Entries tagged with “DC Dining”.

Here at Capital Spice, we’re big fans of the concept of “eat and let eat.”  The fact that we helped bring Meat Week to Washington doesn’t mean we’re anti-vegetable.  So we were excited to hear about DC VegFest, a free opportunity for everyone from themost stringent vegan to the most confirmed carnivore to experience some of Washington’s best vegetarian options in one place.

DC VegFest will take place this Saturday, September 24th, from 11AM to 6 PM at George Washington University’s University Yard.  They’re gathering more than 70 exhibitors, including food vendors, retail outlets and non-profits to show just how good veg-friendly living can be.  They’ve also put together an impressive line-up of special guest speakers, including vegan chef and author Isa Chandra Moskowitz, NBC4 anchor Wendy Rieger, and Humane Society President and CEO Wayne Pacelle.

We were especially impressed by the list of food vendors who will be selling their vegetarian and vegan-friendly products at the festival.  They include obvious local favorites like Bread & Brew, Amsterdam Falafel Shop and Sticky Fingers Sweets & Eats, but there are fifteen more ways to satisfy your hunger.  Check out Cafe Green, Vegan Treats Bakery, Burrito Bandits, Saveur India, Bakeshop, Nourish Market, Mojo Juice, Curry Mantra, Dama Ethiopian and Pastry, Sweet & Natural, Everlasting Life Cafe or Sunflower.  Or check out two of the hottest (and most fun) trucks on the mobile food scene – the Fojol Brothers will be on site with their offerings from Benethiopia and Merlindia!

And that’s where things get good for you.  To help spread the word about DC VegFest, the organizers – including the Vegetarian Society of DC and Compassion Over Killing – arranged a media preview event last week.  We couldn’t make it to the event, but they were good enough to send us a package with information and a number of giveaways that included $10 in DC VegFest bucks that are valid at any of the food stands listed above.

We want to give these VegFest bucks to YOU.  You’ll be able to sample $10 worth of veg-friendly fare for free – couple that with the free admission and you’re looking at a great way to spend a Saturday that works with any budget.  All we ask is that you take a moment to answer one simple question:

What’s the best vegan or vegetarian dish you’ve ever eaten?

Share your tastiest meatless meal in the comments section and you’ll be entered to win $10 in VegFest bucks.  You can enter between now and 11:59 PM on Wednesday, September 21st.  We’ll pick a winner at random and contact you Thursday to arrange pickup.

With so many delicious dining options (we can vouch for at least four of them), it’s going to be difficult to choose just what to use the VegFest bucks on.  We hope you’ll plan to stop by DC VegFest this Saturday, whatever your personal diet.  It’s a great introduction to the robust DC vegetarian scene and a welcome reminder that meatless eating can be delicious no matter how often you do it.



Take a second and think about the seven people you hang out with most often.  Where did you meet them?  How long have you known them?

Chances are “work” and “school” figured prominently in your answers, especially here in Washington.  It’s hard to strike up a meaningful conversation with a random person in a bar that doesn’t start with “So, what do you do?” and end with a hookup attempt.  The guy looking over your shoulder every five seconds at that networking event doesn’t seem likely to want to grab a burger or see a Nats game next week, either.  But we all have to eat, and many of us eat out more often than we cook at home.

Enter Grubwithus.  The brainchild of two California entrepreneurs who found themselves without a social circle after moving to Chicago, Grubwithus negotiates deals with local restaurants around town for small group dinners.  Participants, or “Grubbers,” sign up through the Grubwithus website and pre-pay for their meals.  Then they show up and enjoy an evening of good food and (hopefully) good conversation with as many as seven strangers.

Think of it as blind group dating without the romantic overtones.

Grubwithus (@grubwithus) has already taken off in Chicago, San Francisco and New York, and today they announced their inaugural DC dinners.  In preparation for the launch, we sat down with Sen Sugano and Tricia Sabido for a better understanding of what Grubwithus brings to the table.

Details, including the first five DC dinners, after the jump. (more…)


24in24walking300pxFor some people, Washington’s numerous monuments, museums and other attractions present a real problem: how can you possibly see and do everything in a weekend?  Inevitably, you end up having to prioritize.  You promise yourself that you’ll be back to check out the things you missed, but it makes disappointing experiences sting that much more.

In our case, replace “monuments, museums and attractions” with “restaurants, food carts and other dining establishments.”  Just as tough as deciding what to see and do in a new city is deciding where to eat and drink.  After all, you’ve only got a finite number of meals in any given 24-hour period…


Not if you’re Hagan Blount.  Blount, also known as The Wandering Foodie, has become something of a marathon man when it comes to destination dining.  Last month he kicked off a new project: 24 in 24. 

HaganThe premise is simple enough.  While most of us tend to plan brunches, lunches and dinners (as well as the occasional bar crawl) when visiting other cities, Blount refuses to be constrained by mealtimes.  He powers his way through 24 eating and drinking venues over the course of one day, filming everything for posterity and then cutting it down into something of a gastronomic travelogue.

After cutting his teeth on Boston, he has now turned his attention to Washington and will be going strong from 6 AM Saturday morning until 5 AM Sunday (at which point, we suspect, he’ll lay down and hibernate to sleep off all that eating and drinking).  His agenda is ambitious…and not without some controversy.  He actually reached out to local bloggers via Chow last month, looking for recommendations and foodies who might want to participate in some capacity.  Thanks to a friendly recommendation from Elyssa at State Dinner, we connected with him and helped him to refine some of his destinations.  We may even join him at one or two stops.

But before we meet up with him, we asked him a few questions about his movable feast.  Check it out after the jump (and be sure to say hi if you happen to cross paths with Hagan this weekend). (more…)


<<EDIT 5/21/09: A year later, we’ve revised our review.  Check out this post for an updated take on Sushi-Zen.>>


Full disclosure: I was a Johnny-come-lately to the sushi revolution. I grew up in a landlocked square-state and the seafood my mother served rarely ventured beyond smoked salmon, which I still love. As a teenager, I decided raw fish was simply gross and weird and certainly not something I’d deign to put in my mouth. Never mind that a Bennigan’s Monte Cristo – which is a fancy pants name for a fried club sandwich – was deemed delicious and worthy of going out of my way to attain. Regardless, I carried this unfortunate no-sushi-zone attitude with me through college in San Francisco (That’s right, no sushi in San Francisco! Seriously! What wasted foodie potential. What was my problem?) and the early days of living in Washington, DC.


Luckily for me and the sushi restaurants who regularly enjoy my pocket cash, this is about the time Mike stepped onto the scene. Mike’s father regularly travels to the DC area for work and the two had dinner together at least once a week. Sushi-Zen was their favorite spot. They were initially attract due to the convenient location, about halfway between Mike’s bachelor pad and his father’s Fairfax, VA office but quickly grew to love the menu options and relaxed family atmosphere. About two months into our relationship, Mike invited me to join them for their Monday night get togethers. I argued my sushi policy and he listened patiently but ultimately encouraged me to join them and “try at least a bite.”



Deep in the heart of Texas, we needed a meal. It was the weekend of my brother Jimmy’s college graduation in Dallas. We arrived on Saturday morning and had a lovely brunch at Esperanza’s Bakery in Ft. Worth (an offshoot of the famous Joe T’ Garcia’s restaurant, which is across the street). After the meal, we even picked up two dozen delicious, brightly colored Mexican cookies to take back to the hotel to share with family.


On Sunday evening, the family festivities were coming to a close. The only family members left in town were Mike, Jimmy (who was patiently waiting for us to skip town so the real celebrations could start), my parents and me. My parents wanted to try a downtown diner called Snookies, basically because it was my grandmother’s nickname.


I was a little skeptical. I can’t speak to the whole of Dallas dining based solely on our two days there. But I can tell you that I was looking forward to some green and fresh items once we got home. Good news: the food was pretty good Snookies is your classic burger place – lots of burger options, milkshakes, fried anything, and – what’s this? – an ostrich burger.




The modest container garden continues to shock and amaze us! Mike and I enjoyed our first home grown produce of the season last night, straight from our itsy bitsy strawberry patch.

I’ve always been under the impression that strawberry plants need plenty of ground cover to produce any fruit. We  just picked these up on a lark to see how they’d do. Now that I can see how the strawberries took to the full sun on our deck, I wish we’d planted even more.  I doubt this year’s harvest will produce anything more than the occassional snack, but it’s fun to see them grow and ripen.

I have a lot of day dreams about a home with a yard. Right now we live on Capitol Hill in DC and we have a nice little deck, big enough for to have some friends over for a casual dinner and containers that can support herbs, fruit and flowers. We’re lucky to have it and try to take advantage of it as much as possible. Still… I yearn for a big backyard where I can really take advantage of the DC climate and grow some gorgeous things. I’m always telling Mike “One day, when we have a yard we’ll plant….” fill in the blank. My promises have ranged from peach trees to apple trees to a full blown vegetable garden (hmm, all things we can eat. Coincidence?). This day dream now includes a strawberry patch. Nothing huge, just enough to make a couple of daiquiris for friends. (more…)