Young and Hungry

Nacho Mama’s Nachos: Unconventional Takes on the Classic Snack

Nachos are already the mutt of greasy drunk foods with their American-Mexican roots. So it’s only appropriate that restaurants pile on other forms of fusion. From nachos that taste like an everything bagel with the works to nachos with a Mediterranean kick, here are some unconventional takes on this Tex-Mex classic around the D.C. area.

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DGS Delicatessen

1317 Connecticut Ave. NW

The restaurant makes bagel chips from the rounds it imports from famed Montreal bagelry St-Viateur then loads them up with bits of house-smoked salmon, horseradish-sour cream sauce, mashed avocado, capers, radish, peppers, and cilantro.

Price: $8

rightproper

Right Proper Brewing Company

624 T St. NW

This meat lover’s nacho dish uses pork rinds as its base then piles up with pulled pork, roasted tomato sour cream, jalapeños, scallions, and cheese sauce.

Price: $9 Read more Nacho Mama’s Nachos: Unconventional Takes on the Classic Snack

Underserved: Wisdom’s Don’t Be Bitter, Baby

Don't Be Bitter, Baby Credit Laura Hayes

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

What: Don’t Be Bitter, Baby with Bluecoat Gin, Cynar, and Giffard Apricot Liqueur

Where: Wisdom, 1432 Pennsylvania Ave. SE

Price: $11

What You Should Be Drinking

This three-ingredient cocktail, which shares its name with classic breakup language, aims to be a stepping stone of sorts toward more bitter drinks like the negroni. Wisdom proprietor Erik Holzherr thinks the flavor gets a bad rap amongst the younger crowd.  “People who appreciate bitter have a mature palate,” he says. “Maybe I’m stereotyping, but the typical twentysomething will see bitter and avoid it.” It’s hard to blame them. Just look at the word’s synonyms: unpleasant, vicious, harsh, and rancorous. The bitter in Don’t Be Bitter, Baby comes from Cynar, an Italian artichoke liqueur, and there’s nothing rancorous about it. Rather, it provides a necessary backbone to the drink, which also contains Bluecoat Gin and Giffard apricot liqueur from France. “You need bitter to balance a cocktail. Even if you don’t like it, it adds complexity,” Holzherr says. The drink was created by his protégé bartender, Tania Morgan. Read more Underserved: Wisdom’s Don’t Be Bitter, Baby

Last Night’s Leftovers: The Wharf Edition

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​Mike Isabella, Stephen Starr, and others in talks to open restaurants at The Wharf on the Southwest Waterfront. [WBJ]

Where and when to find half-priced wine in D.C. [Eater]

Where to find the best fried chicken in the D.C. area [DCist]

Take a peek inside D.C.'s first Bonchon. [Washingtonian]

José Andrés is already planning to open a second Beefsteak. [Post]

Craft beer shop coming to Courthouse. [ARLnow]

Rendering courtesy of Madison Marquette

Tour de Forks: Local Restaurants Host Trips Around the World

yhillo_issue13In 2006, Sona Creamery co-owners Genevieve and Conan O’Sullivan got engaged in front of a castle in Ireland once owned by one of his ancestors. 

A year later, they returned to County Cork, Ireland to get married in one of the country’s smallest churches.

And for their eighth anniversary this September, they’ll return again—with 28 strangers.

This time, it’s all about their love of cheese. They’ll lead a five-day tour throughout southern Ireland, visiting creameries, meeting cheesemakers, and hosting cooking classes using cheeses they find along the way. (They’ll also visit the Old Jameson Distillery in Dublin, of course.) The group will stay in the same hotel the O’Sullivans did when they got engaged and married.

Their personal connection to the country isn’t the only reason the Sona couple chose Ireland for the trip. The Irish were responsible for helping to kickstart the small-batch artisanal cheese movement in the 1970s when the industry was dominated by big brands, Genevieve O’Sullivan explains. Every year, the couple plans to host another artisan cheese tour to different countries around the world, including cheesemaking superpowers like France, Italy, and Spain.

The O’Sullivans are among a handful of D.C.-area restaurateurs and chefs who are looking to not just transport people through food, but literally transport them to the source. Sure, it’s an excuse for restaurant folks to travel, but these tours are just as much about bringing attention to certain types of cuisine and fostering cultural exchange in a way that’s not always easy from the dining room. From Ireland to India to Cuba, there are a number of locally led culinary trips in the pipeline this year. Read more Tour de Forks: Local Restaurants Host Trips Around the World

As Chief Ike’s Prepares to Close, Owner Al Jirikowic Bemoans the Death of D.C. Funkiness

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After more than 20 years in Adams Morgan, Chief Ike's Mambo Room will close on Saturday. As owner Al Jirikowic tells it, "This is an old funky bar that time has passed by." The longtime bar owner sat down with Y&H to talk about the "strollerfication" of Adams Morgan, D.C.'s dying funkiness, and that time the Rolling Stones stopped by.

What was Chief Ike's like in the first few years? 

It had a lot of funk. It had a lot of... what's the Russian word for bearing the truth? We had a lot of Clintonites in here, and they were always talking about that. I had Stella Neptune as the DJ, and we had bands in here. We had poetry in here and readings in here. Over the years, we've had plays and musicals and recitals and weddings, and we've had bar mitzvah celebrations. It's been an all-purpose, social, creative meeting place with a lot of art. A lot of the people who painted this stuff also worked here and built this place.

Do you have some favorite memories from over the years?

A lot of things have happened. We used to have drawing classes upstairs, and they were figure drawing classes, and we were at war with the building across from us for noise. They looked through their windows and they saw a nude person, a 78-year-old man posing. And they sent the cops in here, guns drawn. As the guy looks around, I say, "Let me get you a towel." The police were so embarrassed, we said, "You guys better go downstairs and have a glass of tequila." They said, "Man, we're going to take you up on that." Read more As Chief Ike’s Prepares to Close, Owner Al Jirikowic Bemoans the Death of D.C. Funkiness

Eat With Table’s Staff During Their Family Meal Tomorrow

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Last week's Y&H column is all about how some restaurants and bars are involving the public in events and traditions that in the past have been exclusive to people who work in the industry. Table in Shaw has been a prime example by selling tickets to monthly family meals—the meals that staff eat before their shifts. The restaurant will host its second-ever "pop-up family meal" tomorrow from 5 to 6 p.m.

The early dinner will be served family-style with cooks, waitstaff, and patrons alike sitting at communal tables and sharing the same food. The restaurant has also invited the team from nearby Compass Coffee to join the feast. Tickets will cost $20 or $25 with a beer or glass of wine. Rather than having people pay at the door as they did last time, Table will sell the tickets online in advance for the 20 spots. A sign-up link will go up on the restaurant's Facebook and Twitter pages at noon today.

Read more about Table's public family meal and others who are doing similar things here.

Photo by Darrow Montgomery

Last Night’s Leftovers: Kid Critic Edition

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What happens when a 4-year-old and a restaurant critic review the same meal? [NoVa Mag]

Sample the Beer Madness finalists at Meridian Pint on Thursday. [Post]

Eight places to try different styles of horchata [Eater]

Where to find speculoos cookie desserts in Washington [Washingtonian]

D.C.'s first cat cafe will become a reality. [DCist]

Think you know D.C. restaurants? Take this quiz. [Express]

Red Robin Burger Works opens downtown. [PoPville]

Photo via Shutterstock

Chefs Mark Furstenberg and Erik Bruner-Yang Named James Beard Award Finalists

Y_H_Breadfurst-2Only two D.C. chefs secured nominations for this year's James Beard Awards. Bread Furst's Mark Furstenberg is a finalist for Outstanding Baker, and Toki Underground's Erik Bruner-Yang is a contender for Rising Star Chef of the Year.

D.C. wasn't very well represented among the finalists last year either. Of the 18 D.C.-area chefs and restaurants that made the long list in 2014, Rasika's Vikram Sunderam and Restaurant Eve's Cathal Armstrong were the only ones to be recognized as nominees. (Sunderam went on to win Best Chef in the Mid-Atlantic.)

Two Baltimore chefs—Woodberry Kitchen's Spike Gjerde and Charleston's Cindy Wolf—are nominees for Best Chef in the Mid-Atlantic this year, but nobody from D.C. made the cut.

For media awards, the Washington Post's M. Carrie Allan is nominated for a story in the "wine, spirits, and other beverages" category, and Tamar Haspel, also from the Post, is nominated for food-related columns.

Check out the full list of nominees on the James Beard website. The journalism and book winners will be recognized at an awards ceremony in New York on April 24; chef and restaurant awards will be announced at a gala in Chicago on May 4.

Photo of Mark Furstenberg by Darrow Montgomery

Want a Last-Minute Reservation at Minibar? Fork Over $50

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In case $250 for dinner (excluding tax, tip, and drinks) is chump change for you, Minibar is now offering a limited number of relatively last minute reservations for an additional $50 fee. The avant-garde José Andrés restaurant is using Table 8, a San Francisco-based website and app that launched in D.C. in January. The service allows diners to pay extra for reservations at popular restaurants last minute and during peak times.

Other Andrés restaurants like Jaleo, Oyamel, and Zaytinya already use Table 8, along with high-end local restaurants like Estadio, Del Campo, Fiola Mare, Iron Gate, and Kapnos. Reservations through Table 8 are free if the restaurants have space. If they're booked up, tables for two command generally command a $20 fee. For Minibar, it's $50. (The restaurants and Table 8 split the fee.) As of this posting, there's only one table available at 6 p.m. on April 1.

Minibar has long been known as one of the toughest reservations in town. The 12-seat restaurant accepts reservations via email on a seasonal basis every three months. New slots open up on the first of March, June, September, and December, and typically book up fast.

Table 8 has been somewhat controversial. While its proponents argue it's no different than Uber surge pricing, others find the system somewhat smarmy. Y&H devoted an entire column to this topic, which you can read here.

Photo courtesy Minibar 

Last Night’s Leftovers: Late Night Eats Edition

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Seven new late night eats in D.C. [Thrillist]

What to expect for Maki Shop, opening soon on 14th Street NW. [Post]

10 secret weapons behind D.C.'s top restaurants [Zagat]

Mandu chef Danny Lee crowned Prince of Porc at Cochon 555 competition. [Eater]

Shuttered Black and Orange becoming Bo$$ Burger & Breakfast. [PoPville]

27 things that make every chef's blood boil [BuzzFeed]

Photo courtesy Copycat Co. 

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