Young and Hungry

Try Hank’s Oyster Bar on the Hill’s Hit Cocktails as Bartender Gina Chersevani Departs

IMG_3221-1024x682

With a second baby on the way, "mixtress" Gina Chersevani is parting ways with Hank's Oyster Bar on the Hill. Her last shift will be next Friday. Chersevani will continue to operate Buffalo & Bergen at Union Market and her frozen cocktail-serving Airstream trailer, Suburbia. She also plans to expand the retail sale of her tonics and syrups, which she began offering at Buffalo & Bergen over the holidays.

The departure from Hank's just so happens to coincide with a month celebrating the bar's greatest cocktail hits. Over the course of year, the bar team—Chersevani, Michael Saccone, Jason Strich, and Sam Schmidt—came up with more than 500 cocktails as part of weekly themed menus, which have covered everything from Madonna to Top Gun to Christmas in July. Now through Feb. 28, the bar will serve drinks like "Confessions of a Suburban Housewife" with gin, housemade limoncello, Meyer lemon, and coconut as well as "I Know What Boys Like" with bacon-washed Rittenhouse rye whiskey, Pig's Nose Scotch Whisky, burnt sugar, bitters, and orange. Read more Try Hank’s Oyster Bar on the Hill’s Hit Cocktails as Bartender Gina Chersevani Departs

Last Night’s Leftovers: Fare Well Edition

bakery_sticky_fingers-1Sticky Fingers owner will open a diner-style bakery, bar, and bistro called Fare Well on H Street NE. [Eater]

Local Pinkberry locations up for auction after bankruptcy filing. [WBJ]

Kentucky chef Edward Lee to open Southern-themed Succotash at National Harbor. [Post]

Five things to order at Korean restaurant Bul in Adams Morgan [Zagat]

The best blind date spots (and other tips) in D.C. [BYT]

What it costs to eat out in D.C. [DCist]

Food industry drags its heels on recyclable and compostable packaging. [NPR]

Photo by Darrow Montgomery

VIDEO: How Undone Chocolate Makes Its Bars


In case you missed it, this week's Y&H column is an introduction to the District's first chocolate makers. Now to kick up your cravings, Undone Chocolate co-founder Adam Kavalier demonstrates how he makes his bars at Union Kitchen. If you want to taste the stuff, head to Glen’s Garden Market, Smucker Farms, Compass Coffee, or one of the other markets listed here.

Video by Jessica Sidman

Fad to the Bone

Bone broth may be as ancient as boiling water, but that hasn’t stopped people from proclaiming it one of the top food and health trends of 2015. Red Apron began offering the nutrient-rich liquid in to-go cups this week. (You can also find it at fast-casual restaurant Hälsa, which recently opened in Monroe Street Market.)

Chef Nate Anda simmers the liquid with the bones of sustainably-raised animals for at least 36 hours. The long cook time infuses the broth with collagen and nutrients like magnesium, potassium, calcium, and amino acids. Proponents claim bone broth can reduce inflammation, improve digestion, and help your hair and nails. An eight-ounce cup goes for $4.25. Twelve ounces are $5.50.

Here’s a look at the anatomy of this meat juice:

hands-cups

Like tea, the bone broth comes with spice sachets (50 cents each) that steep in the liquid:

flavors

Photos by Darrow Montgomery/Illustration by Lauren Heneghan

Underserved: Eat The Rich’s Diablo 14

UndServed1

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

What: Diablo 14 with Fidencio Mezcal, house-made grenadine, apple bitters, celery bitters, aromatic bitters, habanero tincture, lime juice, and a grapefruit twist, $12

Where: Eat The Rich, 1839 7th St. NW

What You Should Be Drinking

This cocktail was born out of Eat The Rich’s big, sloppy crush on the Misfits and other bands created by Glenn Danzig. The heavy metal-themed bar introduced the Diablo 14 as a part of a special menu created when Danzig’s deathrock band Samhain came to the Howard Theatre on Halloween. Named after the song “Diablos ’88,” the drink was a hit. So they downloaded it to the permanent menu where its popularity has slipped. Bar Manager Ben Matz calls it a loosely interpreted Old Fashioned because it combines a big, bold spirit plus fruit and bitters. Even before the Samhain-inspired menu, Matz made an early version of the cocktail based on a customer request. He notes an increase in regulars who ask the bartender to create a custom drink based on their whims, rather than the printed cocktail menu. “It’s challenging and rewarding for bartenders, but customers get a kick if they see their drink make it onto the menu.” Read more Underserved: Eat The Rich’s Diablo 14

Are You Gonna Eat That? The Oval Room’s Blood Clams

bloodclams_5

The Dish: Blood Clams

Price: $12-$15 (price may vary)

Where to Get It: The Oval Room, 800 Connecticut Ave. NW; (202) 463-8700; ovalroom.com

What It Is: These mollusks earned their ominous name because hemoglobin turns their liquid a reddish hue. Originally a Chinese favorite, they’re now cultivated off the coast of Maine and Mexico’s Baja region. Slightly larger than many of their bivalve brethren, newly appointed executive chef John Melfi calls them “a clam person’s clam.”

What It Tastes Like: Melfi takes his prep cues from El Salvador, where the clams are prepared ceviche-style with lime and Thai chilies. The finely diced flesh is mostly smooth, though there are still some slightly chewy bits (but nothing that distracts). First, you’ll taste the acidic pop of the citrus, followed by an oceanic salinity accented with kelp. Finally, there’s a hint of heat at the back of your throat. Read more Are You Gonna Eat That? The Oval Room’s Blood Clams

Last Night’s Leftovers: Brussels Sprouts Edition

shutterstock_120305536

Where to eat Brussels sprouts [Express]

Pasta Mia signs longterm lease in Adams Morgan. [Washingtonian]

After trial run, French chef Bertrand Chemel will continue leading Pizzeria Orso. [NoVa Mag]

Chicago’s Old Town Pour House is coming to Gaithersburg. [Post]

Mexican restaurant Diego closes on 14th Street NW. [PoPville]

Take a tour through the storied history Of Georgetown's 1789 Restaurant. [Eater]

Photo via Shutterstock 

Meet D.C.’s First Bean-to-Bar Chocolate Makers

Y_H_Chocolate-3

Adam Kavalier is a stickler about his beans. The Undone Chocolate co-founder says he pays about $500 over the market price per ton for his organic farm-direct cocoa beans to get a premium product. And if they’re not up to snuff, he’ll sometimes send them back. Then, in every 150-pound sack of cocoa beans, he sorts out the small ones and the cracked ones by hand.

“These are looking real good. They’re uniform in size,” Kavalier says, scooping up a handful and letting them fall through his fingers. If you lean in, they smell acidic. “The cocoa beans are fermented,” he explains.

Mary J. Blige’s “Family Affair” is playing in the background of the Union Kitchen workspace, where Kavalier is working on a recent Thursday afternoon next to a dog biscuit maker and a chickpea chip producer—a few of the 50 or so artisans who use the food incubator. Kavalier launched Undone Chocolate with his wife Kristen Kavalier in December, and they now produce 2,000 chocolate bars a month in D.C.

Kavalier spreads the beans out on pans and demonstrates how he roasts them in the oven. When they’re done, he’ll use a vacuum-powered machine called a winnower to separate the shells from the cocoa nibs. The shell will be packaged up and sold as an herbal-earthy tea. But the nibs will be combined with organic cane sugar—the only other ingredient in the chocolate—and ground for three days. Read more Meet D.C.’s First Bean-to-Bar Chocolate Makers

Mothership Will Close, El Floridano Food Truck Will Return

c_Y_H_Boillon-1

One of Park View's only sit-down restaurants, Mothership, is preparing to close. The last day of service will likely be brunch on Feb. 22.

"I just don't have deep enough pockets," says chef and owner Stephan Boillon. "Business just isn't where I need it to be, and I just haven't made any money. For a while there, I was breaking even and it was doable, but I think everybody's taking a little downturn lately, and I don't have the money to keep it going."

While Boillon emphasizes that neighbors have been very good to him, "I was kind of like this island in the middle of nowhere." He says when he signed the lease, there were plans for 700 condo units nearby. "And none of them have broken ground yet," he says. "That critical mass of customers just wasn't there."

Mothership was one of the first D.C. restaurants to use Kickstarter to raise funds for its buildout. It opened in early 2013.

Boillon says he will take a few weeks off after the closure and then bring back the sandwich food truck he ran before opening Mothership. The truck will be pretty much the same as it was except with a few additional items. And yes, it will still be called El Floridano.

"I have that tattooed on my arm," he says. "That's not going anywhere."

Photo by Darrow Montgomery

Last Night’s Leftovers: Regulated Crunkcakes Edition

cupcakes

Bakeries serving alcohol-infused cupcakes may soon need to follow new D.C. laws. [HillNow]

A food fan's guide to Super Bowl Sunday [Washingtonian]

Kanye West and Kim Kardashian visit Woodland’s Vegan Bistro. [PoPville]

Three D.C. institutions that were farm-to-table before it was cool [Eater]

Cupcakes vs. cakepops [Post]

Where to find the best bar food in D.C. [Zagat]

Nine bars and restaurants with fireplaces [Thrillist]

Photo by Darrow Montgomery

...