Warm Up With Drinks by the Fire, Chefs’ Hearty Recipes, and New Happy Hours

The tastiest ways to fight the cold.
Warm Up With Drinks by the Fire, Chefs’ Hearty Recipes, and New Happy Hours
Warm up with a hearty recipe from a local restaurant, like True Food Kitchen's zucchini casserole. Photograph courtesy of TFK.

“Arctic blast” sounds more like a Gatorade flavor than a weather condition, but it feels pretty real when you step outside. Today’s high may reach a balmy 19 degrees, with predicted record low temperatures. Thankfully, bars and restaurants can help fight the cold—read on for new happy hours, warming recipes, and places to sip by the fire.

Get paid to eat food.

You know it’s insanely cold when a restaurant pays guests to eat. So goes it at California Tortilla all day on Thursday. The burrito chain includes a free order of chips and queso with any purchase, and gives customers an extra 10 cents in honor of the negative-9 chill this morning. A penny for your thoughts, and a dime for braving the blast.

Warm up with hearty, spicy dishes.

Steamy Thai soups. Cassoulet. Sizzling platters of Filipino sisig. If you need to thaw out, check out these 11 belly-warming dishes guaranteed to fight the freeze.

Explore a new happy hour.

Negative temperatures are a great excuse to warm up your liver at a new happy hour. Derek Brown—just named among this year’s James Beard semifinalists for Outstanding Beverage Professional—launches his first-ever happy hour at Eat the Rich centered on local spirits, wine, and beer ($5 to $7), plus $1 Rappahannock River oysters (Monday through Friday, 5 to 7). Other newcomers include “social hour” at City Perch ($4 to $7 drinks and food; 4 to 7), and a hot cocktail happy hour at Nopa through February with hot toddies, mulled wine, and spiked cocoa (4 to 7).

Find a drink by the fire.

The only one thing better than hot drinks on a cold night: said cocktails by the fire. We found eight awesome spots to sip by live flames, including happy hour deals to keep things extra toasty (or toasted).

Get cooking.

Don’t feel like leaving the house? Crank up the heat, turn on the oven, and pick from one of the many hearty dishes from Washington eateries. We love the spaghetti squash and zucchini Parmesan from True Food Kitchen (a healthier alternative to chicken Parm), Mike Isabella‘s lamb chili, Thai chicken curry from the Source, Vidalia‘s classic mac ‘n’ cheese, and a staple on all of chef Jeff Black‘s menus: Addie’s mussels with garlic, tomato, and a touch of butter.

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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.