Food

The Week in Food Events: Bottomless Caviar at Mari Vanna, Barracks Row’s Fall Festival

Plus Washingtonian's Truck It! and so many Oktoberfests.
Try a bottomless caviar bar at Mari Vanna this week. Photograph courtesy of Mari Vanna.

Goat-themed Oktoberfest: Bock means goat in German, so it’s fitting that the Fainting Goat starts its Bocktoberfest celebrations on Monday (through October 5). Stop by the pub for $5 German pints and bottles, large-format Ayinger Weizen Bock beers for $8, grilled goat sausages, and more.

Dinner aquatic: Fish fans can head to the National Aquarium in Baltimore on Tuesday for a unique dining experience: a cooking demo and three-course sustainable seafood dinner prepared by Wit & Wisdom chef Zack Mills. Guests can come early to check out the exhibits, including the newest featuring Blacktip Reef sharks. Tickets are $79 for members, $99 for nonmembers.  

Paella party: José Andrés celebrates ten years of Jaleo Crystal City with a bash on Wednesday from 5 to 9. The $35 tickets (partial proceeds benefit World Central Kitchen) include free-flowing wine, Spanish tapas, sherry tastings, jamón-carving stations, flamenco dancers, and the signature rice dish. 

Old-school eats: Black Market Bistro also celebrates its tenth birthday on Wednesday, and serves dishes circa 2004 to commemorate the opening year. Items on the three-course menu include tomato-lemongrass soup, pan-seared trout with almond butter, and chocolate fudge cake ($55; à-la-carte ordering is also available). Guests on both Wednesday and Thursday will leave with goodie bags.

Unlimited caviar: Bottomless roe can be yours at Mari Vanna, which launches a caviar bar on Thursday at 5. The $29 indulgence includes unlimited servings of red caviar, stuffed and plain blini, Russian salads, and a complimentary vodka shot. Black caviar is sold separately, for $10 off. 

Food truck fiesta: Washingtonian‘s food team tested 100-plus food trucks to put together our guide to the Top 25, many of which will be at our Truck It! festival on Saturday from noon to 2 near Logan Circle. Advance tickets ($20, or $25 at the door) get you five tastes from vendors such as Meggrolls and DC Ballers. 

Japanese-Peruvian cooking class: Del Campo hosts an East-meets-West cooking course on Saturday from noon to 3 with chef Victor Albisu and visiting toque Jonah Kim (formerly of Pabu). The duo will demonstrate how to prepare ceviches, sushi, anticuchos, and robatayaki before treating guests to a full lunch and beverage pairings. Reservations are $98, all-inclusive. 

Mad Fox-toberfest: The biggest Oktoberfest celebration this week comes courtesy of Mad Fox Brewing, which sets up a beer garden on Market Square on Saturday from noon to 6. Guests can pick from 60 local brews and grilled fare, plus games such as cornhole, a moon bounce, and more. 

Fall food festival: The Barracks Row Fall Festival goes down on Saturday from 7 to 5, with a variety of culinary activities. A military chef’s cookoff starts at 7 for the early risers, while the Matchbox Food Group runs a beer garden from noon to 6 with brews and Oktoberfest-themed eats from Ted’s Bulletin, Cava Mezze, Belga Cafe, and more. Admission is free; individual beer garden food/drink tickets are $6 each or five for $25. 

French cooking class: Malmaison chef Gérard Pangaud, who earned two Michelin stars at his Boulogne, France, restaurant, leads a cooking class at the Hill Center on Saturday. Starting at 11 guests are lead through a hands-on course that includes dishes such as Moroccan-spiced duck breast with caramelized apples and local pear-almond tart. Tickets are $85. 

Amaro 101: Amaro is everywhere these days, and if you want to learn more about the Italian liqueur, Urbana is the place to be on Saturday from 3 to 4. Head bartender Lee Carrell leads guests through the various types, how they can be used in cocktails, and what to know about popular brands. Reservations are $35 and include tastes, recipe cards, and a take-home gift. E-mail ray.daly@urbanadc.com to reserve, or call the restaurant. 

Even more Oktoberfest: Cady’s Alley in Georgetown throws its Oktoberfest celebration this weekend on Saturday and Sunday from noon to 5. Stop by for Germanic eats from Kafe Leopold, a soft-pretzel cart, Alpine music, and Bavarian brews in a two-story beer hall. Admission is free, and lederhosen are encouraged. 

Drinks with dogs: Republic in Takoma Park cohosts a “yappy hour” on Sunday from 3 to 5 with neighborhood businesses Big Bad Wood and Pup Strut. The regular happy hour menu with plenty of drink and food specials is available, along with $5 Salty Dog cocktails and free treats for pups. Look for similar deals at dog-friendly happy hours on the last Sunday of each month. 

For more food news and recommendations, follow Best Bites on Twitter at @bestbitesblog.

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Anna Spiegel
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.