Young and Hungry

Between the Sweets: Four Takes on the Ice Cream Sandwich

The Good Humor ice cream sandwich is a classic, but it has a number of gourmet rivals around D.C. Whether it’s pop-tarts, muffin tops, or doughnuts, there seems to be no limit to desserts stuffed with ice cream. What will be next: the biscuitwich or the sconewich?


Try Turmeric and Hibiscus Drinking Vinegars at Maketto


If you've been noticing vinegar showing up in cocktails around town, there's a good chance its thanks to Lindera Farms Vinegar producer Daniel Liberson. The cook-turned-fermentation geek forages for ingredients like mulberries, violets, and spicebush in Virginia and transforms them into vinegars that are used at some of the top restaurants and bars in D.C. and New York. He's also the subject of this week's Y&H column.

But Liberson isn't the only one making unique vinegars used in cocktails. The team at chef Erik Bruner Yang's Maketto and Honeycomb in Union Market has been experimenting with flavors like beet, hibiscus, maple, turmeric, sumac, peppermint, rosemary, and onion. (That last one is used in bloody marys and vesper martinis.) Maketto serves its vinegars in cocktails for $10, with palm sugar and soda water for $5, and on their own for $2. They're also bottled up and sold at Honeycomb.  Read more Try Turmeric and Hibiscus Drinking Vinegars at Maketto

Brew In Town: Adroit Theory Legion

adroitlegionAdroit Theory Legion

Where in Town: Adroit Theory Brewing Company, 404 Browning Court, Unit C, Purcellville, Va.

Price: $12/375 mL

Form Is Function

Husband-and-wife duo Mark and Nina Osborne founded Adroit Theory Brewing in early 2014 with the motto “Consume life. Drink art.” The brewery presents as much information about each beer’s concept, name, and thoughtfully designed packaging as its ingredients and flavors. Head brewer Greg Skotzko crafts three or four small batches a week and made more than 150 distinct brews in Adroit’s first year. Most are high-alcohol, experimental styles with intricate recipes—like a Thai noodle soup beer with Sriracha, lemongrass, and ginger—and many are aged in wine, whiskey, or spirit barrels. Read more Brew In Town: Adroit Theory Legion

The ’Wiching Hour: Songbyrd Record Cafe’s The Kraftwerk

thekraftwerk_songbyrdThe Sandwich: The Kraftwerk

Where: Songbyrd Record Cafe, 2477 18th St. NW

Price: $10, including one side

Bread: Sourdough toast

Stuffings: Chicken schnitzel, Brie and Gournay cheeses, rotkraut, raspberry sauce

Thickness: 3 inches

Pros: Many of the sandwiches at Songbyrd are named after different musical artists, and the Kraftwerk pays tribute to both the German electronic band and a traditional German sandwich. The schnitzel, which could taste too bready on a sandwich, adds just enough salty crispness without feeling heavy or dull, while the tangy red cabbage kraut contrasts the rich, oozing cheese. Read more The ’Wiching Hour: Songbyrd Record Cafe’s The Kraftwerk

Last Night’s Leftovers: Kids in Breweries Edition

3_stars-1_345x345Lots of people are bringing their kids to breweries. [Express]

Six myths about tipping in restaurants [Washingtonian]

Where to go for karaoke [Eater]

Pinstripes eyes two more D.C.-area sites. [WBJ]

Shanghai Tokyo Cafe coming to Columbia Heights this summer. [PoPville]

District Beans delivers locally roasted coffee to your door. [Post]

Photo by Darrow Montgomery


Meet the Guy Who’s Bringing a Vinegar Revolution to D.C.


Daniel Liberson wades ankle-deep through a pathway of clovers looking for edible flora—the weirder, the better. The 220-acre nature reserve around him in Delaplane, Va., looks like a Grant Wood landscape with perfect blue skies, rolling hills cut by a stream, grasses that bend like waves in the wind, and butterflies fluttering.

In a wooded area, Liberson kneels down to pick some white violets, then he spots some ground ivy and hands me a few of their little green leaves to taste.

“It’s going to be pretty potent, I’m warning you about that now,” he says. “It’s got this basil kind of minty flavor to it, very herbaceous. It gets very bitter very quickly, so you’re going to want to eventually spit it out. But that first burst of flavor…”

Liberson passes by the giant leaves of mayapple plants—“they will super kill you”—and heads over to a spicebush, which really looks more like a tree. He uses his thumb to scrape back the skin of the branch, revealing the aromatic green flesh underneath.

“For me, it always smells like a combination of lemons and cayenne and allspice and birch,” he says. Later in summer, he’ll pick the spicebush’s little bright red berries, which also have a woody-lemon flavor.

Liberson will use all of these lesser known ingredients to produce his Lindera Farms Vinegar in a red barn nearby. The vinegars will then make their way into some of the very best restaurants and bars in the country: Minibar and Zaytinya in D.C., Per Se and Gramercy Tavern in New York, and McCrady’s and Husk in Charleston, S.C.

While vinegar production is as ancient as wine, Liberson is aiming to take it in a direction that no one has before. For the most part, other producers in the western world are making grape- or apple-based vinegars. Flavored vinegars often begin with a finished vinegar that’s then infused and sweetened. Liberson doesn’t do infusions. Rather, he ferments fruits, flowers, and other plants into alcohols, and then converts that into vinegar.

Every ingredient Liberson uses comes from Virginia. If he doesn’t forage it himself on the Bolling Branch nature reserve his parents restored from cattle farmland beginning in 2006, he gets it from small organic farms nearby. Since launching his business full-time in September, the 28-year-old is quickly building a name for himself in culinary circles for esoteric and complex vinegar flavors like mulberry, elderflower, wild chamomile, milkweed, black locust, bee balm, and matsutake mushroom. As far as Liberson is aware, many of these vinegar flavors have never been bottled and sold—or even made—before. Read more Meet the Guy Who’s Bringing a Vinegar Revolution to D.C.

New Food Delivery Services Aims to End “Sad Desk Lunch”

Sarah Van Dell has been that office worker who's stuck at her desk with a sad lunch. As a senior director working on health care issues at the Advisory Board Company for more than three years, she says she became addicted to work and rarely got a proper lunch break.

“You kind of give yourself these deadlines like, ‘I’m not going to leave my desk until I get this done,' and that’s how I was," she says. Her office became a revolving door for colleagues on her large team. "I never found a great way to eat. I put on 20 pounds since working there, and it was because I just did not pay attention to what I was eating."

Van Dell is now looking to cure "sad desk lunch" with Cozy Feast, a delivery service launching this fall that will cater to office workers. The idea was born out of a conversation with friends over drinks about how they want good homemade food but don't want to cook it.

Initially, Van Dell had the idea to create an eating club of sorts where her neighbors would share their leftovers. She went door-to-door in her 200-unit apartment building near U Street NW and found around 55 people who were interested in participating. "But really when it came down to it, they just wanted to eat someone's food," Van Dell says. Hardly anybody wanted to cook. "It was a total failure."

Instead, Van Dell took inspiration from the dabbawalas who deliver hot lunches to workers in India, which she'd studied during business school. She decided to do something similar, delivering homecooked meals to office workers in vacuum-insulated lunchboxes or tiffins, which wouldn't feel as much like takeout.

Cozy Feast plans to test a limited number of office buildings to start this summer. The idea is that offices will have bins to put their used tiffins in, and Cozy Feast will collect them after lunch and wash them. Van Dell says the tentative plan is that people would have up until 10:45 a.m. to order their meals, which will be prepared out of food incubator Mess Hall.

Chef David Shewmaker, the opening chef at Meridian Pint, will prepare the menu. Cozy Feast will offer three options: a chef's seasonal meal, a vegetarian/vegan meal, or comfort food. Van Dell aims to price the offerings around $9 to $12.

Cozy Feast recently launched a Kickstarter campaign with the goal of raising $41,200. The money will determine how fast the service can scale up.

Want to Freelance for Young & Hungry?

IMG_2587Y&H is seeking freelance contributors with an eye for restaurant and bar trends and solid reporting chops. (A personal blog chronicling your latest meal doesn't count.)

If you're thinking, "How about a round-up of the best outdoor patios in D.C.?" this gig probably isn't for you. We're looking for people who can cover the quirks of the local dining scene and news without relying on press releases. We're interested in food and drinks, yes, but also exploring the business and culture of the industry. We don't usually hand out assignments, so you must be able to generate your own story ideas.

Interested? Please email with a short blurb about yourself and your writing experience plus a story pitch.


Last Night’s Leftovers: Joe Englert to Ivy City Edition

joe_englertBar owner Joe Englert plans beer garden, bouldering gym, and coffee shop in Ivy City. [WBJ]

The truth behind 19 sushi myths [Thrillist]

Here's a map of D.C.'s many rooftop bars. [Washingtonian]

Ivy and Coney is moving ahead with plans for a full kitchen and retractable roof. [PoPville]

10 savory breakfast selections at local cafes [Eater]

Carluccio’s Italian market and restaurant makes U.S. debut in Alexandria on June 3. [Post]

Johnny Rockets closes in Shirlington. [ARLnow]

Photo of Joe Englert by Darrow Montgomery

Centrolina Opens Its Italian Market in CityCenterDC Today


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