Young and Hungry

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

Yes, There’s Another Faux Speakeasy Opening Tonight

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At least D.C.'s newest so-called "speakeasy" doesn't have any stupid rules. At the Speak, opening tonight in the basement of 1413 K St. NW, there is no secret phone number. No one will ask you for a password. And photos, mercifully, aren't banned.

But that doesn't mean the place is free from revisionist nostalgia for the Prohibition era. There is a "secret" entrance, after all. (Of course secrets aren't so secret if you have a publicist who invites reporters over for a tour.) As you approach Tattoo Bar, a staircase leads downstairs to a small brick-floored platform with two doors. One leads to a maintenance closet. The other takes you into a mini foyer covered in drywall with a "for rent" sign, an ornate rug, and a giant mirror. In case you didn't see this coming: the mirror is a door.

"I just love speakeasies," says Seth McClelland, who was previously an owner of One Lounge. "There's a few in town, but I don't think it's oversaturated just yet. And I think there's room for something like this. Our take on it: There's no rules. There's no number to call. You can stand. You can dance. There might be a DJ here and there on the weekends." Read more Yes, There’s Another Faux Speakeasy Opening Tonight

Last Night’s Leftovers: Summer Openings Edition

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The nine most exciting summer restaurant openings [Zagat]

Where to find meat on a stick [Express]

Hill Country to host game-day pop-up across the street from Nationals Park. [Post]

Piassa Ethiopian Cuisine coming to former Caribbean Citations space in Shaw. [PoPville]

Where to stop for food on the way to the Maryland/Delaware shore [Eater]

Marriott wants to seed your dream bar in a shipping container. [WBJ]

Is this chocolate or blood? [BuzzFeed]

Photo from the Yona pop-up by Jessica Sidman

Bethesda Condo Building’s “Sommelier in Residence” Talks About His Unusual Gig

Jarad_Slipp (2)The latest in Rich People Things: a luxury condo with a "sommelier in residence."

The Lauren, a 29-unit building opening in Bethesda next spring, announced last week that it has tapped Master Sommelier Jarad Slipp for the job, which will involve personalized consultations with residents and quarterly tastings in the property's wine lounge.

"It's just crazy enough that it might work," Slipp says. "I can't think of anyone that's ever attempted something like this before. Certainly not in the D.C.-area. Maybe somewhere like Shanghai, but even that I doubt."

Despite his title, Slipp won't actually reside in-house. He'll still maintain his full-time job as Estate Director at RdV Vineyards, a 100-acre winery in Delaplane, Virginia. (Early condo buyers get a yearlong membership to the RdV Ambassadors Program, which will include access to exclusive wines, invitations to release events, and more.)

Slipp previously worked for CityZen and other high-end restaurants in New York. He became a Master Sommelier—one of only 219 in the world—in May 2014. Read more Bethesda Condo Building’s “Sommelier in Residence” Talks About His Unusual Gig

Uprising Muffin Company Introduces Muffin Ice Cream Sandwiches (Updated)

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D.C. has seen the pop-tart ice cream sandwich and the doughnut ice cream sandwich. Now, there's a new contender for the franken-dessert of the summer of 2015: the muffin ice cream sandwich. The so-called "upwich" is available at Shaw's Uprising Muffin Company beginning today.

Seinfeld fans will approve of the fact that the sandwiches are made with two muffin tops—no "stumps." In one of the show's most famous episodes, Elaine tells her former boss that just selling the tops would be a "million dollar idea," and he promptly opens a muffin top shop called Top of the Muffin to You! The shop donates the bottoms to a homeless shelter, inciting indignation and complaints from the homeless. ("Why don't you just drop off some chicken skins and lobster shells?" yells a woman from the shelter.) It turns out no one—not even the garbage dump—wants to take the stumps.

So what does Uprising Muffin Company do with its muffin stumps?

Owner Donnie Simpson Jr. says he donates any unsold muffins at the end of the day to N Street Village, a women's shelter near Logan Circle. But don't worry: They're not getting the stumps, which, for what it's worth, Simpson calls "just as delicious as the tops." Rather, Simpson has acquired a muffin top pan, eliminating the stumps from the start. "I had to Google it, but it is a thing."

This, too, is a plot line in the Seinfeld episode. Top of the Muffin to You! struggles to bring in customers selling muffin tops from muffin top pans. But once Elaine reveals the secret is to tear the top from a whole muffin, business booms.

"Maybe if they had put a scoop of ice cream in between two of them, people would have bought them," Simpson says. "That was the missing part."

Touché.

Uprising Muffin Company's two flavor options include chocolate chip muffin with vanilla ice cream and double chocolate muffin with vanilla ice cream. The dessert costs $4.99.

Now, it's only a matter of time before the biscuitwich.

Photo by James Jackson

This post has been updated with additional information.

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