Free the hops(icles)

Yesterday I went to Rustico for the Dogfish Head pint night and glassware giveaway with faint hopes of cooling down with one of their notorious hopsicles. No such luck. Instead they were asking people to write to the Virginia ABC in their support. If you’d like to write, send an old-timey paper letter here:

VA ABC Dept. of Hearings
P.O. Box 27491
Richmond, VA 23261

Or fax it to 804.213.4731


Lunch at Brasserie Beck

Moules fritesSomeday I’d love to go to Belgium, bike around, drink lots of beer, and eat way too much moules frites. In the meantime, the new Brasserie Beck is a cheaper, but still delicious, substitute.

This new French and Belgian restaurant opened a few weeks ago and I was finally able to drop in for lunch with a few friends today. The restaurant is upscale casual, warm, and inviting. Fresh seafood and a row of beer taps entice on the way in, two of the great draws of the Brasserie.

The wine list is a single piece of paper. The beer list is six or seven pages, leather bound, of mostly Belgians on tap and in the bottle. This place has it’s priorities straight!

Our group ordered the traditional mussels and fries, served with three kinds of mayo (plain, with ketchup, and curry). We opted for the delicious, slightly spicy fennel and chorizo sauce. It’s all very fresh and tasty. After sopping up the sauce with the fresh baguettes it’s also surprisingly filling for less than twenty bucks.

Also notable: The restaurant is wi-fi friendly.

Brasserie Beck is located at 11th and K, two blocks from the Cato Institute. To sum up: great beer, great food, free wi-fi, and close to my favorite think tank. I dig it.

[Photo from the Flickr stream of synaethesia.]


Liberty Tavern opens in Clarendon

Last night was the official opening of Liberty Tavern, the much anticipated new restaurant in the historic building that used to house the Clarendon Alliance. I’ve been eager to try the place, in part because I really want to like a restaurant with that name, and also because it’s located right at the center of my neighborhood. A few friends and I dropped in last night for drinks and dinner and left very happy.

From the restaurant’s website:

Opening in a historic building in the heart of Clarendon in April 2007, The Liberty Tavern will feature modern American cuisine in its upstairs dining room and downstairs bar, along with a diverse wine list, creative specialty cocktails and a great selection of premium draft and bottled beer. The Liberty Tavern’s comfortable ambiance will be enhanced by warm, hospitable service, and whether you’re joining us for a round of drinks in the bar, a casual midweek supper with your children, or a special evening with friends and family, you’re sure to feel at home.

Liberty Tavern gets two things right that lots of restaurants mess up: beer and coffee. I must have missed their bottled beer list, but they have about ten on draft and most of them are pretty good. A spicy Belgian ale of some kind would be great in place of Miller Lite or Pabst, their two low end beers, but other styles are well represented. The coffee comes from the always excellent Counter Culture. Neighboring Murky Coffee is helping them with a French press program, while a single group La Marzocco handles the espresso. I didn’t have any coffee last night, but it’s great to see a restaurant taking it so seriously.

The menu is mostly salads, pizzas, grilled meats, and fish. The meats sounded great, but since I just quit my job last week pizza was a little bit more in my price range. I ordered a duck confit, blue cheese, pear, and arugula pizza that was delicious alongside a bubbly Bell’s Oberon wheat ale.

Dessert sounded too good to pass up. There were some intriguing ones on offer, but I went for the indulgent devil’s food cake with house made chocolate ice cream. A little small, but very decadent, especially paired up with a rich pint of Bell’s Kalamazoo Stout.

Liberty Tavern is a great addition to the neighborhood and I’m looking forward to many return trips. Along with recently opened EatBar, it’s turning Clarendon into a sweet place to be for people who like great food and drink in a relaxed, laid back atmosphere.

[Cross-posted at EatFoo.]


Where the grasshopper isn’t just the name of a drink

One of my first ever food posts on my own weblog was about edible insects, so I guess it’s appropriate that I kick things off here with a post about eating bugs. That early post was about the cicadas that were then swarming around DC and the many ways to cook them up. I never got around to trying them out, but I admit to being a little tempted by the insect offerings at Crystal City’s Mexican restaurant Oyamel. The Washington City Paper describes how chef Joshua Linton gets authentic by serving up grasshoppers. The pre-Coloumbian fare is updated for modern palates by being wrapped in a taco, but even so it could be a bit unnerving to bite into this:

Fighting some deep-seated bug phobia, I bite into one of Oyamel’s grasshopper tacos, an item that executive chef José Andrés occasionally features on his specials menu. The tortilla is crammed with at least a hundred tiny sautéed chapulines, which are piled atop a layer of guacamole like dead soldiers in a mass grave. The taco is more about heat and texture than about the characteristic flavor of grasshoppers, whatever that may be. More than once, I pull out a grasshopper leg from between my teeth.

Believe it or not, the guacamole scares me more than the bugs. I’ve tried it on several occasions and never developed a taste for it. I’ll have to learn to like that before I tackle Linton’s taco. Until then, I’ll take my grasshoppers with creme de menthe.

[Via The Morning News.]

[This post was originally published at EatFoo(d) on 7/3/06.]