DC Beer Week: The beeriest seven days in Washington are upon us: DC Beer Week 2014. Each day is stacked with multiple tastings, parties, seminars and more, from a DC Brau-sponsored crab feast at the Quarterdeck on Monday to Old Ebitt’s “Brewhaha” suds-fest on Friday, and tons more. Prices, locations, and times vary, so make sure to spend a few minutes checking out the full lineup.
More Restaurant Week: Missed Summer Restaurant Week the first time around? Fear not. We have a roundup of eateries offering extensions throughout the month of August, from fine dining spots like Fiola to neighborhood haunts like Mintwood Place, Graffiato, and many more. Alexandria Restaurant Week also runs through Sunday, so look for options at your favorite Virginia spots: $35 dinners for two, or three-course set menus of the same price.
Doggie dining: Join the EatWell DC restaurants, including Commissary, the Pig, and more, for the third annual Dining Out With Dogs on Monday. Each eatery will donate 15 percent of its proceeds to City Dogs Rescue from 5 to close, and will serve a special vodka-based cocktail whose sales will entirely benefit the rescue operation. Happy hour runs until 7 at each location, plus special late-night discounts from 10 to 11. Kids also eat free from the children’s menu until 6:30.
Top Chef rules: Catch Bravo’s new series, Top Chef Duels, with one of the local stars at Kapnos on Wednesday night. Chef Mike Isabella will watch alongside fans as he faces off onscreen with his former fellow Top Chef competitor Antonia Lofaso in an Italian-style cooking duel. Join him at Kapnos for a viewing party plus happy hour in both the restaurant’s bar and neighboring G Sandwich.
Rock-solid cooking: Chef Rock Harper guest-cooks at Taberna Del Alabardero on Thursday alongside his host, Javier Romero, during a Spanish-American fusion wine tasting and dinner. A portion of the ticket sales ($99 per person) will benefit DC Central Kitchen.
Doggie wall of fame: The upcoming Fairfax location of the Austin restaurant Chuy’s hosts a photo shoot/fundraiser on Saturday from noon to 3 at Uptown Pet Bistro & Boutique. Dog lovers and their four-legged companions can be photographed for the restaurant’s “La Chihuahua Bar” community dog wall, and receive a free future Chuy’s appetizer with $5 donations to Friends of the Fairfax County Animal Shelter.
Pig roast: Get your fill of swine at Society Fair’s Southern-style pig roast on Saturday. Reservations ($29) start at 5:30 and run until 8:30 for a feast of roast pork, watermelon salad, succotash, and more.
Rare sherry: Eager to try what specialists call the “unicorn” of the sherry world? Head to Mockingbird Hill on Saturday at 3 for a tasting and class featuring Palo Cortado sherries, considered some of the best in the world. Tickets are $45 online.
More and more dogs: If you didn’t get a chance to dine out for the pups at City Dog Rescue earlier this week, check out Vinoteca on Sunday for the Dogs and ’Tails fundraiser (through August 31). The promotion starts with a party on the back plaza, where they’ll have a bocce tournament, dog adoption section, food and drink specials, and more from 4 to 8. Make a $10 donation to CDR and get happy hour pricing all night; for the rest of the week, buy any house-made grilled dog or “dog days of summer” cocktail to benefit the rescue organization.
Share food: The Alexandria Food Swap returns on Sunday, hosted at Friendship Firehouse from 2 to 3:30. Participants bring homemade, foraged, homegrown, and other self-procured edibles to exchange. Online tickets are $5.
We could knock back Dark & Stormies, spicy micheladas, and cans of Tecate for hours at Cantina Marina (600 Water St., SW; 202-554-8396), a laid-back deck strung with lights on DC’s Southwest waterfront. You could be fooled into thinking you’re in the Florida Keys, were it not for the Washington Monument looming behind you. On the terrace of Sterling’s sprawling Bungalow Lakehouse (46116 Lake Center Plaza; 703-430-7625), which peers onto a manmade lake, settle into one of the loungey sofas and graze on craft brews and bar snacks including crispy rock shrimp with a trio of dipping sauces or nachos loaded with Terlingua chili and jalapeños.
Summer in the City
The Potomac River views at Fabio Trabocchi’s Fiola Mare (3050 K St., NW; 202-628-0065) on the Georgetown waterfront may be stunning, but it’s his beautifully turned-out seafood—overflowing frutti di mare platters, a twirl of spaghetti with littleneck clams—that steals the most attention. More cravings for an Italian feast with a river vista can be satisfied at glass-enclosed Osteria Morini (301 Water St., SE; 202-484-0660), which is overseen by New York chef Michael White and specializes in the robust pastas and ragus of Italy’s Emilia Romagna region.
Pretty as a Picture
The views of Baltimore’s Inner Harbor are postcard-worthy at Wit & Wisdom (200 International Dr., Baltimore; 410-576-5800), Michael Mina’s rustic-chic lounge and dining room in the Four Seasons Hotel. Grab a couch on the patio (Wit on the Water) and dig into lovely shellfish platters and hulking cheddar-laden burgers. It’s a quieter scene at Inn at Perry Cabin Belmond on the Eastern Shore (308 Watkins La., St. Michaels; 410-745-2200), where the views of the tranquil Miles River are gorgeous. The dining room, which would look at home in an episode of Barefoot Contessa, features spiffed-up classics like crabcakes with asparagus vinaigrette and oysters on the half shell with lemon-vodka granita.
If you’re an Old Bay fanatic, you likely know about Cantler’s Riverside Inn (458 Forest Beach Rd., Annapolis; 410-757-1311), still our top choice for cracking blue crabs at a picnic table overlooking Mill Creek. Your crabs won’t always hail from the Chesapeake, but they tend to be plump and flavorful, and the steamed corn is always sweet. Across the Bay Bridge, you can catch sunsets over the water from the Masthead at Pier Street Marina (104 W. Pier St., Oxford; 410-226-5171) while digging into a mess of steamed crabs or sweet soft-shell clams. Or watch boats pull up with their catch at the historic Crab Claw Restaurant (304 Burns St.; 410-745-2900) in nearby St. Michaels. Try the fried chicken for a change from crustaceans.
Just when you thought all the 14-cent fun was over, a variety of eateries are extending their Summer Restaurant Week deals. The following spots offer $20.14 lunches and $35.14 lunches, dinners, and/or brunches, plus a few specials on wine and other beverages. Don’t forget that Alexandria Restaurant Week is also happening now through Sunday.
Through Friday, August 22
2941 Fairview Park Dr., Falls Church
Through Saturday, August 23
601 Pennsylvania Ave., NW
Full à-la-carte and tasting menus are offered alongside the set RW lunch and dinner offerings at chef Fabio Trabocchi’s elegant Italian spot.
Through Sunday, August 24
701 Pennsylvania Ave., NW
Chef Benjamin Lambert’s lunch and dinner prix-fixe menus includes the likes of beef carpaccio and steak with béarnaise vinaigrette.
523 Eighth St., SE
The dinner menu includes a selection of four Balkan-inspired dishes.
3311 Connecticut Ave., NW
It’s usually a good sign when a restaurant offers the regular menu for Restaurant Week, which is the case here: three courses from the dinner selection.
1100 New York Ave., NW
1099 New York Ave., NW
Classic Italian dishes such as prosciutto di Parma with cantaloupe and cacio e pepe pasta are included on the RW menus, along with specially priced wines.
801 Ninth St., NW
You’ll find Restaurant Week around the clock at this Cuban spot, which serves set menus for lunch, dinner, and brunch.
1819 14th St., NW; 1218 Wisconsin Ave., NW
Guacamole, tacos, ceviche, and more can be found on both the Restaurant Week lunch and dinner menus.
707 Sixth St., NW
Though the RW dinner menu has ended, you’ll still find three-course selections at lunch and brunch.
1825 14th St., NW
A selection of four tapas-style plates such as spicy tuna rolls and pork belly steamed buns make up the extended dinner menu.
1813 Columbia Rd., NW
Mintwood signatures such as wedge salad and bucatini Bolognese can be found on the Restaurant Week dinner menu.
1600 Rhode Island Ave., NW
Save room for the “campfire sundae” with smoked vanilla ice cream and toasted marshmallows on both the RW lunch and dinner menus.
800 F St., NW
Bistro fare like country pâté and roast chicken with panzanella salad make up the RW lunch and dinner menus.
2404 Wisconsin Ave., NW
The lunch and dinner menus include discounted drinks as well as food, such as an $18 wine pairing.
800 Connecticut Ave., NW
This recently renovated restaurant extends its Restaurant Week lunch menu, which includes new dishes such as burrata with shaved summer vegetables and charred-jalapeño spaghetti.
1300 I St., NW
Try three courses at lunch or dinner at restaurateur Richard Sandoval’s newest DC restaurant.
781 Seventh St., NW
Lunch-goers will find offerings that center on sushi and bento-style boxes, while dinner draws from the regular menu.
Through Saturday, August 30
7134 Main St., Clifton, VA
In addition to the traditional $35.14 dinners, you’ll find four courses for $49.14 with dishes like a pan-seared scallop and dumpling in dashi broth or crusted beef short ribs. Wine pairings are an additional $29.14.
Through the month of August
1112 19th St., NW
Get your steakhouse fix on the cheap with lunch and dinner at this Dupont spot, which offers classics like wedge salads and filet. Beginning August 19, you’ll find $20 wine flights to pair with the meal—or just sip at the bar.
Rogue 24 toque RJ Cooper has had a busy few weeks between opening Gypsy Soul in Merrifield and preparing his former tasting menu-only restaurant for à-la-carte service. Now he’s ready to go “back to the basics” with a new menu at the Shaw eatery starting Wednesday, featuring more traditional appetizer- and entrée-sized portions.
“The neighborhood is changing and getting younger,” says Cooper. “We can be a destination restaurant and also provide an experience from the neighborhood.”
Most of the dishes are larger versions of items on the 24-course “journey” menu, which is still offered to guests when making reservations. Though there’s no designation between starters and main courses—categories are divided by vegetables and proteins, or, in this case, “vegetation” and “land”—the $10-to-$18 options are meant as beginners, and mains run $24 to $36. While Cooper goes more rustic at Gypsy Soul (think chicken-fried quail), all of Rogue’s dishes will continue to lean more modernist, such as roast duck with Indian pickles, oats, and sorrel, or bone-marrow flan with sea urchin and mustard greens. More in the mood for a steak Caesar? Try a 100-day dry-aged hanger with anchovies, romaine, and black garlic.
The new menu will be offered during regular hours starting Wednesday, August 20.
Rogue 24. 922 N St., NW; 202-408-9724.
Find Anna Spiegel on Twitter at @annaspiegs.
Summer Restaurant Week 2014 is nearly over, but you’ll have an extra opportunity to try the promotion this weekend at a number of spots offering brunch.
Check back in with us on Monday for a list of restaurants extending the lunch and dinner RW menus, and don’t forget to tell us about your experiences.
15 E St., NW
The Saturday and Sunday brunch menu at this Capitol Hill classic mixes French bistro fare like onion soup with brunch-y dishes such as biscuits and gravy and eggs Benedict.
All four locations in DC, Maryland, and Virginia offer Sunday brunch for Restaurant Week (here’s a sample menu), with dishes such as bagels and lox and a breakfast burrito served alongside coffee or cocktails for $20.14.
707 Sixth St., NW
Good news for those who can’t make it in for chef Mike Isabella’s Restaurant Week brunch menu: Those pepperoni-sauced chicken thighs will be available on the extended RW offerings next weekend.
4435 Willard Ave., Chevy Chase
The regular lineup of “Lia’s classics” are offered on the Restaurant Week brunch menu and include a coffee, Bloody Mary, or mimosa.
1120 King St., Alexandria
A refined seasonal menu includes dishes such as chilled corn soup, baked eggs with grits and roasted mushrooms, and ricotta-poppyseed fritters with poached peaches.
Find Anna Spiegel on Twitter at @annaspiegs.
Chicken-fried bobwhite quail at Gypsy Soul
Rarefied roadside food.
The two quails are treated like chicken-fried steak. Each dark-meat bite of bird combines the juice and crunch of the Colonel but without the sugar, salt, and grease. They sit atop the most silken pool of grits you’ll ever eat, a nearly grit-less emulsion of whipped butter and cream. The smoky collards, shot through with unholy quantities of pork fat, don’t taste the least bit larded down. The unexpected touch, here, is the terrific gizzard gravy, which emphasizes the down-home rootsiness of the dish without somehow sinking the plate in excess.
Chef RJ Cooper is off to a very good start at his new restaurant in Merrifield’s Mosaic District.
(Can I just say that while I understand the Mosaic District exists to inject some edginess into the usual faceless suburban mall—and a soulful dish like this is indisputably part of the mission—it’s still not a little strange to dine in a contrived and upmarket shopping complex that uses urban tropes and symbols in order to appear less square. “District” in this case means “mall,” and although the restaurant is housed on “Glass Alley,” this alley looks an awful lot like what most people would call a “street.”)
Cauliflower with cotija cheese at Tico
My love for elote—Mexican-style corn rolled in mayo, lime, and cotija cheese—has been well-documented in this column, and now is the time to get it, while the corn is still super-sweet. This summer, Estadio has been serving the deconstructed version it always does so well, and food truck La Tingeria offers a delicious, more straightforward take. Meanwhile, the Partisan has been less successful, turning the dish into a cilantro pasta that loses any brightness and tastes more like creamed corn.
My new favorite version, though, doesn’t involve corn at all. At the loud, color-splashed small-plates spot Tico, Michael Schlow offers a riff on elote that uses cauliflower instead of cobs. Now, I know there are plenty of people who love the stuff, but I think cauliflower is one of the world’s blandest vegetables. So how has Schlow turned it into something I’ve actually become hooked on? By pan-roasting the hell out of it, until it gets a gorgeous caramelized sweetness. He then tosses it with chipotle-spiked mayo sweetened with honey, crunchy fava beans, and a handful of salty, crumbly cotija cheese.
Finally, an elote for all seasons.
Sungold tomatoes from New Morning Farm (Dupont Circle FreshFarm Market)
I’ve written about these tomatoes in the past, but it’s time for their yearly due. Perhaps more than any other seasonal ingredient, they’re the one I look forward to most. Sure, there’s nothing like a local strawberry in late May, but you can also fudge it with a pack of Driscoll’s in February.
Sadly (or maybe not) there’s no faking Sungolds. The intensely sweet cherry tomatoes typically start appearing in late July and can last through early fall. Think of the best, brightest, tomato flavor, condensed into a bite-size round. The certified organic New Morning Farm is my favorite source, especially if I’m planning to pick up the superb basil, zucchini, and yellow squash to toss together for a tweaked version of this pasta recipe. Whether added to a salad, sautéed for sauce, or, as my boyfriend prefers to do, eaten alone by the pint, nothing else tastes quite like summer.
Pollo a la brasa from Grupo Norkys (Lima, Peru)
A weeklong service trip to this bustling South American city brought me together with some fabulous cooking. Peru is known for its colorful variations on chicken, and the local chain Grupo Norkys was no exception. The bird was topped with salt and pepper as well as several traditional spices, but its juiciness and flavor stood out the most. It was conveniently halved, which made cutting into the meat easy.
There is something distinctive about the chicken from Peru. Maybe it’s the daily trips made to find the best products at local markets, maybe it’s the loving care that goes into each preparation, or maybe it’s the years of history and culture behind it. Whatever the reason, my experience at this open-air establishment solidified my belief in food being a universal language that is understood throughout the world.
Michael Schlow may be based in Boston, but the James Beard Award-winning chef has Washington ties that go beyond his newly opened South American-influenced restaurant, Tico. Schlow’s father was from DC, one of his most memorable meals was at Jean-Louis at the Watergate, and he’s looking to open another local spot (we’re keeping our fingers crossed for Italian, one of his areas of expertise). We caught up with the affable father of two, who talked about his love of Almond Joy, his mustard collection, and his trusty hangover cure.
Favorite fine-dining experience: “One was Jean-Louis at the Watergate. Three things stuck out: the foie gras course, who I was eating with (my sister and my best friend), and that it was the night Marion Barry got arrested.”
Snack: “Saint Agur cheese. In the dead of summer, a really ripe tomato with salt and pepper, a slice of Saint Agur, and some warm bread.”
Guilty pleasure: “I’ve been known to make dinner out of a king-size Almond Joy bar.”
Beer: “I don’t drink a ton of beer, but I’m loving DC Brau and Atlas Brew Works right now. In the summer, there are few things more refreshing than a Corona with lime, ice-cold.”
Cocktail: “I love a perfect Negroni. It’s sophisticated, interesting, and complex. And really good silver tequila blanco on the rocks with a splash of fresh grapefruit juice.”
Tequila: For super-high-end, Casa Dragones and Clase Azul are two of my favorites. If I’m just making a cocktail, Milagro Silver.”
Hangover cure: “I’m a sucker for cold Chinese food, a Coke, and then going back to bed. I don’t drink soda, but with a hangover I’ll have a Coke.”
Always in my fridge: “A serious mustard collection—it would be the envy of mustard lovers around the world. Almond milk. And there’s always pancetta, eggs, and cheese so I can make carbonara.”
Jarred tomato sauce: “The only jarred sauce I’ll eat is Mario Batali’s. It’s delicious. I hate him for it, but it’s delicious.”
Song to get amped to: “The first day at Tico, I cranked the music—it can go very loud—and played ‘Enter Sandman’ by Metallica.”
When I’m not in a chef’s coat . . . “I like nice clothes, since I wear a uniform all day. I like a Zegna suit, Theory shirts. I’ve been buying shoes from Cole Haan and its collaboration with Nike.”
VIP to cook for: “There seems to be a great connection between the music world and food world. For my birthday, Mike Mills from R.E.M. came down here. Billy Joel is playing at Fenway Park and we’re going to do a dinner together after. We’ve been friends for years.”
On my nightstand: “Elizabeth David’s An Omelette and a Glass of Wine.”
If I could have four people, living or dead, over for dinner . . . “Thomas Edison—he was a badass. Walter Cronkite. And Julia Child. I don’t want to throw Bono in there because he’ll hog the conversation. Let’s add the Edge from U2. He’s quieter but a beautiful man.”
What I’d make: “Everyone would get a stiff drink to start. I went to Julia Child’s house and she literally just gave us Scotch and Goldfish crackers. I’d make an Italian dinner—antipasti, salumi, a piece of leaky burrata. Rigatoni with broccoli rabe and sausage. A Florentine steak with lemon and grilled vegetables. For dessert, chocolate-chip cookies and Almond Joys.”
Herb: “Fresh thyme—it’s the most versatile.”
This article appears in the August 2014 issue of Washingtonian.
Beer at Amsterdam Falafel 14th Street
1830 14th St., NW
Falafel and beer: a match made in heaven, as you probably know from grabbing late-night sandwiches after a few too many at the original Adams Morgan shop. The new 14th Street sibling just got a liquor license and now serves brews such as Heineken and Oranjeboom Dutch lager to sip alongside the pitas and bowls.
TaKorean Navy Yard opens with discounts
1212 Fourth St., SE
The newest brick-and-mortar spot for TaKorean, one of DC’s early food trucks, debuted this week near Yards Park. Stop by for soft-opening specials on Thursday from 11 to 3, which include three Korean “takos” for $7 (a plus for vegetarians: The tofu version with kimchee is standout).
Free scoops for Nats fans at Ice Cream Jubilee
301 Water St., SE
The newly opened Ice Cream Jubilee near Nationals Park offers a gratis additional scoop for any customer holding a Nats ticket Friday through Sunday, August 24. Order one or two flavors to get an additional free, such as caramel popcorn, blueberry pie, banana-bourbon-caramel, and more.
Rare wines by the glass at Blue Duck Tavern
1201 24th St., NW
Typically you’d need a large group—and an even bigger expense account—to order a magnum bottle of rare Cab, but BDT is pouring such bottles by the glass on Tuesdays for the month of August. A different pour of Napa Cabernet Sauvignon from the 1980s will be available each week, with four-ounce tastes priced at $30. Up now: a 1983 selection from Dunn Vineyards.
Boozy frozen ice at Mio
1110 Vermont Ave., NW
Head out to Mio’s patio, where you’ll find a Puerto Rican-style shaved ice cart for piragua desserts. Flavors such as guava, mango, passionfruit, and coffee can be topped with a shot of DonQ Rum ($5). The special runs through September 21.
Hot cheese, cold soup from restaurateur Med Lahlou
Throughout the month of August, drop by Ulah Bistro, Station 4, and Lupo Verde for a special combo: grilled cheeses paired with cold summer soups. Each location will have a different pairing, such as grilled goat cheese and braised short ribs on Texas toast with chilled cucumber soup at Ulah ($14).
Find Anna Spiegel on Twitter at @annaspiegs.