Most of us head to Friendship Heights for high-end and discount retail adventures, but the area, home to Sushiko, Indique Heights, and Lia’s, has recently attracted a few more good dining options. Bryan Voltaggio’s Range jumps to mind—he’ll open a second location of Lunchbox there soon, too. And on May 10, Chevy Chasers can start ordering margaritas and tamales at Mi Cocina, a Dallas export specializing in Tex-Mex cuisine.
The new restaurant at the Collection (5471 Wisconsin Avenue, Northwest) has a modern, fairly sparse design with potted cacti, massive, modern chandeliers, and some large canvas paintings of desert flowers by artist Luis Sottil. There’s a stone patio off to the side and a pretty glass-walled private dining area that seats 25 people.
This is the 22nd restaurant for the Dallas-based chain, which debuted in 1991. The menu doesn’t reinvent any wheels—you’ll find enchiladas, nachos, tacos, and tamales, and nearly everything is under $20. There’s no happy hour, but drink prices are relatively low for Washington—signature cocktails include a frozen margarita-sangria mashup called the Mambo Taxi. The Mambo Limousine adds Chambord to the slushie and costs $10. Mi Cocina also caters.
Mi Cocina. 5471 Wisconsin Ave., NW, Suite F-1; 301-652-1195 Open Sunday through Thursday 11 to 10 and Friday and Saturday 11 to 11.
Happy Friday, food truck followers! It's a gorgeous day, so plan a picnic lunch with eats from your favorite vendors. A few trucks are off the road today because to attend the food truck hearing. You can read all about the controversy in our earlier story.
Celebrity chef Art Smith—memorable Top Chef Masters contestant and former personal chef to Oprah Winfrey—always has a lot going on. Recent days are no exception. The Art and Soul owner recently debuted a new look for his Capitol Hill restaurant, published his latest cookbook, Art Smith’s Healthy Comfort, and launched the national Taking Diabetes to Heart campaign to better educate those faced with the disease. Smith, who lost more than 100 pounds himself after being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, dished to The Washingtonian about developing healthy recipes, his new restaurant plans for Washington (including in its airports), cooking for the Obamas, and his stance on the food truck situation.
When did you first make the President the recipe for President Barack Obama’s Favorite Glazed Salmon, which appears in Healthy Comfort ?
I made that some time ago. I’ve known the President [since] before he was President—I first met him through Oprah around 2005, and he’s my neighbor in Chicago. At that time I was cooking for Oprah and for the First Family. That recipe was one of his favorites. He’s from Hawaii, and that kind of sweet glaze is very popular.
If you could cook the Obamas any recipe from the book, what would it be?
Knowing their taste—well, they like most everything. There’s a salmon with lentils and mushrooms that’s a really great dish. They’re very fish-driven, and it’s one of my favorite recipes in the book.
Some of the recipes in the book are now on the menu at Art and Soul. Any particular favorites there?
I love my Art Start, which has been on the menu since day one. It’s a really delicious oatmeal. I’ve eaten oatmeal for breakfast for three years. It’s served with berries and Greek yogurt. We also have an egg-white omelet out of the book. In California, at Lyfe Kitchen, we have the un-fried chicken and egg sandwich. Chef Wes [Morton] is working with the book now to bring the various recipes as specials and put them on the menu. For me, learning how to get your act together starts with eating breakfast. I think it’s the most important meal of the day, so that’s where most of my focus has been at the moment.
It’s the nightmare scenario: Even your plan-D brunch spot is booked for Mother’s Day, and you’ve got zero ideas for a good gift. Don’t worry, you don’t have to escort Mom into a suspiciously empty restaurant or hand her an IOU this Sunday. Plenty of spots offer edible items that could serve as a meal, a gift, or, conveniently, both. Below are a few ideas to get you started.
Farmers market crabcakes
In the current issue of The Washingtonian—which you can pick up on newsstands now—food editors shared some of their favorite farmers market finds. At the top of the list: jumbo lump crabcakes from Chris’ Marketplace.
You’ll find the nearly filler-free cakes at the Sunday morning Dupont Circle FreshFarm Market. All they need is a quick sear or turn in the oven and a wedge of lemon, and you have brunch covered. You can also pick up delicious gazpacho at the stand, salad greens and fresh fruit from other vendors, and, of course, a springtime bouquet.
Picnic breakfast basket
Restaurant Eve owners Cathal and Meshelle Armstrong offer a to-go brunch option at Society Fair, their Alexandria marketplace. The Breakfast Bag, which serves four, includes ready-to-bake scones, mixed greens and strawberry citrus salads, an asparagus and house-made sausage strata, mimosa makings, and an optional guilty pleasure celeb rag. The deadline for orders is Friday. Need an additional gift? The shop is filled with specialty olive oils, vinegars, bar necessities, and more.
If you’re doing it right, buying a bottle of wine for someone is a highly personal gesture. You have to know what your giftee likes—Chardonnay, sparkling wine, dry South African varietals, etc.—and offer something that will fit their tastes while also presenting the chance to try something new. For the wine-drinking mother, a well-chosen bottle is a no-brainer gift. Mom feels special, then buzzed; siblings—petals falling from the sad little bouquets clutched in their fists—shrink in the certain knowledge of your new status as favorite kid forever. (Okay maybe not forever, but certainly through Sunday.)
Great news: This moment of M-Day glory can be achieved by even the most novice of wine purchasers, thanks to this mère-minded list of white and rosé options selected by wine experts around town. The best part? They’re all under $25—less than it costs to order a dozen daffodils to Mom’s door.
Happy Thursday, food truck followers! It's almost the weekend, so push through with sweet specials like carrot cake parfait with Greek yogurt and toasted coconut from Seoul Food, banana-chocolate bread pudding aboard Willie’s Po Boy, and strawberry and lemon chiffon ice cream at Captain Cookie.
There’s still time to reserve a table for brunch on Mother’s Day. We already offered you a list of 29 spots—plus these 15 picks from our food editors—and now here are four more options. Nothing strike your fancy? Check out these unusual ideas for feting Mom. Whatever you do, do something. No maternal figure should be ignored on her special day.
Happy hump day, food truck followers! Some of your favorite trucks are serving at Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library's Books and Bites event today, including BBQ Bus and Big Cheese. It's not raining for once, so get outside!
Since opening in late February, Dupont sandwich joint Bub and Pop’s has been the kind of place to roll up your sleeves and dig into a braised beef brisket sandwich dripping with jus (great for soaking up the booze on weekend nights, when it’s open until 3 AM). Still, it’s obvious chef and co-owner Jon Taub aspires to more than stuffed hoagies—note the jars of seasonal pickles displayed across the counter, and the fact that nearly everything on the menu gets prepped in house. The next step: Bub’s Sunday Table, a monthly supper club where Taub transforms the counter-order eatery into a dining room to serve an 11-course tasting menu to a dozen guests. “People come in late night [on Saturday] and they’re fighting outside, and the next day we have foie gras ballotines,” says Taub.
What is the local connection to the massively hyped new film adaptation of The Great Gatsby? Well, as arts editor Sophie Gilbert points out, F. Scott Fitzgerald is buried in Rockville.
But wait, there’s more! Did you know that the rickey—the official cocktail of our city—gets name-checked in the seminal American novel? It happens in chapter seven, during a lunch scene chez Tom and Daisy Buchanan. The book's protagonists consume the cocktail—gin-based in the novel, though the lime-centric long drink can be made with a number of base spirits—in “long, greedy swallows.” Washington’s connection to the rickey? It was apparently invented here.
So if you are a Washingtonian, and entranced by the film event that has the entire nation locked in its glittery grasp, you may as well mix yourself a rickey posthaste. After the jump, a recipe that uses Green Hat gin from New Columbia Distillers in Northeast DC. It comes courtesy of Derek Brown, the man responsible for rediscovering our rickey-rich history.