Young and Hungry

Maracas Sells Mexican Ice Pops Via Tricycles

Julia with Trikes

D.C. has had its fair share of alternate vehicles selling frozen treats: Goodies serves frozen custard from a restored 1952 van. Milk Cult has a motorcycle for slinging ice cream sandwiches. And Maracas—a new vendor selling Mexican ice pops known as paletas—has two tricycles. (Pedaling purveyor of ice cream sandwiches, CreamCycle, is also set to return this summer.)

International trade attorney Julia Padierna-Peralta launched Maracas (like the percussion instrument) in September, but with spring finally here, you're more likely to spot her custom-made tricycles now.

"I had been a very happy trade attorney 99.9 percent," Padierna-Peralta says of her 15-year career. "Maracas ice pops made me be myself 100 percent." Padierna-Peralta grew up in Puebla, Mexico and first came to D.C. as a transfer student at Georgetown University in 1984. "Since then, I haven't seen a product of this type in D.C... An authentic Mexican ice pop is something that has been in my mind and in my heart since I first came to the U.S."

Working out of the kitchen at GTown Bites, Padierna-Peralta has an arsenal of 50 flavors, including pineapple, lime, cantaloupe, coconut, watermelon, pear, hibiscus, and mango. She also has specialty pops, like a fruit cocktail flavor with chunks of lots of different types of fruit, and will soon launch more flavors like pistachio, avocado, and rice pudding. At any given time, the trikes each carry five to seven flavors. Prices range from $3.50 to $4.50. Padierna-Peralta also makes custom flavors for catering events.

Padierna-Peralta uses organic sugar cane and tries to make the pops as healthy as possible. She's a stickler about the fruit: "If I don't find the right kiwi, I don't do kiwi," she says.

Maracas's trikes can most often be found in Georgetown, often by the fountain along the waterfront or at Georgetown University. Today and tomorrow, look out for Maracas at the Georgetown French Market, which takes place from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. along Wisconsin Avenue between P Street and Reservoir Road NW. You can also track Maracas's locations on Facebook and soon Twitter.

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Photos courtesy the Georgetown BID

Last Night’s Leftovers: Outdoor Drinking Edition

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A guide to outdoor drinking [BYT]

D.C.'s nine best breakfast joints [Thrillist]

Daikaya's owners go on a research trip to Japan for their second ramen shop. [Eater]

Tim Carman explores guilty pleasures. [Post]

Divino Grill is coming to Dupont Circle. [PoPville]

Pizza Studio opens in Dupont Circle. [DCist]

Photo of Chez Billy Sud by Jessica Sidman

Napoleon Bistro Becomes Lapis Afghan Bistro in Adams Morgan

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The Popal family has focused exclusively on French and European cuisine over the past 12 year with their trio of restaurants: Cafe Bonaparte, Napoleon Bistro & Lounge, and Malmaison. But recently, restaurateurs Zubair and Shamim Popal and their three adult children—Omar, Mustafa, and Fatima—decided to return back their roots in Afghanistan—a country they fled from in 1980 at the onset of the Soviet invasion—by converting Napoleon into Lapis Afghan Bistro. The revamped restaurant, which gets its name from Afghanistan's deep blue national gemstone, opens in Adams Morgan tonight.

Shamim Popal personally created the menu with family recipes and a bit of a European flair. Hearty soups with lentils and lamb start the menu, along with a number of salads. "Yes,
 Afghanistan 
has 
lettuce
 and
 other
 green
 earthy 
stuff (including
 those
 people 
like
 to 
smoke)," the menu informs guests. Other staples include stuffed flatbread called bolani and mantoo, which are dumplings—stuffed traditionally with beef or untraditionally with shrimp—topped with a split pea tomato sauce, yogurt, and dry mint. A range of stews, kebabs, and vegetarian dishes are also available. And don't miss Afghanistan's national dish: kabuli palow, caramelized rice with lamb, carrots, and red raisins. Read more Napoleon Bistro Becomes Lapis Afghan Bistro in Adams Morgan

Price and Size Comparing D.C.’s New Fast-Casual Pizza Joints

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The fast-casual pizza scene is officially hotter than a 900-degree oven. At least seven local shops now serve customizable pies baked in two minutes or less. SpinFire Pizza, co-founded by Washington football team wide receiver Pierre Garçon, opened last week in Rosslyn. &pizza now has a dozen shops and counting. Pizza Studio, which already has a presence in 10 states, debuts in Dupont today. And the owner of Pizzeria Paradiso will open Veloce in early May. Take a look at how the prices per pie stack up.

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Photo by Jessica Sidman

Urban Heights Opens in Bethesda With Filipino Food, Lots of Wasabi, and Seaweed Punch

Beef Chow Fun-Rice Noodles

Filipino food has wasted no time in becoming one of the year's top local food trends. The latest purveyor of the Asian-Pacific cuisine is Urban Heights from Robert Wiedmaier's RW Restaurant Group, which opens in Bethesda today.

Chef Cliff Wharton, the former executive chef of shuttered TenPenh and Matchbox in Chinatown, was born in the Philippines. He moved to Kansas City, Missouri when he was five, but the food continued to be a part of his upbringing. He'll serve lumpia, the Filipino version of the egg roll. But that's about as traditional as things will get: chicken adobo, another Filipino classic, is served as sliders. In the summer, he also plans to host pig roasts on the roof deck.

The menu isn't exclusively Filipino, but a mix of American and Asian cuisines. Many dishes feature a strong hit of wasabi: wasabi buttered popcorn, wasabi blue cheese guacamole, and XO honey-glazed shrimp with wasabi grits. Small plates make up a large section of the menu, but there are also entrees like a whole fried fish with a tamarind dipping sauce and shrimp red curry with pineapple (a throwback with a twist from Wharton's TenPenh days). A tuna bar located at the front of the restaurant will serve the fish in four different preparations: tartare, ahi poke, sashimi, and fried tuna roll with wasabi (!) sour cream.

Half the drafts will be devoted to Asian beers, and the cocktails (all $12) will take on an "island" flare with ingredients like coconut rum, sake, star anise, lychee, and guava. There's even a seaweed punch that includes exactly that plus gin, sake, lime, and egg white.

Urban Heights is Wiedmaier's second Bethesda establishment to open in just a week. Last Thursday, he debuted music venue Villain & Saint, which you can read all about in this week's Y&H column.

Take a peek at Urban Height's dinner menu below: Read more Urban Heights Opens in Bethesda With Filipino Food, Lots of Wasabi, and Seaweed Punch

Brew In Town: Bardo Zeus IPA

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Where in Town: Bardo Brewpub, 1200 Bladensburg Road NE

Price: $5/12 oz.

Down by the River
When D.C.’s Bardo Brewpub was announced in 2012, local beer geeks rejoiced that owners Bill and Andrew Stewart were returning to craft beer. The brothers pioneered several of Clarendon’s most beloved watering holes—the legendary brewpub Bardo Rodeo (which turned into Dr. Dremo’s Taphouse before closing in 2008) as well as the bars that became Iota and Galaxy Hut. Enthusiasm was renewed last month when the Stewarts unveiled plans to open a two-acre beer garden and brewery on the Anacostia riverfront near Nationals Park. Following their unapologetically eclectic, offbeat approach, the new venture will feature a floating movie screen, massive child and dog play areas, a bike shop, and perhaps best of all, reasonably priced beer. Crowd-sourced funds raised through Indiegogo will go toward a new brewhouse and flush toilets (instead of portable ones). Regardless of the campaign’s success, Bill Stewart says beer will start flowing as soon as July. Read more Brew In Town: Bardo Zeus IPA

Are You Gonna Drink That? Dram & Grain’s Turkey-Infused Whiskey Cocktail

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The Drink:
Double Dragon

Where to Get it: Dram & Grain, 2007 18th St. NW, (202) 607-1572

Price: $15

What It Is: A hazy, amber-colored whiskey cocktail made with Wild Turkey Rare Breed and turkey bone-infused Cynar artichoke liqueur with Becherovka bitters. It’s topped off with Angostura and “dark age” bitters. 

What It Tastes Like: Bartender Lukas Smith says his goal was to impart the drink with “a ramen-esque, bone stock quality.” The flavor profile is reminiscent of an old fashioned and includes notes of caramel, vanilla, citrus, leather, and aromatic herbs. The 112-proof whiskey gives the drink a spicy kick, and the fat from the bone-washed liqueur creates a nice, smooth feel.  Read more Are You Gonna Drink That? Dram & Grain’s Turkey-Infused Whiskey Cocktail

Last Night’s Leftovers: Yelp Edition

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Restaurant manager responds to having one of the worst Yelp ratings in D.C. [Express]

Rural Society owner Jose Garces is bringing Village Whiskey to D.C. [Zagat]

​Neighbors protest new Michael Schlow restaurant, Carlyle hotel renovation. [WBJ]

G by Mike Isabella goes a la carte for dinner. [Washingtonian]

Compass Coffee expands with a new roastery and coffee shop in Ivy City. [Post]

Jay's Saloon in Clarendon to close in May. [ARLnow]

Look for food from Maketto, José Andrés, and others at Sweetlife 2015. [Eater]

Yelp photo via Shutterstock

Sound Check, Please

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Restaurateur Robert Wiedmaier has abandoned his chef’s whites from Marcel’s by the time opening night of his new Bethesda music venue, Villain & Saint, comes to a close. He hops on stage in a tightish black tee and jeans and takes the lead singer’s post with the full band behind him.

“Everybody! Oh my God! Was that not unbelievable?” Wiedmaier blurts into the microphone. “The Lloyd Dobler Effect, did they not kill it here tonight?”

While Wiedmaier is used to being center stage in the kitchen as the owner and chef behind Marcel’s, Brasserie Beck, Mussel Bar, and other restaurants, this is a new, more literal kind of stage for him. Inspired by Haight-Ashbury, the San Francisco hippie haven where many rock ’n’ roll greats like the Grateful Dead and Janis Joplin played in the 1960s, his music hall will focus on blues and jazz, indie rock, sixties classics, and heavy metal. Before the crowd goes home, “American Pie” plays as lights flicker between pinks, blues, greens, and yellows. The song, a favorite of Wiedmaier’s mother, will close Villain & Saint every night. 

People have been saying “food is the new rock ’n’ roll” for years. But at a growing number of local establishments, they’re not mutually exclusive. Most notably, there’s the Hamilton, the state-of-the-art dining and music hall Clyde’s Restaurant Group opened in 2011. More recently, Neighborhood Restaurant Group’s catering company, 550 Events & Provisions, partnered with AMP by Strathmore to provide food and drinks for the 2,800-square-foot performance and event space in North Bethesda. And while D.C. is certainly no Nashville, a number of restaurants have dedicated space to nightly live music performances. Republic became the first live music venue in Takoma Park when it opened just over a year ago with open mic nights, blues nights, and jam sessions. Sotto—located in the former home of jazz club HR-57 on 14th Street NW—pays tribute to its predecessor with solo artists or small groups performing jazz, soul, blues, and go-go. Read more Sound Check, Please

Capital Kombucha Begins Expansion With Move to Mess Hall

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After three years, Capital Kombucha is ready to expand far beyond the nation's capital. The company has outgrown its workspace in Union Kitchen and is moving into bigger digs at fellow food incubator Mess Hall, which will allow it to increase its production by 250 percent. The kombucha brewery currently distributes to 250 retail locations in D.C., Maryland, Virginia, Pennsylvania, and New York. Now, they're looking as far west as Ohio and as far north as Massachusetts, and plan to expand their presence in existing markets.

"Since we started, the issue was always: Can we make enough? It wasn't, 'We can't find places to sell to,'" says co-founder Daniel Lieberman.

Lieberman and his co-founders John Lee and Andreas Schneider met attending George Washington University's business school. "The first year and a half, we were still in grad school," Lieberman says. "We were still taking exams and putting our own money into this thing... We were very, very lean." The trio are now scattered across the country, with Lieberman in San Francisco, Schneider in upstate New York, and Lee in D.C. They've grown to a five-member production team. Read more Capital Kombucha Begins Expansion With Move to Mess Hall

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