Young and Hungry

Centrolina Opens Its Italian Market in CityCenterDC Today

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At CityCenterDC's newest addition, Centrolina, you can sit down for an Italian meal or grab pretty much all the groceries you need to prepare one at home. The first solo venture from chef Amy Brandwein, formerly of Osteria Alba and now-closed Casa Nonna, features a full market, which opened today. Lunch will begin on June 1 and dinner will follow on June 5.

Centrolina's "mercato" shelves are stocked with Italian pantry items that Brandwein likes to use in her kitchen, including a range of dry pastas, marinated anchovies, crackers, mostarda, grains, oils, vinegars, and much more. Several of the products can't be found anywhere else in D.C., Brandwein says. Centrolina sells its own housemade products including jams, pesto, tomato sauce, and fresh pastas. There's also produce, dairy, meats, seafood, and some prepared foods like meatballs. Eventually, Brandwein hopes to sell bottles of wine as well.

"I just think that the actual physical product of whatever you're cooking is so beautiful. It's what's important of me," Brandwein says of why she wanted to have a market component to the restaurant. Read more Centrolina Opens Its Italian Market in CityCenterDC Today

Last Night’s Leftovers: Fried Chicken Edition

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Where to find fried chicken for your picnic [Eater]

Don't mess with Todd Kliman's negroni. [Washingtonian]

Courthouse restaurants organize for food truck restrictions. [ARLnow]

Could cricket flour be the next big thing? [Post]

Six new restaurants and bars coming to D.C. [Zagat]

Twenty new and almost opened restaurants, breweries, and coffee shops in Northern Virginia [NoVa Mag]

The best community gardens and farms in the D.C. area [DCist]

Photo via Shutterstock 

Catoctin Creek Will Release 4-Year-Old Rye Whiskey Called Rabble Rouser

Catoctin Creek – Becky & Rabble Rouser barrel

Catoctin Creek Distilling Company, best known for its Roundstone Rye, is preparing to unveil a new addition to its rye whiskey portfolio: Rabble Rouser. Whereas Roundstone Rye is aged for just under two years, Rabble Rouser will be four years old when it's released in October. Not only is that double the amount of time required for the spirit to legally qualify as a “straight” rye whiskey, it also makes Catoctin Creek one of just a few craft distilleries producing rye whiskey of that age.

"We felt there wasn't much out there that's four [years old] yet, in terms of craft brands," says distiller Becky Harris. Most small distilleries are producing rye at two years or less. "It'll be the oldest thing we've made, and I've been hiding it away for a long time."

Catoctin Creek faces ongoing, immediate demand for its signature Roundstone Rye, so stealing away the still for an alternative product can be a challenge.

"When we started up, we were so busy doing Roundstone Rye and we were trying to get cash in the bank," explains co-owner Scott Harris. "But we would do one week every year to do something a little bit different, do a [research and development] run. This was the start of that."

The initial run of 100-proof Rabble Rouser will produce about 150 bottles, which will sell for about $60 each. The limited supply will be mostly allocated to the distillery's best retail customers and will likely be difficult to nab. Read more Catoctin Creek Will Release 4-Year-Old Rye Whiskey Called Rabble Rouser

Last Night’s Leftovers: Barbecue Edition

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Ranking the best barbecue joints in the D.C. area [Post]

Memorial Day weekend dining options [Washingtonian]

Duck Donuts to open Fairfax and Arlington locations. [ARLnow]

Six restaurants with revamped patios [Zagat]

Crumbs & Whiskers cat cafe will open next month. [DCist]

A look inside Turkish restaurant Ankara [BYT]

Masterchef's Amanda Saab is the first woman in a hijab on an American cooking show. [Eater]

Photo courtesy Andrew Evans of the BBQ Joint

Underserved: Fernet About It at Osteria Morini

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Underserved is a recurring Y&H feature highlighting the best cocktails you're not ordering.

What: Fernet About It with Fernet Branca, Green Chartreuse, Lazzaroni Maraschino (cherry liqueur), and lime

Where: Osteria Morini, 301 Water St. SE

Price: $13

What You Should Be Drinking

The Fernet About It is Osteria Morini’s take on a classic cocktail called The Last Word. It swaps in Fernet Branca for gin, leaving the cocktail without a common lead spirit. “Oh man, there’s no vodka, gin, rum, or whatever in here,” Bar Manager Kristi Green says, stepping into the shoes of her guests who shy away from it. Green’s even tried listing the drink on the menu in English, instead of the usual Italian, to encourage orders. The Green Chartreuse is responsible for the herbaceous outburst on your tongue, because its secret recipe combines 130 herbs and flowers like fennel, wormwood, and anise. “At any given time there are only two or three people in the world that know how to make it,” Green explains. Those people are Carthusian monks living in a monastery near Voiron, France. Read more Underserved: Fernet About It at Osteria Morini

Are You Gonna Drink That? Jrink’s Activated Charcoal Juice

blackmagic_jrinkThe Drink: Black Magic

Price: $9.25 for 16 ounces

Where to Get It: Jrink Juicery, multiple locations; jrinkjuicery.com

What It Is: A blend of activated charcoal, aloe vera water, and cold-pressed green grape and lemon juices that is said to detoxify, serve as a digestive aid, and provide a hangover cure. Charcoal becomes “activated” when exposure to a gas expands its surface area, which increases its ability to be absorbed. Medically, it’s used for treating patients suffering from severe poisoning.

What It Tastes Like: A very refreshing and enjoyable lemonade with a faint grape Kool-Aid flavor—although it does start to taste a bit more, shall we say, charcoaly toward the bottom.

The Story: Co-owners Shizu Okusa and Jennifer Ngai introduced the murky juice on May 4. The 100 or so bottles they make fresh each day sell out early enough that fans call and reserve ahead. Okusa says her customers are taking activated charcoal in other forms like capsules, anyway, so why not give the people what they want? Jrink is currently the only juice bar in the area using the ingredient. “People were saying they wanted a drink with the activated charcoal,” Okusa says. “We’re not afraid to take a bit of a risk, to be nimble and responsive to customers.” Read more Are You Gonna Drink That? Jrink’s Activated Charcoal Juice

The Egg and Cheese Breakfast Sandwich Matrix

For a combination as simple as egg and cheese, there are a lot of ways to build a breakfast sandwich. Scrambled factory-farm eggs or free-range, fried eggs? Plastic-wrapped American cheese or Vermont sharp cheddar? Whether you’re craving something high-brow or low, consult our breakfast sandwich matrix for the perfect sandwich to meet your preferences and price point.

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Read this week's Y&H column about D.C.'s breakfast scene here.

Graphic by Jandos Rothstein

Last Night’s Leftovers: Pool Edition

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Where to eat and drink by the pool this Memorial Day weekend [Washingtonian]

Mark Bittman eats fish scraps at Izakaya Seki. [NYTimes]

Five new vegetarian sandwiches to try [Zagat]

Where to eat at the airport [Eater]

Mignot Restaurant & Coffeehouse coming to Petworth. [PoPville]

Activists pile on at McDonald's shareholders meeting. [NPR]

Photo via Shutterstock

Why Don’t More Restaurants Serve Weekday Breakfast?

The District has a food truck for everything—Ethiopian, Peruvian, Greek, lobster rolls, cupcakes, popcorn. I’ve lost track of how many Asian fusion taco trucks are out there.

But if it’s 8 a.m. and you’re searching for a simple egg and cheese sandwich from a mobile vendor, good luck. Not only does the District not have a dedicated classic American-style breakfast food truck, but as far as the head of the local food truck association knows, there are no trucks that reliably roam D.C.’s streets before lunch time.

“[In] many of the great vending cities in the U.S.—Portland, Los Angeles, New York—there’s a robust breakfast scene,” says Che Ruddell-Tabisola, executive director of the DMV Food Truck Association and co-owner of BBQ Bus. But in D.C.? He’s unaware of a single generator humming before 9 a.m.

Ruddell-Tabisola blames the breakfast hole primarily on rush-hour parking restrictions in the most popular downtown vending locations, like Farragut Square and Metro Center. Last summer, Ruddell-Tabisola told me via email that a group of trucks were looking to test out breakfast in front of the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library. But then… nothing. “Nobody really ran with it,” he says.

It’s not just food trucks, and it’s not just about rush-hour parking restrictions. Weekday breakfast options in D.C. tend to be lackluster beyond chains like Cosi and Pret a Manger or hotel eateries that are contractually obligated to serve bacon and toast in the a.m. I’m not saying there are zero alternatives in between: Cafe Phillips provides serviceable fuel to the downtown office masses, Ted’s Bulletin cranks out French toast as early as 7 a.m., and newer outposts like Bullfrog Bagels offer more foodie-friendly grub. Maybe your neighborhood coffee spot even serves some pastries, or if you’re really lucky, a breakfast sandwich. Still, diner-style restaurants are few and far between, and breakfast in general is dwarfed by lunch and dinner. While brunch options are as endless as bottomless mimosas, breakfast is cut off after the first glass. As the food scene grows, will that change? Read more Why Don’t More Restaurants Serve Weekday Breakfast?

Glen’s Garden Market Will Open Second Location in Shaw

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Two years after opening a Dupont grocery focusing almost exclusively on local foods, Glen's Garden Market is preparing for its second location. Owner Danielle Vogel says she's finalizing a lease for a space in the Shay, a mixed-use development at 8th and U streets NW.

"We've launched 32 food businesses," Vogel says of the local artisans whose products she's made a home for on Glen's shelves. "For most of them, we are their biggest customer, and now we're going to double our demand."

The new market will be a smaller version of the Dupont original with 2,100-square feet of retail space versus 5,300. The Shaw location won't have room for a pizza oven or a smoker, but other than that, it will offer the same things, just in tighter confines. There will still be a bar serving $4 pints of local beers. Salads and other meals will still be made fresh in-house every day. And the same set of grocery options grown in the Chesapeake watershed or made by small local producers will still be available.

"It's going to feel more like a bodega," Vogel says. "You're going to be completely enrobed by the bounty of the region." Read more Glen’s Garden Market Will Open Second Location in Shaw

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