Food

The Week in Food Events: Cochon 555 at Taste of DC, James Beard in Virginia Dinner

Plus Jaleo's paella festival and Taste of Bethesda.
Jaleo's paella festival returns with a sangría-fueled kickoff party. Photograph by Alfredo Flores.

Cheffy fun: Graffiato‘s monthly Industry Takeover Night goes down on Monday at 10, with the $10 admission for free food and drinks benefiting Fit to Fight by MIC. Behind the food this month are Aaron Deal of Roanoke’s the River and Rail, local chef Tim Ma, and more.

Paella Fest: One of José Andrés‘s most popular festivals—the 12th annual Paella Festival—launches at all Jaleo locations on Monday. Fans can head to a kickoff party at the Bethesda branch from 6 to 9, where $25 includes samples of the rice dish, sangría, and a specialty cocktail. A variety of paellas, including those made with lobster or Ibérico pork ribs, are available for lunch and dinner through October 19.

Belgian beer dinner: Bastille hosts an eclectic Belgian beer dinner on Tuesday at 6:30, with dishes such as grilled cheese with duck rilletes and brined pork chops with red-eye gravy and sweet-potato souffle. The four-course meal, each paired with a different brew, is $69 (or $49 sans beer).

Poe-tent cocktails: Les Dames D’Escoffier honor Edgar Allan Poe with a spirited event on Tuesday, the Craft Spirit of Poe, held at the the Loft in Penn Quarter. Barkeeps from the Gibson, Room 11, and more mix up cocktails inspired by the author, while literary scholars are on hand to discuss the works. Tickets are $40 for tastings and hors d’oeuvres, or $50 for that and two full cocktails, and benefit Les Dames.

Wined and truffled: Chef Fabio Trabocchi hosts Cesare Benvenuto, proprietor of the Piemonte’s lauded Pio Cesare winery, at Fiola on Wednesday for a dinner inspired by the region’s cuisine and white Alba truffles. A reception begins at 7, followed by a luxurious seven-course meal. Reservations are $200.

Hang with the Braus: Get your fill of local beer during a DC Brau dinner at Dino’s Grotto on Wednesday. The four-course meal is paired with four different brews; dessert combines gelato and Penn Quarter Porter. Reservations are $47, all-inclusive, with seatings at 6, 8:15, and 8:45.

James Beard in VA: The Old Dominion boasts a number of rising culinary stars, a number of whom gather at Trummer’s on Main on Thursday for a special James Beard dinner. Six top toques who recently cooked at New York’s James Beard house will replicate the six-course meal, including host Austin Fausett, Bertrand Chemel of 2941, Rappahannock‘s Dylan Fultineer, and more. The evening begins with a cocktail reception at 7:30. Tickets ($175) benefit the James Beard Foundation.

Rise to the occasion: Top female chefs, bartenders, and sommeliers join together at the Carnegie Library for the Chefs Take a Stand gala on Thursday, benefiting the National Network to End Domestic Violence. The Chew’s Carla Hall emcees the evening, which begins at 7, and features Alba Osteria‘s Amy Brandwein, Elli Benchimol of Range, Ris Lacoste, Nora Pouillon, and many more.

Maker’s night: Get boozy at Boss Shepherd‘s on Thursday when chef Jeremy Waybright pairs dishes like seared duck breast with kale and pork jus with cocktails such as mint Juleps, Manhattans, and straight sips of Maker’s Mark. Reservations for the three-course meal are $59 per person.

Charm City brews: The sixth annual Baltimore Beer Week begins on Friday, and the lineup of events is worth nominating a designated driver and heading north. A few of the many include the Battle of the Beltway on Friday, where Heavy Seas and DC Brau go beer-for-beer, and the Chesapeake Real Ale Festival on Saturday.

Taste of DC: One of the biggest culinary events of the week is Taste of DC, which goes down on Saturday and Sunday along Pennsylvania Avenue. Those looking to graze can opt for general admission tickets ($10 or $30 with drinks included), which allow access to more than 40 restaurants, food trucks, and vendors offering bites between $1 and $3. For a more extended taste, there are two VIP events hosted by the Cochon 555 organizers. First up is Punch Kings & Pigs on Saturday at 2, which pairs a cocktail competition between 12 notable mixologists, a pig roast, and bottomless drinks ($55). Then on Sunday, head to a big-name barbecue from 4 to 7, with unlimited drinks and food from some of Washington’s top toques (starting at $100). Anyone who prefers to watch others eat can head to Ben’s Chili Bowl’s World Chili-Eating Championship on Saturday.

Taste of Bethesda: More than 50 eateries participate in this annual neighborhood party on Saturday from 11 to 4, which includes live entertainment on five stages. The lineup is bigger than ever for the 25th anniversary, and includes newcomers like Tyber Bierhaus plus longstanding eateries such as Mussel Bar. Admission is free, and packages of four tickets go for $5.

Pre-Columbus Day din: No work on Columbus Day? Then indulge in a five-course autumn wine dinner at Al Dente on Sunday, starting at 6. Chef Roberto Donna pairs Italian and American varietals with dishes such as three-meat ravioli with butter and sage, and slow-roasted veal breast with hazelnut sauce. Reservations are $75.

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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.