Food & Drink

D.C.’s Food Court: Fine Dining, Food Trucks and Everything in Between

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(Credit: Pizza Hut)

(Credit: Pizza Hut)

In D.C., two things are certain: Politics and food. From the latest restaurants to the newest trends, we got you covered with a smorgasbord of information. Email me [Courtney] at FoodCourt@wnew.com with your Food Blog ideas!

‘Hot Dog Bites Pizza’ Coming to Pizza Hut

Have you ever found yourself eating pizza and thinking, “I wish I had a hot dog to go along with this.” Well — your wish has been granted.

Pizza Hut shared the news on social media that “Hot Dog Bites Pizza” will be available June 18. Instead of the usual plain crust, your pizza pie would be surrounded by 28 hot dog bites.

The chain already sold a variation of a hot dog crust pizza overseas, which featured fewer hot dogs, the Washington Post reports.

D.C. Cat Cafe, Crumbs & Whiskers, To Open June 20

A long-anticipated D.C. cat cafe called Crumbs & Whiskers will open its doors June 20 at 3211 O Street NW, the founder announced Tuesday.

Read more about University of Maryland grad Kanchan Singh’s vision for Crumbs & Whiskers in our story about her, which was published in March.

Starbucks Offers Six New Frapp Flavors

Starbucks is offering six new Frappuccino flavors as part of a fan favorite competition to celebrate 20 years of Starbucks Frappes.

The flavors are Caramel Cocoa Cluster, Cinnamon Roll, Cotton Candy, Cupcake, Lemon Bar and Red Velvet Cake and they are available in stores now.

“Over the years we have seen many creative recipes from our customers, and the six Fan Flavor Frappuccino beverages featured in the Flav-Off contest represent a few of the most popular recipes,” says Renee Jones, Starbucks marketing director.

From June 19 through June 30, customers will be able to vote for their favorite blended beverage by giving green straws to their top choices in the Frappuccino® Flav-Off on Frappuccino.com.

The winning flavor will be announced July 3 and from July 3 to July 6, customers will be able to purchase the winning flavor at a special price of $3 for a grande from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Local and Nationals Deals on National Doughnut Day

Friday (June 5) is National Doughnut Day, which means many will be flocking to their local pastry shop for a sweet, deep-fried treat.

Krispy Kreme will be offering a no-strings-attached offer of one free doughnut of your choice on Friday, while Dunkin’ will commemorate the holiday by offering guests a free doughnut with the purchase of any beverage on the menu.

Entenmann’s has a “Facebook Sweepstakes” in which you can win free donuts for a year, and other prizes.

Fractured Prune Doughnuts is offering one free signature OC Sand donut (honey glaze, dusted with cinnamon sugar).

Local shops in D.C. are jumping in on the deals too, with the majority donating proceeds to charities.

National Doughnut Day was created by the Chicago Salvation Army as a way to honor the “Doughnut Lassies” of World War I.

These “lassies” were the women who volunteered with the Salvation Army and served doughnuts to the soldiers on the front lines.

Doughnuts got their start in Europe but thanks to the war and female volunteers, U.S. soldiers adopted a taste for them. After the war ended, they brought their love and recipes for the sweet snack back to the United States.

Taco Bell Giving Free Tacos to 2015 High School Graduates

Besides looking forward to heading to college, there’s one more thing to look forward to as high school graduates move their tassle to the left — free tacos!

Taco Bell announced they are giving away free Doritos Locos Tacos to any seniors set to graduate this year. On National Graduation Day (June 6) all high school seniors have to do is show their school ID with a 2015 graduation date at the fast food restaurant. Then they have to show the Taco Bell Graduation coupon from their mobile devices.

The giveaway is a part of Taco Bell’s #RecognizePotential campaign.

Subway Joins Companies Dropping Artificial Ingredients

Subway has joined the list of food companies dropping artificial ingredients.

The sandwich chain known for its marketing itself as a fresher alternative to hamburger chains told The Associated Press it will remove artificial flavors, colors and preservatives from its menu in North America by 2017. Whether that can help Subway keep up with changing attitudes about what qualifies as healthy remains to be seen.

Elizabeth Stewart, Subway’s director of corporate social responsibility, said in an interview that ingredient improvement has been an ongoing process over the years. More recently, she said the chain has been working on removing caramel color from cold cuts like roast beef and ham. For its turkey, Subway says it plans to replace a preservative called proprionic acid with vinegar by the end of this year.

Among its toppings, Stewart said Subway is switching to banana peppers colored with turmeric instead of the artificial dye Yellow No. 5. Without providing details, she said the chain is also working on its sauces and cookies.

To read the complete story, click here.

Google Working on Technology That Would Count Calories Based on Food Photos

Weight Watchers. Jenny Craig. Google?

A Google project called Im2Calories is using sophisticated algorithms to figure out how many calories are in a plate of food based on just a picture.

It was unveiled last week at the Rework Deep Learning Summit in Boston, Popular Science reports.

Google research scientist Kevin Murphy tells the magazine that the technology could eventually help make it easier for people to keep detailed food diaries.

And, he says, if it were translated into a smart phone app that then became extremely popular, more data would be collected and the visual analysis would become more accurate.

It’s not yet known when the public will gain access to the Im2Calories program, but Google did recently file a patent for it, according to the Popular Science report.

Baskin Robbins Creates ‘Dunkin’ Donuts Coffee ‘N Donut Ice Cream’

In honor of National Donut Day on Friday, Baskin Robbins has teamed up with Dunkin’ Donuts to create a donut-flavored ice cream.

It’s their flavor of the month, with the idea inspired by a chocolate frosted donut dunked in coffee. It features coffee ice cream with a chocolate ribbon and chunks of donut holes mixed in. The flavor debuted Monday.

43 Must-Eat Baseball Stadium Dishes Across U.S.

One of the main reasons people go to a baseball stadium, besides the actual game, is for the food. And for good reason.

Eater.com compiled a list of the “must-eat stadium dishes across America, favored for their regional influences, inspired twists on the classics, and plain old wow factor.”

For fans in Baltimore at Camden Yards, the Mac and Cheese Dog tops the list. This classic hot dog is heaped with mac and cheese and, of course, crab meat. Find it at Eutaw Street below Roof Deck near Gate H, where bacon chili cheese dogs and crab dip dogs are also available.

And for fans on the other side of the Beltway in D.C. at Nats Park, there’s the Chili Half-Smoke. This iconic original chili half-smoke from Ben’s Chili Bowl has a half-smoke sausage (an equal blend of beef and pork) with yellow mustard, chopped onions and chili.

Taco Bell, Pizza Hut: Artificial Ingredients Getting Booted

Taco Bell and Pizza Hut are getting rid of artificial colors and flavors, making them the latest big food companies scrambling to distance themselves from ingredients people might find unappetizing, according to the Associated Press.

Read more about the upcoming changes HERE.

Ice Cream Jubilee Adds ‘Marion Berry’ Flavor

A new ice cream flavor was named in honor of the late “Mayor for Life.”

Ice Cream Jubilee in Southeast D.C. debuted the ice cream Tuesday:

The Capitol Riverfront business boasts its ice cream is made with 18 percent butterfat and all-natural cream and milk from a creamery near D.C.

Some of its more unique flavors include Gin & Tonic, Mango Hbenero and Thai Iced Tea.

Olive Garden: At Least 1 More Breadstick Creation on the Way

Olive Garden isn’t finished dreaming up new ways to use its breadsticks.

The Italian restaurant chain said earlier this month it would introduce “breadstick sandwiches” as part of a broader menu revamp intended to play up its most popular offerings. The sandwiches don’t arrive until June 1, but Olive Garden already has a follow-up act planned with “breadstick crostini” in August.

The “breadstick crostini” — or toasted bread — will be sliced and used as part of an appetizer, said Jose Duenas, Olive Garden’s executive vice president of marketing.

Guide to Every Hot Dog Style from Around the World

If you like to jazz up your hot dog a bit with more than just the usual mustard and relsih, there’s now a style guide to how folks eat their hot dogs from all around the world.

Food Republic created a comprehensive guide to 40 of the most popular toppings around.

The “Baltimore Hot Dog” includes fried bologna wrapped around a fried hot dog with mustard in a squishy bun.

D.C. Bacon and Beer Festival

For anyone who thinks bacon and beer go together like PB and jelly, the DC Bacon and Beer Festival is back for a second year on Sunday, May 31.

The festival is a fundraiser for Food and Friends and will feature bacon goodies from a long list of restaurants, including Art & Soul, Barrel, Cuba Libre and GBD.

Devils Backbone, Dogfish Head, Port City and Sam Adams are some of the breweries showing up to the event.

Penn Social is hosting. You can purchase tickets here.

Olive Garden, Your New Favorite Hoagie Stop?

Olive Garden, the Italian chain perhaps most well-known for its soft, buttery breadsticks, is going to be featuring them more prominently on the menu next month.

They’ll be the stars of the new chicken parmigiana and meatball sandwiches that will be offered at the restaurants starting June 1, CBS News reports.

The new breadstick sandwiches will, of course, come with unlimited breadsticks.

Whole Foods Launching Cheaper Chain For Millenials

Whole Foods is launching a new chain of stores that the company undoubtedly hopes will allow it to part with that old, unflattering nickname, “Whole Paycheck.”

The organic and natural foods purveyor says the new stores will feature lower prices and will be geared toward millenials.

This comes as the 400-store chain has seen sales growth slow as organic and natural foods become increasingly mainstream in regular grocery stores, according to The Associated Press.

A name for the new chain wasn’t disclosed but more details are expected to be released before Labor Day. The new stores will begin opening in 2016.

The Best Fries in Every State

Fries come in various forms from thick-cut to curly, but they’re delicious in all shapes and sizes.

Business Insider created a photo gallery of the best fries in each state, with Thrasher’s French Fries in Ocean City, Maryland and Eammon’s A Dublin Chipper fries in Virginia making the local list.

To view the complete gallery, click here.

Capitol Riverfront to Get D.C.’s First Winery

A New York-based winery is in the process of negotiations to build a 15,000 square-foot winery in Southeast, Washington Business Journal reports.

Brooklyn Winery’s new location would be just blocks from Nationals Park at The Yards. The company doesn’t have its own vineyards, but purchases grapes from various regions and makes the wines on site.

Plans for D.C.’s winery include an outdoor patio and a tasting room separate from the event venue.

The name for the D.C. location is currently District Winery, but that could change before the company expects it to open in about two years.

Chipotle: Transition to Non-GMO Ingredients Complete

Chipotle says it has completed phasing out genetically modified ingredients from its food.

The Denver-based chain had already been using mostly non-GMO ingredients, but was working on changing a tortilla.

To read complete details on the transition, click here.

Freebies on National Pretzel Day

Sunday, April 26 is National Pretzel Day, which means free pretzels!

Here’s where to go:

Wetzel’s Pretzels will give one free original pretzel if you say the rhyme “My name is (your first name) Wetzel and I’d like a free pretzel.” Wetzel’s has locations in McLean, Va., Waldorf, Md. and Hanover, Md.

Pretzel Maker, which has locations in Sterling, Va. and Frederick, Md., will give a free soft pretzel to customers who say, “Pretzelmaker prepares perfectly pleasing pretzels for National Pretzel Day.”

Auntie Anne’s will give a free pretzel to customers who downloaded its app by April 23.

Chipotle Begins Delivery Service, But It’ll Cost You

Chipotle will deliver a burrito right to your doorstep. Sound too good to be true? It is, unless you’re okay with the cost.

According to Business Insider, the restaurant chain told investors it has signed a deal with delivery start-up Postmates.

However, some are reporting their $8 burritos are costing nearly $20 with delivery and service fees.

According to Postmates, delivery is currently available in the Arlington, D.C. and Bethesda markets.

D.C. Restaurants Make Top 100 Brunch List

If there’s one thing residents in the DMV know best, it’s how to brunch.

So it’s no surprise several D.C.-area restaurants made OpenTable’s list of the Top 100 Brunch Restaurants in America.

Those restaurants include:

Beacon Bar and Grill – D.C.
Founding Farmers – Tysons, Va.
The Front Page – D.C.
Gertrude’s – Baltimore
Irish Whiskey Public House – D.C.
Seasons Restaurant, Four Seasons – D.C.
Ted’s Bulletin – D.C.

OpenTable says the list was compiled using more than 5 million restaurant reviews submitted by diners for more than 20,000 restaurants in the country.

Do you think OpenTable got it right? Tweet us your favorite D.C. brunch spot.

Starbucks S’Mores Frappuccino

Beginning April 28, Starbucks will release a new treat that’s perfect for summer: the S’Mores Frappuccino.

The new, limited release flavor will be a layered concoction of marshmallow-infused whipped cream and milk chocolate sauce, then a creamy blend of graham, coffee, milk and ice, and finished off with marshmallow whipped cream and a graham cracker crumble. Oh, and some coffee.

Ben & Jerry’s Beer Will Be Out This Fall

New Belgium and Ben & Jerry’s are teaming up to create a beer — Salted Caramel Brownie Ale — which will be out this fall.

Both companies are registered Beneficial or “B Corporations,” which are required to “meet rigorous standards of social and environmental performance, accountability, and transparency.”

“Both organizations have been looking for ways to partner on a project that’s both tasty and meaningful,” according to New Belgium.

Ben & Jerry’s says the beer project will help the Protect Our Winters organization combat climate change.

Gwyneth Paltrow Fails Her Food Stamp Challenge

Gwyneth Paltrow has failed the food stamp challenge that celebrity chef Mario Batali challenged her to participate in to raise money and awareness for the Food Bank For New York City.

Paltrow says her basket (below) cost $24.40, and was meant to last a full week.

“As I suspected, we only made it through about four days, when I personally broke and had some chicken and fresh vegetables (and in full transparency, half a bag of black licorice). My perspective has been forever altered by how difficult it was to eat wholesome, nutritious food on that budget, even for just a few days—a challenge that 47 million Americans face every day, week, and year.”

Read more about Paltrow’s food stamp challenge on her blog, GOOP.com.

Free Cone Day at Ben & Jerry’s

I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream! Screaming isn’t necessary on Tuesday to get a free cone at Ben & Jerry’s.

The popular ice cream chain is offering the deal at all D.C. area locations from 12 – 8 p.m.

Graphic Designer Parker Jones Presents PMS Ice Cream

A graphic designer out of Texas has designed a set of ice cream labels that “say what every girl is thinking” while they are dealing with PMS, she says.

The Mint Chocolate Chip, Strawberry Swirl and Rocky Road labels feature the phrases “Don’t Come Near Me,” “I Think I’m Dying” and “I Need Some More.”

See photos HERE.

New Grub This Year at Camden Yards (video courtesy WJZ)

Click here to follow the game live as the Orioles take on the Toronto Blue Jays.

Shake Shack Cancels Orioles Giveaway

The new Baltimore Shake Shack location offerred O’s fans a special custard giveaway for opening day on Friday, but now says the offer is off the table, The Baltimore Sun reports.

A spokesperson for Shake Shack says the promotion conflicts with Major League Baseball regulations.

But Orioles fans should not despair because you can still get a free Chick-fil-A sandwhich.

O’s Days at Chick-fil-A” means one day each month during the regular season, Orioles fans wearing orange clothing or Orioles logo apparel can visit any participating Baltimore-area Chick-fil-A between 11 a.m. and 8 p.m. to receive a free original chicken sandwich.

Elite Traveler Magazine Ranks 100 Best Restaurants… In the WORLD

Elite Traveler magazine has released its annual reader-generated list of the Top 100 Restaurants across the globe, with Chicago’s Alinea at the top for a fourth year in a row.

The United States has the highest number of restaurants of any country on the countdown, and New York City leads the way with nine on the list.

See the full list HERE.

Top 5 Restaurants:

1. Alinea
Standout dish: Dungeoness Crab

“From taffy balloons to edible tablecloths and cinnamon bark chopsticks, the zany to the sublime, dinner at Alinea is always a distinctly modern and painstakingly curated experience.

The constantly evolving tasting menu – consisting of 18 to 22 courses – is updated regularly, although some old favorites are naturally retained.”

2. El Celler de Can Roca
Girona, Spain
Standout dish: Fall Vegetable Stock

“Head chef Joan is a highly skilled technician who pioneered the sous-vide cooking method, while Josep is the restaurant’s knowledgeable sommelier – with some 60,000 bottles located in the restaurant’s exquisite wine cellar.

In recent decades, younger sibling Jordi – a talented pastry chef – has injected further creativity, devising such unexpected treats as truffle bon bons and caramelized olives, resulting in a third Michelin star being awarded to this formidable trio in 2009.”

3. Azurmendi
Larrabetzu, Spain
Standout dish: Pigeon, Deuxell and Cauliflower

“Chef and owner Eneko Atxa leads guests on a journey which starts in the restaurant’s vegetable garden and greenhouse and continues towards the dining room. Dishes are progressive and the culinary techniques pioneering, from truffled egg cooked ‘from the inside out’ to dried ice apple and mushroom and chestnut crisps.

Just as impressive as the food is the eco-friendly glass and steel building, which cools via geothermal energy, recycles waste and even harvests rainfall.”

4. Eleven Madison Park
New York City
Standout dish: Roasted Muscovy Duck with Lavender Honey, Turnips and Figs

“Based in a stunning art deco dining room with floor-to-ceiling windows, Eleven Madison’s formal setting belies a quirky and lighthearted menu offering up the very best in contemporary French cuisine.”

5. The Fat Duck
Bray, UK
Standout dish: ‘Sound of the Sea’

“Based in a 16th century pub in the British village of Bray, Heston Blumenthal’s The Fat Duck is destination dining at its finest.

This year, to celebrate its twentieth anniversary, the entire restaurant team upped sticks and relocated to the Crown Towers hotel in Melbourne for a 6 month period. There, it has received as much attention as ever, allowing a full refurbishment and renovation of the original premises in the process.

The Melbourne tasting menu includes all of the restaurant’s most famous signature dishes, from jelly of quail to ‘snail porridge’ and nitro-scrambled egg and bacon ice cream, allowing even more jetsetters the chance to experience Blumenthal’s unique concept of fine dining.”

U.S. Restaurants in the Top 100

1. Alinea (see above)

4. Eleven Madison Park (see above)

7. Per Se, New York City
New American and French cuisine, with a nine-course tasting menu and a separate vegetable tasting menu.

9. Le Bernardin, New York City
Fresh and simple cuisine, featuring lots of seafood.

11. Daniel, New York City
French dishes crafted using seasonal American ingredients.

16. The Restaurant at Meadowood, St. Helena, Calif.
Gourmet cuisine in the heart of California’s wine country.

27. Jean-Georges, New York City
Three Michelin stars, plus spectacular views of Columbus Circle and Central Park through huge windows.

47. Next, Chicago
Next’s offering is overhauled three times annually, and previous themes have included everything from an El Bulli-inspired menu to traditional Japanese kaiseki and vegan cuisine.

50. Manresa, Los Gatos, Calif.
Since Chef David Kinch founded Manresa in 2002, he has been offering nightly tasting menus showcasing the finest of each season’s products. He has also worked in Spain and San Francisco previously, and his globetrotting past is evident in the wine list.

52. The French Laundry, Yountville, Calif.
Located in the heart of the Napa Valley, within a stone cottage wreathed in vintage roses, this restaurant changes its menu daily.

54. Chef’s Table at Brooklyn Fare, New York City
Based in an upscale grocery store, Chef’s Table is Brooklyn’s only three-Michelin-starred restaurant. Chef Cesar Ramirez is on hand for the duration of guests’ experience and diners peer straight into the kitchen from their seats along a U-shaped stainless steel counter. The menu is a parade of Japanese-influenced oceanic delights.

58. Saison, San Francisco, Calif.
With no set menu, guests are always in for surprise whilst enjoying the 15 courses on offer.

65. Coi, San Francisco, Calif.
With a strong emphasis on using local produce to create haute cuisine, Coi offers a seasonally changing eight-course menu.

77. Benu, San Francisco, Calif.
Situated in a historic building in SOMA, Benu seamlessly blends American, European and Asian flavors. The fifteen course menu includes thousand-year-old quail eggs with potage and ginger, frog leg with celery and ‘shark fin soup’. Chef Corey Lee’s modernist approach is also reflected in the minimalist décor, with sleek gray furniture and bare wooden tables.

84. Marea, New York City
The all-encompassing menu includes Chef Michael White’s famous housemade pasta, and dishes like fusilli with red wine braised octopus and bone marrow and grilled Mediterranean cuttlefish.

86. Mélisse, Santa Monica, Calif.
Named best American and French restaurant in L.A. by the Zagat Guide since 2003, Mélisse attracts both neighborhood diners and celebrities.

89. The NoMad, New York City
Sister to three-Michelin-starred Eleven Madison Park (#4 on the list), this hotel restaurant is a stylish yet more casual affair.

96. Husk, Charleston, South Carolina
Located within the historic town of Charleston, Southern cuisine is celebrated at Husk like nowhere else. It is situated within a building dating back to the 19th century, boasting a rustic wall of firewood creating a warm and comforting ambiance.

“If it doesn’t come from the south, it’s not coming through the door,” Chef Sean Brock says.

99. Momofuku, New York City
Momofuku caters for just 12 diners and has a set, 10-course tasting menu with Japanese, Korean and French influences.

D.C.’s Undone Chocolate: Healthy Candy By a Guy With a Ph.D. in Plant Biochemistry

When a person with a Ph.D. tells you chocolate is healthy, you should believe them, right?

Well, Adam Kavalier, co-founder and chocolatier at D.C.’s Undone Chocolate, first got interested in chocolate when he was a grad student studying plant biochemistry.

He soon discovered that pure cacao, or cocoa beans, which chocolate is derived from, are a “potent source of antioxidants,” he says.

Read more on HERE.

Rose’s Luxury Chef Up For Food & Wine’s Best New Chef

Aaron Silverman, head chef at Rose’s Luxury in D.C., is up for Food & Wine magazine’s People’s Best New Chef for the Mid-Atlantic region.

Rose’s Luxury (717 8th St. SE) was already named “America’s best new restaurant of 2014″ by Bon Appétit.

On its current menu, the restaurant is serving hors d’oeuvres such as smoked trout mousse and chicken fried oysters, plus main dishes like ricotta stuffed gnocchi, fried Italian eggplant and grilled avocado with tomatillo and poblano.

You can vote for Silverman on FoodandWine.com.

New Concessions at Nationals Park

Walking around Nationals Park in 2015, you’ll notice an overwhelming number of reminders it’s the tenth anniversary of baseball’s return to D.C.

Especially in the form of food. Read more from 106.7 The Fan HERE.

Chick-fil-A Coming to Columbia Heights

No longer will D.C. Chick-fil-A fans have to venture to the suburbs or stalk the food truck for some chicken sandwiches and waffle fries. The fast-food chain is finally coming to the District.

The Washington Post reports Columbia Heights’ DC USA complex will be home to the restaurant. A spokesperson for Chick-fil-A says it will open by late fall.

Nats fans have the opportunity to enjoy the chicken goodness for free as the Atlanta-based company announced it will give away chicken sandwiches each time the team gets a home save.

Baltimore’s Inner Harbor and New York City will also soon get Chick-fil-A restaurants.

Special Offer For the 20th Birthday of the Starbucks Frappuccino

To celebrate the 20th birthday of the Starbucks milkshake frappuccino, a birthday cake-flavored version of the iconic drink will be available through Monday, March 30.

“It was the summer of 1993, and Los Angeles is very hot in the summer,” says Dina Campion, a 20-year Starbucks employee who managed the district of Southern California’s 10 stores at the time.

“We noticed there were some smaller coffee shops that did some sort of blended coffee beverage. A couple of store managers and I felt there was a huge opportunity for Starbucks.”

Campion contacted one of her former California store managers, Dan Moore, who had recently moved up to Seattle to work on the operations team at the chain’s headquarters. They got the go-ahead to make their case with a test at a single store in Los Angeles’ San Fernando Valley, and Moore got a blender shipped down to the Sherman Oaks store.

“A group of us from Seattle went down to California, and we quickly realized it was something we needed to pursue,” Moore said.

By the summer of 1994, Campion’s entire district was serving blended coffee drinks.

When Starbucks acquired The Coffee Connection in Boston, it applied the name of that shop’s cold, slushy drink made using a soft-serve machine to its new blended beverage. That’s when the “frappuccino” was officially born.

In the summer of 1995, Starbucks brought frappuccinos to all of its stores in the U.S. and Canada.

Starbucks says the frappuccino “changed the trajectory of the company by bringing in new customers who were not normally coffee drinkers, and filling its stores in afternoons and during warm weather when coffee business was typically slow.”

The drink accounted for 11 percent of Starbucks’ summer sales, and helped push the company’s stock to an all-time high.

At first, there were only coffee and mocha flavors. Today, Starbucks serves frappuccinos in all of its 66 countries and offers more than 36,000 different drink combinations. Around the world there are unique frappuccino flavors that reflect the diverse palates of global customers, such as coffee jelly and red bean green tea in Asia, algarrobina with syrup from the Black Carob tree in Peru and chocolate brigadeiro in Brazil.

Study: Those Who Get Recipes From Cooking Shows Weigh More

If you love to cook and your TV is constantly emitting the voices of the Barefoot Contessa, Emeril and Rachael Ray, you may be more then 10 pounds heavier than those who get their recipes from other places, according to a new study from Cornell University’s Food and Brand Lab. Read more on the study HERE.

Guy Fieri Bar-B-Que Joint Coming to Horseshoe Casino

It seems there just isn’t enough Guy Fieri-ness at the Horseshoe Casino in Baltimore.

The casino announced “Guy’s Bar-B-Que Joint” will be the first BBQ restaurant in the country operated by the National BBQ Hall of Famer and chef, restaurater and Food Network host.

The menu will include sandwiches and platters featuring championship pork, 12-hour brisket, blue-ribbon chicken and, of course, Natty Boh bratwurst.

The casino also houses “Guy Fieri’s Baltimore Kitcher + Bar.”

For more details, click here.

Zagat Releases 2015 Restaurant Rankings

Zagat released its 2015 rankings of D.C.-area eateries Tuesday and gave Italian restaurant Fiola, 601 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, the overall number one spot for “Top Food.” Corduroy and Rasika followed.

Other high ranking restaurants included Ray’s To The Third for best burger, Arlington’s Pupatella for best pizza and Rose’s Luxury for best small plates/tapas.

Zagat says 3,700 “in-the-know locals” rated and reviewed more than 800 restaurants around the region for the survey.

Greek Yogurt’s Popularity is Harmful to the Environment

Protein-packed Greek yogurt may be great for your body, but it could be very harmful to the environment, reports say. Read more HERE.

‘Prequel’ Will Be D.C. Mecca For Pop-Up Restaurant Lovers

With a revolving door of chefs testing their concepts in a permanent space, a new D.C. project called Prequel will serve as a refuge for pop-up restaurants.

It’s going to be a brave new world for the food scene, backers say.

Read more HERE.

Ben and Jerry of Ben & Jerry’s Open to Marijuana-Infused Ice Cream

Now that marijuana is being legalized in more areas of the U.S., including our own back yard, could companies start making weed-infused treats?

Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield, co-founders of Ben & Jerry’s (obviously), said in an interview last month that they would be open to doing cannabis ice cream in the future. You can watch the interview above.

So… flavor name ideas, anyone?

Scientists Discover Why Indian Food is so Good

Curry, cardamom, and many other strong spices and ingredients make Indian food stand out from our own traditional Western cuisine and researchers say they’ve discovered why its delicious flavors are so unique.

The Washington Post reports scientists took several thousand Indian recipes, which used a total of 200 ingredients, and examined the underlying flavor compounds.

They found that Indian food mixes ingredients whose flavors don’t overlap at all.

For example, that red curry dish you love has cayenne, which is an ingredient that is unlikely to be similar to any other. The same goes with Indian dishes using green bell pepper, coriander and garam masala.

Western cuisine’s bread, butter and potatoes have similar flavor compounds, making the flavors less unique.

Full Tilt Beer To Support Chesapeake Bay Trust

Help the Chesapeake Bay while sipping beer? You’ve got yourself a deal.

Full Tilt Brewing, the Baltimore-based brewing company known for its Maryland-themed beers (Fleet Street Raspberry Wheat, Berger Cookie Chocolate Stout) and the Chesapeake Bay Trust, a nonprofit organization that funds projects to improve the Chesapeake Bay, have announced their new partnership with the release of The Bay IPA beer.

A portion of proceeds from sales of the beer, which is currently available in limited release around the Baltimore area, will be donated to support bay restoration efforts.

“We were already in the process of creating The Bay IPA when we were inspired by the design of Maryland’s Treasure the Chesapeake license plates,” said Nick Fertig, co-owner of Full Tilt Brewing.

“We thought the Bay images would look great on the label, and after we learned that the plates benefit a local, nonprofit organization working to restore the Chesapeake Bay, we wanted this beer to contribute to that effort.”

The taste of The Bay IPA has been described as a “session beer featuring Falconer’s Flight hops, with a crisp mouth-feel and citrus hop presence.”

National Pancake Day

If you flip over a short stack – Tuesday is your day. For the 10th year in a row, IHOP is giving out free pancakes to its customers for National Pancake Day.

The breakfast food chain asks that customers leave a donation in return, which will go to the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals or other designated local charities.

And if you’re still hungry for some buttery, syrup covered cakes – check out our list of the best places in D.C. for pancakes.

As Tastes Change, Big Food Makers Try Hipster Guises

Why would some of the world’s biggest brands try to disguise themselves as smaller start-up businesses?

For example, the U.S. Taco Co. in southern California serves refined tex-mex (it has lobster on the menu for goodness’ sake), but is owned by Taco Bell on the down low.

Last year, PepsiCo introduced a craft soda called Caleb’s that’s sweetened with cane sugar and McDonald’s is behind an Australian restaurant called The Corner that serves chipotle pulled pork and lentil and eggplant salad.

What’s going on here? READ MORE


Fetch Coffee Brings Starbucks to Your Door

We’ve all been there — on our way to work craving Starbucks with no time to pick it up. Or, really needing a caffeine fix but not wanting to wait in long line for a latte with our kids.

Fetch Coffee, started by Montgomery County native Tony Chen, promises a solution.

If you live in the start-up’s delivery area, you have two options. If you’re craving a coffee now, put an order in and have it delivered within an hour. If you know you’ll be itching for a venti something-or-other tomorrow morning, arrange to have it delivered within a 15-minute window the next day. Both cost the price of the drink, plus a $3 fee.

Chen says the service, which launched in January, has been particularly popular with families on the weekends, on-the-go professionals on weekday mornings and senior citizens who love Starbucks but can’t easily get to one on their own.

Learn more about Fetch on the company’s website.


Nando’s PERi-PERi Giving Away Free Chicken for Pot Legalization

To celebrate the first day of D.C. marijuana legalization going into effect, all Nando’s PERi-PERi locations in the District are offering free grilled chicken from 4:20 to 5:20 p.m. Thursday.

The deal includes “1/4 chicken, chicken sandwich, pita or wrap to each of our fans.”

There are four locations of the Peruvian food chain in D.C.

Click here for more information.

Coming Soon: Girl Scouts Cookie Mini-Oven

Good news, Girl Scout cookie junkies. A product that will be out this fall from the Pennsylvania-based Wicked Good Toys will give you access to fresh Thin Mints, Trefoils and other classic Girl Scout cookies flavors year-round.

According to a press release from the company, it’s a real working oven, similar to the classic Easy Bake Oven, and comes complete with tools (spatulas, baking pans and measuring tool) and mixes that allow children (and, let’s face it, adults) to make cookies that look and taste like the real thing.

Learn more about the Girl Scout Cookie Oven on the Wicked Good Toys website.


School Lunches Around The World

The D.C.-based salad chain Sweetgreen also has a program called Sweetgreen in Schools that educates kids about healthy eating.

The Sweetgreen in Schools blog has released photo examples of the kinds of food children eat for lunch around the world, including the U.S.

To see photos of the school lunches, and read more about Sweetgreen in Schools, visit the program’s blog.

Annapolis Restaurant Week Kicks Off Feb. 23

Restaurant week begins Feb. 23 in Annapolis, and 43 eateries are featuring 2-course breakfasts for $12.95, 2-course lunches for $15.95 and 3-course dinners for $32.95.

To see a list of participating restaurants and to make reservations, visit AnnapolisRestaurantWeek.com.


Georgetown’s Dog Tag Bakery Helps Re-establish Disabled Vets in Civilian World

At Dog Tag Bakery in Georgetown, every dish is served with a side of support for disabled post-9/11 war veterans.

They like to say they are “baking a difference.”

The shop was founded (after 8 years of planning) by Father Rick Curry, a trained baker and adjunct professor of Catholic Studies at Georgetown University, and Connie Milstein, a philanthropist who had previously founded a bakery and general store in Mt. Kisco, New York that focused on empowering homeless, unemployed and special needs individuals by teaching them culinary and business skills.

And that’s basically the idea behind Dog Tag Bakery, however the focus at Dog Tag is on teaching those same skills to veterans.

Read more about Dog Tag Bakery HERE.


The Best Restaurants to Celebrate Chinese New Year in D.C.

Chinese New Year celebrations begin Thursday and the bitterly cold weather isn’t stopping the D.C. area from kicking off the Year of the Goat.

Washington D.C. Eater has lists the 7 best restaurants to enjoy Chinese New Year.

The Source made the top of the list. Award-winning Sichuan Chef Peter Chang will cook up dim sum specialties from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Thursday.

Another spot to check out is The Fainting Goat in Northwest D.C. It’s playing up the Year of the Goat with a Chinese-inspired family-style tasting menu and drinks, traditional lion dances and kung fu movie screenings from 6 p.m. to close.

Little Caesars Announces New Bacon Wrapped Crust

Little Caesars’ Pizza! Pizza! will soon come wrapped in Bacon! Bacon!

Starting Feb. 23, the bacon-wrapped DEEP! DEEP! Dish pizza will be available for a limited time (until late April) nationwide.

The chain calls the product “an 8-corner, large pizza featuring a crunchy crust with caramelized cheese edges and topped with pepperoni and cheese.”

Three-and-a-half feet of bacon will be used on the crust.

176286 D.C.s Food Court: Fine Dining, Food Trucks and Everything in Between
(Photo credit: Little Caesars)


Shake Shack Opens in Baltimore

As of 11 a.m. Monday morning, people are enjoying the latest restaurant to open at Baltimore’s Inner Harbor.

It’s the first Shake Shack, a burger-and-fries chain that sprouted from a hot dog cart in Madison Square Park in Manhattan, to open in Maryland, though there are four in D.C. and one in Tysons Corner.

Aside from its already well-known items, the new Shake Shack on 400 E. Pratt Street also has some Baltimore-specific items: Pratt St. Pie oh My, which is vanilla custard and a slice of Baltimore baker Dangerously Delicious blueberry pancake pie, and Salty Balty, a chocolate and vanilla custard with chocolate truffle cookie dough, cheesecake blondie and sea salt.

Five percent of sales from the Salty Balty will be donated to Moveable Feast, a nonprofit that provides nutritious meals at no cost to those in need.


CBS Radio’s Fave Restaurants: Vol. 1

Darik Kristofer – 94.7 Fresh FM

Aroi Thai and Sushi
1832 1st St., Washington, DC

The diners at Aroi Thai and Sushi are usually a diverse group of people. From young couples to elderly couples to singles at the bar having sushi and Saki.

The basil fried rice is so fragrant and appetizing.

Sometimes I go there just to get the pork steamed dumplings. They’re perfectly steamed, come with a sweet soy sauce, and have scallions minced on top of them. Get two orders. I know you’ll want more.

The mango sticky rice is all-around the biggest winner on the menu, in my opinion – despite the fact that it’s a dessert item. The balance between the warmth and saltiness of the sticky rice and the sweetness of the chilled mango slices and tapioca are an absolute joy to eat.

The Classics Steak and Seafood
8606 Colesville Road, Silver Spring, MD

Hands down, the best steaks I’ve had in the D.C. area.

The cuts are high-quality and the price point is EXCEPTIONALLY affordable for what you’re getting. Best prices in the DMV that you’ll find for that quality. The atmosphere is unpretentious, but has an old-school dignified feel to it.

Get the rib eye, medium. Trust me. It’s HUGE and perfectly prepared. Pair it with a glass of pinot noir and get the creamed spinach as a side.

Be sure to strike up conversation with Elliot, the owner. He’s almost always behind the bar. He’s tall and has a pony tail and is PACKED with exciting and interesting stories of his life. He’s like the cool uncle you’ve always wanted, a dynamic and fun-loving 7th generation D.C. guy.

Tommy McFly – 94.7 Fresh FM

Power Supply DC

If cavemen were as over-scheduled and kitchen-impaired as most Washingtonians, they would probably have opted for Power Supply. I recently tried out the meals-on-wheels-to-a-drop-off-spot-near-you service that promises easy access to local, chef-driven, good-for-you meals a test drive. With a simple online ordering process in place, Power Supply not too long ago made their 600,000th meal.

The meals come well sealed, with instructions that are so easy even a caveman can… well, you know. After 90 seconds in the microwave, my gluten-free burger with an egg on top was ready. Ketchup not included. For dinner and lunch the following day lamb meatballs, Cuban pulled pork, and plenty of root vegetables were on the menu. It’s evident the time and planning the local chefs put into the meals and menus. The price point could definitely make some folks blink, but I feel it’s comparable with running to a salad or sub or burrito place at lunchtime. Be prepared to salt some of the food to taste, and check your address on their site. There are only delivering inside the Capital Beltway right now as they perfect their delivery program.

Ingredients are all sourced from places like Stevens, Pennsylvania, Monkton, Maryland and Seaford, Delaware. Chefs like Allison Swope of Teaism, Anna Bran Leis of DC Empanadas and Chef Peter He of People’s Bao are the culinary creators behind what arrives in the rectangular microwaveable sustainable containers of Power Supply. I guess cavemen would have also needed microwaves to enjoy Power Supply, so I guess now that whole analogy just sounds silly.

Kelly Collis – 94.7 Fresh FM

Peacock Cafe
3251 Prospect St., Washington, DC

I have been visiting this restaurant for the last 20 years. Despite its chic appearance, when you walk in the door everyone is treated like family, greeted by the owners themselves — brothers Shahab, running front of the house, and Maziar, in the kitchen.

Known for having a festive brunch atmosphere with a great patio, they have a variety of freshly squeezed juices or if you want more of a funday Sunday brunch and of course drinking responsibility their Bellinis or Slim Gin (a cocktail with grapefruit, egg whites) are a few of my favorites.

If lunch or dinner is your plan, my comfort food choice is their vegetarian chili and their delicious sandwiches with a call out to some famous people Sophia Lauren, James Dean and Humphrey Bogart made with multigrain. They have a spacious patio when the weather allows and is a great space to people watch in Georgetown.

Celebrities have been spotted their too! The cafe is frequented by Bradley Cooper (a Georgetown University Grad) when he is in D.C.

Other fun nuggets, the family is originally from Iran and it is one of the only places you can get traditional Nowruz cuisine during the Iranian New Year.

I celebrated my 40th birthday there with 60 of my closest friends and I’m planning a few events there around my upcoming nuptials.


Baltimore To Welcome Flagship Whole Foods

Harbor East Management Group and Whole Foods Market announced Thursday that a new grocery location at 711 S. Central Avenue in Baltimore will span 50,000 square feet, more than double the market’s current space in the city.

Similar to other buildings within Harbor East, the new Whole Foods Market space will be part of a mixed-use project that consists of ground floor retail with a residential component above.

The store itself will feature expanded café seating with a second floor mezzanine and two outdoor patios – one the ground level and one second floor mezzanine, both overlooking Lancaster Street.

Site work is expected to begin later this year.


Baltimore Restaurant Week Begins Feb. 15

If you’re into braving below-freezing temperatures for a well-priced plate of food, Baltimore’s restaurant week begins Sunday and runs through Feb. 28.

This year, 79 restaurants will offer prix fixe menus, $15 lunches and $20-$30 dinners.

Make reservations on OpenTable.com.


Md. Senator Part of Congressional Effort to Help Prop Up Craft Breweries

Did you know that there are bills in both houses of Congress proposing lessening federal taxes on craft breweries? And did you also know that local Sen. Ben Cardin (D-MD) introduced the Senate version of the bill?

Cardin and Susan Collins (R-ME) originally introduced the bill just days before the start of American Craft Beers Week in 2013.

The legislation came into the spotlight again this year, when the House version was introduced on Jan. 8 by Erik Paulsen (R-MN) and Richard E. Neal (D-MA). The Senate bill was introduced earlier this month.

Cardin hails from Baltimore, which is home to multiple small breweries including Heavy Seas, Full Tilt and The Brewer’s Art.

“Small brewers have been anchors of local communities and America’s economy since the start of our history,” Cardin says.

“In addition to making high-quality beers, Maryland craft brewers create jobs and reinvest their profits back into their local economies. The federal government needs to be investing in industries that invest in America and create real jobs here at home. With more than 3,200 small and independent breweries currently operating in the US, now is the time to help this industry – and our economy — keep growing stronger.”

The Small BREW Act would reduce the small brewer federal excise tax rate on the first 60,000 barrels by 50 percent (from $7 to $3.50 per barrel) and institute a new rate of $16 per barrel on beer production above 60,000 barrels up to 2 million barrels. “Small brewers” are classified as those with an annual production of 6 million barrels or less.

The small brewer threshold and tax rate were established in 1976 and have never been updated. Since then, the largest multinational producer of beer has increased its annual production from 45 million barrels to 97 million barrels domestically and 325 million barrels globally.

“Raising the ceiling that defines small breweries from 2 million barrels to 6 million barrels more accurately reflects the intent of the original differentiation between large and small brewers in the U.S.,” a news release from Cardin’s office says.

“Because of differences in economies of scale, small brewers have higher costs for raw materials, production, packaging, and market entry compared to larger, well-established multinational competitors. Adjusting the excise tax rate would provide small brewers with an additional $65-$70 million each year they could use to start or expand their businesses on a local, regional, or national scale.”

Even without the federal government’s help, America’s craft breweries have done pretty well for themselves in recent years.

According to the Brewers Association, craft beer made up $14.3 billion of the $100 billion overall beer market in 2013. And, between 2012 and 2013, the number of craft breweries in the U.S. grew by 15.3 percent.

On a related note, many have speculated that one of Budweiser’s Super Bowl ads (watch it below), which not-so-subtly slammed microbreweries and those who love them, was a desperate attempt at slowing the rate at which small breweries are guzzling market share. The Wall Street Journal reports that Budweiser hit a 50-million-barrel peak in 1988, which had declined to just 16 million barrels in 2013.


Study: National Dietary Guidelines Released in 1977 Had No Supporting Evidence

U.S. dietary guidelines released in 1977 encouraged Americans to decrease their fat intake to 30 percent or less of their daily calories and increase carbohydrate intake to 55 to 60 percent of their daily calories, but those guidelines were not supported by evidence gathered from research trials, a new study published in the BMJ medical journal says. Read more HERE.


Attention All McDonald’s Lovers From Maryland

Starting this month, participating McDonald’s locations in the D.C./Maryland/Virginia area will offer Old Bay-seasoned Filet-O-Fish, the chain announced Monday.

No word on if the Maryland-style sandwich is a limited time offer or not, so you better get your hooks in one ASAP, just in case.


Baltimore Brunch Spot Makes List of America’s Best

Brunch isn’t really an official meal — it’s more like a combination of two other meals — but still, it’s got a special place in America’s heart, and it’s gaining popularity all the time.

One local brunch spot, the Papermoon Diner in Baltimore, recently came in 9th on the food site Tabelog’s list of the Top 21 Brunch Restaurants in America.

“Papermoon Diner is the Alice in Wonderland of brunch locations!”

“I had to include this on the list since.. well, you just have to see it for yourself” Tabelog says.

“Thousands of action figures and pez (sic) dispensers give you plenty to look at while trying equally ‘interesting’ menu items such as the bacon milkshake. It’s definitely a place that you’ll want to come back and show your friends.”

Indeed, if you think you can easily choose between breakfast sandwiches, more than a dozen types of omelettes, pancakes and French toast, all while sitting alongside brightly colored walls decorated with doll heads, Papermoon may be the place for you.

Another local-ish restaurant, Millie’s Diner in Richmond, also made the list at number 16.

See the full list HERE.


Starbucks Making Coconut Milk an Option

Starbucks says an alternative to dairy and soy milk is the second most requested customer idea of all time from MyStarbucksIdea.com, generating more than 84,000 votes.

Starting on Feb. 17, thousands of people will apparently be thrilled to know that the coffee chain will begin offering coconut milk, which is certified vegan and made from single-origin coconuts from the tropical Indonesian island of Sumatra.

Starbucks says there was good feedback from a trial run of the new option in October.

Photo credit: Starbucks

Photo credit: Starbucks


Alexandria Wegmans To Open in June

June 14 is the planned opening date for a new Wegmans in Alexandria, according to PotomacLocal.com.

The 126,000 square-foot supermarket will be part of Hilltop Village Center, a retail and office complex located at the intersection of Telegraph Road and Beulah Street.

The Alexandria location will be the first in Virginia to feature The Pub by Wegmans, a full-service restaurant within the store.

The Pub will serve food, as well as local craft beer, some exclusive to Wegmans Pubs, wine and signature drinks.


Booze-Delivery Service Comes to Baltimore

The booze-delivery service Drizly has expanded to Charm City.

Baltimore joins Boston, New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Denver, D.C., Austin, Indianapolis and St. Louis on the list of cities enjoying the app-based service.

For now, Drizly will serve Downtown, Inner Harbor, Fells Point, Canton, Highlandtown, Federal Hill, Locust Point, Charles Village, Guilford, Johns Hopkins, Hampden, Roland Park, Mount Washington, Towson, Parkville and Carney.

As a special welcome to new Charm City users, Drizly is offering free delivery (a $5 value) on all orders through February 28 with promo code BALTIMORE. Follow @DrizlyBmore on Twitter for more promotions.

The Baltimore Sun reports that Drizly Baltimore is working with three local liquor stores, and that delivery takes about 40 minutes. The minimum purchase amount is $20.


Where to Watch the Super Bowl in D.C. and Baltimore

The District

Acre 121: This is Seattle Seahawk territory, so it’s a best bet for Seattle fans on the Super Bowl.

Murphy’s Grand Irish Pub: This Old Town bar is a favorite hangout for Pats fans.

Penn Quarter Sports Tavern: Another Hawk’s Nest.

BlackFinn American Saloon: The New England Patriots D.C. area Meetup group is holding their game watch at BlackFinn, which is providing specials for the group.

Jack Rose Dining Saloon: Jack Rose is throwing a “Super Beer-BQ Bowl” party pitting two barbecue styles and two local breweries against each other in a friendly competition. For $10 a plate, choose between chicken barbecue and pork barbecue, while 3 Stars is taking on Flying Dog with $5 beers. The free party begins at 5 p.m. and will run until after the game.

Rosa Mexicano: Rosa Mexicano’s Guac-to-Go party pack is available for delivery on game day. It comes with house-made tortillas and corn tortilla chips, and will be available for delivery along with the restaurant’s full menu. Prices range from $25 for guac for five to $100 for guac for 20. Orders must be placed by Friday, January 31 at 5 p.m.

Fuego Cocina y Tequileria: Fuego is kicking off Super Bowl Sunday with a pre-game party at 5 p.m., offering a 5 for $5 special with margaritas, taco plates, guacamole, Mexican wings and Fuego’s hamburguesas. All these items will be priced at $5 each. The restaurant is also doing an all-day happy hour.

Dino’s Grotto: At 5 p.m., Dino’s Grotto Bar is going to have a free buffet of appetizers. Intriguing apps include fancy Buffalo wings, mini meatballs, wild boar and borlotti bean chili, trotter tots and fried grilled cheese sandwiches. Like every Sunday at the Grotto Bar, it will be happy hour all day. Specials include $4 nellinis, negroni, tap beer, duck fat potatoes and deviled egg, $6 house wine and rail drinks, as well as $8 signature cocktails and burrata.

Legal Sea Foods – 7th Street: Boston-based Legal Sea Foods is celebrating #12 Tom Brady with a clam chowder offer. Get six souper bowls of clam chowder* for $12 from the takeout counters on Super Bowl weekend at the Legal Sea Foods locations in Chinatown, Tysons Galleria and Arlington. A half gallon of clam chowder is regularly $21.95.

Baltimore

14Forty: From 5:30 to 10:30 p.m., this multi-level bar and lounge inside Horseshoe Casino will be offering tons of drink specials and a tailgate-themed buffet for guests to enjoy while watching the game on its massive two story video screen. Also, in true casino fashion, guests will be given one complimentary entry into drawings for up to $200 of free slot play in honor of the big game. 1525 Russell St., 410-960-0051.

Mother’s Grille: Known for its Purple Patio and frequent Ravens pep rallies, this iconic Federal Hill bar is a great place to grab a beer and watch the Patriots and the Seahawks duke it out. Mother’s will be featuring all you can eat boneless wings paired with Miller Lite or Coors Light for only $20. If you’ll be hosting from home, take advantage of carry-out discounts like 10 percent off bone-in and 20 percent off boneless wings. 1113 S. Charles St., 410-244-8686.

Jimmy’s Famous Seafood: The annual Super Bowl party hosted by this Dundalk seafood restaurant includes endless specials to enjoy while watching the game on 30 big screens. Tickets to this all-inclusive celebration include open bar access, a full bull and oyster roast featuring clams and carved meats, an ice luge, a Pixilated Photo Booth, hourly celebrity guest appearances, and dozens of giveaways and door prizes including autographed footballs. The party starts 30 minutes before kickoff. 6526 Holabird Ave., Dundalk, 410-633-4040.


Chick-fil-A Offering Free Coffee for Month of February

Don’t want to pay for coffee for a month? No problem! As long as you enjoy Chick-fil-A’s brew.

Visit any Chick-fil-A, any time, any day in February for a free small hot or medium iced coffee. No purchase is required and the offer is limited to one per person per day.

The promotion is to introduce their new blend after launching a partnership with THRIVE, a Georgia-based company that networks with family-owned coffee producers in Central America.


Makers of D.C.’s Alcohol-Infused ‘Confectionary’ Foods May Be Forced to get Liquor Licenses

D.C. bakers who spice up their sweet treats with rum, Irish cream and other forms of alcohol may soon be required to follow new rules.

Per amendments to licensing rules signed this week by Mayor Muriel Bowser, all booze-infused “confectionery food products” that contain between .5 percent and 5 percent alcohol must:

      1. Not be sold to people under 21
      2. State on the label that sale to people under 21 is prohibited
      3. State on the label what brand of alcohol it contains
      4. State on the label that it contains alcohol up to 5 percent per volume

The store selling the item would also have to purchase a $1,000 class C manufacturer’s license and package the products in sealed containers.

According to HillNow.com the act will be under review by Congress for the next 30 days.


Pizza Hut Introduces Gluten Free Dough

Love cheese, tomato sauce, pepperoni/sausage/mushrooms, but hate gluten? As long as you enjoy Pizza Hut pies, you’re in luck.

The chain announced this week that select locations will be serving pizza made with Udi’s® Certified Gluten-Free dough.

“The Udi’s® Certified Gluten-Free crust is stored in a separate container, on a separate shelf in our fridge,” Pizza Hut’s website says. “The cheese, marinara sauce and pepperoni are stored in a gluten-free designated kit, and every gluten-free pizza is freshly baked on designated parchment paper in our ovens.”

“In addition to these storage techniques, team members who make your gluten-free pizza wear gloves and even use a designated gluten-free pizza cutter to cut your pizza to perfection.”

The procedures are apparently certified by the Gluten Intolerance Group.


KFC’s Double Down Hot Dog: The Resurrection No One Asked For

Remember the KFC Double Down — the cheese and bacon sandwich that made headlines because it used fried chicken patties instead of bread?

Well, KFC has resurrected that menu item, but with a twist.

This time, the chicken patties surround a hot dog.

Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on how you feel about the matter), the Double Down Hot Dog is currently only available in the Philippines.


Wait… So Tequila Might Be Good For You?

Margarita sippers and tequila lovers rejoice! Researchers say tequila is good for your health and your new year’s diet. Read more HERE.


Rockville-Based Food Truck Auctioning Super Bowl Bash for Charity

Curley’s Q BBQ, an award-winning Maryland food truck, is auctioning off a 30-person Super Bowl Sunday feast to benefit Bethesda Cares, a community outreach program for the homeless.

Curley’s says each guest would get a choice of brisket, pulled pork, jerk chicken or gaucho chicken, served with slaw, macaroni and cheese and two ribs. All sauces and paper goods included. The truck would arrive on-site (within 10 miles outside of the Capital Beltway) at a time of your choosing (between noon and 6 p.m.) on Feb. 1 and would serve food for one hour.

“This time of year is a critical time for people living on our streets, as the dangerously cold weather adds to their suffering,” Curley writes in a blog post.

“I personally work with Bethesda Cares and the work they do, from receiving mail for people ‘with no fixed address,’ to ultimately helping them find housing is remarkable. Their client are also remarkable; it’s just people, people like you and like me, who are just going through rough times.”

Bidding ends Jan. 26. To bid, CLICK HERE.


Alexandria’s Holy Cow Del Ray Serving Burger on Doughnut

Holy Cow Del Ray and the Sugar Shack have teamed up to deliver “The Sugar Cow” — also known as a grilled Angus beef burger topped with cheddar, bacon, a fried egg and maple syrup, all atop a Sugar Shack glazed doughnut bun.

No word on how long The Sugar Cow will be in stock, so get yours while supplies last.

Photo via Holy Cow Del Ray

Photo via Holy Cow Del Ray


D.C. Loves to Tweet About Being #Drunk

A recent ProjectKnow study has shed a lot of light on how America tweets about alcohol consumption.

This may not be surprising considering how often Olivia Pope guzzles red wine on the hit political drama “Scandal,” but D.C. comes in first for the number of annual tweets about wine per 100,000 residents. It also comes in first for its amount of beer and malt liquor-related tweets, and second for its liquor-related tweets.

Delaware comes in first when it comes to overall alcohol-related tweets and drinking games. Rhode Island is first in tweeting about liquor, and New Jersey comes first in tweeting about being drunk, or “crunk.”

See the full study on ProjectKnow.com, or see the graphic summary of the findings below.

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Oreo Announced New ‘Red Velvet Cake’ Flavor

After months of speculation, Oreo’s new limited-edition flavor has been announced: Red Velvet.

With reddish cookies and cream cheese-flavored filling, the Oreos will be released Feb. 2.

Particularly keen to try the new flavor? ENTER HERE before 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on Jan. 22 for a chance to win a free package.


Anheuser-Busch Launches Bud Light Delivery App in D.C.

Love Bud Light? Hate leaving the house? Live in D.C.? Anheuser-Busch has just the thing for you.

On Thursday, the company launched the “Bud Light Button”, and it’s exclusively available in the Washington area for now.

The Klink alcohol delivery app powers the service, which lets you order up to 100 cases of Bud Light at a time. Delivery, available from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., is promised within an hour. A 24-pack costs $19.99 and 12-packs cost $10.99.

But you could end up with more than just beer, if you’re lucky.

“Some people will get just a little something extra, like Bud Light-branded gear, but once in a while, we’re going to deliver a really over-the-top, amazing experiences,” says Lucas Herscovici, Anheuser-Busch vice president of consumer connections. “Maybe that means we show up with a DJ who turns your gathering of friends into an amazing event. The only way to find out for sure what we’re going to do is to grab your phone and use the Bud Light Button.”

According to the Wall Street Journal, this is just the latest effort by a major beer retailer to move into the world of online sales. In November, MillerCoors teamed up with the alcohol delivery startup Drizly to provide 20,000 free deliveries of Miller Lite in the Boston, New York, Seattle and Washington, D.C. metro areas.

WSJ reports that the companies likely looking to recoup market share that has been lost in the last few years by appealing to customers in their 20s and 30s.

Download the Bud Light Button HERE, and watch the ad for the service (which makes it seem like the target customer base is people who love huge, destructive house parties) below.


Metropolitan Washington Restaurant Week Runs Jan. 19 – 25

D.C.’s restaurant week begins Monday, with hundreds of D.C., Maryland and Virginia restaurants offering prix fixe menus for lunch ($20.15 per plate) and dinner ($35.15 per plate).

Make table and parking reservations on RAMW.org.

Baltimore County’s Winter Restaurant Week is also ongoing through Jan. 24, with prix fixe prices started at $15.15.

For the full list of participating restaurants, visit Baltimore County Restaurant Week’s website.


Are You A Whiskey Fan? W Hotel’s Basement Is Your New Favorite

If you love sipping on a fine bourbon or rye, we’ve got some good news for you. Pinea restaurant at the W Hotel on 15th Street NW is introducing a new “hidden gem,” a whiskey bar called Root Cellar.

A grand opening party will be held Jan. 15 from 5 to 8 p.m.

For rare whiskeys and “merenda” shareable plates from Pinea, visit The Root Cellar, opening Thursday!


Chipotle: No Pork at a Third of Restaurants

Chipotle says it stopped serving pork at hundreds of its restaurants after suspending a supplier that violated its standards.

Chris Arnold, a spokesman for the Mexican food chain, told The Associated Press it’s the first time the company stopped serving a topping for its burritos and bowls. He said Chipotle learned of the violation by the supplier on Friday through a routine audit, and did not have a timeline for when carnitas would return to affected stores, about a third of its total base. READ MORE HERE.


One Eight Distilling Opens in D.C.

One Eight Distilling, which Elevation DC reports is only the second in the city since prohibition, hosted its grand opening Thursday night.

On its website, One Eight has three spirits listed: District Made Vodka, Ivy City Gin and Rock Creek Whiskey. It describes its liquors like this:

District Made Vodka — We feel that the clean, spicy finish of distilled rye makes for the finest and most interesting straight drinking vodka. Rye is a traditional crop of the mid-Atlantic as well as the most commonly used grain in the ancient origins of vodka in Eastern Europe. We use Russian filtering technology for an even smoother finish but make no mistake, this is a vodka with character. Keep an eye out for future limited releases of special infused vodkas.

Ivy City Gin – As hidden away as its namesake suggests, and just as tenacious, the neighborhood of Ivy City is located in northeast Washington DC. Its rich history spans from a longtime connection to the city railroads to its recent emergence as a destination for vibrant local businesses. Ivy City Gin serves as a testament to the neighborhood’s endurance and virtues — both of which are crystal clear.

We distill a high proof neutral spirit from our own milled rye and then macerate carefully selected juniper berries in the distillate for several days. We then redistill the juniper base spirit with other select botanicals in our custom designed gin still. There is a lot of room to play with when formulating gin, but Ivy City Gin is our take on a classic dry gin that makes the best cocktails and is equally delicious neat. Keep an eye out for future limited releases of other styles.

Rock Creek Whiskey (comes in white, single malt, bourbon and rye) — Rock Creek Park is one of the best-loved treasures of DC – one of the first federally managed parks, it’s a place that everyone who lives here values and enjoys. Rock Creek Park connects the city to nature and reminds us of what was here before there was a Washington, DC.

Before it was designated a National Park, Rock Creek was populated by farms and several mills along the creek, including the historic Peirce Mill, dating back to the 18th century. These mills ground locally grown crops, including corn, wheat and rye. Our whiskeys pay tribute to this piece of the city’s history while bringing innovation and technology to create a whiskey that will become a new and enduring piece of the capital’s history.

Located at 1135 Okie Street, NW, One Eight is just a few blocks away from New Columbia Distillers, which produces Green Hat Gin.

For scheduled tours and tastings at One Eight, CLICK HERE.

Barreling up our first batch of rye whiskey.

A video posted by One Eight Distilling (@oneeightd) on Dec 18, 2014 at 9:01am PST


Little Washington Chef Fires Back at Washingtonian Mag’s Placement on List

Washingtonian magazine published its annual 100 Very Best Restaurants list last month, ranking Virginia’s the Inn at Little Washington 22nd instead of 1st, the place it had held for the past two years.

On Jan. 1, the Rappahannock News published an article about the famed Washington, Va. eatery and retreat being bumped from the top spot, and head chef Patrick O’Connell released a statement (below) that not only expressed dissatisfaction with the review, but questioned the publication’s ethics.

“All of us at The Inn at Little Washington have much to be grateful for as we enter the new year. The Inn remains the longest-tenured Forbes Five Star and AAA Five Diamond restaurant in America. We possess the highest Zagat rating (29, 29, 29) in the world. Once again, The Inn has received The Washington Post’s highest 4-star rating from restaurant reviewer Tom Sietsema. Most of us understand that, in today’s world, as print media struggles for survival, creating controversy sells magazines whether it’s ethical or not.”

Washingtonian responded to defend itself, allowing critic Todd Kliman to explain the reasoning behind the ranking.

“Confronted with a restaurant we saw as underperforming, we could easily have said, Well, you know, the Inn has been such a great restaurant for such a long time that—shhh—we’re just going to look the other way this year, okay?,” he wrote.

“Just going to gloss over flaws in the cooking. Just going to pretend as if the switch to a new, streamlined, less luxuriously presented meal is a thing of small note. We could easily have given the place a pass. But that wouldn’t have been the truth. And it would invalidate the Inn’s greatness all those years past.”

He also pointed out that The Source, Blue Duck Tavern, Vidalia, other popular restaurants that have made the list in the past, didn’t make the cut this year at all.

Perhaps the Inn’s shift to a different menu format is the real culprit, according to Kliman’s statement.

“When the Inn changed to a new menu format in late summer, I was intrigued,” he writes.

“I thought it sounded like a smart move, and hoped that it signaled an operation that was willing to risk a little and extend itself—to participate in the exciting conversation taking place among the country’s chefs. Instead, the impression was of a restaurant consolidating, streamlining, cutting back. It felt stinting. And if there’s one thing the Inn has never been, it’s stinting.”

Have you been to the Inn at Little Washington lately? What did you think? Tell us in the comments.


Nobel Prize-Worthy Invention Unveiled: A Chocolate 3D Printer

3D Systems presents the CocoJet, a chocolate 3D printer developed in collaboration with The Hershey Company.

It’s marketed as “ideal for the baker or chocolatier” and it can print custom designs in all different types of chocolate.

Check out a video of the CocoJet in action:


Baltimore County Winter Restaurant Week Begins Friday

Cold? Miserable? Maybe Baltimore County’s Winter Restaurant Week can help. Dozens of county restaurants will offer prix fixe menus from Jan. 9-24 (more like Restaurant Two Weeks, right?).

From fondue to fish, meals will cost between $15.15 to $35.15.

For the full list of participating restaurants, visit Baltimore County Restaurant Week’s website.


What’s In and Out For 2015, According to Baum + Whiteman

Baum + Whiteman International Food Consultants are out with their list of what foods will be “in” in 2015.

Here are some of the highlights…

Oysters — “They’re cheap because bays, inlets and tidal basins are being detoxed … so farmers are reseeding old oyster beds and discovering new ones. Not a few here and there, but dozens around the country.”

Ugly root vegetables — “Celery root, parsnips and kohlrabi are grabbing attention in restaurant kitchens … fried, mashed, pureed, gratineed; flavored with cured pork or smoked honey … humble themselves, they replace humble potatoes with lots more inherent flavor.”

Seaweed — “Seaweed may not be the next kale but it’s on the upslope of the trendline. Consumers recognize it as a packaged snack and as a California roll’s wrapper. But chefs are adding it (often silently) to poaching broths, seafood sauces, even risotto, for its punch of umami and evanescent background flavor and dash of salinity.”

Sweet-spicy sauces and condiments — “Chefs and big restaurant chains are experimenting with piquant honey: habanero honey, jalapeno honey and ghost chili honey, ginger-citrus honey … going on chicken-and-waffles, whipped into butter, mixed into salad dressings, snuck into sauces.”

Hummus — “You’ve watched the rise of Greek yogurt, yes? Now hummus … once a niche product here eaten
primarily by Arab and Israeli immigrants … is following the same trajectory. Google says that hummus has out-trended salsa, no small thing since salsa dethroned ketchup.”

Sharable punches — “Your parents’ preference for communal boozing is back. Now liberated mixologists in fancy places are concocting large-format punches that serve from multitudes of guests … with no limits on pricing or ingredients.”

Herbal liqueurs — “Mysterious ancient blends of botanicals … flowers, spices, citrus peels, herbs, tree barks … are new again to new generations of drinkers. What once were stand-alone before or after dinner drinks … chartreuse, maraschino, Benedictine, and, especially, absinthe … are now adding body and depth to inventive cocktails.”

Brown liquor — “Brown whiskey at long last outstripped vodka in sales dollars. Bourbon, rye, blends and Scotch are enjoying a renaissance because drinkers want more body.”

Meanwhile, the age of kale, quinoa, cronuts and bacon is apparently over.


Landmark D.C. Bakery Closes Its Doors

Heller’s Bakery, which has served pastries and desserts in D.C.’s Mt. Pleasant neighborhood since 1922, is closing its doors more than 90 years after being founded by German immigrants.

The Washington Post reports that Heller’s has switched hands four times over the years and the latest owners, brothers Aleks and Lambros Duni, fell behind on the rent.

No official word yet on if the bakery will re-open in a different location.


‘Calorific’ App Shows How Much of Your Favorite Foods Add Up to 200 Calories

‘Calorific,’ the app that adds a visual element to calorie counting, is now showing what kind of calorie punches your favorite holiday foods pack.

From ham and turkey to fruit cake and chocolates, Calorific’s new “festive food” additions make it easy (maybe a little too easy) to see exactly what 200 calories of each dish (or snack) looks like.

You can download Calorific on the iTunes app store.


Red Robin Says ‘Cure Burger’ Can Help With Holiday Hangovers

Everyone has their own home hangover cure.

But if you’re willing to throw on some clothes and head to your nearest Red Robin the day after a booze-filled holiday celebration, the chain is offering something it calls a “Cure Burger” for a limited time.

The sandwich features a fire-grilled gourmet patty topped with chili, Cheddar cheese, crispy bacon, mushrooms and a sunny-side up egg on a sesame seed bun and served with bottomless fries.

The offer ends Jan. 7, and the “Cure Burger” won’t be listed on menus. You have to ask your server for it by name.

Photo courtesy of Red Robin

Photo courtesy of Red Robin


Study: Fast Food Linked To Lower Student Test Scores

Fast food burgers, fries and other greasy fare may affect how students perform in school, according to a new study led by an Ohio State University professor.

Read more HERE.


Study Points Out Flaws in Popular ‘Paleo’ Diet

The idea behind the trendy Paleo diet, or caveman diet, is that followers emulate the eating habits of early humans during the Stone Age.

Paleo eaters focus heavily on meat and veggies and avoid foods that they believe were not available at the time, like dairy, grains, legumes, processed oils, and refined sugar.

However, a new study performed by researchers at Georgia State University and Kent State University says that strict Paleo dieters may be overestimating the benefits of eating like their ancestors.

Read more HERE.


D.C. Restaurant to Have ‘Tupac and Biggie Tribute’ Menu

Graffiato, an Italian restaurant in D.C. run by Top Chef alum Mike Isabella, is hosting a “hip-hop tribute dinner” Feb. 2, described on the restaurant website as “a culinary tribute to Tupac, Biggie and the East Coast/West Coast hip hop rivalries of the ’90s.”

The menu features dishes like “Thug Rice,” “Lil Kimchee” and salad with “Wu-Tangy dressing.”

After it was posted online, a social media uproar began. It does not appear that the menu is still on the website, but it lives on on Twitter:


‘Whisker Dam’ Keeps Mustaches Dry While You Sip Beer

Mustache sporting beer drinkers can now breathe a sigh of relief.

Apparently, dudes that sport mustaches have a problem: the stache gets wet when they drink beer.

The Whisker Dam was made to protect that combed upper lip and keep it dry. The product description says it’s made of 100 percent copper and it’s 100 percent non-toxic.

It’s also probably 100 percent unnecessary, but if you feel like you need “an umbrella for your face” the Whisker Dam will cost you $20.


D.C. Restaurants get into Holiday Spirit with Reindeer Burgers

If all the holiday themed coffee drinks, treats and eggnog doesn’t do it for you, there are some D.C. burger joints who’ve decided to offer more savory options for holiday spirited food.

Burger Tap & Shake (BTS) is serving up “The Rudolph” for its Burger Of The Month and it’s made with a venison and pork patty topped with Gruyere, sweet and sour onions and cranberry mustard.

“Hey kids – Santa may not be real, but reindeer burgers certainly are,” BTS says on its website. The Rudolph is $10.

Thunder Burger is also promising a reindeer burger, but in the meantime, it has one made with elk meat. The “Elk river falls” burger has herbs and mustard seed along with tomato and remoulade. It sells for $15.


Business Insider Lists Best Diners in Each State

Diners in Baltimore and Richmond have made Business Insider’s list of the best diners in every state.

Baltimore’s Broadway Diner, a 24-hour joint on Eastern Avenue, has been featured on Guy Fieri’s “Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives” has a 13-page menu including the classics like omelets and waffles and more exotic delicacies, as well.

In Richmond, the space-themed Galaxy Diner on West Cary Street offers everything from fried Oreos to Frito pie.


2014’s Best New Restaurants in D.C. and Baltimore

In the cut-throat world of fine dining, some restaurants seem to close as fast as they open. Some, however, definitely have staying power.

Check out our lists of the best restaurants that opened (and stayed open) in 2014 in Washington, D.C. and Baltimore.


New Capriotti’s Location Offers Free Subs Today (Dec. 15)

The new Capriotti’s Sandwich Shop location in D.C. (3347 M Street, Northwest) will give free “Bobbie” subs to the first 100 people in line at the grand opening today (Dec. 15).

The Bobbie is Capriotti’s signature sandwich and, in case you didn’t know, is your basic “holiday meal leftovers” sub — it has homemade turkey, cranberry sauce, stuffing and mayo.

Doors at the new store open at 11 a.m.


McDonald’s to Trim Menu, Examine Ingredients

In an attempt to change the restaurant’s image, McDonald’s USA president Mike Andres has announced that some menu items are getting the ax starting in January and cooking methods are going to be reviewed.

Read more about the changes coming to the golden arches HERE.


Starbucks Giving “Golden Tickets” To 10 U.S. Customers

It’s like Willy Wonka for adults — from now through Jan. 5, Starbucks customers who pay using a Starbucks coffee loyalty card or their Starbucks mobile app can enter a giveaway for which the grand prize is free “Starbucks for life” on a golden Starbucks card.

Customers who pay with those methods will receive a receipt with a unique sweepstakes code that can be entered online at starbucks.com/play for a chance to win the golden card or instant prizes, including free holiday beverages and treats.

The “Ultimate Starbucks Card” not only provides customers with one free food or beverage item from participating stores every day for the next 30 years, but is also made of 10K hammered gold. It will be engraved with the winners’ names, as well.

A total of 10 Ultimate Starbucks Cards will be available to win in the U.S., three in Canada, and one in the U.K., making it the most exclusive Starbucks card ever made.


FDA to Require Most Restaurants to Provide Calorie Counts By 2016

Most U.S. restaurants will be required to blatantly display the calorieinformation for their menu items by Dec. 2015, according to new rules published by the Food and Drug Administration. READ MORE

Study: Binge Drinking Doesn’t Mean You’re An Alcoholic

You may hit the bottle, pull a tab or pop a cork more often than your doctor recommends, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you’re an alcoholic, according to a new Centers for Disease Control study. READ MORE


NY Times Creates List of Most Googled Distinct Thanksgiving Dishes in Each State

The New York Times has put out another Thanksgiving list, following the controversial one from the Food section a few weeks ago about which Turkey Day dishes “evoke each of the 50 states” the most.

Many comments on the Times’ Facebook page seemed to indicate that some people had even never heard of, let alone eaten, the dishes assigned to their state on the first list. Minnesotans seemed particularly irked by the idea of “grape salad” being their signature side.

“The piece – and the many reactions to it – got us wondering what a democratic version of the project might look like,” the Times wrote in a new piece, published Tuesday. “That is, if the residents of every state could vote for distinct Thanksgiving dishes, what would each state’s dish be?”

As it turns out, still pretty weird. With help from Google researchers, the Times says it found the most distinct searched-for dish in every state. They left out the ones that show up a lot everywhere, like turkey, cranberry sauce and stuffing, because those staples aren’t really specific to any one area of the country.

Sauerkraut, apparently a popular Thanksgiving dish in Baltimore, led the Google analysis for Maryland. Meanwhile, a lot of Virginians looked to the search engine for collard greens recipes. Washingtonians wanted help finding corn pudding recipes.

Nothing super out of the ordinary locally, but we want to know what is so appealing about “frog eye salad,” a popular dish in Nevada, Idaho and Wyoming and Colorado, and what on Earth a Louisiana “mirliton casserole” is.

Also, in case you were wondering, Minnesotans did not search for grape salad recipes most often (or at all), but rather wild rice casserole.

To see the wide range of Thanksgiving favorites throughout the U.S., visit NYTimes.com.


Coca-Cola Releasing It’s Own Brand of Milk

The famous caramel colored beverage company is taking a trip to the dairy farm. Coca-Cola will soon release its own brand of milk.

The milk, called Fairlife, will have 50 percent more protein and 50 percent less sugar than regular milk.

You might remember Fairlife getting some flak earlier this year when it launched in Minnesota. It’s controversial ads depicted women in dresses made out of milk.

The company says it’s looking to emulate the Simply juice line, which is marketed as healthier, never sweetened and never frozen.


Beloved College Park Pizza Joint to Close

The iconic “PIZZA SUBS WINGS” sign belonging to Ratsie’s, the Route One pizza joint in College Park, will go dark soon, according to The Diamondback.

While the college town has been inundated with pizza restaurants in recent years, owner Mike Falamoun says he’s closing up shop simply because the job is tiring and he needs a break.

The Diamondback report says Nando’s Peri-Peri, a Portuguese flame-grilled chicken chain, will move into the Ratsie’s building.

An exact date for when Ratsie’s will close is not yet known.


Budweiser: No Clydesdales For 2014 Holiday Ads

Everyone’s favorite beer-hauling horsies will be benched this holiday season because Anheuser-Busch has decided to aim its advertising at younger consumers, according to the Wall Street Journal.

With light beers, craft beers and malt beverages taking up more of the market than they used to, classic Budweiser is getting crowded out, the report says.

Apparently, the people in charge of advertising decisions at A-B have ruled that getting 21- to 27-year-olds to pop a tab on a Bud should not involve the iconic Clydesdale campaign.

Though many will undoubtedly be bummed to see the equines kicked to the curb, going after a younger demographic now may pay off.

The National Beer Wholesalers Association says 2013 saw the largest number of new drinkers since the Baby Boom, with about 4.6 million people turning 21.


New Phone App Gives You Personalized Beer and Wine Recommendations

A new free app called “Next Glass” (for iPhone AND Android) helps you pick out new beers and wines to try based on what you already like.

The Next Glass description on iTunes and the Google Play Store says you build a “Taste Profile” by rating your favorites, then scan labels while you’re at the store to get a personal score for that brand. You can also search for brand names at home to find out how much you’re likely to enjoy them.

“Next Glass has tested tens of thousands of wines and beers, analyzing over 20,000 compounds within each bottle to identify what the tongue perceives as ‘taste’. The chemical makeup (or ‘DNA’) of each bottle is then stored in our one-of-a-kind Genome Cellar.”

So, basically, it’s like Pandora for booze. There’s also a social media element that allows you to see your friends’ preferences if you’re shopping for a party or gathering.

Check out a video description of how the app works below.


Cat Cafe “Crumbs and Whiskers” Announced Plans to Open in D.C.

The plans are all very mysterious right now, but a “cat cafe” called Crumbs & Whiskers says it plans to be D.C.’s first feline-friendly food establishment.

According to the website, a Kickstarter will soon be launched for the project.

To keep up with the plans for C&W, sign up for updates on the site, or follow them on Facebook or Twitter.

Starbucks Offering BOGO on Holiday Drinks Through Nov. 16

Starbucks will be offering a BOGO deal on its holiday beverages from 2 to 5 p.m. through Nov. 16.

For My Starbucks Rewards members, the happy hour lasts until 6 p.m.

This will give you a chance to try the chain’s first new holiday drink in five years, the chestnut praline latte, on discount. You can also enjoy one of the other red-cup favorites: peppermint mocha and caramel brulée latte.


Dunkin’ Donuts Introduces Its Answer to the Cronut

Not only has Dunkin’ Donuts finally taken the “cronut” craze mainstream, but you can get a free “Croissant Donut” in Arlington today (Nov. 13) and potentially win a year’s supply of donuts, too.

The Dunkin’ Donuts Croissant Donut Truck (which is on tour at the moment) will be parked at the corner of Wilson Boulevard and Fort Myer Drive this morning from 7 to 9 a.m., and visitors can pick up a Croissant Donut and dark roast coffee on the house (or on the truck?).

Post a photo of yourself at the truck on Instagram, Twitter or the Dunkin’ Donuts Facebook page with the hashtag #CroissantDDonut and you could win a Dunkin’ gift card, as well.


Mom’s Organic Market Opening First D.C. Store Friday

Mom’s Organic Market will open its first D.C. store in Ward 5 this weekend, as part of Douglas Development Corportation’s mixed-use Hecht Warehouse District on New York Avenue NE.

The grand opening, which runs Friday through Sunday, will include local samples, kid’s activities, and reusable MOM’s bags packed with goodies (while supplies last). Five percent of grand opening sales will be donated to Sasha Bruce Youthwork (SBY), a local youth shelter and services provider.

This comes as good news to the Ward, parts of which the United States Department of Agriculture classifies as a “food dessert,” or an urban area where a significant number of residents live a mile or more away from the nearest supermarket.

The opening comes just a bit more than a week after the city’s fourth Harris Teeter opened on 4th Street SE, in the new Forest City Washington mixed-use center in Ward 6. That chain now has four locations in D.C.


Huge Food Convention Coming To D.C. This Weekend (Nov. 8-9)

MetroCooking DC’s Metropolitan Cooking and Entertaining Show will be at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center this weekend, and will feature celebrity chefs like Bobby Flay and Guy Fieri.

Tickets cost between $10 and $500, depending on the events you choose to participate in.

Exhibitions include tasting and entertaining workshops, celebrity book signings and cooking presentations.

Get all the details about the event on MetroCookingDC.com.


Courthouse California Tortilla in Arlington Offers Free Burritos Thursday

The California Tortilla at 2057 Wilson Blvd. in Arlington has a new franchise owner and has been closed for renovations, according to ARLnow.com.

To celebrate its reopening, all customers can get a free burrito and a drink from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. and 5 to 7:30 p.m. Thursday. The first 20 customers in line will win free burritos for a year.


D.C. Ramen Restaurant Offers Special Menu For Godzilla’s Birthday

Godzilla’s birthday was apparently Monday (Nov. 3), and a D.C. Ramen restaurant will be offering specials throughout the week to celebrate.

Daikaya, located at 705 6th Street NW, also had a party and film screening for the movie monster.

#happybirthdaygodzilla

A photo posted by Daikaya (@daikayadc) on


Harris Teeter Opens 4th D.C. Location

D.C. got a new mayor and legalized recreational marijuana Tuesday, but something else big happened, too… at least if you’re a foodie.

The city’s fourth Harris Teeter opened on 4th Street SE, in the new Forest City Washington mixed-use center.

The high-end grocery chain now has four locations in D.C., five if you count the one in Arlington.


The Most Trending Halloween Candy in 2014 for Each State

A map put together by SumoCoupon shows the trendiest treat in each state, determined by Google searches.

(Photo/Map by SumoCoupon)

(Photo/Map by SumoCoupon)

For Maryland, a treat most might not even consider candy made the top trending Halloween treat…raisins. Virginia also has a questionable treat show up. Although it is candy, it’s not necessarily a popular choice, or one you see often — Pez.

The map also includes D.C. with a treat most people can get on board with — Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups.


Celebrate American Beer Day With Award-Winning Local Brews

The 2014 Great American Beer Festival competition (the largest commercial beer competition in the world, held October 2-4) awarded more than 250 medals to commercial breweries throughout the United States.

The competition involves a blind taste test from industry professionals in each specified style category to identify the three beers that best represent each style.

Below are the local beers and breweries that medaled. If you’re celebrating American Beer Day, consider doing so with a bottle of one of these.

Gold

      • Rauchbier, Gordon Biersch Brewery Restaurant, Annapolis, MD, Smoke Beer
      • Schwartz Bier, Devils Backbone Brewing Co., VA, German-Style Schwarzbier

Silver

      • The Citizen, DC Brau Brewing Co., DC, Belgian- and French-Style Ale
      • Turbo Cougar, Devils Backbone Brewing Co., VA, Bock
      • Belgian IPA, Gordon Biersch Brewery Restaurant, Rockville MD, American-Belgo-Style Ale
      • Old Pro Gose, Union Craft Brewing, MD, German-Style Sour Ale

Bronze

      • Sweet Baby Jesus!, DuClaw Brewing Co., MD, Chocolate Beer
      • Gold, Heavy Seas Beer, MD, Golden or Blonde Ale
      • Alt Bier, Devils Backbone Brewing Co., VA, German-Style Altbier
      • “Hydraulion” Red, Three Notch’d Brewing Co., VA, Irish-Style Red Ale

To see if your favorite beer is on the full list of winners, click here.


Dutch Guys Fool Food Expo Attendees Into Complimenting McDonald’s

You may be familiar with the Jimmy Kimmel Live segment, “Lie Witness News,” during which crews from the show do things like go to the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival and ask people their opinions on bands that do not exist.

People (the ones who make it on air, anyway) pretend to be knowledgeable so they don’t look dumb on camera. Of course, the end result is they end up looking REALLY dumb.

Well, a couple of Dutch guys have adopted this concept to fool foodies into thinking McDonald’s grub is delicious.

The video begins with footage of them visiting a McDonald’s, buying several menu items and deconstructing them — cutting them up into smaller pieces and arranging them so they won’t be recognizable.

Then they drive to a food expo to, as the English subtitles explain, “serve some McDonald’s snacks to the biggest food experts of the Benelux [Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg], yet telling them they’re trying out a new, organic alternative to fastfood.”

The video shows several expo attendees reacting well to the food, and then the pranksters begin asking them specifically how the snacks compare to McDonald’s.

That’s when things get funny for us, but embarrassing for the people on film.

Watch the video below, and click “settings” to add the English subtitles.


Starbucks Announces New Holiday Latte

You COULD roast chestnuts on an open fire this holiday season. Or you could take the easy route and head to your local Starbucks.

This year, the coffee chain will introduce its first new holiday beverage in five years. The chestnut praline latte will be alongside other winter favorites like the eggnog latte and peppermint mocha.

According to Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz, the addition of new drink is one of many initiatives to boost end-of-year sales, which dropped off last year due to more customers skipping the mall and turning to online retailers, instead.

“Holiday 2013 witnessed a seismic shift in consumer behavior in which many traditional brick-and-mortar retailers experienced a decline in foot traffic compared to significant growth in online shopping,” he says.

“Since that time, we have been focused on radically redefining the Starbucks retail experience for our partners, customers and stores. As a result of the work we’ve done, Starbucks is poised for a great holiday – our innovation pipeline is strong and we have a number of initiatives ready to launch during the holiday and into calendar 2015 and beyond.”


Lay’s Do us a Flavor Contest Winner Announced

Starting in July, the race was on between four fan-submitted Lay’s potato chip flavor ideas.

Cheddar Bacon Mac and Cheese, Cappuccino, Mango Salsa and Wasabi Ginger were in the running, and consumers could vote on Facebook and Twitter for their favorite.

Well, the votes are in, and Wasabi Ginger is the champion. About 1 million votes were cast online for the promotion, according to an Associated Press report.

The woman behind the idea, a nurse from New Jersey, will get $1 million or a portion of a year in sales, whichever is more.

Last year’s Do us a Flavor contest winner, Cheesy Garlic Bread, is still on shelves.


Carve Yourself a Pumpkin Keg

Pumpkin beer straight from the tap or liquor store is so last year. Now you can take a new twist on carving pumpkins and actually carve yourself a pumpkin keg.

The good folks at Mashable created a video of how to turn your pumpkin into a beer keg, and it may not be as complicated as you think.

Here’s what you need:

– Medium to large-sized pumpkin

– Large carving knife

– Pumpkin carving kit, or small carving knife

– Marker

– Spigot

– Spoon

– Bucket

Once you have the materials, carve out the top of the pumpkin, remove the seeds and pulp (like you would for a jack-o-lantern) and then make room for the spigot.

See the video and full instructions HERE.


Open Table Releases List of Best Wine Restaurants

You know what they say. Life is too short to drink bad wine.

Thank goodness, then, for Open Table’s newly released list of the restaurants with the best wine lists in the U.S. The reservation site says it analyzed more than 5 million reviews of more than 20,000 restaurants across the country to compile the list. Here are the local restaurants that made the cut by “offering the finest selections to complement every dish.”

AIDA Bistro & Wine Bar
Columbia, Md.
Italian

Bistro Blanc
Glenelg, Md.
Contemporary American

Cinghiale – Enoteca
Baltimore, Md.
Italian

The Curious Grape
Arlington, Va.
Contemporary American

Grand Cru Wine Bar & Bistro
Arlington, Va.
French American

Iron Bridge Wine Company
Columbia, Md.
Contemporary American

Pairings Bistro
Bel Air, Md.
Contemporary European

The Vineyard Wine Bar
Havre De Grace, Md.
Tapas / Small Plates

Vino Volo
Bethesda, Md.
Contemporary American

The Wine Kitchen on the Creek
Frederick, Md.
American

WK Hearth
Purcellville, Va.
Italian

See the full list HERE.


Several Local Independent Restaurants Among Top-Grossing in U.S.

Restaurant Business Magazine (RBM) is out with its annual list of the 100 top-grossing independent eateries in the nation, and several from our area made the list.

3. Old Ebbitt Grill, D.C. — $26,687,861
The highest ranking establishment from our area is this historic restaurant located near the White House. Having opened in 1856 as a saloon, several presidents were known to dine and drink there. According to its website, Old Ebbitt serves breakfast, brunch, lunch and dinner and is famous for its oysters. (owned by Clyde’s Restaurant Group)
Average check size: $40
Square footage: 25,000
Number of seats: 508
Number of meals sold: 600,000

15. The Hamilton, D.C. — $17,855,655
The Hamilton’s restaurant serves everything from burgers to sushi, and its music venue serves up live tunes. (owned by Clyde’s Restaurant Group)
Average check size: $45
Square footage: 40,000
Number of seats: 1,000
Number of meals sold: 400,000

34. Sequoia, D.C. — $15,000,000
Sequoia has every kind of seafood you could imagine, plus views of the Potomac, the Kennedy Center, Roosevelt Island and the Virginia skyline. The menu items tend towards Latin flare.
Average check size: $46
Square footage: 26,000
Number of seats: 1,000
Number of meals sold: 300,000

62. Mike’s “American”, Springfield, VA — $12,880,000
Mike’s “American” lives up to its name with burgers, classic beef dishes, roasted chicken and ribs on the menu. As for decor, it’s all about neon, baseball and other Americana flares. (Owned by Great American Restaurants)
Average check size: $26
Square footage: 44,049
Number of seats: 300
Number of meals sold: 440,000

71. Tower Oaks Lodge, Rockville, MD — $11,800,002
Timber, fireplaces and a boathouse bar define this rustic restaurant, which serves up hardy surf and turf options and also offers a raw bar. (owned by Clyde’s Restaurant Group)
Average check size: $23
Square footage: 21,000
Number of seats: 525
Number of meals sold: 450,000

82. Jackson’s Mighty Fine Food & Lucky Lounge, Reston, VA — $11,200,001
This restaurant describes itself as “an upbeat 1940’s dinner house,” and it’s menu is enticing if you’re in the mood for beef or fish filets. It even has a few sushi rolls available. (Owned by Great American Restaurants)
Average check size: $26
Square footage: 11,000
Number of seats: 260
Number of meals sold: 415,000

94. Coastal Flats, Fairfax, VA — $10,560,000
Don’t be afraid to wear flip-flops to this beach-themed joint, which serves a lot of seafood sandwiches and entrees. (Owned by Great American Restaurants)
Average check size: $25
Number of seats: 180
Number of meals sold: 400,000

98. Willow Creek Farm, Broadlands, VA — $10,220,570
Reminiscent of the 1800s with its stone and timber dining room decorated with weather vanes, Willow Creek Farm’s menu is full of stick-to-your-ribs dishes like chicken cassoulet and pumpkin ravioli. (owned by Clyde’s Restaurant Group)
Average check size: $29
Square footage: 35,000
Number of seats: 782
Number of meals sold: 361,000

100. Sweetwater Tavern, Falls Church, VA — $9,890,000
It’s all about beer at this microbrewery but if you want something to wash down, it has all the basics — burgers, ribs, steak, roasted chicken and a few seafood and pasta options. (Owned by Great American Restaurants)
Average check size: $24
Square footage: 21,144
Number of seats: 280
Number of meals sold: 400,000

See the full list HERE.


Local Breweries Medal at Essentially the Olympics of American Beer

The 2014 Great American Beer Festival (GABF) competition (October 2-4) awarded more than 250 medals to commercial breweries throughout the United States. GABF is the largest commercial beer competition in the world. This was its 28th year.

GABF invites industry professionals from around the world to blindly taste beers in each specified style category to identify the three beers that best represent each style.

Here are the local breweries that medaled:

Gold

      • Rauchbier, Gordon Biersch Brewery Restaurant, Annapolis, MD, Smoke Beer
      • Schwartz Bier, Devils Backbone Brewing Co., VA, German-Style Schwarzbier

Silver

      • The Citizen, DC Brau Brewing Co., DC, Belgian- and French-Style Ale
      • Turbo Cougar, Devils Backbone Brewing Co., VA, Bock
      • Belgian IPA, Gordon Biersch Brewery Restaurant, Rockville MD, American-Belgo-Style Ale
      • Old Pro Gose, Union Craft Brewing, MD, German-Style Sour Ale

Bronze

      • Sweet Baby Jesus!, DuClaw Brewing Co., MD, Chocolate Beer
      • Gold, Heavy Seas Beer, MD, Golden or Blonde Ale
      • Alt Bier, Devils Backbone Brewing Co., VA, German-Style Altbier
      • “Hydraulion” Red, Three Notch’d Brewing Co., VA, Irish-Style Red Ale

To see if your favorite beer is on the full list of winners, click here.


Pumpkin Spice Mania

It’s that time of year again — when pumpkin, apple spice and candy corn-flavored wares seem to fill the shelves of grocery and liquor stores everywhere. Check out our list of the most interesting specialty products you can find out there this season.


Soda Makers Pledge to Reduce Calorie Consumption

Coke, Pepsi and Dr Pepper said Tuesday they’ll work to reduce the calories Americans get from beverages by 20 percent over the next decade by more aggressively marketing smaller sizes, bottled water and diet drinks.

In recent years, soda makers have faced pressure over the role sugary drinks play in fueling obesity rates. READ MORE


Thrillist Creates Metro Food Map

Thrillist has created a map that shows you which restaurants are closest to each Metro stop. Check it out HERE.


Krispy Kreme To Offer “Ghostbusters” Doughnuts

There’s something delicious in the neighborhood. If you live near a Krispy Kreme, that is.

To celebrate the 30th anniversary of “Ghostbusters,” Krispy Kreme and Sony Pictures have crossed streams joined forces to produce two commemorative doughnuts that will be available in stores Sept. 29 through Oct. 31.

One is described as a marshmallow Kreme-filled shell topped with a Slimer-inspired green splat of ectoplasmic residue icing and the Ghostbusters logo. The other, also marshmallow Kreme-filled, is decorated with the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man’s face and his hat, made of hardened sugar.

Photo credit: Krispy Kreme

Photo credit: Krispy Kreme

To find a Krispy Kreme near you, click here.


Eating Guide: Rosh Hashanah

Rosh Hashanah, the two-day celebration of the Jewish New Year, begins Wednesday evening.

Into a holiday feast, but not so into making it? We have a guide to local restaurants offering special foods for the high holiday HERE.

Or if you want to drink to celebrate instead, you can make your own sparkly cocktail featuring classic Rosh Hashanah flavors: apple and honey.


In-N-Out Delivering Frozen Burgers

For one day, D.C. residents won’t have to travel all the way to the West Coast to get a famous In-N-Out burger.

OrderAhead, a food delivery app, just launched in DC and has an offer for “Double Double” burgers to be delivered straight to your doorstep on Thursday, Sept. 25.

After filling out the online order form you download the app and pay for it Thursday. Then enjoy your frozen burger after nuking it in the microwave.

OrderAhead also offers delivery and pickup from several D.C. restaurants including Smoke & Barrel and Ben’s Chili Bowl – whose food is fresh, not frozen, of course.


Oktoberfests in the DMV

You don’t have to fly to Munich to celebrate Oktoberfest — just take a quick trip to D.C., Maryland or Virginia and partake in beer-centered festivities.

Click here to see our guide of upcoming Oktoberfests in the D.C./Baltimore area.


Starbucks Testing Stout Latte

In select markets in Ohio and Florida, Starbucks is testing a latte that it says has the “savory toasty malt” flavor of a foamy mug of stout.

Read more about the beer-flavored brew here.


&pizza Bringing 9 New Locations to the DMV

&pizza, the local, assembly-line style pizza chain commonly referred to as “the Chipotle of pizza places,” is bringing 9 new locations to D.C., Maryland and Virginia by early 2015.

Currently, there are five &pizza shops in D.C. and one in Bethesda.

Coming soon: A much anticipated Virginia location (in the Springfield mall), three Maryland locations (one in Gaithersburg, one in Germantown and one TBA), a location in both Dulles and Reagan National airports and an additional three in D.C.


Butter is Coffee’s New Best Friend

Forget zero-calorie sweeteners and “skinny” lattes – butter is the new trend for coffee lovers.

Dave Asprey, the founder of Bulletproof Coffee, is credited with the trend. Asprey’s recipe calls for blending the butter and coffee to make it a frothy, creamy drink.

He says everyone from celebrities to business executives are taking their morning coffee with butter now and drinking it in place of breakfast.

But not just any butter will do. The Bulletproof concoction requires you use two tablespoons of grass-fed butter because of its higher fat content.

Fans of the drink claim the butter’s high-fat content will slow the time it takes for your body to metabolize the caffeine, giving you prolonged energy. However, critics of buttery coffee say it’s not healthy.


DC VegFest, Capitol Bacon Festival Both Coming to Capitol Riverfront Saturday

Just a few blocks away from each other, veggie enthusiasts and bacon lovers will be gathering near Nats Park for food festivals this weekend.

The Vegetarian Society of DC founded DC VegFest, which “aims to highlight how easy and delicious it is to choose vegetarian foods in and around the nation’s capital” in 1997.

Admission and food samples are free, and the festival will also feature more than 100 vendors, a beer garden, live music, cooking demos and presentations from authors and food celebs.

VegFest will be held at Yards Park in the Capitol Riverfront from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Then from 1 to 7 p.m., the inaugural Capitol Bacon Festival (at the Half Street Fairgrounds) will feature bacon eating contests, bacon cooking demonstrations, live music, bacon cooking competitions, full service bars and a vendor village.

Organizers describe the festival as a “bacon-themed block party.”

General admission tickets are $25.


H Street Festival Will Have Marinara Dunk Tank, Eating Contests

Among other things, this year’s H Street Festival (Sept. 20) will feature several eating contests and a marinara sauce dunk tank.

Pizza Parts & Service is behind the dunk tank; according to its Facebook page, buying two slices of pizza will also get you three free throws. If you manage to dunk someone, you’ll get an entire pie on the house.

Po Boy Jim is hosting one of the eating contests, scheduled for 6:30 p.m. The winner will get a trophy and the opportunity to customize and name a po boy to be on special at the restaurant during the first week of October.

Ben’s Chili Bowl will host its second annual half smoke eating contest, and the official H Street Festival events page says the Ben’s Chili Bowl Fashion Stage (at 10th Street) will host burrito and pie eating contests, too.

Lots of H Street restaurants will also offer festival specials.


Testicle Festival Coming To D.C.

Just when you foodies thought you’d sampled everything D.C. has to offer, along comes The Festicle.

In case the title doesn’t make it clear enough, it’s a festival featuring a celebrity chef testicle cook-off. That’s right, Rocky Mountain oyster fans. This is your chance to get your hands on some professionally-prepared animal genitals.

To be held at the D.C. fairgrounds (1299 Half Street SE) on Sept. 21, the event will also feature bands, “micro-wrestling” and aerial performances. Tickets cost between $20 and $25. You can purchase them here.

Festicle organizers advise you to “step right up and have a ball (literally).” No word on if there will be grilled wieners available for those who don’t prefer roasted nuts.

For updates, follow TheFesticle on Twitter or Facebook.


Chuy’s Opens Location in Fairfax

A favorite restaurant among Texans has opened its first location in northern Virginia.

Chuy’s famous “big as yo’ face” burritos, Chuychangas, margaritas and “Texas martinis” can now be found at 11219 Lee Highway in Fairfax.

The restaurant is known for fun decor, and this one will be no different.

There’s already chatter about a nacho bar car, a nacho bar inside a vintage car trunk. Bonus — the nacho bar is free to visit during happy hour, according to Washingtonian.


It’s National Cheeseburger Day!

It seems like every food has it’s own “day” anymore, but if there’s one you should celebrate as an American, it’s this one.

It’s National Cheeseburger Day, and we have lists of the best creative burgers in the District and in Baltimore.


Olive Garden Defends Report Attacking Its Breadsticks

You can get much further with a kind word and breadsticks than you can with a kind word alone. A famed Italian-American said that once… or something similar.

And Olive Garden’s parent company (Darden Restaurants Inc.) said essentially the same thing Monday in response to a nearly 300-page report penned by restaurant investor Starboard Value that dissed the Italian chain’s practice of liberally distributing breadsticks to customers.

Starboard is lobbying to gain control of Darden’s board of directors at the company’s annual meeting Oct. 10, according to the Associated Press.

But Darden, even though it has struggled to boost sales at Olive Garden recently, says its bread baskets convey “Italian generosity” and “have been an icon of brand equity since 1982.”

To read more about the breadstick bickering, click here. Starboard also criticized Olive Garden’s salad and dressing techniques, its apparently-unsalted pasta water and even the length of its asparagus spears.


Southern Comfort Introduces Gingerbread Spice Flavor

Everyone’s all about pumpkin spice right now, but Southern Comfort is already looking ahead to the holidays.

Starting in October, you’ll be able to buy a Gingerbread Spice-flavored version of the New Orleans liqueur, according to FoodBeast.

Be forewarned, though, traditional Southern Comfort is 35 percent alcohol by volume. At just 15 percent, the Gingerbread Spice flavor is considerably weaker.


Red Robin’s Fall Menu Includes Baconized Shake

Through Nov. 2, of-age Red Robin fans will be able to enjoy a maple-y, bacon-y dessert along with their burgers and fries.

The Beam®-N-Bacon Boozy Shake is made with Jim Beam® Maple Bourbon, caramel and vanilla soft serve ice cream. It’s topped with bacon bits AND a strip of candied bacon.

A spiced pumpkin pie milkshake that was introduced last year is back on the menu through Nov. 2, too.


McDonald’s Trademarks ‘McBrunch’

The trendy midday meal known as brunch isn’t going anywhere, and it looks like the world’s biggest fast food chain knows it.

McDonald’s has filed a federal trademark registration for the word “McBrunch,” according to Burger Business.

The report says the chain applied for a similar trademark back in 2001, too, but later abandoned the pursuit.

However, considering the restaurant’s falling sales figures, the powers that be behind the golden arches may be looking to boost profits with fresh menu items.

As a matter of fact, The Associated Press wrote earlier this year that McDonald’s was eyeing making breakfast available past its famous 10:30 a.m. cutoff time.

There has also been increased competition within the fast-food breakfast market recently (here’s looking at you, Waffle Taco), which could have spurred Mickey D’s to up its game.


Hershey’s New Logo Causing A Stink

The Hershey Company has rolled out a new logo. Some like it, while others are saying it resembles an unappetizing emoji character. Read more and see the logo here.


Starbucks Announces Early Release of Pumpkin Spice Latte

Pumpkin lovers, rejoice! Fall is coming early. At least in the form of a latte.

Starbucks announced that the popular Pumpkin Spice Latte will be available on Aug. 26 instead of Sept. 1 this year. But you need a special password to get it.

Starbucks even went as far as creating a Twitter and Tumblr account for the Pumpkin Spice Latte.

The orange-sunglasses-wearing latte announced a “Spot the Spice” challenge to give the beverage’s biggest fans an opportunity to bring the drink to their stores early. The account tweeted a daily clue beginning Aug. 21.

On Aug. 26, customers who show or say the password to a barista in their local Starbucks store will “unlock” the beverage early, making the seasonal latte available to everyone who visits the store.

The first customer who unlocks a store will be acknowledged by having his or her name displayed on an in-store sign.


D.C. Startup Delivers Hot, $6 Lunch To Your Office

Hot, healthy, fast and cheap.

Those are the principles behind MunchQuick, a company that launched June 30 in D.C. and is looking to show District foodies that high quality meals don’t have to be expensive, and that cheap takeout isn’t the only thing that can curb appetites quickly.

Read more about MunchQuick here.


D.C. Eatery Named Bon Appetit Magazine’s Best New Restaurant

A Capitol Hill eatery is garnering national attention for its delicious dishes and difficulty getting inside the door — but both are expected after it was named America’s “Best New Restaurant.”

Read more about Rose’s Luxury, on 8th Street SE, here.


Five Guys Testing Milkshakes in 3 Northern Va. Locations

Five Guys already has the burgers and fries down pat, and now the chain is testing out the third element of the ultimate American junk food trio. That’s right — milkshakes.

The shakes will start out as plain vanilla, but customers will be able to add cherries, chocolate, bacon, peanut butter, Oreos, coffee, bananas, salted caramel, strawberries and/or malted milk.

The local test stores are the locations on Quander Road in Alexandria, Ox Road in Lorton and Stafford Market Place in Stafford.

You may even be recognized as an Official Five Guys Milkshake Tester and win a t-shirt if you post a photo of your shake on Twitter along with the #ShareYourShake hashtag.

Happy slurping!


Saturday Is National Rum Day!

Captain Jack Sparrow will be delighted to hear it — Saturday is National Rum Day!

To celebrate, we have lists of special events going on in honor of the island liquor, and the best places to get an everyday rum cocktail in D.C. Click here to learn more.


Do You Pay Attention to the Salt Content of Your Food?

High sodium intake increases blood pressure, which is a risk factor for cardiovascular disease, and most people consume nearly double the amount that is recommended by the World Health Organization.

While adults should get less than 2,000 milligrams of salt per day, the average intake is more like 3,950, according to a new report from The New England Journal of Medicine.

Calories are what most people look for when they are determining how healthy a food is, but salt content is also important to monitor.

Check out this list of the fast food dishes that contain the most sodium. Some menu items might surprise you, like the offenders from Starbucks and Subway.


Which Restaurants Have The Fastest Wi-Fi?

If you often find yourself making a decision on where to go for a meal or coffee based on the internet speeds available there, you’ll want to read this.

According to a recent OpenSignal.com report, Starbucks blows other restaurants away when it comes to getting online. Thanks to Google, the chain’s download speed is up to 9.01 megabits per second (mbps).

It’s fastest competing food chain, McDonald’s, is less than half that fast, at 4.187 mbps. After McDonald’s comes Tim Horton’s (1.901), Dunkin Donuts (1.723) and Panera (1.042).

All the Open Signal report’s data on internet speeds comes from users of the OpenSignal app.


SNL Celebrates 40 Years By Making Jokes Like ‘Schweddy Balls’ A Reality

Next year, Saturday Night Live will officially be “over the hill.” The big 4-0.

NBC is planning a three-hour live special for Feb. 15, but that’s not the only celebration it has in mind.

SNL has paired with IT’SUGAR to make fictional products like Schweddy Balls and Colon Blow cereal a reality. They will be available online and in stores starting Sept. 13.

There will also be novelty candy bars based on characters like Bill Hader’s Stefon, Molly Shannon’s “superstar” Mary Katherine Gallagher and The Ladies Man.


Dunkin’ Donuts “Take a Bite, Take a Pic” For Shark Week

Shark Week has become a must-see and even celebrated television series on the Discovery Channel, and it begins again on Sunday.

Dunkin’ Donuts decided to celebrate the return of Shark Week with their “Take a Bite, Take a Pic” promotion, where consumers snap a selfie taking a bite of a breakfast item.

It’s not all for nothing, though. Those who post their photos with the hashtag #DDSHARKWEEK could have their photo featured on Discovery’s “Shark After Dark” and Dunkin’ Donuts’ Times Square billboard, a Shark Week prize pack or a $100 Dunkin’ Donuts gift card.


Richmond’s Famous Sugar Shack Opening NoVa Location

Sugar Shack Donuts, a Richmond, Virginia staple, is opening another location in Alexandria.

The shop’s first birthday was in June, but it has already made a USA Today list of the nation’s best doughnuts.

The report said the store is “lovingly designed and run” and has “whimsical menu.” Flavors include maple bacon, gingerbread and Samoa.

According to a August 4 Facebook post, the new store will open in a few months at 804 N. Henry Street and it will be run “in the exact same fashion” as the original. That means you can expect a lot of quirk.

Recently, Sugar Shack has tweeted photos of Pac-Man themed pastries and offers such as “free donuts for blowing a kiss to your favorite flavor.”


Dunkin’ Donuts Releases Coffee Donut

America’s favorite donut and coffee chain already has several flavors of donut-flavored coffee, but now it has finally made a delicious move in the other direction.

Dunkin’ Donuts shelves will now stock two new coffee-flavored donuts.

That’s right, you can now sip donut-flavored coffee while chowing down on coffee-flavored donuts. It’s a turvy topsy world.


Baltimore and D.C. Restaurant Weeks Are Upon Us

Baltimore Restaurant Week is here, but it’s actually more like Baltimore Restaurant week-and-a-half. That means it will butt right up to the beginning of D.C.’s restaurant week, which begins on Aug. 11.

From Aug. 1 through Aug. 10, a slew of Charm City eateries will be offering two-course lunches for $15 and/or three-course dinners for $20-$30. Some will even offer brunch specials.

If you don’t get your fill of fancy food in Baltimore, restaurants in D.C., northern Virginia and Maryland’s D.C. suburbs will offer specials Aug. 11 through Aug. 17.

For a full list of participating Baltimore spots, visit BaltimoreRestaurantWeek.com. To book a table for the District’s restaurant week, visit RAMW.org.


Wegmans Plans 2 New Locations Locally

Wegmans Food Markets says it plans to add 10 new stores in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic regions over the next year or two, including two locations in our area. Click here for more info.


All-You-Can-Eat Wings At Hooters Tuesday

Wear your loosest pants to work on Tuesday. In honor of National Chicken Wing Day, Hooters restaurants are offering an all-you-can-eat-deal on what is probably their most famous fare for just $12.99.

NationalChickenWingDay.com claims that Americans ate more than 27 billion chicken wings in 2013 and that 1.23 billion wings consumed during Super Bowl weekend alone.

In case you were wondering, July 29 has been National Chicken Wing Day, as proclaimed by then-Buffalo, New York Mayor Stan Makowski, since 1977.


Wendy’s Testing Build-You-Own-Sandwich Concept

Beef or chicken? Pretzel bun or regular bun? And what kind of sauce? You’ll have so many choices if the fast-casual style program Wendy’s is testing in Ohio becomes a reality through the rest of the country.

According to QSR magazine, a build-your-own-sandwich program would allow customers to choose from burger or chicken patties, several cheeses, toppings like lettuce, tomato, red onion and seven different sauces.

New menu offerings and restaurant redesigns have been part of a “brand transformation that CEO Emil Brolick has stressed since coming on board in 2011,” QSR reports.

You may have also noticed the new, millennial-friendly “Wendy’s girl” in the chain’s commercials and revamped logo.


Old Bay Doughnut Chicken Sandwich Makes Debut at Astro

Astro Doughnuts & Fried Chicken, which has a brick and mortar store on G Street NW and a food truck that operates in Virginia, launched its new Old Bay doughnut chicken sandwich today.

Two halves of an Old Bay doughnut (with Old Bay in the dough AND sprinkled on top) surround a fried chicken breast, locally sourced lettuce and tomato, and the customer’s choice of bbq, blue cheese, ranch, Sriracha, buffalo, or honey mustard dressing.

The $9 sandwich will be sold Monday through Friday in the store and Tuesday through Saturday on the truck. No word on how long it will be on the menu, so get it while you can.

Old Bay doughnut chicken sandwich. (Photo credit: Astro Doughnuts)

Old Bay doughnut chicken sandwich. (Photo credit: Astro Doughnuts)


Gifford’s Ice Cream, A Maine Favorite, Makes Push Into Capital Area

A long-loved ice cream company based in Maine is trying to break into the D.C. market, and it’s spreading the word with an ice cream truck tour of the region.

The “Gifford’s Good Times Ice Cream Truck” has been making the rounds in D.C., Maryland and Virginia since late June.

Gifford’s expansion into the area follows its 2011 acquisition of Maryland-based Gifford’s Ice Cream & Candy Co. Although the two companies share the same name and similar stories, the families are not related.

Gifford’s products have recently been introduced to customers at Whole Foods Market, Balducci’s, Wawa, and other grocery stores in the D.C. area. The “Good Times” truck has been increasing the company’s local visibility even further.

And, on Monday, U.S. Senator Angus King hosted a Gifford’s non-partisan ice cream social in his office to help his home state’s company earn some fans.

It’s worth mentioning that report about the expansion in the Portland Press Herald, a Maine newspaper, claims that competition in our area is “more fierce” than up north, “because ice cream sells better in the South, with its year-round warm weather.”

We guess they missed the fact that the DMV endured about 5,000 snow storms this past winter, but that’s OK. We will welcome their state’s cool and creamy desserts to our store shelves, anyway.


DC Restaurant’s Breakfast Sandwich Makes List of Must-Haves in the Nation

When people think of breakfast or brunch in the District, bottomless mimosas and bloody Mary bars are what come to mind first — the food is often an afterthought.

But one D.C. restaurant’s hearty breakfast menu item recently made a popular food blog’s list of “12 Must-Eat Breakfast Sandwiches Across America,” and it’s not taking a backseat to anything else on the table.

Red Apron’s “Buenos Dias” — egg, chorizo, cheddar cheese, pickled onion and sour cream on an Italian tigelle — “is a South American riff on an Egg McMuffin,” according to SeriousEats.com.

A tigelle, by the way, is a type of flatbread that’s cooked in lard.

“Bolder flavors and heat from chorizo and pickled onion, the Buenos Dias is a more adventurous breakfast sandwich with a bit of a kick. Every edge is griddled and fried to perfection, each bite is a satisfying blend of crisp, rich, savory flavor.”

And you can get all of that lardy goodness for just $5.50. A side of Red Apron’s brewed coffee is just $2.50. Not bad. Not bad at all.


‘Dogfish Inn’ Now Taking Reservations

Can’t decide what you like more, craft beer or the beach? No worries. Reservations are now being taken for the 16 rooms at the new Dogfish Inn in Lewes, Delaware.

“The Dogfish Inn brings Dogfish Head’s signature off-centered approach to hotel culture and beer tourism,” according to the brewery’s website. It “celebrates the scenic beaches, charming towns and outdoor adventures coastal Delaware has to offer.”

The inn, which is about 11.5 miles from the actual brewery in Milton and about 7 miles from the brewpub and restaurant in Rehoboth Beach, is basically an expansion of the Dogfish Head Brewmaster’s Suite at the Inn at Canal Square, also in Lewes, which has already been around for nearly a decade.

To see photos of the quirky hotel, visit the Dogfish Inn website.


Behold: The Selfie Toaster

For the low, low cost of $75, you can own a toaster that burns an image of your face into bread.

Just upload a high-resolution photo of yourself to the Vermont Novelty Toaster Corporation’s website and they’ll send you back the vainest product of all time, complete with the original photo you sent printed on the side.

This is the same company that offers the Jesus toaster, the Edgar Allen Poe toaster and the peace sign toaster. Check out their other products here.


Two Local BBQ Joints Make List of Nation’s Best

Two local barbecue joints — one in D.C. and one in Maryland — made Open Table’s list of the nation’s top 30.

To see where to go to get the best brisket, ribs and pulled pork in our area, click here.


All-Vegan Restaurant to Open Two D.C. Locations

Native Foods Café, a casual, all-vegan restaurant chain founded in 1994 in California, will open two D.C. locations in September.

So far, the only locations found outside California are in Colorado, Oregon and Chicago.

D.C.’s Native Food Cafés will be at 701 Pennsylvania Avenue NW and 1150 Connecticut Avenue NW, and will feature menu items like Seitan meatball subs, Tempeh atop kale with sesame sauce, non-dairy desserts and, of course, salads.


Lay’s Announces Crazy Finalists in “Do Us A Flavor” Contest

The Frito-Lay company has announced the four finalists for its 2014 “Do Us A Flavor” contest. They are Cappuccino, Cheddar Bacon Mac & Cheese, Mango Salsa and Wasabi Ginger.

They will be found on grocery shelves beginning later this month, and snack enthusiasts will then be able to vote online for their favorite through mid-October.

Last year’s contest finalists were Chicken & Waffles, Cheesy Garlic Bread and Sriracha. Cheesy Garlic Bread was the winning flavor.


Appliance of the Future: Calorie-Counting Microwave

This sounds like something Joan Jetson would have.

General Electric researchers are working on perfecting the prototype of a device that can scan foods and deliver an approximate calorie count, reports the MIT Technology Review.

Matt Webster, the GE employee who invented the machine, says the technology may eventually be incorporated into a kitchen appliance such as a microwave. That would be particularly fitting, since it works by sending low-energy microwaves through the food it’s measuring.

The prototype only works on “homogenous mixtures,” according to the report, but GE scientists are hoping that more advanced versions will be able to count the calories in, say, an omelet or a cheeseburger.

The three data points used to measure the calories are fat content, water content and weight. Meanwhile, calories from sugar, fiber and protein “can be approximated by subtracting the water and fat weight from the total weight,” the report says.


TGI Fridays Introduces Endless Apps

Endless summer? That’s a pipe dream. Endless appetizers, however… that’s attainable.

This week, TGI Fridays announced a summer-long promotion during which diners can choose any one appetizer from a list of the restaurant’s most popular and receive unlimited refills of that starter during their visit.

The apps included in the promotion are: loaded potato skins, garlic & basil bruschetta, mozzarella sticks, boneless buffalo wings, tuscan spinach dip, crispy green bean fries, and pan-seared pot stickers.

So, is this going to bring in money for TGI Fridays this summer, or are people fill up on their chosen appetizers and then leave?

David Corsun, director of the University of Denver’s Fritz Knoebel School of Hospitality Management, tells CBS News he’s not sure the promotion was the best idea for the company.

“I hope for their sake they don’t run it long-term,” he says. “It’s a loss-leader. They’re not going to make money on it. They’re trying to drive [customer] traffic — the question is whether they drive in the traffic they want.”

The appetizer promotion comes on the heels of announcement that the Carlson Group is selling the chain to Sentinel Capital Partners and TriArtisan Capital Partners.


General Mills Takes a Page From Taco Bell’s Book

Great news for those of you who love nacho cheese-flavored taco shells so much that you need access to them 24 hours per day, not just until the drive through closes at 2 a.m.

The Old El Paso brand of Mexican foods, owned by General Mills, is riding the wave that began with Taco Bell’s Doritos Locos Taco.

Coming soon to your local grocery store: the Old El Paso Bold Taco Kit. It includes 10 “Stand ‘n Stuff” hard taco shells “blasted with nacho cheese flavoring inside and out.”


At a 7-Eleven Near You: 3-D Doritos Filled With Cheese

As if taquitos, Big Bites and Slurpees weren’t enough temptation, 7-Eleven now stocks a snack that is basically a 3-D Dorito filled with cheese.

Doritos Loaded® cost $1.99 for a four-pack. They are apparently crunchy on the outside, encrusted with the classic Doritos Nacho Cheese flavoring, and melty on the inside. They are also served warm and come in a handy to-go box.

A news release says Doritos Loaded® were actually first tested in a few D.C.-area stores earlier this year, and the locals who discovered them “created demand for the product.” Way to go, D.C. snackers!

You can find the closest 7-Eleven store that stocks Doritos Loaded® at doritos.7-eleven.com.


Cold Stone Creamery Launches Bottled ‘Milk Shakers’

Just in time for the dog days of summer, there’s a more convenient way to get a cold, creamy treat from Cold Stone Creamery.

Cold Stone Milk Shakers™, which were launched last month, are now available at select 7-Eleven and Duane Reade stores, as well as at several other gas stations and convenience stores.

The available flavors are Chocolate Fudge Brownie, Strawberry Swirl and Simply Vanilla. Calorie counts range from 390 to 450 per 12-ounce bottle.

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