The Week in Food Events: Taste of the Nation, Hank’s Oyster Fest, and Free Cocktails at Ping Pong Dim Sum

Plus piggy dinners at Dino.

Apparently April is National Empanada Month. Celebrate accordingly at Cuba Libre. Image via Shutterstock.

Chef-tacular: The big ticket event this week is Taste of the Nation, Share Our Strength’s fundraiser at the National Building Museum on Monday. A whole host of chefs, bartenders, winemakers, and participating restaurants share bites and sips, all in an effort to end childhood hunger in America. Tickets start at $105 and go up to $150 for VIP access.

Empanada happy hour: April is National Empanada Month (why not?), and Cuba Libre celebrates with a variety of stuffed specials. This Monday is the official “empanada hour,” with $1 empanadas, $5 caipirinhas, and $4 sangria from 4:30 to 6:30 PM.

Happy birthday, Matchbox: The local pizza chainlet celebrates the tenth anniversary of its original Chinatown shop this month, and you’ll find a number of specials at the founding location. Alumni bartenders will serve up cocktails and give away eats and drinks on Monday; Tuesday you’ll find $10 pizzas, and Wednesday brings a $10-for-ten mini-burger deal. Also mark the calendar for a patio party on April 18.

Burger pop-up: Trummer’s on Main launches its burger and spiked milkshake pop-up on Tuesday, which runs through Thursday from 5 to 9 PM. See the full “burger bar” and boozy shake menu in our preview.

Pig dinner: If you somehow didn’t get enough swine at Cochon 555, head over to Dino on Tuesday at 6:30 PM for a dinner made from a hefty Mangalista hog ($69 per person; $99 with wine pairings). Since it’s tough to take down a 425-pound pig in one evening, you’ll find specials and a $49 pork tasting menu starting on Wednesday until the dishes run out.

Feel the wrath: Granville Moore’s teams up with Leopold Brothers for a booze-fueled Seven Deadly Sins dinner on Tuesday at 6:30 PM. You’ll find dishes like duck pancakes with Swiss chard cracklings paired with blackberry brandy ($70 per person).

Comped cocktails (and a cab): Ping Pong Dim Sum launches set family-style menus for two and three diners on Tuesday, and as an added incentive is throwing in complimentary Ping Pong cocktails and a $20 Uber voucher through Sunday. The meals cost $50 for two and $75 for three; a vegetarian option is available.

Genever celebration: Fans of Belgium’s signature spirit, genever, can head to Et Voila! on Wednesday from 6:30 to 8:30 PM. The spot is launching a four-day celebration with special tastings, cocktails, and dishes. Véronique Beittel, brand owner and importer of Diep 9, will be on hand to talk about the product and share cocktails like passionfruit genever mixed with Hoegaarden.

Booze cruise: Set sail on the Spirit of Washington with other whiskey aficionados during the Whiskey Guild’s tasting cruise on Wednesday from 7 to 9:30 PM. You’ll sample a variety of brown liquors, with a buffet dinner helping to keep conditions calm on deck. Tickets start at $95 for general admission, and are $115 for VIP access.

Bee benefit: Help the honey bees with a benefit at Whole Foods Chevy Chase on Thursday from 6:30 to 8:30 PM. You’ll sample honey-infused hors d’oeuvres and drinks, listen to live music, and hear remarks from well-known beekeeper Gunther Hauk. Tickets are $30 and benefit the Spikenard Farm Honeybee Sanctuary in Floyd, Virginia.

Oyster Fest: Hank’s Oyster Bar in Dupont hosts its sixth annual Oyster Fest on Saturday, starting at 11 AM. You’ll get all-you-can-eat freshly shucked oysters, fried bivalves, popcorn shrimp, and more, alongside all-you-can-drink craft brews. Tickets are $80, with partial proceeds going to Women Chefs & Restaurateurs.

Wine dinner and tasting: Cork Market & Tasting Room hosts two wine events on Saturday and Sunday. First up is a dinner with Neal Rosenthal wines on Saturday at 7 PM, with courses from chef Kristin Hutter and discussions of the wine led by a Rosenthal wine specialist ($75 per person). Then on Sunday at 2 PM is a tasting of new vintages from the Loire Valley ($25 per person). Reservation for either event can be made by e-mailing

Gin tales: Local cocktail historian Luke Johnson leads a seminar on the colorful history of gin through five cocktails on Sunday from 6 to 7:30. Head to the Occidental to hear gin-fueled anecdotes and taste a variety of spirits, from sweeter-style gins to dry versions. Tickets are $45 through the Museum of the American Cocktail.

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.