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Where to find today's food trucks in DC, Maryland, and Virginia. By Angie Hilsman

Happy Tuesday, food truck followers! Grab an umbrella and head to Farragut Square for pulled pork from BBQ Bus, or make your way to Capital South for Borinquen Lunch Box's yellow rice and beans.

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Posted at 10:03 AM/ET, 06/02/2015 | Permalink | Comments ()
Plus Union Market's drive-in movie series returns. By Nelson Billington
Virginia brewery Devils Backbone hosts a Brews Cruise on the Potomac River. Photograph via Shutterstock.

Celebrating Nora: Big-name chefs including José Andrés, Patrick O’Connell, and Cathal Armstrong host a cocktail reception on Monday at Jaleo DC in honor of Restaurant Nora chef/owner Nora Pouillon and the launch of her new book, My Organic Life. The event runs from 5 to 7 and includes a signed copy of the work, drinks, and dishes from Rappahannock Oyster Co. and the host restaurant. Tickets ($58) are available online.

Negroni week: Good news for Negroni fans—there’s a whole week dedicated to the classic Italian cocktail in ten cities across America, starting on Monday. A number of Washington restaurants participate, including Founding Farmers and Urbana. Each donate a portion of sales to a charity of their choosing. Prices and variations on the drink vary.

Farm dinner: Head to the K Street Farm on Tuesday at 6:30 for a dinner celebrating a partnership between DC Greens and a number of local chefs. The benefit features top toques like Bryan Voltaggio, Spike Mendelsohn, and Mike Isabella. Early Mountain Vineyards supplies the wine. Tickets ($250) are available online.

Red, White and Brew: Charlie Palmer Steak gets patriotic in the kitchen during a rooftop dinner on Thursday from 6:30 to 8:30 centered around local ingredients and beers. Guests sip brews from 3 Stars and Port City while dining on dishes sourced from chef Jeff Russell’s nearby community garden. A portion of the proceeds will benefit Brain Food. Tickets ($50) are available online.

Wine dinner: Join restaurateur Jose Garces of Rural Society and Catena Zapata Vineyards for a collaborative dinner on Thursday at 6:30. Sip cocktails and wine with Garces before meeting winemaker Ernesto Bajda. The progressive meal features Chardonnays and Malbecs to complement the Argentinian food. Purchase tickets ($125) online.

Not their first rodeo: The second annual Food Truck Rodeo goes down on Friday from 11 to 8 at Alexandria's Southern Towers. Ten vendors like Red Hook Lobster Pound, Rocklands, and South Meets East dish up eats, while Port City provides beers. Admission is free; food and drink prices vary.

Movies at the market: Union Market’s drive-in movie series returns on Friday. Grab eats and drinks from the market vendors—including specially-themed items—before settling in to watch films from the 80’s and 90’s. First up: Jurassic Park. The parking lot opens at 6 ($10 parking fee; free for walkers/bikers), and the movie begins at 8.

Beery brunch: Even if you didn’t score tickets to this weekend’s sold-out Savor, Birch & Barley offers a taste during a Saturday Brewer’s Brunch at 11. Five courses such as fried chicken and waffles and eggs with ham and asparagus are paired with six beers from Bluejacket, Country Boy Brewing, and more. Reservations ($60 per person) are made by calling 202-567-2576.

Beers and boats: Devils Backbone hosts the second annual Brews Cruise, a beer-filled float on the Potomac on Saturday from 11 to 2 aboard the boat Cherry Blossom. Guests sip a variety of DB beers, listen to live tunes, and fill up on food from King Street Blues. Tickets are $60; the ship departs behind Alexandria’s Torpedo Factory.

Late-night crawfish boil: Head to Daikaya Izakaya on Saturday from 11pm to 1am for a New Orleans-themed late-night party. The kitchen serves a traditional crawfish boil complete with all of the fixings, while the bar pours Louisiana beers and frozen boozy drinks. DJ Smudge mixes tunes. Reservations are recommended, but not required. Prices for food and drink vary.

Drag brunch: Birdie La Cage hosts a Pride Kickoff Drag Brunch on Sunday from 12 to 3 at STK. Sip bottomless brunch cocktails ($19.95), fuel up on dishes from the regular brunch menu, and dance the afternoon away. Call 202-296-1880 for reservations.

Cheers the 1960’s: Guest bartender Erin Goodman of Roofer’s Union joins Dustin Beruta on Sunday at Cashion's from 10 to midnight for the beginning of a Decades of Cocktails series, which showcases retro drinks through the ages. First up: the 1960’s. Guests can sip a tiki-style blue Hawaiian or trio of classic martinis while snacking on throwback eats like deviled eggs, chicken a la king, and Julia Child’s beef bourguignon. Admission is free; food and drink are priced individually.

Taste of Peru: Wind down the week with a celebration of Peruvian fare at Taste of Peru, held at the University of the District of Columbia from 10 to 6. A lineup of Peruvian chefs offer tastes and hold cooking demonstrations, while guests can also listen to live music, shop from vendors, and more. Tickets ($15 for admission only) are available online.

Posted at 01:00 PM/ET, 06/01/2015 | Permalink | Comments ()
Where to find today’s food trucks in DC, Maryland, and Virginia. By Angie Hilsman

Happy Monday, food truck followers! Kick off June in Ballston with a new dish from Melted: French dip with a side of Au Jus. Craving gyro? Head to the State Department to visit Souvlaki Stop.

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Posted at 09:22 AM/ET, 06/01/2015 | Permalink | Comments ()
An outdoor beer garden, classic cocktail den, and spot for wine by the jug. By Anna Spiegel
The Speak pours classic, unfussy drinks like a Moscow mule with homemade ginger beer and plenty of crushed ice. Photograph courtesy of the Speak.

The Speak

1413 K St., NW (downstairs entrance)

We know, another speakeasy, but thankfully former One Lounge owner Seth McClelland doesn’t rely on cliches: no rules, no hidden phone number, and vermouth-haters can opt for Tecate cans spiked with lime and house-made hot sauce (he recently lived in Mexico). That’s not to say the unmarked, subterranean bar below K Street forgoes all prohibition-era whimsy. The low-lit, 100-seat space centers around small-batch liquors, house-made ingredients, and classic drinks like the Moscow mule. They’re just trying to avoid being precious about it. As McClelland says, “We don’t have Grey Goose, but if you want a vodka soda, we’d be happy to serve you a vodka soda.”

Open Tuesday through Friday, 5 pm to 2 am; Saturday 10 pm to 3 am.

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Posted at 01:54 PM/ET, 05/29/2015 | Permalink | Comments ()
A conversation with food historian (and contrarian) Rachel Laudan. By Todd Kliman

You’ve probably never heard of Rachel Laudan. This column hopes to change that.

Michael Pollan, Alice Waters, Mark Bittman, Jamie Oliver—these are the theorists and influencers who drive the debate in the food world. Laudan belongs in their company, though her thinking differs from their thinking. In fact, her thinking frequently takes issue with their thinking.

Reading her writing can be as bracing as taking a first, unsuspecting sip of mezcal. Fiercely unsentimental and deeply skeptical of conventional wisdom, she is relentless in her pursuit of a difficult truth and situates her sometimes unorthodox assertions in a thick and sticky web of historical and cultural context.

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Posted at 12:00 PM/ET, 05/29/2015 | Permalink | Comments ()
Fresh options for dining and drinking. By Anna Spiegel
Del Campo's bar dishes up free snacks and $6 margaritas during late-night happy hour. Photograph by Scott Suchman.

Del Campo launches late-night happy hour (with free food!)

777 I St., NW

Coming from an event at the Verizon Center, or just a really long day at the office? Consider Del Campo’s reverse happy hour, which runs from 10 to midnight, Thursday through Saturday. Sip $6 margaritas, pisco punch, beers, and wines, alongside free snacks like chorizo bites and grilled provoleta sandwiches. The deals are available at the bar, and on the patio.

New barbecue lunches at Jackson 20

480 King St., Alexandria

Chef Brian McPherson fires up his smoker for a new Lunch Line menu. Guests can pick between ribs, pulled pork, brisket, and spicy chopped chicken to stuff into sandwiches or put on a platter, plus traditional sides such as slaw and beans, and a nonalcoholic beverage ($15 for meat, side, and drink). The lineup launches Friday with a barbecue giveaway starting at 11:30—250 sandwiches are up for grabs. Going forward the ‘cue can be eaten in the restaurant or taken to-go, Monday through Friday, 11:30 to 2:30.

Outdoor summer movies at the Occidental

1475 Pennsylvania Ave., NW

Classic movie buffs can hit this downtown stalwart for an outdoor summer movie and dinner series, beginning Saturday, June 6. Flicks like Arsenic and Old Lace play on an oversize screen in the courtyard, while guests order a three-course menu, snack on complimentary seasoned popcorn, and grab drinks from a cash bar. Reservations are now being accepted for the first two Saturdays; the event starts at 8, and costs $45 (exclusive of gratuity, tax, and alcohol).

Sunday wine dinners at Casa Luca

1099 New York Ave., NW

Chef Erin Clarke and sommelier Sarah Bengston team up for a Sunday series of Italian wine dinners, launching May 31. Each week guests can try a three-course Sunday Sips menu, which showcases dishes and wines from a particular region. First up: Sardegna. The prixe-fixe is available at dinner, and is $48 per person including food and alcohol.

STK offers al fresco happy hour

1250 Connecticut Ave., NW

Head outside for $10 buy-one-get-one sangrias, $7 Belvedere vodka cocktails, $2 oysters, and $6 Prosecco. Rosé fans should plan to cut out of work extra early; glasses go for $5 from 2 to 5.

Throwback dishes at Il Pizzico

15209 N. Frederick Rd., Rockville

The Rockville Italian celebrates its 25th anniversary by bringing back favorite dishes, beginning Monday, June 1 and running through the week. Head in for mozzarella-stuffed eggplant bundles, homemade fettuccine with shellfish, mushrooms, and peas, and veal scallopini. A portion of the sales benefit the Manna Food Center.

Posted at 11:01 AM/ET, 05/29/2015 | Permalink | Comments ()
Where to find today’s food trucks in DC, Maryland, and Virginia. By Angie Hilsman

Happy Friday, food truck followers! Kick off the weekend with a barbecue sampler from BBQ Bus in L'Enfant Plaza, or head to Farragut Square for a gyro from Kabob Square.

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Posted at 10:03 AM/ET, 05/29/2015 | Permalink | Comments ()
It's the same as the Orioles wine. And the Minnesota Twins wine. By Anna Spiegel

Call it a swing-and-a-miss for Nats drinkers. Major League Baseball Properties just announced the launch of a Washington Nationals brand wine, created through a partnership with Wine by Design. The only problem: nothing about it, besides the label, really says Washington.

Photograph courtesy of Wines by Design.

According to a press release, the 18 wines created for teams in the American and National league are “tailored for each team market.” What does that mean for Washington? Very little. The Nationals 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon is made with grapes from California’s Central Coast—no Virginia Cab Franc?— and the wine itself seems to be identical to the Baltimore Orioles Cab, according to details on the Bounty Hunter website. Huh. Geographical coincidence? Nope, looks like the Minnesota Twins have the same wine as well.

At least Washington's blurb is different, though it employs all the usual Beltway cliches: traffic angst (solution: drink wine), serious Capitol Hill business (blah, drink more wine). What can we say? High-powered, stressed-out Washingtonians just like their wine, though the baseball varietal comes at a price: $60 for a three-pack, or roughly the price of five tickets to a weekday Nats game.

Still in search of liquid Nats pride? Try beer. DC’s Atlas Brew Works created the 1500 South Cap Lager exclusively for Nationals Park, a pale brew made with summer ballpark drinking in mind. Boston-based Sam Adams also partnered with the team for the Nats Anniversary IPA, sold only at the Red Porch and a few other spots in the stadium.

Maybe the Nats should just steer clear of wine. And for that matter, ladies’ night.

Posted at 01:39 PM/ET, 05/28/2015 | Permalink | Comments ()
Where to find today’s food trucks in DC, Maryland, and Virginia. By Angie Hilsman

Happy Thursday, food truck followers! It's almost the weekend again, so keep on truckin' with bratwurst from the Federal City Bros. at Union Station, or head to Friendship Heights for Habebe's shawarma.

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Posted at 10:10 AM/ET, 05/28/2015 | Permalink | Comments ()
Talking two decades of cooking in Washington, and what it means to be a chef today. By Anna Spiegel
Ann Cashion and John Manolatos celebrate 20 years of Cashion's Eat Place.

Cashion’s Eat Place celebrates a landmark two decades on Tuesday—an anniversary that few Washington restaurants have achieved, let alone at their status. The Adams Morgan institution continues to excel and remain relevant, even as its peers fade, and new restaurants sprout up across the city.

The restaurant's lineage is unusual in and of itself: chef Ann Cashion and business partner John Fulchino opened the doors in 1995, and hired current co-owners Justin Abad and chef John Manolatos, who was just a novice cook when Cashion began training him during the restaurant’s debut. Abad and Manolatos took over in 2007, preserving Cashion’s name and cooking philosophy.

We sat down with Cashion and Manolatos as they prepared to celebrate 20 years with a collaborative dinner. More than a look back, the pair offered insights into how Washington restaurants operate today—the danger of compromise, the difficulty of sourcing locally (yes, even in 2015), and how to create a restaurant that’s built to last decades.

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Posted at 02:24 PM/ET, 05/27/2015 | Permalink | Comments ()