Elisir’s Cooking Class and a Spirit Sampling: The Week in Food Events

Plus: ten courses of duck and a chocolate lovers’ festival.

Enzo Fargione (pictured here with staff) teaches a pasta class this Saturday. Photograph by Kyle Gustafson.

Taking the edge off a post-Oscars Monday is a tasting of local Catoctin Creek spirits at J&G Steakhouse’s wine bar from 6:30 to 9:30. Distillery owners Scott and Becky Harris will be there, answering all your alcohol-related questions while you sample their rye, whiskey, gin, and brandy paired with small plates such as bacon-wrapped shrimp and crabcakes. There are only a handful of tickets left, so reserve quickly! Added incentive: You’ll get a Catoctin flask to take home, so no more brown paper bags.

Great Lakes Brewing Company—arguably the best thing out of Cleveland since Michael Symon’s soul patch—is finally available on draft in NoVa starting this week, and there’s a full lineup of festivities. On Tuesday, there’s one tap takeover at Virtue Feed & Grain in Alexandria and another two at Rustico locations in Alexandria and Ballston. The Great Lakes crew will be hopping around handing out free swag.

In the realm of non-liquid sustenance, duck lovers can head over to Dino on Tuesday and Wednesday for a whopping ten-course dinner. Everything from apps (Vietnamese summer rolls with duck leg) to dessert (panna cotta with caramelized duck cracklings) will feature the bird. Call 202-686-2966 to reserve.

Unfortunately, the food truck dinner on Tuesday at the National Press Club is sold out, but if you want to sample eats from Big CheeseGo FishLemongrass Truck, and others alongside Chocolate City Beer, you can still be added to the waitlist.

If you’re in the vicinity of the city of Fairfax this weekend, you can check out the annual Chocolate Lovers Festival, which has been providing cocoa-filled delights since 1992. Get your chocolate fix at a number of locations over the three-day event, including a grand chocolate tasting at Old Town Hall, a chocolate-themed menu at Coyote Grill, and face painting and other children’s activities.

Here’s a cool opportunity for your Saturday afternoon: Chef Enzo Fargione is leading a pasta and sauce class at Elisir from 10 AM to 2 PM. You’ll start off learning the methods behind five dishes, including cavatelli and shellfish ragu, ricotta-spinach cannelloni with sausage, and asparagus-saffron risotto, before sitting down to a pasta lunch with wine pairings. The group is limited to 16, so call 202-546-0088 for reservations soon.

Brunch plans for Saturday? We have you covered: A crew of chefs, baristas, and mixologists are gathering at Jack Rose from 12:30 to 3 to whip up a mix of sweet and savory items. Look for brunch cocktails from Gina Chersevani and the Jack Rose crew, bites from the Liberty Tavern group, Bar PilarDomkuShake Shack, and more, and coffee drinks courtesy of Peregrine Espresso. The event is part of the lead-up to April’s culinary extravaganza Taste of the Nation, and all ticket sales go toward Share Our Strength.

On Sunday, cap off a busy week with a relaxing flower-arranging class and afternoon nosh at the Embassy Circle Guest House, courtesy of FreshFarm Markets. Dave Dowling of Farmhouse Flowers and Ellen Frost of Local Color Flowers lead a course on how to make springtime centerpieces while guests sip rooibos tea sangria from the Columbia Room’s Katie Nelson and sample bites from Atwater Bakery and pastry chef Tiffany MacIsaac. RSVP to

Or keep going like it’s Saturday night at the American Lamb Pro-Am at the Hotel Palomar, where top chefs and local bloggers are teaming up and competing for the best lamb-centric dish. Teams include Mary Kong with 1789 chef Anthony Lombardo (Chinese roast lamb with rice noodles); Russell Warnick and John Critchley from Urbana (Welsh rarebit lamb nachos); and more. Go for the meaty dishes paired with wine and beer, stay for the voting, and buy tickets here.

Food Editor

Anna Spiegel covers the dining and drinking scene in her native DC. Prior to joining Washingtonian in 2010, she attended the French Culinary Institute and Columbia University’s MFA program in New York, and held various cooking and writing positions in NYC and in St. John, US Virgin Islands.