• 08Jul

    DC recently welcomed the Pod Hotel to its Chinatown neighborhood. For those that aren’t familiar, the Pod offers small rooms with large amenities and a fun vibe. Founded in NYC, they are just starting to branch out. Having stayed at the original Manhattan location, I think the DC outpost stays on brand. While I didn’t see the rooms, the lobby, staff, and diner were exactly what I’d expect from a Pod.

    Hushpuppy

    So why was I at the Pod, if I didn’t see any of the rooms? To sample sips and tastes from Crimson Diner, one of the hotel’s three eateries. While the Pod opened in April, this was their official launch party. The atmosphere was energetic and you could tell that everyone was really excited about this project. The diner is an all-day sort of place with a focus on Southern favorites and boozy milkshakes, is on the main level, and has just opened. Crimson Whiskey Bar is beneath the diner, and opens in July. Crimson View, their rooftop bar, opens in August. While the menus will differ, all three seem like places that will attract visitors and residents alike. Backed by the Hilton brothers, it’d be hard to go wrong here.

    For drinks, we sampled the Crimson Old Fashioned and cava. The Old Fashioned was strong yet balanced, and my favorite. You’d be remiss not to order it. The cava was dry, bubbly, and perfect for summer. Samples of the Tennessee Transplant, a boozy milkshake, were passed. Concocted of vanilla ice cream, Jack Daniel’s, peanut butter, and cola syrup, it wasn’t overly sweet, and I’d consider ordering it. For a non-boozy milkshake, we had the Georgia Belle, which is vanilla ice cream, peaches, and hibiscus syrup, and it was basically dessert in drink form.

    Fried Chicken Sandwich

    Food definitely focused on Southern fare. We tried biscuits with ham and apple butter, crab hush puppies, and fried chicken sandwiches. The fried chicken was savory and crisp, and I’m hoping it’ll be an entrée on their full menu, in addition to the sandwich. I’ve never even considered ham and apple butter on a biscuit, and while slightly salty, I loved this combination and it was my favorite nosh of the evening. It was texturally interesting as well as being delicious. I thought the hush puppies lacked flavor, and while crispy, I’d not go for those again.

    The highlight of the evening had to be that DC Mayor Muriel Bowser stopped by to speak and cut the ribbon to officially launch the Pod. She was just as excited as everyone else, and her energy was really great.

    Crimson Diner seems to be just what is needed in Chinatown—casual, but not “fast casual,” with thought and creativity behind the food and drink. Keep Crimson in mind when in the neighborhood.

    -LEM

  • 24Jun

    The Tysons Private Event Group (TPEG) is an informal group of restaurants with private event spaces in the Tysons area. They meet quarterly, discuss a topic of mutual interest, and refer business to each other. Thursday evening, TPEG gathered a crowd at Convene to sample some of the great catering options Tysons has to offer. After trying the evening’s offerings, it is clear why so many DC area companies hold their events in Tysons. Above are some image highlights from an evening of great food.

    The restaurants which sampled offerings from their private events menus included:

    Convene
    Flemings
    Fogo de Chao
    Gordon Biersch
    Lebanese Taverna
    Maggianos
    Ruth’s Chris
    Seasons 52
    The Capital Grille
    Ten Pehn
    The Palm
    Wildfire



    -JAY

  • 12Jun

    Congrats to Federalist Pig on winning the DC Lamb Jam for Best in Show and People’s Choice! Kudos to the judges!

    This was a great year for the Lamb Jam with most dishes being stand outs. BBQ is apparently a GREAT theme for lamb! We are already looking forward to next years event!

    Now that I’ve tried the Urban Butcher ‘s lamb salami with coriander and orange, I need to make another trip to the restaurant (or farmer’s market) in Silver Spring. Meat Crafters’ Skinny Salamis (the lamb versions) were also delicious, and are available at the Silver Spring Farmer’s Market.

    -JAY

  • 11Jun

    Savor at the National Building Museum is a great showcase for high quality craft beers, with this year (the tenth annual) not being an exception. This year’s beer list included some exceptional choices and pairings. Virginia’s Hardywood Park Craft Brewery and Colorado’s New Belgium Brewing Company created this year’s collaborative beer, Savor X, a parting gift for attendees. Red Apron‘s charcuterie, Choptank‘s oysters, and Wisconsin cheese were hits!

    This is a show DC craft beer lovers (including myself) look forward to every year, so keep an eye out for Savor 2018! Maybe they’ll bring salons (classes) back next year?

    -JAY

  • 26May

    We very much enjoyed organic Pacari chocolate samples from Ecuador!

    We attended the Embassy Chef Challenge a couple of nights ago, and sampled some great food and drinks. This event was a chance to try food from countries and chefs we might not otherwise have access to. Some standout dishes (other than those pictured above) included Chile’s salmon, Uzbekistan’s plov, and Morocco’s lamb shoulder. This is definitely an event you want to attend in the future.

    The 2017 Judges’ Choice award went to Chef Moha Fedal of Morocco with his Marrakech Tangia. Chef Cynthia Verna of Haiti brought home the People’s Choice award with her shrimp ceviche with plantain chips (served with a much appreciated passion fruit rum concoction).

    -JAY

  • 22May

    Summer Thursdays always brim with excitement. It’s not quite the weekend, but it’s close, and everyone seems to be out and about. If you’re looking for a Thursday spot with great food, great drinks, and an amazing vibe, look no further Bar Dupont. Located on Dupont Circle, Bar Dupont is the perfect place for people-watching and cocktail-sipping. They recently launched Dupont Live every Thursday through July, starting at 6:30 p.m., featuring local musicians on their patio, along with their newest menu additions.

    The Evening’s Performers

    Throughout the evening, we were able to try a variety of Bar Dupont’s new cocktails and appetizers. Their take on a Tom Collins, the aptly named Dupont Collins, was my favorite. The introduction of St. Germain provides a bit of a floral note, and the cocktail light and refreshing on hot summer nights. The Moto Guzzi, an Aperol spritz, is another perfect-for-the-weather option, albeit one that goes down a bit too easy. The Green Variety Margarita is tasty, and makes you at least feel somewhat healthy, due to the green juice. And who doesn’t want to sit on a patio while sipping a rosé? No patio menu would be complete without at least one option, and their Chateau Jouclary Bardes option is a great one, though they have several. Bar Dupont also focuses on offering local wine, beer, and spirits.

    Though “bar” is in their name, don’t let that fool you—their food is also fantastic. The two standouts for me are the tuna tacos (crispy shell, Ahi tuna, slaw, avocado) and the curried cauliflower (fried cauliflower bites with chimichurri). The tacos were not only tasty, but texturally interesting due to the crispy shell and tuna. The cauliflower was perfectly fried and went well with the tangy chimichurri sauce. It was also slightly addictive, and you might end up wanting a second order. The oysters were huge and delicious, though I didn’t care for the mignonette on them. But you can’t go wrong ordering those. I didn’t get to try the beef tartare or the Wagyu bacon cheeseburger, but those all went fast, so my guess is either one is a smart choice.

    Dupont Live will feature various musical genres and local musicians. The duo we heard played a bit of light jazz, which really set the tone for a chill atmosphere. Each act will be a surprise, so you never know who you might see!

    Bar Dupont should definitely be in your regular rotation, especially on Thursdays for Dupont Live. With impressive food, drinks, and musicians, you won’t want to miss it.

    -LEM

  • 11May

    I did what most young professionals do on a Friday night,  look for an after-work chill, cool down spot with a nice view of the city and good food.  Well, I think I might have found this “diamond in the rough” at the Embassy Row Hotel Rooftop Bar located at 2015 Massachusetts Ave, NW,  in the District.

    Opened over the weekend, the Embassy Row Hotel Rooftop Bar just had their kickoff event, and was  named “One of the World’s Most Amazing Rooftop Pools in The World” by Weather.com and “One of Best Rooftop Pools in America” by USA Today. They also received an awarded for “Best Chef in DC” with Chef Guy manning the grill.   Some popular items that were ordered include:

    Starters: Roast Piquillo pepper hummus,  Street Fare Kabobs Skewers of beef, chicken, steak, and vegetables, and Grilled Wings, which all will run you about $10.

    Sandwiches: Basil Chicken Breast, and “Juicy Lucy Burger.”

    The drinks: “Red Bull Mango Manic” sold out quickly. The shot girls appeared with the featured alcohol of the night (Tequila shot and Coronas in honor of Cinco De Mayo).

    Upon entering the Rooftop, there were some chairs near the grass-like area in front where people can sit and talk and pose with different selfie props. Around the pool area, there was some seating.  The lower desk has different games that people can play such as Checkers, and Connect Four – the adult version.   More games are featured downstairs in the “Underground Playground” which features:  Foosball, Ping Pong, Shuffleboard, and Air Hockey.

    The only downside that was a constant was the long line for drinks and food since Chef Guy was his own one man band and there were only 2 bartenders for thirty people.  However, with the long line came the shot girls to quiet the masses and the line moved with the sweet tunes of DJ Nick manning the tables.   He definitely played to the crowd and took my requestto play the Macarena – in honor of Cinco De Maya – I was in heaven.

    According to the Event Calendar, some notable events:  “Silent Disco” on Fridays, each guest gets a pair of headphones and then tunes into each 3 DJ different stations from 7pm until 11pm – this a cool millennial spirited event.  “Yoga Monday” starts the week out with some calm by the poolside. Events are listed on their website.

    Follow them on social media as well  (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter) @EmbassyRowHotel, #MyDCRooftop, #EmbassyRowLove

    To access The Rooftop pool, you can purchase a day pass for $30 on The Rooftop, starting at 3 PM each day; if you’re dining on The Rooftop, you don’t need to purchase a day pass. The Rooftop is typically open May – September, weather dependent.

    Embassy Row Hotel features different options for those who want to spend the night:

    LOVE,

    -CLF

     

     

     

     

     

  • 03May

    Fogo de Chão recently invited us to a media event featuring their new bar and seasonal offerings, and of course, a variety of fire roasted meats! While our schedule didn’t allow us to arrive early enough to try the Southern Brazilian steakhouse’s new Bar Fogo – Happy Hour Menu offerings, Braised Beef Rib Sliders, Brazilian Empanadas (beef), and Garlic Shrimp, or seasonal options, Blackberry Arugula Salad, Lentil Quinoa Salad, and Carrot Ginger Soup, we did sample the Mango Habanero Caipirinha off the new menu, and Fogo’s classic, Passion Fruit Caipirinha.

    We did arrive in time to sample the Rodizio (parade of fire roasted meats), sides, and dessert. Some of our favorite meats of the evening were the Picanha (prime part of the top sirloin), Beef Ancho (ribeye),  Costela (beef ribs), Pork Sausages, and Baby Lamb Chops. The Pão de Queijo (cheese bread) and Flan were hits as well.

    “Bar Fogo’s Happy Hour is available Monday through Friday from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. and features new Happy Hour prices that everyone can appreciate – from $4 Brazilian Bites & Beers to $6 South American Wines and $8 Brazilian Inspired Cocktails.”

    This was our first time at Fogo, and we will definitely be returning soon. We definitely need to try the empanadas and both the new Strawberry Hibiscus Caipirinha and Fogo Caipirinha.

    Fogo’s nearby locations include Washington, DC, and a new addition to the area, Tysons.

    -JAY

     

    Editor’s Note:

    Several of the included links contain actual recipes.

     

     

     

  • 13Apr

    IMG_4686

    Whether you’re traveling from out of town and want a dose of a little bit of everything DC has to offer in a couple of hours, or a DC metro dweller, Carpe DC Food Tours is a great way to explore several local fares in a short amount of time at an affordable price.

    I’ve lived in the DC Metro area now for a little over 10 years now and absolutely loved this tour.  I took a dive into the U Street Corridor Tour and learned so much of what I’ve missed over the years.  These tours are intimate groups of about 6-8 people with a knowledgeable tour guide who patiently gives you the historical background of the area you’re exploring. Each tour package offers a minimum of 4 restaurants, food samplings from each restaurant, and an alcohol pairing add-on option.  And the best part is that a portion of each ticket sale goes to local charity, Bread for the City.

    Living in the DC area for all of these years, you often forget how rich in history and art this city really holds.  Being so focused on the fact that politics seems to run this town, it’s often easy to overlook the beauty that encapsulates the city.

    So here’s the rundown of my U Street Food Tour:

    IMG_4682Ben’s Next Door
    Ok, so it’s pretty much a sacrilege for a Washingtonian to not have tried Ben’s Chili Bowl at least once in their lifetime.  Ben’s Chili Bowl is a family-run DC icon dating back to 1958 and is still operating in the same location to this day.  So it’s not a surprise that Ben’s Next Door is first stop on the tour.

    Ben’s Next Door is the sports bar version of the original Ben’s Chili Bowl, located right next door.  They offer the menu favorites from the restaurant next door along with an extended slightly upper scale cuisine.  At this location you could come watch sports team on the big screens, scarf down a classic half smoke and wash it down with a local brew.  What can I say about this place?  It never disappoints.

    IMG_4693Dukem Ethiopian
    Next stop was an Ethiopian restaurant, Duken Ethiophian.  Ethiopian cuisine has been popping up all over the metro area and becoming a popular trend.

    This was my first time trying Ethiopian food and I have to say I was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed it.  We had a vegetarian platter of yellow peas, collard greens, red lentils, and a fresh tomato salad.  I’m by no means a vegetarian and this dish was deeply satisfying.   The beef tips were incredibly seasoned.  And after this tour stop, I won’t be hesitant to try out another Ethiopian restaurant again.

    IMG_4701Glen’s Garden Market
    Now I will be the first to admit, I thought that this was an odd stop on the tour.  I thought to myself, why in the world would we stop at a market?

    We came in and sat around the deli counter and were given cups of Kale and Apple Salad.  I dislike raw kale.  It’s not my favorite green.  Turn them into chips, bake them, sauté them—OK.  But a plate full of raw kale, I say no thank you.

    Boy was I wrong…this had to be the best salad I’ve ever had.  The kale mixed with sweet crunchy apples and picked radish drenched in a pumpkin seed dressing—sinfully good. I bought a tub of it and horded it at home.  This market is a great locally sourced, organic market with an amazing deli.  A gem I would’ve never guessed to stop in if not for this tour stop.

    IMG_4709Calabash Tea & Cafe
    Last stop on the tour and I was sad to see it come to an end was the perfect ending to a perfect Sunday afternoon.  Again, this was a cafe I would’ve never thought to make a pit stop at if not for this tour.  It’s a little bit off the beaten path in the Shaw neighborhood away from the hustle and bustle of U Street.

    I love tea so it’s really no wonder that I really enjoyed the chai here.  There are a number of different “potion” mixtures that are brewed in accordance to your ailments or your needs.  This cafe’s belief is that food is healing.  Have a cold, they’ll have the tea remedy to help you.  The Love Potion was full of rich flavors and I need to stop here to catch my breath because I can’t believe it myself–they offer vegan and gluten free chocolate chip cookies.  My first thought is … um no thank you.  But they serve it to you WARM and holy guacamole it was the best cookie I’ve ever had.  It didn’t taste like stale cardboard.

    So overall, this was an incredible experience.  My first food tour (first tour ever) of DC and I want more.  And a special thanks to our incredible tour guide, Laura.  I’ve learned so much about this fair city I now call home.

    -ADT (Angie)

    Editor’s Notes: Glen’s has a good and affordable beer selection, indoor and outdoor seating, and tons of interesting options, including hot food. Callabash makes great herbal tea blends; I usually buy two bags of Rescue Me at a time in the winter to take home. -JAY

  • 10Apr

    IMG_4638

    April 1 was the grand opening of the new Bowlero location in Centreville, VA.  If you’re looking for some good old fashioned family fun “cool” enough to tear the kids away from their devices, this is where you want to be!  Or, if you’re looking for a fun chill late night hang out spot with your friends, Bowlero is open until 1am on Fridays and Saturdays.

    This renovated bowling ally offers loud energetic music to get you amped up for a round of cosmic bowling!  That’s right, the lanes and pins are neon lit to make your bowing experience that much more fun.

    IMG_4667

    Above you can see the Grand Opening presentation of Bowlero’s signature Behemoth Burger with DeAngelo Hall of the Redskins.

    Their “Go Crazy” menu offers a great selection of items you’ll need to share, including the Behemoth Burger (pictured above), a 5lb mammoth of a burger (not a mammoth burger) that you won’t want to tackle alone.  Tired out from bowling?  They also tout a decent size arcade with games that are enjoyable for all age ranges.  I, myself, enjoyed defending our nation from an alien invasion.

    Overall, I think this is a great place for a fun date night, or group outing with friends and/or family to escape your mundane day-to-day routine.  I love the idea of the revitalizing nostalgic activities in the digital age.

    Bowlero Centreville
    13814 Lee Hwy, Centerville, VA
    www.bowlero.com/location/bowlero-centreville

    -ADT (Angie)

     

    Editor’s Note:

    The Urban Dictionary defines Cosmic Bowling as:

    1. Actual bowling with lazer lights and black lights.

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