Young and Hungry

Tuesday! Let’s Chat About Dive Bars

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This week's cover story by Jenny Rogers left readers debating a handful of questions: What is a dive bar? On the more metaphysical side, why are dive bars? Can a bar's status as a dive be willed, or must it be earned? And, from a bunch of you: Why didn't your story include my dive bar? (On Twitter, one reader put it this way: "if you complain that your local dive bar wasn't included in the @wcp piece on dives, you are the worst and I don't understand your endgame.")

Point is: Questions! So let's talk about dive bars. On Tuesday at noon, Washington City Paper's Jenny Rogers will field your queries and comments in a live chat right here, on our Young & Hungry blog. Now go get yourself a Boh and O, and we'll see you on Tuesday.

Photograph by Darrow Montgomery

Where to Drink While You’re Waiting to Eat at Rose’s Luxury

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As if it wasn’t hard enough to get a table at Rose’s Luxury, Bon Appetit named it the best new restaurant in America last week. Which likely means the waits aren’t subsiding anytime soon. Fortunately, the neighborhood has plenty places to drink while you count down the minutes until your smoked brisket platter. Depending on the situation, here’s where you should bide your time.

Situation: You’re planning to go all out at Rose’s and want to throw back a few drinks cheaply.
Where to go: Banana Cafe, 500 8th St. SE
What to get: A beer bucket—only $15 for domestics and $20 for imports. Or go for a Coronita in a 21-ounce margarita for $10.

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Situation: You don’t want to stray far, so you can hop over the second your table is ready.
Where to go: Molly Malone’s, 713 8th St. SE
What to get: Beer is your best bet, with 50 varieties on tap plus beer flights. Happy hour from 3 to 7 p.m., includes $1 off beers, $3 off wines, and $4 well drinks.

Read more Where to Drink While You’re Waiting to Eat at Rose’s Luxury

Are You Gonna Eat That? Camel Sausage

aregoingeat_35The Dish: Camel sausage

Where to Get It: Steel Plate, 3523 12th St. NE; (202) 290-2310

Price: $7 for camel sausage served with smoky goat cheese and saltines. When I first tried it, the camel was instead offered on a meat, seafood, and cheese board, which included cured catfish (for $21). Steel Plate’s menu is new and still evolving, but the plan is to keep the humpback creature as a permanent fixture, either as an appetizer or main dish. Just be sure to ask for it when you arrive, says chef Seth Brady.

What It Is: Brady gets his camel from a wholesaler, International Gourmet Foods, for $10 per pound. The reddish cured sausage is served thinly sliced.

Read more Are You Gonna Eat That? Camel Sausage

Why August Is Pumpkin Beer Season

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It’s a humid 79-degree evening in August, and already the pumpkin beer is on the shelves. Next to the seasonally appropriate Flying Dog Dead Rise Old Bay Summer Ale at Batch 13 liquor store on 14th Street NW, I spot a six-pack of Evolution Craft Brewing Company’s Jacques Au Lantern. Then I realize it’s everywhere: Schlafly’s Pumpkin Ale, Weyerbacher’s Imperial Pumpkin Ale, and Long Trail’s Pumpkin Ale.

It’s a little early, no?

Not really, the shopkeeper tells me. In fact, I should probably stock up now, he says, because some of these beers won’t be so easy to find come September and beyond when, you know, I’ll actually want to drink them.

Like “Jingle Bells” at the mall and candy corn at the convenience store, pumpkin beer arrives earlier and earlier every year. Before the leaves turn yellow and it’s time to start wearing socks again, many of the most sought-after brands will be long gone. That means restaurants and bars that don’t have a place to store extra kegs for a month or two are out of luck if they want to serve this seasonal specialty in the proper season. That makes the beer industry surprisingly similar to fashion: When you’re still wearing your winter coat, bikinis start popping up on the racks. And when you finally go on that August beach trip, all you can find are parkas.

Most pumpkin beers now arrive in D.C. in early August, but some debut as early as the beginning of July. “About four years ago, it would be late August,” says Tim Nelson, an area sales manager for distributor Legends Limited.

A big reason for the seasonal creep is that everyone wants to get their product to an increasingly crowded market first. New York’s Southern Tier Brewing Company, for example, does a big portion of its annual business from its highly popular Pumking ale, says Pizzeria Paradiso Bar Manager Sam Fitz. “For them, it’s a huge money-making time of year when they do lots of their sales. So it’s important for them to get their beer out on grocery store shelves before anybody else does,” he says. “If that means putting your beer out when it’s 100 degrees and 100 percent humidity so that you can guarantee you’re on the shelves in September, then that’s what they have to do.”

Read more Why August Is Pumpkin Beer Season

Ice Cream Sandwich Luge Coming to Pop’s SeaBar

popsPop’s SeaBar will have plenty of boardwalk classics—fried oyster sandwiches, peel ’n’ eat shrimp—when it opens in Adams Morgan on Sept. 4. The sister restaurant to Cashion’s Eat Place will also have one treat that really should have caught on much sooner: the ice cream sandwich luge.

Basically, it works like this: You get an ice cream sandwich. Then, using your tongue or a small tasting spoon, you carve a channel—the “luge”—in the center of the ice cream. Finally, your pour a shot of booze from one end of the ice cream tunnel into your mouth. Finish by consuming the sandwich.

The invention comes from bartender Eddie Kim, who’s consulting on the drink menu. Kim used to prepare the luge as an off-menu late-night special at Room 11 using a mini mint chocolate chip ice cream sandwich and a shot of Amaro Meletti. “It’s always been kind of a joke and kind of spread around the city,” Kim says. The idea was inspired by the bone marrow luge—a fad among bartenders several years ago—where a shot of amaro or sherry was poured down half a bone after the marrow was cleaned out.  Read more Ice Cream Sandwich Luge Coming to Pop’s SeaBar

Winner of Ballston Restaurant Challenges Seeks More Funds on Kickstarter

Christiana Candon won a year of free rent, a $245,000 interest-free loan, free legal services, and free financial advising as the winner of Ballston BID’s controversial Restaurant Challenge. Now she’s seeking an additional $15,000 via Kickstarter for her Spanish restaurant, which will be called SER (Simple, Easy, Real).

The restaurant, located at 1110 N. Glebe Road, will serve Spanish food, but not tapas. Rather, the menu will feature other traditional dishes, including recipes from the family’s mothers and grandmothers.

Candon says in a Kickstarter video that she plans to use the money to make the space “a little more homier and inviting than it currently is.” That will mean renovations for an open kitchen, patio furniture, tables, chairs, lighting, a new dishwasher, an indoor herb garden, frames for photos, linens, plates, glassware, and more. “This is sort of like a bridal registry for our new venture,” Candon writes.

Candon's restaurant concept was among the final two in the Ballston BID's Restaurant Challenge, in which eight finalist chefs and restaurateurs competed for a lease earlier this summer. Her Spanish tavern, initially called Casita, became the winner after competitor Victor Albisu dropped out of the contest two days before a final cook-off.

If all goes according to plan, Candon hopes to open SER in December.

Red Light Expands Beyond Sweets

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If you didn’t want to wind up in a sugar coma at 14th Street NW’s Red Light, you were previously limited to cheddar straws and popcorn. Now the cocktail and dessert bar has expanded its savory options with a “crostini bar,” flatbreads, and other bar snacks.

The crostini options ($6 to $8) include toppings like infused butters, duck confit with tallegio cheese, Brussels sprouts with pancetta and mustard oil, and beets with pistachios and pistachio butter. Flatbreads ($10-$12) are both savory (wild mushroom) and sweet (figs, chocolate, hazelnut, gorgonzola, and mascarpone). There’s also a cheese board, charcuterie board, and bar nuts with nori seasoning.

Meanwhile, Red Light has hired Jonny Fellman as its new “Master Drinksmith” to oversee the cocktail program built by co-owners and bartender brothers Ari and Micah Wilder. Fellman previously worked at now-closed Againn and at the Quill at The Jefferson hotel. Some of his new creations include the Magdalene with gin, elderflower liqueur, and lemon and the Coal Miner with rye whiskey, sweet vermouth, Sambuca, and angostura bitters.

Red Light, 1401 R St. NW; (202) 234-0400; redlightbardc.com

Last Night’s Leftovers: Pastries Edition

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A guide to Asian bakeries [Eater]

Red-sauce Italian joint Alphonse Italian Market and Osteria is now open. [Post]

Rockville restaurant Quench has new ownership. [Eater]

Florida Avenue Grill prepares for its 70th birthday. [PoPville]

Food events to check out this week [Washingtonian]

New York-based tea business moves to D.C. and plans to open tea room. [WBJ]

Where students spend dining dollars off-campus [City Desk]

Photo via Shutterstock

A Sneak Peek of DC Harvest, Opening Soon on H Street NE

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The first time brothers and Montgomery County natives Jared and Arthur Ringel worked together was at Ledo Pizza during high school. In the years since, Arthur went on to cook at Vermillion, Vidalia, and Hank’s Oyster Bar. Meanwhile, Jared gravitated toward the front of the house, most recently managing at HomeMade Pizza Co. Now, the two have reunited to open their own restaurant, DC Harvest Kitchen & Bar, which will debut on H Street NE on Sept. 2.

The menu has plenty of seafood options given the two years Arthur spent at Hank’s. The chef hopes to highlight invasive fish like blue catfish, snakehead, and lion fish. He’ll also serve a limited selection of oysters, crudo, and other raw-bar options. Arthur says he plans to use the bycatch from scallop boats: “Sometimes they accidentally catch nontargeted species and instead of wasting them or throwing them back, the fishermen can keep them and sell them,” Arthur says. His purveyor will call him from the docks and ask if he wants some rockfish, tilefish, or flounder. “It will be be at my door in three hours,” he says. “And those will be kind of the off-the-menu specials.”

Read more A Sneak Peek of DC Harvest, Opening Soon on H Street NE

Capriotti’s Opens in Rosslyn Today With Free Sandwiches

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Home of the year-round Thanksgiving-themed sandwich and Joe Biden fave Capriotti’s opens its second D.C.-area location in Rosslyn today. The first 100 people in line at 11 a.m. will receive a free Bobbie sandwich (turkey, cranberry sauce, stuffing), and the first 50 will also get certificates for free Bobbies for a year. (Which actually translates to two subs a month for a year.)

When the Wilmington, Del.-based chain opened its first area location in downtown D.C. in November, Biden dropped in. This time around, the closest thing to a White House celebrity will likely be the Nationals’ Presidents, who will be on hand to rally the crowd and pose for photos.

Expect even more Capriotti's locations soon. Local George Vincent Jr., who brought the franchise to D.C., plans to open a dozen more in the region over the next two years.

Capriotti's, 1500 Wilson Blvd., Arlington; (703) 465-2277; capriottis.com

Photo courtesy Capriotti's

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