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Relax over mimosas and eggs on your day off. By Anna Spiegel
Washington restaurants such as Founding Farmers (above) dish out Presidents' Day brunch. Photograph by Scott Suchman.

It’s a big weekend folks: Valentine’s Day on Saturday and Presidents’ Day on Monday, meaning three days of brunch-time fun. These spots are all serving brunch on the federal holiday, so go forth and find your bottomless mimosas and Benedicts.

Boqueria

1837 M St., NW

Unlimited tapas and drinks can be yours at this Dupont Spanish spot, which serves brunch from 10:30 to 2. Think huevos Benedictinos with Serrano ham, garlicky shrimp, and tortillas Española, all washed down with unlimited red, white, and rosé sangria, mimosas, and draft beer.

Copperwood Tavern

4021 Campbell Ave., Shirlington

Eating is an all-afternoon affair at this seasonal American eatery, open for brunch on Monday from 10 to 4. The menu includes dishes like bagels and house-cured lox, and short rib Benedicts.

City Tap House DC

901 Ninth St., NW

This Penn Quarter brewhouse serves à-la-carte brunch from 11 to 3, where the likes of biscuits and sausage gravy or smoked salmon hash can be ordered alongside a bottomless drink bar with Bloodys, mimosas, and beer-mosas ($18 per person).

Cafe Saint-Ex/Bar Pilar

1847 14th St., NW/1833 14th St., NW

These sister 14th Street restaurants both offer brunch starting at 11. Different menus, same laid-back (not to mention hangover-friendly) vibe.

EatWell DC Restaurants

Multiple locations

All four casual eateries in the group, including the Pig, Commissary, Grillfish, and Logan Tavern, serve brunch on Monday.

El Camino

108 Rhode Island Ave., NW

The newest addition to the Bloomingdale dining scene serves its regular Mexican brunch from 11 until 3. The bar will also be open for margaritas and beers between the end of brunch and dinner (starting at 5:30).

El Chucho/Bar Charley

3313 11th St., NW; 1825 18th St., NW

Both of these relaxed spots from Jackie Greenbaum and Gordon Banks—one in Columbia Heights, the other Adams Morgan—open at 10 on Monday for bottomless mimosa brunch. Look for Mexican specialties such as chilaquiles at Chucho, and American fare such as fried chicken and waffles at Bar Charley.


Founding Farmers

Downtown DC/Potomac, Maryland/Tysons Corner, Virginia

All three of these American eateries dish up bountiful brunches. The District and Maryland branches offer the full à-la-carte menu, while the newest (and biggest) Tysons location rolls out a generous buffet with pastries, egg dishes, carving stations, and a pancake bar. Cousin restaurant Farmers Fishers Bakers in Georgetown is also open for Presidents' Day brunch from 9 to 2, with a $30 buffet on the waterfront.


GBD

1323 Connecticut Ave., NW

Say cheers to a Monday off with bottomless brunch punch, fried chicken, and fresh doughnuts from this Dupont joint.


Graffiato

707 Sixth St., NW

Cookies n’ cream waffles and brunch pizzas topped with eggs and bacon can be yours at Mike Isabella’s Penn Quarter Italian, which serves brunch from 11:30 to 3.


Le Diplomate

1601 14th St., NW

Celebrate a short week by splitting a shellfish plateau, baked eggs, and a bottle of bubbly at this popular brasserie, open for regular brunch.



Lincoln

1110 Vermont Ave., NW

Note: This brunch is on Sunday, not Monday, but it’s still a special holiday event. The restaurant named for our 16th President hosts a big brunch bash on Sunday from 11 to 3 with tunes from DJ Neekola (Honest Abe loved deejays), omelet and waffle stations, and specially priced cocktails.

Medium Rare Capitol Hill

515 Eighth St., SE

The Barracks Row location of this popular steak frites joint serves an all-inclusive deal for just $23: bottomless Bloodys, screwdrivers, mimosas, and coffee, plus a choice of yogurt or salad and entrées like steak and eggs or steak-mushroom Benedicts.

Tico

1926 14th St., NW

Drop in from 10 to 3 for an à-la-carte brunch menu that ranges from a smoked salmon platter to spicy fried chicken with fennel slaw and a breakfast burrito. Bottomless mimosas or Bloodys are also available ($19, with a two-hour limit).

Richard Sandoval Restaurants

Multiple locations

Many of restaurateur Richard Sandoval’s restaurants offer their all-you-can-eat-and-drink brunches on Monday, including Masa 14, both locations of El Centro D.F., Toro Toro, and Ambar. The deal includes bottomless small plates and several choices of brunch drinks, all for $35 to $39 per person (prices and cuisine vary by restaurant).

Vinoteca

1940 11th St., NW

Opt for bottomless mimosas ($15) or a lineup of brunch cocktails at this wine bar, alongside Nutella crostini and pan con tomate with fried eggs.

Posted at 09:04 AM/ET, 02/13/2015 | Permalink | Comments ()
A taste of Los Angeles dining in North Bethesda. By Anna Spiegel
Stella Barra opens with Cali-style pies and an LA feel. Photograph courtesy of Stella Barra.

The newest addition to North Bethesda’s growing Pike & Rose development is here. Stella Barra Pizzeria, a pie joint from chefs Jeff Mahin and Francis Brennan of the Chicago-based Lettuce Entertain You Restaurants, opens Thursday with California-style pizzas and seasonal fare.

So what is Cali pizza? It’s less of a physical style, like Chicago deep-dish, and more about the ingredients and look of the eatery. The menu of thin-crust pies are made with flour milled in the Golden State, and topped with the likes of house-made pork sausage and fennel pollen, or prosciutto, chilies, and a runny egg. The meatless crowd can do well with a version heaped with kale and roasted garlic or shaved mushrooms and Gruyère, plus a section of seasonal vegetables prepared five ways, such as “wild” or “roasted." There’s also a “thin sin” (a.k.a. extra-slim crust) option for the carb counters.

The warehouse-like eatery sits next to sister restaurant Summer House Santa Monica and, like its breezy sibling, adopts a West Coast aesthetic—here more Los Angeles than beachfront real estate. Think brick walls and wood-paneled floors, leather couches, and bicycle-themed wall decor, including a mounted Shinola cycle.

Stella Barra Pizzeria. 11825 Grand Park Ave., North Bethesda; 301-770-8609. Open daily at 5.

Posted at 02:19 PM/ET, 02/12/2015 | Permalink | Comments ()
Great last-minute dining options, romantic activities, anti-VDay parties, and more. By Anna Spiegel
Keep your smile over Valentine's weekend with a handy guide. Photograph via Shutterstock.

Valentine’s Day weekend is upon us—and it’s a long one, both literally and figuratively. The amorous holiday is on Saturday of Presidents' Day weekend this year, meaning you technically have from Friday to Monday to celebrate. Need a restaurant recommendation? Want help finding gifts and chocolates? Hoping to avoid the Valentine's dinner crush altogether? We’re here to help.

Take cues from a food critic.

Washingtonian food and wine editor Ann Limpert shares a few fantastic ideas for Valentine’s dining—many of which are perfect for last-minute plans, like where to find killer takeout or a casual platter of oysters. Perhaps the best piece of advice: Go to Shake Shack for a burger and Sauvignon Blanc.

Make a last-minute reservation—or pick a wait-worthy option.

By now the Marcel’s of Washington are full, but there are many more delicious options on our 100 Very Best Restaurants, including ones that serve their regular menus for V-Day and/or don’t take reservations. Here’s what the Top 25 have planned; the list is narrowed for the sake of brevity, so don’t forget about stellar spots that take walk-in diners, such as Baby Wale, Bangkok Golden, and Etto.

Think beyond dinner in a restaurant.

Don’t feel like eating elbow-to-elbow with all the other couples? Go out for Valentine’s brunch, or head to one of the luxe new cinemas where cocktails and snacks are delivered to the seats. There are plenty of offbeat yet romantic ways to spend the weekend that don’t involve prix-fixe.

Find a present (preferably under $50).

Done and done—great ideas for him and her that won’t cost more than a Grant. You can also learn tips for a creating an impressive (and not clichéd) Valentine's bouquet. Or, for less delicate flowers, we have details on a 50 Shades-themed workshop and a recommnded list of take-home accessories.

And what about the chocolates?

Skip the box of Russell Stover and go with a local chocolatier, such as Fleurir Hand Grown Chocolates in Georgetown and Alexandria; Arlington’s Artisan Confections; or Praline Bakery in Bethesda. Health-minded? Check out these tips for selecting the most nutritious treats.

Thinking outside the chocolate box, District Doughnut delivers six-packs of cocoa-infused doughnuts (free in the District) on Friday and Saturday, while Astro sells mini-doughnut boxes with flavors like Nutella-glazed and chocolate-cherry. If your date loves over-the-top gestures, check out these six insane desserts.

Screw all this—Valentine’s Day is the worst!

These places couldn’t agree more, and are hosting anti-Valentine's Day parties, dinners, and concerts. Though if you’re looking for love, check out our Singles Soiree at Penn Social, with plenty of booze and fun games.

Posted at 11:20 AM/ET, 02/12/2015 | Permalink | Comments ()
Every morning, we'll let you know where to find lunch on wheels. By John Scarpinato

Happy Thursday, food truck followers! Don't let the flurries confine you to your desk for lunch. Head out for a Buffalo chicken panini from Amorini Panini or kimchee at Wassub instead.

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Posted at 09:29 AM/ET, 02/12/2015 | Permalink | Comments ()
The former Maestro sous is back in the kitchen with Fabio Trabocchi. By Anna Spiegel
Chef Stefano Frigerio takes the helm at Fabio Trabocchi's Fiola.

Chef Stefano Frigerio, a veteran of Washington’s fine dining Italian scene, has been tapped as the new executive chef at Fiola. The Lake Como, Italy, native first cooked with chef/owner Fabio Trabocchi in 1997 when the two were young cooks in London, and helped open two notable Italian restaurants together.* They rejoined forces in 2002 at the much-lauded Maestro at the Ritz-Carlton Tysons Corner. After the fine dining room closed, Frigerio took the lead role at Mio (then Mediterranean), and also founded his own business, the Copper Pot Food Co., selling homemade pastas, sauces, and preserves at local farmer’s markets and shops. Most recently he's worked as a corporate executive chef at Arnold & Porter law firm while helping raise his young children.

Now Frigerio is back on the line at Trabocchi’s first restaurant, taking over from Michael Maksimowicz. He joins fellow executive chefs Brinn Sinnott (Fiola Mare) and Erin Clarke (Casa Luca) in Trabocchi's growing empire.

* This post has been updated from an earlier version.

Posted at 09:09 AM/ET, 02/12/2015 | Permalink | Comments ()
Fresh options for dining and drinking. By Anna Spiegel
Haute Dogs & Fries now serves bone broth in addition to the usual delicious dogs, above. Photograph by Jeff Elkins.

Bone broth at Haute Dogs & Fries

610 Montgomery St., Alexandria; 609 E. Main St., Purcelville

Bone broth, known to health nuts as medicinal and to chefs as animal stock, is catching on. The newest place to serve it: Haute Dogs and Fries in Purcellville and Alexandria. Local farm Fields of Athenry makes the blend for the hot dog spot by simmering bones with herbs and spices for more than a day. Grab a small one as a beverage, or take it home by the quart.

New lunch at Iron Gate

1734 N St., NW

Drop by Iron Gate's elegant carriageway or garden (warmed with standing heaters) for the new tre breve lunch: any three items from a lineup of small plates, sweets, and beverages for $22. Braised chicken leg over smoked polenta, Greek doughnuts, and an Aperol spritz sound like a tasty way to go.

Prime rib Saturdays at Le Diplomate

1601 14th St., NW

You'll find a new dish on Le Dip's plat du jour menu: prime rib. The beef is cured in salt and herbs for 24 hours before a slow roast in the oven, and is served with jus and pommes purée ($40). Look for the special on Saturdays only.

Anniversary specials at Flight Wine Bar

777 Sixth St., NW

This Penn Quarter wine bar celebrates their one year anniversary with two specials. Each Wednesday a special bottle of wine will be 35 percent off after 7. On Saturday, guests can try the "redeye special," $7 glasses of wine from any open bottle from 10:30 onward.

Kids' tasting menus at Trummer's on Main

7134 Main St., Clifton

If your kid craves duck confit over chicken fingers, you many want to treat him/her to the new five-course "petit gourmand" menu at Trummer's. The lineup for mini foodies includes dishes such as mozzarella arancini and seared salmon, and can be paired with an optional mocktail ($38 per child; $7 mocktails).

Posted at 02:57 PM/ET, 02/11/2015 | Permalink | Comments ()
A throwback bar and brasserie takes over the former Pour House space in Capitol Hill. By Anna Spiegel
Stanton & Greene, a cocktail bar and brasserie, brings American classics to Capitol Hill. Photograph courtesy of Stanton & Greene.

Oysters Rockefeller. French dip sandwiches. Whiskey punch. These are a few of the throwback items you'll find at Stanton & Greene when the bar and brasserie opens on Capitol Hill in the next two weeks. The atmospheric space channels mid-20th-century grandeur over three floors, each outfitted with cocktail bars for pouring creations from barman Erik Holzherr (Wisdom, Church & State). Hill vets Jared Rager and Eli Hengst of Sonoma and August Paro from Beuchert's Saloon came together for the concept, which takes the place of longtime dive Pour House. Here's what to expect.

Retro design: Fans of the former Steelers bar won't recognize the interior, which Paro—a film set designer by trade—remade with mid-19th-century style in mind. The main dining room on the ground floor boasts cognac-hued leather booths, vintage porcelain wall tiles, and a thick marble bar. An oak staircase leads upstairs to a private event space—or overflow room on busy nights—outfitted with an Art Deco bar and skylights accenting the lofty ceiling. A large basement area is still in the works, but Paro says it'll be the most elegant of the three stories.

Surf-and-turf croquettes, brandied lobster: We got a first look at chef Josh Hutter's menu, inspired by classic American dishes from the 1940s. The lineup is meant to be drink-friendly, with hearty appetizers like steak-and-lobster croquettes or oysters Rockefeller, and mains such as a triple-pork burger with bacon-infused patties, bacon aïoli, and crispy strips on top. Weeknight specials include homey eats like pasta and red sauce or fried chicken on Sunday evenings, and Tuesday lobster nights. Look for all-day service once the eatery is up and running, with lunch, happy hour/bar menus, supper, and eventually weekend brunch.

Historically inspired sips: Holzherr's cocktails riff on classics and take their name from District history. Take the L'Enfant martini—named for the planner of the city's layout—which mixes French Chambord, vodka, and Passoa passionfruit liqueur. Drinkers can also sip bourbon milk punch and a twist on the Negroni.

The name fun fact: What's the meaning behind Stanton & Greene anyway? Like many other Hill spots, the name nods to the politicized location. The eatery is close to Stanton Park, named for President Lincoln's secretary of war, Edwin Stanton. In the green space stands a statue of Revolutionary War general Nathanael Greene. We're guessing Edwin & Nathanael just didn't have the same ring to it.

Stanton & Greene. 319 Pennsylvania Ave., SE.

Posted at 11:36 AM/ET, 02/11/2015 | Permalink | Comments ()
Trummer's on Main launches a five-course tasting for tots. By Anna Spiegel
Trummer's on Main launches a five-course kids' menu. Photograph via Facebook.

Children with a taste for seared salmon and elderflower now have a place to dine. Trummer's on Main is playing the culinary equivalent of dress-up, launching a five-course "petit gourmand tasting menu" geared toward the elementary school set. Among the offerings: arancini, short ribs, and an optional mocktail pairing.

The idea for chef Austin Fausett's elevated kids' menu came about from owners Stefan and Victoria Trummer, who have two young children of their own and liked the idea of parents and kids discovering high-end cuisine together. Like the grown-up version, dishes on the children's tasting menu are seasonal and change weekly. They can also be ordered à la carte. The price tag for the mini-menu is much higher than a happy meal—$38 for five courses, plus $7 beverages like the Virgin Titanic, with green grapes, elderflower sorbet, and soda. Still, the plates go way beyond chicken fingers—think Virginia ham and Emmentaler cheese, garganelli pasta tossed with beef stroganoff, and miniature chocolate cakes.

Trummer's isn't the only restaurant in the area catering to young palates. Härth in McLean launched a Foodie in Training menu for kids last year.

Posted at 10:20 AM/ET, 02/11/2015 | Permalink | Comments ()
Every morning, we'll let you know where to find lunch on wheels. By Emily Codik

Happy Wednesday, food truck followers! Celebrate this bright, sunny day with a pink snickerdoodle from Captain Cookie or South Indian thali from Chatpat Truck.

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Posted at 10:09 AM/ET, 02/11/2015 | Permalink | Comments ()
A nautically themed eatery debuts on the Georgetown waterfront. By Anna Spiegel
Orange Anchor brings beachy fare, boat delivery, and plenty of rum to the Georgetown waterfront. Photography by Jeff Elkins.

It still feels like winter, but there's a taste of summer arriving this week with the opening of Orange Anchor on the Georgetown waterfront. The newest restaurant from Reese Gardner (Irish Whiskey, Copperwood Tavern, Second State) will be a perennial fixture near the Potomac, but still channels warmer months with a jaunty nautical theme, lobster and shrimp rolls, and orange crushes. Here's what to look for when the 124-seat space opens on Friday.

A jaunty nautical vibe carries throughout the restaurant. Look for a patio this spring.


Duck confit corn dogs, dollar oysters:
Guests can pick between lunch and dinner menus to start, with Saturday and Sunday brunch beginning February 21. The offerings run seasonal and local when possible, but also follow an ocean and boardwalk theme—think clams casino, duck confit corn dogs, crab-and-avocado BLTs, and seared swordfish. Adding to the already-popular waterfront happy hour scene will be "oyster hour," where fresh-shucked bivalves go for $1 from 5 to 6 Monday through Friday.

Caviar tacos: You'll also find items for Champagne tastes and budgets. Try starting the evening with caviar tacos ($32), hackleback roe piled onto two potato "shells." A decadent choice for after: twin Maine lobster tails served with rum-spiked butter sauce, plus a side of lobster mac 'n' cheese—because you can.

Look for water-friendly fare like lobster and shrimp rolls (above), duck confit corn dogs, and caviar tacos.


Enough booze to sink a ship:
No boater's restaurant would be complete without plenty of alcohol. Beers run from craft drafts such as Anchor Steam to easy-drinking cans of Natty Boh. The yachting crowd will find familiar concoctions on the cocktail list—mules, orange crushes, martinis with stuffed olives—as well as a large selection of rums, including a number infused with citrus.

A captain's delivery service: The seasonal Nauti Foods boat won't be the only supplier of floating goods this summer. Orange Anchor offers delivery for boats tied up in Washington Harbour, including sandwiches, salads, and bags of ice. Solo captains who need help docking can also call the boat delivery line (see below) for help from the restaurant's deckhands.

The bar pours easy-drinking beers, orange crushes, and 40 varieties of rum.


Outdoor space:
Once the weather catches up to the beachy vibe, a large outdoor patio will hold 48 guests. Until then, stick a Landshark Lager in one of the restaurant's koozies and dream of summer.

Orange Anchor. 3050 K St., NW; 202-802-9990 (boat delivery: 202-802-9989). Open Monday through Thursday 11 to 1, Friday 11 to 2, Saturday 10 to 2. Brunch (beginning February 21): Saturday and Sunday 10 to 3.

Boat delivery service offers sandwiches, salads, and ice to captains.

Look for $1 oysters between 5 and 6 on weekdays.

Posted at 03:20 PM/ET, 02/10/2015 | Permalink | Comments ()