Young and Hungry

Top Chef Season Odds, Starring Marjorie Meek-Bradley

Top Chef's California season is just past the halfway mark and in the middle of a two-part Restaurant Wars challenge. As veteran watchers of the Bravo show, it's a good time to set some odds on the current group of cheftestants' chances of making the multi-part finals competition.

Marjorie Meek-Bradley: For those of us with a rooting interest in D.C. chefs, MM-B has been comforting. Even when she’s finished in the bottom (because of her team), judges have singled out her food as being excellent. The Ripple/Roofer's Union chef already brought out her secret weapon–baking—a couple of times, and her ability to work across a couple of styles is handy. Plus, as a friend and former employee of Mike Isabella, she came into this with a good understanding of the game. She can win it. Odds: 3-1 Read more Top Chef Season Odds, Starring Marjorie Meek-Bradley

Food Trucks Look for Ways to Survive the Winter

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For at least three months of the year, Doug Povich knows his Red Hook Lobster Pound food trucks are going to lose money. He sends them out anyway.

Povich says he’s lucky to make it halfway to his break-even point from December through mid-March. He’s only able to make it through with reserves from the busy spring and summer season, plus catering gigs and other revenue streams like UberEats. (Yes, mobile vendors sometimes rely on other mobile vendors to deliver food.)

It’s no secret that food truck sales drop along with temperatures, but February can be one of the most brutal months. Some trucks close for the season. Others like Red Hook Lobster Pound suck it up, knowing they’ll lose money. Those with low food or operating costs are able to stay open and make some profit. And nearly everyone is looking for other revenue streams that sometimes have little to do with the truck itself.

“By and large, people are happy to break even,” says Povich, the chairman of the DMV Food Truck Association. Read more Food Trucks Look for Ways to Survive the Winter

Last Night’s Leftovers: Roofers Union Edition

20140205_0932251Roofers Union review: Top Chef puts the spotlight on Marjorie Meek-Bradley. [Post]

Aphrodisiac-laced dishes to spice up your Valentine’s Day [Express]

Five dining saves for Valentine’s Day procrastinators [Washingtonian]

Behind the scenes of Harper Macaw's chocolate factory [BYT]

Two restaurants experiment with jelly in cocktails. [DCist]

Tynan Coffee & Tea has new ownership in Columbia Heights. [PoPville]

Photo courtesy Roofers Union

Seafood Restaurant and Raw Bar Whaley’s Coming to Navy Yard

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Navy Yard Oyster Company may have fallen through, but it looks like Navy Yard will get a seafood spot after all. DGS Delicatessen owners and cousins Nick and David Wiseman will open a raw bar and restaurant called Whaley's in the same Anacostia River-facing building as Osteria Morini, Agua 301, and others.  Read more Seafood Restaurant and Raw Bar Whaley’s Coming to Navy Yard

Three Observations About Mike Isabella’s Massive Mall Food Hall

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Mike Isabella announced today that he's getting into mall food courts—really fancy ones. The restaurateur behind Graffiato, Kapnos, and countless other restaurants will open Isabella Eatery, a 10-concept, 41,000-square-foot, 600-seat dining complex in Tysons Galleria, the Post first reported.

The food hall, coming in 2017, will include variations of existing Isabella restaurants, including Graffiato, Kapnos, Pepita, Requin, and Yona. There will also be a bunch of new concepts: Arroz (Spanish tapas), Octagon Bar ("prohibition-style" classic cocktails), Non-Fiction Coffee (cafe with sandwiches, soups, salads, and pastries), Retro Creamery (ice cream parlor and soda shop), and Trim (Mediterranean grill). A 300-seat common area will service half of the concepts, while others will be enclosed with dedicated seating.

Read more about the concepts from a press release below. But before you get there, here are some thoughts: Read more Three Observations About Mike Isabella’s Massive Mall Food Hall

Last Night’s Leftovers: Pineapple and Pearls Edition

Y_H_Aaron_Silverman-1-682x1024-e1440378936837Pineapple and Pearls will begin serving coffee on Friday. [Post]

Six Valentine's Day brunches in D.C. [Zagat]

10 great places for Valentine's Day chocolate around D.C. [Washingtonian]

Drink away Valentine's Day at these dive bars [Eater]

D.C.'s best doughnuts [Thrillist]

Madam's Organ bartender appears in Super Bowl ad. [Borderstan]

"Just send me my burrito bitch": D.C. lawyer caught up in Chipotle promotion [DCist]

Photo of chef Aaron Silverman by Darrow Montgomery

Mulebone Opens Friday With Southern-Influenced Cooking and Vintage Goods

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After more than six years on 14th Street NW, restaurateur Andy Shallal knew his Southern restaurant Eatonville needed a update. In that time, the corridor had changed dramatically with dozens of new bars and restaurants. Shallal felt a menu shakeup wasn't enough, so he closed Eatonville and will reopen the place on Friday as Mulebone, a Southern-American restaurant with more emphasis on the bar scene.

"It's hard for people to change habits, and in order for people to understand that we're really moving in a more modern direction and a direction that I think is more appealing to more people, we wanted to make it a bigger splash," explains Shallal, who also owns Busboys and Poets. Read more Mulebone Opens Friday With Southern-Influenced Cooking and Vintage Goods

The Cheesiest Valentine’s Day Specials, Ranked

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Valentine’s Day brings out more gimmicks than pretty much any other holiday. And restaurants and bars love a good gimmick. Whether you’re in a relationship or not, here are some options for embracing themed menu specials and terrible puns, ranked top to bottom from extremely to moderately cheesy.

Smoothie King: Who needs a boyfriend? A "Soulmate Smoothie" quiz helps people find the smoothie "that best fits each person's unique nutritional goals and needs." Also: dark chocolate strawberry smoothies.

The Daily Dish: “It’s Not You, It’s Me” singles happy hour includes stinky breath dishes like garlic and anchovy flatbread and “Shot Through the Heart” shots of tequila. Read more The Cheesiest Valentine’s Day Specials, Ranked

Last Night’s Leftovers: Blind Date Edition

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Best blind date spots in D.C. [BYT]

Spirits guru Jeff Faile is joining the Rose’s Luxury/Pineapple and Pearls team. [Post]

Hawthorne opens for American bistro fare on U Street NW. [Washingtonian]

The most romantic restaurants in 10 D.C. neighborhoods [Zagat]

Ivy and Coney will celebrate Fat Tuesday with free Polish snacks. [Borderstan]

Japanese program certifies authentic cuisine. [NPR]

Photo of Maketto by Jessica Sidman

Don’t Call This New Basement Bar a Speakeasy

Mural courtesy The Armory

When The Armory opens below Rebellion on Feb. 17, it aims to be more sophisticated than its wing-slinging, bourbon-guzzling parent bar upstairs. But despite its steep-stair basement entrance on 18th Street NW, bearded beverage director, and dramatic metal door, the owner wants to strike a buzzword from the conversation: “I don’t want to use the term 'speakeasy,' because we’re not going to do any passwords, reservations, or anything like that,” says Brian Westlye. “We want it to be almost the anti-speakeasy, where it’s very approachable and you feel comfortable.” Read more Don’t Call This New Basement Bar a Speakeasy

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