We aren’t sure what’s driving the trend, but lately there have been several new Asian-themed restaurants and menus popping up around D.C. (don’t misunderstand us, it’s deliciously exciting). There are Japanese ramen shops and izakayas, Korean restaurants, Filipino pop-ups, and full service places to try. In addition, April and May in the District bring blue skies, blooming flowers and trees, allergic citizens with tissues perennially gripped in their hands, and warm weather dining. The menus and wines being served reflect this change and there isn’t enough time to attend all the patio parties, crawfish boils, and al fresco dinners dominating the calendar. So get ready, because it’s time to relax and enjoy the warm, breezy weather while it lasts.
Ankara Turkish Restaurant Opening
One of the three “royal” cuisines cherished for its complex, varied dishes, Turkish food represents the finest cooking found in the Mediterranean region and Bosporus Strait. Set to open in May in Dupont Circle, Ankara is the pet project of the Aslanturk family, and everyone – father, mother, brother, sisters, and cousins – will be on hand to help run things. Their goal is to bring both classic and contemporary Turkish food to Washington diners. Jorge Chicas (formerly with Zaytinya) will helm the kitchen and oversee food preparation for the 120 indoor seat restaurant with an additional 115 seats on the patio. The menu will include rotating specials and regional specialties of grilled beef, lamb, chicken, and seafood kebabs, and a selection of hot and cold meze dishes. Iconic eggplant dishes like imam bayildi, (literally, “the imam fainted” because his wife used the household’s entire supply of olive oil to cook the dish) are on the menu along with midye tavasi, fried mussels in a walnut tarator sauce, and family favorites like the braised Ankara tava,Turkish pilav served with lamb, peppers, onion, and tomato.
Bayou Bakery’s Crawfish Boil
David Guas, chef and owner of Bayou Bakery, Coffee Bar & Eatery has announced that he’s throwing a crawfish boil on Saturday, April 18 from 5 to 7 p.m. The shebang will be held at his happening spot in Arlington, Virginia, and you had better get there early or there won’t be any seafood left. Guas picked the date because it’s officially crawfish season, the time of year when his purveyor, Louisiana Crawfish Company, pulls the fattest, juiciest, most flavorful mudbugs out of the water on their farm. There will be plenty of good times and Bayou-style entertainment, too. A New Orleans native, Guas knows he’d lose all his Cajun creds if he hosted a party without good music, so he’s enlisted New Orleans-style jazz quartet Laissez Foure to play.
Green Wine Tasting for Earth Day
Finding a wine store that sells organic, biodynamic, or sustainably produced wine in the D.C. market isn’t easy, unless you visit screwtop wine bar + cheese shop in Arlington. Owner Wendy Buckley is exclusively featuring 40+ “green” wines the entire month of April in honor of Earth Day on April 22. Buckley has a phenomenal nose and palate and never stints on taste, so the entire list will be stellar. As she says, “With our carefully curated green April wine list, you’ll find organic, biodynamic, and sustainably farmed wines for all palates and price points.” Sign up for a new tasting class being offered on April 18 and learn the difference between the green wine categories; purchase tickets for $49.99 per person. Then on April 22 be in the store for 10 percent off the purchase of any eco-friendly wine, $10 off all bar bottles consumed on-premise, and a free reusable wine tote with any purchase from the retail wine shop or wine bar.
New Memoir Release from Nora Pouillon
Few chefs have has had a big an impact on the organic food movement as Nora Pouillon, owner of Restaurant Nora. Her restaurant was the first certified organic restaurant in the country, and next month she is releasing her highly anticipated memoir, My Organic Life: How a Pioneering Chef Helped Shape the Way We Eat Today. In it, she relates how she brought organic food to the forefront of our culinary discourse and shares her life experiences as a chef, mother, and healthy food advocate.
Latest from Chef Robert Wiedmaier, Urban Heights, Set to Open Late April
In a first for chef Robert Wiedmaier (of Marcel’s fame), he will open a new restaurant without his steady hand at the helm—but don’t worry—he’s tapped a real veteran to run the kitchen. The new venture, Urban Heights, will open in Bethesda, Maryland later this month and the chef, Cliff Wharton (formerly with MatchBox and TenPenh) will focus on pan-Asian cuisine. Chef Wharton will offer Korean food, Filipino influenced dishes, and a full tuna bar that will serve premium tuna in a range of preparations.
Veloce Breakfast Pop-up
The tendency to not start anything until you’ve had a cup of coffee is rampant across the city. If, like us, your routine has to include fortifying food with your coffee or you can’t jump start your brain, there is a cure. You can thank artisanal, Neapolitan pizza princess, Ruth Gresser. On Saturday, April 11, between 9:00 a.m. and noon, Gresser is hosting a breakfast pop-up as part of the pre-launch for her latest pizza project, Veloce, which is set to open later this month at 1828 L Street NW. The pop-up will held on the patio of Pizzeria Paradiso's Dupont Circle location and Compass Coffee will serve espresso and drip coffee drinks. The morning’s menu will include breakfast pizzas like The Pig with scrambled eggs, apple wood smoked bacon, roasted mushrooms, red onions, and pecorino, fontina, and parmesan cheeses; the Harvest Calzone is made with whole wheat and filled with scrambled eggs, spicy garlic pesto, spinach, roasted mushrooms, red onions, and roasted cherry tomatoes; and the Sammy Pocket is prepared using smoked salmon, herbed mascarpone, capers, red onions, and cherry tomatoes. The cost is $5 per food item and includes a coffee drink.