Young and Hungry

The Cheesiest Valentine’s Day Specials, Ranked


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


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

Republic Kolache Is Coming to Union Market


There will soon new be a new location for your half-smoke kolache fix. Republic Kolache, D.C.'s first purveyor of the beloved Czech-Texan pastry, will operate in Union Market on Saturdays and Sundays from Feb. 13 through early March—and possibly longer.

The pop-up from Texas natives Chris Svetlik and Brian Stanford will offer six sweet and savory options, including staples like half-smoke, jalapeno, and cheddar as well as cream cheese and pecan. New to the roster: poppyseed, a favorite of Svetlik's Czech grandmother. Topo Chico, a mineral water with something of a cult following among Texans, will also be available.  Read more Republic Kolache Is Coming to Union Market

Last Night’s Leftovers: Chinese New Year Edition


Chinese New Year celebrations around D.C. [Washingtonian]

The right way to get drunk with chocolate [Post]

What's going on with Johnny Rockets in Pentagon City? [ARLnow]

Post Pub closes due to reported vermin, ‘plumbing problems’ [Borderstan]

Local sommelier shares recommendations for Valentine’s Day treats [NoVa Mag]

Why Taco Bell spent $5 million to introduce the Quesalupa [Eater]

Photo via Shutterstock

Declaration Opens in Shaw on Saturday With Colonial-Inspired Pizzas


The new Shaw restaurant from the group behind Lincoln and Teddy & The Bully Bar is exactly 1,776 square feet. Within 15 minutes of learning that, owner Alan Popovsky had a name for the place: Declaration. After all, the Declaration of Independence was signed in the year 1776, and all of Popovsky's restaurants are American history-themed. Popovsky swears he didn't fudge the square-footage number as part of any gimmick: "I'll send you the lease," he swears.

Declaration centers around pizzas, but don't mistake this for an Italian restaurant. Rather, chef Demetrio Zavala's 13 "colony pies" are inspired by the first 13 states in America and named after signers of the Declaration of Independence from each state. The Georgia Lyman Hall pizza is topped with oven-roasted Amish chicken, celery, carrot, onions, and mushroom—similar ingredients to chicken and dumplings, a state staple. The North Carolina Joseph Hewes pizza riffs on vinegar barbecue. And a New York Lewis Morris pie nods to the New York bagel with chive crème fraîche, capers, cured salmon, shaved onion, arugula, and tomato confit. Read more Declaration Opens in Shaw on Saturday With Colonial-Inspired Pizzas

Sloppy Mama’s Barbeque Is Taking Over the Kitchen at Solly’s Tavern


Solly's Tavern is trading its bar food menu for barbecue come March 1. The U Street bar is partnering with Sloppy Mama's Barbeque food truck to permanently take over its kitchen.

"The food [at Solly's] was actually pretty good, but nobody expected to eat there," says Sloppy Mama's owner Joe Neuman. "It was a place to go to get PBR and shots of whiskey."

The bar will still have plenty of cheap drinks, but Neuman hopes it will now also become a destination for brisket, smoked chicken, chicken wings, and pulled pork. Neuman plans to eventually bring in a charbroiler for ribs as well. The menu will be fairly traditional with meats and sides plus sandwiches. Read more Sloppy Mama’s Barbeque Is Taking Over the Kitchen at Solly’s Tavern

Are You Gonna Eat That? Buredo’s Juice Pulp-Stuffed Sushi Burrito Rolls


The Dish: Tanaka roll

Where to Get It: Buredo, 825 14th St. NW; (202) 670-6770;

Price: $10.75

What It Is: A supersized sushi roll with apple-broccoli-broccoleaf juice pulp from Jrink Juicery as its star ingredient. The vegan roll is also stuffed with shredded carrot, shredded raw butternut squash, avocado, edamame, wasabi pea crunch, and a sweet and spicy sauce.

What It Tastes Like: The juice pulp looks kind of like salad that’s been chewed up and spit out with a texture that’s simultaneously mushy and gristly. On its own, it has a faint apple taste. Combined with the other (equally mild) ingredients, the sweet and spicy sauce provides the predominant flavor. Read more Are You Gonna Eat That? Buredo’s Juice Pulp-Stuffed Sushi Burrito Rolls

Last Night’s Leftovers: Super Bowl Edition


Where to watch the Super Bowl around D.C. [Washingtonian]

Best bars without TV in D.C. [BYT]

Ventnor Sports Cafe: A pub that does right by its grub (and its drinks) [Post]

Port City Brewing Company, by the numbers [Eater]

How to tell if your bartender is actually hitting on you [Thrillist]

French wine bar La Jambe looking to open in Shaw in May. [PoPville]

Photo via Shutterstock

Check Out The Menus For The Sovereign, Georgetown’s New Belgian Beer Bar


Many of D.C.'s Belgian beer bars are known for their wide selection of brews. But none have quite the same kind of selection as The Sovereign, opening today in Georgetown from Neighborhood Restaurant Group.

Beer Director Greg Engert is eschewing the big name brands—the ones whose names you find emblazoned on glasses and umbrellas—for a dozen smaller Belgian breweries that are producing more traditional beers with dry, funky, sour, and complex flavors. Rather than highlighting a few beers from a lot of breweries, Engert is looking to highlight a lot of beers from relatively few breweries. (Read more about that in Y&H's previous column about The Sovereign.)

The Sovereign will pour 50 drafts beginning tonight at 5:30 p.m. Its selections of more than 250 bottles, most of which are stored in a humidity and temperature controlled cellar, won't be available until tomorrow. In addition to Belgian beers, expect to also find Belgian-style ales from American, Italian, and Canadian brewers.

The bistro menu from chef Peter Smith, formerly of PS7’s, includes Dutch-style mussels with a range of flavors from saffron to pesto. The team visited Belgium in preparation for the restaurant's opening and found the bivalves there to be particularly plump, rich, and creamy. The secret, apparently, is that they're grown according to Dutch methods on the sea floor vs. on ropes or poles. Smith says he was able to find a Dutch-style mussel farmer in Maine to source his mussels from.

Another discovery from that Belgium trip was the bicky burger, a late-night favorite. The deep fried, nutmeg-spiced beef and pork patty is topped with fried onions, pickles, and bicky sauce, which is kind of like a Belgian thousand island sauce, and served between an English muffin. The bicky sauce reappears as a condiment for fries or loaded fries, along with seven other dippings sauces including bearnaise and smoked mayo.

Other highlights include "flame cakes"—the more pronounceable term for a German-style flatbread called flammkuchen. The traditional German tart is topped with crème fraîche, bacon, and caramelized onions, but there are also other variations on the menu.

Braises—many of which are cooked with beer—are another big focus. While the menu features the classic coq au vin, there's also a coq au gueuze cooked in the lambic Belgian beer.

The downstairs bistro will take reservations, but the bar areas downstairs and upstairs are available for walk-ins.

Check out the full food and draft beer menus below:

Sovereign Opening Menu 2.4.16

Sovereign Draft List 2.4.2016

The Sovereign, 1206 Wisconsin Ave. NW; (202) 774-5875;

Photo by Joy Asico