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The best weekend news ever. By Anna Spiegel
Paddleboard yoga: more fun with beer and bagels. Photograph by Andrew Propp.

As if a floating food boat on the Potomac River wasn’t cool enough, said vessel will be serving beer and Bullfrog Bagels this weekend only. Nauti Foods, a 24-foot pontoon that began anchoring near Key Bridge earlier this summer, has been given special permission to sell brews for its last weekend on the water before a seasonal retirement. 

Paddlers and large boaters alike can order cold suds on Saturday and Sunday from noon to 7, and the New York-style bagels on Sunday only. Given the cult-like following Bullfrog has garnered after launching a series of pop-ups, you may want to head over early; a permanent bagel shop has been set up inside H Street’s Star & Shamrock should you miss the boat (sorry). But remember: Carb loading is always better in a kayak. 

Find Anna Spiegel on Twitter at @annaspiegs.

Posted at 12:34 PM/ET, 09/19/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
Bottomless feasts, Benedicts, and an '80s-themed party. By Anna Spiegel
A new item at Poste, perfect for fall: French onion soup with braised short ribs. Photograph by Scott Suchman.

Fall is all about new starts, so why not apply that philosophy to brunch? Hot new restaurants including DBGB and Gypsy Soul are rolling out mimosa-filled menus, while old favorites such as Central are jumping into the Benedict game for the first time. Regardless of which you choose, there are plenty of eggs and Bloodys in store. 

Central

1001 Pennsylvania Ave., NW

Michel Richard is jumping into the brunch game with a three-course Sunday menu for $25. The wallet-friendly offerings include a choice of sweet appetizers like creme brûlée French toast or pancakes, savory seconds such as eggs Benedict, and sorbet for dessert. Tack on bottomless mimosas, Bloody Marys, coffee, or juice for $15. 

When: Sunday 11 to 2:30.


Chez Billy

3815 Georgia Ave., NW

The restaurant's Petworth neighbors helped create the menu from chef Brendan L’Etoile by suggesting dishes they'd like to see: Croque Madames, apple-rum raisin French toast, and the “royale with cheese.”

When: Sunday 11 to 3. 


DBGB Kitchen and Bar

931 H St., NW 

Celebrity chef Daniel Boulud doesn't waste time. His first Washington restaurant, which opened last week for dinner, launches brunch this weekend. Menus haven't been released yet, but you can expect French-American fare, house-made sausages, and some decadent desserts such as ice cream sundaes and baked Alaska. 

When: Saturday and Sunday 11 to 3. 


DC Harvest

517 H St., NE

Farm-to-table brunch comes in the form of heirloom-tomato salads, Chesapeake crab scrambles, and spelt-buttermilk pancakes at this new Atlas District eatery (check out the menu for more).

When: Saturday and Sunday 11 to 2:30.


El Chucho

3313 11th St., NW

Breakfast burritos have arrived! Look for a new set brunch ($21.95) at this casual Mexican spot, which includes fresh chips and salsa, a burrito or other brunch entrée, and bottomless mimosas in either classic orange or hibiscus-tea flavors. 

When: Saturday and Sunday beginning at 10. 


Gypsy Soul

8296 Glass Alley, Fairfax

Come hungry for chicken-fried steak and eggs, blueberry flapjacks, and an entire section of mac and cheeses at chef RJ Cooper’s Virginia eatery. An unusual lineup of Bloodys rounds out the menu, including varieties made with bacon-infused vodka or absinthe. 

When: Saturday and Sunday 11 to 3. 


Macon Bistro and Larder

5520 Connecticut Ave., NW 

If deviled eggs, biscuits and bacon gravy, and a “pluckin’ bun” sound good, check out Macon’s new menu. Like what you eat? Stop by the takeaway larder for to-go items for home.

When: Sunday 10 to 2. 


Poste

555 Eighth St., NW

Newly appointed chef Kyoo Eom is changing up menus for fall, including brunch starting this weekend. French-inspired dishes include a grilled baguette with chocolate-hazelnut butter, smoked-bacon quiche, and fried chicken. 

When: Saturday and Sunday 8 to 3.


STK

1250 Connecticut Ave., NW

Half brunch, half party, all '80s-themed. Don your best neon outfit, sip bottomless cocktails ($18), and line your stomach with à-la-carte brunch items such as Thai-style fried chicken and a bacon-and-egg brunch burger. The Sunday Funday parties take on different themes, starting with "back to school" this week.

When: Sunday 11 to 6. 


Rural Society

1177 15th St., NW

Celebrity chef Jose Garces's Argentinean grill can get pricey for dinner, but items go for less on weekends. A big menu mixes Argentine pastries, egg dishes, sandwiches, grilled fare, and one of our favorites: fugazzas (focaccia pizzas). 

When: Saturday and Sunday 1o to 3. 


Urbana

The recently revamped Dupont eatery leans more Italian these days, with a brunch menu of panini, pizzas, and dishes such as wild boar hash with poached eggs and polenta. Thankfully the bottomless bellini bar with fresh fruit purées ($17) remains an option. 

When: Saturday and Sunday 8 to 3. 

For more restaurant news and recommendations, follow Best Bites on Twitter at @bestbitesblog.

Posted at 12:00 PM/ET, 09/19/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
Every morning, we'll let you know where to find lunch on wheels. By Caroline Cunningham

Happy Friday, food truck followers! Get ready for the weekend with Italian-inspired dishes like pizza and mozzarella sticks from DC Slices or a caprese, salami, and prosciutto sandwich from Italian Subs.

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Posted at 11:30 AM/ET, 09/19/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
Free patties for anyone showing Nats pride. By Anna Spiegel
Nats fans can grab a free burger on Friday. Photograph via Facebook.

How does a free burger sound on a beautiful Friday? “Better burger” chain Bolt Burgers is giving away patties at its downtown location to “anyone visibly showing a Nats logo on any body part.” 

Before you run out the door with a Nationals tattoo, here are the details. The giveaway is from 11:15 to 12:15 in the shop at 1010 Massachusetts Avenue, Northwest, near the Convention Center. Guests can grab a free Bolt Classic on a brioche bun, topped with lettuce, tomato, onion, aged Vermont cheddar, and “killer” ketchup. Don't like beef? Angus can be swapped out for ground turkey, marinated chicken, or black bean burgers. Regardless of what you choose, taking one down while chanting “Let’s go Nats” is encouraged. 

Find Anna Spiegel on Twitter at @annaspiegs.

Posted at 10:15 AM/ET, 09/19/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
Every morning, we'll let you know where to find lunch on wheels. By Caroline Cunningham

Happy Thursday, food truck followers! Satisfy your pig cravings with Sloppy Mama's pulled pork sandwiches, or DC Empanadas’s "divine swine" empanada. Our Ulimate Food Truck Guide went live online today, so check out our top 25 favorite trucks, as well as the Wheelie Awards for the best barbecue, fries, heaping plates, and more!  

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Posted at 10:25 AM/ET, 09/18/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
Your guide to the food trucks of Maryland, Virgina, and DC. By Todd Kliman, Ann Limpert, Anna Spiegel, Nelson Billington
Chef José Andrés handing out sandwiches from his Pepe food truck. Photograph by Scott Suchman.

A few years ago, your quick-lunch choices boiled down to “soup, sandwich, or salad?” Now, thanks to Washington’s booming food-truck scene (there are about 200 on the streets), your noontime prospects are far more exciting. Whether you’re in the mood for jackfruit barbecue or a terrific rack of ribs, here are 25 trucks you shouldn’t let pass by.

Photograph by Scott Suchman.

Pepe

@pepefoodtruck

Here it is, folks: our favorite truck in all of Washington, courtesy of head-spinningly creative Spanish chef José Andrés. Sandwiches make up the bulk of the menu, and we find the most pleasure in the simplest combinations, such as Serrano ham, Manchego, and olive oil on a thin ficelle or a club sandwich with shallot mayo. Andrés works special magic with chicken croquetas, which stayed miraculously crispy for more than an hour, and with gazpacho, so thick and rich it’s a wonder it’s free of cream. Arlington, DC, Montgomery County.

Brandon’s Little Truck

@bltfoodtruck

At first glance, we were skeptical: Asian pork-belly fries next to a Greek lamb burger and a Maine-style shrimp roll? But former CIA dining-room sous chef Brandon Ingenito runs a tightly controlled mobile kitchen, and it’s more focused than it sounds. (The menu rarely changes.) That hefty lamb burger, piled with fennel salad and feta, is worthy of an ambitious bistro, and a pork-belly BLT comes loaded with some of the freshest tomatoes we’ve had this summer. Arlington, Fairfax.

BBQ Bus

@bbqbusdc

As with kebabs and pho, the barbecue-truck market is a crowded one. What makes this popular outfit worth singling out? The owners’ shortcut-free ethos—you can taste the 10 to 12 hours of smoking each heap of pork and brisket is given, and sides and biscuits are made from scratch daily. There’s an impressive array of sauces to choose from—the peppery vinegar goes well with pulled pork, while thick Memphis-style sauce pairs nicely with the brisket. DC, Maryland, Virginia.

Fava Pot

@favapot

There are lots of virtuous reasons for choosing this Middle Eastern truck: The cooking is health-minded, the ingredients are carefully sourced, and some proceeds from the sales go toward helping Egyptian orphans. Fortunately, it’s the bright flavors that make it stand out the most. Crisp balls of green falafel sing with parsley, coriander, and mint. A grilled Cornish game hen, marinated in yogurt, lemon, and sumac, shows off tender meat and a savory char. And lavash chips with spicy feta dip would be at home on the table of an upscale mezzeteria. Arlington, Fairfax.

Feelin’ Crabby

@feelincrabby

There are but three choices for sandwiches here: lobster, jumbo lump crab, and “crabster,” a mix of the two. We’d be happy with any of them—the fresh, sweet shellfish is lightly dressed with creamy, Old Bay-spiked sauce and served with lettuce and tomato. Luckily, the owners make it easy for the indecisive. You can get your sandwiches in slider form and have all three. DC.

The Randy Radish

@therandyradish

Former stay-at-home moms Nancy Jezior and Sharon Lindblad have a nearly alchemical way with tofu, turning it and other vegan ingredients into comfort foods like cinnamon buns and nachos. We’re particularly fond of their twist on a Reuben, with tofu marinated in corned-beef-inspired spices and layered with sauerkraut on marble rye. Even better is the tangy jackfruit barbecue. The creations are so brightly flavored they appeal to all folks, not just vegans and health nuts. Fairfax, Loudoun County.

Photograph by Hong Le.

Cajunators

@cajunators

We hit this truck, with its Acid Test-like paint job, for one thing—po’ boys, and lots of them. These folks know how to work a fryer, and their handiwork is displayed in properly airy loaves. When it’s in season, the fried soft-shell crab is the star, but the crunchy oysters and shrimp are delicious, too. DC.

Cole’s Palette

@coles_palette

Skip breakfast, have raw kale and an almond for dinner—whatever you need to do to justify digging into a lunch of oversize waffles and fried chicken. Cole Whaley, who also owns Beltsville’s Café Rue, is the sure-handed chef behind the caloric decadence, and he turns out a terrific, crunchy Sriracha-glazed bird alongside a plain version. For dessert, there are delicate macarons, but we like to really go for it and get the red-velvet waffle drizzled with cream-cheese icing. Montgomery County, DC.

Pho Junkies

@phojunkies

This pho slinger gets our vote because it offers what many pho trucks forgo—fatty off-cuts of meat, which imbue the broth with an unmistakable richness. We load ours up with flank steak, fatty brisket, and tendon (even if you don’t eat the meats, the soup will be better for them), then add fresh basil, sprouts, lime, jalapeño, and hoisin once we get back to our desks. The chicken pho is lighter and more soothing, and a side of spring rolls retains a nice crackle. DC.

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Posted at 12:01 AM/ET, 09/18/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
In the spirit of the Oscars—or at least a high-school yearbook—we present our very first Wheelie Awards.
Best shtick: The Pho Junkies truck.

Best bang for your buck: The massive Thai/Laotian combo platters ($11 to $13)—a mess of skewers, drunken noodles, spring rolls, and papaya salad—at Sang on Wheels. They could double as dinner.

Best (but hardest-to-find) barbecue: The vinegary, smoky pulled-pork sandwich at the Woodshed, a Twitterless, Facebook-free truck that pops up at Truckeroo events and before games, in the Bullpen outside Nationals Park.

Oddest cuisine mash-up: Native American tacos with fry bread, borscht with cilantro, and shawarma with bánh mì accents. You’ll find them all at Urban Bumpkin BBQ, which bills itself as Asian/Alaskan/Russian. Oh, and it also has Vietnamese coffee.

Strangest pairing: The (really good) ropa vieja-topped hot dogs served alongside gym-bunny cups of açai, blueberries, and granola at MightyDog and Acai.

Best snack to eat on the run: Elote—cobs of sweet corn rolled in mayo, chili powder, and queso fresco—at La Tingeria.

Best bread: Freshly made naan at Indian Flavors (no Twitter).

Best fries: Crunchy Cajun-seasoned spuds at Crab Cab.

Best shtick: The Walking Dead-like Pho Junkies truck, covered in zombie warning signs and offering a “survivor menu.” Its slogan: “Better Than Brains!”

Best finishing touch: The crunchy, crumbled Cheez-Its sprinkled on the mac and cheese at CapMac.

Most ambitious expansion plans: Captain Cookie & the Milkman, which plans to bring its sweets to Raleigh-Durham . . . and Paris.

Most overrepresented dish: Tacos. More than 20 local trucks serve them in some form.

Best afternoon snacks: Maine Avenue Popcorn—a mix of salty-sweet kettle corn, Old Bay-spiced popcorn, and buttered kernels—from Popped! Republic. And the chewy Nutella cookies from Captain Cookie.

Best truck spinoff of a brick-and-mortar business: Dangerously Delicious, because all lunches should end with a slice of its pecan pie.

Most derivative idea: All the Korean taco trucks that take after LA’s scene-starting Kogi truck.

Oddest career path: Peruvian Brothers co-owner Giuseppe Lanzone, who rowed in the Beijing and London Olympics.

Most prestigious credential: The Wharton MBA held by Stephen Adelson of Carnivore BBQ.

Biggest Twitter presence: Red Hook Lobster Pound, with more than 26,000 followers.

Truck grub we miss the most: The wonderfully messy triple-decker patties from Dorothy Moon’s Gourmet Burgers. The truck is moving to Charlottesville.


Want more food trucks? Check out our 25 local favorites.

Posted at 12:00 AM/ET, 09/18/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
Start voting for your favorites. By Anna Spiegel
Southern Efficiency is one of the five local watering holes nominated in Food & Wine magazine's Best New Bars contest. Photograph by Andrew Propp.

Five Washington watering holes made the long list for Food & Wine's newest set of accolades: The People’s Best New Bars 2014. The voter’s-choice awards—a liquid spinoff of the Best New Chef contest held earlier this year—runs through September 30. Local nominees include 2 Birds 1 Stone, Dram & Grain in Jack Rose, the Partisan, Red Light, and Southern Efficiency.

The mix is pretty eclectic, representing underground cocktail dens (2 Birds, Dram), restaurant/bar hybrids (Partisan), sweets spots (Red Light) and bourbon-centric boozers (Southern Efficiency). All face stiff competition in the Northeast category, including from lauded mixology bars such as New York’s Booker and Dax and Hop Sing Laundromat in Philly. All the more reason to vote early and often.

Look for an announcement with the winners on October 2

Find Anna Spiegel on Twitter at @annaspiegs.

Posted at 06:26 PM/ET, 09/17/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
Bivalves and beachy drinks for the National Harbor. By Anna Spiegel
The Walrus & Oyster brings seaside flair to the National Harbor. Photographs courtesy of Walrus & Oyster.

The National Harbor has a new seafood spot with the opening of Walrus & Oyster Ale House, a 150-seat eatery by the Star Restaurant Group. Longtime Washington chef Bob Kinkead consulted on the seafood-centric menu, while Kris Carr is behind beachy beverages such as the Baltimore Crush. As the outdoor sipping weather lingers, take advantage of the spot's 75-seat deck. Here’s what else you should know. 

The oysters: “shucking bar” menu offers 15 varieties, divided into local and Atlantic or West Coast. Even more fun than slurping fresh bivalves is their names, including Sweet Jesus oysters from Maryland and Royal Miyagis out of California. Those looking for cooked varieties can order a basket of fried oysters and hushpuppies.

The other food: Fishy, in a good way. Seafood makes up most of the menu—think chorizo-stuffed clams, fried shrimp baskets, lobster rolls, and more. A number of dishes draw from Maryland traditions, such as a jumbo lump crabcakes and broiled oysters. Not into fin fare? Meaty eats include slow-braised beef brisket and barbecue chicken. 

Chef Bob Kinkead designed the seafood-centric menu, which you can wash down with 52-ounce "Walrus bowls."

 

The drinks: Big and beachy. Groups can order boozy punches made with fresh fruits in 52-ounce "Walrus bowls," while ambitious solo drinkers can opt for 20-ounce goblets. Other sips include a raspberry Dark and Stormy and an Old Bay-spiked Bloody Mary made with fire-roasted tomatoes. And of course, you’ll find oyster shooters. 

The poem: The restaurant gets its name from Lewis Carroll's poem "The Walrus and the Carpenter." A nod to the latter can be found in the wood-filled decor, while a portion of the verses can be found on the outside wall. 

The future: For now the Walrus only serves dinner, but look for lunch and weekend brunch to start in the future.  


The Walrus & Oyster Ale House. 152 Waterfront St., Fort Washington (in the National Harbor); 301-567-6100. Open daily 4:30 to 11. 
Find Anna Spiegel on Twitter at @annaspiegs.

Posted at 02:51 PM/ET, 09/17/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
Ryan LaRoche takes charge of one of Washington's top restaurants. By Anna Spiegel
One of Washington's top eateries has a new team in the kitchen. Photograph by Scott Suchman.

Blue Duck Tavern has seen a number of staff changes of late, including the departure of chef de cuisine John Melfi for a spot on the line at Fiola Mare. More recently, lead toque Sebastien Archambault traded one Park Hyatt restaurant for another, leaving BDT for the luxury hotel chain's New York eatery, the Back Room at One57. During the transition time at Blue Duck there were rumblings that the swanky New American spot wasn't living up to its typically stellar reputation. 

Now there's a new culinary team in charge. Chef Ryan LaRoche is stepping into the executive chef role, backed by an impressive résumé that includes leading positions at NoMi, the Park Hyatt Chicago's award-winning concept, and L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon in Las Vegas. Working directly under him will be chef de cuisine Brad Deboy, who's been promoted after working at Blue Duck Tavern for three years as a leading line cook and then sous chef. 

We'll keep you updated on any menu changes as the team settles in. 

Find Anna Spiegel on Twitter at @annaspiegs.

Posted at 12:26 PM/ET, 09/17/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()