Common Threads Gala, Ducati at Bar Pilar, and an Equinox Pop-Up: The Week in Food Events

Plus: Charles Woodson’s wine, the Sweetlife festival, and Georgetown’s French market.

Grab dinner at Hank's Oyster Bar this Thursday, and part of your bill will go towards sick people in need. Photograph by Kyle Gustafson.

Happy Wednesday, food folk. Dispel hump-day blues with a Norwegian-themed beer dinner at Birch & Barley, where Nøgne Ø Brewery and founder Kjetil Jikiun will pair nine brews with a five-course menu from chefs Kyle Bailey and Tiffany MacIsaac. Think Nordic treats such as beet-cured Arctic char with dill, pork-pumpernickel dumplings, and honey-roasted squab. The dinner runs from 7 to 10 PM, and is $73 per person. Call 202-567-2576 for reservations.

The big-ticket benefit of the week is An Evening With Common Threads on Thursday from 6 to 9 PM, a chef-driven gala that supports the organization’s programs teaching low-income children to cook wholesome meals. Guests gather at the Liaison Capitol Hill with hosts chef Art Smith, cofounder of Common Threads, Carla Hall, and a slew of big-name chefs like Michel Richard, Mike Isabella, Scott Drewno, and Nora Pouillon. Also count on plenty of wine and a Scotch and whiskey tasting. Tickets are $150 per person and can be purchased here.

Green Bay Packers fans should head to Assaggi Mozzarella Bar in Bethesda on Thursday at 7 PM. Packers cornerback Charles Woodson “tackled” the wine world with his own label, Twentyfour by Charles Woodson, and will be pouring his creations during the hour-long reception and four-course meal ($150 per person). There’s also a silent auction with football memorabilia signed by the star. Got a foam cheesehead lying around? For $150, Woodson will John Hancock your own NFL stuff. Call 301-951-1988 for reservations.

Like beer, bikes, and free swag? Then Cafe Saint-Ex is the place you’ll want to be on Thursday at 7 PM, as the recently revamped neighborhood spot teams up with Coleman PowerSports to throw a sneak preview of the Ducati 1199 Pangiale motorbike–we’re not big bike people here on Best Bites, but we can certainly vouch for the $3.50 Peronis that will be served. Come for the machismo, stay for the free stuff from Ducati, Coleman, and Peroni.

Head to Hank’s Oyster Bar, Urbana, Tosca, and 130 more restaurants this Thursday during the 16th annual Dining Out for Life campaign, where partial or all proceeds from participating restaurants’ sales go towards Food & Friends’ clients suffering from HIV/AIDS, cancer, and other life-threatening illnesses. Bonus: Queen Force One, a group of fun-loving drag queens, will visit these eateries throughout the evening.

Equinox chef Todd Gray is the latest chef to drop into LivingSocial’s Penn Quarter event space for an evening pop-up restaurant, this Friday through Sunday, and he’s focusing on some of the ingredients he typically does best: seasonal seafood such as oysters, crab, and rockfish (see the four-course menu). The $74 per person price tag includes the meal, wine and cocktail pairings, and live music, and can be purchased online. Can’t find a sitter? On-site child care will cost you $39 per kid.

Sweetgreen’s Sweetlife food and music festival is this Saturday, and if you haven’t already snagged tickets for the stellar lineup of food ‘n’ fun, you can still skip the $75 entrance fee and win free tickets from our own After Hours blog. If you’re not feeling creative, there are still regular admission tickets left (sorry, aspiring Very Important Persons). Expect to munch on dishes from Toki Underground, the Pepe Truck, Luke’s Lobster, and lots of others, while listening to the sweet tunes of the Shins, Kid Cudi, and so on.

Brabo goes Italian on Saturday for a five-course wine dinner with Tuscan winery Valdicava and its winemaker Vincenzo Abbruzzese. Dishes from chef Chris Watson include Italian fisherman’s stew, veal tortellini Bolognese, fennel-crusted Colorado lamb, and rhubarb soufflé–all paired with a Valdicava or other Italian wine ($150 per person). Call 703-894-3440 for reservations.

Aspiring Francophiles should head to Georgetown this Friday and Saturday for the ninth Annual French Market, where upper G-town (a.k.a. Book Hill) is transformed into an open-air, Parisian-style market from 10 to 5 each day. Culinary treats include half-price sweet crepes at Cafe Bonaparte, $6 wine tastings and a 15 percent discount on wines at Bacchus Wine Cellar, and grilled merguez sausages at Patisserie Poupon, though you’ll also find plenty of enticing discounts at clothing boutiques and home stores.

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.