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D.C. is ready to celebrate Mardi Gras

25 Feb


There is nothing better than being in New Orleans for Mardi Gras but for those who cannot be in the Big Easy this Tuesday, Feb. 28, we have found some very worthy substitutes:

Service Bar DC will be kicking off a new rotating regional cocktail menu program on Mardi Gras starting at 5 p.m.. And the first stop on the new menu is the home of Mardi Gras and birthplace of Jazz: New Orleans. The menu will feature specific spirits and beverages that make up the Big Easy’s drink culture. Visitors will get to experience SBDC’s take on staples such as the Sazerac, Vieux Carre and  Ramos Gin Fizze, as well as house creations like the Peychaud’s Sour and Holy Trinity. In addition, SBDC will be highlighting popular dishes and fare that New Orleans is known for such as dirty rice, spicy vegetarian gumbo, and beignets. The focus on New Orleans will last two months before the region changes.

Ranked among the top bars in America, The The Willard InterContinental’s Round Robin Bar is bringing a taste of Bourbon Street to Pennsylvania Avenue for Mardi Gras. From 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. it will be hosting a Mardi Gras Happy Hour with specially priced cocktails including Sazerac, Brandy Milk Punch, Vieux Carre, Hurricane, and Bayou Bloody Mary; and food including mini shrimp po boys, grilled oysters, and roasted alligator wings. There will also be live music to really get the party going.

Grilled Oyster Company is celebrating Mardi Gras at both of its locations by offering a special combo deal: an oyster po’boy packed with fried oysters, cucumber relish, and topped with spicy Buffalo sauce with either an Abita Purple Haze draft or the restaurant’s Bourbon Street Fizz cocktail (tequila, blackberry puree, agave, and Brut champagne). The pairing is only $20.

It is no surprise that the New Orleans style cocktail bar Vieux Carre is hosting a Mardi Gras celebration. Its doors will open at 6 p.m. and guests will be able to enjoy a menu of fried oysters, shrimp and catfish fingers, and po’ boys — including a new po’ boy lobster roll. There will also be special Bourbon Street frozen Hurricane and Zombie cocktails available. Vieux Carre will also be passing out lots of Mardi Gras favors. Complimentary tickets are available here:

To celebrate Mardi Gras, La Côte d’Or Café’s chef-owner Jacques Imperato will feature New Orleans specials à la carte for lunch and as a three-course prix fixe for dinner. Lunch items include crayfish chowder, mufuletta sandwich, fried oysters, and Creole shrimp devil eggs.  The dinner option is $38 per person and includes a start, entree (Louisiana chicken gumbo, breaded catfish with pecan sautéed caper butter sauce, or shrimp and andouille jambalaya), and dessert. 

Soapstone Market is offering a Cajun inspired buffet for Mardi Gras. From 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. a buffet will be stocked with vegetarian jambalaya, chicken andouille gumbo, assorted po’ boys, jalapeno cheese grits, crawfish corn cakes, dirty rice, red beans and rice, and cornbread. There will also be traditional King Cake prepared by executive pastry chef Huw Griffith, a Restaurant Association of Metropolitan Washington “Pastry Chef of the Year” honoree. The buffet is priced at $30 and include two drinks. Tickets are can be pre-purchased at:



Great American art and Creole style brunch are on the agenda this weekend

24 Feb

Weekend Round-Up: February 25 and 26


Let’s be real. Your chance of getting to see Yayoi Kusama’s Infinity Mirrors exhibit at the Hirshhorn Museum anytime soon are pretty slim.  That said, you can easily head across town to The Phillips Collection and catch a not-to be missed exhibition this weekend.

The Phillips has an exhibition featuring 15 rarely seen silkscreen prints created by American artist Jacob Lawrence between 1986 and 1997. The series portrays the life of Toussaint L’Ouverture (1743–1803), the former slave turned leader of Haiti’s independence movement. L’Ouverture led the fight to liberate Saint-Domingue from French colonial rule and to emancipate the slaves during the 1791 Haitian Revolution, the first successful campaign to abolish slavery in modern history.

Jacob Lawrence: The Life of Toussaint L’Ouverture is on view through April 23, 2017.


Old Engine 12 is bringing a taste of New Orleans to the nation’s capital this Sunday, Feb. 26, with a special brunch.

As part of Beads & Beignets, chef Jasmin Renee is taking over the kitchen to debut a delectable Creole style brunch that will transport your taste buds to the French Quarter of New Orleans.

Although she grew up in suburbs of Philadelphia, chef Jasmin traces her roots back to Louisiana, where creole recipes have been passed down for generations. She prides herself in being able to elevate down home classics and transform them from ordinary to extraordinary. “I have taken my classically trained skills, and my family recipes and turned them into something special.”

The Beads & Beignets menu will include fried catfish and grits, jambalaya, fried chicken and beignets, egg white and vegetable frittata and country home fries. Old Engine 12 will also have a themed cocktail menu with favorites such as the Hurricane, Vieux Carré, and Daquiris all sponsored by Cap City Beverage, Tambour, Miolo, and James FC Hyde Sorgho Whiskey!

Tickets for the brunch are $50 and includes a reserved seat, two (2) drink tickets, brunch live entertainment, and a swag bag full of goodies. Space is limited and tickets may be purchased in advance at

Nats’ new spring training facility rocks West Palm Beach

18 Feb


Moving on up.

The Washington Nationals have said goodbye to their previous spring training facility in Viera, Fla. The team has moved over 100 miles south to share a new state-of-the-art facility with the Houston Astros.

The Ballpark of the Palm Beaches is conveniently located just off I-95 in the heart of West Palm Beach. The 6,500 seat facility features a fantastic wrap-around concourse, ample parking, inviting sightlines and unique fan areas to enhance the spring training experience.


The Nationals will begin their 2017 spring training schedule with three road games before they host their first game at the new ballpark against the Astros on Feb. 28.

Washington will play 16 home games in its inaugural spring season in West Palm Beach, welcoming National League East foes such as Miami, New York and Atlanta at least once, as well as the Cardinals, Red Sox, Yankees and Tigers.


One of the reasons the Nationals moved to the new ballpark was because it will greatly reduce their travel time to road games.  Many of the teams’s gams will be played in nearby stadiums at Jupiter and St. Port Lucie.

In addition to enjoying the new ballpark, spring training visitors will likely welcome West Palm Beach area’s many offerings from world class golf courses to nearly 50 miles of golden sand beaches to outstanding dining options.

More information on visiting the area is available at


Listen to Dusty Barker’s thoughts on the new facility:


A weekend for whiskey and film

17 Feb

Weekend Round-Up: February 18 and 19


Join DMV Social and NSFW Events this Presidents Day Weekend for “Fifty Shades of Whiskey: A Whiskey Tasting & Day Party.”

Being held at Aura Lounge (2149 P St., NW, Washington, DC) this Saturday, Feb. 18, from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. guests can  sample six delicious whiskey brands, then stay for and after party until 8 p.m.. There will be drink and food specials and hookah available throughout the event

Tickets are $10 and available online.


The long-running DC Independent Film Festival presents another diverse body of narrative features, documentaries, shorts, student films and animated works for 2017.

On Sunday, Feb. 19, the festival has a packed day of outstanding screenings and seminars. The featured films include Freezing, Guys Reading Poems, and Service To Man. All screening and seminars will be the Naval Heritage Center.

Tickets (starting at $8) and a complete schedule is available online.

Delta debuts free Main Cabin meal for DCA to LAX flights and 11 other markets

16 Feb


Delta is introducing complimentary meals on some of its longest domestic flights. The airline will be the only U.S. carrier to offer complimentary fresh meals from nose to tail on select coast-to-coast routes.

Beginning March 1, Delta will offer complimentary meals in the Main Cabin on flights between JFK and LAX/SFO. On April 24, the airline will expand complimentary meals to 10 other major domestic markets from Seattle, New York, Boston and Washington, D.C. including DCA-LAX, BOS-SFO, BOS-LAX, BOS-SEA, JFK-PDX, JFK-SAN, JFK-SEA, SEA-FLL, SEA-MCO and SEA-RDU.

The enhancement is part of a multi-million dollar investment by Delta in the on-board customer experience that includes upgraded Main Cabin snacks, enhanced blankets, refreshed food-for-purchase options and free in-flight entertainment. Main Cabin customers on long-haul international flights are also treated to complimentary beer, wine and spirits and sleep kits.

Premium_CheeseDelta’s new meal program will feature a variety of options for customers depending on the time of day of their flight. In the morning, customers will have the option to choose between a Honey Maple Breakfast Sandwich, Luvo Breakfast Medley or fruit and cheese plate. During the day, customers will be able to select from a Mesquite-Smoked Turkey Combo, Luvo Mediterranean Whole Grain Veggie Wrap, or fruit and cheese plate.  For overnight flights, customers will be offered a breakfast bar during the pre-arrival beverage service.

Following the March 1 launch on routes between JFK and LAX/SFO, the menus on all 12 routes will be refreshed often to support the airline’s focus on offering innovative, seasonal and locally-sourced food and beverages.

This enhancement comes on the heels of a test conducted late last year, where the airline closely monitored customer satisfaction scores to determine the impact on the in-flight experience and saw a significant increase as a result of the test.

“We are all about making our Main Cabin experience the best it can be for our customers and offering free, high quality meals is a big part of that experience,” said Allison Ausband, Delta’s Senior Vice President – In-Flight Service. “When we tested this concept, our customers loved it and appreciated it so we are implementing in our most strategic markets.”

In addition to the Main Cabin meal service, customers seated in Delta Comfort+ will enjoy a pre-arrival snack basket, which will be included on all 12 routes, and and complimentary beer, wine and spirits for customers 21+. Additionally, a mid-service Greek frozen yogurt bar will be offered in Delta Comfort+ on flights from JFK to/from LAX and SFO.

Daikaya Group honored for its commitment to Japanese cuisine

15 Feb


Living in an international city Washingtonians are generally no strangers to Japanese cuisine. However, the 2013 arrival of Daikaya in the District’s Chinatown neighborhood exposed many diners to ramen for the first time — and a world beyond sushi and bento boxes.

Now four years later, Daikaya has been joined by its upstairs Japanese tavern izakaya; Bantam King, also in Chinatown and serving Japanese chicken ramen; and Haikan, in the Shaw neighborhood and offering Sapporo-style ramen along with a creative selection of Japanese small bites. Together they form the Daikaya Group.

For its efforts and contributions in bringing awareness to and further branding of Japanese cuisine through regular use or promotion of Japanese ingredients with passion, integrity and creativity, the Daikaya Group has received The Taste of Japan Honorary Award 2017.


The award was presented to Daikaya Group’s partners Daisuke Utagawa, Yama Jewayni, and Chef Katsuya Fukushima at a private reception hosted by the Embassy of Japan and attended by a gathering of chefs, restaurateurs, culinary writers and provocateurs, and industry professionals from the D.C. metropolitan area and beyond.

Taste of Japan is part of a new, multi-city, international program developed and supported by Japan’s Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries.

The program aims to showcase and celebrate the rich legacies and diversity that is found in both traditional and modern Japanese cuisine and its dietary culture, and also to promote new innovative ways to incorporate genuine Japanese food products and ingredients to Western culinary and food industry professional circles.

In 2016, Taste of Japan honored chefs Nobu Yamazaki, Chef and Owner of Sushi Taro and Eric Ziebold, Chef and Owner of Kinship and Métier.

Travel news from The Jet Set

13 Feb

Check out The Jet Set’s travel news for the week of Feb. 11th:

The Jet Set is America’s first nationally syndicated travel-based talk show and is designed to reinvent travel television to keep pace with the professional, leisure and aspiring traveler by experiencing the sights, sounds and scenery of destinations around the world or here at home, along with you. The Jet Set is filmed in Washington, D.C.  Follow The Jet Set on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

Early Mountain brings back the oysters

13 Feb


Early Mountain Vineyard‘s popular Oyster Festival will return for its annual spring appearance on Saturday, March 4, and Sunday, March 5, with the perfect pairing of Virginia wines and oysters from the award-winning Rappahannock Oyster Company.

In addition to raw and grilled oysters,  Early Mountain’s Executive Chef Ryan Collins will provide a seasonal menu featuring fried chicken and warm chowder. There will also be live entertainment.

The festival will be held from 12 noon to 4 p m. each day. Daily admission tickets includes entry to the festival, an Early Mountain wine tasting and a stemless wine glass as a take home gift. All food items will be sold à la carte.

Guests can also order more wine from Early Mountain’s extensive list of Virginia wines – both from its own vineyard as well as others that have been hand-selected from across the state – available by the glass and bottle.

The festival tickets are priced at $15 for adults aged 21 and older and $5 for those under the age of 21. They are available online while supplies last.





Shake Shack adds BBQ — and an app

7 Feb


If the lines at your favorite Shake Shack start getting extra long (as if they were not long enough already) you can blame it on the BBQ sauce.

Starting today, Shack Shack will be offer three new BBQ inspired items:

  • BBQ ShackMeister Burger ($6.39 Single / $9.19 Double): Cheeseburger topped with crispy ShackMeister Ale-marinated shallots and Shack BBQ sauce.
  • BBQ Chick’n Shack ($6.55): Crispy chicken breast with Shack BBQ sauce and pickles.
  • BBQ Bacon Cheese Fries ($4.69): Crinkle-cut fries topped with all-natural smoked Niman Ranch bacon, Shack BBQ Sauce and cheese sauce.

The new BBQ items will be available for a limited time at all U.S. locations (except airports, stadiums and ballparks).

“We’ve been working on our Shack BBQ sauce recipe for quite some time now and we couldn’t be more thrilled to finally share it with our fans!” said Mark Rosati, Culinary Director of Shake Shack. “Our Shack BBQ sauce takes inspiration from a few of our favorite regional BBQ styles, from the thick and rich tomato-based Kansas City style to the tangy South Carolina mustard style, and adds wonderful flavor to our new burger, chicken and fries.”


The additional BBQ items follow the recent roll-out of three new seasonal shakes: Mint Cookies & Cream (mint frozen custard blended with chocolate wafer cookie crumbles and topped with whipped cream), Mud Pie (marshmallow frozen custard blended with fudge and coffee, topped with whipped cream and chocolate sprinkles) and Salted Vanilla Toffee (salted vanilla frozen custard blended with toffee and topped with whipped cream).

Download the app, get a free burger

Shake Shack has also announced that the first-ever mobile ordering Shack App for iOS is now available nationwide. To celebrate the occasion, Shake Shack is giving away a free single ShackBurger to each guest who downloads the new Shack App, redeemable at any U.S. location (except airports, stadiums and ballparks) until Tuesday, Feb. 28, 2017.

To get a free ShackBurger, first-time users simply need to download the Shack App, create an account and use the promo code “shackappy” at checkout. For more details, head to

Tesla moves to CityCenterDC

3 Feb



Downtown D.C.’s luxurious CityCenterDC outdoor shopping mall has a new tenant: Tesla. The American automaker and energy storage company opened a new 3,000-sq. ft.showroom today on the highly visible corner of H and 9th Streets, N.W.

Tesla currently produces the Model S electric sedan and the Model X electric SUV. Both feature the company’s self-driving capability and are 100% operated by electricity. The showroom has examples of both vehicles on display and a small fleet available for test drives.

Customers can also learn about and pre-order the upcoming Model 3 electric sedan. It will be priced at only $35,000 before incentives (the Model S starts at $68,000 and the Model X starts at $74,000). However, the Model 3 will have only 215 miles of range per charge as compared to the Model S’s 219 to 351 miles and and the Model X’s 295 miles.

Tesla’s vehicles are only available directly from the company via one of its showrooms or its website. It does not use the traditional third-party franchised dealership model. By selling cars directly to customers, Tesla believes it is better able to educate potential owners about the many benefits of ownership.

In addition to the growing offering of vehicles, the showroom will also feature Telsa’s Powerwall 2 energy storage unit. It allows consumers to manage their own energy consumption. It stores solar energy during the day to be used at night when the sun isn’t shining and also provides emergency backup for homes and businesses when grid power is not available or allows customers to go completely off-grid.

With double the energy of Tesla’s first generation battery, the Powerwall 2 can power an average two-bedroom home for a full day

The CityCenterDC location replaces Tesla’s showroom on K Street, which opened in 2011. Telsa’s other nearby showrooms in the Tysons Corner area and inside Bethesda’s Montgomery Mall will remain open.