The Daily Feed

Snallygaster Saturday

 

Weekend plans: Resolved. Tomorrow, the team behind some of your favorite beer-havens including Birch & Barley, Churchkey and Rustico, are throwing a one of a kind festival at Yards Park that you won’t want to miss. This isn’t your regular solo-cup and pump festival, rather one filled with the best craft beers in the city and artisan food to match. So what’s with the name (other than being really fun to say)? Snallygaster is a mythical dragon-like beast, said to have terrorized the Maryland region at the turn of the century, looking somewhat like a half-bird, half-reptile with a metallic beak. While they won’t be promising any mythical dragons (except maybe feeling like one after a few good brews), the festival promises 100 unique crafted beers, all handpicked by beer director Greg Engert.

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Food and Drink, The Daily Feed

Churchkey Debuts Fried Chicken and Donuts


Courtesy of Samer Farha

There’s a new dish you might see parading around Churchkey these days. Don’t worry if you don’t see it on the menu–we don’t need those where we’re going. Besides, you’ll see it coming down the bar from a mile away: a big platter of fried chicken and donuts.

The beer-focused bar’s fried chicken dinner splits a whole chicken in three different styles: thighs and drumsticks in a classic buttermilk fried fashion, chicken tenders fried with a jerk seasoning and “General Satan’s” crispy wings (that’s executive chef Kyle Bailey’s version of General Tso’s). The family-style platter also comes with homemade biscuits with honey butter, corn on the cob topped with a spicy mayo, sesame seeds, cilantro and panko bread crumbs, as well as panzanella with heirloom tomatoes and house-made burrata.

Rounding off your meal are four donuts from executive pastry chef, Tiffany MacIsaac. They’re fried brioche donuts filled with passion fruit curd and topped with a strawberry glaze and a homemade Nilla wafer crumbling or a filled with a goat’s milk cheesecake and topped with a Cajeta glaze and pistachio dusting.

That’s all for only $42, so go ahead and don’t feel bad about ordering that second beer.

The fried chicken special is available on Wednesday nights only in limited quantities.

Food and Drink, The Daily Feed

ChurchKey and Eat Wonky Bring You Wonky Tots

Photo courtesy of
‘wonky dog @ Eat Wonky truck- Washington, DC’
courtesy of ‘Plantains & Kimchi’

Sometimes you find yourself remembering two different dishes you’ve eaten and think to yourself, “If only there was a way to combine both of these dishes.” Wanting the flavors of two dishes to dance upon your tongue doesn’t necessarily make you greedy. So I was happy to see that two of the tasty foods I’ve eaten are coming together this week in the form of Wonky Tots.

ChurchKey’s tater tots from chef Kyle Bailey are teaming up with Eat Wonky’s squeaky cheese and gravy. It’s poutine 2.0 with tots.

You can get the wonky tots this week only from Eat Wonky, but there are just 20 orders available per lunch shift. In other words: hurry. You can stalk the truck’s location @eatwonky or @churchkeydc.

Food and Drink, The Daily Feed

Only Twenty Kegs in the World. DC Gets One.

Photo courtesy of
‘Brasserie Cantillon’
courtesy of ‘mersy’

The annual release of Cantillon’s Zwanze is quite an event amongst the cult of beer nerds. The very limited edition beer, different each year, is debuted – and usually sells out almost instantly. If you see beer heads lying on the ground outside of ChurchKey this Friday night, it is (probably) not because they drank too much – but rather because they are camped out to be first in line for Saturday’s tapping.

After years of bottles being scalped for huge sums, the Cantillon folks have decided to make the 2011 Zwanze a keg-only release. All the kegs in the world – and there are only twenty of them – are to be simultaneously tapped. Then, when it sells out, it sells out. No secondary market.

The moment of the simultaneous tapping works out favorably for us in the Eastern time zone – 3pm on Saturday the 17th. For the one keg going to Japan (Beer Brasserie Dolphins Temabashi in Osaka), however, a bit less so.

ChurchKey will be open for usual Saturday brunch service starting at noon with glasses of Zwanze becoming available at 3:00. Another beer from Cantillon, Iris, will also be available on draft.

Food and Drink, Foodie Roundup, The Features, We Love Food

We Love Food: DC Eats for September

Photo courtesy of
‘Autumn of my Life’
courtesy of ‘LaTur’

Summer may be over, but good food goes on. You can eat your sad feelings about colder weather and fewer hours of daylight coming at some of these events happening this month in the city.
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Food and Drink, The Features, We Love Drinks

We Love Drinks: Nahem Simon

Nahem Simon

We Love Drinks continues our series where we look behind the bar, profiling the many people – from mixologists to bartenders, sommeliers to publicans – who make your drinks experience happen.

I swing open the hefty, wide birch door on a cool, clear Sunday evening in March, ascend the metal staircase, and enter into a narrow but deep room, filled with lively chatter and the aromas of sweet and sour beer and freshly-cleaned tap lines. I take a seat at the bar and am immediately approached by one of the bartenders. He reaches out to shake my hand.

“Good evening, Bill! Great to see you. How’s everything going, buddy?”

That’s Nahem Simon, and this is ChurchKey, the acclaimed beer bar brother to its downstairs sister Birch & Barley in Logan Circle. Much has been written on this relatively recent addition to the DC nightlife scene, and if you’re a beer geek you’ve surely heard of Greg Engert, the famed beer director of the two restaurants. But, you may not have heard of Nahem, who on almost any given day can be found pouring one of their 50 taps, hand-pumping a cask ale, or wiping down the bar in a move he calls “the Zamboni.”

Nahem plays Greg’s right-hand man; while Greg researches beers, hosts tastings, and appears in the media as the face of ChurchKey, Nahem’s running the show behind the bar. The two have been close friends for several years and their collective enthusiasm toward craft beer has helped permanently transform DC’s beer scene.

I settle in at the bar as Nahem pours me a glass. He introduces me to some fellow patrons: another ChurchKey bartender off-duty, relaxing with his girlfriend and enjoying a hockey game on the flat screens over the taps, and a general manager of a local restaurant who has stopped in after a busy weekend. Soon, Nahem finds a moment to step out from behind the bar, and we take a seat in the secluded lounge area near the back of the room to talk. Continue reading

The Daily Feed

New in DC: House in Session Ale

Churchkey #2
‘Churchkey #2′
courtesy of ‘Hans Bruesch’

DC is a political town, always has been, always will be. And now, even our beer is political, with the release of Schlafly Beer’s House in Session Ale. Unlike our politicians, however, this beer was the result of a word not usually in many of their vocabularies: cooperation.
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Food and Drink, The Features, We Love Drinks

Best Of: Drinks 2010

Photo courtesy of
‘Chilling’
courtesy of ‘Samer Farha’

We Love Drinks authors Kirk and I were really spoiled this year. In 2010 with wine, beer and cocktails alike we saw a resurgence of the desire to enjoy and educate ourselves in the world of libation. Sure we still like a shot from a dive bar but we also love craft cocktails. It’s not a drunk town, it’s a drinks town!

In addition to the old favorites, a number of new places opened up. We found ourselves covering everything we could despite busy day jobs (it certainly improved my tolerance level. shut up, pesky liver, wine is good for you!). There was the continuation of the wine bar explosion with cosy Dickson Wine Bar, DC’s raging beer love with Biergarten Haus and the promise of DC Brau, luscious cocktail smoothies at Fruit Bat, the rough-and-tumble American Ice Co. – I know we missed a few, and I’m going to do my best to stay on top of 2011. We’ve got burning questions in the coming year – will the winter opening of Jack Rose get me to hang out in Adams Morgan again, or will the Bier Baron successfully revive the faded Brickskellar space (and reputation)?

Anything you’d like to see covered? Interested in joining our merry drinks band? Drop me a line, I’d love to know.

Now, on to my favorite Drinks moments of 2010!

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Food and Drink, The Daily Feed, We Love Drinks

Imbibe Loves DC Too

Photo courtesy of
‘The Tabard Cocktail’
courtesy of ‘Samer Farha’

The September/October 2010 edition of Imbibe magazine is out and features a sampling of the DC cocktail and beer scenes. With cocktail recipes from Gina Chersevani of PS7, Alex Bookless of The Passenger (recent winner of the Rickey Contest), and Chantal Tseng of Tabard Inn, the ladies represent!

Try your hand at mixing up Gina’s “Beetiful Bubbles” with, yes, beet syrup, or Alex’s “That Cucumber Drink” muddling cucumber and mint, or my personal long-term favorite, Chantal’s “Tabard Cocktail” combining sherry and tequila. Fantastic.

The current issue also breaks down 20 beer spots both inside and outside the city highlighting both the usual suspects like Greg Engert’s program at Birch & Barley/Churchkey and a few surprises.

The best part about DC being featured in Imbibe this month? The tone is congratulatory, not condescending in that way we sometimes see other national publications yap about DC’s food/drink offerings (Grey Lady, I am looking at you). I love it when our local talent gets recognized!

Dupont Circle, Essential DC, Food and Drink, Night Life, Special Events, The Features, We Love Drinks

We Love Drinks: Beer Week

Photo courtesy of
‘Partay!’
courtesy of ‘Kevin H.’

DC Beer week is upon us and beer lovers are presented with a plethora of excellent events to attend.  While nearly every single one is appealing, you’re only one person and can only attend so many.  Hence, I’ve created a handy guide to help you choose what to do and where to go. My guide  is by no means exhaustive and I’d encourage you to check out the full list of events before you decide where to go.  There are some really great options, and all that really matters is that you go to at least one of them. But, should you choose to heed my advice, I’ve got three rules to make this Beer Week perfect: attend a beer dinner, find the values, sample the rare goods. I’ve selected a few events to coincide with each rule to help you decide what to attend.

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The Daily Feed

Beer, Music & Art

Photo courtesy of
‘The Phillips Collection’
courtesy of ‘Kevin H.’

Phillips After 5 tonight will feature ChurchKey’s Greg Engert, who will be pouring up some delicious white beers, and DJ Danny Harris, likely to be spinning tunes from the Beatles’ White Album.  And of course, you can enjoy all of this while also taking in The Phillips Collection’s incredible exhibits.

If you have never been to this fun D.C. event, I recommend you battle the severe thunderstorms and kick off the weekend right!

Food and Drink, People, The Features, We Love Drinks

We Love Drinks: Greg Engert

Photo courtesy of
‘Beer Master Greg Engert’
courtesy of ‘snapzdc’

We Love Drinks continues our series where we look behind the bar, profiling the many people – from mixologists to bartenders, sommeliers to publicans – who make your drinks experience happen.

Greg Engert views the world through the bottom of a beer glass. This is not a statement on his sobriety, but rather the lens through which he has chosen to focus his profession and personal interest. Greg is the beer director for the Neighborhood Restaurant Group, owners of Rustico and the new, wildly popular ChurchKey and Birch and Barley restaurants near Thomas Circle. He researches beers, meets with brewers, manages his stock of beverages, and has the final say on anything beer related at Neighborhood restaurants. Sounds like a dream job, right? Well, I’m not going to lie. It is a dream job, but that doesn’t make it easy, and Greg certainly isn’t one to rest on the laurels of his title.

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