IT’S FRIDAY! Aaaaaaayyy! And you know what Friday says to me? It says HAPPY HOUR! This week has had some gorgeous weather in it and I think I’ve got a full-out case of some serious spring fever. It’s time we get out there, DC, put on your game face and start practicing for summertime. I’ve planned and been invited to more happy hours in the past couple of weeks than I had been all winter long!
One of the first things I consider at my happy hours is the availability of food. Cheap food, preferably, but also delicious food. And food that goes with beer. You know what food goes best with beer? Fried food!! So click on through for a sampling of my favorite fried happy hour food and where to find it.
So now that you’re committed to clogging your arteries and being a total fatty, let’s dig in.
I recently was treated to a meal in Columbia Heights at Commonwealth, The People’s Gatropub, and was introduced to fried olives. That’s right, people, fried olives. I’m not a huge olive person, but I love a good olive tapenade, and appreciate the strong taste. Commonwealth does them right, dipping them in a grainy batter and frying them up to a warm, round pop-able bite, perfect for a bar snack. Down them with a traditional British import beer and you’ve got a recipe for happy hour heaven.
In the Capitol Hill area, you can enjoy the juvenile-but-still-delectable snack of tater tots. Union Pub has them in a bucket, available for $5, and they are perfect for sharing. Load them up with ketchup, grab a cheap happy hour beverage (like my personal favorite – their own Union Pub Ale) and settle in for a casual night with friends. On H Street, Sticky Rice has an infamous bucket as well.
Also close to Capitol Hill, Art and Soul offers fried mac & cheese balls. Round and sprinkled with Parmesan and dried parsley, the mac and cheese balls are perfect split with a friend and paired with wine or one of the hand-crafted specialty cocktails. Too big to pop in your mouth in one bite, we had to eat them with a fork, but it was worth it. Pasta + cheese + fried = zomg delish.
Chef Geoff‘s (located both in Penn Quarter and up near American University) offers the treat of fried pickles and old bay remoulade. Being a southern girl, I adore fried pickles – especially when done crispy so they turn into pickle chips and can pick up the dip.
You can snag risotto fritters in multiple locations across the city: Equinox, DC Coast and Tallula/Eat Bar offer fritters on their menu. I’ve not tried the others, but Equinox’s risotto fritters were certainly something to write home about.
Got a veggie in your group? Head to Penn Quarter’s Oya to get the deliciously battered tofu tempura. The dish is served with sour cherries and a blood orange vinaigrette. But make sure you put on your highest heels, Oya is swanky, and the bar scene is not for the weak of heart.
Georgia Brown’s happy hour in the heart of McPherson Square features fried green tomatoes for a special price of $5. The goat-cheese stuffed tomatoes are fried up and served with Green Tomato Relish and topped with a zesty (and hot!) Lemon-Cayenne Mayonnaise. I adore this rendition, as I could make the claim that goat cheese makes everything better.
Looking for something Asian for your happy hour? Try the Japanese-style dumplings, gyoza, at Cafe Asia served fried. Best when dipped in soy sauce or ponzu sauce, I adore crispy-bottom gyoza.And Cafe Asia in Arlington has a lovely patio overlooking Wilson Boulevard that is an Arlington institution.
Know of a fried DC happy hour delicacy I missed in this post? Leave it in the comments.