The Week in Food Events: Thanksgiving, Free Burgers, and Black Friday Specials

Plus a new Smithsonian food exhibit and new restaurants to discover.

Society Fair offers Black Friday discounts this week. Photograph by Erik Uecke.

Free pumpkin tartlets: Paul Bakery celebrates the grand opening of its fourth Washington-based cafe in Foggy Bottom on Monday, and is celebrating by doling out pumpkin tartlets to the first 2,000 people who make a purchase on opening day.

Opening exhibit: Here’s a winner for everyone who has relatives in town and doesn’t want to visit Julia Child’s kitchen for the billionth time: The Smithsonian unveils its first-ever food-focused exhibit—“Food: Transforming the American Table 1950-2000”—on Tuesday at the National Museum of American History. You’ll find an exploration of our food culture, alongside fun artifacts such as a Krispy Kreme doughnut machine.

Millions of peaches: Head to the Passenger on Wednesday from 7 to 10, where local distillery Catoctin Creek debuts its Short Hill Mountain peach brandy. Not in the mood for the strong stuff? DC Brau is also releasing a variety of its Citizen Ale—aged in Catoctin’s peach brandy barrels.

Thanksgiving: Perhaps the best food holiday of the year is upon us, and we have you covered for all your cooking and eating needs in our 2012 guide. Whipping up a feast? There are plenty of tasty recipes. Feel more like relaxing? We have multiple lists of restaurants offering bountiful meals, plus spots offering Thanksgiving items to go.

Free burgers: Z-Burger is giving away food again, this time in the name of Black Friday. The first 100 customers at the Tenleytown, Columbia Heights, or Southwest Waterfront locations will get a gratis burger or cheeseburger on a Black Friday-themed bun (yes, it’s actually black), while everyone else can score the Darth Vader of meatwiches for half off through 6 PM.

Old Town, new discounts: Shops and eateries in Old Town Alexandria get into the Black Friday spirit with deals and special opening hours. Check out the full list, which includes items for the culinarily minded like up to 30 percent discounts at La Cuisine, a $10 lunch at RedRocks, 10 percent off at Society Fair, and more.

New restaurants: This week is light on organized events with the Thanksgiving holiday, but that doesn’t mean you should take a break from exploring Washington’s happening food scene. Things have been busy lately in terms of restaurant openings, and we rounded up a dozen new spots to try, whether you want to impress visitors with an upscale experience or decompress from family time with the likes of booze, pastrami, and/or ramen.

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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.