courtesy of ‘Chris Rief aka Spodie Odie’
Labor Day in Washington is not for the faint of heart. The heat index/humidity matrix hits critical mass, the tourists descend and all your friends flee the mean streets of D.C. for greener pastures. Things may look dire now, but there is a way to deal with it all – food. I really never thought of Labor Day much as an eating holiday. Yes, it’s a classic barbecue weekend but it doesn’t have that hopeful three-months-until-school-starts feeling like Memorial Day. I’m apparently in the minority though since there are plenty of foodie events around town this weekend to get you ready for the cooler (hopefully) season to come.
Because the only thing better than a three day weekend is a four day weekend, the fine folks at Chinatown Coffee have put together a little happy hour to kick off the weekend right. To celebrate not only the holiday but also their newly acquired liquor license, the restaurant has joined together with the new and hot Red Hook Lobster Pound (of lobster truck fame) for a Lobster Roll and Beer Happy Hour. From 6:30pm until 8:30pm on Thursday the 2nd, they will be serving up the famous lobster rolls along with $3 Lagunitas IPA and Dale’s Pale Ale.
Lobster and beer a little too on the nose Americana for you? Well fine, how about a rum tasting to get you in the holiday spirit? Cafe Atlantico is having it’s annual Rum Weekend from the 2nd through the 5th, and this year’s iteration has a Haitian tilt to it. My advice would be to swing by on Friday when you can enjoy a free rum tasting from 4pm-6pm. If you can’t make it on Friday, there will be rum flights, specialty cocktails and menu items available all weekend. Or you could head to The Gibson for their Haymarket Riot Labor Day Social. On Thursday night starting at 8pm, the super cool bar will be offering an all you can eat and all you can drink menu starring barbecue (and gelato floats) on their back deck. It’ll cost you $75, and tickets are absolutely necessary so call the bar (202-232-2156) after 6pm any day this week to secure your spot.
‘150/365: Super Grill 5/30/10’
courtesy of ‘@heylovedc’
But Labor Day is really about the classic picnic, isn’t it? Get your fill of barbecue favorites at Addie’s on Sunday from noon until 8pm, when they’re serving up a gourmet family-style picnic for $35 ($15 for the kiddos). All menu items will be sourced from whatever is fresh and local that day, but folks should expect a tri tip roast, fried chicken, roast porchetta and all the fixings. Or do you need a little bluegrass with your BBQ? Cafe Saint-Ex is shutting down T Street for a charity pig roast complete with live bluegrass music on Monday from 11am to 5pm. They will be serving up pulled pork sandwiches, potato salad and coleslaw with proceeds going to the Fillmore Arts Center.
And if you’re like me and feel that a barbecue isn’t complete without a little competition (ahem, you’re talking to the 1998 family reunion horseshoe toss champ here) then you should set your sites on Whitlow’s in Arlington for the Labor Day Burger Eating Contest. On Monday at 5pm, a handful of contestants will compete to see who can eat the most 1/2 poundburgers in 15 minutes. With Kobayashi out of jail, maybe he’ll make a surprise appearance.
So there you have it, for a holiday I never really thought was a so-called “food holiday” there seems to be quite a lot going on around town. Put that in your pipe and smoke it, Memorial Day!