Just the Bottle

One woman's adventure in beer, food, wine and spirits

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First Date Spots

My special fella and I recently celebrated our first date anniversary. It's been a year of fun, wine, and absurdity. It all started at Izakaya 2-F.

Izakaya 2-F has been one of my go to spots for dates and happy hour with friends. It's the upstairs sibling of Daikaya (one of the best ramen spots in DC). Izakaya offers an amazing sake and whiskey list. Their wine and beer list is also nothing to sleep on with a well curated selection that pairs well with the dishes or alone. I've never been disappointed with a drink there, food, or service. It plays well as a first date due to it's location and offerings. I find if a date is going well, you can order dinner or put your name downstairs for ramen. However, if you and your date aren't clicking, you can easily and quickly close out and move on. Being in Chinatown means, you have three different metro lines, buses, and several other places to drown your sorrows or celebrate that bad date ending.

Church Key is a spot that a friend recently reminded me about and it makes perfect sense. They are an award winning beer bar, but they do have a spectacular wine and cocktail list. They have plenty of dishes to share and if you go on the right night plenty of seating. It's not as near a metro line, but it's in the 14th street drag. Again, if your date is going well and you want to move on you can find so many fun dinner spots. Date sucked? No worries as you can go sip on some whiskey at Black Whiskey.

Barrel in Capitol Hill area has a baller bourbon list and is a chill environment. Their beer list and cocktail list also doesn't disappoint. You can't go wrong with almost any of the bourbons here. 

Teaism is a perfect spot if you aren't drinking and don't want to do the cliche coffee date. They have three locations in the DC area. The Dupont location is always one of my favorites. If the weather is nice, you can walk to Dupont Circle and people watch while chatting. The Penn Quarter location has a zen like downstairs space.

Those are some of my first date top spots in DC. What are your favorite spots for a first date?

Redeye Menus #ShashiSherry

On Wednesday, July 27th Redeye Menus celebrates one year of fabulousness - #ShashiSherry a special collaboration with Indique Restaurant.  In January, I attended one of their events for my birthday held at the Source with Chef Scott Drewno at the helm.  It was an experience like no other.  This team of awesome and powerful ladies curates an amazing experience from start to finish with no detail forgotten.  The cocktails are part of the journey along with one of the main stars - the Sherry.

Chantal, Carlie, and Holly continue to amaze and inspire me and other diners with each one of their community collaborative dinners.  It's a pleasure to see them join forces in this project as well as shine in their other ventures.

If you haven't attended, don't sleep on this latest foodie adventure.  If you have gone, why not return as each dinner provides new flavors and experiences.

Tickets are selling fast!  Get your ticket here.

Cochon 555 or How I Ate All the Piggy

Cochon 555 is a food loving, fun filled event involving friendly competition by local chefs and mixologists.  The road show hit Washington, DC area on March 22nd.  My mom traveled from Miami so she could go with one of her favorite people - me!

The butchery demonstration. PIGGY!

The butchery demonstration. PIGGY!

The road show hits various cities around the country.  Besides the main event, they offer tasty dinners with more one-on-one with chefs and key taste makers.  My mom and I attended Chef Kyle Bailey's dinner (post later).  Being a nonprofit professional, I respect organizations that have a larger mission to benefit others or raise awareness of a key issue.  Cochon 555 not only raises money for scholarships for James Beard Foundation, they also provide a platform for people to learn more about the importance of supporting local products. 

After reviewing the recommendations, my mom and I still weren't completely prepared.  We lost track of time and didn't sample as much or as many areas.  Always remember at events like this, keep moving and remember not to dwell in one area too much.

Some chefs went all out in theme with outfits and signage.  I really respect someone who goes all out.   It made it even more fun for guests.

Each dish was incredibly flavorful and different.  It made the event all the more fun that each dish brought something new to the table.

Chef Danny & Yesoon Lee of Mandu was crowned the Prince of Porc for DC!  Mandu has done many exciting things recently with the anju and I can't even begin to imagine what's next.  

Secret Monkey Social Club

Last month I attended the first Secret Monkey Social Club.  Founded by Lukas B. Smith (currently of Dram & Grain and Jack Rose Dining Saloon, formerly beverage director of Daikaya) and Shayna Blass (actress, singer and dancer, appearing in the upcoming Passion Play at Forum Theater) it combines the best of both worlds - amazing booze and music.

I wasn't sure what to expect the first time around.  I was joined by one of my partners in crime.  It was beginning to snow heavily and OPM had promised to shut down the next day.  It was a lively crew that joined in merriment that night.  Music and drinks flowed together as one.  I sampled each punch that exposed new flavors.

Shayna jumped into the set and killed.  As the night came to a close, we all finished our delicious punches and prepared to enter the frozen tundra once more.

Next Secret Monkey Social Club is Monday, March 23rd.  Navid "Navi" Azeez will provide an opening performance with Shayna performing again.  It will be a great time with Lukas manning the punch bowls with Dan Searing.  Check out February's punch menu below.


Diner en Blanc

Feel free to click through the gallery above to see some of the photos I took.  There are several other photos available.

Diner en blanc made its Washington, DC debut last week and I was one of the first attendees.  Diner en blanc is not for the weary.  There were rules.  Many rules.  There were also many costs involved.  When I initially proposed the event to Man Friend I was met with confusion and annoyance.  Quite understandable on his part, however, I do what I want.

Diner en blanc has become a worldwide phenomenon that started in Paris.  The roots were very simple - a man wanting to have a nice dinner party.  It has evolved into a part flash mob, part dinner, part drinking, part dancing - a completely spectacular time.

Getting to Diner en blanc was initially frustrating.  It was approximately a million degrees that day.  I was rocking my Rent the Runway jumpsuit and jewelry.  I cabbed the table and chairs that Lisa who writes for Push Play Eat rented.  I met her and our group at Dupont where our table leader, Katie, provided us further directions.

This is where it got kinda hinky.  We tried to get all of the Dupont groups on the metro to the final destination.  Other groups throughout the city were doing the same thing.  I don't think commuters were too keen to see people carrying tables, chairs, several baskets trying to force themselves onto the metro.  I also did not enjoy dragging that card table.  The table was kind of mad at the situation, but realized I was in control and relented.

Once we made it to the destination we began setting up.  I ran to get my food basket (I ordered a basket from the caterer) and wine as Lisa set up.  I ran back and finally began to relax.  That's when I was able to look around at the sea of people who would be my dining companions for the evening.

There was music, laughter, dancing and sparklers.  I don't like sparklers, but felt the need to join in.  Long story short - my mom once severely burnt her thumb with a sparkler and I witnessed it first hand.  She's fine, I'm fine.  I would just rather not take that chance.

I was lucky enough to sit next to Alison who manages her own wine consulting business and Laetitia who was one of the group organizers.  As I have said before, Laetitia is one of my favorite Parisians.

There were so many amazing outfits, table arrangements and food!  I loved my own food, but did want to dive into other people's plates.

Diner en blanc was one of those events that I could easily have talked myself out of, but didn't.  I'm glad I didn't.  It was worth every penny and drop of sweat.