Foodie Roundup, Life in the Capital, Shopping, Ward 6

Where to Get Those Knives of Yours Sharpened

Ok, so here’s the deal. Sharp knives are awesome, safer than dull knives and way more fun to cook with. So you should stop procrastinating and just go get them sharpened already. Here is where:

1) Union Market. DC Mobile Sharpening has a pop up in Union Market and I dropped off my knives while I gallivanted around and drank lots of cocktails at Buffalo & Bergen, ate lots of cheese at Righteous Cheese and got my beef jerky fix at Red Apron Butchery. They were fast, good and reasonably priced. I do, though, feel compelled to say that I did feel a little judgement when I turned over my crappy Ikea knives. (Which, let’s be real, I’m judging myself for them, too.) (Bad foodie! Bad!)

2) Eastern Market, technically, Union Meat, a stand towards the middle of the building, will take those bad boys and shape them right up. If you go on the weekend, you can also pick yourself up some some fresh pasta, a new necklace, a hipster tee shirt and some artisan soaps. I’m pretty sure if Eastern Market doesn’t have it, you don’t need it.

3) Sur La Table. Far, far on the other side of the city, Sur La Table sharpens up some WASP-y knives in Chevy Chase. And Google says there’s one in Friendship Heights. Or is that the same place? I don’t know, and since I never go that far up the red line, I’m too lazy to figure it out. I think there’s one in Pentagon City, maybe, too. Sorry, I’m being bad about this blurb. I feel very meh about giving a chain my business when I can support local DC businesses! But, you know, I also like you enough to give you options.

So, there you have it. No excuses! Sharpen like a champion.

Food and Drink, Foodie Roundup, The Features

We Love Food: Farmers Market Tips

Photo courtesy of ekelly80
fruit & vegetables
courtesy of ekelly80

Spring and summer: every locavore’s dream. The fresh produce is abundant, the options in the kitchen are endless, and all the colors and smells are so great that you almost forget about the scorching hot sun.

So I started to think about all the different farmers markets and what I had heard about each one–the tips and tricks for stocking your fridge and pantry with local eats. After the jump, you can find out what DC eaters and chefs have to say about some of our local farmers markets. You can follow my Twitter list of DC-area farmers markets and some of the vendors and give me a holler if there are any I missed adding to the list. And feel free to share any of your farmers market tips in the comments section.

A big hat tip to Cathy of Mrs. Wheelbarrow who sparked the idea.

Photo courtesy of
’170/365′
courtesy of ‘ekelly80′
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Food and Drink, Foodie Roundup, The Features

We Love Food: July 2012 Events Roundup

Photo courtesy of yostinator
Pie eatin’ contest
courtesy of yostinator

The summer: a time when life in general is meant to slow down, so that you have that warm, fuzzy feeling of relaxation that you enjoyed so much as a kid when school let out. But rather than slowing down, the food scene in DC is picking up in the month of July. Here’s our roundup on what’s happening for the remainder of this month. Get your forks ready.

PAUL’s Bastille Day Baguette Race
Saturday, July 14
Break out that French maid costume. PAUL Bakery in Penn Quarter is hosting their 2nd annual Baguette Relay Race where the baton is replaced by the baguette. Racers will be split into four teams of six people, each led by a PAUL employee. The kid’s race starts at 10:30 AM, and adults get to race starting at 11 AM. Be the first team to finish the race around the U.S. Navy Memorial and each member of your team will receive a $25 PAUL gift card. You can sign up for the race on PAUL’s Facebook page.

All-You-Can-Eat Oyster Festival at Pearl Dive
Saturday, July 14, 2 PM to 4 PM
Natalia says: It’s Bastille Day Saturday, and what better way to celebrate the French than slurping oysters and some bubbly? Lucky for you, Pearl Dive Oyster Palace and Black Jack are having an all-you-can-eat oyster festival.  Priced at $65 per person (tax and gratuity not included), you can down unlimited oysters along with two varieties of beer and Argyle Sparkling Wine. Rappahannock Oysters and Stingray Oysters from Rappahannock River Oysters, LLC as well as Broadwater Oysters from Broadwater Oyster Company will be featured. If you need some visual motivation and want to become savvy on oyster farming, check out Marissa’s story on the Rappahannock River Oysters here.

Tickets to the oyster fest, starting at 2pm, are available at the door only. Shuck away.

Urbana’s Sixth Birthday
Friday, July 13 to Saturday, July 21

Happy sixth birthday to Urbana! You celebrate your birthday for a whole week, so why shouldn’t they? Starting with an oyster and beer happy hour on Friday, July 13th from 4 to 7 PM, you’ll get to hang out with chef John Critchley and slurp oysters for 50 cents each and drink Port City Revival Oyster stout for $4 per pint. After the happy hour, from July 14th through 21st you can get half a dozen War Shore oysters and a pint of the Port City oyster stout for $6 during happy hour from 4 to 7 PM, $10 glasses of Veuve Clicquot during dinner and at the bar during happy hour. And of course, a birthday wouldn’t be complete without something sweet: during the week all guests get a complimentary ice cream cone with dinner.

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Food and Drink, Foodie Roundup, The Features

No Cooking Necessary Options for 4th of July

Photo courtesy of laura padgett
glover park farmers’ market 7.10.10 – 28
courtesy of laura padgett

Stop playing nose goes with your friends when trying to decide who’s going to host the cookout this Fourth of July. Instead, here are a couple of places that can supply the food platters so you can enjoy the party. So pick up some good eats, kick back, crack open a cold beer and toast to the birthday of the United States of America.

Red Apron Butchery - Fourth of July Packs
Feed the whole family with Red Apron’s swine-tastic pack. For $50 ($52 if you opt for the bacon bangers sausages), you get a rack of spice-rubbed baby back ribs, a pound of sandwich-ready smoked brisket, 1 package of five all pork hot dogs, four fresh sausages (choice of bratwurst, Italian or bacon bangers) and a pint of house-made Coca-Cola BBQ sauce. And it’s all nicely tucked into an insulated Red Apron bag, so you can just show up on a friend’s door step ready to commandeer their grill. Place your order online and pick it up at the DuPont Farmer’s Market on Sunday, July 1 from 10 AM to 1 PM.

Cork Market & Tasting Room – Patriotic Picnic Baskets
Pick a pic-a-nic basket, boo boo. The first option, the sandwich basket, has options such as sopressata with roasted peppers and tapenade on house-made focaccia or smoked ham with Nancy’s camembert and pickled onions. Or go with the second option, the chicken basket which has either a Peruvian grilled chicken or the garlic-herb marinated fried chicken. Both baskets come with side salads; either a farro salad with wild mushrooms, spring onions and preserved lemons or a Mediterranean cous cous salad. The sandwich basket is $25 ($35 if you add in wine) and the chicken basket is $40 ($55 if you add in wine). To get your picnic basket, call 202-265-2674 or email info@CorkDC.com.
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Food and Drink, Foodie Roundup, The Features

Cooking Classes Around DC

Photo courtesy of Chris Rief aka Spodie Odie
Evening Star #9
courtesy of Chris Rief aka Spodie Odie

So you’re not exactly Martha Stewart or Jacques Pepin in the kitchen–you can’t make a perfect omelet and maybe you’ve set off the smoke detector once or twice. Lucky for you there are a bunch of chefs and cooking classes coming up around the city that can teach you how to properly slice, dice, sauté and maybe even en flambé without burning down the house or losing a finger. So don’t be timid about hosting the next dinner party or simple wine and cheese night–these classes (including a bunch coming up this weekend) have got you covered.
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Food and Drink, Foodie Roundup, Night Life, The Features

Food Roundup: Best Bar Food

Photo courtesy of LaTur
They may be America’s last pioneers………..
courtesy of LaTur

When I think bars, I naturally think booze. Cocktails, beers, wine, maybe even the occasional shot. But many of the watering holes I frequent either don’t serve food or serve variations of fried things that I wind up eating out of sheer desperate hunger (read: no one wants to drink on an empty stomach). So in this feature, a few of the We Love DC writers and I bring you our picks for some of the bars with the best food. Go out there and a grab a drink, and for heaven’s sake, put down the greasy mozzarella sticks at that dive bar and head somewhere with something good to eat.
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Food and Drink, Foodie Roundup, The Daily Feed

Food Tweet of the Week: Boxcar Tavern

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Photo Courtesy Tricia Barba

Capitol Hill’s Boxcar Tavern should really have more followers. Since the neighborhood establishment opened at the end of December, it’s tweeted 90 times and garnered 83 followers. Maybe if the restaurant tweeted a little more, it could raise that number a bit (note: this is not an invitation to over-tweet!)

@BoxcarDC only follows 7 other users, so immediately I wanted to know who they were. Unsurprisingly, the tweeters were restaurateur Xavier Cervera’s other four restaurants: Molly MalonesLola’s Barracks Bar & Grill, Chesapeake Room and Senart’s Oyster & Chop House, plus @HootSuite, @Twitter and @BarracksRow.

While promotional, Boxcar Tavern’s tweets are funny and informative to denizens who want to know what’s on special everyday. My favorite was a tweet from Tuesday that had that mix down perfectly (and also highlighted my philosophy!) See this week’s winning tweet after the jump.
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Eat Like Me, Food and Drink, Foodie Roundup

First Look: Sixth Engine

exterior

Photo Courtesy Justin Cook

Like most people, I was excited to try out Sixth Engine, with a lot of the appeal coming from its setting: a historic firehouse house built in 1855 and the oldest in Washington, DC. Located north of Chinatown in the Mount Vernon Square neighborhood, Sixth Engine serves modern American cuisine and comes to us from the team behind Capitol Hill’s The Dubliner Irish Pub.

I went there last week and even though it was freezing outside, the place was packed. Owner Gavin Coleman and team did a great job with the decor, though I wish the second floor didn’t feel so separate from the first: think doors, steps, and more doors. The industrial feel was appreciated albeit expected, and the furnishings and fixtures added to that historic appeal.

The food different story. Before I get to the negatives, the wine menu was uninspired and pricey, so I went for a regular cocktail instead and everything I tried was pretty good, so maybe the trick is to treat Sixth Engine more like a bar. The menu had many different options — it isn’t often that you see spaetzle on the same menu as a linguine. The prices were average (still on the high side) for the neighborhood, though more than worth it if the food turned out to be stellar. Unfortunately, that was far from the case.
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Eat Like Me, Food and Drink, Foodie Roundup

First Look: District Kitchen

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Photo Courtesy Tricia Barba

After driving right by it and then almost walking past it, I finally made it into District Kitchen. It’s not really as bright in the dark as the picture makes it appear to be. Open just almost two weeks, the Woodley  Park restaurant has almost mastered its customer service skills, and it’s a great addition to the neighborhood.

On the inside, District Kitchen looks rustic, simple, yet open. It reminded me of almost a Sonoma/Graffiato hybrid, but with more space to move around. The restaurant only sits about 70, but it feels like there’s more room and not like you’re sitting so cramped in. And, don’t expect to hear others’ conversations…not because it’s quiet or because there’s great noise absorption, but because it’s so loud you won’t be able to distinguish who is saying what. Still, I liked the ambiance…cool and neighborhood-centered.

As more restaurants are doing these days, the menu is printed on card stock and divided into: Snacks, Small Plates, Salad & Produce, and Mains. There aren’t too many choices, so you won’t be overwhelmed by an almost unmanageable selection.

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Food and Drink, Foodie Roundup

This Week in Food

pizza

Photo Courtesy Fuel Pizza

Coming Soon

From Charlotte, NC comes Fuel Pizza & Wings, a locale set to start serving at 16th and K on January 18th. The opening will even feature free food for one year for the 1st fifty customers and complimentary menu tastings throughout the day. So head over there for New York-style pizza in interesting combinations from the Old Bay Crab Pizza to the favorite Extreme Fuel, an extensive gluten-free pizza menu and smokin’ wings.

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Food and Drink, Foodie Roundup, The Daily Feed

Cupcake Wars All-Stars

Photo courtesy of theqspeaks
Vegan Easter cupcakes
courtesy of theqspeaks

If you like seeing DC on the national screen — Real Housewives not included — then you might want to head to Adam’s Morgan on Sunday.  As you might know, vegan bakery Sticky Fingers Sweets & Eats won Food Network’s Cupcake Wars in March of last year, and now it’s defending its title in Cupcake Wars All-Stars.

Sticky Fingers is hosting a viewing party at Bourbon from 7- 10 pm, with the actual episode airing at 8pm.  You’ll be able to watch the show with Sticky Fingers Founder Doron Petersan and head baker Jenny Webb.

The event is free and open to the public. Just head here for the online invitation. Cupcakes are complimentary, and Sticky Fingers even writes that “heckling is encouraged.”

Best of luck!

Food and Drink, Foodie Roundup, The Daily Feed

Food Tweet of the Week: Taylor Gourmet

taylor
Here at We Love DC, your food team is (re) introducing the  Food Tweet of the Week feature. Basically, every Friday we’ll highlight a restaurant, chef, mixologist, food truck, or pretty much anyone associated with the industry who made us laugh, click on a link, salivate at a picture, or mix a drink at home.

The first tweet award of 2012 goes to Taylor Gourmet, the hoagie shop that opened its third DC-proper location this week. This is one of the best Twitter accounts out there. It is funny: think banter, tongue-in-cheek humor, and useful information with a cool twist.

My favorite Tweet is after the jump.

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Food and Drink, Foodie Roundup, The Features

Predictions for Food Trends in 2012

Photo courtesy of philliefan99
opening wide
courtesy of philliefan99

With 2011 and the year of the burger now behind us, the food team’s mouths are already watering and we’re looking ahead at what 2012 will bring to our plates. Our team, comprised of myself, Tricia and Natalia (our newest addition to the team!) all brainstormed about what we think will be all the rage in the new year when it comes to food.

Find our full list of predictions after the jump.
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Food and Drink, Foodie Roundup, The Features

Best of: Food 2011

Photo courtesy of Chris Rief aka Spodie Odie
courtesy of Chris Rief aka Spodie Odie

If you ask me, 2011 pretty much knocked it out of the park on the food scene. A plethora of new restaurants and bars opened, old restaurants expanded, chefs stirred up controversy and did good deeds, and in the end our fair city took home two James Beard Awards among others we were honored with. DC showed we’ve got the chops when it comes to food and it’s only up from here.

So fellow food writer Tricia and I took a look back at the year in food and rounded up all our favorites from the year. Find our Best of 2011 list after the jump and have a happy new year!
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Food and Drink, Foodie Roundup, The Daily Feed

FREE FOOD ALERT: Pinkberry

Photo courtesy of cherrylet
Pinkberry
courtesy of cherrylet

We love lining up for things: burgers (hello Shake Shack), cupcakes, food trucks, and of course, fro-yo. When the Los Angeles-based Pinkberry opened up its first store in DC back in May, fans lined Connecticut Avenue in Dupont Circle to get a taste of the icy, tart yogurt. The hard decision to make here is which of the 30 possible toppings to go for.

Now, get a cup for free! Pinkberry is opening its second DC proper (and fifth DC area) locale in Georgetown tomorrow, and is swirling away free yogurt today from noon to 4pm.

So, head to 3288 M Street, NW. After all, what else are you supposed to do in the days when work starts winding down and everyone else is heading out of town? If you want to stand in another line after getting your yogurt, just go across the street to Georgetown Cupcake.

Downtown, Food and Drink, Foodie Roundup, The Features, The Hill

Restaurants Here and On The Way

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Courtesy of Tricia Barba

It seems like there’s never a shortage of restaurants opening up in DC.

To finish out 2011, Xavier Cervera plans to open his fifth Capitol Hill restaurant, Boxcar Tavern, located in the old Petite Gourmetspace on 7th St. SE right next to Tunnicliffs. The staff is currently in training mode, and it sounds like the plan is still to open by the end of the month. The Eastern Market Metro Community Association has a pic of the inside.

Places that are open 24 hours a day always excite me. Case in point: The Hamilton located in downtown DC (same block as another Clyde’s Restaurant group favorite, Old Ebbitt Grill) opened up to the public just this week. The restaurant and live music venue comes to us from Clyde’s Restaurant Group. The 37,000 square foot space has two floors, four bars and four dining rooms. Where else can you get sushi, charcuterie, and seasonal and regional American fare? For more information and a slide show check out Washingtonian’s Best Bites. Continue reading

Food and Drink, Foodie Roundup, The Features

Christmas Day Dining Picks

Photo courtesy of kimberlyfaye
Capitol Christmas Tree
courtesy of kimberlyfaye

It seems like we’re all still working off those pounds from Thanksgiving. If you want a more hassle-free holiday this Christmas Day, how about you keep the pots and pans in the kitchen and head out to one of your favorite DC restaurants open on the holiday.

After the jump are my top five choices of where to go. Keep in mind some are a bit pricey, but special menus can be worth it if you chose wisely.
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Food and Drink, Foodie Roundup

First Look: Elisir Restaurant

elisir 001
I headed to Elisir for its first dinner post soft-opening, and was pleasantly surprised there were no signs that the restaurant in Penn Quarter had literally just opened its doors that same week.  The staff was beyond attentive without being intrusive and knew the menu cold. The lighting was bright and refreshing, and the open kitchen area was amazing. Basically, Elisir lived up to Italian fine dining as billed, without being pretentious or stuffy.

Chef Enzo Fargione is on his game. The former chef of Teatro Goldoni on K Street is the model of concentration at Elisir. There’s no yelling in the kitchen; it was almost serene.  Surprisingly, I didn’t feel like going the tasting menu route…I think I’ve been a bit overwhelmed by the whole culinary journey craze as of late.  At Elisir you’ll find for dinner a seven-course $75 tasting menu, and 10-course $95 menu, but I went for the a la carte.

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Give Back While Eating

Photo courtesy of
‘panettone inside’
courtesy of ‘willsfca’
The holiday season has arrived, and it’s the perfect time to start thinking about how to give back. It gets easier and easier every year – bring cans to work, send a text contribution, add an extra dollar to an online bill payment – you really have no excuse. Food lovers have a simple way to contribute as well. In the next few months many of my favorite restaurants are teaming up with local charities and coming up with creative ways to raise money. All you have to do is eat. Here are my top 3.

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Food and Drink, Foodie Roundup, Penn Quarter, The Daily Feed, We Love Food

We Love Food: Quick Update on Restaurant Happenings

Photo courtesy of
‘America Eats Tavern- Washington, DC’
courtesy of ‘Plantains & Kimchi’

For those of you who avidly follow the food scene, this all might be old news. But to those of you who don’t eat, sleep and drink DC food coverage, here’s a little roundup on some of the latest restaurant happenings around DC.

Have no fear about not getting to José Andrés’ America Eats Tavern in time before it closes. The restaurant announced that it will be staying open through July 4, 2012–closing exactly a year after it first opened this past summer. Don’t forget that the “What’s Cooking Uncle Sam?” exhibit, which served as inspiration for the restaurant concept and of which Andrés is the chief culinary advisor to, will close on January 3rd.

In “ancient” news by classic journalistic standards, Mike Isabella is opening a restaurant in the former Hook space in Georgetown. Hook and its sister restaurant, Tackle Box, had been closed since a fire in late June. Eater DC has a full recap of the drama behind how the story of Isabella’s new restaurant broke. All of that aside, Bandolero will be a “modern Mexican small-plates concept,” with dishes such as salsas, ceviches, tacos, and Isabella’s version of fajitas, according to a news release. Bandolero is set to open in early 2012.

Staying in the Georgetown area, PAUL Bakery has launched a second location in DC, which officially opened its doors on November 21st. The french bakery has enough seating for 30 to 40 patrons in Georgetown, or you can just grab a baguette to go seven days a week. PAUL had opened its first DC location in May 2011.

And lastly, unlike the other news about restaurant openings, The Washington Post reported that Ba Bay in Eastern Market closed its doors. As Tim Carman reported, Ba Bay closed “due to circumstances beyond our [the owner's] control.” No word on whether owners and cousins Denise Nguyen and Khoa Nguyen will open another Vietnamese-style restaurant or another Ba Bay elsewhere.