Eat Your (Mystery) Vegetables
Bananas dressed up as cucumbers, eggs that look like eggplants—and no Michel Richard in sight! [Time] —Ann Limpert
Rest in Carbs
High-protein, low-carbohydrate diets are an excellent way to look great and die young, according to science. [Wall Street Journal] —Benjamin Freed
Drinking the Haterade
“Ten Things I Hate” with Dallas chef John Tesar. [Food Republic] —Anna Spiegel
Food writer Josh Ozersky compiles a list of nine “good reasons” chefs hate food writers. Ironically the man whose wedding was filled with free food from chefs cites restaurants taking financial “hits” from food writers. [Vice] —AS
Kale Me Maybe
Costco has a plan to take back its market share from Amazon Prime, and that plan involves “giant bags of kale.” They know what the young folks like. [BuzzFeed] —Tanya Pai
What do you get when you combine hipsters’ two favorite vegetables? Lollipop kale, a cross between kale and Brussels sprouts. Yeah, I’d eat that. [Grub Street] —TP
Booze You Can’t Lose
Much like the Kardashians and normcore, flavored Scotch is apparently not going away anytime soon. [Spirits Business] —TP
If there’s bourbon in the headline, I’m reading it. In this edition: Bourbon hits the high seas. [NPR] —Chris Campbell
Bill Murray shares tips for drinking Champagne. Enough said. [Gawker] —AS
Looks Better Than It Tastes
For your viewing pleasure: Cookies that look pretty—but probably taste worse than Thin Mints. [NPR] —CC
A nonprofit recreates Hollywood movie scenes with food to raise awareness about hunger. [CNN] —CC
Want to travel down a dark path of evil to a place lacking humanity? Try this Reddit thread about what NOT to order at fast-food joints. [Reddit] —CC
This week in millennial food trends: Envious of Chipotle’s popularity with the under-30 crowd, McDonald’s and Wendy’s try to crack the millennial market with restaurant renovations and limited-edition sandwiches. Foolish corporations—everyone knows the most millennial fast food meal is fries and a Frosty at 1 AM in the parking lot of the Wendy’s at Dave Thomas Circle. [Motley Fool] —BF
On Sale, and Selling Out
Hey, House of Cards fans, now you can own Freddy’s BBQ Joint. If only it came with actual ribs. [Washington Post] —AL
Come to SXSW for the hundreds of bands trying to get discovered; stay for the product rollouts by Blue Moon and Ball Park Franks. [Philadelphia Inquirer] —BF
Steakhouses were once the darlings of the Washington restaurant scene, but there’s a new breed of meat-mongers in town: butchery/restaurants, where fresh cuts and cured meats flow between the market and sit-down eatery, offering a wider selection. Think of places like the Urban Butcher, Lebanese Butcher and Restaurant, the upcoming Parts & Labor in Baltimore, and now the Partisan, the newest spot from the Neighborhood Restaurant Group. Restaurateur Michael Babin just debuted his third Red Apron Butchery in Penn Quarter, and opens the adjoining 100-seat restaurant Wednesday.
By day you can drop into the Red Apron for English muffin-like breakfast tigelles, lunchtime sandwiches, and an array of take-home foodstuffs. Come evening the seating for the sandwich shop turns over to the Partisan, which expands to a red-hued bar area in back. Chefs Nate Anda and Ed Witt (formerly of 701 and 8407 Kitchen) have devised a menu (see sample menus below) that draws extensively from Red Apron’s lineup of local and sustainably raised smoked and cured meats, sausages, dry-aged beef, and whole-animal butchery (yes, you can split an entire roasted pig’s head for $75 if your dining companions are game).
You might start out by grabbing a pen and marking up the charcuterie list, as you would a sushi menu, picking from 30 items. The other menu is divided by proteins (beef, fish, etc.), vegetables, and sausages. Plates in each category range from snacks like barbecue pork rinds to smaller shareable portions such as 120-day-dry-aged beef carpaccio, pork kimchee sausages, and Scottish langoustines with lemon zest and Calabrian oil. At the other end of the splitting spectrum are larger platters, including that pig’s head and a half or whole fried chicken served with honey hot sauce. Pastry chef Tiffany MacIsaac delivers the sweet finish with desserts such as a fried bacon-apple pie or a ginger-beer ice cream float spiked with Fernet Branca.
The Neighborhood Restaurant Group made a national name for itself with the extensive draft beer program at ChurchKey, and expands the scope here to encompass wines and cocktails in the 20-plus-seat bar. Wine director Brent Kroll stocked the list with 50 by-the-glass options, half of which are on draft. The taps also pour spirits chosen by barkeep Jeff Faile, including Willett Pot Still Reserve bourbon, Amaro Nonino, and the unusual Bäska Snaps Malört, a bitter Scandinavian liqueur. Of course there’s always Greg Engert’s beers: There are 50 bottle options and another 17 drafts, with an emphasis on sour ales and saisons. So no matter where your drinking allegiance lies, the Partisan gives you plenty of options for bipartisan boozing.
The Partisan. 709 D St., NW; 202-524-5322. Open for dinner Monday through Thursday 5 to 10, and Friday and Saturday 5 to 11. The bar opens at 4.
Call it a home run for sandwich lovers: Mike Isabella announced today that he’ll open a branch of his popular 14th Street sandwich joint, G, at Nationals Park. The spinoff will be open in time for the exhibition game against the Detroit Tigers on March 29.
The menu will be similar to the original, with Italian-American classics such as the chicken Parm and meaty hero and a vegetarian roasted cauliflower sub with romesco and pickled vegetables. Sandwiches inspired by fellow chefs, like the Drewno—named for the Source’s Scott Drewno—with house-made kielbasa will be part of the menu, as will a rotating “sandwich of the homestand” special. Also available: Isabella’s craveable lamb chili, a tasty grab for those early cool-weather games.
The sandwich shop isn’t the only new dining option at the stadium. Levy Restaurants, which runs several concessions, will introduce items such as sushi, stir-fry noodles, crabcakes, and a number of vegetarian and gluten-free options this season. Neighborhood restaurant options outside the ballpark have also grown since the last home game, and now include Bluejacket brewery, Osteria Morini, and Agua 301, among others.
Look for G on the main concourse in right field near the first-base gate, behind section 136.
Here’s a fun George Washington fact your teachers likely skipped: According to historians at Mount Vernon, the first American president oversaw the production of 11,000 gallons of rye whiskey at his home distillery each year, which he bottled and sold. Even lesser-known is his affection for peach brandy. The same site produced about 60 gallons a year, which Washington mostly poured for guests at the Alexandria estate. Now, for the first time in more than two centuries, you can sip a similar sweet spirit.
The George Washington Distillery, a reconstructed version of the circa-1797 original, announced it has produced 400 bottles of a similar brandy using 18th-century techniques. The project began in 2010 when staff from several distilleries, including Virginia producers Catoctin Creek Distilling Company and A. Smith Bowman Distillery, gathered to advise on the project. The brandy was then double-distilled in copper pot stills powered by wood fires, and aged for more than two years in toasted oak barrels.
History buffs can get a taste come April 1, when purchase vouchers will be distributed starting at 8 AM at Mount Vernon’s Gristmill Shop (actual sales start at 10). The 375-milliliter bottles cost $150 and are limited to one per customer.
A Day of “Whiskey Camp” at Mount Vernon
After a frigid winter we’re finally getting a reprieve—for a couple of days at least—and what better way to celebrate than with outdoor drinks? A number of brave bars have kept their patios open nearly all winter thanks to heat lamps, fire pits, and/or hardy patrons, including DC Reynolds, Westover Beer Garden, the Brixton, and Biergarten Haus, and a few more have now reopened their outdoor areas. As always in these fickle-weather days, call ahead to make sure you can frolic al fresco.
600 Water St., SW; 202-554-8396
The Southwest waterfront staple is back in action as of last Friday, serving riverside margaritas, cold beers, tacos, and more.
Specials: Daily specials include $3 Tecate cans on Tuesday and $3.50 Coronas on Wednesday.
1600 Seventh St., NW
This newish Shaw beer garden just reopened over the weekend. Head over for European beers served in a glass boot, and feel free to bring your own snacks; outside food is welcome while the kitchen is being built.
Specials: Beer-filled boots of Weihenstephaner Pilsner and Hefeweizen are $5 for singles and $10 for doubles during happy hour, which runs Monday through Thursday 4 to 7. Also look for themed nights, such as an industry happy hour on Monday and Shaw neighborhood discounts on Wednesday.
Garden District (formerly Standard)
1801 14th St., NW
Warm weather over the weekend brought this hopping 14th Street beer garden back to life, complete with oversize mugs of cold brew, barbecue, and warm cinnamon-sugar doughnuts.
Specials: No happy hour, which is probably a good thing. This place gets packed enough as is.
1811 Columbia Rd., NW; 202-234-6218
While the heated, covered rooftop bar stays open nearly year-round, the full deck will be open for dinner with sushi and Japanese small plates (though serving may be halted later in the evening if the temperature drops).
Specials: Discounted drinks in the bar area only include $4 sochutinis, $6 Champagne cocktails, and $4 Kirin.
3234 11th St., NW; 202-332-3234
“Chances are very, very high” that this Columbia Heights spot will open its outdoor patio this evening, according to a rep. Keep your fingers crossed!
Specials: There’s no official happy hour promo, but the bar takes $1 off certain glasses of white and red wine.
1940 11th St., NW; 202-332-9463
This U Street spot just reopened after closing briefly for interior renovations. While you’ll have to wait until the weather is more dependably warm for drinks and grilled fare from the backyard plaza bar, guests are welcome to grab drinks inside and head back out for a few rounds of bocce.
Specials: Wine lovers can find an extensive list of $5 wines by the glass, plus snacks such as pan con tomate and grilled squid. Happy hour runs Monday through Friday 5 to 7.
2854 Wilson Boulevard, Arlington; 703-276-9693
Once you’ve tired of playing foosball downstairs, head up to the spacious roof deck bar at this popular Clarendon spot.
Specials: Deals vary nightly. Tonight you’ll find $3 drafts, rails, and house wines from 4 to 7, plus all-you-can-eat crab legs ($30) from 5 to 10.
While the musical lineup for the fifth annual Sweetlife Festival has been out since February, the organizers just revealed the culinary stars today. Move over, Lana Del Rey and Foster the People: We’ve got Toki Underground’s Erik Bruner-Yang, Spike Gjerde (Woodberry Kitchen, et al.), DGS Delicatessen, Shake Shack, and Roofers Union, among many others.
So what’s on the menu? You may have to wait until closer to the May 10 festival for exact details, but we can guess Luke’s Lobster rolls, vegetarian “farm-to-taco” eats by Chaia Tacos, some carnivorous deliciousness from 13th Street Meats, even more fried deliciousness from Astro Doughnuts & Fried Chicken, Flying Dog brews, and strong cups of joe from Stumptown Coffee to keep you dancing through the night. Should you get hungry again once the sun goes down, Bruner-Yang and Gjerde have organized a “night market” offering steamed buns, roast pork, drunken noodles, pho dogs, and other imbibing-friendly eats.
Now for the bad news: Tickets are sold out, but you might find free giveaways from Sweetgreen’s Instagram account. And there’s always Craigslist.
The market/restaurant trend continues as Spike and Amy Gjerde, the husband-and-wife team behind Woodberry Kitchen/Artifact Coffee/Shoo-Fly, prepare to open their butchery/restaurant in Baltimore. If the name Parts & Labor sounds familiar in DC, it is: the Neighborhood Restaurant Group coincidentally picked the same moniker for its eatery attached to Red Apron Butchery Penn Quarter, before switching to Partisan (opening soon). The general concepts are similar—lots of meat!—but there are plenty of unique elements to look for at the Gjerdes’ new spot, set to gradually debut in Charm City’s Remington neighborhood by March.
The market, helmed by butcher George Marsh, will open first in the former car and tire repair shop (hence the “parts and labor” name). As with other Gjerde spots, the commitment to local farms and producers remains strong. Fresh cuts range from traditional (Liberty Delight Farms beef) to more exotic (goat from Many Rocks Farm), plus you’ll find a a lineup of pickled, cured, and smoked meats that capitalize on a nose-to-tail approach.
An adjoining 84-seat restaurant will debut in April with, yes, more meat. Diners can assemble meals from a variety of steaks and chops, 20 sorts of sausages, and roasted vegetables, or opt for “one-pot” dishes such as chili and stew. “Rustic cooking style” takes on a new meaning here; all the items will be prepared in a hearth built from reclaimed Baltimore cobblestones as a nod to traditional Mid-Atlantic cooking methods. To pair with all that food: beer from 24 taps, with a focus on Maryland brews. If you discover a new favorite, a growler-fill station will allow guests to take suds on the road.
Stay tuned for more details closer to the opening.
Parts & Labor. 2600 N. Howard St., Baltimore.
Tequila!: The seventh annual Tequila & Mezcal Festival returns to Oyamel with a party on Monday from 6 to 9. Guests can sip Mexican spirits and wander between stations around the restaurant for street-style eats such as suckling pig tacos, ceviche, goat leg barbacoa, and more ($60 per person). You’ll find a variety of events running through March 23, including complimentary tequila and mezcal tastings at the Butterfly Bar from 4 to 6 and post-tasting dinners at 8:30 ($90 per person) with cocktail pairings. Looking for a less structured experience? Head in for food and cocktail specials offered alongside the regular menu.
Spritz special: The Red Hen launches extended hours this week, opening on Monday evenings for the first time. This week you’ll find discounted $5 Aperol spritzes for the inaugural special, alongside new spring dishes such as ricotta cavatelli and roasted Alaskan halibut with peas and tonnato sauce.
Sips for Taste of the Nation: One of the year’s biggest culinary events, Taste of the Nation DC, goes down on Monday, March 31, at the National Building Museum(tickers are already on sale, starting at $120). Want a preview? The Passenger hosts a pre-event happy hour on Monday from 5 to 8 with information about the food, chefs, and restaurants and a special themed cocktail ($8).
Wine week: Smith & Wollensky locations celebrate their 54th annual Wine Week starting on Monday. Head over for a boozy lunch: The purchase of any entrée gets you a sampling of ten wines for $20 (see the weekly list online).
Scotch and oysters: Grillfish hosts a weeklong Scotch-and-oyster tasting starting on Monday, with four bivalve dishes paired with a single-malt. The menu starts at $22.50, with additional oysters and Scotches available à la carte.
Inside the industry: Restaurant industry trade organization Industree starts a new lineup of events on Tuesday with Launchology, an afternoon speaker series at the Howard Theatre that centers on starting and operating restaurants. The first topic, covered from 10 to noon: the concept and the business, with participants including Right Proper Brewing Company’s Thor and Leah Cheston and Gabby Rojichin of Streetsense. Tickets are $35.
Beery events: New Belgium Brewing releases a new beer, Snapshot Wheat, as well as a lineup of photo-centric events across the country. In addition to the promo picture contest you can attend gatherings such as Wednesday’s “meet the geek” talk with a New Belgium microbiologist at the Evening Star Cafe, and a throwback party at Jack Rose with street photography on Wednesday, March 26.
New drinks: Lassi lovers, this one is for you. DC Dosa (located inside the Foggy Bottom Whole Foods) pours free samples from its new line of yogurt-based lassi drinks on Wednesday, starting at 11.
Frickle dog: This new Shake Shack dog sounds like a winner. Starting on Friday the New York import teams up with local purveyor Gordy’s Pickle Jar for a special “super fry freckle dog” layered with ale-marinated shallots, cheese sauce, and fried Gordy’s Thai basil jalapeño pickles. The special runs through Sunday, March 23.
Book signing: Chef Cathal Armstrong of Restaurant Eve just released his first cookbook, My Irish Table. The toque signs copies at the Barnes & Noble in Alexandria’s Potomac Yards Shopping Center on Saturday at 2.
Eat more oysters: Shellfish fans can head to Brasserie Beck on Saturday for Oysterfest from noon to 4. The $25 ticket buys you unlimited oysters (which you can slurp on the patio, weather pending) and $4 beers. Call for reservations (walk-ins also welcome).
Vino dinner: Southern Italian wines are the focus of a dinner at Alba Osteria on Sunday. A five-course menu with dishes like cod ravioli and slow-roasted pork ribs over polenta is paired with varietals from importer Alberto Panella. The meal starts at 6, and is $75 per person.