It’s finally here. The weekend District residents both cheer (drinks, patriotism, friends, holiday weekend) and fear (traffic, tourists, restricted parking). If you can’t make it down to the presidential ceremonies this weekend (or maybe your invitation to the Inaugural Ball got “lost in the mail,”) there are plenty of other ways to celebrate… mainly, in a bar.
Check out what the following bars have planned for Inauguration Weekend:
- Ben’s Next Door (1211 U Street NW) will host a series of events to celebrate the inauguration. A Friday kick-off party (January 18) will feature drink specials and a DJ; Saturday (January 19) will focus on service – Ben’s will collect children’s books for donation, starting at 11 am; and Monday will heat-up with an inaugural brunch, starting at 11 am. For more information, visit the website.
- Cafe Saint Ex (1847 14th Street NW) tweeted #fourmorebeers on January 15. Clearly, the local neighborhood spot is gearing up for a boozy weekend. Stop by for a taste of what’s on tap, including suds from Chocolate City.
- ChurchKey (1337 14th Street NW) is hosting an Inaugural Brewers Ball on Monday, January 21, where gusts will be in the company of Allagash Brewing Company, Fullsteam, Schlafly Beer, Smuttynose, DC Brau, Star Hill and others. For more information on time and tickets, contact Churchkey.
- Old Ebbitt Grill (675 15th Street NW) is a presidential dining house. No really. Like presidents actually eat there. Established in 1856, Old Ebbitt was a favorite of Presidents Grant, Cleveland, Harding and Theodore Roosevelt. It’s location (steps away from the White House) is the perfect spot to watch the weekend’s festivities.
- P.O.V at the W Hotel (515 15th Street NW) has some of the city’s best views and tasty, swanky cocktails. Need we say more? The bar is open regular hours through Sunday, but you need a reservation to get in on Monday.
- Bar Pilar (1833 14th Street NW) will serve beer-focused, politically named cocktails January 16 through Inauguration Day. For more information, call 202-265-1751.
- Boqueria (1837 M Street NW) will serve an American-inspired menu along with plenty of classic American libations through January 22. Boqueria will also have unlimited drinks and tapas on Saturday and Sunday for $35.
- The newly renovated Nick’s Riverside Grill (on the Georgetown Waterfront) will serve up classy cocktails and spin tunes from 9 pm until 2 am. Come dressed to impress. Tickets are $15.
If you’re thinking your Wednesday nights could use a little more… Brussels, then you are in luck because Café Saint-Ex thinks so, too.
Every Wednesday night, Café Saint-Ex (1847 14th Street NW) will host BRUXXSEL, a monthly dance party that brings the music and culture of Brussels to the District. The event also offers $5 Palm Belgian beer specials to attendees.
This month’s BRUXXSEL is Wednesday, September 5, in the basement of Café Saint-Ex (known as Gate 54) from 9 pm until 1:30 am. There is no cover. More information is available on the event’s website or on Facebook.
If the current boom state of 14th Street wasn’t enough to tell you that our fair neighborhood and city is on the cutting edge of the restaurant scene, then maybe some glitz, glamour, and glass obelisk statues will? Borderstan came up big last night at the RAMMYS, the yearly awards gala of the Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington (RAMW).
With many more area eateries in the neighborhood nominated, congrats are in order for:
- Cork Wine Bar: Wine Program of the Year
- Cafe Saint-Ex: Neighborhood Gathering Place of the Year
- Estadio: Beverage/Mixology Program of the Year
- Blackjack: Hottest Restaurant Bar Scene of the Year
- Black Restaurant Group: Restaurateur of the Year (Black Jack and Pearl Dive Oyster Palace are part of the group)
As Mike Benson of Cafe Saint-Ex emphatically stated about DC in his acceptance speech for Best Neighborhood Gathering Place, “our restaurant scene is kicking ass. We’re turning heads.”
Borderstan’s wins last night reflected the growing importance and attention that restaurants and restaurateurs are giving to things besides the food. Cork Wine Bar won for their outstanding wine program, and Estadio followed up its 2011 Best New Restaurant RAMMY with a win for its Beverage/Mixology program, edging out fellow Borderstan nominee Birch and Barley/Churchkey.
“Ultimately DC is a really small town doing really big things,” mused the ecstatic winners from Estadio upon accepting their award. “We’re in a city that is the most beautiful city in the world for beverages right now.”
But the big winners last night at the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel were Jeff and Barbara Black and their Black Restaurant Group, taking home the award for Restaurateur of the Year. The owners of Best New Restaurant Nominee Pearl Dive Oyster Palace also claimed the hardware for Hottest Restaurant Bar Scene for Blackjack. In one of the moments of the night, Chef Black pushed through the wrap-it-up music to acknowledge that this award came from the people in the industry, “the ones doing the hard work, not the bloggers.” (The Young & Hungry at the Washington City Paper has more as does The Examiner where Black clarified his statement.)
The gala itself was full of other great moments: restaurants throwing their support behind embattled Hank’s Oyster Bar in their fight against “the gang of six,” which earned notable applause from the audience (Hank’s was a nominee for Best Casual Restaurant of the year); Estadio winning (at least in this writer’s humble opinion) the cocktail of the night with their gin-based Dia de Descanso; and some of the biggest hats and fascinators on a night that never disappoints for wild fashion. Always a great time, and our neighborhood is looking even stronger and stronger for the upcoming year. See you all at the 2013 RAMMYS!
Drag out your ugliest sweater and head over to Cafe Saint-Ex at 14th and T NW Wednesday evening for an ‘Ugly Sweater Party.’ Time is 8 pm to 1:30 am and your “special” sweater gets you $5 drink specials.
If you have the tackiest, frumpiest sweater at the event, you can win a $50 gift card. Even if you don’t win, NBC Washington reports you can still get eggnog and Christmas cookies while listening to some tunes.
By Michelle Lancaster. You can follow her and tell her your news on Twitter @MichLancaster.
What NOT to Miss: Small Black Benefit Show at DC9 Thursday Night
Bands Small Black, Outputmessage and Cigarette come together for a benefit show held by Monument Arts and Music Festival. Proceeds go to Grassroots Reconciliation Group, an association that aids former child soldiers and their communities in Uganda. Tickets are $13 and available here, more info here.
The results are in from the Memorial Day Cafe Saint-Ex Chili Cook Off: The event raised more than $8,000 for Garrison Elementary School.
“The broader Garrison community — current and incoming parents, faculty and staff, friends and families, made up almost 70% of the volunteers for this event! For a school that didn’t have so much as a PTA until late last year, I’d say that’s pretty impressive,” said Evelyn Boyd Simmons, chair of the ANC 2F Education Committee.
Check out the photos from the event: Memorial Day Heat Doesn’t Stop Chili Lovers at Saint-Ex.
Photos of the Day are pulled from the Borderstan Reader Photos pool on Flickr.
If you don’t already have a Flickr account, you will need to sign up for one, and then join the Borderstan Reader Photos group. Already a Flickr member? Join the group! You can submit up to five photos per day in the Borderstan reader pool. We are looking for photos from D.C.’s Dupont, Logan and U Street neighborhoods.
This post was co-authored by Alejandra Owens and Matt Rhoades with photos by Luis Gomez. You can find Alejandra on Twitter @frijolita and on her food blog, One Bite At A Time. Find Luis @LuisGomezPhotos and One Photograph A Day.
Memorial Day was a hot, steamy and chili-filled day. But the turnout at 14th and T NW for the Annual Café Saint Ex Chili Cook-Off was strong with people lining up for chili, burgers, hotdogs, lemonade and the Peroni Beer Truck! The beneficiary of this year’s event was Garrison Elementary School, on the 1100 block of S Street NW (you can also find Garrison on Facebook.)
There were 10 chilis in the competition ($20 got you unlimited tastings) and the first place winner was Chef Ron Tanaka of 14th Street’s Cork Wine Bar (oxtail chili with tequila). Second place went to Stefano Frigerio of Copper Pot Food Co., and third place to Danny Lee of Mandu. Judging took a good hour and a half — between eating all 11 samples of chili, scoring them and deliberating at the judges’ table it was quite an experience! (Alejandra Owens, our food writer was among the judges.)
Other chefs in the competition were Oscar Cruz of Bar Pilar, Mike Avent and Billy Klein of Café Saint-Ex, Billy McCormick of Eatwell DC, Darren Norris of Kushi, Aman Ayoubi of Local 16, Antonio Burrell of Masa 14 and Lonnie Zoeller of Vinoteca.
From Alejandra Owens. Check out her food and cooking blog, One Bite At A Time, and follow her on Twitter @frijolita.
What are your plans for the weekend, Borderstanis? If you’re coming up short, I have something for you! The Memorial Day Cafe Saint-Ex Annual Chili Cook Off!
The annual event is hosted and sponsored by Cafe Saint-Ex and will be held on the 1300 block of T Street NW next to the neighborhood eatery. The event runs from 11 am to 5 pm Monday, May 30.
There will be local bands playing music all day, a Peroni beer truck and a kids’ area for some family fun (because beer trucks and family fun definitely go together!).
Now to the most important part: the chili.
The Annual Memorial Day Chili Cook Off at Cafe Saint-Ex needs volunteers to help with a variety of activities including set ups, the kids’ zone, the lemonade stand and ticket sales. This year’s Cook Off benefits Garrison Elementary School at 1200 S Street NW (you can also find the school on Facebook). You can sign up online to volunteer and a coordinator with the Garrison School PTA will contact you.
The annual event is sponsored by Cafe Saint-Ex and will be held on the 1300 block of T Street NW next to the neighborhood eatery. The event runs from 11 am to 5 pm Monday, May 30. In addition to chili, there will be grilled hamburgers, a hot dog eating competition, live music, a kids area and a Peroni Beer Truck. We will have more details later this week.
Borderstan.com and Luis Gomez Photos are proud to be among this year’s sponsors. One of the chili judges will be Alejandra Owens. She writes about food and restaurants for Borderstan.com and at her own site, One Bite At A Time.
Related Links at Borderstan
The Ross School PTA’s annual Holiday Tree Sale ends this weekend, one weekend ahead of schedule. According to the organizers, sales were so heavy last weekend that there are not enough trees to continue into next weekend.
The main location is at the Ross School playground at 1730 R St. NW with a second location at Cafe Saint-Ex, 14th and T Streets NW.
If you’re ready to buy your Christmas/Holiday tree, you can get it at Ross School PTA’s annual Holiday Tree Sale, starting this weekend. The annual Christmas tree sale is a tradition in the 17th Street area and trees were sold for many years at the corner of 17th and R Streets NW. The main location is now on the Ross School playground at 1730 R St. NW with a second location at Cafe Saint-Ex, 14th and T Streets NW.
Proceeds from the school playground go to the PTA while Saint-Ex sales go toward renovation of the Ross School cafeteria. Tax Deductible? Yes, 50% of the purchase price of your tree is tax deductible.
During the first three two weekends of December you can purchase a tree from Ross PTA on the playground at Ross School, 1730 R St. NW. Hours are 9 am to 5 pm and they will deliver the tree to your home. The dates are Dec. 4-5, 11-12, and 18-19. Trees will also be sold at Cafe Saint-Ex at 14th and T Streets NW, including weekdays; details below. You can pre-order your tree online now.
- Table Top $40.00
- Small (3-4ft) $45.00
- Medium (5-6ft) $60.00
- Large (6-7ft) $75.00
- X-Large (8-9ft) $110.00
Trees at Cafe Saint-Ex
In addition, trees from Ross PTA will be available for sale at Café Saint-Ex, 14th and T St. NW, during the first three two weeks of December, weekdays included. Please inquire inside the restaurant for more details or call them at (202) 265-7839.
Book Fair, Cookbooks
This week, concurrent with the tree sale, the Ross School PTA is running a book fair, and is selling the Historic Dupont Circle Main Streets Cookbooks. The cookbooks are $20 each with proceeds going toward the Main Streets program. In addition, Dupont Circle Village calenders will be for sale at the book fair as well.
Ross School is also having an open house from 10 am to noon on Saturday, Dec. 4.
Ross Elementary School is part of the DC Public School System and serves grades Pre-K through fifth. You can get more information about Ross School and Ross PTA from their website. The Nov. 19 Principal’s Bulletin will also provide updates on recent school activities, which included planting bulbs in 17th Street tree boxes (Ross Students Get 17th St. Ready for Spring). Ross School PTA was also involved with first 17th Street Festival held Sept. 25.
Check out the slide show with photos from last night’s TrueFlavors Cook-Off.
From Alejandra Owens of One Bite At A Time
Monday night at Eatonville restaurant on 14th Street, three Top Chefs, two local chefs, a DC celeb and a journo’s wife (Ed Henry couldn’t make it) cooked their hearts out in support of TrueChild’s True Flavors Cook-Off. TrueChild is a group dedicated to ensuring children across the nation can achieve their full potential and not be held back by narrow stereotypes for boys and girls; it is headquartered in the neighborhood on Connecticut Avenue NW.
Josie Smith Malave (Top Chef Season 2) emceed the event last night in which two teams — headed by Top Chef alumn Ed Cotton and Angelo Sosa — duked it out in the Eatonville kitchen. Each team had 35 minutes to make a cocktail, appetizer, main course and dessert from a basket of ingredients they saw just moments before the TrueFlavors contest began. The ingredients included alligator, green tomatoes and other great produce.
In the end, Team Sosa was the unanimous winner of the competition, charming a judging panel comprised of children and adults. The team included Billy Klein of Cafe Saint-Ex at 14th and T NW as well as Jonathan Capehart of MSNBC/Washington Post (a kitchen-savvy young man!).
Check out our gallery for shots of all the fun!
When and Where: Labor Day from 11 am to 5 pm. It’s a block party on the 1300 block of T Street NW, on the north side of Cafe Saint-Ex (corner of 14th and T Streets NW).
What: Labor Day Pig Roast/BBQ Sauce Cook Off and fundraiser to benefit the Fillmore Art Center. Fillmore provides award-winning arts programs for students at Ross Elementary (1730 R Street NW) and nine other public elementary schools across DC. Virtually all the supplies and equipment used for the program are paid for by donations and special events.
Who: Cafe Saint-Ex, attendees like you, local BBQ sauce makers and volunteers; click here to volunteer. There will be live music, lemonade stands, plenty of activities for kids and lots of great barbecue. And you get to help provide arts education for nine DC public schools.
Why: Kids in the DC Public Schools need arts programs. This event benefits the Fillmore Art Center, which provides arts programs for Ross Elementary and nine other DC public schools.
Ristorante Posto at 1515 14th Street, NW opened in December 2008 and is still a novelty in the area. They serve classic and modern Italian dishes, wood oven pizzas and focaccia. Its prices are in the upper mid range.
Cafe Saint-EX crowns the southeast side corner of 14th and T Streets NW. It is one of the pioneer businesses of its kind in Borderstan on 14th Street. They offer a delicious mix of American-Bistro style cuisine… always a good alternative in the area.
“Spring Awakening” is playing at the Kennedy Center, 2700 F Street NW. It opens in DC after receiving eight Tony Awards. Duncan Sheik and Steven Sater created the music, keeping most of the original dialogue, but creating a contemporary score.