Image: Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Luncheon of the Boating Party (1880-81).
D.C. restaurants racked up some out-of-town praise this week. A couple places in our dining guide announced plans that seem to be looking to a brighter future. It is nice to do a weekly roundup of dining news and have it be mostly positive. Though there was the Beyond Meat guy who bit someone’s nose. So let’s get on with the recap of D.C. and other dining news, starting with updates to our dining guide…
Updates to D.C. Recommended Restaurant List
Hatoba – Part of the Daikaya constellation of ramen shops in D.C., it also has home-style Hawaiian on the menu.
Ottoman Taverna – A huge space tucked away in Mt. Vernon Triangle serves solid Turkish cuisine.
Slate Wine Bar – Xiquet’s downstairs space is being repurposed, which we hope is a good sign.
Apéro – The charming spot in Georgetown that gives off a glow at night now is doing day cafe service .
D.C. Dining News
Recognition: The Times put both Daru and Lutèce on its 50 Best Restaurants list that dropped this week. In this case, they define “best” as being places that they are most excited about. From a D.C. perspective its choices are well justified. The Times award also bails us out because Daru was named to the B.A.’s 50 Best New Restaurants list a couple weeks ago, and we forgot to flag it. So now we can sneak it in, but we must acknowledge our oversight was doubly shameful because the Daru folks are kind enough to like some many of our posts – even the boring art ones! The B.A. list also has a bittersweet element because Magpie & the Tiger was slated to be named, but B.A. withdrew the honor because it closed before they went to print.
When Scott Bennett, the co-founder of Amsterdam Falafel, died earlier this year, it did not receive much attention. This week, Tim Carman has done a story to rectify that. He writes how his widow, the shop and the neighborhood carry on and carry his legacy forward, while also weaving in an obituary of Bennett.
Compensation: The Washington Post Editorial Page came out against Initiative 82, in a piece that reads like a copy and paste of industry talking points. José Andrés, who changed the name of his restaurant group to use his name, may also need better talking points on this.
Sidman does an overview of the state of how much to tip in the age of service charges. Our rule remains, tip 20% when dining out, if 20% is included then you are good to go. If not, add up to 20%. And if you feel like it, you can always throw in a couple extra bucks. In fact, it is a wholesome reason to have a few singles in your pocket. Tip generously in other situations too – like counter service.
Momento Mori: The original Thai X-ing spot on U Street is for sale.
Islay’s Way Forward: “While whisky has become a pillar of the local economy alongside farming and fishing, some locals say its growth is stretching the island’s limited resources, chiefly housing.”
Colombia’s Overlooked Drink: “Viche, made of distilled sugar cane, was invented by formerly enslaved people in the region around Colombia’s Pacific Coast and gained popularity as the homegrown response to the monopoly held by the government on cane liquor — becoming a sort of Colombian moonshine.”
Bourbon’s Black Market: And the inside source at Virginia’s ABC.
Brexit’s Brewery Blues: “A Kent brewery chosen to help champion export opportunities for the government after Brexit has revealed that burdensome customs checks and paperwork have left it with just one remaining customer in the EU.”
Wine’s Packaging Future: A building chorus is singing the praises of not using bottles to package most wine or at least using lighter bottles. Evlyne Resnick argues on janeanson.com, “We now see this at every level – glass bottle makers working on lighter bottles; printers getting more and more adept at elegant and safe label printing able using environmentally-concious materials that can age without degrading. Recycling and reusing are now part of the daily life of environmentally-conscious consumers, and increasingly they expect the brands that they care about to set an example. Sooner or later, luxury wine brands will adopt and adapt to the expectations of these new consumers. We can trust the long-term vision and the agility of luxury wine producers to recognize that this is no longer an add-on, but an essential part of their business plan.”
Hmmm: Eater is not the only one with a fixation.
Other Dining News
#MeToo’s Legacy: A new documentary on Batali is being released focusing on the story of a women that kept her identity shielded until now. Legal culpability is not that same thing as moral culpability. The courts enforce the former, society the latter.
Taco Branding: José R. Ralat does a deep dive on birria de res tacos, covering his favorites in Texas, tracing their history to pre-Hispanic Mexico, and identifying the risk of crass knock-offs. “Some birria I’ve tried is as appetizing as chugging used cooking oil through a beer bong. Birria shouldn’t be tough to chew. It shouldn’t be dry. Consommé shouldn’t be confused with creamy tomato soup. It absolutely should not taste of grease. Unfortunately, this is too often the case. This could eventually backfire on taquerias and other food businesses that have placed birria de res tacos on the menu when they otherwise might not have.”
Not On Brand: The Beyond Meat COO was arrested for biting the nose of the driver of a Subaru that bumped his Bronco after a football game in Arkansas. #WPS. The Bloomberg story, using its traditional format to include company information, flags what many may have missed: “His arrest is the latest blow to the plant-based protein company, which last month slashed its revenue outlook for the year and said it would cut 4% of its workforce.”
Westworld’s Food Court: Fast food keeps trying to introduce robots and automation. We presume once they get it working, then the robots will unionize and totally screw them. “The human worker fished out the soggy row of lost tacos, flicking them in the garbage while Flippy stood by, inscrutable and unconcerned about a performance review.” Though an AI-drafted editorial on the issue might be interesting!
Blue Plate Special: The Times discovers people are dining out earlier. “Not that 5 p.m. is necessarily when people want to eat, says S. Margot Finn, a food studies lecturer at the University of Michigan; it’s just ‘when they want to be somewhere else.’”
In case you didn’t know, our site’s primary purpose is to be a dining guide for Washington, D.C. We have 300+ recommended restaurants. You can sort by cuisine, neighborhood, and current operating status (dine-in and/or take-out, etc. – though things are in flux and we may miss something, so check before you go!) in either LIST or MAP format. So if you are gonna be in town, check us out.
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