What’s Happening in Washington, DC: October 19, 2015


Urbana chef Ethan McKee is holding another pasta class on Saturday, October 24.

Living in the DMV can sometimes be like standing at the center of a political maelstrom with a constant calendar of public protests, a 24/7 news cycle, sparring political factions, and dozens of political media hacks vying for center stage. Combine that with a steady stream of new restaurant openings, revolving menus, and special food and drink events, and you have a unique food scene that is part opera buffa and gourmet spectacle. This week, the stage is populated with fundraisers created to fight for marriage equality that also celebrate the art of wedding cakes, fine wine dinners featuring Aussie beauties, bourbon tastings, and pasta classes.

Chefs for Equality Gala Returns and is Hosted at Ritz-Carlton Washington
Human Rights Campaign is hosting its fourth annual Chefs for Equality event this Tuesday, October 20 from 6:00 to 9:30 p.m. at the Ritz-Carlton D.C. To help celebrate LGBT equal rights, more than 100 celebrated DMV chefs, pastry chefs and mixologists are joining forces to support this year’s cause: fighting the RFRA [Religious Freedom Restoration Act], which bypasses the favorable Supreme Court ruling on same-sex marriage. The gala’s motif pays homage to the center piece of every wedding reception—the wedding cake, and along with delicious cake, the evening will include tasty food and drink, music and an auction. And the pièce de résistance is 17 masterfully decorated, multi-tiered wedding cakes prepared by talent local pastry chefs. Tickets for Chefs for Equality are $200 per person and can be purchased at the Chefs for Equality website. Proceeds benefit the Human Rights Campaign’s efforts to protect same-sex marriage throughout the country.

Masseria to Host Three-Course Tasting Menu Paired with Belle Meade Bourbon
Bourbon is still all the rage across the land and Masseria, the new NoMa restaurant from Nicholas Stefanelli, has become one of the latest hot spots to see and be seen. Wednesday, October 21, they will be hosting fifth generation distiller Charlie Nelson, founder of the historic Nelson's Green Brier Distillery in Nashville, Tennessee, to honor his acclaimed artisanal Belle Meade Bourbon. Masseria will offer their standard three-course prix-fixe dinner for $62 per person with the option of pairing (for an additional $32 per person) the meal with Belle Meade Bourbon (BMB) cocktails made with BMB 6 year, BMB 9 Belle Meade, and BMB Sherry Cask Finish. If you still need a bourbon fix after dinner, we suggest you consider the tasting flight of the three bourbons for $20.

Oval Room to Host Hentley Farm Wine Tasting
The Oval Room is known for its impeccable service and food and spectacular rare wine dinners. Saturday, October 17, they will be hosting a special wine dinner featuring Australia’s “2015 Winery of the Year,” Hentley Farm Wines. Executive chef John Melfi’s stellar five-course menu will be complemented by pairings of Hentley Farm’s Rosé 2014, Riesling 2014, Stray Mongrel 2011, Clos Otto Shiraz 2011, and “The Beast” Shiraz 2011. Wine lovers will have a chance to chat with the winery’s founder, Keith Hentschke and can join the dinner for $85 per person (tax and gratuity not included). The evening’s event begins at 7:00 p.m. and you may make reservations by calling the Oval Room at (202) 463-8700.

Urbana to Host Lombardian Pasta Class
Not everyone is a natural born cooking savant and if you want to get your pasta cucina game on, consider taking a Lombardian fall harvest pasta class at Urbana, Saturday, October 24 from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m.  Urbana chef Ethan McKee is inspired by fall flavors like pumpkin and sage and in this class you will take turns making pastas like pumpkin tortelli with sage butter, gemelli with Tallegio cream and pancetta, and buckwheat pizzoccheri with Swiss chard and garlic crumbs. The price is $45 per person and reservations can be made by calling (202) 956-6650. 


Summer Whitford is the D.C. Editor and food, drink and travel writer at The Daily Meal. You can follow her on Twitter @FoodandWineDiva and on Instagram at thefoodandwinediva.