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A bounty of Chinese and Kenyan specialties on the Mall. By Vicky Gan

Catch Chinese and Kenyan cooking demonstrations on the National Mall this weekend. Photograph courtesy of the Smithsonian.

Curators of the Smithsonian Folklife Festival wrestle with the same problem every year: fitting the cuisine of an entire country into a single concession stand. The two-week event, which concludes Sunday, July 6, on the Mall, celebrates cultural traditions in the US and around the world, from Appalachian bluegrass to Bhutanese archery. This year’s spotlight is on China and Kenya, with both cuisines represented in the festival’s concessions and foodways demonstration areas.

So what can you expect to eat when you visit over the holiday weekend? China’s concession feature Chinese-American staples such as lo mein, as well as more unusual dishes such as Szechuan ma po tofu with minced pork and spicy chili sauce. Many Washingtonians have become familiar with the latter at places like Great Wall Szechuan. Program curator Preston Scott faced a sharper learning curve when it came to African cuisine. 

“Americans may think, ‘Kenyan cooking—what could that possibly be?’” says Scott. “They’ll see similarities that may not be quite as strange as they anticipated.”

Folklife partnered with Beltsville’s Swahili Village and a number of Kenyan caterers to create traditional dishes, which are split into coastal and uplands varieties. Coastal cooking, served at the Spice Routes Cafe, features ingredients including coconut milk, basmati rice, and masala spices familiar to Indian food lovers. Meanwhile, at Choma Grill, guests can dig into grilled meats and ugali, a cornmeal mash similar to polenta.

Foodways demonstrations offer more opportunities to explore the depths of each cuisine. In China’s Five Spice Kitchen pavilion, chefs prepare regional specialties including duck-blood glass noodle soup and zongzi, sticky-rice tamales eaten during the Dragon Boat Festival. Due to National Park Service regulations, guests won’t be able to sample dishes prepared in the demonstration areas, but the festival posts recipes online so visitors can try them at home.

Since the weekend is looking steamy, you can beat the heat at China’s concession stands with a cucumber salad and a mango coconut dessert that resembles tapioca pudding. On the Kenyan side, snack on meat and veggie samosas, perfect for festival eating on the go. Both areas also highlight the great equalizer of beer—Tsingtao for China and Tusker for Kenya, among other national brews.

Posted at 10:17 AM/ET, 07/03/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
Free hot dogs and crepes, all-you-can-eat mussels, and plenty of beer. By Anna Spiegel
Watch Team USA's fourth world cup match over Belgian and American specials like free dogs, discount beers, and all-you-can-eat mussels. Photograph via Shutterstock.

Team USA faces the Belgians today in the World Cup’s round of 16. Even though kickoff is near happy hour at 4, many bars are opening at noon (or before) and expecting large crowds. If you’re planning on watching at one of these popular spots, make sure to sneak out of work early for free hot dogs and crepes, discounted boots of beer, all-you-can-eat mussels, and other themed specials for the big game.

Black Squirrel

2427 18th St., NW

The Adam’s Morgan bar starts its usual Tuesday all-you-can-eat mussels night early, beginning at 3 for the match. Several varieties, all $16.50, include mussels simmered in tomato-white wine sauce or with garlic and chorizo.

Belga Café and B Too

514 8th Street, SE; 1324 14th St., NW

Stop into either of Belgian-born chef Bart Vandaele’s restaurants for dueling Belgian and American specials. The restaurants pit Stella Artois against Budweiser to see which sells more; Bud buckets and bottles go for $15 and $5, respectively, while Stella sells for $23 and $7. You’ll also find glass giveaways and a raffle for a USA World Cup jersey. Additionally, B Too will serve a special menu of Belgian dishes and beers for its competition against the Pig (see below).

Buffalo Billiards

1330 19th St., NW

If a large, air-conditioned space with plenty of beer sounds good for the game, head to this subterranean Dupont bar with five ten-foot screens and 62 smaller ones. Specials include $5 Palm Speciale Belgium and New Belgium Snapshot drafts, and $15 pitchers.

The Bullpen

1299 Half St., SE

One of the biggest outdoor viewing parties will likely be DC’s official one at Freedom Plaza, but the police could make things less free if you break out a beer. Head to the spacious open-air bar outside Nationals Park instead for $6 Miller Lite, Coors Lite, Blue Moon, and Red’s Ale, food truck fare, frozen drinks, cornhole, and the game on a 165-square-foot screen. Doors open at 3.

Columbia Firehouse

109 S. St. Asaph St., Alexandria

You’ll find the match on a large, high-definition screen and a lineup of USA specials at this viewing party, including $9 double cheeseburgers and chili-cheese half-smokes. Wash it down with specially priced Miller High Life and Belgian-style American craft brews.

Dacha Beer Garden

1600 Seventh St., NW

Cheers with $10 glass boots of Belgian and American beers at this popular Shaw beer garden. The Germans may have beaten the US team, but we won’t hold it against their brewers, especially when half-liter mugs go for $5. The bar opens at noon.

Duke’s Grocery

1513 17th St., NW

Hang out on the outdoor patio while watching the game from a window-mounted television. Happy hour runs from noon to 7, and you’ll find Belgian-style (but locally made) Port City Optimal Wits for $5. Shots of Absolut vodka, Fireball, and rye also go for a Lincoln. If the US scores a goal (fingers crossed), the shooters are free.

Food Wine & Co.

7272 Wisconsin Ave, Bethesda

Drop into this Bethesda bar and restaurant to watch the match while sipping $1 Sam Adams drafts and snacking on $5 fried chicken. The deals start at 4, and aren’t offered in the dining room.

Granville Moore’s

1238 H St., NE

The doors open early at 3 for a watch party fueled by $5 Bavik beers and a limited number of Raging Bitch bottles, as well as the usual lineup of mussels and fries. Any tabs open before the end of the match get the neighborhood 12.38-percent discount all night long.

The Pig

1320 14th St., NW

This porky restaurants made a wager with its Belgian neighbor, B Too: Whoever wins the match gets to choose a guest at the watch party and offer him or her a free dinner for four at the other’s eatery. A special American menu includes burgers, dogs, and sausage gravy-smothered “freedom fries.”

Roofers Union

2446 18th St., NW

Regardless who wins, there’s free food for American and Belgian fans alike in the form of complimentary “dirty water dogs” and crepes. The spread will be offered in the second-floor dining room during the first half of the game, which you can also catch on the rooftop deck.

Tyber Bierhaus

7528 Old Georgetown Rd., Bethesda

American, Belgian, and German beers are the name of the drinking game at this bierhaus, and you’ll find $2 off half-liter drafts during happy hour from 4 to 7. Also get half off wings, onion rings, and select beers during the game, and a sausage platter with a liter of cold brew for $20 during happy hour.

Posted at 10:30 AM/ET, 07/01/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
Barbecues, brunches, picnics, happy hours, and more. By Anna Spiegel, Vicky Gan, Maddy Berner
Hit Marvin for brunch, and then head to the roof deck for boozy snow cones. Photograph by Stephanie Breijo.

You don’t have to hit the beach to have fun this Fourth of July weekend. Restaurants and bars throughout Washington are celebrating with outdoor barbecues, pool parties, special brunches, all-day happy hours, and more. And if you’re planning on heading down to the Mall or the Georgetown waterfront to watch the fireworks, make sure you pack a picnic.


Poolside barbecue at Art and Soul

415 New Jersey Ave., NW

Fancy a dip? The Liaison Capitol Hill throws a rooftop pool party with all-American eats from Art and Soul—think burgers, hot dogs, and corn on the cob. Tickets ($35) get you all-day access to the hotel pool and a limited view of the fireworks (food and drinks are priced individually).

Patio barbecue at Cafe du Parc

1401 Pennsylvania Ave., NW

Celebrate America’s birthday with a block party-style feast before hitting the fireworks at this French bistro in the Willard InterContinental. The kitchen grills up hamburgers, hot dogs, and vegetarian wraps from noon to 8 on the patio, while you can also purchase $15 picnic lunches to go to from the à-la-carte menu.

All-you-can-eat cookout at Cashion’s Eat Place

1819 Columbia Rd., NW

Enjoy homestyle favorites such as slow-roasted pork shoulder, corn dogs, and coleslaw at Cashion’s all-you-can-eat cookout on July 4. Service runs from 2 to 6 or whenever food runs out, so come early and hungry—the restaurant will not be open for regular dinner service. Tickets ($40) are required for the party and include a cocktail.

No-cover party and boozy pops on the DNV Rooftop

1155 14th St., NW

One of the best roof top pool bars in DC revisits its “freedom from cover charges” bash on July Fourth. Look for the regular, individually priced menu of Asian-inspired eats from Zentan like pork belly bao buns, tamarind-beef tacos, and Jon Harris’s cocktails. Another plus: boozy red, white, and blue popsicles. There’s no direct view of the fireworks, but you can catch them on an outdoor screen. The doors open at noon, and it’s best to get there early for a space.

Boozy popsicles and deejays at the Gibson

2009 14th St., NW

Hit this 14th Street cocktail bar’s back patio for alcoholic popsicles and tunes from DJ Jazmine and DJ Eskimo from noon to 8 (no-reservation admission is free, pops are $6). You can pad the stomach with $1 veggie burgers and hot dogs.

’Cue and tunes from Hill Country

401 F St., NW; 410 Seventh St., NW

Hill Country’s Backyard Barbecue at the National Building Museum opens from 2 to 9 on July 4 with the regular menu of barbecue eats and live music by Jeremy Steding and the Slim Kings (free admission; food and drink priced individually). Should you decide to head inside, the Penn Quarter restaurant serves special cocktails like a watermelon-vodka “watermelon crawl,” and throws a free post-fireworks show by Jonny Grave and the Tombstones at 9:30.

AmeriCan Drink Dependence Day at Jack Rose

2007 18th St., NW

Nothing says freedom like inexpensive canned beer, and you’ll find plenty of it during Jack Rose’s rooftop party. Flying Dog supplies $4 Snake Dog IPA and Easy IPA from noon to 5 ($5 from 5 until close) as well as $5 to $6 drafts alongside food specials. Another party July 3 features a Sam Adams tap takeover, more inexpensive pours, and $4 beer snow cones.

Unlimited punch and half-smokes at Lincoln

1110 Vermont Ave., NW

Starting early on Monday, June 30, you’ll find specials on American beers including $3 PBR, $5 Jack’s Hard Cider, and $6 Port City Pilsner. On July 4 the party includes unlimited drinks from the “emancipation punch bowl” and a barbecue menu ($30 adults; $15 kids under 12).

Roof-deck barbecue at 1905

1905 Ninth St., NW

Hit the deck at this Shaw bistro and bar for an outdoor bash from 3 to 10 featuring 3 Stars beer, and grilled fare such as burgers and ribs. Tickets ($15; $20 at the door while available) include either two gratis beers or a choice of protein and two sides. Extra beers and food are $5.

First Annual Freedom Fest at Republic

6939 Laurel Ave., Takoma Park

Republic hosts an al fresco beer and barbecue festival from 11 to 7 featuring live music from Yamomanem and Human Country Jukebox. More than 25 local brews will be on tap, along with cookout classics like slow-smoked pork, deviled eggs, and corn on the cob. Tickets include free-flowing beer and food, and run $35 for a four-hour pass (11 to 3 or 3 to 7), or $50 for the whole day. Those looking to just swing by can grab $1 oysters in the tent outside the restaurant.

Patio party at 701

701 Pennsylvania Ave., NW

The Penn Quarter restaurant opens its outdoor patio for an Independence Day cookout. An à-la-carte menu features starters and sides such as green eggs and ham and Mexican grilled corn for $4 to $8, and heartier barbecue fare like pulled-pork sandwiches and Chicago-style hot dogs for $8 to $15. The 701 dining room is also open for regular business from 4 to 10.

Dinner and dancing cruise aboard Spirit and Odyssey Cruises

600 Water St., SW

Skip the crowds on the Mall and catch the fireworks from the water aboard these sister vessels, which host dinner cruises on July 4. The Odyssey trip starts at 6 and includes a three-course meal, open bar, and dancing ($275). The Spirit ride involves a dinner buffet, open bar, and deejays ($200). Both offer full views of the light show and end at 11:30.

All-you-can-eat and $1 oysters at Teddy & the Bully Bar

1200 19th St., NW

Just a couple of blocks from Dupont Circle, this presidential-themed eatery has a whole lineup of specials for the holiday. Stop in between 2 PM and 1 AM for $1 oysters, happy hour specials, $8 cocktails, and an all-you-can-eat menu of grilled fare, salads, sides and desserts for $32 per person ($16 for kids 12 and under).

There’s no charge for an outdoor party at the DNV Rooftop, which serves its regular menu of Asian-inspired eats and drinks. Photograph by Jeff Elkins.


Astro Doughnuts & Fried Chicken

1308 G St., NW

Show your stripes with Astro’s picnic basket ($36), which includes eight pieces of fried chicken, three USA doughnuts (vanilla with raspberry drizzle and blueberries), three chocolate birthday cake doughnuts, and one pint of potato salad. The picnic feeds four and is available for pickup on July 4 from 11:30 AM to 5:30 PM. Place your order online, e-mail, or call 202-809-5565.

Boundary Road

414 H St., NE

Take your Fourth of July feast to go with a fried-chicken bucket ($40) from Boundary Road. The picnic-ready package includes eight pieces of fried chicken, watermelon salad, potato salad, and cookies for four, and must be reserved by Thursday, July 3. Call 202-450-3265 to place your order, then pick up at the restaurant on the Fourth.

Society Fair

277 S. Washington St., Alexandria

Society’s Fair BBQ bag for four ($75) comes with cookout essentials like pulled pork, barbecue chicken, coleslaw, honey cornbread, and potato salad. Reserve online or call for availability. Bags can be picked up at the Alexandria store from Thursday at 11 until Friday at 2.

Pearl Dive Oyster Palace

1612 14th St., NW

Fried chicken lovers can pick up some of the best in town when preordering Pearl Dive’s crispy bird buckets. The $35 deal includes six pieces of dark-meat chicken, German-style potato salad, slaw, jalapeño corn muffins, and blueberry hand pies. Orders must be received 24 hours in advance.


3222 M St., NW

Stop by this Georgetown bocce and bowling restaurant for a game and some takeout before watching the fireworks from the waterfront. The Italian fare includes sandwiches and party platters like Italian grinders and a roast turkey cobb.

Take Pearl Dive’s tasty fried chicken to go alongside biscuits and sides. Photograph by Scott Suchman.


EatWell DC restaurants

Various locations

All five of EatWell DC’s restaurants serve brunch on July 4, including the Heights, the Pig, Commissary, Logan Tavern, and Grillfish. Offers vary by location, from $1 oysters and $5 American drafts at Grillfish to a swine-centric barbecue menu at the Pig.

Granville Moore’s

1238 H St., NE

Sip cocktails and munch on brisket hash, sourdough French toast, and eggs Benedict as part of this Belgian gastropub’s special Firecracker Brunch. At 4 PM, Granville turns into a day-drinking haven until the fireworks at 9.


2007 14th St., NW

A limited brunch menu runs from 11 to 6 for all your egg-and-mimosa needs. Hit the upstairs roof deck before or after for boozy snow cones, available starting at noon.

Richard Sandoval restaurants

Various locations

Each of Richard Sandoval’s six DC establishments offer unlimited brunch for patriotic patrons, including Masa 14, both El Centro D.F. 14th Street and Georgetown, Ambar, Toro Toro, and Zengo. The $35 feast includes all-you-can-drink cocktails, wine, and beer, and never-ending dishes. Flavors vary by eatery, from Latin-Asian-style drinks and eats at Masa to Balkan fare at Ambar.

Tequila abounds at El Centro D.F., where you’ll find all-you-can-eat-and-drink brunch on the Fourth. Photograph by Erik Uecke.



613 Pennsylvania Ave., SE

The Capitol Hill bourbon bar is serving up an all-American menu featuring lobster rolls, Chicago-style hot dogs, and deep-fried apple pies. Happy hour starts at 4 PM, with $3 Bud and $5 American bourbons and whiskeys.

The Heights

3115 14th St., NW

Boozy red, white, and blue floats are offered all day ($9), with cooling combinations such as gin, St. Germain, bubbly, and sorbet. The regular happy hour menu runs 3 to 7.

Capitol City Brewing

4001 Campbell Ave., Arlington

A tri-colored brew, $8 cocktails, and food specials for the entire holiday weekend will be available at Capitol City Brewery’s Arlington location. Grab a burger-and-beer combo or a wing-and-beer combo and get Capitol City Core Four beer included. Members of the military receive 10 percent off.


1904 14th St., NW

Policy starts the weekend on Thursday with an all-night happy hour, including a $5 food menu and other drink specials. On Friday and Saturday, pair a cocktail with items from the Patriotic menu: pulled-pork sliders or fried chicken drizzled in honey.

Urban Butcher

8226 Georgia Ave., Silver Spring

Kick-start your weekend with an early happy hour at Urban Butcher, starting at 3 on Thursday. The Silver Spring market/restaurant is also serving brunch on the Fourth from 11:30 AM to 5 PM, with happy hour running all day.

Posted at 03:16 PM/ET, 06/30/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
Cheer on the US against Germany with free hot dogs, cheap beer, and more. By Anna Spiegel
Snag free hot dogs at Ivy and Coney this weekend. Image via Shutterstock.

Team USA’s performance against Portugal may have been incredibly disappointing on Sunday, but that’s all the more reason to cheer on the squad when they face off against Germany on Thursday at noon. In case you missed them the first time around, here are specials for cheering—and, fingers crossed, cheers-ing—them on American style, from free hot dogs to plenty of Bud.

Penny beers at Drafting Table

What’s more American than cheap beer? Every time Team USA scores a goal, you can celebrate with a penny draft. The bar is a headquarters for the World Cup, showing all 64 matches with plenty of specials, so better get there early for a seat (or even standing room).

Bud America tallboys at the Blaguard

This Adams Morgan pub is a hub for Washington sports, so it only makes sense it’s rooting for the American team. During USA matches you’ll find $4 red, white, and blue Bud tallboys. 

Dollar dogs at the Pug

Say U-S-A! at this Atlas District dive, which serves $1 dogs and $3 Bud tallboys during American matches. 

Free dogs at Ivy and Coney

Nothing says freedom like cheap meat. Grab a gratis hot dog with the purchase of a beer, including the bar’s signature Chicago dogs from noon to 4 (limit two per customer).

Two-buck cans at Bracket Room

Reality TV and inexpensive beer? Sounds like an American evening. Score $2 cans of beer during the game at The Bachelorette alum Chris Bukowski’s sports bar. The “Sports Junkies” from 106.7 The Fan will be hanging out starting at noon, and you'll also find a new lunch menu.

“Fu*k it buckets” at Kangaroo Boxing Club 

To say that KBC is jazzed about the World Cup is an understatement—just check out its flag-bedecked patio, where you can watch the game on projection screens, and extended hours. While not explicitly devoted to Team USA, you’ll find a very American serving of fried food in the “fu*k it buckets” ($12). 

RBVs at Public (Dupont and Tenleytown locations)

Pay homage to the red, white, and blue with $5 Red Bull vodkas during the match and $3 Bud and Bud Light during games at these sister sports bars. 

Free doughnuts from Astro Doughnuts & Fried Chicken

Snag a free red, white, and blue doughnut if the US wins; 32 are available, the number of teams in the World Cup. The patriotic rounds are also available for $2.50 as long as our team stays in the tournament. 

Cornhole and Bud at Penn Social

If you like to play the all-American game of cornhole while watching games on the big screen, this Penn Quarter sports bar/playground is your place. The bar serves $3 Bud Light for all matches, boasts ample televisions of all sizes, and offers various other games such as basketball and skeeball. 

World Cup Budweiser at Lucky Bar 

This Dupont watering hole screens soccer year-round, so you’ll find a devoted crowd sipping official World Cup Budweiser bottles ($5 each). The rest of the menu skews Brazilian, with Rio-style street fare. 

More Cheap Bud and apps at Tommy Joe’s

Catch the game at this Bethesda sports bar over $3 Budweiser and Bud Light, $6 appetizers, and other game-time specials.

Posted at 10:50 AM/ET, 06/25/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
Where to find free hot dogs, cheap beer, and more. By Anna Spiegel
Snag free hot dogs at Ivy and Coney this weekend. Image via Shutterstock.

One of the great things about the World Cup is its global appeal, but we have to give a little extra support to Team USA. Their win against Ghana during game one spurred even more excitement for team, a momentum we hope carries over when they match up against Portugal on Sunday at 6. While almost every bar in town runs World Cup specials, here are a few honoring America with hot dogs, cheap drinks, and plenty of Bud. 

Penny beers at Drafting Table

What’s more American than cheap beer? Every time Team USA scores a goal, you can celebrate with a penny draft. The bar is a headquarters for the World Cup, showing all 64 matches with plenty of specials, so better get there early for a seat (or even standing room).

Bud America tallboys at the Blaguard

This Adams Morgan pub is a hub for Washington sports, so it only makes sense it’s rooting for the American team. During USA matches you’ll find $4 Bud tallboys, while weekend specials include $4 mimosas and screwdrivers until 7. 

Dollar dogs at the Pug

Say U-S-A! at this Atlas District dive, which serves $1 dogs and $3 Bud tallboys during American matches. 

Free dogs at Ivy and Coney

Nothing says freedom like cheap meat. Grab a gratis hot dog with the purchase of a beer, including the bar’s signature Chicago dogs. You’ll have to wait until the June 26 match against Germany at noon to enjoy the deal during an American game, as the offer is only valid noon to 4.

Two-buck cans at Bracket Room

Reality TV and inexpensive beer? Sounds like an American evening. Score $2 cans of beer during the game on Sunday, as well as food specials at The Bachelorette alum Chris Bukowski’s sports bar.

“Fu*k it buckets” at Kangaroo Boxing Club 

To say that KBC is jazzed about the World Cup is an understatement—just check out its flag-bedecked patio and extended hours. While not explicitly devoted to Team USA, you’ll find a very American serving of fried food in the “fu*k it buckets” ($12), and a ’merican breakfast for starting the day with eggs, home fries, bacon, and fruit ($9). 

RBVs at Public (Dupont and Tenleytown locations)

Pay homage to the red, white, and blue with $5 Red Bull vodkas during the match and $3 Bud and Bud Light during games at these sister sports bars. 

Free doughnuts from Astro Doughnuts & Fried Chicken

Snag a free red, white, and blue doughnut if the US wins; 32 are available, the number of teams in the World Cup. The patriotic rounds are also available for $2.50 as long as our team stays in the tournament. 

Cornhole and Bud at Penn Social

If you like to play the all-American game of cornhole while watching games on the big screen, this Penn Quarter sports bar/playground is your place. The bar serves $3 Bud Light for all matches, boasts ample televisions of all sizes, and offers various other games such as basketball and skeeball. 

World Cup Budweiser at Lucky Bar 

This Dupont watering hole screens soccer year-round, so you’ll find a devoted crowd sipping official World Cup Budweiser bottles ($5 each). The rest of the menu skews Brazilian, with Rio-style street fare. 

Pitchers and shots at Caddie’s on Cordell

Watch the game on multiple TVs at this Bethesda sports bar while downing $7 pitchers of Miller and $5 Fireball shots until close. You’ll find plenty of happy hour deals on other days (because happy hour is pretty darn American). 

Posted at 12:00 PM/ET, 06/20/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
Counting down deals from a Hamilton to free. By Anna Spiegel
Happy hour deals from $10 to free, like gratis slices of pizza while drinking $4 beers at Piola. Photograph by Andrew Propp.

Between knocking off work early and needing to get outside (or cool off) with a cold beer, summer in Washington is high season for happy hours. Looking to save some money? Below you’ll find a number of options for $10 and under—everything from swanky martinis and freshly shucked oysters to dollar brews and free food. 

$10 mussels and fries at St. Arnold’s

1827 Jefferson Pl., NW; 3433 Connecticut Ave., NW

Some of the tastier pots of mussels in town for a Hamilton? We’re in, especially for the house special simmered in beer, garlic, and duck fat. Look for the deal all night long—alongside half-price half liters of beer—at the Cleveland Park location on Monday, and again from 9 to 11 on Wednesday and Sunday. The Dupont location serves the moules Monday through Friday 3:30 to 6:30. 

$9.50 Tanqueray gin martinis or Maker’s Mark Manhattans at Vidalia

1990 M St., NW

Keep it classy with one of the best cocktail happy hours in town. The pours are generous, and the white-tablecloth setting is swanky, so take a date and impress him/her on the cheap. You’ll also find discounts on Southern bites such as $4.50 rock-shrimp hushpuppies and $3.50 duck confit deviled eggs. 

$9 pizzas and supermugs at Chef Geoff’s

Locations in DC, Tysons Corner, and Rockville 

Chef Geoff’s happy hours fall under the category of oldies but great-ies. Look for a bountiful menu of specials at all four locations (here’s an example from downtown DC). Times and deals vary slightly, but all offer $8.95 pizzas and “supermugs” (almost a liter) of craft brews throughout the day Monday and Tuesday, and from 3 to 7 Thursday and Friday.

$7.75 barbecue shrimp and grits at Johnny’s Half Shell

400 N. Capitol St., NW

Head to this Capitol Hill institution for the weekday happy hour menu, which includes a number of food and drink options. Our order: barbecue shrimp with Asiago cheese grits, and a $9 margarita if we’re splurging. 

$6 bubbly and oysters at Republic

6939 Laurel Ave., Takoma Park 

Drop in for $1 Chesapeake oysters and $5 bubbly among the many happy hour deals from 3 to 7 Monday through Friday. If you’re in the area and looking for bivalves, Jackie’s (8081 Georgia Ave., Silver Spring) serves $5 glasses of cava and $1 oysters Tuesday evening throughout the summer.

$5 plates of tacos, wings, and whiskey at Smoke & Barrel

2471 18th St., NW 

You’ll find a lively crowd at this Adams Morgan ’cue and whiskey spot, taking advantage of two nights of specials: platters of smoked wings on Mondays until 11, and three tacos plus a side on Tuesdays until 9. Try the tangy “Buffalo blue” wings cloaked in sauce and cheese, and barbecue pork tacos. To pair with your snacks is $5 select whiskey (Monday through Friday 5 to 7). An unusual twist: Both the bird and tacos can be made vegan, so yes, chicken-less wings exist. 

$4 dumplings and sojutinis at Mandu

1805 18th St., NW; 453 K St., NW

The namesake mandu are some of the best things on the menu at the sister Korean spots; six steamed or pan-fried dumplings stuffed with shrimp, beef, pork, or veggies. You can wash them down with $4 sojutinis and liquor drinks daily 4 to 7, as well as late night at the K Street location. 

$3 bison sloppy Joe sliders and shots of Overholt Rye at Cashion’s

1819 Columbia Rd., NW 

Skip the jumbo slice and head to Cashion’s for the revival of its “after dark” menu, which runs from 11 to 1 on Friday and Saturday evenings. You’ll find $3 to $5 eats such as an Italian hero or the chef’s riff on a sloppy Joe, plus $3 shots of whiskey. Note there is also a regular early evening happy hour.

2-for-1 drinks at DC Reynolds

3628 Georgia Ave., NW 

Happy hour is a buy one, get one free affair at this Petworth spot, which includes any and all drinks—even the fancy ones. A spacious outdoor patio only sweetens the deal, which runs Monday through Friday 5 to 9.

$1 oysters at Mussel Bar 

7262 Woodmont Ave., Bethesda; 800 N. Glebe Rd., Arlington

Get more dollar bivalves at Mussel Bar in Bethesda and Arlington. The deal runs all day Monday in Maryland (as well as daily 4 to 6), and every Tuesday in Virginia. 

$1 beer at the Red Derby 

3718 14th St. NW

This Columbia Heights cash-only bar is no-frills, which is why we love it. Hit the roof deck for $1 Natty Boh, Stroh’s, and Budweiser ponies on weekdays from 5 to 8. All beers are a buck off, so you can get fancy with a $4 hefeweizen. 

½ off bubbly and cocktails at Red Light 

1401 R St., NW

Both pre-dinner and night owl crowds find deals at this new 14th Street drink and dessert bar. The bar offers 50 percent discounts on beers, wines by the glass, bubbly, and specialty cocktails on weekdays from 4 to 7, and again from 11 to last call Sunday through Wednesday. 

Free appetizers at Piola 

2208 14th St., NW; 1550 Wilson Blvd., Arlington

Drinkers can eat for free on weekdays from 4:30 to 7:30 at Piola’s 14th Street and Arlington locations. Sip discounted drinks including $4 beers, $5 wines, and $6 cocktails while servers pass around gratis platters of thin-crust pizza, bruschetta, meatballs, and more. 

Posted at 02:05 PM/ET, 06/19/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
A crawfish boil and barbecue to go are among the delicious options. By Vicky Gan
Society Fair in Alexandria is offering a “BBQ bag” for your holiday weekend cravings. Photograph by Erik Uecke.

Looking to indulge in a leisurely brunch (or crawfish boil) this weekend? Plenty of restaurants are serving up everything from Benedicts to boozy specials.

Bar Charley

1825 18th St., NW; 202-627-2183

Sample a new selection of tiki cocktails every Sunday night starting May 25, and dig into half-price burgers and $5 orders of wings from 10 PM to midnight Monday through Thursday and from 11 PM to 1 AM on Friday and Saturday, now through the end of June. Both Bar Charley and its sister restaurant, El Chucho, will open for brunch at 10 on Memorial Day.

Bayou Bakery

1515 N. Courthouse Rd., Arlington; 703-243-2410

Chef/owner David Guas channels his New Orleans roots with a crawfish boil this Saturday starting at 4. The Louisiana mudbugs will be served for $12 a pound with corn and new potatoes. Also look for Abita beer specials.


1443 P St., NW; 202-299-0018

Try the pastrami Benedict, available only on Memorial Day, along with other brunch staples such as omelets, scrambles, and pancakes. With the restaurant’s new Breakfast Club app, you can also get a free coffee or tea with your entrée. Sister restaurants The Pig, Grillfish, Logan Tavern, and The Heights will also serve brunch on Monday. The Pig’s bourbon happy hour will run from 3 to 7 PM.

Copperwood Tavern

4021 Campbell Ave., Arlington

Enjoy $1 oyster happy hour from 4 to 7.

Irish Whiskey Public House

1207 19th St., NW

Champagne is $1 a bottle with any $10 food purchase from 10 AM to 4 PM Saturday through Monday.

Jack Rose Dining Saloon

2007 18th St., NW; 202-588-7388

Dress like a pinup to win prizes at Jack Rose’s Memorial Day party, which will feature a cookout, $5 Fordham & Dominion beers, and Sloop Betty vodka cocktails. The winner of the pinup contest gets a trip to Delaware’s Dover Downs casino and a spot on Fordham & Dominion’s pinup calendar, while runners-up take home a boozy gift basket or tickets to Rams Head Live or Pier Six Pavilion in Baltimore. The fun starts at 2 PM.


1904 14th St., NW; 202-387-7654

In the mood for Old Bay? For $45, indulge in an all-you-can-eat crab feast this Sunday at Logan Circle hangout Policy. The restaurant’s fourth annual Crab Festival also includes hushpuppies, corn on the cob, and hot dogs, along with live music and $5 Atlas Brew Works drafts. Space is limited, so buy tickets in advance online.

Shake Shack

1216 18th St., NW; 800 F Street, NW

In a Memorial Day tradition, Shake Shack brings back its seasonal Shack Corn Dog ($4.50), served with Rick’s Picks sweet corn relish. Chase it with the pecan-pie concrete ($4.25/$6.50), a vanilla frozen custard blended with an entire slice of pecan pie.

Society Fair

277 S. Washington St., Alexandria; 703-683-3247

Take your weekend feast to-go in a “BBQ bag” that includes pulled pork, kielbasa, potato salad, and honey cornbread. Each package is $75 and serves four; for an additional $38, you can get a strawberry-swirl cake that serves six. Call to reserve one for pickup on Friday or Saturday.

Also open on Memorial Day:

Kimpton Hotel restaurants—including Firefly, Urbana, Poste, and Jackson 20—are open for brunch on Monday.

Richard Sandoval’s DC eateries—El Centro D.F. (Georgetown and 14th Street locations), Ambar, Zengo, Masa 14, and Toro Toro—are offering bottomless brunches on Monday.

Posted at 11:31 AM/ET, 05/22/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
From casual spots to sleek service, bakeries and ice cream. By Anna Spiegel
City Burger, one of ten new restaurants, opened on Friday. Photograph by Michael Harr.

We’re just over halfway through the month, and already ten eateries have opened—with more on the way. Take time to explore a new bakery, ice cream shop, casual bar, or date night-worthy restaurant. The perk of being a Washingtonian these days: plenty of options.

Bread Furst 

4434 Connecticut Ave., NW; 202-765-1200

Mark Furstenberg, the master baker often credited with raising the bread bar in Washington through the original Marvelous Market and Breadline, returns on the scene with an anticipated bakery. You’ll find plenty of breads, but also look for bagels, sweets, lunch items, and ready-made dinners. An old-fashioned soda fountain will start up this summer. 

Brasserie Beck Kentlands

311 Kentlands Blvd., Gaithersburg 

Chef Robert Wiedmaier expands in the Maryland suburbs, bringing a version of his sleek downtown Belgian to the Kentlands. Brasserie Beck classics including steamed mussels, beef carbonnade, and plenty of Belgian brews join new menu items such as tartines and steak au poivre. 

City Burger

7015 Wisconsin Ave., Chevy Chase

The team behind Food Wine & Co. and Fish Taco enter the fast-casual burger game with this 15-seat shop, which opened on Friday. Most menu items run $7 and less, including all-natural patties with a variety of toppings, hot dogs, house-made ice cream shakes, and fries. 

Dino’s Grotto

1914 Ninth St., NW; 202-686-2966

Just months after the original Dino closed in Cleveland Park, owners Dean Gold and Kay Zimmerman resurrected the neighborhood Italian spot in Shaw this week. Look for a smaller menu divided between “Dino regulars”—classics such as wild-boar pappardelle and cioppino—and “market” seasonal specialties. A basement-level bar will serve a late-night menu and infused cocktails. 


1819 Seventh St., NW

A College Park favorite arrives in Shaw, bringing fresh seafood and Turkish specialties from Istanbul native Ferhat Yalcin. The casual lunch and dinner menus are similar to the original, with crispy fish sandwiches, tacos, and falafel, but look for brunch and a more upscale, reservation-only tasting menu soon. 

Macon Bistro & Larder

5520 Connecticut Ave., NW; 202-248-7807

Chef/owner Tony Brown brings his own style of French-Southern fare to a garden-esque space in Chevy Chase. Fusion dishes like pork tenderloin with peaches and chèvre soubise join more classic bistro and down-home specials (beef bourguignon, fried chicken). The “larder” provides pantry items, snacks, and meals to go. 

Nicecream Factory 

2832 Clarendon Blvd., Arlington; 703-951-3134

The area’s first liquid nitrogen ice cream shop officially opens in Clarendon on Saturday, though you can still snag scoops during the soft opening. The made-to-order ice creams aren’t all a product of chemistry; the owners don’t use preservatives or artificial ingredients, relying on local, grass-fed milk, fresh fruits, and more.

Pizza Parts & Service

1320 H St., NE; 202-388-6880

The Taylor Gourmet crew dives into the pizza game at their new shop, formerly Taylor Charles Steak & Ice. Thin-crust pies, both round and square, are the focus, while classic pizzeria items—wings, garlic knots, calzones, and salads—round out the options. Delivery within a certain distance just became available. 

Rebellion DC

1836 18th St., NW; 202-299-0399

Those looking for a no-frills bar/restaurant in the Dupont/lower Adams Morgan environs can head to this American watering hole. Sip craft beers or whiskeys on the roof deck and front patio, while extended happy hour between 3:30 and 8 draws deal-seekers. The menu leans Southern, with dishes such as smoked wings and shrimp and grits. 

&Pizza Bethesda

7614 Old Georgetown Rd., Bethesda

The first Maryland branch of this local pizza chainlet sets up shop in Bethesda. The fast-casual format remains the same: Customers can order specialty pies or build their own from an eclectic variety of crusts, sauces, toppings, and finishes. Unlike many quick-grab spots, you can also linger over beers and house wine.

Posted at 01:30 PM/ET, 05/20/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
Gospel brunches, boat cruises, vineyard trips, and more. By Anna Spiegel
Sing and feast at the Howard Theatre gospel brunch. Photograph by Scott Suchman.

Brunch at a nice restaurant is the Mother’s Day go-to (and for that we have a handy guide). Why not think outside the breakfast box on May 11? Turn the tables and treat Mom (a.k.a. Queen of Activity Planning) to a fun day, whether that means feasting on a Southern buffet during a gospel concert, taking her to a food-lover’s museum-restaurant, or hitting the water for a brunch boat cruise.

Go gospel

It’s hard not to feel uplifted by these brunch-time concerts. The Howard Theatre hosts a 1 PM show (doors open at 11:30) with a Southern brunch buffet, bottomless mimosas for $15, and music by the Harlem Gospel Choir ($35 in advance). Over in Maryland, the Janine Gilbert-Carter Quartet serenades the crowd at the Bethesda Blues & Jazz Supper Club over brunch starting at 10 ($40 tickets). The Hamilton is another great bet, but they’re sold out this Sunday.

Hit the water 

If Mom is the cruising kind of gal, Entertainment Cruises hosts special Mother’s Day trips aboard the Odyssey and Spirit, with brunches and dinners, live music, and water views of Washington’s top sites (prices and times vary). More of the active type? Consider gifting her a kayak or paddleboard trip from Boating in DC—including twilight tours and paddleboard yoga—and then take her out for a casual meal in Georgetown; Neapolitan pies at Il Canale come to mind.

Dine in the museum 

There’s much more to museum dining than fast food courts. The Garden Café at the National Gallery of Art is a food-lover’s favorite, hosting a rotating lineup of big-name chefs who design the menu. Currently Michel Richard (Central) is behind the buffet with an a la carte lineup inspired by paintings in the French collection.

We also love the Source adjoining the Newseum, which serves a three-course Mother’s Day menu and “live action stations” serving dumplings and oysters.

Tour the Dupont Circle FreshFarm Market (founders Bernadine Prince and Ann Harvey Yonkers pictured above). Photograph by Melissa Golden.

To market, to market 

If mom is a foodie-shopaholic, she’ll love browsing the stalls at local markets for everything from fresh spring produce to ready-to-eat goods. The Dupont Circle FreshFarm Market is the biggest in DC on Sunday. Stop at Chaia for delicious breakfast tacos made with eggs and seasonal veggies—market mushrooms, feta, and salsa rojo is a recent favorite—before heading onto Chris’ Marketplace for quick-grab crab cakes for brunch, Bonaparte Breads for French pastries, and much more (see some more favorites here).

The Olney Farmers & Artists Market begins for the summer season on Mother’s Day, and you’ll find a number of special events, from ice cream demos to a kid’s tent, in addition to the long list of food and craft vendors.

Moms also love Union Market, where you can shop for home goods at Salt & Sundry, artisanal knives from DC Sharp, and bountiful foodstuffs between eating at the likes of Rappahannock Oyster Bar, Bidwell, and more.

Get a taste of history

Mother’s Day fun fact: President Woodrow Wilson instituted a nationwide observance of the holiday in 1914. The Willard InterContinental—where Wilson held meetings to plan the League of Nations—celebrates the 100th anniversary of the holiday with a special luncheon from noon to 2 ($100 adults; $40 children 12 and under; free for kids under 5) featuring Wilson’s wax lookalike borrowed from Madame Tussauds DC and a photo contest.

If Mom prefers our nation’s first leader, head to George Washington’s Mt. Vernon estate near Alexandria. A Martha Washington impersonator and her “granddaughters” share stories with visitors, and you can treat your own matriarch to a special Mother’s Day buffet from 11 to 5:45 ($29.84 adults; $14.52 children 6 to 11; free for kids under 5).

Wine, wine, and dine her

Virginia’s wine country isn’t far for those with wheels. Browse our recent guide, “A Vineyard for Every Taste,” to determine the type of tasting Mom will like best. Many offer Mother’s Day specials, including discounts and wood-fired pizzas at Barrel Oak Winery, live music at Boxwood, brunch at Breaux Vineyards, and more. The area is also full of great restaurants for a meal between tastings.

Posted at 01:40 PM/ET, 05/07/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
Where to sip discount margaritas, eat tacos, and celebrate all weekend long. By Josh Paunil
Cinco de Mayo starts early this weekend with free-flowing margaritas across the city. Photographs by Scott Suchman.

Cinco de Mayo may land on a Monday, but Washington restaurants and bars are celebrating all this weekend. Read on for details on parties, margarita and taco specials, brunches and more.

Casa Oaxaca

2106 18th St., NW

Starting on Saturday you’ll find happy hour from 3 to 6:30 with $5 margaritas, sangrias, antojitos, and $4 tequila-tamarind shots. Sunday and Monday bring brunch starting at noon.

When: Saturday, May 3, through Monday, May 5


701 14th St., NW

In addition to house margaritas ($5) and Mexican street fare, this downtown Latin spot celebrates Cinco with a monthlong passport tasting menu. The regional cuisine includes papas con chorizo (Mexican potatoes and sausage) and sour-orange pork tenderloin. May is also margarita and tequila festival month at the restaurant, so you can keep the party going long after the 5th.

When: Starting Monday, May 5, 3 to close


1443 P St., NW

There’s a five-course dinner tasting menu ($30) available for just 25 people, and you can throw in six drink pairings—including Sauza tequila, mezcal, and Negra Modelo—for an additional $10.

When: Monday, May 5, starting at 7

Del Campo

777 I St., NW

Get the party started early with this taco celebration in Penn Quarter on Saturday. The all-inclusive ticket ($30) includes food, drink, and a guest-voted taco competition.

When: Saturday, May 3, noon to 3

El Centro D.F.

1819 14th St., NW; 1218 Wisconsin Ave., NW

An all-you-can-eat buffet ($10) at both locations includes carnitas, tacos, refried beans, and other Mexican comfort fare, as well as $5 margaritas. Dance it all off to tunes from a deejay.

When: Monday, May 5, 5 to 11; deejay 7 to close

El Chucho Cocina Superior

3313 11th St., NW

You can show up early on Monday for a special menu of breakfast burritos, and stay for drinks through the afternoon. Offerings include margaritas on tap ($4.50), frozen margaritas ($5.50), and Tecate tallboys ($3), in addition to $12 tequila flights.

When: Monday, May 5

El Rey

919 U St., NW

The recently opened restaurant will serve a special five-pork taco ($5) along with an assortment of margaritas.

When: Monday, May 5

Spots such as Fish Taco offer discount margaritas and plenty of tasty Mexican eats.

Fish Taco

7945 MacArthur Blvd., Bethesda

It’s a family affair at this Mexican-inspired taqueria, which is offering frozen margaritas ($5) and draft beers ($4) as well as complimentary cheese fondue for kids.

When: Monday, May 5

Fuego Cocina y Tequileria

2800 Clarendon Blvd., Arlington

Chef Alfredo Solis, a Mexico City native, recreates some of his favorite street eats for a special Cinco de Mayo small-plates menu. An all-day happy hour will accompany the dishes, with specials on margaritas.


1727 Wilson Blvd., Arlington

Start drinking margaritas at noon on Saturday at this Arlington spot. Signature drinks include the MargaChela, a baby Corona inside a house margarita.

When: Saturday, May 3

Masa 14

1825 14th St., NW

Whether you’re drinking at the 74-seat bar or the 64-seat rooftop deck, festivities involve three different types of margaritas ($5 each): classic, strawberry, and mango. You can also try pairing them with five small plates ($5 each).

When: Monday, May 5, 3 to close


600 14th St., NW

A team of DC mixologists will guest-bartend throughout the evening, with a specially created cocktail for $6. Ongoing specials include Dos Equis and Tecate beer ($3), tacos ($5), and El Jimador Blanco tequila shots ($6).

When: Monday, May 5

Rosa Mexicano

5225 Wisconsin Ave., NW; 575 Seventh St. at F St., NW

Mariachi bands, margarita discounts, special menus, and more are part of this Mexican chain’s “five days of Cinco.”

When: Through Monday, May 5

Taco Bamba

2190 Pimmit Dr., Falls Church

Taste a variety of tacos all in one place at chef Victor Albisu’s Bamba Bowl, where eateries including Oyamel, Mexicana Bakery, and more compete to make the best. Tickets are $30, inclusive of food and drinks.

When: Saturday, May 3, noon to 3

Third Annual Running of the Chihuahuas

Between Sixth and Seventh sts., SW

This annual charity race featured nearly 100 chihuahuas last year. The speediest pups can win more than $500 in cash and prizes, while their owners can enjoy Pacifico beers, live music, and food. The admission-free event allows non-Chihuahua owners to get involved with the best-dressed-dog and best-trick competitions.

When: Saturday, May 3, noon to 3

Tortilla Coast

400 First St., SE/1460 P St., NW

It’s a weekend of specials at these sister spots as they kick off their celebrations with Dos Equis drafts ($3) Friday and continue with Tecate bottles ($3) Saturday and Coronaritas ($10) Sunday. Come Monday you can enter to win a new Corona Beach Cruiser for every Corona you buy.

When: Friday, May 2, to Monday, May 5

Town Tavern

2323 18th St., NW

The open bar requires an online RSVP, but you can just show up and enjoy the taco baskets ($3), Coronas ($4), and margaritas ($5). You also get half off your first drink if you wear a mustache or sombrero.

When: Saturday, May 3; open bar 8 to 10, drink specials until midnight


781 Seventh St., NW

Cut out of work early for a party with free chips, salsa, and hors d’oeuvres in the lower-level lounge, starting at 3. Drink specials, including flavored margaritas ($5), will be accompanied by music at night.

When: Monday, May 5; free food at 3, deejay 7 to close

Posted at 12:21 PM/ET, 05/02/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()