Free Meatballs, Oyamel’s Tequila Fest, and Artini: The Week in Food Events

Plus: A wine tasting at Agora and Urbana’s cheesemaking class.

Carmine’s celebrates National Meatball Day by giving away the goods. Photograph courtesy of Carmine’s via Facebook.

There will be tequila and mezcal, and plenty of it, during Oyamel’s festival celebrating Mexico’s famous spirits, running March 5 through 18. There’s a lot going on—including free tastings on weekdays at the bar—so here are just some highlights: complimentary mezcal cocktails today from 4 to 6, specials such as spiced orange chicken wings, and a dinner this Tuesday at 7 with Ron Cooper of Del Maguey, one of the top mezcal producers (call 202-628-1005 to reserve). The focus this week is on mezcal; next week will be all about tequila. Check the website for the full lineup.

Bringing new meaning to the term free-balling, Carmine’s is serving complimentary meatballs today through Sunday in commemoration of National Meatball Day. The deal: Get six friends together for a lunch or dinner reservation and receive a gratis order of six beef-and-veal meatballs, slow-cooked in the house marinara.

It’s restaurant week in Frederick, and more than 20 eateries, including LunchboxShab Row Bistro, and Acacia, are offering lunch and/or dinner prix-fixe meals. The menus are available on the website.

You can sample artistic cocktails this week during the start of the fifth annual Artini, a month-long event in which Washington’s top mixologists compete by creating artful sips inspired by works in the Corcoran collection. (Full disclosure: The Washingtonian is a sponsor.)

Throughout March, a series of “feature nights” (Tuesday through Thursday, 6:30 to 8:30) are held at restaurants and bars throughout the city. This week starts off with cocktails from Joe Cleveland at Oyamel (Tuesday), Sam Haltiwanger of Ardeo + Bardeo (Wednesday), and Rachel Sergi from Jack Rose Dining Saloon (Thursday). Don’t forget to vote for your favorites, and buy your tickets for the big event on March 31.

Agora is hosting a wine tasting on Thursday from 7 to 8:30 that’s worth checking out: For $45 you’ll get samples of Bordeaux-style blends from Justin winery in Paso Robles, California, plus Mediterranean tapas from chef Ghassan Jarroui. Seating is limited, so call 202-332-6767 for reservations.

Learn how to make fresh fromage blanc, mozzarella, and halloumi on Saturday from 3 to 5 with chef John Critchley, who leads the class in his kitchen at Urbana. You’ll get to snack on charcuterie and cheeses and taste wine while getting the rundown on creating cheese at home, and take home recipe cards at the end. The class is $40, including tax and tip. Call 202-956-6650 or e-mail Lindsey Walker ( for reservations.

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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.