Jerry Lee Lewis used to sing, “whole lotta shakin goin on” and if he were here today, we think he’d agree the food and drink scene in May is doing just that. It’s Oregon Wine Month, there’s May Day, Derby Day, Mother’s Day, and a whole lot more on the food and drink holiday calendar. To celebrate, bars and restaurants aren’t stinting on the fare and you can take your pick of lamb cooking competitions, parties with big hats and mint juleps, pig roasts, Loire Valley winemaker dinners, and a “Knight” of arepas and mezcal mania. It’s a great week to be eating and drinking in the District.
Lamb Jam Culinary Competition is Baa-ck in D.C.
If you missed last year’s incredible culinary experience, this year, the 6th annual American Lamb Jam Global Flavors Tour is back and will be in D.C. for a packed day of gustatory fun, flavors, and live music on Sunday, May 15 at Union Market. VIP tickets are $90 per person and for those ticket holders there is a special VIP reception from 1:30 p.m. to 3 p.m. followed by the rest of the day’s events. General admission tickets are $60 per person and include the hours of 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. When this multi-city culinary cook-off arrives in our fair city, 17 D.C. chefs will prepare local lamb dishes that feature Mediterranean, Asian, Latin, or Middle Eastern flavors, and according to Megan Wortman, executive director of the American Lamb Board, “The D.C. food scene loves lamb, and this event puts the region’s best chefs and their lamb dishes on parade, alongside local beers, wines and cheeses.”
Regional food media will judge the dishes during a blind taste test, while lamb-loving attendees will enjoy samples, demonstrations by master butcher Matthew Levere of Urban Butcher, and vote for a “People’s Choice” winner. Victors will be chosen from the four global flavor categories and a “Best in Show” champion will advance to the New York City finale later this year. If they move to New York City, the winners will compete with winners of the Austin, Boston, San Francisco, and Seattle competitions for the ultimate title of “Lamb Jam Master.”
Little Miss Whiskey’s Golden Dollar and The Queen Vic Host 3rd Annual Kentucky Derby Pig Roast
What’s better than going whole hog for Derby Day? Enjoying a whole pig roast served with a smorgasbord of bourbon-infused meats prepared by chef Ryan Gordon from The Queen Vic at Little Miss Whiskey’s 3rd Annual Kentucky Derby Pig Roast on Saturday, May 7 along with Anderson Valley Brewery and Bulleit Bourbon. Join the fun at 3 p.m. and sample the slow roasted pig along with beer braised sausage, smoked ribs, and pimento mac and cheese. For $48 per person, it’s all you can eat and tap from the Anderson Valley kegs plus there will be a full cash bar including mint juleps, 60 plus whiskeys and a live airing of the Derby at 6:34 p.m. Women are encouraged to wear hats.
Loire Winemaker Dinner at Macon Bistro & Larder
Few wines are as perfectly paired with spring menus as the lovely wines from the Loire Valley in France. On Wednesday, May 11, Macon Bistro & Larder will host acclaimed winemaker Alphonse Mellot at the Magnolia Room for a five-course dinner. At 7 p.m., guests can enjoy the incomparable wines from La Moussière Family Vineyard in the Sancerre region. Seating is limited to 30 guests and the price is $150 per person including tax and gratuity. For more information and reservations, email general manager AJ Johnson.
Celebrate Royal Knights Nuevo de Mayo with Espita Mezcaleria at The Royal in LeDroit Park D.C.
If you survive the fiestas on Cinco de Mayo and still are in the party mood, head over to The Royal on Monday, May 9 for Royal Knights Nuevo de Mayo. You can enjoy Mezcal cocktails and arepa tacos prepared by guest bartender Megan Barnes and chef Alexis Samayoa from Espita Mezcaleria. The event gets started at 9 p.m., ends at 1 a.m., and is part of The Royal’s “Royal Knights” event series held the second Monday of each month. Each event highlights craft spirits, lesser-known liqueurs, and the creative people who make them. Guest-bartenders from D.C. and around the country introduce guests to creative new brands and these events are free and open to the public.
Ser Restaurant in Ballston, Virginia to Host Six-Course Spanish Wine Dinner
Spanish wine lovers will certainly recognize the name Isaac Fernandez, the acclaimed winemaker whose wines are popular around the globe. For a truly exceptional dining experience, you will want to reserve a spot for Ser Restaurant’s six-course dinner with the acclaimed winemaker who will be on hand to lead guests through a tasting of his wines. The fun is this Wednesday, May 11, starts at 6:30 p.m., costs $110 per person, including tax and gratuity, and the menu includes classic Spanish dishes like chicken croquetas with ham, Gallega-style octopus, and bacalao. Make your reservations online.
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Summer Whitford is the D.C. Editor and a food, drink and travel writer at The Daily Meal. You can follow her on Twitter @FoodandWineDiva and on Instagram at thefoodandwinediva.