The Wrap-Up: The Week in Food

Every week we fill you in on what’s been going on in the food and restaurant world.

By: Kate Nerenberg

In a meeting Monday night, DC's Zoning Commission voted to edit restrictions that allowed only 25 percent of storefronts in the "Uptown Arts Overlay District"—mainly the area around 14th and U streets, Northwest—to be occupied by restaurants or bars. The 120-day change upped that number to 30 percent, which means that unfinished projects can be completed. There's a chance the commission will allow for 50 percent in the future.  

Comet Ping Pong has been doling out free sodas for the past month—owner James Alefantis forgot to renew his liquor license for the Northwest DC pizza joint by March 31. In reporting that the booze is back, Tim Carman of the Washington City Paper found out that Comet is without a chef—again. The talented Carole Greenwood left last summer, and Laura Bonino stepped in. Turns out, she wanted to focus all her attention on her Griffin Market in Georgetown, and now Alefantis has taken the creative reigns in the kitchen.

Monday, the James Beard Foundation will bestow its venerable awards on chefs from across the country (see the list of local nominees here). Thanks to modern technology, you don't have to wait until the next day to find out who won. A number of bloggers, including Washington-based writers Carol Blymire (Alinea at Home) and Alyssa Shelasky (Apron Anxiety), will report live from the event on their Web sites. Blymire gained attention while ambitiously cooking her way through Thomas Keller's The French Laundry Cookbook, and Shelasky—who's dating Good Stuff Eatery's Spike Mendelsohn—writes frankly about trying to learn her way around the kitchen.

Veteran baker Mark Furstenberg, who opened G Street Food, Marvelous Market, and Breadline, is putting his culinary touch on Perry's in DC's Adams Morgan. After creating the restaurant's Valentine's Day menu, he turned his focus to the regular menu, and in May, diners will see his pastas, satays, and fish tacos. Tom Sietsema of the Washington Post reports that chef Robert Dahlia, a Buck's Fishing & Camping alum, will take over in June, when Furstenberg can continue working on his own business plans. Perry's owner, Saied Azali, also signed a lease for the market space below his restaurant and will use it for an American bistro.

Sunday at 7 PM, CBS's Anderson Cooper will profile José Andrés—the Spanish chef who introduced Washington to small plates with Jaleo, Zaytinya, and Oyamel—on 60 Minutes. Cooper will focus on the magic Andrés makes at Minibar, his six-seat culinary adventure inside Café Atlàntico. See a trailer for the show here.

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