become available.

Posted at 03:23 PM/ET, 11/12/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
Inside one of the year's most star chef-studded events. By Caroline Cunningham
Cohosts Anthony Bourdain and Carla Hall with a tricky competition ingredient: Buddha's hand. Photograph by Larry French/Getty Images for DC Central Kitchen.

The 11th annual Capital Food Fight went down last night at the Ronald Reagan Building, with an impressive 75 restaurants offering tastes and drinks to raise more than $700,000 for DC Central Kitchen. What made this different than Washington's other food-filled galas: cohost Anthony Bourdain dissing pastry chefs, Daniel Boulud creating awkward moments on stage, and plenty of competition among local toques battling it out in a Top Chef-style cooking competition.

Ripple and Roofers Union executive chef Marjorie Meek-Bradley ultimately reigned supreme over the fight, besting Table's Frederik de Pue, Tim Ma of Maple Ave Restaurant and Water & Wall, and Javier Romero of Taberna del Albardero.

Meek-Bradley wasn’t the only one to leave last night with honors. Here are a few others we think deserve recognition.

Best newcomer: Mango Tree, slated to open at CityCenterDC before the new year, brought its A-game with a spicy bite of chargrilled steak salad with northeastern tamarind sauce. Hopefully it's on the opening menu.

Most likely to merit seconds: Bayou Bakery's blackened lamb meatball with Trickling Springs yogurt.

Longest line: Woodberry Kitchen, for its made-to-order buckwheat crepes with smoked short rib, mushrooms, and sour cream.

Most clueless: Judge Daniel Boulud of DBGB DC who, after taking the stage for the first time, asked loudly, "Where's José?" (The boisterous event founder and frequent emcee was mostly absent this year, besides a brief early appearance). After an awkward pause, Boulud continued: "Are we on for Iron Chef or Food Fight?" After hearing the answer: "Oh, Food Fight. Much better."

Second most cluelesss: Bourdain butchering the names of local eateries when auctioning off dinners around town. “China...Chilcano?”

Best showdown: Bourdain insisted that he doesn’t like pastry chefs, which didn’t go over so well with Ace of Cakes star Duff Goldman. But Bourdain assured Goldman it wasn’t personal: "You can do something I can't do. I resent that.” To which the shorter, stockier Goldman replied: "You can change a lightbulb without getting on a ladder. I don't resent that." “Well, maybe you should,” replied Bourdain.

Most memorable "technical term": When cohost Carla Hall asked Ma how he was going to deal with cooking beef cheeks in ten minutes—the first battle’s secret ingredient, which typically requires lengthy braising to tenderize. “In about ten seconds, I’m going to pound the sh*t out of it,” said Ma. “Pounding the sh*t out of it—that’s a technical term,” Hall quipped. The technique was ultimately successful, as Ma’s beef cheeks cooked in soy sauce won favor with the judges over Romero’s stew with creamy potatoes.

Best description: “If you’ve killed someone and rolled them up in a tarp and then you’ve cleaned the hotel room—if you’ve done it well, it smells like that,” said Bourdain, attempting to describe the lemony-fresh scent of the second battle’s secret ingredient: Buddha’s hand. “It looks like something out of a horror movie,” Bourdain added. “It smells nice, though.”

The Washington-is-inferior-to-New York snub: Bourdain, on de Pue’s beautifully plated halibut and bok choy, seasoned with Buddha’s-hand zest: “I’d pay $29.95 for that—in New York. I guess in Washington I’d pay, what? $17.50?”

Posted at 12:25 PM/ET, 11/12/2014 | 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.

Friday

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.


Saturday

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.


Sunday

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 ()