Friday, December 21, 2012

The Lady's Leg

This week's Mixology Monday was themed around 'humbug', trying to create an anti-Christmas drink. I didn't have any particularly good ideas, but if by anti-Christmas, you mean an escape-your-relatives-boozy type of drink, this one will do it for you. It's named after the iconic lamp from A Christmas Story. This will be my last post until the new year. Merry Christmas!

Lady's Leg
3 oz Crabapple Schapps
1.5 oz Vanilla Vodka
.5 oz Allspice dram
.5 oz Maraschino Liqueur
dashes, mole bitters

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Small Plates: 12.20.12

Nouvelle Jewish cuisine mecca DGS Delicatessen now serves brunch. [Washingtonian]

Table is supposed to be opening by January 15th. [PoP]

Newton's Noodles, to be coming in May, has some new signage up. [PoP]

The owners of Silver Diner are looking at a new more upscale concept downtown called Silver. [Eater]

Wednesday, December 19, 2012


Cheesequake may be the most misnamed food truck I've been to. They serve Philly Cheesesteak sandwiches; when I went, they had three sorts. The Ali is a traditional cheesesteak, the Frazier is a chicken cheesesteak, and the Tyson is a pizza cheesesteak. They have a few topping options: lettuce, tomato, mayonnaise, grilled onions, grilled mushrooms, and grilled green peppers. It's not a bad cheesesteak, but it's basically inferior to Phillies Phamous DC Food Truck in every way. The bread is worse, there's less cheese, and the beef is not chopped as finely. There are also fewer topping options. I particularly missed the option of having banana peppers or jalapenos on the sandwich. It's a perfectly fine sandwich, but if you have the option, go to Phillies.

Small Plates: 12.19.12

Pravda, New Orleans

 Funky brewer "Right Proper" is also launching a draft only soda line. [Young & Hungry]

Rum/tiki bar Hogo, from Tom Brown, opened yesterday. [We Love DC]

Dupont restaurant Iron Gate is now aiming at an opening in March. [Eater]

This blog will be on vacation starting Saturday the 22nd until the end of the year. Happy Chanukah, Merry Christmas, and Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Small Plates: 12.18.12

It must be almost New Year's: top ten lists have started emerging. [Washingtonian]

Mike Isabella is bringing pop-ups to Graffiato, starting with Adam Brick. [Young & Hungry]

Absolute Noodle will be opening in 2 or 3 weeks in Chinatown. [PoP]

Friday, December 14, 2012

Mari Vanna to open early next year

From an email:
According to Slavic legend, Mari Vanna was a fairytale grandmother known to welcome hungry travelers into her house. She would feed her guests a home-cooked meal before sending them back out on their voyage. In mid January, Russian hospitality powerhouse Ginza Project will bring this legend to life with the opening of Mari Vanna's second US location in the heart of downtown D.C. With an established reputation of excellence in authentic Russian cuisine in New York, London, Moscow and beyond, the capital's 6,500 square-foot eatery will be Mari Vanna's largest location in the world. Located at 1141 Connecticut Ave., NW, the hotspot finds its home in one of the district's most upscale locales. Just five blocks from the White House and steps away from the historic Mayflower Hotel, the new restaurant nestles perfectly between K Street's bustling business district and D.C.'s trendy Dupont Circle neighborhood. 
Although the restaurant has plans to add various DC-centric menu items, a few Russian specialties won't change from the other Mari Vanna locations. Classic menu offerings range from cold appetizers such as pickled vegetables, salt-cured pork and black caviar to hot appetizers such as pirozhok, blinis and hand-made Russian dumplings. Delectable entree options will include Mari Vanna's world famous beef stroganoff, chicken kotletki and fishcakes.
 Apparently this space used to be leased by Randstad.

Small Plates: 12.14.12

Lupo Verde is the Italian restaurant coming to 14th and T from the people behind Ulah. [Young & Hungry]

Another Italian restaurant is rumored to be coming to 12th and U from the Biergarten Haus folks. [PoP]

Mad Momos opened this week in Columbia Heights, with an eclectic menu. [Young & Hungry]

Bond villain lair turned bar Heist is having an opening bash today in Dupont. [Borderstan]

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Small Plates: 12.11.12

Yet another commercial brewery, Atlas Brew Works, is coming to DC. [DCist]

Don't feel like lobster rolls in December? Luke's Lobster has a winter menu. [PoP]

Tom Brown, c-owner of Passenger, is planning on opening a rum bar called Hogo. [Young & Hungry]

And a summary of the early reports on Hanoi House, Vietnamese food from the Hilton bros. [Eater]

Monday, December 10, 2012

The Howdini

It's apparently winter time here. I noticed because my neck keeps crying out for a scarf when I'm biking to work. And winter means maltier drinks. I was biking home, and my neck was suggesting I really needed some Genever when I got home. For some reason, it occurred to me to try Genever mixed with Averna. My Google search indicated that this wasn't a horrible idea, but the specific suggestions were, well, less than entirely specific. One of the results was a tweet from @howdiniguru that just read "@BolsGenever, Averna amaro, agave, peychaud's bitters, absinthe rinse. ... #cocktailBijou pour embrasser mon #défiWCW avec @BolsGenever ! @frmonti ..." The original tweet, and the context, has been lost to history, but the concept seemed sound.

The maltiness of the Genever provides a really nice, warming base. But the amaro helps give it a bit more definition, and the absinthe gives it depth. The Genever is, I think, important though. I don't think gin would be able to stand up to the Averna, and whiskey would be a bit too much. I used maple syrup instead of the agave, but there's not really enough to give it more than a hint of flavor. I'm curious about how different bitters would affect this cocktail. It seems that it's just the sort of balanced where different bitters could result in different, very good, drinks.

Small Plates: 12.10.12

Absolute Noodle looks close to opening on 5th near Chinatown. [The 42]

Nage hires Miles Vaden, formerly of Fiola and Eventide. Nice heritage! [Young & Hungry]

Capitol Hill restauranteur Xavier Cervera considering selling his nine restaurants. [PoP]

Gordon Biersch is planning on opening a huge new restaurant near Navy Yard. [PoP]

Friday, December 7, 2012

Small Plates: 12.07.12

After months of struggling, Ray's East River is out of business. [DCist]

Mi Cocina Tex Mex is coming to Friendship Heights. They're originally from Dallas. [PoP]

Palena alum Jonathan Copeland was tapped to be the chef at Ghibellina. [Young & Hungry]

Taqueria Nacional is moving to 14th and T, hopefully to open by the end of January. [Borderstan]

Thursday, December 6, 2012

PS7s possibly becoming South American Steakhouse

Rumors have circulated for months about whether PS7s was closing, and if so, what would become of it. It's been pretty clear for at least the last month that it was closing, but until now, there hasn't been much information. Today the Washington Post reported that it would be replaced by "Del Campo," a South American restaurant focusing on the pleasures of the grill. The chef behind it is suggested to be Victor Albisu, former chef at BLT Steak and Taco Bamba. However, there's still no word from PS7's chef-owner Peter Smith. [Washington Post]

New Orleans: Oyster Crawl

Not sure where this is.
On our second to last day in New Orleans, we spent the afternoon on an oyster crawl. We had been to a couple places for oysters, but none that really wowed us, so we thought we'd try a bunch of places and figure out who had the best oysters in the French Quarter. Bourbon House's were surprisingly good, but Royal House won out.

Bourbon House

Royal House

Small Plates: 12.06.12

Check out the menu at Beuchert's Saloon, reincarnation of an 19th century pub. [Young & Hungry]

In case you have families like mine, here's how to make cocktails for a flask. [Serious Eats]

A&D, a restaurant/bar in Shaw, opened last night. It's from the owners of Sundevich. [Young & Hungry]

New Pho 14 outpost in Adams Morgan promises they're opening next week. [PoP]

I promise I'll do an oyster crawl post later today.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Small Plates: 12.05.12

H & Pizza will be opening a new spot this spring on U St. [Young & Hungry]

Bryan Voltaggio's new restaurant, Range, will open December 18th in Friendship Heights. [PoP]

Sprig & Sprout just opened in Glover Park. They serve Vietnamese food. [Washingtonian]

Yo! Sushi is underway in Chinatown. [The 42]

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Absinthe Beer!

Photo by Eddie Kim, on flickr

Right now, you can get a draft of absinthe beer at Churchkey. Felt I should share.


Small Plates: 12.04.12

Mad Momo's, American food by way of the Himalayas, is opening December 11th. [New Columbia Heights]

Finally, a location for Astro Doughnuts and Fried Chicken: 13th and G NW. [PoP]

Domaine Name offers a place to store your wine, for the space-challenged. [Urban Daddy]

Monday, December 3, 2012

Christmas Ales from a bad elf

One of my favorite things about the now-defunct gastropub Commonwealth was that, every December, they'd have the bad elf series of beers from Ridgeway brewing. There are five: Bad Elf, Very Bad Elf, Seriously Bad Elf, Criminally Bad Elf, and Insanely Bad Elf. I hadn't seen them anywhere else, until this year, when U St Beer & Wine had a four pack that included Bad Elf, and then I saw most of the rest at Cork & Fork. I had to do a vertical tasting.

It was interesting. I don't think any of these are beers you should take too seriously, but the price point reflects that. They vary in style -- Bad Elf is a golden ale, and Very Bad Elf is a more premium version of the same beer. Seriously Bad Elf is, despite the coloration, quite similar to a Belgian Dubbel, and Criminally Bad Elf is similar to a Barleywine. As an amateur beer connoisseur, I'm not going to comment on how authentic any of these beers were, but I'll just say that I don't like barleywines generally, but I like Criminally Bad Elf.

None of these are really exemplars of their style. But I think they're pretty great. They get a lot of points for the amusing packaging, and they're all decent beers. Even if it's not the best thing ever, there's nothing like drinking a criminally bad elf to get you in the holiday spirit.

Small Plates: 12.03.12

It looks like PS7s is probably really, truly closed. It'll be missed. [Young & Hungry]

The long-awaited Solly's expansion opened over the weekend. [PoP]

Local hotspot The Pinch has karaoke on Tuesdays, trivia on Wednesdays. [New Columbia Heights]

Repeal Day 2012 is this Wednesday; celebrate at one of these fine establishments. [Eater]

Friday, November 30, 2012

Small Plates: 11.30.12

Astro Doughnuts & Fried Chicken is coming to 13th and G early next year. [Washingtonian]

Check this out for another take on food in New Orleans. [The Plate]

Favorite dining spots while shopping in Georgetown. Haven't they heard of Amazon? [Washingtonian]

Frederick De Pue, of Table, opening seafood restaurant in Cafe Atlantico space. [Young & Hungry]

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Small Plates: 11.29.12

Why did Edan MacQuaid's pizzeria quit? Is Littlest Italy too big? [Young & Hungry]

New Eastern Market bar Beucher's Saloon schedules opening for January 7. [Washingtonian]

Bardo has it backwards: they have a liquor license, now just need to build a bar. [DCist]

Radius Pizza now serves booze. They'll start offering cocktails later this week. [Young & Hungry]

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Small Plates: 11.28.12

Quench is hosting a series of pop-ups, including Laotian and Korean. [Young & Hungry].

West of the Palomar Hotel, La Kazba offers Moroccan food and belly-dancing. [Borderstan]

In further signs of gentrification, an 'upscale grocer' is coming to 14th and Belmont. [PoP]

Union Market will now be open five days a week. Go check out Buffalo & Bergen! [Young & Hungry]

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Small Plates: 11.27.12

Two levels not enough? After Repeal Day, Jack Rose will have three. [Young & Hungry]

Foggy Bottom elder stateman Kinkead's will be closing in December. [Eater]

Pete's and  Taqueria Distrito Federal are coming soon to Silver Spring. [PoP]

Firefly will have $10 drinks to celebrate Repeal Day. [Washingtonian]

If anyone is ever in St. Louis, be sure to check out taste. in the Central West End. Tasty!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Small Plates: 11.20.12

Single-A team Stockton Ports has a mascot who wields a stalk of asparagus as a bat. [Atlantic Cities]

Can you be the distiller of the year if you don't actually distill anything? [Rowley's Whiskey Forge]

Firefly will have a $10 cocktail menu for Repeal Day. Best holiday ever. [Washingtonian]

Meridian Pint will be closing over the long weekend for renovations; basement still open. [PoP]

I'll be out of town for Thanksgiving, so posting will be light. I'm thankful for all of my readers -- both of you!

Friday, November 16, 2012

Small Plates: 11.16.12

Jewish deli DGS opens in Dupont. They have a bar! [Washingtonian]

Finally, the Matchbox at 14th and T looks like it's going to open November 30th. [Borderstan]

Shadiest looking fish shop since Fish in the Hood got a makeover adds wings. [PoP]

Want a bookstore? Be more like Adams Morgan. [GGW]

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Small Plates: 11.15.12

Woodward Table and WTF are now open. Apparently Jeff Buben didn't know what wtf stood for... [Young & Hungry]

The Gryphon is coming to Connecticut, just south of Dupont, where Heritage India used to be. [PoP]

World's best sushi restaurant Kushi is launching a food truck focusing on rice bowls. [Young & Hungry]

The Logan Circle Whole Foods is now doing wine and cheese samples Wednesdays. [Borderstan]

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Small Plates: 11.13.12

Bakehouse bakery opening early next year at 14th and T. [Borderstan]

Long-anticipated Suna opening this week above Acqua Al 2. [Young & Hungry]

Owners of gyro mecca Greek Spot opening an 'island' restaurant. [New Columbia Heights]

Thai X-ing is opening a new restaurant near the 9:30 Club in January. [PoP]

Monday, November 12, 2012

New Orleans, Day 4

On our fourth day in New Orleans, we relaxed. We had massages scheduled at Pura Vida in the Garden District, and figured we'd spend the afternoon out there, checking out a different scene from the hectic French Quarter. We got lunch at the St. James Cheese Company. They had some fantastic looking sandwiches, but we went with a cheese board and a Ploughman's Lunch, the better to try their cheese. And their cheese was fantastic. We especially liked what I think was the Fleur de Maquis, on the left of the picture above. But they were all very good.

After my wife went to get her massage, I went to a nearby dive bar, Le Bon Temps Roule, to read and hopefully watch Mizzou beat  Florida. (They didn't). It looked like most dive bars, but it had a really enormous beer selection. How many dive bars have Chimay? Really chill, and a nice pool table.

After meeting up after my massage, we made our way back to the Central Business District. We hit up the W.I.N.O., the Wine Institute of New Orleans, one of our other favorites from our last trip. This one was actually improved from last time. WINO provides the option to taste 40ish different wines in either 1, 2, or 4 ounce pours. Many of these wines are really good, and now they also provide some spirits like armagnac to sample as well. However, it can get really expensive really quickly, so it's important to be careful.

After WINO, we went to dinner at Cafe Adelaide. This was our favorite restaurant. We started off with the foie gras and truffle flatbread, which was incredible. It was covered in large slices of foie gras, just really rich and creamy. For our entrees, we had the Shrimp Courtbouillon and the Duck Breast. The duck was dark and juicy, and really hit the spot. Fantastic dining here.

After dinner we went to Frenchmen street to listen to some jazz. We settled on dba, which in addition to good jazz has an extensive beer and spirits list. John Boutte was playing the night we went, and we thoroughly enjoyed his performance.

Friday, November 9, 2012

New Orleans, Day 3

On day 3, we drove east of New Orleans, first for a swamp tour (Cajun Encounters, they're great), and then to go to the Abita brewpub. Perhaps I'm spoiled by such great brewpubs as Founders' and Schlafly, but I didn't find this brewpub anything to write home about (and yet here I am...). The food was average, and they had a broad selection of Abita beers, but the special brews, like the pecan harvest my wife had and the Roggen I had didn't seem all that special.

The brewery tour, on the other hand, was great, and was everything the Tabasco tour was not. They were very generous with the free samples -- visitors formed a line, and could just go around and around collecting glasses of beer. The video they showed us was genuinely informative, and the tour was pretty interesting. Abita doesn't really wow me with any of their beers, but the beers are generally well made, and I'm always fine drinking an S.O.S. or a Restoration.

When we got back, we walked over to the French Quarter for dinner. The proprietor of the bed and breakfast we were staying at suggested we get oysters at Market Cafe. On our way, we thought we'd stop at Bar Tonique, which came very highly recommended. And for good reason! They have an extensive cocktail menu, with highlights up on a chalkboard, and a $5 happy hour for several of them. Every cocktail I had there was excellently made. It's odd, though, how used I've become to smoke-free bars.

We then took our innkeepers recommendation and went to Market Cafe for oysters. We should have listened when he said he doesn't eat oysters, but his friends all went there. Outside, it smelled like fish, and not in a fun way. The oysters themselves lacked flavor, and were poorly shucked. On the plus side, this inspired us to do an oyster crawl later in the trip, which was a lot of fun.

We went to dinner at Evangeline. We had gone here last year, and really enjoyed it, so we had high expectations. Sadly, our expectations let us down. My wife had the Shrimp and Grits, and I had the Pasta Evangeline. Both were good, and I was especially impressed by the size of the shrimp in my wife's grits. But they weren't great; my pasta in particular was bland, and the grits weren't very creamy.

Small Plates: 11.09.12

Judy's, on 14th just north of U St, is having a contest to build the neatest tower of Tecate cans. [Borderstan]

DDOT's proposed regulations would disallow food trucks at their most popular spots. [WaPo]

Speaking of beer, check out the Beerathon this Saturday. 26 beers, 55 bucks. [Thrillist]

Owners of dive bar Blaguard are planning on doing a Beergarden at 3911 Georgia. [PoP]

Thursday, November 8, 2012

New Orleans, Day 2

The title may be a misnomer. Most of Day 2 we spent not in New Orleans, but a good deal west, in Iberia Parish. In Iberia Parish, on Avery Island, they have the Tabasco factory. We thought it would be fun to get out of the city and see where they make the famous hot sauce, but it was a bit of a bust. The 'tour' consists of  an 11-minute video, which is shamelessly commercial, even by the standards of this sort of thing. If we're at your factory, we're already fans of your product. You don't need to try and sell it to us! After the video, there was a short walk down a corridor where you could see the factory floor, and it was over. We grabbed some food from the food stand they had set up -- I had some red beans and rice -- splurted some tabasco on it, and enjoyed it a fair amount. The experience wasn't bad, but it wasn't worth the 2 and a half hour drive. If you happen to be driving through southern Louisiana, I'd do it, but I wouldn't go out of my way. (Shout out, though, to the really interesting Bayou Teche museum in New Iberia).

We went to Desire for dinner, a slightly-more-upscale-than-usual-for-New-Orleans restaurant inside the Sonesta. The oysters were not terribly memorable, though not the worst we've had in New Orleans. My wife had the Peacemaker po' boy, a po' boy with shrimp and oysters, and I had the Muffaleta. Both sandwiches were good, but neither was exceptional. At least the restaurant wasn't overpriced. Still aching from Halloween, we didn't go anywhere afterwards.

Small Plates: 11.08.12

Founding Farmers is opening a new branch at the Georgetown waterfront. [PoP]

Wonderland Ballroom adds a blue plate special. The chicken and waffles look good. [Young & Hungry]

Taylor Charles Steak & Ice looks to be opening in December, will serve cheesesteak. [WaPo]

DGS Deli, in Dupont, is supposed to open this month. Sounds tasty! [PoP]

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

New Orleans, Day 1

After the ups and downs of hurricane Sandy, we arrived in New Orleans a little less than 24 hours after we had originally intended. Nevermind that, it was Halloween, it was our anniversary, and we were ready to celebrate. We got our first Sazerac at Hermes Bar. Hermes, as far as I can tell, doesn't have much going for it. The drinks they have on their cocktail list are all cloyingly sweet, and I've not heard good things about their food. But they make a good Sazerac. We had dinner at Herbsaint, in the Central Business District. We were very impressed by the appearance. It was nice and formal, but didn't seem stuffy. I was glad I dressed in slacks and and long-sleeve shirt. At Herbsaint we ordered the lamb neck and the duck leg confit. Both were excellent. The duck leg confit had a nice crust and good tenderness. Their cocktails were good, and overall we had a great experience here. We went out for Halloween after that, and none of the places we went were very memorable.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Quote of the Day

Apropos of my thoughts earlier:
I would argue the other way. The problem with art is that it can fool us into forgetting that we are mortal, flesh-and-blood creatures. The culinary arts, on the other hand, remind us that we are creatures of bone and guts, even as they delight us with creations no other animal could ever produce. Fine food is about the aesthetic of the immanent, not the transcendent. A mouthful of Frantzén’s diver scallops, truffle purée and bouillons transports you to heaven while never letting you forget it is a perishable place on Earth. Through experiences like these you come to know the potential intensity of being alive, what it means, as Thoreau recommended, to suck out all the marrow of life.
From Julian Baggini.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Small Plates: 10.12.12

Bari Bari, a "European-style restaurant," is coming to 14th and R. [PoP]

Talk about spiking: Spike Mendelson is creating recipes for Captain Morgan rum. [Washingtonian]

The replacement for Town & Country, Edgar, coming soon to Mayflower Hotel. [PoP]

Radius, Mt. Pleasant's pizza joint, should be coming back next week. [Eater]

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Small Plates: 10.11.12

Screwed over employees try unique ways to get money back from Chef Donna. [WaPo]

Daily Grill has a new happy hour menu. It looks fantastic, and reasonably priced. [Young & Hungry]

Maddy's Taproom opened Monday. It's got 40 beers and Tex-Mex food. [Borderstan]

The Coupe began 24 hour service last night. Good luck to them; hope it works out. [Eater]

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Small Plates: 10.10.12

Yet another brewpub! Bardo is making plans to come to Bladensburg Rd, NE. [PoP]

After DC releases new regulations, food truck drivers worry they may have too few spaces. [WaPo]

Aaron Silverman, alum of Momofuku Noodle Bar, to open Rose's Luxury next year. [Young & Hungry]

The Coupe, from the owners of Tryst, is now soft-opened in Columbia Heights. [Washingtonian]

Sorry about the dearth of posting, I had computer issues. Also, I warned about the use of Mobile Roadway Vending locations to strangle food trucks here.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Small Plates: 10.05.12

Brewpub "Right Proper" will be coming to Shaw, specializing in funky beers. [Young & Hungry]

Cava Grill opened yesterday in Tenleytown, giving them a sorely needed option for lunch. [PoP]

Gina Chersevani's Buffalo & Bergen will be offering Jamie Leeds' knishes. [Washingtonian]

Daily Grill recently got a renovation and a new happy hour menu. [PoP]