Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Happy Belated Rickey Month

Photo by Reece Lloyd, on flickr.
Apparently, July is National Rickey Month. I've been remiss. Typically, a rickey is made with a shot of gin, half a lime, and soda; after juicing the lime, you put the lime carcass in the drink. It's historically also been made with bourbon, though that's much less common. The rickey is the official drink of D.C., and so the D.C. Craft Bartenders Guild declared July National Rickey Month.

A rickey is a fine, refreshing drink, but there's not a whole lot going on. So there's been a contest to find the best variation in town. All month, bars across the city (as well as a couple in Virginia) have been offering their take on the rickey. Get five punches in your rickey card, and you get free admission to Jack Rose for the finals on August 5th. There's still time to get your punches, so get to it! Our favorite so far has been the Strawberry-Rhubarb rickey at Vinoteca, which sadly wasn't entered into the contest. If you like pickles, you should try Rachel Sergi's I'm Gonna Need You to Focus Rickey, which involves pickled soda and is available at Jack Rose.

Small Plates: 07.31.12

Piratz Tavern is hosting a 'Bar Rescue' watch party, to see their failed bar rescue. [WaPo]

Crios Modern Mexican, by the owners of Scion, opened last night. [Young & Hungry]

Mediterranean Restaurant got a new paint job and hopes to reopen later this week. [PoP]

Churchkey is debuting a new fried chicken and donuts plate that sounds fabulous. [We Love DC]

Monday, July 30, 2012


Photo by dcJohn, on flickr
Tryst is a long-time stalwart of the Adams Morgan scene, and is probably best thought of as a full service coffee shop. Seating is first come first serve, and they have several specialty coffee options, including single-origin coffee. I've only had their coffee once, and thought it was too bitter, but your mileage may vary. Other than the coffee, everything I've had has been above average.

I have been there several times, usually for their lunch options, and these are typically good. The nachos -- good. The sandwiches -- good. The waffle sandwich -- okay. But I've never had a dish there I thought was great. The drinks are, again, good. The beer selection is above average, and they have a variety of cocktails. But nothing here stands out enough for me to make a special effort to come here if I'm not already in Adams Morgan.

Small Plates: 07.30.12

Grasshoppers at Casa Oaxaca
Heritage India is opening a new spot at 19th and Penn, hopefully with less stabbing. [Young & Hungry]

Bourbon Steak is hosting their third annual "Porc Out" Sunday, August 19th. [PoP]

There's a new vegan bar, The Bar at Elizabeth's Gone Raw, at14th and L. [Urban Daddy]

Friday, July 27, 2012

Small Plates: 07.27.12

Sorry about the lack of real posts; I'm working long hours again. Try this.

In a continuing trend, El Floridano is turning to Kickstarter to help with their brick and mortar spot. [Young & Hungry]

Word is, Izakaya Seki is finally opening this Sunday. They're at 11th and V. [PoP]

Decent people work together to make sure an 80 year old lobster lives a few more years. [The Day]

If you haven't been following Back Alley Waffles v Groupon, you need to. [Eater]

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Small Plates: 07.26.12

Take a look at Yo! Sushi, the new conveyor belt place in Union Station. [DCist]

Tacos el Chilango is opening August 5th in the old Cafe Italiano space. [PoP]

Pupatella is planning on expanding so they can add some table service. [Eater]

Michael Neff brings you dispatches from Tales of the Cocktail. [Serious Eats]

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Small Plates: 07.24.12

On August 1st, Churchkey previews Bluejacket beers. Other previews coming too. [WaPo]

Brew at the Zoo debuted Hellbender ales. They should be around next spring. [WaPo]

Slow news day; hope you enjoyed National Tequila Day!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Graffiato goes mobile

Not permanently, but Mike Isabella will be taking to the streets with a Graffiato food truck. He won't be selling food, but there will be an opportunity to win if your taste buds are sensitive enough, and there may be some samples. From The Plate:
On Wednesday July 25, we’re partnering up with Mike Isabella to put Graffiato on wheels and hit the streets of D.C.
Chef Isabella will also be testing his fans with a “Challenge Your Palate” contest at different stops around the city. Those who can identify ingredients in dishes Chef Isabella creates (using Breville kitchen appliances) will win prizes ranging from lunch at Graffiato to autographed copies of his forthcoming cookbook, Mike Isabella’s Crazy Good Italian (releasing September 25), to iPods and products from Breville.
8:00 am: Dupont Circle – Q Street between 20th and Connecticut
11:00 am: Union Station – Massachusetts Ave NW and F Street NW
2:15 pm: Franklin Park – Corner of 14th and K streets
4:45 pm: Farragut North – K Street between 17th and Connecticut
6:30 pm: National Mall – 10th St and Constitution Ave NW
 Just more false hope for those of us who want him to put out a real food truck.

Small Plates: 07.24.12

Take an early look at Hank's on the Hill / Eddy Bar.  Mmm, Forgetfully Fernet... [Washingtonian]

Cafe Mezze Grill is now open in Columbia Heights. Two more locations coming this fall. [Young & Hungry]

Back Alley Waffles closes, blames marketing service they voluntarily signed up for. [PoP]

Mayfair and Pine is now open in Glover Park. It looks delicious but far. [We Love DC]

Monday, July 23, 2012

Small Plates: 07.23.12

1920dc is open at 9th and U. It's billing itself as a "true hip-hop bar." [PoP]

Former bar Vegetate to become Secret Lounge. They look pretty cool. [PoP]

A n D (sadly, not AD&D) is coming to 9th St. near Seasonal Pantry. [PoP]

Protein Bar might be opening in Penn Quarter in August. Now that I'm not working there. [PoP]

Friday, July 20, 2012

Small Plates: 07.20.12

Photo by Nacim Bouchita, on flickr.
Tim Carman misspells ceviche, gets grief, investigates etymology. [WaPo]

Taylor Gourmet is bringing breakfast to all locations; you can get a free hoagie Saturday to celebrate. [Eater]

Hank's on the Hill and Eddy's, Mixtress Gina Chersevani's new bar, will open July 23. [Going Out Gurus]

The Union Station Roti is set to open on August 2nd. [PoP]

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Small Plates: 07.19.12

Two floors of booze? Batch 13 sounds incredible! [Borderstan]

Beau Thai alleged to be opening second location in Mt. Pleasant. [The 42]

Coppi's Organic on U St. closing for a year due to streetscape project. [PoP]

Shake Shack remaining mum on potential DC expansions. [DCist]

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Small Plates: 07.18.12

Sweetgreen may be expanding to four more DC neighborhoods. [Young & Hungry]

There's a new steak frites place coming to Capitol Hill, Béarnaise. [DCist]

Izakaya Seki is opening soon near 11th and V St NW; you'll know it by the red lantern. [Urban Daddy]

Crios Modern Mexican coming to former Vento space in Dupont. [PoP]

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Cava Mezze Grill close to opening!

I walked by Cava Mezze Grill, the informal spot from the owners of Cava Mezze, in Columbia Heights this weekend, and it looks almost open! Can't wait!

Tasha's Uncontrollable Laughter

I bought some Becherovka lately, and I've been experimenting with it a bit. So if there's a surfeit of posts involving it, you know why. Becherovka is a Czech herbal liqueur, invented by a shopkeeper named Josef Vitus Becher, who had 16 children. Like most liqueurs, it's complex, but there's a strong cinnamon flavor and an undercurrent of anise. It's a bit more mixing friendly than most liqueurs, and so the experimenting hasn't been too hard on me.

My first concoction is a saucy little thing. It's very tasty and complex. I used bourbon to give it a decent backbone without overpowering it with the spiciness of a rye. A strong gin might be a good base spirit as well. I added some burlesque bitters balances out cinnamon. This resulted in a flavor mildly reminiscent of an Atomic Fireball, though the complexity of the Becherovka prevented it from becoming too candy-like. Recipe after the jump.

Small Plates: 07.17.12

Jason Clay and Kathleen Merrigan win James Beard Leadership awards. [WaPo]

Did you know that Urbana has a foie gras corn dog? I need to try that! [Serious Eats]

Cajun Experience appears to have closed. Wonder what will replace them? [PoP]

La Forchetta will change its name to avoid conflict with La Fourchette. [Eater]

Monday, July 16, 2012

Small Plates: 07.16.12

Del Frisco's opened over the weekend. [PoP]

Atlas Arcade brings 80s games to H St. [We Love DC]

You could be drinking DC distilled gin by the end of August. [Young & Hungry]

Veracruz Gallery had a grand opening on Friday. [Borderstan]

Friday, July 13, 2012

Small Plates: 07.13.12

LivingSocial opens a speakeasy in their basement. Password: 'Get your wiggle on.' [Young & Hungry]

DC Reynolds, in Petworth, is now offering a Saturday brunch. [PoP]

Wish we could do this here; in France, they have a wine truck. [Dr. Vino]

Sambonn Lek, bartender at the Mayflower, is leaving for Cambodia. [WaPo]

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Ba Guo Bu Yi

Photo by Milos Kravcik, on flickr. This is bian lian, a traditional mask-changing show.

Recently I've been making an effort to have more regional Chinese food, instead of the typical stuff you see most often in the United States (I think it's typically Cantonese food, but I could easily be mistaken.) The last time we were in New York City, we had some Yunnan food, and DC has a very good Sichuan place in Great Wall Szechuan. But I'll take more, so I was excited to read this in the Washington Post:
Washington has never seen anything like Ba Guo Bu Yi, a Chinese chain dedicated to spreading Sichuan culture outside the province. That could change next year if all goes as Oren Molovinsky plans; the veteran restaurateur and partner in Mala Tang in Arlington has been talking to the parent company of Ba Guo Bu Yi to open a location in the District, possibly in the Penn Quarter area.
They're apparently avoiding Chinatown so that they don't look cheap. What is Ba Guo Bu Yi like?
Each location is large, usually two stories, and serves not only authentic Sichuan cuisine but also authentic Sichuan culture on stage, including the so-called “face-changing” performances from Sichuan opera. According to the Theatre Beijing Web site, face-changing involves a performer who “whips through half a dozen or more fearsome and brightly colored face masks seemingly by magic.”
Sounds great, I can't wait to try it.

Does your cab do this?

Photo by Christi Johnstone on flickr.
This is just bizarre. Courtesy of DCist:
This feels like something that should have happened on April 1st, but instead, it’s happening in the middle of the summer. Purveyors of black car service Uber, whose existence was something of a puzzle to the Council of DC this week, is going to bring you some ice cream if you ask. They’re deploying their service via a few ice cream trucks later this week, according to their blog. $12 gets you 5 ice creams for your friends (said to be Klondikes and King Kones, amongst other frozen treats) charged to your card on file.
The day after the DC Council reversed itself on price controls for the company, I'm going to assume it's something of a thank you. Anybody try it?

Small Plates: 07.12.12

Wagshal's may be opening a second location in upper Northwest next year. [Capital Cooking]

Looking to market your rum? The domain name rumdumpster.com is available. [Rowley's Whiskey Forge]

Absolute Pizza Kabab replaces Buffalo LA Pizza in Adam Morgan. Pizza kabab? [PoP]

Radius Pizza isn't closed for good, just being sold. Said to reopen in September. [Young & Hungry]

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Tomato and Onion Stuffed Pork Chop

Occasionally, you're at the store, and you can't find what you're looking for. This time, I was at Harris Teeter trying to find a nice big juicy pork chop. They didn't have a nice big juicy pork chop. They did have small butterflied pork chops, which didn't look too bad, and my wife suggested we could stuff them with some of the heirloom tomatoes we got in our CSA. So we picked them up and took them home.

We poked around the internet, and found this recipe to use as a guide. So I chopped up one and a half tomatoes with an onion and a not insubstantial amount of garlic. I fried that in a tablespoon of butter and a roughly equivalent amount of olive oil. There was a lot of liquid floating around, and I was tempted to just wait until it had all boiled off. But I thought that would just mean the vegetables would end up stewed and tasteless. So I let it cook a while, and then used a slotted spoon to transfer the vegetables to a bowl, so it wasn't too liquidy. The vegetables then got mixed with some feta and some fresh oregano and basil. 

I ended up with a lot of filling, so I don't think I even used half of it to stuff the pork chops. Once stuffed, I put the pork chops in the oven at 400 degrees and let them cook for 30 minutes. The pork chops ended up a bit overcooked. 25 minutes would have been sufficient I think. The stuffing, however, was absolutely delicious. We covered our green beans with it, and it was just as good as the duck fat roasted potatoes, which is saying something!

Omnibus Alcohol Beverage Regulatory Act

Photo by Katy Watts, on flickr.
Over at Prince of Petworth is a discussion of the new Omnibus Alcohol Beverage Regulatory Act. It appears  that they're not looking to authorize retailers like D'Vines and D'Vinos to sell growlers.
Oh yeah, back to the original request, if anyone wants to comment on whether stores like D’Vines should be able to sell growlers again, you can do so here. The current language looks like only full-service grocery stores and brew pubs will be able to sell growlers.
I encourage to comment here, and write your councilmember!

Small Plates: 07.11.12

Bistro Bohem's expansion should go live in the next two weeks. [Washingtonian]

With new food trucks popping up all the time, it can be hard to keep up. Here's some ideas. [The Plate]

Living Social is bringing snacks to the lobby of its 918 F St building. [PoP]

Chain Townhouse Kitchen + Bar is coming to Chinatown. [The 42]

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Robilar's Gambit

Photo by Paul Bratcher, from flickr.
Combining strong liquors is a bit like putting on flashy pants with a flashy shirt. Often, it's just going to clash, but every once in a while it can really come together nicely. For some reason, I was inspired to try mixing Cherry Heering with Green Chartreuse, a recipe that sounds destined to taste like some sort of Lovecraftian cough syrup. But it ended up turning out smooth.
I started by just tasting the Chartreuse and the Cherry Herring together, to get some feeling for what I was working with. It didn't taste great, but it gave me hope that if it was chilled and mixed with a base spirit, it wouldn't be too bad. My first try involved scotch. I thought that scotch would be strong enough to stand up to the other ingredients in the mix. It's not, really, but mezcal wasn't either. A really peaty scotch might be the way to go here. Alternatively, if it doesn't really matter, maybe just a cheapish whiskey.

The result was pretty good. I added some Boker's Bitters, because it needed something else, and I wanted to let the other ingredients shine through. But they're probably strong enough that you could use something like Hellfire bitters and get a totally different drink. The cherry ends up balancing the Chartreuse quite well, so that the final result is pretty understated. Ironically, it might make a good winter warming drink. Recipe after the jump.

Black & Orange

Once, there was a burger joint in DC called Rogue States. It had good burgers, named the best in DC by USA Today, and a good location in Dupont Circle. The location had one downside, however. It was next door to a law firm. The Steptoe & Johnson lawyers complained about having to smell burgers all day, sued, and won. During the shutdown, the chef opened a new spot just off of U St, and named it Black & Orange.

Black & Orange has a pretty stripped down ordering process. You decide if you want a big burger (1/2 pound) or a smaller one (1/4 pound). They have a bunch of different styles of burger, like a jerk burger or a curry burger. You decide if you want it pink or not pink, and what toppings you want. They have soda, beer, and wine to drink.

The burgers are good. I'm not convinced of the best burger in D.C. label, but they're definitely a cut above McDonald's or Five Guys. They're also cheap; a quarter pound burger will run you just $6. I've had their plain ("Square One"), the jerk burger, and the "Rogue State," which reminds me of a cajun burger. The seasonings on the flavored burgers were definitely noticeable, but not overwhelming. If anything, they could stand to kick it up a notch. The buns are potato buns, and have just the right amount of give to stand up to the burgers without being overly assertive. Overall, quite good, but if I'm not worried about costs, I'd rather go to Desperado's around the corner.

Small Plates: 07.10.12

The Passenger and Columbia Room will close for a few days during Tales of the Cocktail. [Washingtonian]

Port City Brewing is turning lemons into lemonade and making a 'Derecho' beer. [DCist]

Take a look inside Kangaroo Boxing Club, the new restaurant from PORC. [Serious Eats]

There's a rumor Ray's Hell Burger is still coming to City Vista. [PoP]

Monday, July 9, 2012

Small Plates: 07.09.12

McNasty's, nee Angry Inch, will now be known as Shenanigan's. [PoP]

Thunder Burger, take note: Slater's 50/50 has a burger made entirely of bacon. [Serious Eats]

Barcade is looking for a new name after being served a cease-and-desist by Barcade of Brooklyn. You can make suggestions at Frozen Tropics. [Young & Hungry]

Friday, July 6, 2012

Small Plates: 07.06.12

Trader Joe's is coming to 14th and U St in 2012-- it's official! [DCist]

Now that All Soul's has their liquor license, they're planning on opening by Halloween. [PoP]

Apparently, pie history is remarkably similar to the Game of Throne. You either win, or you pie. [The Salt]

Red Hook Lobster Pound introduced a lobster BLT. Don't tell my wife. [PoP]

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Small Plates: 07.05.12

Top Chef alum Emily Sprissler has a new restaurant in Glover Park, Mayfair & Pine. Here's the menu. [Washingtonian]

Solly's expansion appears to be moving apace, may open as early as a month from now. [PoP]

More information is starting to come out about the gastropub Ghibellina, coming to Logan Circle. [Best Bites]

Sadly, it looks like Radius Pizza, the best pizza in Mt. Pleasant, has closed. [PoP]

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

The Sazerac

The former location of Peychaud's.
I've mentioned two of my favorite cocktails on here before, the Manhattan and the Negroni, but I haven't talked about my third, the Sazerac. Fortunately, today's post from Spir.it reminded me! The Spir.it describes the beginning of the cocktail:
The Sazerac is what is known as the first “original” cocktail, and rightfully so. As the story goes, in 1838 an apothecary owner in New Orleans by the name of Antoine Amedie Peychaud had a habit of making brandy toddies for his friends using his homemade “Peychaud’s Bitters,” made from a secret recipe. The toddies were made using a coquetier, which is a double-ended egg cup being used as a jigger. Coincidentally, this is where the word “cocktail” was derived from! So, the first cocktail came to be.

What they don't mention is that there is some dispute about this origin. The first mention of the word cocktail comes in 1798, a full forty years before the Sazerac, and the first definition (a drink of spirits, sugar, water, and bitters) was in 1806. It's unclear exactly where the word comes from, though it may have been slang for ginger. It certainly predated Mr. Peychaud's invention by decades. That being said, the Sazerac is still a wonderful drink.

At its base, the Sazerac is an Old-fashioned with a dash of absinthe. Most recipes have you swirling the glass with absinthe, then discarding (or drinking) the excess. Often, the bitters are added by soaking a sugar cube in them before adding rye whiskey. I use Pernod rather than absinthe, due to the expense of decent absinthe. In New Orleans, Herbsaint is typically used, though it can be hard to find here in the Mid-Atlantic. I also typically use simple syrup, as this is one of the booziest drinks I've had, and a little extra water helps calm things down. It's a great drink for when you want that one-two punch of anise and whiskey, and worth keeping a few extra ingredients around for. Recipe after the jump.

Beard Beer

Photo by beezly, on flickr.

Andrew Sullivan caught Rogue doing something unusual: making beer from yeast found in their brewmaster's beard.

Small Plates: 07.03.12

New Taylor Gourmet opens in South Dupont, serves breakfast hoagies during the week. [DCist]

The old Fruit Bat space will become "BARCADE," a bar with 80s arcade games. [Washingtonian]

Recess Tapas will open on Friday. They're at 727 15th St and will serve Venezuelan tapas. [PoP]

Going to the Mall on Wednesday for the fireworks, but not sure what to do for dinner? Hill Country delivers. [WaPo]

Note: Since Ben Franklin never blogged on the Fourth of July, neither shall I. Happy Fourth!

Monday, July 2, 2012

Small Plates: 07.02.12

Balls!, a meatball restaurant in Penn Quarter, closed suddenly last week. [Young & Hungry]

The Pinch is now serving brunch up in Columbia Heights, including bottomless mimosas. [New Columbia Heights]

Classing up the joint? VeraCruz art gallery and bar is coming to the space above Duffy's [PoP]

Austrian Abbey Stift Engelszell will start shipping their brews to DC. [WaPo]