The trouble isn’t over for Fig & Olive, an upscale Mediterranean chain whose recently-opened DC location has been linked to 160 cases of salmonella poisoning. The L.A. Times reports that the West Hollywood branch may have sickened a dozen people, including employees.
Fig & Olive in CityCenterDC closed for six days following reports of sickened guests, and reopened last week after being cleared by the DC Department of Health. The Food Poisoning Bulletin reports that two items were removed from the DC menu: truffle fries and mushroom croquettes. Though the source of the outbreak has yet to be determined, dishes containing truffle oil have been eliminated at both the Washington and California locations. One woman who’s filing a lawsuit against the company after becoming ill consumed truffle mushroom risotto, according to the Washington Post.
We’ve reached out to Fig & Olive representatives, as well as the D.C. Department of Health, and will update accordingly.
UPDATE: Fig & Olive sent the following statement regarding the current status of the DC and Los Angeles locations.
“Fig & Olive’s Washington D.C. City Center and Melrose Place locations are both open and doing business as usual. Our City Center location was inspected and declared safe by the Health Department there 10 days ago and has had no further incidents. About 8 days ago, we voluntarily closed our Hollywood location for a brief time after some diners and employees reported they had become sickened. We immediately hired a third party food safety firm and worked with the Public Health Department in Los Angeles to address the situation and, after taking steps to ensure that all food preparation and safety standards were being followed, that the food stocks were safe and that all employees had been screened, reopened the same day with the Health Department’s approval. We are confident we have adequately addressed the situations. We remain committed to delivering the highest quality food and excellence of preparation and service that have become the hallmark of the Fig & Olive brand.”
The CityCenterDC branch is also offering free dessert with the purchase of lunch or dinner, so there's that.
UPDATE (4:20 pm): The DC Department of Health reached out with the following statement regarding salmonella cases linked to Fig & Olive in CityCenterDC. As of now 14 cases of salmonella have been officially connected to the restaurant.
"As of Wednesday, September 23, 2015, the DC Department of Health has confirmed 14 cases of salmonella tied back to the Fig and Olive establishment. Interviews of those who reported illnesses are ongoing, to date, DOH has interviewed 135 persons. We continue to encourage individuals who ate at the restaurant since August 21, 2015 and reported food related illnesses to contact DOH at 202-442-9150. As of Wednesday, September 23, 2015, DOH has visited the establishment twice since restoring the license (Wednesday September 16, 2015 and Friday September 18, 2015). During these visits, DOH monitored employee trainings and employee food handling procedures to ensure they are in compliance with the District’s Food Code Regulations and approved Risk Control Plan submitted by Fig and Olive on Monday September 14, 2015 to ensure they address all violations cited on previous inspections."
UPDATE (6:00 pm): The Center for Disease Control has launched a multi-state investigation tied to Fig & Olive, as reports of salmonella linked to the chain have been filed in numerous locations. The source of the outbreak is still unknown, though truffle oil has been removed from the menu. The DC Department of Health and Department of Forensic Sciences sent the following joint statement to Washingtonian.
“The DC Department of Health (DOH) and Department of Forensic Sciences (DFS) are in close collaboration, continuing the surveillance, testing and reporting of food samples from the DC Fig and Olive food establishment. To date, DFS has tested 45 food samples and 15 environmental samples that have yielded negative Salmonella isolates; ten food samples are pending. To date, DFS has confirmed and reported that eleven human specimens, from DC hospitals, have yielded positive results for Salmonella Enteritidis and their DNA typing’s have been shared with the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and have been linked to this outbreak.
Several other states with Fig and Olive restaurants are reporting Salmonella cases. At this time, the CDC has confirmed that this is now a multiple state investigation tied to Fig and Olive food establishments and is working closely with each jurisdiction to assess the cases, analyze test results and identify possible trends or correlations. All inquiries regarding this national investigation should be directed to the CDC.
As of Wednesday, September 23, 2015, DOH has confirmed 14 cases of salmonella tied back to the DC Fig and Olive establishment. Interviews of those who reported illnesses are ongoing, to date, DOH has interviewed 135 persons.
Since restoring Fig and Olive’s food license, DOH has visited the establishment twice (Wednesday September 16, 2015 and Friday September 18, 2015). During these visits, DOH monitored employee trainings and employee food handling procedures to ensure they are in compliance with both the District’s Food Code Regulations and the approved Risk Control Plan, which was submitted by Fig and Olive on Monday September 14, 2015.
We continue to encourage individuals who ate at the restaurant since August 21, 2015 and reported food related illnesses to contact DOH at 202-442-9150.”
Oktoberfest beers from countless breweries fill shelves and take over tap lines starting every September, but what exactly makes an Oktoberfest brew, and which out of the many should you be drinking?
Beyond some creative labeling and not-so-creative christening -- Dogtoberfest, Corktoberfest, etc. -- one stein of Oktoberfest-style beer is pretty much the same as another. At the Oktoberfest celebration in Munich, which draws about six million drinkers annually, only six German breweries are allowed to participate—and their seasonal brews taste strikingly alike.
Washington-based Cava Grill is poised to become an even bigger brand. The fast-casual Mediterranean concept from Ted Xenohristos, Ike Grigoropoulos, and chef Dimitri Moshovitis just announced another $45 million in funding from existing partner Swan & Legend Ventures and Revolution Growth, both based in DC. Cava recently received $16 million in investments, which bolstered expansion to Los Angeles.
“Everyone saw the positive momentum we were having and proposed the idea,” says CEO Brett Schulman. “Now we can take Cava to other markets sooner rather than later.”
As of now Cava Grill has 11 area locations, with branches opening soon in Dupont Circle, Silver Spring, and their first California location in West Hollywood. Schulman says a number of other Washington ventures are in the works, though the team isn’t yet ready to announce. More markets on the East and West coasts are also being scouted.
The new funding also affects Cava’s line of dips and spreads, sold at Whole Foods and other shops. The team plans to move the production kitchen in Rockville to a larger facility soon, and is also building another in Los Angeles to hit the local market on the opposite coast.
Sunday brunch at Garrison
524 Eighth St., SE
Chef Rob Weland’s new Capitol Hill restaurant serves their first brunch on Sunday. The menu a la carte menu features riffs on classic dishes such as house-made duck sausage and biscuits ($22), gougères and soft-scrambled eggs with smoked trout and caviar ($23), and Danish doughnuts with lemon curd and jam ($12). Cocktails follow creative suit, such as a stone fruit mimosa and bloody Mary with togarashi salt and pickled okra ($12).
New late-night menu at Compass Rose
1346 T St. NW
Anyone partying in the 14th and U Street area can drop into Compass Rose for a late-night menu designed to soften hangovers. New dishes include bacon-wrapped LA Danger Dogs with avocado spread, mango, and house chili-mustard, and an Austrian pork schnitzel with potato salad. There’s also always the infamous khachapuri cheese bread. The night-owl menu runs until 2 am on Friday and Saturday nights.
Oktoberfest menu at Roofers Union
2446 18th St., NW
A three-course Oktoberfest menu is available starting Monday, September 28, featuring Bavarian specialties like beer-cheddar soup, schnitzel, and fried apple pie ($30 per person; $10 for beer pairings with each course). The offer runs through October 4.
The Ultimate Breakfast Sandwich at Walker’s Grille
6909 Metro Park Dr., Alexandria
Duane Walker of Walker’s Grille in Alexandria is competing for the title of Hometown Breakfast Battle champion in a national battle, and serving his creation at the restaurant through the month of October: the “ultimate breakfast sandwich,” a tower of grilled filet mignon, crab cakes, poached eggs, tomatoes, and hollandaise sauce, all sandwiched between English muffins ($19). Fans can vote through Sunday, September 27 to send Walker on to the next round; other competing locals include Adam Howard, the Corporate Chef for Mike Isabella Concepts.
Burgers launch at Mellow Mushroom
Multiple area locations
Pizza chain Mellow Mushroom is adding burgers to the lineup starting next Thursday. A beefy version is topped with Swiss, caramelized onions, and garlic aioli, while the kale-quinoa veggie patty comes with cheddar and avocado.
1515 N. Courthouse Rd., Arlington; 901 Pennsylvania Ave., SE
Fresh beignets and chicory coffee can fuel your workday at chef David Guas’ New Orleans-style cafes in Arlington and Capitol Hill. Grab an Abita and a plate of boudin balls when it’s quitting time.
Big Bear Cafe
1700 First St., NW
Doors open at 7 at this all-day cafe, where you can post up on the ivy-ensconsed outdoor patio in the morning with coffee and bagels, and continue on with beer and grilled cheese come lunchtime. Note that wifi is cut off in the evenings for dinner.
944 Florida Ave., NW
This pop-up coffee shop is the daytime tenant of Darnell’s bar, and offers free wifi and excellent coffee drinks starting at 7:30 am on weekdays. Try a cold-brewed iced coffee made with blends from Kansas’s great PT’s Coffee Roasting Co., and fuel up with breakfast or lunchtime sandwiches, and crave-inducing chocolate-chip cookies.
116 Rhode Island Ave., NW
Brunch is served every day at this neighborhood bar, so you can work hard and play hard with bottomless mimosas ($12) and a fried egg sandwich. The pub opens at 11 daily and serves throughout the afternoon and evening.
1101 K St., NW
Chef Robert Wiedmaier’s Belgian spot is as far from a Starbucks as one can get, which is why we like it—who says working over mussels and Belgian beer is a bad thing, especially if you need to conduct a casual business meeting? Note the wifi doesn’t extend to the outdoor patio.
Busboys and Poets
Multiple area locations in DC, VA, MD
In 2005, owner Andy Shallal opened the first of his lively cafe/cultural centers just off DC’s U Street. Today six Busboys operate throughout Washington, and can double as social spots or an office-away-from-the-office. The kitchens serve wallet-friendly dishes for breakfast, lunch, and dinner—including many vegetarian/vegan and gluten-free options—as well as strong Fair Trade Coffee, and drinks from a full bar (try the boozy DC Tap Water).
Bullfrog Bagels inside Star & Shamrock
1341 H St., NE
This bagel shop and Jewish deli within an Irish pub may be one of the most fun places to eat, drink, and work (wifi extends throughout both spaces). Mornings bring stellar bagel sandwiches from Bullfrog and strong coffee, whereas the bar portion opens at 11 am with more food and drinks. Don’t skip an order of the Reuben egg rolls.
475 H St., NW
Out-of-towners often bypass this Penn Quarter gem, hidden among the short stretch of Chinese-owned businesses remaining in one of the District’s most touristy neighborhoods—but in-the-know locals pack in. The noisy, narrow cafe serves some of the best espresso in town—made with beans from Intelligentsia in Chicago—but sparse seating means this isn’t the spot for quiet meetings.
Multiple area locations in DC, MD, VA
You’ll find the best of both energizing worlds—sugar and caffeine—at these local gelato shops that double as coffee bars. Robust Stumptown Coffee drinks and divine gelatos and sorbets are found at all; seating capacity varies.
Filter Coffeehouse and Espresso Bar
1720 20th St., NW
Hide out in this rowhouse basement in Dupont if you really need to focus. The specialty shop serves single-origin, pour-overs, and espressos from Annapolis-based Ceremony Coffee Roasters. There’s a Foggy Bottom location as well, but beware: no laptops are allowed.
Flying Fish Coffee and Tea
3064 Mt. Pleasant St., NW
This Mount Vernon spot opens the early at 6:30 a.m. with free wifi, espressos, pour-overs and pastries. The shop also sells some pretty nifty swag, and great iced coffee growlers ($10) for getting a caffeine buzz on at home.
1351 H St., NE
We’ve been dreaming about a “work from Maketto day” since this summer, and the Pope’s visit may be the perfect opportunity. Wifi extends throughout the indoor/outdoor space, meaning you can lounge in the beautiful courtyard with a laptop and Frenchie’s pastry in the morning, or a Cambodian sandwich and hibiscus sipping vinegar in the afternoon. Chances are you won't be typing come dinner--all the better for feasting on spicy fried chicken.
3211 Wilson Blvd., Arlington
Latte art isn’t the only reason to visit this cozy cafe and wine bar, which also offers wifi on the outdoor patio. Guests can make a day of it starting at 6 am, and continue upstairs with a glass of wine at 5. Breakfast sandwiches are served until 3 for late-risers, though it's tough to pass up Northside's insanely good chicken salad.
660 Pennsylvania Ave., SE; 1718 14th St., NW; 1309 5th St., NE
Opt for a specialty espresso or fresh, filter-drip coffee at these local coffee shops. Pastries and desserts are on hand to keep you focused throughout the day.
501 Florida Ave., NW
The new neighborhood spot from the Vinoteca owners opens at 7 on weekdays with wifi, espresso drinks, and an eclectic menu that includes bagels, breakfast areas, and baked goods like plantain bread. An all-day menu and full bar takes over in the afternoon.
1702 G St., NW; 501 E. Monroe Ave., Alexandria
Swing’s may seem to be part of the micro-roasting renaissance sweeping cities like San Francisco and Portland, Oregon, but the DC coffeemaker has been in business since 1916. Modernized by current owner Mark Warmuth, it boasts a cafe and roasting facility in Alexandria’s Del Ray neighborhood—complete with a cupping lab, communal seating at reclaimed-wood tables, and perfectly executed pour-over drinks. There’s also a cool little coffeehouse in Foggy Bottom. Both locations offer free wifi.
Multiple area locations
Owner Constantine Stavropoulos's string of cafes around DC are prime places to spend a few hours—or a whole 24, as is the case with The Diner in Adams Morgan, open 24/7. Each concept varies slightly, but expect homey eats, strong coffee, full bars, and free wifi at all.
1309 Fifth St., NE
We could already spend a day at Union Market, laptops aside. Customers can access wifi throughout the market--tables are peppered throughout the interior--and stop for a plethora of snacks and drinks at the various food stalls, bars, and restaurants between assignments. Peregrine Espresso pours strong coffee drinks to keep the wheels turning.
For the past 38 years, Washingtonian has taken the pulse of the local restaurant scene by asking you, the reader, to play food critic.
What’s your favorite new arrival? Who slings the best barbecue and pizza? And which places are most overhyped and overpriced? Weigh in on our survey.
Your answers will be revealed in our December issue. Bonus: Anyone who submits an entry is automatically qualified to win dinner for two at Le Diplomate.
Happy Wednesday, food truck followers! The Pope's visit has closed certain roads, but that hasn't kept the food trucks off the streets. Head to Navy Yard for "sinnabon" and salted caramel cupcakes from Midnite Confection, or stop by L'Enfant Plaza for Crepes Parfait's orange-creme fraiche crepes.
Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the Jewish year, is Wednesday (which also happens to be the busiest day for the Pope’s visit in DC). Don’t let road closures stop you—and number of restaurants serve special pre-fast meals on Tuesday, and break-fast feasts on Wednesday.
4434 Connecticut Ave., NW
Mark Furstenberg’s stellar bakery offers a Yom Kippur menu available for pickup on Tuesday, which includes bagels, cheese blintzes, whitefish salad, and more. Items are priced individually.
When: Pick up on Tuesday until close.
1443 P St., NW
This casual Logan Circle spot serves a generous break-fast buffet, which includes smoked salmon, bagels, latkes, fresh fruit, deli salads, and more. Tickets are $23 per person, including tax and gratuity.
When: Wednesday, 6 to 8:30.
1317 Connecticut Ave., NW; 2985 District Ave., Fairfax (Mosaic District)
Break the fast with one of two heaping platters at this modern deli: a grand plate with smoked fishes, Montreal bagels, and garnishes ($20), or a superior version with more seafood ($27). The bar also pours bottomless bloodies, mimosas, and peach bellinis for $12.
When: Wednesday, 5 to close.
1914 Ninth St., NW
Chef Dean Gold offers two holiday menus: a pre-fast Kol Nidre meal on Tuesday, intentionally light on salt and spices, and a break-fast dinner on Wednesday. The latter is served family-style, and guests can order all of the dishes they want ($39 per person).
When: Kol Nidre dinner on Tuesday, 4 to close. Yom Kippur on Wednesday, 5 to close.
3115 14th St., NW
The Heights teams up with the Jewish Food Experience for a Sukkot happy hour. Tickets ($18) include Mediterranean appetizers such as falafel, salads, and dips; special cocktails and warm appetizers are priced individually.
When: Wednesday, 6:30 to 8:30.