From Katie Andriulli. Email her at katie[AT]borderstan.com and follow her on Twitter @kandriulli.
I may still be hungover from my birthday weekend, but before we kick things off, I feel it’s my duty to bring to your attention to what may just be the most adorable video of the week. It involves the National Zoo’s baby sloth bear, a box, and a battle of the wills. I’m sure if you try hard enough, you can also find some kind of metaphor for the sequester in there too, but all I know is that it’s the weekend and it’s going to be in the high 50s and sunny, so it’s time to come out of the den.
While the inside of Dupont’s Irish Whiskey is often populated by the same unsavory clientele as its predecessor Porter’s, their patio — which is equipped with its very own fire pit — is quickly becoming my favorite happy hour spot. Proceed with caution however, as open flame and hard liquor can, in some instances, lead to the loss of an eyebrow.
Although I have a tendency to overshare when I’ve had a glass or five of pinot grigio, I admire the folks behind Story League DC for their ability to tell their own self-deprecating/hilarious/embarrassing tales in front of large crowds of drunkards. Check out several of the League’s most popular performers tonight at the Black Cat as they celebrate the 2nd anniversary of the project. Tickets are $12 and doors are at 9 pm.
If you’re looking to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day early (re: drinking copious amounts of whiskey, stumbling around and passing out before sundown) then the DC Whiskey Walk should fit the bill. The 8-stop bar crawl through Dupont Circle costs $40, and a portion of the proceeds will go to nonprofits and charities. Check in starts at noon (yeesh) at James Hoban’s, so God speed.
True story: apparently Cork Market’s fried chicken was named one of the top 10 best in the country by Bon Appetit magazine, which you’re probably thinking is crazy because, um, Cork Market has sold fried chicken for the last two years and why was wasn’t I made aware of this?? Luckily you can make up for lost time today at 6 pm when they’ll be hosting a special fried chicken and champagne dinner. Tickets are $75 per couple and include lots of delicious chicken, two glasses of champagne per person, biscuits, greens and a fruit crostata for dessert.
February is the month that seems to drag on longer than Sunday’s Super Bowl. But keeping busy with activities and happy hours is one way to make the middle of winter fly by. Two local wine spots are organizing wine education classes to broaden your grape knowledge and keep you warm, from the inside out.
So whether you’re looking to impress at the next cocktail party or just want to know why you like two-buck-chuck so much, Cork & Fork and Cork Market & Tasting Room have the answers.
Cork & Fork
- Throughout the month of February, Cork & Fork (1522 14th Street NW) is offering a series of wine education classes, such as its French Wines Seen by a Parisian class on February 7, a Valentine’s Day Wines class on February 14, a Blind Tasting class on February 21 and a Shiraz versus Zinfandel class on February 28.
- All events are from 7 until 9 pm and include food pairings. Seating is limited and reservations are required. For more information call 202-588-5766.
- Cork & Fork also offers free wine tastings on Fridays from 5 until 7 pm and on Saturdays from 2 until 7 pm.
Cork Market & Tasting Room
- Cork Market & Tasting Room will also offer classes in February to teach participants the fundamentals of wine, such as the differences in types of grapes, styles and regions.
- The next class takes place on Saturday, February 9 at the 14th Street location (1805 14th Street NW). At this class, participants will learn about the different styles regions of wine, as well as how to pair wine with food.
- Each class is approximately 90 minutes and is $50. Below is more information on the details of each class.
Wine Fundamentals: Compare Old and New World
In this class, tasters will:
- Learn to compare different wine styles by grape, region, wine making process.
- Explore how to use your senses to detect more subtle notes in a wine and be able to describe them.
- Delve into the philosophy behind food and wine pairing. Learn more about grape varietals and their differences.
- Saturday, February 9: 2 until 3:30 pm; Contact [email protected] to sign up!
Wine Fundamentals: Food and Wine Pairing
In this class, tasters will:
- Discern subtle differences between the wines tasted throughout the series.
- Analyze a wine’s components and how these relate to food.
- Taste wine with food to discover how different flavors work together.
- Put all the knowledge from this series together to confidently pair wine with food and plan a dinner with wine pairings.
- Saturday, February 16: 2 until 3:30 pm; Contact [email protected] to sign up!
Terrariums are all the rage these days. And on Saturday, June 23, Sarah Von Pollaro, from Urban Petals, will co-lead a workshop on how to make your own.
Tickets are $75 and can be purchased online. There is also a special price of $40 for young professionals! Ticket sales for the morning workshop benefit the non-profit organization’s women’s group projects in Haiti.
Want more? Diane Gross, from Cork Market & Tasting Bar, will conduct a wine tasting workshop during the terrarium lesson. At the end of the morning, take home your DIY terrarium and your favorite bottle of wine. The event benefits Roots of Development, starts at 10 am and lasts until noon at Cork Market & Tasting Bar at 1805 14th Street NW.
Roots of Development is a non-profit organization that helps impoverished communities on the island of La Gonave, Haiti, obtain the resources they need to manage their own development. The organization uses an alternative approach to rural development by facilitating a process in which they listen to diverse community voices, build on the inherent strength of each, and complete community-driven projects that lead to a more sustainable future.
As if it weren’t already hard enough to decide on where to go on Sunday night for dinner, Cork Market & Tasting Room is offering fried chicken and champagne every Sunday from 6 to 8 pm. This Sunday is the first event.
Fried chicken doesn’t always have to come in a bucket, and obviously that is not the case when prepared by Chef Kristin Hutter at Cork. Every Sunday you can taste a different sparkling wine while you enjoy her fried chicken with seasonal sides such as biscuits and asparagus salad, and two glasses of bubbly. Price is $75 for two and the dinners are upstairs in the market’s dining room; reservations accepted.
A neighborhood fixture since late 2009, Cork Market on 14th Street NW is well-known for extensive wine selection, delicious grab-and-go menu and gourmet pantry items, both local and imported.
Diane Gross and Khalid Pitts, longtime Borderstan residents, opened their restaurant in 2008 and expanded almost two years later into the market and tasting room across the street. By now, both of their endeavors have received well-deserved praise in local and national media. Cork may not be the neighborhood’s best-kept secret or hidden gem, but the owners have used the store’s popularity to attract new, regional vendors and serve as a resource for neighborhood residents looking for great wine and good food.
Series of Wine Dinners Begin in January
This January, Cork will be adding a series of wine dinners (at different price points) to its standard wine class offerings. Gross and Pitts will continue to focus on local-level involvement, hoping to “facilitate change” in the Logan Circle area by focusing on small business development, especially in retail and restaurants.
This type of growth promotes an “18-hour day” on 14th Street; that is, the sustainability of foot traffic and activity throughout the day — not only at night when the bars and clubs are the most popular.
More Affordable Options
For special parties and events, Gross recommends some distinctive twists on two entertaining classics, Champagne and caviar. Cork offers American caviar and also trout roe, which owner Gross calls a more “affordable option.” It’s more versatile than you think. She suggested several different applications for the bright orange balls, including a topping for toast points, bilinis and soups.
Even more quintessential for entertaining than caviar is Champagne. Cork offers a selection of Champagnes just as thoughtfully chosen as it selection of wines.
Gross’s genuine passion is evident through the market’s particular specialty — grower Champagnes. The Champagne most of us are used to drinking and buying is negociant Champagne, manufactured by large houses that buy some, if not all, of the grapes and use them to make a proprietary blend. These negociant Champagnes, most of them non-vintage, are blended to maintain a consistent, signature taste from year to year. (For more on non-vintage Champagnes and a good explanation of negociant vs. grower champagnes, read this Serious Eats article.)
As Gross explained, Cork specializes in these grower Champagnes because they “reflect the terroir of the region,” more like those we are used to appreciating in other, non-sparkling wine varietals. The market currently stocks 25 different varieties of grower Champagne — in magnums (1.5 liters) starting at $85, or 750 ml bottles (for $40) if you’re entertaining a smaller crowd.
Even if you’ve already read about it, stop by and see first-hand Cork Market and Tasting Room’s selection and stock. The helpful staff will be more than happy to answer your questions.
‘Tis the season for five bajillion holiday parties, New Years parties, office gift exchanges and the always-dreaded holiday cocktail party at The Boss’s house.
What’s a guy or gal to bring? How do you keep on your budget and still impress a crowd? Why, bring or give good booze!
My best buddy, Julian Mayor, is the sommelier at Bourbon Steak, so I asked him to walk around with me to the best Borderstan has to offer in wine stores to choose a red, a white and a champagne/prosecco/sparkling wine that is both a good deal and good quality.
Julian obliged, and we shall all benefit from his expertise!
Cork Market, 1805 14th St NW, opened today to a clientele that has been waiting for this new gourmet market. We spoke to one of the owners, Diane Gross, who with Khalid Pitts also owns Cork Wine Bar. She said they have had a very good opening day. The store carries wines, cheeses and charcuterie. You will also find bread in loafs, baguettes and all kinds of delicious treats.
For this weekend they have planned wine tastings, Saturday from 3 to 6:00 p.m. and Sunday from 1 to 6 p.m.