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Hit Maryland's capitol for lobster rolls, killer pizza, and of course, crabs. By Ann Limpert
The Connecticut-style lobster roll—served warm and drenched in drawn butter—at Mason's Famous Lobster Rolls. Photograph by Scott Suchman.

1) Mason’s Famous Lobster Rolls

The ultra-fresh sandwiches at this charmer of a cafe will satisfy both camps of lobster roll lovers—those who go for cool, mayo-bound lobster salad, and those who prefer the warm Connecticut style, bound with butter. Bookend your meal with owner Dan Beck’s lightly creamy clam chowder and a whoopie pie.

2) The Point Crab House

Perched on Mill Creek in Arnold, this airy, locally beloved hangout is the rare crab place where the rest of the menu lives up to the star dish. We love the Chesapeake wings, dredged in crab spice and served with stilton dip, and the freshly baked pretzels. And if you don’t feel like springing for a full crab feast, the crabcake sandwich slathered with zesty remoulade is pretty delicious, too.

3) Preserve

At this Main Street newcomer, chef/co-owner Jeremy Hoffman’s menu dabbles in both his Pennsylvania Dutch upbringing (pierogies with caramelized onions and sour cream; chicken pot pie) and his mod-Asian training (lettuce wraps with minced pork; kimchee). Don’t miss the Tandy Cake, a riff on the chocolaty, peanut-buttery Tastykake confection.

4) Vin 909 Winecafe

This pizza-focused bistro, housed in a cozy bungalow, landed in the top ten of our most recent ranking of the area’s 100 Best Restaurants. Why? The pies are standard-setting, yes (go for the Spotted Pig, with soppresatta and boar meatballs), but don’t overlook chef Justin Moore’s more offbeat dishes—a clam-and-pumpkin curry, a ball of hand-pulled mozzarella with green-tomato-and-almond salsa—or desserts like his butterscotch pudding.

5) Wild Country Seafood

Watermen Pat Mahoney Sr. and Pat Mahoney Jr. are your go-to guys when it comes to crabs. At their fish market, which has a few picnic tables outside, the steamed hard shell and cornmeal-dredged and fried soft shell varieties are wonderful—and often sell out by noon. If you’re too late, the kitchen puts out good fried shrimp and scallops, too.

Posted at 03:00 PM/ET, 06/30/2015 | Permalink | Comments ()
The sibling to vinyl/sandwich shop Songbyrd Record Café makes its debut. By Anna Spiegel
Songbyrd Music House mixes music and food in a vintage-styled Adams Morgan space. Photograph courtesy of Songbyrd.

Adams Morgan boasts a new hangout on Tuesday with the arrival of Songbyrd Music House, a three-level bar and restaurant adjoining vinyl record/coffee/sandwich shop Songbyrd Record Café. Owners and neighborhood locals Alisha Edmonsonand and Joe Lapan are behind both ventures, which mix music and food in vintage-inspired spaces.

“We want this to be like a sports bar for the music lover,” says Lapan of the Music House. “There’s enhanced sound, a variety of programming and sources—vinyl deejays, digital deejays—and also just a good atmosphere for people to eat and drink.”

A basement-level venue for live performances is still under construction, and is slated to open this summer. In the meantime guests can listen to recordings and live local deejays who’ll spin tunes on the top floor; Lapan says the vibe is meant to be laid-back during dinner hours, and skew more upbeat and nightlife-focused later in the evenings. Bars on both floors pour straightforward cocktails like Green Hat gin and tonics or “whiskey-ade (whiskey, lemonade, ginger syrup), or beers from taps outfitted with vintage microphones.

Like at the adjoining Record Café, chef Matthew Richardson (previously of 1905 and Right Proper) is behind the menu. Dishes follow the theme of retro American comfort fare—pigs in a blanket, baked brie, shrimp scampi—plus a section devoted to burgers, both beefy and house-made vegetarian. The kitchen will serve the full menu until around 11, and switches over to the Cafe’s late-night lineup of sandwiches and pizza slices after.

Currently the Music House will keep dinner/regular bar hours, with a possible brunch in the future.

Songbyrd Music House. Open Sunday through Thursday, 5 to midnight; Friday and Saturday 5 to 2:30. Kitchen open until 11.

Posted at 01:31 PM/ET, 06/30/2015 | Permalink | Comments ()
Where to find barbecue bashes, holiday brunches, rooftop parties, and more. By Nelson Billington, Anna Spiegel
Drink and eat away your Fourth of July weekend in Washington. Photograph via ""_blank">Shutterstock.

Celebratory brunches

Because nothing says “freedom” like bottomless mimosas on a Friday…or 7 pm on Saturday.

All-you-can-eat-and-drink Sandoval spectacular

Multiple locations

Richard Sandoval’s restaurants offer bottomless brunches throughout the weekend on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Indulge in all-you-can-eat-and-drink meals at both the Georgetown and 14th Street locations of Mexican-themed El Centro D.F., or Latin-Asian eats at Masa 14 and Zengo. Expect endless small plates, free-flowing drinks, and a party vibe at all.

Day-to-evening brunch at Bar Pilar and Cafe Saint-Ex

1833 14th St., NW

Sister 14th Street restaurants have your Saturday brunching covered, serving eggs and bloodies until 8 pm. Pilar dishes up satisfying plates like butter-poached lobster salad and fried chicken biscuits, while Saint-Ex leans French. After 8 look for bar snacks off the late-night menu at both places.

Tico’s bottomless brunch

1926 14th St., NW

Weekend brunching at Tico starts at 11 on Friday and continues beginning at 10 on Saturday and Sunday. Bottomless brunch cocktails go for $19, alongside an a la carte menu of American/Latin dishes like duck confit and green chili hash, and fried chicken.

Bottomless brunch at Station 4

1101 Fourth St., SW

Head in for a set menu on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday: $30 for an entree (crawfish and sausage omelets, corned beef hash) with bottomless mimosas or bloodies for $30.

Masa 14's bottomless brunch is a guaranteed party. Photograph by Scott Suchman.

Barbecues, roof deck parties, all the fried chicken…

Where to find the best summery fare and food-fueled parties.

Fried chicken buckets (and Friday brunch) at Boundary Road

414 H St., NE

This Atlas District spot has a lot going on over the holiday weekend, starting with lunch/brunch on Friday from 11 to 3. Drinkers can opt for $4 DC Brau beers and $4 rickey cocktails on Friday afternoon and all day Saturday, when the kitchen dishes up buckets of fried chicken alongside a special Independence Day menu. Crispy bird buckets include eight pieces and sides ($40); only 50 orders are available for dine-in or carryout from 11:15 am to midnight on Saturday, and can be reserved by calling 202-450-3265.

AmeriCan DrinkDependence Weekend at Jack Rose

2007 18th St., NW

With a name like that, you know it’s going to be a party. The Adams Morgan whiskey spot hosts a Saturday and Sunday rooftop bash from 4 to 7:30 with $4 Flying Dog brews and half-prices snacks like smoked whiskey wings, fried chicken skins, and jalapeño hushpuppies. Admission is free.

Grilling with DC Brau at DC9

1940 Ninth St., NW

DC Brau head brewer Jeff Hancock spins tunes on the rooftop of DC9 during their 5th annual grilling party. Platters of brats, burgers, and sides go for $11, while DC Brau beers are $4. Doors open at 2; admission is free.

Brewery battle at City Tap House

901 Ninth St., NW

The beer-centric restaurant joins local breweries 3 Stars Brewing Company, Evolution Craft Brewing Company, and Adroit Theory Brewing Company for a cook-off on Saturday from noon to 5. Expect plenty of ‘cue, traditional sides, a corn hole tournament, and $5 draft beers.

Roof deck grill-out at 1905

1905 Ninth St., NW

1905 fires up the grill on its rooftop on Saturday with a selection of dishes like local sausages, pulled pork, portobello sandwiches, and green bean salad. Wash it down with Atlas Brew Works beer (a full bar is available). The $20 cover charge includes three tickets for food or beer.

Restaurant picnic at Fainting Goat

1330 U St., NW

The 14th Street gastropub serves a celebratory picnic from 2 to 9 on Saturday. An a la carte menu includes snacks ($3.50 to $12) like a peach and burrata salad or sliders, and entrees with seasonal sides ($14 to $19) such as fried chicken thighs with slaw.

Independence Day party at Lincoln Restaurant

1110 Vermont Ave., NW

Celebrate on Saturday at this Abe-themed restaurant, which dishes up a bottomless barbecue buffet ($35 adults; $17 kids 12 and under), and drink specials including $3 PBR and Miller Light, and $30 punch bowls. DJ Freddie spins tunes. The party runs from 2 to 11.

‘Cue and crabs at Teddy & The Bully Bar

1200 19th St., NW

Lincoln’s sister restaurant, themed after Teddy Roosevelt, lays out a farm-to-table barbecue buffet on Saturday from 2 to 11 ($35 per person; $16 for kids 12 and under). Fried chicken, pulled pork, salads, and pies are all on offer, alongside $5 Heavy Seas IPA and $8 house cocktails. Guests can also opt for cracked, garlic-spiced Maryland blue crabs ($12 for three; $24 for six; $48 per dozen).

Lobster bake at Graffiato

707 Sixth St., NW

Tired of beer and barbecue over the holiday weekend? Head to Mike Isabella’s Italian restaurant on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday for a lobster bake of one-pound crustaceans, corn on the cob, sausage, potatoes, and cornbread ($39). Reservations are recommended.

Villain & Saint dishes up ribs and rock n' roll. Photograph by Andrew Propp.

Live music, good eats

Feast and listen to live tunes at these restaurants and concerts.

The Hollies hit Bethesda via Villain & Saint

7141 Wisconsin Ave., Bethesda

Steve Lauri of The Hollies makes a rare performance at Robert Wiedmaier’s restaurant/music house on Friday (musical trivia: his band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2010). Sip a drink special, dubbed The Holli-Day, with rum and fresh-squeezed orange and pineapple juices. Doors open at 8 and the concert begins at 9. Tickets ($18) are available online.

Freedom fest at Republic

6939 Laurel Ave., Takoma Park

Head to Jeff Black’s Takoma Park restaurant on Saturday from 11 to 7 for a beer-filled party. Guests can listen to live tunes from Yamonamen and Human Country Jukebox, try limited-release beers, and dig into a barbecue feast from chef Danny Wells. Local breweries like Denizens Brewing Company, The Brewer’s Art, and Atlas Brewing Company join the festivities. Tickets ($40 to $70) are available online.

Biker bash starting at DC Brau

3178 Bladensburg Rd., NE

Anyone with a motorcycle can head to DC Brau on Saturday at 9 for a Chef Geoff’s breakfast and Vigilante coffees before riding the hogs to RFK Stadium for the Foo Fighters 20th anniversary concert. Each ticket ($50 to $125; two ticket limit) includes preferred seating at the show.

Posted at 11:29 AM/ET, 06/30/2015 | Permalink | Comments ()
DC Pizza, Veloce, &Pizza... Take our quiz and see which fast-casual pizza you should get. By Anna Spiegel
Photograph via Shutterstock.

Fast-casual pizza joints are on the rise in Washington, ditching the traditional slice for personal-size rounds you can customize with a variety of sauces, cheeses, toppings, and crusts. (They all offer preset combinations, too.) Most promise the cooked-to-order pizzas in three minutes or less—often speedier than the mega-chains. So which nouveau pizza shop is best for you?

Posted at 10:45 AM/ET, 06/30/2015 | Permalink | Comments ()
Where to find today's food trucks in DC, Maryland, and Virginia. By Angie Hilsman

Happy Tuesday, food truck followers! You'll find free pizza on the streets today from DC Slices at 14th and F streets, Northwest.

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Posted at 09:08 AM/ET, 06/30/2015 | Permalink | Comments ()
Chef Alex Garcia brings a spinoff of his Latin restaurant to Washington. By Anna Spiegel
AG Kitchen, a spinoff of Alex Garcia's Manhattan restaurant, brings Latin flare to Silver Spring. Photography courtesy of AG Kitchen.

New York-based chef Alex Garcia makes his official debut in Washington today with the opening of AG Kitchen, a 220-seat Latin restaurant in downtown Silver Spring. The Food Network personality opened the first AG in Manhattan, where he also operates several other restaurants.

Chef Alex Garcia with one of his signatures: seafood paella.

The Silver Spring eatery is similar in many ways to the Big Apple original, though much larger. A vibrant, color-splashed interior is joined by a 55-seat patio, perfect for sipping pitchers of sangria or cava-mojitos. Those in a rush can head to the 30-seat, quick-service “paladar” for weekday lunch, serving ready-made Cuban sandwiches or platters of ropa vieja (stewed beef) with rice and beans.

A large full-service menu boasts a number of items from Garcia’s native Cuba, but also globe-trots for its Latin flavors. Guests can start with several styles of made-to-order guacamole, snack on tacos, or dig into hearty fare such as seafood paella or marinated Brazilian chicken. Burger fans will find patties from lauded New York meat purveyor Pat LaFrieda—here a custom blend of sirloin, short rib, chuck, and brisket—decked out with an international variety of toppings. Washing them down: milkshakes, both traditional and boozy.

The restaurant serves its first brunch on Saturday, with dishes that range from light (veggie egg white frittatas) to back-in-bed, like the “belly bomb” cheeseburger heaped with two fried eggs, bacon, and pickled jalapeños.

AG Kitchen. 931 Ellsworth Dr., Silver Spring. Open for lunch: Monday through Friday, 11:30 to 4. Dinner: Sunday through Thursday, 4 to 11; Friday and Saturday, 4 to midnight. Brunch: Saturday and Sunday, 10 to 4.

Posted at 05:24 PM/ET, 06/29/2015 | Permalink | Comments ()
Plus the Smithsonian Folklife Festival continues with Peruvian eats. By Nelson Billington
Celebrate Meridian Pint's fifth birthday with $5 beers and eats. Photograph by Yassine El Mansouri.

Tapas tasting: Taberna del Alabardero hosts a wine dinner with DCanter on Tuesday at 6:30. Two Spanish wines accompany each of the six courses. Reservations for the evening ($79) can be reserved online.

Barn to still: Founding Farmers presents a symposium on Tuesday from 5:30 to 6:30 highlighting the company’s own line of spirits. Beverage director Jon Arroyo shares stories behind their rye whiskey, gin, and farm-blend pisco. Graze on light bites and learn how to make several cocktails at home. Tickets ($45) are available online.

Kickoff party: Cashion’s Eat Place teams up with New Columbia Distillers for a party to kick-off Rickey Month—devoted to the official DC cocktail—on Wednesday at 6:30. Learn about Green Hat’s own rickey while sampling the staff’s creations and take advantage of other drink specials. Admission is free; drink prices vary.*

Snow cone celebration: Ditch artificial syrups for snow cones made with real fruit at Pop’s SeaBar, which whips up a week-long menu of icy concoctions starting on Wednesday. Three kid-friendly versions ($3) join three boozy cones ($7). Proceeds benefit Brainfood.

Pint party: Meridian Pint celebrates their fifth anniversary on Wednesday beginning at 4 with plenty of discounts. The celebration features 24 draft beers and a menu of guest favorites from over the years (both $5). The party is free and open to the public.

Peruvian festival: The Smithsonian Folklife Festival continues this weekend on the grounds of the National Mall, from Wednesday through Sunday. Stop by to sample a variety of traditional Peruvian specialities like pollo a la brasa, tamales, pisco sour cocktails, and gelato from vendors such as Peruvian Brothers and Kikiriki Peruvian Cuisine. Admission is free; food prices vary.

Kids baking class: Wildfire teaches kids how to bake and decorate cake pops on Sunday from 3 to 4. Patiences isn’t required; kids can indulge in a sundae bar while the pops bake. Proceeds benefit Food for Others. Call 703-442-9110 to make a reservation.

Farm dinner and demo: Spring House Farm in Purcellville, VA invites guests to its property for a dinner and optional butchery demonstration on Sunday at 3. Learn from master butcher Marc Pauvert while sipping on local wines and WhistlePig Straight Rye Whiskey. Afterwards guests can take in the beauty of the farm while eating outdoors. Tickets ($100 to $130) are available online.

*This post has been updated. Cashion's Decades of Cocktails night will be held next Sunday, July 12.

Posted at 01:35 PM/ET, 06/29/2015 | Permalink | Comments ()
Oyster po' boy sliders, fried chicken, and a genteel cocktail spot for Old Town. By Anna Spiegel
Magnolia's on King brings touches of southern charm to Old Town, Alexandria. Photography by Jeff Elkins.

Alexandria gets a genteel new dining spot on Wednesday when Magnolia’s on King makes its grand debut. The Southern restaurant takes over a nearly 200 year-old building on King Street, spread out over two floors. A 30-seat dining room occupies the first, while drinkers can head up to the lounge above for sipping Old Fashioneds by a working fireplace.

Diners can order fried chicken or shrimp and grits in the airy 30-seat dining room.

Chef Brian Rowe, an alum of Wolfgang Puck’s restaurant group, is behind the kitchen’s “Southern immersion cuisine.” The term sounds a little more complicated than it is—essentially riffs on classic dishes, such as oyster po’ boy sliders, sweet tea-brined fried chicken with quinoa hushpuppies, and bison meatloaf (check out the menu). Pastry chef Hans Fogelman, formerly of BLT Steak, follows suit with sweets such as bananas foster bread pudding.

Chef Brian Rowe's "Southern immersion cuisine" riffs on classic dishes, such as spiced shrimp with grits or quinoa hushpuppies.

The draw for drinkers can be found in the second-floor lounge, run by former Rogue 24 barman Zachary Faden. Guests can relax in deep leather chairs in front of a working fireplace and sip cocktails from 1920’s-era crystal stemware, or grab a lounge table overlooking King Street’s foot traffic. Like the food, many of the drinks play on traditional recipes, such as the house concoction: an Old Fashioned made with pineapple syrup and garnished with charred wedges of the fruit. The kitchen serves a small menu of bar snacks, such as "pig fries," crispy pork belly with pimento cheese.

Head upstairs to the bar for the house drink: a pineapple-spiked Old Fashioned.

Magnolia’s on King will initially open for dinner. Sunday brunch will follow in August.

Magnolia’s on King. 703 King St., Alexandria; 703-838-9090. Open for dinner Tuesday through Thursday, 5 to 9:30; Friday and Saturday, 5 to 10. Closed Sunday and Monday.

The restaurant debuts with dinner and drinks, with Sunday brunch to follow.

Posted at 11:50 AM/ET, 06/29/2015 | Permalink | Comments ()
Where to find today's food trucks in DC, Maryland, and Virginia. By Angie Hilsman

Happy Monday, food truck followers! Head to Chinatown for Tasty Kabob's meatball kabob special, or try bacon-cheddar tater tots from DC Slices at Union Station.

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Posted at 09:04 AM/ET, 06/29/2015 | Permalink | Comments ()
Toast love with free bubbly, dancing, and so many happy hours. By Sarah Lindner
Toast love. Photograph courtesy of Open City.

A number of Washington bars and restaurants are celebrating the Supreme Court’s decision to uphold same-sex marriage. Toast love with free bubbly, discount cocktails, and complimentary snacks.

Dino’s Grotto

1914 Ninth St., NW

Head over starting at 5 for free glasses of Prosecco and complimentary deviled eggs.

The Heights

3115 14th St., NW

Sip $8 Love Is Love cocktails—traditional Cosmos infused with mango and pineapple—all night long.

Logan Tavern

1423 P St., NW

Happy hour runs all day, meaning half-off glasses of wine and 25 percent off bubbly.

Nellie’s Sports Bar

900 U St NW

An early happy hour celebration featuring DJ Lenz, the bar’s regular Saturday night DJ. Happy hour specials include $4 House Vodka, Miller Lite, and Nellie Beer.

Number Nine

1435 P St NW

Stop by Number Nine for a two-for-one special on all drinks from 4 to 9 , and stay for $5 Absolut Vodka and Bulleit Bourbon specials from 9 until close.


Stop by for a pop-up version of the regular LGBT happy hour, Alegre, from 3 to 7 (typically held on Tuesdays). Grab free rainbow beads and $5 drinks specials like Denizen Brewing Co. beers, French 75’s, vodka collins, and glasses of bubbly.

Shaw’s Tavern

520 Florida Ave., NW

Celebrate with an extended happy hour. Drink specials run from 4 to 11.


1824 Half St., SW

Stop by for $4 Fireball shots, $6 Absolute cocktail specials, and $10 Absolute and Red Bull cocktails for $10 tonight.

Posted at 03:21 PM/ET, 06/26/2015 | Permalink | Comments ()