Entries tagged with “Del Ray”.

In September of 2009, we reached out to a couple of guys named Heath and Brett whose locally-made barbecue sauce had earned them a chance to appear on ABC’s Shark Tank.  Since then, we’ve worked with the Pork Barrel BBQ team to participate in two DC Meat Weeks, each time offering attendees a taste of what they could expect at the “soon-to-open” restaurant in Del Ray.  And they’ve been more than a little busy themselves, winning the Perdue National Chicken Championship and taking the title of Grand Champion at the Safeway National Capital Barbecue Battle in June.

But the wait ends tonight.

Pork Barrel BBQ officially opens its doors at 5 PM, and when we took a look around this weekend the restaurant gave every indication of being worth the wait.  As Heath Hall put it, “This is barbecue.  We wanted to make sure everything was just right.  You can’t rush good barbecue, no matter how much you might want to.”  With five smoked meats and more than half a dozen sides on offer, that meant a lot of testing and retesting of recipes while the restaurant space was finished to everyone’s satisfaction.

All the dirty details on the smoker, the sides and the space after the jump. (more…)


Jennifer Weiner, an insanely talented and successful novelist, once described her daily writing routine: A nanny comes to her home in Philadelphia every day to watch her daughter while Weiner walks around the corner to her favorite coffeeshop to write for about 4 straight hours. End workday. As soon as I heard her describe this my head snapped up and I said to myself “that’s what I want.” There is a lot implied with this type of workday. First of all, she’s successful enough to write full time, not squeeze it around a 40+ hour desk jockey work week like most writers I know. Secondly, she can afford regular help based on her writing income. And, perhaps most notable to food and coffee devotees, she lives within walking distance of a coffeeshop that is awesome enough to draw her in every single day.

Regardless of one’s career aspirations, that third piece really hits home for a lot of us.  An area isn’t a neighborhood unless there is a destination-worthy coffeehouse nestled around some corner.  I challenge you to name a great neighborhood in DC that doesn’t have a coffee shop of pride. Eastern Market? Peregrine. Clarendon? Northside Social. DuPont? Teaism. H St NE? Take your pick of Sidamo, Sova, or Ebenezers.

Lately we’ve been exploring what other neighborhoods have to offer so no matter where you go, you’ll be able to caffeinate yourself at a moment’s notice.

photo courtesy of The V Word

Tryst – Adam’s Morgan
Let me hook my thumbs into my suspenders and remind you that back in myyyy day, Tryst was just about the only coffee/lounge game in town unless you considered Starbucks or its cousins an option. Tryst is the grandaddy of the DC coffeehouse scene. Like a hipster church, you can mark your weekly calendar by the Sunday morning gathering of young urbanites sipping coffee and enjoying a pastry along with their free wi-fi. Some of them may have even been there the previous evening, when Tryst turns from Friends-style coffehouse to casual lounge with cocktails and light food on the menu. Service can struggle at times – not surprising considering the ebb and flow of the crowd – but Tryst continues to serve as a happy starting point for many an epic night out in Adam’s Morgan.
Tryst on Urbanspoon

Three more coffeehouses after the jump. (more…)


Last year, Tim Carman over at the Washington City Paper called attention to an often overlooked holiday: Meat Week.  So he did what any self-respecting barbecue lover would do.  He spread the word, inviting anyone who was interested to join him in a one-night celebration of the holiday at Urban BBQ in Rockville.

We had a lot of fun and enjoyed some surprisingly good ‘cue.  And, as is often the case with good barbecue, that first taste just wasn’t enough.  I wanted the full Meat Week experience.  I promised myself that when the time came for Meat Week 2010, I would make sure Washington DC was represented with a Meat Week chapter of its own.

The time is now.

In just ten days, Meat Week 2010 begins.  And Washington is no longer cueless.

1949 American Meat Institute advertisement

So what is Meat Week?  Born in Tallahassee, Meat Week is a festival of smoked meats.  For eight days, participants pay homage to that most original culinary combination – meat and fire.  Local chapters organize (I use the term loosely) a get-together at a different barbecue establishment each night for a week.  At the end of the week stories are swapped, awards are given, and plans are made to do it all again the next year.

Here in Washington, as any fan of barbecue will tell you, the real challenge lies in site selection.  We’re not exactly blessed with a plethora of authentic smokehouse options, and those that we do have often try too hard to please palates that grew up with ALL of the various barbecue traditions (Kansas City, Memphis, Texas, the Carolinas, etc).  As a result, we’ve got a fair amount of mediocre ‘cue but not a lot of really good stuff.

So I was careful as I planned out our inaugural Meat Week agenda.  I reached out to several close friends, all of whom have significant experience with barbecue – smoking it, eating it, judging it.  I also tried to keep all of the establishments Metro-accessible or inside the Beltway.  The resulting schedule has a little bit of something for everyone: two establishments in Maryland (Rockville), two in Northern Virginia (Courthouse and Alexandria) and three within the District itself (Glover Park, Penn Quarter and Brentwood).

And I’m especially pleased to announce that one night of Meat Week will feature a real treat – a special sneak preview of an upcoming barbecue establishment put together just for Meat Weekers.

Check out the full schedule – and the special event – after the jump. (more…)


Even before I started writing about cheese for DCFoodies, Elizabeth and I had fallen in love with Cheesetique.  Located on Del Ray’s Mount Vernon Avenue, it’s a great place to find all kinds of exotic and familiar cheeses from around the world.  It’s where we first tasted Saint Agur – now one of our favorite blues.  We’ve participated in a tasting class that paired double- and triple-cream bries with sparkling wine.  And when I wanted to bring burrata home to New Jersey to share with my Italian family, this is where I came to buy it.  Suffice it to say, we’re fans.

When owner Jill Erber announced that Cheesetique would be expanding into a nearby storefront three times its original size earlier this year, we were happy for her.  But when she went on to say that the added floor space would allow her to open a cheese and wine bar, we were thrilled.

Four months ago, her plans came to fruition.  Cheesetique now boasts a bistro-style restaurant offering panini, quiches, salads and soups in addition to the cheeses, charcuterie and wines you would expect six days a week.  Take a look at the setup and check out some of their offerings after the jump. (more…)