Just launched for DC Tuesday, Nara is a food finder website (and mobile app, obvi!) that you can think of as Pandora and Yelp, combined. It’ll learn your tastes — literally — to form a tailored list of restaurant recommendations. And it gets smarter the more you use it.
Through Nara, a personal discovery engine, users can direct a machine learning algorithm to recognize their favorite flavors and foods for suggestions of new places near them… or anywhere across the country. Also use the app to order food via GrubHub, book a table directly using the OpenTable button, or even a car service to get you to your table on time.
Arlington took its first bite of Which Wich Superior Sandwiches® – paired with complimentary beer, wine and spiked hand-dipped milkshakes – Wednesday night. At a VIP Preview Party for the expanding Ballston-based brand, guests noshed on specialized sandwiches and sweets while welcoming Which Wich to the neighborhood with creative red Sharpie® drawings and messages on the eatery’s signature brown bag order forms.
Offering over 50 varieties of Wiches with more than 60 toppings – that’s almost 56 trillion possible combinations — owners Irfaan Lalani, Faisal Lalani and Shalin Patel encouraged attendees like ABC 7 Anchor Kendis Gibson, Taste of DC CEO Steuart Martens, and USA Today’s Arienne Thompson, to try the Elvis Which (honey-banana-peanut butter-bacon) and other unique combinations.
*Which Wich is located at 4300 Wilson Boulevard #160, Arlington, VA 22203. Officially opens May 21.
The Washington Hilton’s ballroom was filled with deliciousness and do-gooders Monday night as Food & Friends held its 23rd anual Chef’s Best Dinner & Auction (presented by the NACDS Foundation).
An overwhelming 1,200 guests — including Councilmembers Dave Catania and Vincent Orange — gathered with energy, generosity and growling stomachs to taste 60 of the region’s best chefs’ culinary creations and bid on countless tempting silent and live auction items.
8407′s salmon tartare with asparagus chilled soup, Jack Rose’s watermelon gazpacho (with Pop Rocks!!), and Hank’s Oyster Bar’s scallops were stand out audience pleasers. Shake Shake and Dolcezza also wowed with their custard and gelato (respectively) for frozen favorites to end the night’s noshing on a sweet note.
The event raised $960,000 — a record breaking success for Food & Friends, which represents more than 10% of its operating budget.
“After one, you feel like dancing. After the second, you might need a taxi to take you home!” PR pro Linda Roth explains why Mi Cocina‘s Mambo Taxi cocktails were so popular at Thursday’s VIP opening of the Mexican restaurant chain’s newest location in Chevy Chase.
Texans came out in herd to celebrate their “most authentic” homestate favorite, relishing plates of passed nachos, tacos, and tamales along with sangria, margaritas and those aforementioned Mambo Taxis, of course!
This 22nd Mi Cocina location (the next closest is in Atlanta) features a full menu of Tex Mex, mostly all under $20, to be enjoyed in a surprisingly unkitschy dining room, on the restaurant’s side stone patio, or in the glass-walled private dining area off the main bar (Let everyone walking in envy your enchiladas!).
We’re most excited about the white queso, but if you’re really wondering what to order, opening night’s crush of Lone Star Staters told us how to identify some of the best menu items — they were named for the restaurant’s former employees.
Just in time for the IMF meetings this month, the restaurant group behind Heritage India embarks on a new culinary journey with Crossroads, where guests will be greeted with a cascading waterfall and 5-ft, 500-lb Buddha statue.
Located conveniently across from the World Bank and International Monetary Fund, Crossroads offers restaurant goers an eclectic mix of small dishes from across the globe – a literal crossroads of international cuisine!
Menu highlights feature dishes distinct to regions in Africa, Asia, Europe, North America, and South America, with tastes of signature items like roasted eggplant and tomato beignets from the Mediterranean, South American-inspired fried calamari with jalapeno chips, and a Japanese sushi bar.
“Our concept was to create a menu that could satisfy the palette of the international community,” explains Head Chef Ravi Narayanan. “Whether it’s African, Asian, European, North American, or South American cuisine, Crossroad has the perfect dish.”
Crossroads is located at 1901 Pennsylvania Ave. NW and will be open for lunch and dinner: Monday-Thursday 11am-11pm; Friday and Saturday 11am-2am; and Sunday 10am-11pm. Happy Hour specials will be offered Monday – Friday at the bar 4pm-7pm
Del Campo. It literally means “from the country,” but let’s just say it’s your new meat market.
Chef Victor Albisu, formerly Executive Chef of BLT Steak, this month opened Del Campo in the former PS7′s restaurant space in Penn Quarter. At the opening, celeb chefs from around the city — like Mike Isabella (left) — showed up to enjoy mouthwatering traditional South American grilled goodness inspired by Albisu’s Latin-American roots.
“From adolescence, I worked in my mother’s Latin market learning to butcher from Argentineans and Uruguayans. It was from those South American butchers that I came to appreciate the asado (South American social gathering for enjoying BBQ) as both a cooking style and a day-long gathering to celebrate and enjoy food, friends and family,” said Albisu. “With Del Campo, I want to reinvent that experience…”
So start drooling now over a rotating menu of grilled meats like wagyu skirt steak, short ribs, chorizo, blood sausage, and sweetbreads, to be complemented by crudos and ceviches.
And while your stomach’e rumbling, remember that the upscale asado atmosphere is Albisu’s first full-service resto, but look for his takeout taqueria, Taco Bamba, coming shortly in Falls Church.
Wednesday night, DC foodies and fashionables joined powerbroker policymakers — like VA Senator Mark Warner, above) at the grand opening reception of his newest, NoPA Kitchen + Bar (get it — North of PA Ave?!), to enjoy new tastes and toast the well-knownrestaurateur.
Famously known for his successful restaurants in DC – and his awesome ability to make an appearance at each of them (Rasika/Rasika West End, The Oval Room, Bombay Club, 701, Bibiana, Ardeo) every night – guests agreed Bajaj aced NOPA on atmosphere, bringing back James Beard Award-winning designer Martin Vahtra (Rasika West End).
Vahtra exposed the brick hidden behind the walls of what used to be Zola and incorporated them into the rustic, yet sophisticated design. Nook seating in the bar area put seats in some previously unused hall space, making the space bigger and better.
VIP attendees — like Georgia Senator Saxby Chambliss and Goldman Sachs VP (Gov’t Affairs) Joyce Brayboy — were able to sample menu items created by Chef Greg McCarty, whose French background, paired with NoPA’s commitment to garden fresh vegetables alongside select meats and fish, added additional flare to Ashok’s offerings.
We all know that FREE food draws a crowd. But what do you think happens when a restaurant invites you to “pay what you want??”
sweetgreen, the DC-based organic, farm-to-table chain of salad shops, unveiled its newest (the 17th and largest to date!) location Wednesday at 14th and W. In celebration of the opening, patrons were invited to “Pay What You Want.” The catch? All proceeds benefit sweetgreen in schools, a series of hands-on nutrition classes in collaboration with DC Farm to School, which teaches students about nutrition, the importance of local sourcing, and how to take charge of their own health.
It started out as a simple idea over a few beers by founders Nick Vilelle and Raj Ratwani. They wondered whether there was an ”easy way for the working population to give back and make an impact.” Fueled by KickStarter, the goal was to see if a local restaurant/pub could donate all the money spent on food and drinks to make a difference.
Enter, CAUSE Philanthropub, the first bar dedicated to philanthropy in DC – which today donates 100% of its profits to non-profit causes, as Vilelle explained.
CAUSE the Philanthropub opened late last October in the U Street corridor, and has donated all of its earnings to three non-profit organizations per quarter, as decided by an advisory board. This quarter, CAUSE will be sending donations to Life Pieces To Masterpieces, One Acre Fund and Year Up.
In order to drum up support, CAUSE invites fans to a Happy Hour every day of the week (5-7 PM) and added trivia and comedy nights to appeal to those close in neighborhood. (Look for Friday night funk and Brunch in the future.) This Philanthropub even aims to help the community by featuring local art and a rotating farm fresh menu made with local produce.
For inspiration, CAUSE named each of its homemade cocktails after social innovators, such as the Evita –Rita, the Mahatama, or, The Truth (whiskey, spiced cider, Great Lakes reisling, house made grenadine and tarragon) — because as Pope Benedict XVI told us, there’s charity in that.
*Want to be part of the experience?Donate $200 dollars and have your name – or anything you want – etched permanently onto a bar stool!
Opening remarks by Khaled Hosseini, UNHCR Goodwill Envoy, international best-selling author of The Kite Runner andA Thousand Splendid Suns about his new novel And The Mountains Echoed Grammy-nominated Cheick Hamala Diabate will perform traditional Malian [...]