Week in Review – 4/16/2023

Image: Cary Grant, at the races (1941).

Dear Gentle Reader, welcome to our weekly recapitulation of activity on our website and dining news from the region and farther afield. This week a legend goes dark, a surprising revelation, and we added two spots to our D.C. dining guide. All that and apparently the descendants of the Borgias run a fish and chips spot in Ireland! So shall we proceed? Let’s…

Updates to D.C. Recommended Restaurant List


Ethiopic – This week we added a couple H Street favorites. First up, the Ethiopian fine dining spot.

Sospeso – Next up, the low-key, community-oriented Mediterranean spot at the other end of H.

Spotlight: Eater does a video with Ryan Ratino of Bresca and Jônt.

Comings and Goings:

Booeymonger – Quietly the Georgetown location closed and is being gutted. Though there are rumors it may return in a different spot. Truly, the end of an era. A French spot from the Chaplin’s team is due to take over the location. Apparently, French really is the new steakhouse.

Taco Bamba is opening a spot in Nashville. “Turns out Taco Bamba’s James Beard-nominated chef is friends with ZZ Top’s bearded guitarist-vocalist Billy Gibbons, who first tried Taco Bamba in 2018 while in town on tour—and took time on stage to gush over his meal at the Falls Church, Virginia original. The rest is history.”

D.C. Dining News


Amanda Michelle Gomez did a great piece on the family-run business in the area, and what happens as one generation gets ready to pass them along.


Jessica Sidman does a service in breaking down the service fee issue.

One of the crises of Covid was the surge in unemployed workers seeking benefits. D.C.’s system failed. Two years later, an IG report says D.C.’s system failed. “In a random sample of 166 unemployment claims made between April 2020 and September 2021, 108 of which had benefits approved, the inspector general found that just 33 people received their first payment within the 21-day goal.”


Anna Spiegel, a longtime food writer at Washingtonian is jumping to Axios.

The Spiegel news was eyebrow-raising, but we truly let out an exclamation when Big Schlim dropped casually that he was previously vegetarian. This is your occasional reminder to follow him if you don’t already.

Finally, Washingtonian does a piece about a woman who does recipes from gravestones.

Awards: Rammy nominations came out. Congratulations to all who got nods.

Food and Culture:

The Asian Night Market is coming back. It will be at the Wharf and will be ticketed. “The stated goal is to celebrate the local AAPI community through food during AAPI heritage month. They also expect to have live music, plus other unnamed surprises.”

The Washington Post has a deep dive on the Edna Lewis Menu Trail in Virginia. In the Food Section! “Organized by the Orange County Office of Tourism, the menu trail launched on Thanksgiving in 2022 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of “The Edna Lewis Cookbook,” and it runs through Memorial Day. It includes seven restaurants within 33 miles of one another, whose menus are featuring recipes from Lewis’s cookbooks or dishes inspired by her.”


Spirits: The costs of Mezcal’s popularity. “Traditional mezcal production is synonymous with sustainability. Producers have historically practiced rotational agave growing, selective harvesting, and small-batch distillation. But when they try to keep up with unsustainable demand, ecological damage follows. As growers across Mexico and as far north as the Western U.S. are realizing, agave opens the door to a lucrative market.”

“Chartreuse — both the green variety and its mellower yellow sibling — has become scarce because the Carthusians have declined to increase production to match rising demand.”

Other News

The Emerging Economy: Inflation ticked down. It is likely not enough for the Fed to back off, but a good sign nonetheless. Unless you live in fear of the coming recession.

Moynihan’s Warning: The late Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan frequently reminded reformers that new policies can have unintended consequences that are counterproductive to the reformers’ efforts. In order to avoid falling foul of a law that prohibits cross-contamination of sesame seeds, food companies just contaminated everything. “Some in the food industry say adding sesame flour is the safest path forward. They contend that they can’t sufficiently clean their equipment to guarantee it is free of sesame, as the Faster Act requires. And, under federal labeling rules, they can’t state that their products contain sesame unless the items actually contain it — so they’re adding sesame and labeling it.”


An outlet called The Objective, did a series on food media, starting with the need to get past buzzwords and report on all the things that actually make and make up the world of food (and the role of food in the world). Readers of this site will know we are strong proponents of such a view. The piece is written by Curtis Yee, and mentions the work Laura Reiley has done in the Post to expand how we think about food stories, though her work is in the Business section not the Food section. If the Food section is wondering, Yee is apparently a local described as, “a writer and editor covering the intersection of faith, race, and culture. He is based in Washington, DC.” Emphasis added.

Axios reports Saveur was sold to a group led by its longtime editor. “Recurrent, a venture equity-backed digital media company, has sold its food website Saveur to an investment group led by Kat Craddock, the publication’s longtime editor, according to an internal note sent to staff by CEO Alex Vargas.”

Food and Culture:

Megan Zhang in Saveur looks at two Houston chefs traveling to Senegal and making connections. “Why shouldn’t Senegalese cuisine be recognized in fine-dining settings more often—served proudly, with dignity and care—particularly when it is so clearly an ancestor to so many American dishes?” This theme is percolating up in the past few years. (h/t to Laura Hayes for flagging – the chefs are part of the World Central Kitchen Chef Corps).

Food and culture (and war). “[T]he cherished pastime of truffle hunting has become a perilous gamble to make money during desperate economic times. At least 84 people have been killed so far this year hunting truffles in the country’s central and eastern desert, according to two groups that monitor Syria’s war. Some were killed by land mines, others shot by gunmen or kidnapped and killed later.”

A Detroit restaurant from a couple from Burundi is collecting accolades. The Times recounts their story of breaking through. “Starting a small business is rarely easy, though, and landlords weren’t convinced that it was a smart risk to lease restaurant space to two refugees with few resources and no credit score. The couple didn’t give up hope, however, and the Hatch organization helped connect them with professionals who could offer legal and architectural services, and access to additional funding.” A business story in the food section of the Times (flagged by our special correspondent).

Nutrition: What happened when scientists discovered positive results from eating ice cream? “Back in 2018, a Harvard doctoral student named Andres Ardisson Korat was presenting his research on the relationship between dairy foods and chronic disease to his thesis committee. One of his studies had led him to an unusual conclusion: Among diabetics, eating half a cup of ice cream a day was associated with a lower risk of heart problems. Needless to say, the idea that a dessert loaded with saturated fat and sugar might actually be good for you raised some eyebrows at the nation’s most influential department of nutrition.”

Boiling Planet: One enduring conflict of the last century is farming v. water. It is likely to continue for another century. “The Interior Department proposed two approaches to conserving water to keep major reservoirs of Lake Powell and Lake Mead from crashing. One favors those with senior water rights, such as the Imperial Valley, and makes deep cuts in Arizona and Nevada; the other would cut the same percentage from all three states.”

Odds and Ends:

Descendants of the Borgia family, famed for Vatican intrigue, own a chipper in Ireland called Borza’s. Reports are they do good American-style fried chicken. More on how Italians became the fish and chips go-to in Ireland.

“A legal battle over a dress code for bikini baristas at coffee stands is ending after the city of Everett agreed to pay $500,000 to the owner and employees who sued over it six years ago.” Behind the city’s actions are serious accusations linking some establishments’ use of scantily-clad service to sex work.

McDonald’s did remote layoffs. Someone there must have heard about the plot to Up In The Air without realizing it was not meant to be a model.

Dairy farm carnage.


That is it for the day. We hope you enjoy these early spring days, find some strawberries, asparagus, and ramps and get some sunlight.

As always, if you are going to take advantage of the weather by eating out, then be sure to consult our D.C. dining guide. It has 300+ recommended restaurants sortable by cuisine or neighborhood in either LIST or MAP format.

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