Young and Hungry

Stall Tactics: Getting It On in Restaurant Restrooms Is More Common Than You Think

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When Constantine Stavropoulos first opened Tryst in Adams Morgan, he couldn’t figure out why the wall-mounted sink in the men’s restrooms kept breaking.

“I was really going crazy, like what is going on here?” he recalls. Then he came across a website—he doesn’t remember which—that listed Tryst’s restrooms as a hotspot for, well, trysts.

“I had one of those ah-ha moments,” Stavropoulos says. “That explains everything.” So he installed legs to reinforce the sink. And the lesson stuck with him as he opened other restaurants: Don’t use wall-mounted sinks.

Sex in restrooms is, after all, a fact of restaurant life. And while D.C. may have a reputation as a buttoned-up town, restaurant and bar owners know better. “They’re buttoned-up, except when they’re in the bathroom having sex,” says Derek Brown, who owns several bars, including The Passenger and Mockingbird Hill. “I think there’s a lot of it.” He speculates that D.C. has a lot of people with a lot of stress, and, you know, what better way to relieve it?

Whether it’s a dive bar or an upscale restaurant, no establishment seems to be exempt from the sexcapades of patrons (and staff). For the first time this year, Washington City Paper added a new category to our Best of D.C. readers’ poll: Best Restaurant to Bang in the Bathroom. The No. 1 write-in response? “Gross.” But that was followed by Nellie’s Sports Bar, The Coupe (also owned by Stavropoulos), and The Palm. Read more Stall Tactics: Getting It On in Restaurant Restrooms Is More Common Than You Think

Compass Rose Brings Chaat and Khachapuri to the 14th Street Corridor

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Rose Previte and her husband David Greene spent two and a half years—or more significantly, three winters—living in Russia, while he was a foreign correspondent for NPR. Previte would accompany Greene (now a co-host of NPR’s Morning Edition) on reporting trips across the region, but the couple also traveled all over.

“I literally went to 30 countries in three years,” Previte says. “Everywhere we went—Kazakstan, Paris, Belarus—there was street food, and it was always a window into the culture.”

Those travels helped inspire Compass Rose, a restaurant centered around international street foods opening tomorrow at 14th and T streets NW. Previte has teamed up with Mike Schuster, an owner of Star and Shamrock, Trusty’s, and Barrel, for whom she spent seven years working at soon-to-close The Pour House. (Pour House’s previous incarnation, Politiki, is also where Previte met her husband. She was a waitress, he was a patron.)

Previte has a background in local government in New York and D.C. with a master's degree in public policy, but restaurants have long been a part of her life. Her Lebanese-American mom has a restaurant in Ohio. And her Italian-American father was a lawyer and a pharmacist who also sold Italian sandwiches at fairs and festivals. “So I actually made street food my entire childhood.” Read more Compass Rose Brings Chaat and Khachapuri to the 14th Street Corridor

Pinch Brings Chinese Dumplings to Farmers’ Markets With Plans for a Restaurant

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D.C.’s farmers' markets are increasingly selling much more than fruits and vegetables, with an array of prepared foods from wood-fired pizzas to vegetarian tacos. The latest must-try at the market? Chinese dumplings from Pinch.

Pinch was started by attorney and Rockville native Dan Zhu and Bureau of Labor Statistics economist Benjamin Cuttitta, with the help of Zhu’s friend since middle school, Patrick Exon. Zhu says he and Cuttitta, who went to business school together at the University of Maryland, have long wanted to start a business together. Then two years ago, they went on a dumpling-filled trip to China. “He was like, ‘These are amazing. Why can’t we find these in the U.S.?”

Pinch launched last April at the Rockville farmers' market, but it made its D.C. debut at the farmers' market by the White House last week. This season, it's also serving up dumplings at the Capital Harvest farmers' market next to the Reagan Building plus markets in Bethesda, Rockville, Kensington, and Fairfax. Eventually, Zhu says, their goal is to open several quick-serve restaurants in the D.C. area.

Read more Pinch Brings Chinese Dumplings to Farmers’ Markets With Plans for a Restaurant

Last Night’s Leftovers: Spring Ingredients Edition

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Where to eat ramps, fiddleheads, and other spring ingredients [Post]

Critic Pete Wells visits Peter Chang's restaurants [NY Times]

Phillips Flagship Restaurant closes April 28 to make way for the Wharf development. [PoPville]

The best beer bars in 10 different neighborhoods [Thrillist]

The Red Hen went through 8,200 rigatoni dishes in its first year. [Eater]

Five new rooftop bars and restaurants across D.C. [Zagat]

Ciao Osteria opening in Centreville, Va. [NoVa Mag]

Photo via Shutterstock

Where to Find Tax Day Food and Drink Deals

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Three things in D.C. life are certain: death, taxes, and Tax Day food and drink deals. Whether you’re spending a big refund or looking for something cheap after emptying your pockets to Uncle Sam, these bars and restaurants have you covered. Email hungry@washingtoncitypaper.com with additional specials, and we'll update the list.

BLT Steak 

1625 I St. NW

Get 50 percent off all cocktails, beers, and wines all day. House cocktails include a blood orange margarita with Milagro Silver tequila and Cointreau, and a Rosemary Smash, made with Mt. Gay Black Barrel Rum, lemon, rosemary, and mint.

Boqueria

1837 M St. NW

The Spanish tapas restaurant will offer a complimentary 1040Ez tequila lime shot.

California Tortilla

Multiple locations

The chain is offering free chips and queso with every purchase at all its locations. Just say the secret password: taxes, schmaxes.

Capitol Lounge

229 Pennsylvania Ave. SE

Bring in your 1040 and get a pitcher of beer for $10.40. Read more Where to Find Tax Day Food and Drink Deals

Last Night’s Leftovers: Beer Drinking Edition

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D.C.'s best patios for drinking beer [Eater]

Celebrity Delly in Falls Church sold 862 bowls of matzo ball soup last Passover. [NoVa Mag]

Former Agua 301 chef Antonio Burrell is now at Eventide. [Don Rockwell]

What D.C.'s top restaurants are doing for Easter [Washingtonian]

A guide to Easter brunch [BYT]

STIX food truck team will serve breakfast and lunch at Mothership. [PoPville]

Union Market drive-in returns April 18. [Post]

Nine desserts to try right now [Zagat]

Photo via Shutterstock

New Muffin Shop Now Open in Shaw

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The lowly muffin is no longer getting the back-of-the-display-case treatment. Uprising Muffin Company opened near the Shaw metro last Friday serving flavors like piña colada, coffee cake, and maple pancake.

"I just realized there's the cupcake craze, and the doughnut thing started taking off...But muffins don't really have a place where they're the star of the show," says owner/muffin man Donnie Simpson Jr., who formerly worked in radio at WPGC (and is the son of the Donnie Simpson). He says the cafe has been four years in the making.

Simpson has about 35 muffin flavors in his arsenal, but the menu will feature a dozen each day, including about eight staples and others that rotate in and out. The muffins are made from scratch each day with 10 ingredients or fewer and no artificial preservatives or colors. Some of the early favorites: a chocolate muffin with a cream cheese center as well as a savory muffin with bacon, egg, and cheese. The muffins are $3 for one, six for $16, or a dozen for $31.

But it's not just muffins. Uprising also serves coffee, sandwiches, and salads. Simpson also encourages people to come hang out with plenty of outlets and wifi.

So will muffins be the new cupcake?

"I wouldn't say that," Simpson says. "The last thing I can afford to do is have some cupcake war."

Uprising Muffin Company, 1817 7th St. NW; (202) 630-8140; uprisingmuffins.com

Photo by Jessica Sidman

BLT Steak Serves Gefilte Fish for $35 on Its Passover Menu

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Whether you love it or hate it, gefilte fish is just one of those foods that you can't make sexy. The Passover staple—typically made with ground carp, whitefish, or pike—is mushy, fishy, and an unappetizing grayish-tan color. While many people buy the stinky stuff in jars, chefs have made many attempts over the years to dress it up and create their own upscale versions. The latest is BLT Steak, which serves four lumps of pike "gefilte" fish with English pea veloute and pickled chanterelles for a whopping $35. The dish, along with truffled matzo ball soup, kugel gratin, and other twists on Jewish staples, will be available for lunch and dinner through April 19.

BLT Steak chef Jeremy Shelton is not Jewish and admits he's never even tried other gefilte fish before. The recipe, it turns out, comes from the restaurant's corporate chefs. To make it, Shelton grinds fresh pike and combines it in an electronic mixer with a matzo-based panade as well as confit garlic, salt, butter, and cream. It's then pureed in a food processor and passed through fine mesh so it's completely smooth. The result is fluffy, almost creamy, dumplings without any fishiness of typical gefilte fish. Pickled chanterelle mushrooms add some tanginess that the gefilte fish lacks, but the creamy pea veloute overwhelms the warm fish's subtle flavors. It's a decent dish, but anyone looking for something reminiscent of what their bubbie makes will be disappointed. And given that gefilte fish is traditionally a poor man's food, the $35 price tag should make any Jewish mother shake her head in disapproval.

Meanwhile,  DGS Delicatessen chef Barry Koslow is also making his own more traditional version of gefilte fish. Four pieces go for $16 on the restaurant's Passover catering menu, which is available through April 21. (The gefilte fish isn't on the regular dinner menu.) While Koslow adds flare to many traditional Jewish dishes, he's playing it straight with the gefilte fish. He combines whitefish, carp, and pike with fresh herbs and matzo meal soaked with fish stock. Compared to the jarred version, Koslow says it's "night and day just solely based on the fact that it's fresh fish...It's like the difference between a fresh-made meatball and a SpaghettiOs meatball."

Koslow admits he once ventured into the dark arts of "modernized" gefilte fish with a variation made out of scallops. "It was delicious, it was the best gefilte fish I ever had," he says of the not-at-all-kosher dish. "But it's not something we do here, and it's not something people want for Passover, at least not the traditionalists...They want that nostalgic version."

Check out some photos of BLT Steak's Passover menu below.  Read more BLT Steak Serves Gefilte Fish for $35 on Its Passover Menu

Last Night’s Leftovers: Critics Edition

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Why food critics are the worst dates [NoVa Mag]

New cocktail classes at the St. Regis Hotel [Washingtonain]

A universal guide to bad Chinese takeout [VICE]

The best places for housemade pastas in D.C. [Zagat]

Rolling Ficelle food truck under new management. [Food Truck Fiesta]

Watch Mike Isabella deep fry a pig's head. [Eater]

Photo via Shutterstock

Grilled Cheese Restaurant GCDC Opens Today

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GCDC opens today at 11 a.m., serving grilled cheese for lunch and expanding to cheese and charcuterie boards paired with beers, wines, and cocktails for the evening happy hour crowd. Tomorrow, GCDC will celebrate faux-holiday National Grilled Cheese Day with $5 grilled cheese sandwiches and half-priced draft beers from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The restaurant comes from the father-son team Bruce and Steven Klores, who've brought in cheesemonger Sophie Slesigner for additional fromage expertise. The menu features six sandwiches to start (plus build-your-own options), including the Kim-Cheese Steak with cheddar, kimchi, and roast beef as well as the pasta-inspired Grilled Carbonara with gruyere, goat cheese, leaks, and pancetta. You can also get soup and tater tots, which, obviously, are also covered in cheese.

In the evenings, GCDC will feature up to 20 rotating domestic and international cheeses, plus charcuterie and some small plates. The drink selection includes 20 beers, 15 wines, and cocktails that can pair with some of the cheeses. Bruce, who grew up in South Brooklyn, also pays tribute to his roots in the form of a classic egg cream.

Read more about how GCDC came about in Y&H's previous coverage. Check out the lunch menu below. Read more Grilled Cheese Restaurant GCDC Opens Today

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