12 Fun Food Events Around DC This Weekend

On the menu: Cinco de Mayo, Kentucky Derby, and Night Out for Austin Tice.

Sip a julep during the Kentucky Derby this weekend. Photograph courtesy of Jack Rose

Dine for a good cause on Thursday during Night Out for Austin Tice. The National Press Club and restaurants across the country have partnered to raise awareness and funds for Tice, a journalist who was kidnapped in Syria in 2012 while covering the civil war. In April of last year the FBI offered a $1 million reward for information leading to his safe return, and the goal is to match that number. Participating restaurants like Maydan, Hank’s Oyster Bar, Pizzeria Paradiso, and the Columbia Room have pledged proceeds from the night’s sales towards the fundraising efforts so help them out.

Belgian brewery Kapittel is ending their distribution to America, so catch tastes of five Kapittel Abbey-style beers—like the tripel or the dark ale—before they’re gone at The Sovereign’s Kapittel goodbye party on Thursday. Pours at the Belgian-bistro are petit (four ounces each) but admission is free.

Valor Brewpub’s new beer program debuts this Friday at its location in Barracks Row on Capitol Hill. The brewery, which employs veterans and supports veterans’ causes, will feature four of its staple beverages—the laborious fruits of former Navy corpsman and brewmaster Greg Maddrey.

Maydan is one of the many restaurants participating in Night Out for Austin Tice. Photograph by Jennifer Chase

Support the visual and culinary arts on Friday at The Art League’s battle of the bands-style food competition—Art on the Rocks—in Alexandria. Bartenders from local spots like Hank’s Oyster Bar and Chadwicks face off to create the most artistic cocktail and food pairings. A ticket, which runs you $55, gets you tastings of whatever the winners and losers come up with. A portion of the proceeds support The Art League.

Alexandria’s Old Town Farmers’ Market Spring Kickoff is this Saturday at 7 AM with more than 70 vendors in attendance. Look for locally-sourced food and produce, soaps, potted plants, and more.

Slather on some sunscreen under your race day hat and step onto Jack Rose Dining Saloon’s rooftop terrace for their Kentucky Derby party on Saturday from 3 to 7 PM. Refresh yourself with $9 mint juleps and complimentary cucumber sandwiches and hot browns. Looking for an alternative libation? Bartender Andy Bixby has his own take on the derby cocktail: the “Gardener’s Grove Julep.” Five screens will show the 5:30 PM race. 

Watch the Kentucky Derby, wear a silly hat, win a prize. All are in the realm of possibilities at Due South‘s derby watch party on Saturday from 3 to 7 PM. Opt for a la carte drinks or splurge on $40 bottomless frozen mint juleps (pad the stomach with ham-and-cheese biscuits and hot browns with those). Two opportunities to win prizes are the Derby hat contest ($150 gift card for the winner) and a raffle with prizes from local businesses.

Head to Jack Rose for a Derby Party. Photograph courtesy of Jack Rose

Socialize sober at the alcohol-free Sans Bar DC pop-up at the Viva Center. Entry to the Sobriety Collective‘s Saturday shindig, which includes an open mocktail bar, goes for $35. Add another $15 for a VIP ticket that includes a a #MadeinDC goodie bag. Peruse food and drink vendors like The Red Bandana Bakery, Goûter and Salacious Drinks

Is five hours enough to visit more than two dozen wine and food vendors in an all-you-can-eat-and-drink adventure? Take the challenge at the 11th National Wine and Food Festival this Saturday (12AM to 6PM) and Sunday (11PM to 5PM) at National Harbor. Tickets, which buy entry to either or both days and come with an array of goodies and perks, span from $40 to $130.

Sunday is Cinco de Mayo and dozens of DC-area restaurants and bars are celebrating with outdoor taco parties, tequila tastings, and Mexican feasts (no cheap shots or cheesy sombreros required). Here’s our guide to the weekend’s festivities, some of which are on Saturday.

Spend two hours at a chocolate truffle-making class lead by the chocolatiers at SPAGnVola at the Willard on Sunday. Whether or not your own efforts to create something sweet are successful, there’ll be plenty of samplings from the shop’s own stock of products—and a seminar with co-owner Eric Reid. Good luck transferring insights to your own kitchen. Go alone for $65 or bring a pal for $100.

Catch waterfront views and put a dent in some crabs during this 2-hour all-you-can-eat crab cruise on Sunday. The ship will depart from Georgetown at 11:30 AM and wind past some of DC’s greatest monuments. Though the $80 ticket includes all food and there’s a cash bar onboard for drinks. 

Heading into next week…

Take a trip  to Italy on Tuesday with a decadent multi-course dinner centered around the wines of Northern Italy at Assaggi Osteria in McLean. The stars here are the vintages from Speri Viticoltori, a winery nestled in the hills of Valpolicella. Wines span from the light and sparkly to the dark and intense, matched with dishes like stuffed quail and duck ragu pasta to dry it up. Tickets go for $125.

Editorial Fellow