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Washington, DC New Menu Report: 03/18/15

Washington, DC New Menu Report: 03/18/15

Black’s Bar and Kitchen

To welcome spring, look for an inventive, refreshing cocktail at Black's Bar & Kitchen has launched three new cocktails to get you in the swing of things. There is the Low Ryeder: a zesty drink made with Catoctin Creek Roundstone Rye, habanero shrub, agave, and ruby red grapefruit; a cocktail that have you salivating for more that’s called ‘Till The Bitter End made with FAIR quinoa vodka, amaro, blood orange, local herbs, and ginger beer; and a tangy dram with a hit of heat called Basil’s Jalap-in It that includes Olmeca Altos blanco tequila, jalapeno, basil, and lime.

Cuba Libre Restaurant & Rum Bar

The Mambo, the Cubano, café con leche, moros y cristianos, and the Cuba Libre – so many fantastic things have been brought to our shores by Cuban immigrants and chefs, not the least of which is the empanada. To celebrate National Empanada Day on Wednesday, April 8, Cuba Libre is offering special empanada and drinks menus. The restaurant’s Dollar Empanada Happy Hour will run from 5 to 7 p.m. and will include a choice of four different signature Mamá Amelia’s Empanadas for just $1 dollar each, and include the Picadillo, De la Casa, Queso, and Parisen – and this kind of fun keeps on going the entire month of April. Still for just $1 dollar each, Cuba Libre will highlight two special empanadas. From April 1 to 12, an Empanada de Cereza with goat cheese, sour cherries, toasted pistachio, and sweet cherry mostarda will be available, and from April 13 to 21 a Total Eclipse Lobster Empanada made with a black corn shell, Maine lobster, coral butter and served with a mango escabeche salad and passion fruit-citrus mojo will be served. These specials are priced at $7.50 and $9 respectively, and are available during lunch and dinner service.

Nopa Kitchen + Bar

The next time you want to take in a show or game at the Verizon Center in Penn Quarter, you can take advantage of the fab pre-theater menu on offer at Nopa Kitchen + Bar. Matt Kuhn, the new executive chef, has created a special dinner menu priced at $35 per person, excluding tax and gratuity, that’s available Monday through Friday, from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday, from 5:00 to 6:30 p.m. Refreshing starters include a composed salad of peppery Asian greens with honey crisp apples, candied pecans, Grafton cheddar and a zesty cider vinaigrette and side dishes take advantage of locally sourced produce as in the faro and black quinoa risotto with sage pumpkin seed pesto, kabocha squash, baby sweet potatoes, and truffle pecorino. For the mains, try the hearty beef coulotte steak frites with crispy fingerlings, winterbor kale, and a smoked blue cheese sauce. Despite its affordable price, you can still choose from wonderful desserts prepared by pastry chef Jemil Gadea, which includes profiteroles filled with Gianduja chocolate ice cream, a citrus-laced lime bar, or one of the pastry chef’s daily selection of sorbets.

Red Light Cocktails & Dessert Bar

Sometimes a craving for a decadent sweet or creative cocktail is what you need and Red Light is more than happy to oblige. They have been serving both for a while now, but have really upped the ante with the appointment of Alina Bothen as the new executive pastry chef. Aaron Gordon of Gordon Restaurant Group announced her appointment on March 16 and she comes bearing sweet treats to tempt even confirmed dessert skeptics. Ms. Bothen’s desserts have an international palate and reflect D.C.’s diverse culinary influences like her Indian rice fritters prepared with basmati rice, cardamom, curry mango, and chai-infused Anglaise sauce; moist olive oil cake with fresh grapefruit and grapefruit tarragon sorbet; and matcha green tea cake with red bean ice cream, coconut tapioca sauce, and almond soy gelée.

With the introduction of new desserts it’s only natural Red Light’s bar manager, Jonny Fellman, would feel compelled to create some masterful drinks to pair with the new sweets, and his lineup is just a little naughty with drinks like the Peep Show that includes gin, Pimms, lemon juice, cucumber, mint, and ginger beer; the fragrantly floral Magdalene, which is made with gin, elderflower liqueur, and lemon juice; and the mysterious Mata Hari that’s an enigmatic blend of whiskey infused with Vindaloo curry, apricot liqueur, and lemon juice.

Tico

Last week’s menu report included tasty news about Tico’s new fried chicken menu, so this week we decided to feature lead bartender Christine Kim’s original cocktails. Each one has a distinct point of view and reference people, places, and motion pictures. For starters, consider Two Birds: a bubbly cocktail that’s a quenching blend of housemade kumquat syrup, lemon-infused vodka, and sparkling wine. Film buffs that dig 1980s movies will get a kick out of Ponyboy’s Social, which is an homage to The Outsider, S.E. Hinton’s best-seller that was later adapted into a seminal brat pack film by Coppola. It’s made with bourbon, cherry puree, Benedictine, lemon, and chocolate mole bitters. Word of Mouth is a Latin twist on The Last Word cocktail that instead of gin uses mescal along with green Chartreuse, lime, and vanilla to create a smoky and alluring conversation stopper. If these offerings just aren’t your cup of tea, try 4 O’clock Somewhere – it’s an ode to teatime in England and has zippy notes from bergamot-scented Earl Gray tea plus American gin, dry vermouth, and lemon.


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You may have heard about a nationwide shortage of chicken. Wings are flying off the shelves of suppliers and supermarkets, seemingly as bars and sporting venues open their doors and expand service hours. Burger King just announced it’s launching a new chicken sandwich–breaded by hand no less–to presumably compete with Popeye’s, McDonald’s and, of course, KFC.

A few years ago, Jason Sobocinski and his business partners went to Nashville and fell in love with hot chicken.

“Crispy, crunchy, juicy, spicy, delicious. We tried … I can’t tell you how many different recipes,” he said.

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But it wasn’t just about taste. They opened Haven Hot Chicken in Connecticut because chicken is a good business plan.

“It’s been a really affordable protein. It’s readily available. Up til recently,” he said.

He’s paying 15% more because demand is so high. David Portalatin at the NPD Group says the craze started with Chick-fil-A’s expansion in 2017. Then came Popeye’s new sandwich in 2019. Now it seems like every chain needs one.

“The American consumer loves to try new things, especially if we’re already familiar with it,” Portalatin said.

Chicken makes people feel safe trying unfamiliar flavors, like the Korean-style gochujang chicken Shake Shack tested earlier this year.

Portalatin said the last time the industry faced a shortage was a few years ago during a chicken wing boom. But businesses always find workarounds. That’s how we got boneless wings.

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The IE Event of the Year

Join us at the all-digital NAFSA 2021 Annual Conference & Expo next week. Be a part of the largest and most important virtual event for our global community of international educators to be held June 1-4. Learn, collaborate, and discover solutions as we unite in the spirit of “Designing Our Shared Future.”

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NAFSA: Association of International Educators is the world's largest and most diverse nonprofit association dedicated to international education and exchange, working to advance policies and practices that ensure a more interconnected, peaceful world today and for generations to come.

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More than 250 dishes made fresh from scratch every day

Cheesecake lovers no longer need to choose between a slice and a scoop. Now you can have both in one delicious dessert! Celebrate summer with one of our seven at home Cheesecake Ice Cream Pints.

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Our Classic margarita with Gold Tequila, Triple Sec and Fresh Sweet & Sour

100% Agave Tequila with Solerno Blood Orange Liqueur and Fresh Lime.

Milagro Silver Tequila, St-Germain and Passion Fruit Chilled and Served Up.

Bacardi Lime and Don Q Cristal Rums Muddled with Fresh Mint and Lime on the Rocks.

Bacardi Superior and RumHaven Crafted with Coconut, Mint and Fresh Lime.

Cruzan Pineapple Rum and Don Q Muddled with Mint, Lime and More Pineapple.

Don Q and Sailor Jerry Rums Muddled with Mint, Lime and Passion Fruit.

Raspberry Infused Tito&rsquos Vodka and Fresh Lemon, Chilled with a Sugared Rim

Bacardi Lime and RumHaven Chilled with Pineapple and Fresh Lime

Strawberry Infused Botanist Gin, Agave, Fresh Lime and a Splash of Prosecco

Bacardi Lime, Guava and Pineapple

Four Roses Bourbon, Orange Blossom Honey, Fresh Lemon and a Spring of Thyme.

Passion Fruit, Agave Nectar and Fresh Mint Topped with Soda.

Pineapple, Cherry and Fresh Lime Served Cold and Sparkling.

Island Juices and Fresh Ginger, Topped with a Splash of Soda

Guava, Blood Orange and Pineapple with Fresh Lime and Soda.

Sailor Jerry and Bacardi Lime Rums Infused with Pineapple, Citrus and Fresh Ginger

Reyka Small Batch Vodka with Fresh Lime, Pineapple and Ginger Beer

Skyy Vodka, Peach Liqueur and Peaches Blended with a Swirl of Raspberry.

Raspberry Infused Tito&rsquos Vodka, Agave, Fresh Lemon Sour and Prosecco.

Skyy Citrus Vodka, Black Raspberry Liqueur and Our Signature Lemonade.

Altos Plata Tequila and Vida Mezcal with Fresh Pineapple, Lime and Agave

Sparkling Prosecco with Aperol, Blood Orange and Elderflower.

Champagne and Peach Liqueur Blended with Peaches.

Monkey Shoulder Whisky, Fresh Citrus, Ginger and Honey

Bulleit American Rye, Aperol and Fresh Lemon Sour with Passion Fruit.

Our Classic Creamy Shakes

Strawberry, Raspberry or Cucumber.

Enjoy our refreshing and cold apple cider.

Low Carb, No Sugar Added and Gluten Free Cheesecake &ndash Too Good to be True!

Low Carb, No Sugar Added and Gluten Free, With Fresh Strawberries

Layers of Our Original Cheesecake, Fudge Cake and Chocolate Truffle Cream.

World Famous! Available From September.

World Famous! Available From September.

  • Hot Fudge Sundae The Best Hot Fudge Anywhere. Topped with Whipped Cream and Almonds.
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  • Bowl of Ice Cream Two and a half scoops of Vanilla Ice Cream. With a dollop of whipped cream on top.
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  • Warm Apple Crisp Our Delicious Crispy Nutty Topping and Vanilla Ice Cream.
  • Lemoncello Cream Torte™ Layers of Vanilla Cake and Lemon Mascarpone Cream Topped with Streusel and Served with Str.
  • Tiramisu Italian Custard Made with Mascarpone, Whipped Cream, Lady Fingers, Marsala and Coffee Liqu.
  • Chocolate Tower Truffle Cake™ Layers and Layers of Fudge Cake with Chocolate Truffle Cream and Chocolate Mousse.
  • Fresh Strawberry Shortcake Our Own Shortcake Topped with Vanilla Ice Cream, Fresh Strawberries and Whipped Cream.
  • Bowl of Fresh Strawberries Bowl of fresh strawberries served with whipped cream on the side.
  • Farm Fresh Eggs Two Farm Fresh AA Eggs Served with Potatoes or Tomatoes, Toast, Bagel or English Muffin.
  • Factory Huevos Rancheros Black Beans Topped with Crispy Tortillas, Sunny Side Up Eggs, Spicy Ranchero Sauce, Cheese.
  • Brioche Breakfast Sandwich Scrambled Egg, Smoked Bacon, Ham, Grilled Tomato, Melted Cheddar Cheese and Mayonnaise on .
  • Factory Create an Omelette Select Any Four of the Following: Bacon, Ham, Sausage, Cheddar, Jack, Swiss, Fontina, Goat.
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  • Spinach, Mushroom, Bacon and Cheese Omelette Fresh Spinach, Sautéed Mushrooms, Smoked Bacon, Green Onions and Melted Cheese.
  • Breakfast Burrito A Warm Tortilla Filled with Scrambled Eggs, Bacon, Chicken Chorizo, Cheese, Crispy Potatoe.

Our Freshly Made Giant Belgian Waffle Topped with Crunchy Fried Chicken.

Kids 10 and Younger. A Small Order of French Toast, Bacon and Strawberries.

Mozzarella and Tomato Sauce.

Fresh Mozzarella, Basil and Tomato Sauce.

With Mozzarella, Parmesan, Garlic, Herbs and Extra Virgin Olive Oil.

A Chop House Hamburger. Served with a Slice of Grilled Onion, Lettuce, and Tomato.

  • Kids' Roadside Sliders Two Bite-Sized Burgers on Mini-Buns. Served with Fries or Fresh Fruit.
  • Kids' Mini Corn Dogs Three All Beef Mini Hot Dogs. Served with Fries or Fresh Fruit.
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  • Kids' Pasta Served with Bowtie Pasta. Choose from Butter and Parmesan, Marinara Sauce or Alfredo Sa.
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  • Kids' Quesadilla Grilled Flour Tortilla Filled with Melted Cheese. Available with Chicken.
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A Cup of Soup and a Small Green Salad.

Fettuccini Alfredo, Chicken Parmesan and Baked Rigatoni

Bacardi Lime and RumHaven Chilled with Pineapple and Fresh Lime

Altos Plata Tequila and Vida Mezcal with Fresh Pineapple, Lime and Agave

  • Lasagna Verde Layers of Fresh Spinach Pasta, Mozzarella, Fontina and Parmesan Cheese. Covered with Ou.
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  • Tomato Basil Pasta Grilled Chicken, Fresh Mozzarella, a Touch of Garlic and Penne Pasta. Light and Fresh.
  • Fettuccini Alfredo A Rich Parmesan Cream Sauce. Available with Chicken.
  • Pasta Carbonara Spaghettini with Smoked Bacon, Green Peas, and a Garlic-Parmesan Cream Sauce. Available wi.
  • Baked Rigatoni Layers of Melted Mozzarella, Fontina, Parmesan Cheese and Rigatoni Pasta. Covered wit.
  • Chicken & Broccoli Pasta Rigatoni Pasta Tossed with Sauteed Chicken, Broccoli, Lots of Garlic, Tomatoes, Parmesa.
  • Four Cheese Pasta Penne Pasta, Mozzarella, Ricotta, Romano and Parmesan Cheeses, Marinara Sauce and Fresh Ba.
  • Spaghetti and Meatballs Housemade Meatballs Made with Beef, Italian Sausage and Parmesan with Our Tomato Sauce and.
  • Evelyn's Favorite Pasta Spaghetti tossed with Broccoli, Tomato, Zucchini, Eggplant, Peppers, Kalamata Olives, O.
  • Pasta Da Vinci Sautéed Chicken, Mushrooms and Onions in a Delicious Madeira Wine Sauce Tossed with P.
  • Louisiana Chicken Pasta Parmesan Crusted Chicken Served Over Pasta with Mushrooms, Peppers and Onions in a Spicy N.
  • Farfalle with Chicken and Roasted Garlic Bow-Tie Pasta, Chicken, Mushrooms, Tomato, Pancetta, Peas
  • Spicy Chicken Chipotle Pasta Honey Glazed Chicken, Asparagus, Red and Yellow Peppers, Peas, Garlic and Onion in a Spicy.
  • Bistro Shrimp Pasta Crispy Battered Shrimp, Fresh Mushrooms, Tomato and Arugula Tossed with Spaghetti and a.
  • Shrimp with Angel Hair Large Shrimp Sautéed with Tomatoes, Lemon, Garlic, Herbs and Fresh Basil on Top of An.
  • Cajun Jambalaya Pasta Shrimp and Chicken Sautéed with Onions, Tomato and Peppers in a Very Spicy Cajun Sauc.

Feta Cheese, Tomato, Cucumber, Kalamata Olives, Red Onion and Vinaigrette.

Bacardi Lime Rum Handcrafted with Fresh Mint and Lime on the Rocks.

Glazed Beets, Avocado, Fresh Orange, Arugula, and Honey-Yogurt Sauce.

  • SkinnyLicious® Hamburger Our Hamburger on a Toasted Bun with Lettuce, Tomato, Onion, Pickles and Mayonnaise. Served.
  • SkinnyLicious® Veggie Burger A Delicious “Burger” Made with Brown Rice, Farro, Mushrooms, Black Beans & Oni.
  • SkinnyLicious® Grilled Turkey Burger Combined with Fresh Mushrooms, Garlic and Spices. Served with Grilled Onions, Lettuce, Tom.
  • SkinnyLicious® Turkey & Avocado Sandwich Freshly Roasted Turkey Breast, Smoked Bacon, Avocado, Tomato and Mayonnaise on a Toasted B.
  • SkinnyLicious® Soft Tacos Three Soft Corn Tortillas Filled with Spicy Chicken or Shrimp, Avocado, Tomato, Onions, Ci.
  • Skinnylicious® Chicken Pasta Penne Pasta with Sautéed Chicken, Fresh Tomato, Marinara Sauce and Fresh Basil.
  • White Chicken Chili A Generous Bowl of Chicken, White Beans, Roasted Green Chiles, Onions and Garlic with a To.
  • Tuscan Chicken Grilled Chicken Breast with Tomatoes, Artichokes, Capers, Fresh Basil and Balsamic Vinaigr.
  • Lemon-Garlic Shrimp Sauteed Shrimp, Basil, Tomato and Lemon-Garlic Sauce. Served with Asparagus and Angel Hair.
  • SkinnyLicious® Grilled Salmon Served with Assorted Fresh Vegetables.
  • Grilled Steak Medallions Served with Fresh Asparagus, Shiitake Mushrooms, Sauteed Cherry Tomatoes, Crusted Crout.
  • Grilled Branzino with Mediterranean Salsa A Mild, Delicate White Fish Charbroiled and Topped with Tomatoes, Garlic, Herbs and Oli.

Baked Soft and Warm with Cheddar Cheese Sauce and Whole Grain Mustard.

A Delicious Blend of Crab, Artichokes and Cheese Served Warm.

Glazed Beets, Avocado, Fresh Orange, Arugula, and Honey-Yogurt Sauce.

Served with Mashed Potatoes, Mushroom Gravy, Grilled Onions and Fresh Corn

Fettuccini Alfredo, Chicken Parmesan and Baked Rigatoni

Charbroiled Chicken with Teriyaki Sauce. Served with Steamed Rice.

A Mild, Delicate Sauteed White Fish Served with Fresh Vegetables and Lemon.


How to help teens experiencing greater levels of depression amid pandemic

The social isolation that comes with pandemic-related lockdowns has been a struggle for everyone, but a D.C.-area doctor said that it has led to an increase in the number of teenagers reporting symptoms of depression.

“Teenagers are social creatures — teens and adolescences thrive on face-to-face interaction and socializations, and the pandemic has taken away their traditional social lives,” said Dr. Asha Patton-Smith, a child and adolescent psychiatrist at Kaiser Permanente in Burke, Virginia.

Patton-Smith said that isolation is particularly challenging for teenagers as they are at a crucial stage in their development that requires social stimulation.

“At the state of adolescent development, the group mentality is extremely important — a teenager’s friend circle and their social surroundings are extremely important to them. So, missing out on this can create a tremendous feeling of loss,” Patton-Smith said.

Rising levels of depression among teenagers is especially important to try to counteract, as suicide is already the second-leading cause of death for that age group, according to Patton-Smith.

And teen depression can be difficult to spot, as their symptoms manifest differently than adults.

“A lot of teens exhibit depression more by significant irritability, sometimes anger, aggression or hostility, becoming oppositional and sometimes argumentative, isolating themselves socially, eating too much or too little, sleeping too much or too little,” Patton-Smith said.

She said parents should be on the lookout for behaviors that their teen does not usually exhibit, as they could be signs of depression.

During the winter holiday season, some may miss out on the feelings of normalcy and tradition that may have helped in previous years.

“Many of us cannot safely gather with family and friends in the way that we normally would, so this is even more of a challenge for teens experiencing depression — or even those who just experience pandemic fatigue and loneliness,” she said.

Patton-Smith recommends that parents find a way to go the extra mile to make this time feel special for their teenagers.

“Number one: Validate — recognize that this is a very difficult time and it’s OK to feel angry, upset, hurt, isolated. All those things are things that are normal feelings to have,” Patton-Smith said.

She said parents should communicate all the ways that next year could make up for some of the lost time that the coronavirus pandemic destroyed in 2020.

She also said it is important to preserve holiday traditions as long as they can be done safely.

“There’s a family that I see here at Kaiser Permanente that are buying matching Christmas pajamas and they do it every year — but, this year, they’re mailing it to the other family members that cannot wear them together, because they are socially distancing, and then FaceTime them as they are opening these pajamas,” Patton-Smith said.

Families can also try to create new holiday traditions.

“Some of my families are baking new recipes, swapping new recipes, having talent shows that they never had before via Zoom or FaceTime,” Patton-Smith said. “So those are things that can be helpful — just start new things.”

Also take time to acknowledge and process loss as a family, Patton-Smith said.

Whether it’s mourning a loved one who has died, or the loss of normalcy, families should acknowledge the hardship and pain, and make sure teenagers are aware that everyone is struggling with the circumstances.

Patton-Smith said that parents should notify a trusted professional — such as their primary care provider or a school counselor — if they believe that their teen is showing signs of depression. She also said that the Suicide Prevention Hotline is the “gold standard” for seeking help.

The number for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 1-800-273-8255. There’s also an online chat.

Looking for more information? D.C., Maryland and Virginia are each releasing more data every day. Visit their official sites here: Virginia | Maryland | D.C.

WTOP’s Kristi King contributed to this report.

Zeke Hartner is a digital writer/editor who has been with WTOP since 2017. He is a graduate of North Carolina State University’s Political Science program and an avid news junkie.


Stocked Trout Streams Fly Fishing Report - May 20, 2021

Posted by Jeff Murray on May 20, 2021

The larger trout in these streams feed heavily on minnows which are well matched with a Murray's Olive Marauder and Murray's Black Marauder size 12. Fish below fast riffles and fish the streamer right along the stream bottom where the trout feed. Be sure to wade carefully so that you do not spook the trout. The Virginia DWR does not stock during the summer months so I won't be reporting on these streams for the next couple of months. All of the local stocked trout streams are currently clear and fishable.


Food Truck Nation

A new generation of lunch trucks is hitting the streets. They serve high-end fare such as grass-fed beef hamburgers, escargot and crème brûlée. As they rove cities like Austin, New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles, they alert customers to their locations using Twitter and Facebook. Their owners include highly trained chefs and well-known restaurateurs.

Joshua Henderson, 36, trained as a chef at the Culinary Institute of America and cooked at the Avalon Hotel in Beverly Hills. Today, he owns two lunch trucks that drive the streets of Seattle. Each truck serves about 200 lunches every day, and Mr. Henderson says he grossed about $400,000 last year, his first year in business, with only one truck in operation. The only problem: “We go up against the stigma. We’re trying to prove we’re on a different level than a lunch truck,” he says.

Lunch trucks once represented the nadir of culinary achievement, conjuring up images of withered hot dogs and hygienically-challenged kebabs. Today, even some chefs from Michelin-starred eateries are migrating into a sector of the food business that seems particularly well suited for a financial downturn. For would-be restaurateurs, launching a culinary truck requires far less start-up capital than a brick-and-mortar restaurant. At a time when consumers are cutting back on restaurant spending, a food truck serving inexpensive lunches and snacks can be an easier sell to diners.

The new breed of lunch truck is aggressively gourmet, tech-savvy and politically correct. The Green Truck, which sells “sustainably harvested” fish tacos, roams the streets of Los Angeles in vehicles fueled by vegetable oil. The Dessert Truck in New York is owned by a former Le Cirque pastry sous chef who donates proceeds from desserts such as a pavlova with red fruit gelée to charity. In the San Francisco Bay area, the RoliRoti rotisserie truck serves free-range chicken, heritage pork and local lamb, prepared by owner Thomas Odermatt, a Swiss former organic farming student whose business card reads “Rotisseur.”

Though most of these trucks charge more than typical hot dog or taco trucks, their meals generally cost less than comparable sit-down restaurant fare. At New York’s Rickshaw Dumpling Truck—whose dumpling recipes were created by Anita Lo, chef at the Michelin-starred Manhattan restaurant Annisa—an order of six duck dumplings with dipping sauce costs $6.50. In San Francisco, a skewer of escargot in puffed pastry costs $2 at the Spencer on the Go truck, operated by chef Laurent Katgely, who also owns Chez Spencer, an upscale French restaurant.


Your Library Catalog

The Integrated Library System (ILS) or simply "catalog" is the hub of everything we do—the library’s brain, essentially. It tracks more than 400,000 cardholders and 2.3 million items, including books, DVDs, thermal cameras, book club kits, audiobooks, digital resources, nature backpacks and more. It routes 1.2 million holds per year to the right library, emails holds notices, makes phone calls to those without email and allows you to renew your books on the phone. It’s a real workhorse, but there are a few things it can’t do. That’s where our new system comes in.

Our new library catalog, launched November 13, 2019, includes several features we think will make library customers happy. This system integrates both physical items and electronic items, so you can search for books, eBooks and eAudiobooks all in the same place. You are also able to see all your checked-out items in one customer account screen.

The new system improves user access and communication, too—starting with an updated, friendly design. You can sign up to receive text messages in addition to emails or phone calls, and you will be able to choose a user ID rather than logging in with your library card number. Additionally, users can create a wish list, so you can save books now to read later. It is a significant upgrade, and we think you’re really going to like it.


Four years' worth of stories about VIP visits and grooming protocols, palm-greasing, rotten vegetables, and that time they lost Steve Mnuchin’s coat.

Everyone knew Table 72 belonged to the President. The round booth in the middle of the Trump Hotel’s mezzanine was impossible to miss. It didn’t matter how many Congress members were clamoring for a reservation at the steakhouse or whether some tourist tried to slip a manager some cash (which they definitely did). No one sat at Trump’s table except the President, his children, and, occasionally, an approved member of his inner circle like Rudy Giuliani or Mike Pence.

In practical terms, the restaurant wanted to avoid the horror of turning away the leader of the free world if he happened to show up on a whim. But the seat also developed a kind of mystique. Sure, it may now be a relic in an underperforming venue. But for those four epic years, it was a carefully curated prop in the Trump Show.

And when the star appeared, you had to stick to the script. A “Standard Operating Procedure” document, recently obtained by Washingtonian, outlined step by step exactly what to do and what to say anytime Trump dined at BLT Prime, the hotel restaurant.

As soon as Trump was seated, the server had to “discreetly present” a mini bottle of Purell hand sanitizer. (This applied long before Covid, mind you.) Next, cue dialogue: “Good (time of day) Mr. President. Would you like your Diet Coke with or without ice?” the server was instructed to recite. A polished tray with chilled bottles and highball glasses was already prepared for either response. Directions for pouring the soda were detailed in a process no fewer than seven steps long—and illustrated with four photo exhibits. The beverage had to be opened in front of the germophobe commander in chief, “never beforehand.” The server was to hold a longneck-bottle opener by the lower third of the handle in one hand and the Diet Coke, also by the lower third, in the other. Once poured, the drink had to be placed at the President’s right-hand side. “Repeat until POTUS departs.”

How to wait on Donald Trump: After he’s seated, according to the employee handbook, servers must “discreetly present” the Purell.

Trump always had the same thing: shrimp cocktail, well-done steak, and fries (plus sometimes apple pie or chocolate cake for dessert). Popovers—make it a double for the President—had to be served within two minutes and the crustaceans “immediately.” The manual instructed the server to open mini glass bottles of Heinz ketchup in front of Trump, taking care to ensure he could hear the seal make the “pop” sound.

Garnishes were a no-no. Melania Trump once sent back a Dover sole because it was dressed with parsley and chives, says former executive chef Bill Williamson, who worked at the restaurant until the start of the pandemic. Trump himself never returned a plate, but if he was disappointed, you can bet the complaint would travel down the ranks. Like the time the President questioned why his dining companion had a bigger steak. The restaurant already special-ordered super-sized shrimp just for him and no one else. Next time, they’d better beef up the beef.

“It was the same steak. Both well done. Maybe it was a half ounce bigger or something, I don’t know,” says Williamson, who had previously run the kitchens of DC staples Birch & Barley and the Riggsby. The chef had always prepared a bone-in rib eye or filet mignon for Trump. After Steakgate, he switched to a 40-ounce tomahawk. Trump would never again gripe that he didn’t have the greatest, hugest, most beautiful steak.

One more thing. Don’t forget the snacks. A tray of junk food needed to be available for every Trump visit: Lay’s potato chips (specifically, sour cream and onion), Milky Way, Snickers, Nature Valley Granola Bars, Tic Tacs, gummy bears, Chips Ahoy, Oreos, Nutter Butters, Tootsie Rolls, chocolate-covered raisins, and Pop-Secret.

The biggest pain in my butt was Giuliani.

The whole SOP reads like a pop star’s rider, which is apt for a place that served as center stage for the Trump drama and its entire cast of characters. Now, though, the Washington hotel is in the process of figuring out its next act. In 2019, the Trump Organization started trying to unload it for a reported $500 million—a number that industry pros reportedly balked at even before Covid devastated the hospitality world. Between the pandemic, Trump’s defeat, and the fallout from the US Capitol attack, the hotel’s cachet has plummeted since then. A financial disclosure released at the end of Trump’s presidency shows that the property took a 63-percent hit to its revenue in 2020.

If the hotel is ultimately sold, the new owner would likely start from scratch. And for the people who popped the ketchup and bussed the ungarnished plates, that means their jobs would be done. Well done.

But hey, it was a wild ride while it lasted!

Now veterans of the place are opening up about what it was really like behind the curtains of “America’s Living Room,” where right-wing operatives were treated like celebrities and political power determined the seating chart. If you weren’t in the business of Making America Great Again, well, sweetheart, you quickly learned to fake it. Working for the Trump hotel meant putting on a performance every night—right down to the gummy bears and popcorn.

First, always rehearse the night’s VIPs, a lineup that was as long and ever-changing as the President’s own roster of loyalists.

“Senators and cabinet members and all of their staffs and the President’s staff, important members of the Republican Party, megachurch pastors, MyPillow guy. He was a VIP, absolutely,” says former executive chef Shawn Matijevich. “The hotel would print us a book every day, if they were staying at the hotel, and it would have their pictures and their name and their job title.”

How to open Donald Trump’s Diet Coke: According to the seven-step process outlined in the staff handbook, servers must hold the lower-third of the bottle for the germaphobe Trump.

You had to know whom to suck up to—not always easy given the President’s Ferris wheel of allies. One time, before his break with Trump, attorney Michael Cohen tried to snag a table at BLT Prime without a reservation. The host didn’t know who he was and turned him away, leading the hotel’s managing director to scold the host’s supervisor. On another occasion, in the early days, the kitchen took forever with Hope Hicks’s order. She pulled the don’t-you-know-who-I-am card, letting the general manager know she was in fact Hope Hicks—you know, from the White House. The manager, who no longer works there, remembers apologizing profusely—then sending out a “dessert storm,” including a crepe soufflé and a cheesecake lollipop tree.

Another time, a busser’s apron got caught on the door of a private dining room, and he accidentally flung a ramekin full of steak sauce all over Arthur Schwartz, a GOP operative from New York who’s tight with Don Jr. The splatter just missed the President’s son.

“[Schwartz] came and cussed me out for a solid five, ten minutes, talking about how he was wearing a $10,000 suit,” the general manager says. “The hotel did pay for all the cleaning.” (Schwartz declined to comment.)

Perhaps the most notorious VIP was Rudy Giuliani, who had a regular table in the restaurant’s downstairs dining area. “It was pretty much his office. He was doing more paperwork there than eating,” Williamson, the chef, says. “Some days, he’d be there all day.” At one point, someone made it official and created a black-and-gold plaque that read RUDOLPH W. GIULIANI PRIVATE OFFICE. The restaurant would keep it behind the host stand and place it at his table before he arrived.

The hotel made this nameplate for Rudy Giuliani. Before he’d come in, staff would place it at his table.

“The biggest pain in my butt was Giuliani,” says the former manager who dealt with an annoyed Hicks and a sauce-covered Schwartz (and who asked for anonymity to avoid blowback from future employers). “He was constantly in the restaurant. And I complained about it. The guy would come in, expect a table for ten at a moment’s notice at, like, 2 pm, when we’re not fully functioning. We don’t have the staff. But he’s the President’s lawyer, and what am I supposed to do?”

By contrast, Trump’s children were fairly low-key and polite. (The most salacious detail any former staff offered about Ivanka is that one time she showed up in yoga pants and indulged in a single margarita.) “They just came in, did their thing, and left,” says former assistant general manager Alyssa O’Clock. “Ivanka would sit with her back to the rest of the dining room. She didn’t really want to be seen there, necessarily.”

Tiffany also made occasional appearances for a mimosa-fueled brunch or a study break with Georgetown Law friends. Often, though, she was a no-show. “She made many reservations and didn’t show up for them for dinner,” a former manager says. “It was a pain.”

Catering to the right-wing bigwigs was less about showering them with freebies (although former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows and his wife might be greeted with complimentary bubbly) and more about highly customized service to feed their egos. The staff kept extensive notes on everyone who was anyone. For mega-philanthropist Catherine Reynolds, who was on Trump’s economic-revival council during the pandemic, diary-like records noted every preference down to how many olives she preferred in her martini. “I’ve worked in a few fine-dining places, but I’ve never worked somewhere where the VIP list was just so crazy,” O’Clock says. “There were a couple people where we had their entire order in our notes on OpenTable.”

Then there was lobbyist David Bockorny, a big Republican donor and Beltway operative since his days in the Reagan White House. He liked to get his morning coffee from the restaurant, but he’d show up before it was open. Instead of asking him to come later, “they decided we’ll just have coffee 15 minutes early because David Bockorny’s going to come,” O’Clock says. “Whoever was working those mornings knew: You need to be there on time, maybe a little bit early—this guy is coming in.”

Regulars such as Florida congressman Matt Gaetz and MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell were always around the lobby taking selfies with fans. In the restaurant, some top White House officials including Kellyanne Conway and Sarah Huckabee Sanders preferred more private booths in the back. But generally, the place to be was a table along the balcony rail on the mezzanine, overlooking the lobby and its soaring ceilings. That’s where you might spot Meadows, or American Conservative Union chairman Matt Schlapp, or then–Georgia senator Kelly Loeffler. Though if you didn’t have political pull, looks could get you there, too. “I was told to just put the pretty people on the rails one time,” says a former employee. “And the ones with Birkin bags.”

Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and his wife, Louise Linton, who briefly lived in the hotel, were among the few allowed to occupy Trump’s table, sometimes with one of Linton’s purse-size pooches in tow, Paris Hilton–style. Their preferred Pinot Noir was also kept in stock even when it wasn’t on the menu. But not even they were immune to mishaps. During the 2017 inauguration, the staff had gotten crushed tending to the throng, then scrambled to find Marla Maples a table when she showed up without a res—so overwhelmed, in fact, that the restaurant lost Mnuchin’s coat.

“There were so many people in that hotel, and the hotel wasn’t ready to take all the coats, so we were trying to help out,” the former general manager says. Mnuchin, thankfully, wasn’t a jerk about it. “I’m pretty sure we found it a couple days later.”

The upper echelon of hotel management portrayed themselves as true Trump believers, but the majority of those who fed and cleaned up after the right-wing clientele were ambivalent at best. They clocked in because the place paid well. Really well. Michel Rivera, a former bartender at the lobby bar, says he pulled in more than $100,000 a year with tips (at least $30K more than he made at the Hay-Adams). He says it’s the best-paying job he’s had in his 25-year career, with generous health benefits to boot—a comment echoed by many other ex-employees.

“People would literally come up to me and give me $100 bills and be like, ‘You must be the best bartender in the world if you work here!’ ” Rivera says. “A group of three or four guys would come up, have a round of drinks—I could easily sell them over $1,000. You don’t see that at too many bars.” One restaurant manager says she’s never worked anyplace else where guests would so often try to grease her palm “like the old Mafia days,” angling for proximity to power. “I’d have people try to palm me to get closer to someone’s table, if a politician was in, or try to sit at Trump’s table, which is a big no-no,” she says. “I declined, obviously. I would get fired if we moved someone to Trump’s table.”

Anyone who wasn’t a Trump fan quickly learned that putting up a facade was part of the job. “I was lying. I said certain things to play the part and do what I needed to do in order to avoid problems,” Rivera says. “A lot of times, I would end up being like, ‘Yes, I support the President. He’s an amazing guy.’ ” One former manager recalls that when she started, another employee gave her a tour of the hotel, praising Trump for being “so good to the people” and “such a kind soul.” “I looked at them and was like, ‘You know what? You’re absolutely right,’ ” she says. “And inside I was dying.”

Behind the scenes, she and other Democrats on the payroll would groan when they learned the President was coming in: “It’s like, ‘Oh, great. I don’t want to have to deal with this. Can I get off early today? ’ ”

I always tried to dress like a Fox News anchor.

Maintaining appearances also meant literally maintaining appearances. Just as at other luxury hotels, the former President’s property has strict protocols for how employees should dress and look, down to the quarter-inch limit on men’s facial hair and the three-eighths-of-an-inch max on women’s fingernail length. According to its “Appearance & Grooming Policy,” obtained by Washingtonian, pants are technically permitted, but some female staff say there was an unspoken rule for attire: only dresses or skirts. “You’d get a disapproving look” otherwise, O’Clock says. “I just remember knowing anytime I wore pants: Oh, this is going to be a day. Make sure I have on a nice blazer and wear heels to balance out.” As a former female manager puts it: “I always tried to dress like a Fox News anchor.”

Photograph by Jeff Elkins

The expectations were intense, but this was the President’s hotel and everyone knew the press corps was watching. When Matijevich was chef, from October 2017 until he left eight months later to open his own restaurant in Norfolk, he says that a low tolerance for screwups led to a lot of firings, which often involved people being dramatically escorted out of the building: “I watched somebody get walked out for using bad language. We had to be on our best behavior every second that we were out there because somebody was waiting to notice that we made a mistake and it was going to be in the news.”

But as much as they worried about catching hell from bosses or patrons, some staff also were getting it from a different direction when they went home. “I’d say probably 80 to 90 percent of my kitchen staff was Hispanic,” Matijevich says. “A lot of people that worked there, their friends wouldn’t talk to them anymore. Some of the Hispanic workers, their family wouldn’t talk to them while they were working there, even their back-home family in other countries.”

A micro-green supplier that Matijevich had previously worked with ditched him, saying it couldn’t deliver to the hotel in good conscience. Williamson, who joined BLT in early 2018 and worked there two years, found that food purveyors with whom he’d had great relationships were suddenly sending him rotten produce and subpar cuts of meat and fish. “I had to double- and triple-check a lot of this product,” says Williamson, who now operates a boutique butcher shop in Mount Pleasant. “I guarantee someone in that warehouse picking this product saw where it was going and was like, ‘Oh, f— it, give ’em this stuff.’ ”

At a certain point, the disdain became too much even for one manager who was pro-Trump and loved the job. “We work every day—10, 12 hours—to make people happy with great food, and we have no [dining] coverage,” he says. When he took a break on the hotel terrace, joggers would give him the finger. One time, he says, he wore his uniform on the Metro to work and fellow passengers yelled at him, “Shame on you! How can you work for a person like that? You’re a racist!” He never commuted in uniform again. Eventually, he just didn’t want to deal with the harassment anymore. He left.

When Covid-19 shut everything down last spring, the restaurant laid off its entire workforce. But once indoor dining restrictions lifted, the lobby and steakhouse came alive again—and staff now had the added duty of trying to enforce safety protocols.

“I doubt as many restaurants in the city have to put up with grown men rolling their eyes when we ask them to put on their masks,” says one former employee. “The audacity of the comments and just the lack of human empathy, it shocked me. It made me want to go cry in the walk-in. People are dying and you’re joking about having to wear a mask.”

She says Rand Paul once used Scotch tape to secure his mask to his glasses, leaving it flapping over his mouth and nose. (Paul, who has decried mask mandates, was the first senator to contract Covid last year.) Says his communications director, Kelsey Cooper: “That story is not true.”

How to open Donald Trump’s ketchup: The former POTUS must hear the “pop” sound on the mini Heinz bottle as the server opens it.

And multiple times, the employee says, the hotel management had to remind Dr. Scott Atlas, the Trump coronavirus adviser who pushed for letting the virus spread among the young and healthy in order to reach herd immunity, to wear his mask when he was walking around the lobby and not seated at a table. “That NEVER happened,” Atlas tells Washingtonian in an email. “I literally ALWAYS wore a mask there, 100 percent of the time unless I was seated at a table to eat or drink. That is yet another outrageous lie fabricated only to impugn me. Does the media ever get tired of lying?? You must really be desperate for a story, might be more interesting saying they have good food—please add this.”

Between pandemic restrictions and political turmoil leading up to November 3, the show at the hotel was no longer selling out. At times, security was tightened and no one was allowed inside without some kind of reservation. A lot of the same characters continued to come, but without the lobby schmoozing, the vibe wasn’t the same. Election week was bleak. “The guests, you could tell, were all very sad,” the employee says. “Behind closed doors, we were all celebrating that Biden’s going to win. But also, oh, God, we’re all going to probably have to find other jobs.”

Some talked about sticking it out through inauguration, but with Covid cases surging, indoor dining was banned again and many staff landed back on unemployment. Some worried that having the T-word on their résumés could get them blacklisted. (Rivera, the bartender, now lists his former employer only as “OPO” for Old Post Office.) And that was before the attack on the Capitol, the cabinet resignations, the second impeachment, and the defeated President’s helicopter ride into exile. Trump may have left Washington, but he still looms large over the hotel. Table 72 is there as a reminder—empty.


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Watch the video: Would You Eat This $35 Thali? Bombay Street Food in Washington DC. Indian Restaurant Review (January 2022).