Category Archives: Food and Booze

Union Market – Getting Better Week By Week

This Coffee Has MY Name Written All Over  It

We thought we would follow up on Joe’s post about Union Market’s opening in September. Astrid and I have visited a number of times since then, and every time there is something new and improved. I simply love going there. Everything about the place is so fresh, bright and inviting. If you haven’t checked it out, I recommend stopping by. There are activities and events happening all the time. For example, the Crafty Bastards Arts and Crafts Fair is relocating there on Saturday November 10th. Salt & Sundry will open their doors on Novembr 9th. Also, Union Market will be open 5 days a week after next weekend. One of the nicer improvements over time is the increase in prepared food vendors, such as several food trucks turned food stands like DC Empanadas, Curbside Cupcakes, and TaKorean; making it a great place to eat and shop. The one downside is that I find it quite pricey. But, I’ll qualify that by saying that I think this is due to the very high quality and craftsmanlike/artisanal approach of the vendors.  For example, the meats are so fresh and come from “happy” free range animals, not mass production facilities.  Because of this, we have generally stuck to our regular grocery shopping routine, we simply can’t afford to use Union Market as our weekly stock-up spot, plus a lot of the mundane basics you need in life, think – canned goods, breakfast cereal – simply aren’t there. So,thus far, the market has fallen into 3 categories of use for us 1) a source for amazing dinner party menu ideas and ingredients. The meats, spreads and flowers will make any guest or host super impressed 2) a few “splurge” items like a nice hunk of fine cheese, or the oh-so-incredible smoked salmon bagel sandwich pictured below and 3) a great place to wow your out of town guests, especially those coming from far away places, like NW Washington DC. Union Market is located at 1309 5th Street NE. Check out their website here.

Brookland’s Optimism Lounge – Election Night Party, Free Wings, Drink Specials

Brookland NE Washington DC BarsLooking for a place to watch the election results? Consider the Election Night Party at Optimism Bar & Lounge. Specials:
Free Wings – 7:00 PM until 8:00 PM
Discount Drinks – 7:00 PM until 9:00 PM and $6.00 Corzo Silver Shots all night.

Optimism Bar & Lounge is located at 3301 12th Street, NE – at the corner of 12th and Kearney. (202)526-0100

Brookland’s Menomale Scores A Nice Review By The Washington Post’s Tom Sietsema!

Washington Post Menomale Best Pizza Washington DC Brookland NE Review
MMMM-MMMMM Menomale. Photo credit: Scott Suchman/The Washington Post

We Brooklanders already know that DC’s best pizza resides right here on 12th St. at Menomale. But, it’s great to see them get some credit where it is due. The restaurant was recently reviewed by Tom Sietsema of the Washington Post. If you don’t know who he is – this is kind of a big deal. He only has over 23,000 followers on Twitter, for example. So what did he have to say about our beloved Menomale?

Tip No. 1: Starters tend to be outsize, and little of what I’ve sampled — unwieldy marinated seafood, caprese salad with cottony tomatoes — is worth taking space away from Rusciano’s typically thin, lightly blistered and pleasantly yeasty pizzas. There are more than a dozen, including a zippy Diavola scattered with spicy salami and peperoncino. Tip No. 2: You’re missing half the fun if you don’t imbibe or at least listen to Estes expound on his favorite subject. Smashed Blueberry, a hybrid between a porter and a Scotch ale, smells like a warm fruit pie but tastes of chocolate and coffee; Baladin Nora Sour is an Egyptian-inspired brew from Italy that hints of coriander.

The only downside is that now everyone will know what a gem we have and it may become yet even more popular. Last night, there was an hour wait. An hour. For a restaurant in Brookland. Could you have imagined saying that a year ago? Congrats Menomale, well done!

Little Ricky’s Update: Reservation System Up And Prix Fixe Menus Announced

Brookland Opening NE Washington DC

Hello fellow Little Ricky’s enthusiasts. On Wednesday we posted that Little Ricky’s would have a soft opening and begin serving up a 4 course fixed priced menu on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. Since then, they have launched a reservation system and announced the menus for their opening weekend on November 9 – 12. As part of their soft opening, they will continue to serve the fixed price menus until they have worked through the items that they plan to offer on their full, regular menu in December. The price for these meals is $24.50. Never have I been so happy to be a guinea pig! So without further ado:

Friday Nov 9th Pre-Fixe Menu
Appetizer Course – Croquettas (Ham or Bacalao), Black bean Hummus with Plantain chips, or Gambas al Ajillo
Soup Course – Green Plantain Soup or Caldo Gallego Soup
Main Course – Pollo Navarro (1/4 roasted chicken with hell’a good mojo), Lechon Asado or Grilled Fish (lime & garlic marinade)
Sides – (choice of 3) Black beans & rice, Tostones, Maduros, Yuca con Mojo, Tater Tots or Grilled veggie medley
Dessert Course: Flan – Ice Cream of the day or Arroz Con Leche
Saturday Nov 10th Pre-Fixe Menu
Appetizer Course – Tostones with Chicharrones, Ropa Vieja Sliders, and Half Baked potato with Picadillo
Soup Course –  Green Plantain Soup or Lental Soup~ Havana Style
Main Course – Chicharrones de Pollo, Boliche or Shrimp Enchilado (no not enchiladas)
Sides – (choice of 3) Black beans & rice, Tostones, Maduros, Yuca con Mojo, Tater Tots or Grilled veggie medley
Dessert Course – Guava Cheesecake, Ice Cream of the Day or Cuban Bread Pudding
Sunday Nov 11th Pre-Fixe Menu
Appetizer Course –  Garbanzo Refrito con Chorizo, Croquettas, or Picadillo Sliders
Soup Course –  Sopa de Marisco or Caldo Gallego Soup
Main Course –  Tio Pio’s Grilled Chicken, Grilled Fish of the day or Masa de Puerco
Sides – (choice of 3) Black beans & rice, Tostones, Maduros, Yuca con Mojo, Tater Tots and Grilled veggie medley
Dessert Course – Guava and Cream Cheese Rolled cake, Ice Cream of the day or Flan
Little Ricky’s is located at 3522 12th St. NE. Their website is here.

Little Ricky’s, Brookland’s New Cuban Restaurant To Open Friday November 9th

Brookland Opening NE Washington DC
At long last, the much anticipated opening of Little Ricky’s an American Paladar is coming soon. Brooklanders will finally get a taste of what’s to come Friday Nov 9th from 5pm – Sunday evening Nov 11th. The owners stress that this will be a SOFT OPENING, so they will not be offering their full menu (posted below). Instead, for the month of November they will offer a fixed price 4 course menu. The fixed price menus will be coming out in the next couple of days and will probably be less than $25 a person. Also, as part of their soft opening, they will only be open to the public Fridays – Sunday for the time being. They are still working on a reservation system and you can always simply stop by for a drink at their bar. In case you haven’t seen it yet, we had a sneak peak of the restaurant here. Little Ricky’s is located at 3522 12th St. NE, and their website is here. 

New Restaurant, Le Table DC, Is Coming To Rhode Island Avenue In January

 The Rhode Island Avenue NE Insider has an informative post on a new restaurant coming to Rhode Island Avenue, right around the corner in Woodridge. The restaurant, Le Table DC, is slated for a soft opening in January 2013, and will offer limited seating and only be open three days a week – at first. The restaurant has an interesting concept. Currently, it operates kind of like a catering company, serving eight course tasting menus to groups of 12 people in private homes for a set price. They plan on bringing that same concept to the restaurant, which will be located at 2212 Rhode Island Ave NE. After checking out the Le Table DC website, it looks like it will be intimate dining, small plates and pretty pricey. This tidbit from the Insider post will be of special interest to Brooklanders:

Can’t wait to try his food? Well, if his planned January 2013 soft opening doesn’t happen, Oliver is trying to plan a popup restaurant for one or two days in January at Silvestre Cafe in Brookland (12th Street).

We wish Le Table DC the best of luck, it is great to see an entrepreneur setting up shop on the avenue.

Sneak Peek Of Little Ricky’s, Brookland’s New Restaurant

On Saturday night the owners of Little Ricky’s hosted a private art show and sneak peek of what’s to come. It was an evening of fantastic food, warm hospitality, great art and live music. I have to confess, by the time my wife and I left, we were downright giddy.

This place is a fantastic. Here’s what separates it from most of the Latin restaurants in DC  – it has a crisp, clear point of view – decidedly Cuban. Many places offer a hodge-podge of Latin dishes spanning South, Central and North America and the Caribbean. Not this place. The music, art, decor, and most importantly, the food, stays true to a distinctly Cuban heritage. Notably, the tostones (fried slices of green/unripe plantains) are not something you can find in most catch-all Latin restaurants, and they were scrumptious. My wife was blown away by the heavenly croquettas  with their crunchy outside and soft delicious fillings inside. The other striking thing about this place is how high-end everything is. From the fine artwork by Cuban artist Ahmed Gomez to the smallest details,  the owners have clearly taken a lot of time and effort to create a wonderful ambiance that is a step above anything we have seen in the immediate area.

Ok, already! So when do they open? The owners, Lola and Chase are planning on a soft opening in early October, so they can work out the kinks first. The next steps are hiring the wait staff and other last minute details. At first, they will only be open Friday though Sunday, including brunch service.  Little Ricky’s is located at 3522 12th St. NE. If you would like to keep up with their developments, we recommend liking their Facebook Page or stay tuned here.

Union Market Opens, Provides New Shopping Venue For Brooklanders

The Union Market at 1309 5th Street NE is finally open. It is a short drive away for our neighborhood, and offers a much needed new venue for finding artisinal foods of all types.

I paid a visit on Sunday, and a few photos follow. As the Market gears up, a few businesses were only open on Saturday and others were still in the process of setting up shop. Nevertheless we got a good taste of what’s available. From a local creamery to an eco friendly meat farm, you could find a variety of foods, fruits and vegetables, breads, olive oil, cheeses, honey, coffee, spices, and more. An oyster bar–Rappahannock–featured prominently, and was very busy indeed. A juice bar offered a variety of deliciously unique juice mixes.

Next to the Market itself was a parking lot with a good number of food trucks. Alas most of them had left by the time I got there, but I helped myself to an amazing mix of custard and lemon ice.

It will be great to see how the Market develops over the course of the next few months, but clearly it will become a hub of neighborhood weekend activity. Check out their web page for upcoming events, including the Trucktoberfest food truck festival on September 22nd!