•Happy July 4, everybody! In the mood for burgers? If so, it’s your kind of week. Columbia Heights residents just got a new Five Guys, and you’ve probably heard about a certain Top Cheffer’s burger spot on the Hill, which is opening Monday. But this past Tuesday came an even bigger development on the upscale fast food scene. That's when Ray’s the Steaks proprietor Michael Landrum unveiled Ray’s Hell-Burger (1713 Wilson Blvd., Arlington)—the official name is Butcher Burgers, but nobody’s calling it that—in the same stripmall as his jampacked steakhouse.
According to Landrum’s post on Donrockwell.com, the chargrilled patties are 10-ounces of freshly ground premium and prime aged beef, and come with toppings such as charred jalapenos, roasted garlic, and mushrooms sauteed with sherry and brandy. We’re most excited about the cheeses, which include an all-the-time lineup of Vermont cheddar, Gruyere, and smoked mozzarella (among others) plus a changing variety of fancier cheese shop finds like the excellent Smokey Blue from Oregon’s Rogue Creamery, Bel Paese, and runny, stinky Epoisses. At Ray’s the Steaks you get complimentary creamed spinach and mashed potatoes with your dinner; here, the freebies are buttered corn and a slice of watermelon.
•The Rammy Awards, presented each year by the Restaurant Association of Metropolitan Washington, took place last Sunday night at the Marriott Wardman Park (check out our bling-tastic party recap here). Top prizes this year went to Equinox (Fine Dining Restaurant of the Year); Eric Ziebold of CityZen (Chef of the Year); Barton Seaver, formerly of Hook (Rising Culinary Star of the Year); Heather Chittum of Hook (Pastry Chef of the Year); and in a surprise, the Source (New Restaurant of the Year), which bested Central Michel Richard, this year’s winner of the Best New Restaurant James Beard Award. Former Washington Post restaurant critic Phyllis Richman was also honored with the Duke Zeibert Capital Achievement Award. You can scan the full list of winners of here.
•Apples and Bananas chats with Penny Karas, owner of the forthcoming Dupont Circle bakery Hello, Cupcake. Besides vegan and gluten-free cupcakes, Karas reveals that her shop, which will look like “a boutique or a little high-end jewelry store,” will also sell dog-friendly miniature confections called “Lola’s Pupcakes.” Ruh-roh.
•Metrocurean has the scoop on new grower/producer-only farmers markets in Fairfax (Wednesdays from 3:30 to 7 PM at the Fair Lakes Whole Foods, 4501 Market Commons Dr.), Reston (Thursdays from 3:30 to 7 PM at Reston Town Center in the Town Square), and Oakton (Saturdays from 8 AM to noon at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Fairfax, 2709 Hunter Mill Rd.). There’s also a new farmers market in DC’s Palisades neighborhood (Sundays 9 AM to 1 PM, 48th Pl., NW at MacArthur Blvd.) with locally grown produce, baked goods from BlackSalt pastry chef Susan Wallace, and live music. Meanwhile, over at the Dupont Circle FreshFarm market (1500 block of 20th St., NW) this Sunday, Ici Urban Bistro chef Phillip Piel will be doing a cooking demo starting at 11 AM.