Batter Bowl Bakery has the goods. (Jason Dick/CQ Roll Call)
Try as we might, it’s difficult to think of a better snack than the humble chocolate chip cookie. There’s something about the combo of chocolate chips, brown sugar, eggs, vanilla, butter and the like that satisfies that most basic instinct to nosh.
Batter Bowl Bakery at 403 H St. NE makes a chocolate chip cookie for the ages. Whether it’s BBB’s obvious flaunting of the butter threshold, the cookie’s balance of bitter and sweet or its weighty appearance, this nosh is one for the ages.
Bring us your beef, chicken or vegetable Jamaican patty at Sunshine Caribbean Cuisine.
Located in the basement of Washington’s Union Station, tucked away in a corner that was probably at one point a train tunnel, Sunshine serves up pan-Caribbean cuisine, such as oxtail or goat lunch plates, pholourie and cocoa bread. Its simple Jamaican patties, though, are the perfect, and cheap, grab-and-go nosh. Two bucks gets you one of these caloric pastries.
These Hot Pocket/empanada/what-have-you cousins contain a little something for everyone. The vegetable patty, a sort of succotash pie, is a creamy delight with a little kick to it. The beef is the spiciest of the bunch, and the humble chicken patty starts off like chicken salad and ends like hot sauce.
If it’s summer in the capital region, it’s time for beer, crabs and Old Bay. And sometimes, it’s good to combine as many as possible in one package, such as Flying Dog Brewery’s Dead Rise Summer Ale.
The Frederick, Md.-based brewer’s latest mad scientist concoction, complete with Ralph Steadman bottle art, has been popping up more and more in Washington. I purchased my latest six pack at Hayden’s Liquor Store at Eastern Market, and partook of a flowing tap at Kelly’s Irish Times on Thursday.
For those counting themselves at Old Bay skeptics, give it a whirl. The celery salt brininess makes a nice baseline in the peppy ale. For those who can’t get enough Old Bay, you won’t need Roll Call After Dark’s encouragement to potentially overdo it with your table full of steamed blue crab by adding Dead Rise as your beverage of choice.
And if you’d like to go to the source, you’re in luck! This Saturday, Flying Dog is hosting its outdoor music/beer drinking session at its Frederick facility, with musical guests Lucero.
Doughnuts from a place that made its bones on cupcakes? In the case of the chocolate-frosted, chocolate sprinkle fare at Curbside Cafe, the answer is yes.
Regardless of whether you are a “doughnut” person or a “donut” person, the brick-and-mortar baking HQ of the Curbside Cupcakes empire at 257 15th St. SE offers a delicious addition to our favored starch-heavy dessert ranks. There is no shortage of doughnut offerings in Washington these days, with the likes of Astro Doughnuts and Fried Chicken, GBD and District Doughnuts.
Curbside provides a no-fuss option, simply a nice yellow or chocolate cake doughnut that lets the flavors fly. It’s baked, not fried, which is kind of surprising, considering how good it tastes, how well it holds together (minimum crumbliness) and how satisfying it is. Its frosting complements, rather than dominates. Its sprinkles top don’t distract. Its cakeiness anchors it all splendidly. Doughnuts: They’re not just for breakfast anymore.
Independence Day in Washington is like Groundhog Day in Punxsutawney, Pa., a patriotic palooza. As if the stakes couldn’t be higher on the grandest stage at the capital of the free world, we could, possibly, be treated to yacht rock legend Michael McDonald singing “Sweet Freedom” with the Muppets as a follow-up act.
Of all the major holidays, D.C. really shines (or smokes, or swelters) on Independence Day, with the capital city coming alive with fireworks, concerts, Major League Baseball and even a fairground with midway rides.
Sure, the National Mall is the big gathering spot in D.C. for watching the fireworks come Friday evening, with the temporary concert venue on the West Front of the Capitol all set to blast tunes from everyone from McDonald to the Muppets to Frankie Valli for the Capitol Fourth celebration. What a fool believes! But the Mall and the Capitol grounds are not the only places to watch the pyrotechnics, not by a long shot.
Any higher ground vantage point, whether it’s Meridian Hill Park or the Iwo Jima Marine Corps Monument in Rosslyn, Va., or the roof of a pal’s apartment building will offer all the views with fewer sweaty souls jostling for precious few spots.
The fireworks and Capitol Fourth are a small component of the festivities, though.
The Washington Nationals, fresh from a Midwestern road swing in Milwaukee and Chicago, are back for a homestead against the Colorado Rockies, Chicago Cubs and Baltimore Orioles. On Friday, the Nats will play the Cubs in an 11:05 a.m. game that will feature lots and lots of flags and many beer cans emblazoned with Old Glory. Fireworks are usually to be had. Such an early game lets everyone get out in plenty of time to find their ways to the Mall, Capitol or that pal’s apartment building.
And let’s not forget about the D.C. Capital Fair at beloved RFK Stadium, which started June 27 and extends through Sunday. We might not be a state or have a vote in Congress, but we’ve got a fair, complete with a ferris wheel, a petting zoo and wolf show (no word on whether Nats outfielder Jayson Werth will be attending) and illusionists, hypnotists and plenty of greasy food. This week through Thursday, the fair runs from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. Starting Friday and going through Sunday, it runs from 2 p.m. to 11 p.m.
Yacht rock, baseball, things blowing up in the night sky, fried food and carnies. What’s more American than that?
Do you know which Koch brother wanted to date Marla Maples, but thought better of it after Donald Trump picked her up?
How about which Koch brother donned a “Captain Koch” costume at the Wichita Gridiron Club?
Do you know which Koch brother wrote a play that provided source material for the film “Shakespeare in Love?”
How about which Koch brother opened up a bookstore, a John Birch Society bookstore?
Did you even know there were four Koch brothers? Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., only talks about two of them, Charles and David, while leaving Bill and Frederick largely out of the equation.
Mother Jones Senior Editor Daniel Schulman tells the tale of the K-Bros masterfully in his new book “Sons of Wichita: How the Koch Brothers Became America’s Most Powerful and Private Dynasty,” and he’ll drop by Roll Call Book Club on Thursday night to discuss not just the history of the Koch family and its behemoth Koch Industries, but the people behind it.
Be prepared. These folks play hard ball, especially with one another for control of a vast enterprise. How else to explain the Koch brother who subpoenaed his own mother, after she’d had a stroke, to testify in a lawsuit?
Local oysters and beer. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)
It’s good to know all this eating isn’t going to waste: Washington, D.C., has landed itself on Livability.com’s list of Top Ten Foodie Cities for 2014.
Livability, the list-tastic media venture that loves to compile best downtowns, kid-friendly places and etc., likes to spread the wealth around in the list of Foodie fave towns and cities. In previous iterations, they kept the criteria to smaller cities and highlighted places that wouldn’t necessarily survive a head-to-head matchup with, say, New Orleans. In their 2013, list, for example, nearby Alexandria, Va., was on the list.
Think it’s going to be a busy week in the Capitol, what with a full legislative calendar and House leadership elections? There’s just as much going on in the outside-work calendar, including a throw-down between members of Congress and the media and a telling of the Koch brothers’ tale.
Bendery, in a non-trash talking moment. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)
The 6th Annual Congressional Women’s Softball Game is Wednesday night, and the trash talk is flying, including a radio “Softball Smackdown” featuring Rep. Donna Edwards, D-Md., and Huffington Post scribe Jennifer Bendery on the Bill Press Show. Tickets are $10 and can be purchased at Eventbrite. Proceeds benefit the Young Survival Coalition. The opening pitch is at 7 p.m. at the Watkins Recreation Center at 420 12th Street SE.
One of Washington’s high-profile film festivals, AFI Docs, gets underway Wednesday, with an opening night show at the Newseum of “Holbrook/Twain: An American Odyssey,” by Scott Teems. Actor Hal Holbrook, who has been portraying Mark Twain on stage for more than six decades, will be on hand to introduce the film. The festival, which as a full slate of 84 films, runs through June 22 at various venues in D.C. and Silver Spring, Md. For tickets and showtimes, visit the festival website.
Roll Call Book Club returns Thursday night, when we’ll sit down with Mother Jones Senior Editor Daniel Schulman to discuss his new book, “Sons of Wichita, How the Koch Brothers Became America’s Most Powerful and Private Dynasty.” In case you don’t check in on the Senate floor every once in a while, the Koch brothers are kind of a big deal. However, the K-Bros that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has made into Democrats’ bete noire, Charles and David, are only half of the brood. Schulman’s biography serves up juicy bits on the eldest, Frederick, who’s a patron of the arts, and Bill, David’s fraternal twin, an America’s Cup winner and to this day a bitter rival to Charles and David. This free event, complete with wine, cheese and a book giveaway, starts at 6 p.m. at Hill Center at 921 Pennsylvania Ave. SE. Please register on Hill Center’s website ahead of time.
Any music festival that kicks things off with brunch is A-OK with Roll Call After Dark.
While hip-hop/reggae/rock star Matisyahu officially kicks things off on Sunday evening for the 15th annual Washington Jewish Music Festival, it’s always good to go into these things with a full belly, so festival organizers have made sure the Alexandria Kleztet gets things underway right and proper earlier in the day at the D.C. Jewish Community Center at 1529 16th Street NW.
The Klezmer Brunch starts at 10:30 a.m. and costs $10 for the concert and $30 for the concert and kosher brunch. Matisyahu goes on at Lisner Auditorium at 730 21st Street NW at 7 p.m. for his acoustic concert. Thirty bucks for general admission, $25 for DCJCC members, students or seniors and $24 for George Washington University students. If you want the VIP treatment, it’ll cost you $50.
Full festival passes, from Klezmer Brunch to headliner Kinky Friedman’s June 11 concert (more on that to come) run $100. More information, including a full lineup for the June 1 to June 14 festival, as well as ticket information, is available at wjmf.org.
Call me cupcake skeptical. Some days ago — never mind how long precisely — having little or nothing to do on a Saturday, and nothing particular to interest me otherwise, I thought I would stand in line at the original Georgetown Cupcake.
“Do you have an out of town guest with you?” a friend tweeted at me.
“I’m guessing 22 minutes,” my companion, self-described disgruntled Washingtonian (and former Roll Call scribe) Amanda Becker predicted as we took our place in The Line.
The Line. It’s the first thing one notices about Georgetown Cupcake at the intersection of 33rd and M streets Northwest. The corner storefront itself is quaint. The Line, though, is anything but.
Uphill 33rd Street it goes, 50 or so deep.
I ask, “Is that 22 minutes to the door? Or 22 minutes from our place here to custody of cupcakes?”
“Cupcakes,” Becker said.
Becker is not someone I would describe as an optimist, but she seemed fairly certain of her outlook. In addition, her professional life as a journalist requires her to make cool-headed judgements on a range of tricky topics. Either that, or the The Line at Georgetown Cupcake was a test of Spartan mettle and hellish endurance she could not have imagined in even her most analytical calculations.
The team behind the new documentary “FED UP” is sending a little message to the folks who aren’t down with its message that the food industry is basically poisoning Americans into obesity: “FU.” Or at least that’s what’s on the new publicity poster.
“We can change lives by changing the way we eat, but we need your help! Fed Up is the film food companies don’t want you to see. Before we could sell a single ticket, the Washington lobbyists were already throwing up road-blocks. They’ve been distorting the film’s message and trying to discredit the science using their own set of facts. There’s only one way to fight back. We need you to show up this weekend in great numbers and shout them down,” a release from Team FED UP reads.
Kudos to the bare-knuckled brawlers out there! It’s not often you see a good sense of humor brought to a Washington food fight.
“FED UP” is playing at at E Street Cinema at 555 11th St. NW.
Rather than fret about all the fun they won’t be having at the annual SAVOR beer blowout, the powers that be behind the New York-based craft brewery have decided to host their own beer-drenched shindig at Hierarchy (1841 Columbia Road NW).
A suggested $10 donation, which benefits DC Central Kitchen, gets one in the door and entitles guests to a custom tasting glass and commemorative gift.
Organizers insist the “Black Sheep” event, which is scheduled to roll from Saturday night right into Sunday (8 p.m. to 1 a.m.), is meant to complement, not supplant, the Brewers Association-led festivities taking place across town.
The splintering was apparently predicated by a SAVOR ban on having too many interrelated breweries — Ommegang’s pals from Kansas City-based Boulevard Brewing Company got the nod this year — under the same roof during the weekend drinkathon.
“Rather than go out like a lamb we are going to have a bit of fun and create what should be a fantastic experience of beer, food, art, music with a good cause to boot — and the event is open to all: SAVOR attendees, local DC food-and-beer lovers and anyone else who wants to join us,” Bill Wetmore, Ommegang’s director of marketing suggested in a release.
Meanwhile, Haute Saison Catering owner Jan Van Haute and Ommegang executive chef Evan Brown are scheduled to whip up special lamb dishes to be paired with the crew’s homespun brews. And members of DC’s Fans of Lamb should be on hand to share cooking secrets and cherished lamb recipes.
Worried about being too smashed to trek from SAVOR to Adams Morgan? Team Ommegang plans to run shuttle buses from there to them every half hour beginning at 10 p.m. (until 11:30 p.m.) to ensure beer lovers can enjoy the best of both worlds.
Drinking/music venue Rock & Roll Hotel is offering a slate of Sunday night movies on their rooftop deck, and, perhaps inspired by The Vapors’ “Turning Japanese,” they’re going with a Japan-animation-themed slate.
Last week, they went with “Akira,” and this week are going with “Ninja Scroll.” For the May 18 show, it’ll be Hayao Miyazaki’s “Princess Mononoke,” and on the 25th it’ll be “Ghost in the Shell.”
Food and drink specials available throughout shows that start at 7 p.m. and repeat at 9 p.m. on an eight-foot projection screen. You’re also welcome to bring your own comfy seating to 1353 H St. NE.
Roll Call After Dark is about what Washington does when it's not at work.
The District of Columbia is a cultural capital where you can you get your kicks from movies projected on the National Mall, lectures on vermouth or Russian avant-garde art. There's always something to do.
Jason Dick is the Hill Life editor for Roll Call and has also worked at Greenwire, CongressDaily and National Journal Daily during his time in Washington. @jasonjdick