Young and Hungry

Founding Farmers Team Opening $7 Million Distillery Pub in Mt. Vernon Triangle

The-Farm-Gin_JenCubas-682x1024The restaurant group behind Founding Farmers and Farmers Fishers Bakers has worked with local distillers to produce its own signature gin and rye whiskey in recent years. Now, the group will begin producing booze itself with a new distillery pub called Farmers & Distillers, coming to 600 Massachusetts Ave. NW in the fall of 2016.

The $7 million project will inhabit a 12,000-square-foot space with a 300-seat restaurant and 30-seat bar. Farmers Restaurant Group, which is owned by Dan Simons, Michael Vucurevich, and the North Dakota Farmers Union, will team with Rick Wasmund of Copper Fox Distillery in Sperryville, Va. on the distillery component. (Wasmund collaborated with Beverage Director Jon Arroyo on Farmers Restaurant Group's existing spirits.) Read more Founding Farmers Team Opening $7 Million Distillery Pub in Mt. Vernon Triangle

Last Night’s Leftovers: Outdoor Drinking Edition

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D.C.'s best outdoor drinking spots [Zagat]

Sloppy Mama's food truck works to bounce back after fire. [Eater]

Olivia's Diner now open on 19th Street NW. [Borderstan]

12 things to see, eat, drink and do in July 2015 [Post]

Vapiano in Ballston closes after eight years. [ARLnow]

South Block Juice Co. opens new cafe in East Falls Church. [NoVa Mag]

Photo by Darrow Montgomery

Silver Spring Restaurant Creates Shark Attack Cocktail

Shark Week at AG Kitchen

Eight people have been attacked by sharks along the North Carolina coast within the past month. None of the victims were killed, but a few lost limbs and sustained other serious injuries. Sounds like inspiration for a cocktail?

AG Kitchen, a "nuevo Latino" restaurant from New York chef Alex Garcia that recently opened in Silver Spring, is offering a "Bloody Shark Attack" cocktail this week. The drink contains Captain Morgan light rum and blue curaçao and comes with a toy shark that's filled with grenadine so you can release "blood" into the blue liquid.

Read more Silver Spring Restaurant Creates Shark Attack Cocktail

Claudia’s Steakhouse Sells a $125 Martini—And People Are Actually Buying It

IMG_3051Who orders a $125 martini?

As of last Friday afternoon, at least seven individuals and groups have been willing to throw down that much for one of the signature drinks at two-week-old Claudia's Steakhouse. One guy has ordered two of them. And a couple celebrating an anniversary sipped the martini out of straws (gasp!) for a photo op.

The drink contains two ounces of Nolet's Reserve Dry Gin—$700 a bottle—semi-dry Noilly Prat Ambre Vermouth, and saffron bitters. The gin is the world's most expensive because its mix of botanicals includes saffron, one of the world's priciest spices. Only 500 bottles are produced globally each year.

"We did have a few guests that ordered it that had never had gin in their lives," says Beverage Director David Bowen. "They just had to see what a $125 drink tastes like." Read more Claudia’s Steakhouse Sells a $125 Martini—And People Are Actually Buying It

Where to Get Your Tiki On This Summer

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D.C. tiki bar Hogo may have closed last year, but plenty of other spots are keeping umbrella drinks alive. In fact, tiki is taking over menus in all sorts of unexpected spots this summer. So if you can’t afford that tropical vacation, here are some places where you can at least get a decent mai tai.

Barmini
855 E St. NW

José Andrés’ cocktail bar is hosting its second annual Tiki Week now through July 11. The tiki-inspired cocktails include drinks like the Polynesian Vacation with citrus vodka, aloe liqueur, pineapple, lime, ginger, and yellow chartreuse as well as a treasure chest with three types of mai tais.

Del Campo
900 7th St. NW

On July 10 from 7 to 10 p.m., the South American steakhouse will host its annual Del Campo at Dusk Tiki Party on the building’s rooftop. Chef Victor Albisu and restaurateur Jeff Black (Pearl Dive Oyster Palace, BlackSalt) will serve suckling pig, oysters, and other tiki-inspired bites. Tickets, which include food, are available online for $37. Tiki cocktails, beer, and wine will be available from a cash bar. Tropical attire welcome. Read more Where to Get Your Tiki On This Summer

Last Night’s Leftovers: Stadium Food Edition

1310594014_m_Cheap-1Who's got better food? Nationals Park vs. Camden Yards [Post]

Italian grandmas try Olive Garden for the first time. [BuzzFeed]

Petition urges José Andrés to reconsider plans for D.C. Trump hotel. [Washingtonian]

Sorry, protestors. Subway opens in Mount Pleasant. [PoPville]

Number Nine owner will open a tavern below Black Whiskey. [Borderstan]

Where to experience an Ethiopian coffee ceremony in D.C. [DCist]

Photo by Darrow Montgomery

Buredo, Now Open in Franklin Square, Super Sizes Your Sushi

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By noon today, the line at Franklin Square's new burrito-sized sushi joint, Buredo, was down the block. Who would have thought? Apparently not even the owners.

"We've been blown away. We've been grappling to keep up with the demand," says co-owner Travis Elton, who comes from a business consulting background. "We had to double and triple our orders from our vendors."

The fast-casual restaurant opened this week and serves jumbo sushi rolls with nori, seasoned white rice, and different combinations of ingredients and flavors from around the world.

"We are fusion," says Elton, who's half-Peruvian, half-Norwegian, of the fusion flavors. His business partner Mike Haddad, a record producer and former DJ whose family has operated local delis, is Lebanese.

Haddad and Elton spent a year experimenting and fine-tuning the menu with help from chef consultants, including Tom Madrecki of Chez Le Commis. They went through 30 types of nori before settling on the one they use now.  Read more Buredo, Now Open in Franklin Square, Super Sizes Your Sushi

The ’Wiching Hour: A Baked Joint’s Veggie Sandwich

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The Sandwich: Veggie #1

Where: A Baked Joint (tentative name), 440 K St. NW

Price: $10

Bread: House-baked focaccia

Stuffings: Smoked eggplant puree, roasted sweet potato, goat cheese, crispy kale, roasted onion, and red pepper. Add a poached egg for an additional $1.50.

Thickness: 4 inches

Pros: In one bite, this sandwich hits every major flavor profile: sweet from the potato and eggplant; bitter from the roasted, smoky kale; creamy and tangy from the thick spread of goat cheese; and salty from the bread that holds it all together. While it’s packed with flavor, the sandwich isn’t too heavy, thanks to the simple ingredients and the airy focaccia. In this case, the bread is the star of the show. Read more The ’Wiching Hour: A Baked Joint’s Veggie Sandwich

Brew In Town: 3 Stars Brewing Company Ghost White IPA

3 Stars Ghost White IPA cans

3 Stars Brewing Company Ghost White IPA

Where in Town: 3 Stars Brewing Company, 6400 Chillum Place NW

Price: $11.75/four-pack

Tallboy Oh Boy

Craft beers are more and more often appearing in large-format cans, a vessel formerly relegated to watery beers with names ending in “ice” and “lite.” Not yet sold on the allure of aluminum? Unlike glass bottles or growlers, cans let in no light, making it impossible for ultraviolet rays to skunk the beer inside. And unlike bottle caps and corks, the airtight seal of a can completely eliminates the threat of oxidation. Sure, mining bauxite for aluminum cans isn’t exactly green, but crushed cans take up little space, making them easier to transport, and are more efficiently recycled. As for tallboys, they’re just more of a good thing (four ounces more, to be precise, and the ideal size for sharing). Read more Brew In Town: 3 Stars Brewing Company Ghost White IPA

In D.C.’s Booming Dining Scene, Restaurants Renovate to Stay Relevant

Sitting in the lounge of his four-star Indian restaurant, Rasika, restaurateur Ashok Bajaj notices the wood on one of his orange-cushioned chairs is all nicked up.

“As a guest, you may not see a lot of things, but I do, ” he says. “Look at this. Time to change.”

By the end of this week, all the chairs will be on their way out. With the Penn Quarter restaurant’s 10-year anniversary approaching, Bajaj is spending nearly half a million dollars to give the dining room a makeover. He’s hired British designer Harry Gregory to outfit the dining room with a new ash and olive color scheme, “artichoke” light fixtures from England, patterned fabrics from Venice, artifacts from India, and more.

Bajaj is also adding some soundproof panels in the walls. When he opened Rasika, everyone wanted loud, happening restaurants. But now that the clientele is getting older, the opposite is true.

The changes won’t be limited to furnishings. As Bajaj discusses his plans, chef Vikram Sunderam walks in with 10 years’ worth of menus in his arms. The two have a meeting later in the afternoon to discuss which dishes they might bring back or add for a revamped menu.

Bajaj is also selecting new china and glassware, which he says is a six-month project in and of itself. One of his employees brings over a stack of half a dozen plates in different shapes and sizes—some white and some dark brown. “We’re thinking about sorbets on this one. We’re thinking about a lamb shank on this,” Bajaj says, sifting through the plates. He picks up one of the brown dishes: “I’m going to eat on this today to see how I feel about eating on this plate.”

It’s not necessarily that there’s anything wrong with the existing tableware, but Bajaj doesn’t want Rasika to get stale. In an ever-competitive dining landscape, a refresh is often necessary to keep an edge. And many restaurateurs are willing to pay big bucks to do it.

“It’s like wearing a new suit,” Bajaj says. “It makes you feel good.” Read more In D.C.’s Booming Dining Scene, Restaurants Renovate to Stay Relevant

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