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Flowers left in front of the French embassy in Rome, November 14, 2015. Photograph by rarrarorro; via iStock.

A novel set in an anxious and divided Paris, and examining the unprecedented rise of a political party known as the Muslim Brotherhood: on one level, this is what Submission, the new novel by Michel Houellebecq, is about.

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Posted at 11:20 AM/ET, 11/19/2015 | Permalink | Comments ()
The popular "farm-to-taco" stand moves from local markets to space near the waterfront. By Anna Spiegel
Chaia opens in Georgetown with locally-sourced veggie tacos. Photography courtesy of Chaia.

Anyone asking “where’s the meat?” at Chaia hasn’t tried chef/owners Suzanne Simon and Bettina Stern’s tacos at local farmer's markets. The duo launched their pop-up “farm-to-taco” stand in 2013, and have created delicious vegetarian combinations using homemade corn tortillas, griddled to-order, stuffed with local, seasonal produce and fresh salsas. Now you’ll find even more options with the opening of Chaia's first brick-and-mortar space in Georgetown.

Guests can relax in a serene second-floor room with their food, local beers, and wines.

The airy, 27-seat space on Grace Street serves a similar menu to those once found at the market, though more extensive. Guests at the counter-order eatery can choose between single tacos ($3.75) or a trio ($11), filled with combinations like mushrooms, feta, and red salsa, or creamy kale-and-potato with pickled onions, salsa verde, and poblano crema. Add-ons include locally-made Gordy’s pickled jalapeños, or eggs on weekends (until December, when they'll be offered anytime). Many of the options can be made vegan, as well as gluten-free.

Order single tacos or trios, plus sides and drinks, at the sidewalk-level counter.

New to the lineup are sides ($4) such as green rice and black beans, and an array of cold-pressed juices and homemade seasonal shrubs—tangy nonalcoholic drinks such as sour cherry or cranberry-apple. You’ll also find local draft beer, and three global wines on tap. Though Chaia’s bent is healthy, there’s not too virtuous about tacos and a glass of sparkling Italian Lambrusco.

Chaia. 3207 Grace St., NW; 202-333-5222. Open Tuesday through Saturday, 11 to 8; Sunday 11 to 6.

Chaia officially moved from a farmers market pop-up to brick-and-mortar near the Georgetown waterfront.

Taco fillings change seasonally, from corn in summer to garlicky greens in cooler weather.

Posted at 10:30 AM/ET, 11/19/2015 | Permalink | Comments ()
Where to find today’s food trucks in DC, Maryland, and Virginia. By Angie Hilsman

Happy Thursday, food truck followers! Brighten up the rainy day with orange and cinnamon crepes from Crepes Parfait in Farragut Square, or head to Metro Center for Feelin' Crabby's crab sandwiches.

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Posted at 10:07 AM/ET, 11/19/2015 | Permalink | Comments ()
Chef/owner Mikala Brennan brings poke and Spam musubi to Shirlington. By Anna Spiegel
Hula Girl from chef/owner Mikala Brennan brings Hawaiian eats and a beachy vibe to Shirlington. Photography by Jeff Elkins.

Homesick Hawaiians will have a new dining destination next week with the opening of Hula Girl. Chef/owner Mikala Brennan brings a taste of her native Oahu to a sunny 110-seat restaurant in the Village at Shirlington--a spinoff of her popular food truck.

Sip Hawaiian beers and funky wines at the bar, or a patio come warm weather.

When Brennan launched her mobile business in 2011, she brought one of the first tastes of Hawaiian cuisine to Washington. Though the van is no longer running, many of her popular street eats make an appearance on the new menu—think tender Kalua pork roasted in banana leaves, macaroni salad, and of course, Spam musubi. The sushi-like rolls—a convenience store staple in Hawaii—feature grilled slices of Spam (yes, the canned original) wrapped with rice and seaweed. Brennan eventually plans to add a deep-fried, crunchy version.

Hawaiian favorites include roasted Kalua pork, Ahi tuna poke, and Spam musubi.

Hawaiian cuisine melds a variety of influences from native and immigrant cultures, including Asia, Europe (particularly Portugal), and the mainland US. Brennan sourced a large wood-burning grill for the restaurant, which adds a touch of smoke to meats and fresh seafood such as sticky pork ribs brushed with root beer glaze, or mahi mahi sprinkled with Hawaiian sea salt. Saimin, the Aloha State’s answer to ramen, also makes an appearance. On the raw side you’ll find a selection of tatar-like pokes, including classic tuna with sesame and chili, and lomi salmon with tomato and sweet onions.

Order up a plate of loco moco and a tropical drink, like a Mai Tai (pictured) made with caramelized pineapple and two rums.

One entirely new element is the bar, and Hula Girl boasts a fun one. Cocktails lean tropical, though Brennan tries to tone down the sugar in sips like the Mai Tai, made with kaffir lime, ginger, caramelized pineapple puree, and two types of rum. Drinkers will find a mix of Hawaiian draft beers and interesting local brews, such as Adroit Theory’s hibiscus saison, aged in Mezcal barrels in Virginia. Wines are equally unusual.

“Since most people don’t know what Hawaiian food is or isn’t, I thought, ‘might as well go crazy with the wine list’,” says Brennan. “I’ll have a Chardonnay made in Brooklyn, or an Albariño from Fairfax.”

Brennan pays tribute to her late mother, a professionally-trained chef who came to the islands as a Pan Am stewardess.

Amidst a dozen blue bar stools sits one wooden chair—a seat Brennan had specially carved for her mother, who passed away in 2013. The bathroom wallpaper also pays tribute to “LB,” a Cordon Bleu-trained cook who came to Hawaii as a Pan Am stewardess in the 1960’s.

“I was raised in a cooking-centric family,” says Brennan. “When she finally let me stir something it was a big deal."

Hula Girl is slated to officially open on Monday, November 23 for dinner only. Look for lunch by mid-December, and brunch come February.

Hula Girl. 4044 Campbell Ave., Arlington; 703-998-4852. Open for dinner Sunday through Thursday, 5 to 10; Friday and Saturday, 5 to 11. Lunch and brunch coming soon.

Local and Hawaiian beers can be found at the bar, including Adroit Theory's hibiscus saison from Virginia.

Brennan made a collage of family photos in the bathrooms as another homage to her late mother.

What began as a Hula Girl food truck is now a 110-seat restaurant.

Posted at 07:00 AM/ET, 11/19/2015 | Permalink | Comments ()
Let the city's top pastry chefs do all the work. By Angie Hilsman
Try a Thai-spiced pumpkin pie from pastry chef Tiffany MacIsaac, who runs a pop-up in Union Market. Photograph courtesy of Tiffany MacIsaac.

Thanksgiving is around the corner, so why not let one of Washington's top pastry chefs help out? Restaurants and bakeries offer a full range of sweets for the holiday, from traditional pumpkin pies to whimsical creations, as well as breads, cookies, and biscuits to round out the meal. Don't forget to check out our guide to great Thanksgiving takeout for savory options as well.

Baked & Wired

1052 Thomas Jefferson St., NW; A Baked Joint, 440 K St., NW

Baked & Wired offers an assortment of pies, including fun flavors like apple cranberry crumb, pecan Kahlúa chocolate chip, and cherry. Opt for a pumpkin amaretto poundcake or pumpkin gingerbread if pie isn't your thing.

Details: Menu. In-store pickup only on Tuesday, November 24 at 4 pm or Wednesday, November 25 at 10 am, noon, 2 pm, or 4 pm.

Bayou Bakery

901 Pennsylvania Ave., SE; 1515 N. Courthouse Rd., Arlington

Chef David Guas serves up a southern spin on Thanksgiving, and for a great cause. Bring home treats such as the Virginia peanut pie, bacon and cayenne pecan pie, or market crumble apple pie. The bakery will donate a pie to a local charity for every dozen sold.

Details: Menu. Call either the DC or Arlington store no later than Tuesday, November 24 at 10 am. Orders must be picked up by 1 pm on Wednesday, November 25.

BlackSalt Fish Market & Restaurant

4883 MacArthur Boulevard, NW

Executive chef Mike Huff and pastry chef Susan Wallace have whipped up Thanksgiving to-go and catering options, including turkey, stuffing, and oysters. Dessert options include apple streusel, pecan pie, and key lime pie.

Details: Menu. Call 202-342-9104 or email by Sunday, November 22 at 6:30 pm to place an order. Pick-ups are scheduled for Wednesday, November 25.

Bread Furst

4434 Connecticut Ave., NW

The chefs at Bread Furst have an entire Thanksgiving spread—ranging from winter squash gratin to cranberry sauce--but the highlight is still dessert. If you can resist trying their sweet potato cheesecake, snag a bourbon-pecan or cranberry chiffon pie instead.

Details: Menu. Pre-order until Monday, November 24. Pick up as late as Thanksgiving Day at noon.

Buttercream Bakeshop

Pop-up in Union Market

Head to Union Market for a pastry chef Tiffany MacIsaac's pop-up pie cart. Purchase whole pies, slices, and mini pies in flavors such as Nutella fudge and whiskey chocolate pecan, as well as other assorted treats.

Details: Menu. Order online, or shop a la carte, on November 20, 21, 22 from noon until 7 pm (or until offerings are sold out).

Co Co. Sala

929 F St., NW; 1309 5th St., NE

Stop by either of Co Co. Sala's boutiques for treats such as triple-chocolate pecan pie and maple-pumpkin pie. Other goodies include salted-caramel apples, chocolate pops, and pumkin Mallomar bites.

Details: Menu. Pre-order by Sunday, November 22 and pick up by Wednesday, November 25.

Dangerously Delicious Pies

339 H St., NE; 675 I St., NW

If you're feeling one of Dangerously Delicious's sweet pies, try the blueberry-pancake batter, roasted apple cinnamon, or chocolate peanut butter. If you're craving something savory try the pulled pork or steak pies, which are great to have in the fridge for a quick bite when family is visiting.

Details: Menu. All orders must be placed by midnight on Saturday, November 21. Orders placed to the H Street location must be picked up by 2 pm on Thanksgiving Day; I Street orders must be picked up by 9 pm on Wednesday, November 25.

Joe's Seafood, Prime Steak & Stone Crab

750 15th St., NW

Head to Joe's Seafood for one of their traditional pies—such as pumpkin chiffon, old-fashioned apple, or key lime—or opt for something new, like their sweet potato pie topped with caramelized pecans.

Details: Menu. Order via phone (202-489-0140), 24-hours ahead of pickup.

Osteria Morini

301 Water St., SE

Pastry chef Alex Levin has designed three seasonal pies for your Thanksgiving celebration. Indulge in caramel apple topped with oat streusel, a chocolate-crusted honey pecan, or a lemon tart with toasted meringue.

Details: Menu. Place your order by 9 pm on Friday, November 20, then pick up on Tuesday, November 24 or Wednesday, November 25 between 3 and 5 pm.

Pearl Dive Oyster Palace

1612 14th Street, NW

Pastry chef Brittney Gress offers a range of pies, from traditional pumpkin to her signature Brazos River Bottom Pecan Pie. The latter features bourbon-and rum-infused custard and pecans native to the Brazos River bottom.

Details: Menu. Call 202-319-1612 by Monday, November 23 to place an order. Pick ups are scheduled for Tuesday, November 24 and Wednesday, November 25.

Rare Sweets

963 Palmer Alley, NW

Chef and owner Meredith Tomason offers a full menu of seasonal cakes, ice creams, and breakfast items, such as pumpkin-bourbon-cocoa cake or pull-apart cinnamon rolls.

Details: Menu. Place orders by 5 pm on Tuesday, November 17. In-store pick up is available through November 25.


2275 L St., NW

Chef Ris Lacoste whips up pies—and also savory sides—for Thanksgiving, including classic pecan, pumpkin, and apple. You’ll also find extras like house-made sorbets and fig-Armagnac cream.

Details: Menu. Stop by the storefront or email orders by Sunday, November 22 before 3 pm. Pickup on Tuesday, November 24 and Wednesday, November 25 between 2 and 5 pm.

Society Fair

277 S. Washington St., Alexandria

The market from the Restaurant Eve team offers an assortment of Thanksgiving Day goodies, from whole Amish heritage turkeys to green bean casserole. Their dessert options include apple cake with salted caramel buttercream, and apple crumble cheesecake.

Details: Place orders in person, via phone, or online; pick-up by Wednesday, November 25 at 4 pm.

Sticky Fingers

1370 Park Rd., NW

Sticky Fingers serves all-vegan and wheat-free options for your Thanksgiving dinner, including cornbread stuffing, organic red-skinned potatoes, and mushroom gravy. Try their vegan pies too: maple-pecan, apple-caramel-crumb, and pumpkin.

Details: Menu. Pickup during regular store hours.

Posted at 11:30 AM/ET, 11/18/2015 | Permalink | Comments ()
Hanger steak with skinny frites at Le Diplomate. Photograph by Scott Suchman.

Steak frites at Le Diplomate

This still-hot French place’s roasted hanger steak ($28.50)—whose terrific savor comes courtesy of New Jersey purveyor Pat LaFrieda—is paired with perfect fast-food-style fries.

Bar steak at Bar Civita

Chef Liam LaCivita gives a coulotte cut a tangy, tenderizing rub in olive oil, garlic, and parsley, serving it with lemon-garlic hollandaise. Another thing to like: It’s available in half ($11) and full ($20) portions.

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Posted at 11:00 AM/ET, 11/18/2015 | Permalink | Comments ()
Where to find today’s food trucks in DC, Maryland, and Virginia. By Angie Hilsman

Happy Wednesday, food truck followers! Head to Metro Center for DC Slices's fried-cheese ravioli, or grab an apple-cider treat from Mama's Donut Bites in Ballston.

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Posted at 10:14 AM/ET, 11/18/2015 | Permalink | Comments ()
Photograph via iStock.

Fairfax City Police arrested a New Jersey man Sunday night for assault and driving under the influence after a car chase that began when he allegedly threw a sandwich at another man outside a pizza restaurant.

Police say Jonathan M. Magnes, of Morristown, New Jersey, was arrested about 9 PM after an altercation that culminated in him allegedly hurling a sandwich at the, ahem, victim in the parking lot outside the Firenza pizzeria on Fairfax Boulevard. Magnes then fled the parking lot in a vehicle and was tailed by the 50-year-old victim, which attracted the attention of nearby police officers, a crime report reads.

When the chase ended, Magnes was found to be intoxicated and was transported to jail and charged with assault and battery and driving under the influence, police say. The victim was not injured.

There's a wrinkle in here, though. While the police report describes the pizza restaurant as the scene of the altercation, Firenza only sells pizzas, salads, and sides, not sandwiches, the restaurant's director of operations, Steve Schreiber, tells Washingtonian. Schreiber says the sandwich Magnes allegedly used was purchased from a 7-Eleven in the same shopping plaza.

Magnes was released on his own recognizance.

Posted at 03:31 PM/ET, 11/17/2015 | Permalink | Comments ()
A new kind of daily deal from the DC-based company. By Anna Spiegel
LivingSocial brings their Restaurant Plus promo to Washington. Photograph via Flickr user Danny Lee.

LivingSocial has fallen a long way since their heyday of event space and big offices, but they’re still throwing out deals. The latest: Restaurants Plus, which launches in Washington today after a September debut in Atlanta. The promo allows diners at participating restaurants to receive up to 30 percent “cashback” from their meals when they pay with a registered credit or debit card.

The free program does away with the concept of pre-purchased vouchers, and seemingly hopes to dispel the stigma of discounts. Instead of advertising a percentage off the check, restaurants “reward” customers by giving a portion of the bill back to diners when they pay with a regular credit/card that’s been registered with LivingSocial. On the business side, restaurants can set times and offers, targeting typically slower periods like weekday lunch to attract deal-seekers. For example, Il Canale advertises 30 percent cashback until 4 pm.

Whether the new tactic will work better than past daily deals is tough to say. Currently 141 Washington restaurants have signed on to the program, ranging from Jumbo Pizza on U Street to Bobby Van’s Steakhouse downtown.

Posted at 01:33 PM/ET, 11/17/2015 | Permalink | Comments ()
Where to find today’s food trucks in DC, Maryland, and Virginia. By Angie Hilsman

Happy Tuesday, food truck followers! Brighten up your week with DC Empanadas's beer-battered fish tacos in Metro Center, or head to Patriot's Plaza for barbecue pork from Dangerously Delicious Pies.

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Posted at 10:58 AM/ET, 11/17/2015 | Permalink | Comments ()