Now that we’re on good terms with Cuba and everything, you’ll probably be flying to Havana soon. Discovering your new favorite beaches. And rums. And ropa vieja.
Better get practicing on those last two so you know what to look for.
At someplace like this… AG Kitchen, the first DC-area outpost from Cuban celebrity chef Alex Garcia, opening Monday in Silver Spring.
You might know the name. He’s been all over New York. And the Food Network. Here, he’s got the kind of place you’ll want to hit before a show at AFI.
There are plenty of good seats in the colorful dining room, which you can see in this slideshow. But for now, let’s focus on the patio overlooking a fountain. Because that’s where you’ll want to sip a cilantro-infused daiquiri, a banana-butterscotch-rum milkshake or—what the hell—a pitcher of sangria.
From there, it’s all short rib arepas, rum-glazed shrimp or—what the hell again—one of 11 burgers, topped with stuff like green chilies, grilled-pineapple relish and guava BBQ sauce.
If time is not on your side, don’t worry. Just head around to the Georgia Avenue entrance, where you’ll find a quick-service window with plantains, roasted pork and Cubano sandwiches.
Cubanos > movie popcorn.Imagine picking up a giant sushi roll and eating it with your hands. Now imagine that’s socially acceptable.
This place makes it so: Buredo, a new downtown destination for truly unsubtle sushi rolls, now soft-open.
First thing you’ll notice here: it’s not really a place to linger. More of a grab-and-go play. Because there’s just one communal table in the center of the small room. But hey: there’s a cool chalk mural inspired by Blade Runner. (See the place here.)
And look at that: the menu’s on the same chalkboard. And hey: it’s inspired by Kill Bill. You’ll find a Hanzo roll (yellowfin sashimi, avocado, cucumber, fennel, arugula) and a Crazy 88 (pork shoulder, kimchi slaw, veggies and jalapeño). You’ll also find them rolled up with nori and rice, big enough to occupy your whole palm.
And that’s… basically it. Maybe throw some iced tea or wasabi peas into the mix. For now, it’s primarily a lunch spot, but they’re looking to add evening hours in coming weeks.
These rolls will seem like a better idea then anyhow.We’ve seen the future of the power lunch, and it is glorious.
In the way that only bananas Foster pancakes, tater tot waffles and cast-iron-skillet burgers can be glorious.
Progress marches on at Olivia’s Diner, open from 7am to 11pm as of now in the former G Street Food location.
But hey, it’s a diner. You’re here to eat. Stuff like this:
—Breakfast all day, like biscuits and gravy, six kinds of hash and nine kinds of pancakes (like PB&J and the aforementioned bananas Foster).
—Egg sandwiches you can grab and go at the bar all morning.
—Burgers ground in-house from chuck, short rib and brisket, and seared over cast-iron skillets. Goes well with their mostly East Coast beers on tap.
—Milkshakes in flavors like Nutella or toasted coconut. Yes, you can get them spiked.
—Comfort food, like a grilled cheese with bacon and jalapeños. Oh, and instead of bread, it’s on waffles made from pressed tater tots.
Tater tots. The best way to go gluten-free.Portable fans. Running uninvited through lawn sprinklers. Spending lots of time in the frozen food aisle.
All of those can help you survive the dog days of summer.
But probably not as well as booze and ice can.
Which brings us to The Many Faces of Frozen Alcohol, a slideshow that explores the various ways that bartenders around town are turning snow cones, shave ice, ice cream and, well, slush into cocktails.
In other words, it explores all that is right with the world.
Get out of town. Climb a tree. Pet a hippopotamus.
But make it back by Monday, because you’ve got a stuffed peacock to see and a cheeseburger with bacon jam to try.
At this place: The Riggsby, a new entrant on your list of “super-solid restaurants and bars in Dupont,” opening Monday in the Carlyle hotel. (See the slideshow and the menu.)
Here are some things you should know:
—This is from Michael Schlow. He did Tico. You like Tico.
—It’s nice to look at. Black and white floor tiles, tufted-leather banquettes and a stuffed peacock affixed to one wall.
—They’ve got some good beers. Flying Dog Snake Dog, Devils Backbone Vienna Lager. Good drinks as well. Like a Ticket to Cuba with aged rum, yuzu and mint. You could do a first date here. Or meet up with someone you went to college with.
—You know how so many restaurants no longer have courses, just a parade of shareable small plates? They don’t do that. They’ve got 11 entrées. Stuff like a double-cut pork chop, the aforementioned cheeseburger and slow-cooked salmon.
Yes, they’ve got shareable small plates, too.If you like to hang out with members of Congress: you’ve got a new place to take them.
If you don’t: you’ve got someplace new to visit when they go on recess next month.
That place: Garrison, a cozy American spot from the former chef of Cork and Poste, now taking reservations for a Wednesday opening on Barracks Row.
This is the kind of place where long wooden benches are topped with denim pillows, and jars of pickles and preserved lemons sit in windows between the booths. (Here, we can prove it with this slideshow.)
If it’s too warm for you under the awning on the front patio—and to be honest, it probably is—then those booths aren’t a bad place to end up, given that most look into the open kitchen. Allows you to keep tabs on your fluke crudo, corn tortellini and bison hanger steak.
But let’s not forget about the small bar up front, either. Apart from the beers and wines, they’re doing some interesting things with drinks. Like the one with rum, lime and toasted-coconut syrup. Or the bourbon drink that arrives with mint atomized on the glass.
The Manhattan Project of cocktails.Take a look at this place. No, really, take a look.
What you’ve just looked at: Masseria, an indoor/outdoor Italian oasis tucked among the warehouses near Union Market, soft-opening tonight.
Okay. So now you’ve seen the big metal door that leads in here, the lights hanging from ropes, the benches modeled after sports-car seats. It’s all a little bit Los Angeles, a little bit 1950s Italy. And here’s how you’ll experience it:
Five courses under the retractable roof. Which is where you’ll find yourself in basically an open-air dining room, with Mediterranean-tile floors and farmhouse tables. They’ll give you a menu full of pastas (open ravioli with shrimp and zucchini), fish and meat (sausage-stuffed quail). Just start picking. If you want four pastas, go for it.
A special occasion at the chef’s table. Your chef: Nick Stefanelli, late of Bibiana. This is where he’ll cook for you and five of your friends.
Smoking cocktails at the indoor/outdoor bar. They make a show of things. Like pouring champagne over vodka-infused lemon sorbet. Or finishing a Sazerac-ish drink with plum-scented glycerin smoke.
Actual smoking in the outdoor lounge. Low couches. Fire-pit tables. And a humidor full of cigars at your disposal.
We assume vaping is fine, too.There’s nothing these people won’t smoke.
Think about the backyard-cookout-related weight of those words for a minute.
Good. Now you’re ready for Black Pug Smokehouse, a new outfit dedicated to smoking all kinds of edibles, now taking orders via email in addition to popping up at area farmers’ markets.
Here’s a list of things they smoke:
—Peanut butter. They smoke raw peanuts with oak and applewood, blend them with local honey and their own smoked sea salt, then pound it with granite until it’s nice and peanut-buttery. May we suggest a smoky fluffernutter.
—Cheese. Like Vermont sharp cheddar and Wisconsin chèvre.
—Nuts. Sure, the same peanuts that go into the butter, tossed with BBQ rub. But also almonds and—watch for it this fall—sugared pecans.
—Condiment-worthy pork. They smoke jowls from heritage VA pigs, then add brown sugar and spices. Then they call it Jowl Jam. You add it to sandwiches or burgers.
Keep an eye out for special runs and seasonal smokings, too. Like salmon spread and pulled pork. You might even see smoked water that you can refreeze into cubes for your cocktails.
Cue up the Deep Purple.There are certain unwritten rules in life. Some examples:
—Always hold the door for people. —Never stand at home plate and admire your home run blast. —Always seek out drinks served in skulls. Even if they’re in the suburbs.
Regarding that last one, may we introduce you to Pepita, a tiny Mexican cantina from Mike Isabella that happens to offer 55 different cocktails. It opens Thursday in Ballston.
If you’re making a quick pit stop before the first pitch, grab some bar snacks like hush puppies and meatballs, and decide between the 10 taps and a mojito made with strawberry-infused vodka. Or maybe just their 909Triple Play, aka a PBR, a shot of whiskey and a pickleback.