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Monday, Jan. 2, 2017 12:18 p.m.

Restaurant openings to watch for in 2017

This post was written by contributing culture editor Max McCrory. 

If you’ve vowed to go against the typical New Year’s resolution and plan to eat more, not less, in 2017, then you have a lot to look forward to in the District.

While you’ll always have your old D.C. favorites, several new restaurants announced 2017 openings that will help you eat your way through the new year. Here are some openings to look forward to:

Red Apron Burger Bar

Looking to venture away from the old standby Burger, Tap and Shake for burgers and fries? The master butchers behind local Red Apron Butchery are opening Red Apron Burger Bar in Dupont Circle this year.

The restaurant will serve up mouth-watering burgers made with local beef starting at only $5.85. They’ll also be offering decadent french fries cooked up in their dry-aged beef fat as part of a “whole-animal” approach to reduce waste.

Red Apron Burger Bar will open in mid-January. If you’re craving a preview, you can visit the Red Apron Original Burger at their Red Apron Butcher stores in Union Market, Penn Quarter and Merrifield, Va.

1323 Connecticut Ave. NW

Bindaas

Bindaas, the causal eatery from the team behind Rasika, will be opening its second, and biggest, location on campus in the fall.

The restaurant will be located in The Shops at 2000 Penn and will serve up traditional Indian street food, like kebabs and Kathi rolls, to a hungry crowd of students and local business people. The new location will offer lunch, dinner, a weekend brunch and a separate carryout counter when it opens.

2000 Pennsylvania Ave. NW

Reverie
Johnny Spero, the former head chef at José Andrés’ Minibar, is opening up an affordable and charming restaurant in Georgetown this summer.

The restaurant will enhance diners’ palates with a menu full of twists on modern American cuisine. Spero wants to attract all types of people, he told the Washington City Paper, so items at Reverie will not cost more than $30.

The restaurant will sit close to campus on a cobblestoned Georgetown side street, which makes it the perfect place for students to get a taste of fine dining in a casual atmosphere without a high price tag.

3210 Grace St. NW

The Salt Line

If you come from a region where seafood is a staple, then you’ll feel right at home at The Salt Line when it opens this year.

The restaurant will be serve up New England-inspired fare, with everything from fried clams to lobster rolls to fresh oysters, as well as cuisine from the local Chesapeake Bay. The Salt Line will have daily dinner service and a weekend brunch.

The Salt Line’s location in the Capitol Riverfront neighborhood is the perfect environment and will give you an excuse to venture to an up and coming part of the District. Not to mention, with its spring 2017 opening, it’ll be the ideal place to grab an upscale bite to eat before a Washington Nationals game.

79 Potomac Ave. SE

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This post was written by Hatchet reporter Leah Potter.

The Shops at 2000 Penn doesn’t have the atmosphere I would expect for a fine chocolate shop. But as I explored and tasted the chocolates at SPAGnVOLA Chocolatier, I quickly got over the space’s feel and enjoyed the sweet treats.

SPAGnVOLA Chocolatier opened in the space late last month.  It is part of a chocolate franchise, which was voted one of the top ten chocolatiers in the world by National Geographic this year, which explains the shop’s high prices and unique flavors.

The shop offers an array of chocolate goods ranging from classic chocolate bars (around $10 each) to surprising combinations like hot chocolate with cardamom ($25.99), and pieces of sugar-coated ginger hand-dipped in dark chocolate.

At first, the store seemed a little stuffy, mostly due to its impeccable organization and lack of customers. Golden-yellow chocolate boxes with subtle stenciled drawings line the walls in perfect order.

The small space is filled with a wide variety of chocolates. The shop’s standout items are the bonbons, which come in flavors like white peach, pistachio, passion fruit and caramel.

SPAGnVOLA’s Crisoire’s Collection ($72.99) includes 24 bonbons in a variety of flavors and is the most shop’s most luxurious chocolate.

I purchased one of their four-piece signature truffle collections ($12.99), which included coconut, passion of the sea, orchid vanilla and cranberry truffles.

The orchid vanilla truffle was fresh and playful with a strong dark chocolate finish. The passion of the sea truffle was dark all the way through with a light touch of salt.

The cranberry truffle was composed entirely of white chocolate, apart from the hints of cranberry in the center and a decorative dried cranberry on top, which earned it my recommendation for a festive chocolate gift.

The coconut truffle was underwhelming compared to its companions. The center of the truffle was simply filled with dark chocolate rather than highlighted with notes of coconut, as I expected. The truffle was topped with slivers of coconut, which were slightly too chewy and in need of toasting.

With fancy packaging and chocolate made with cacao beans imported all the way from the Dominican Republic, it might be hard for the average college student to afford the luxuries of SPAGnVOLA Chocolatier. But students should keep the chocolatier in mind when in need of a special study treat or a gift for a family member.

 

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Celebrity chefs gathered to showcase their culinary talents at the MetroCooking D.C. expo.

Video by Iliana Hagenah

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President Barack Obama lit his last tree at the 94th annual National Christmas Tree Lighting.

The event was hosted by actress Eva Longoria and included performances by James Taylor, The Lumineers, Chance the Rapper and more.

Video by Sara Bugaighis

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Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2016 11:11 p.m.

Dish of the Week: Fig & Olive’s crostini

Fig & Olive’s signature crostini comes with a variety of flavors and toppings. Max Wang | Hatchet Photographer

Fig & Olive’s signature crostini comes with a variety of flavors and toppings. Max Wang | Hatchet Photographer

This post was written by Hatchet staff writer Max McCrory.

Fig & Olive is known for serving up Mediterranean style food with flair. It has locations across the U.S. in New York, Chicago, and luckily, here in D.C. You’ve probably passed by its D.C. location on your way to Momofuku, as it’s located in CityCenter.

The restaurant is the perfect place to go when you want to relax. It has cozy lighting and big couches where you can lounge while sampling from the vast menu. Dishes on the menu, like the creamy burrata heirloom beet salad ($16), the smooth butternut squash & chestnut soup ($13) and the rich truffle risotto ($26) are just a few of the Mediterranean eatery’s highlights.

But all of these dishes pale in comparison to Fig & Olive’s signature crostini (three for $12 or six for $21). They come with multiple toppings to appeal to everyone at the dinner table. For the adventurous eater, there’s a crostini topped with octopus, a bit of creamy hummus and spicy pimenton and for the meat lover, there’s an option topped with prosciutto, creamy ricotta, fresh fig, salty olives and crunchy walnuts.

While all of the crostini toppings are flavorful and delicious, not to mention beautifully presented, there a few you can’t miss. The crostini with creamy burrata, juicy tomato, garlicky pesto and tart balsamic vinegar is reminiscent of a caprese salad, without that pesky, healthy spinach. It’s the perfect combination of different flavors sure to make your taste buds explode.

Another notable crostini is topped with soft and creamy goat cheese, aromatic caramelized onions and crisp chives. The onion taste is not overwhelming with the mild goat cheese and is incredibly light.

Last but not least, is the crostini topped with buttery manchego cheese, fruity fig and sweet marcona almonds. The rich ingredients come together for a shocking sensation when you first take a bite. Order a mix of crostini to create the perfect appetizer that will have satisfy anyone’s tastes.

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A fan meets Yvonne Orji, the one of the stars of HBO's Insecure, at a screening hosted by the Black Student Union. Anne McBride | Hatchet Staff Photographer

A fan meets Yvonne Orji, the one of the stars of HBO’s Insecure, at a screening hosted by the Black Student Union. Anne McBride | Hatchet Staff Photographer

Updated: Nov. 15, 2016 at 2:37 p.m.

This post was written by Hatchet reporter Giuliana Centofanti.

The Black Student Union hosted a star of HBO’s series “Insecure” and alumna Yvonne Orji Monday night. About 150 students gathered in the Marvin Center for a screening of the show and a question and answer session with Orji.

Orji, a Nigerian-American actress, comedian and writer, earned a bachelor’s degree in sociology and a master’s degree in public health at GW before deciding to pursue comedy instead of going to medical school.

“Insecure,” which premiered in October, has been praised for highlighting black women’s experiences. Orji plays Molly, a high-powered lawyer and the best friend of creator Issa Rae’s character.

Orji covered a variety of topics including stereotypes, education and playing vulnerable characters during Monday night’s event. Here are some of the night’s highlights:

1. Stereotypes

Orji said “Insecure” moves past stereotypes to offer a more realistic portrayal of black women.

“It’s introducing me to a new type of black, I think that’s one thing the show’s very honest about, everybody’s experience is not the same, everybody has a different relation to what it means to be black and there’s no wrong or right answer,” Orji said.

Orji also answered questions about code-switching, citing it as a tool black people use to climb to the top. Orji’s character is able to adapt from being a “hood rat” to working in a mostly white law firm through code-switching and having a “double consciousness,” she said.

“White people are just able to be white wherever because they’re the majority, but black people, in order to get ahead, to make other people feel safer in their own environments, it’s that thing you have to do in order to survive,” Orji said.

“Insecure” doesn’t have “to try to be the catch-all,” because black women play different types of characters on other TV shows, Orji said.

“The freedom now to have a show that allows us just to be regular. We’re not superheroes, we’re not Olivia Pope-ing it, we’re imperfect, and that’s freeing to see on TV,” she said.

2. Education

In response to a question about whether actresses should go to college to have a back-up plan, Orji said her education in sociology and public health has helped her as an actress.

“Nothing’s ever wasted because you need everything,” Orji said.

Orji took a marketing class in college that she said helped her to be aggressive and persuasive in Hollywood.

“I do know friends who all their degrees are acting, that’s not a bad thing, however, I personally would like to do that marketing, do that other thing because you need so much more,” Orji said. “Talent takes you only but so far. It takes savvy.”

3. Insecurity

The show’s title, “Insecure,” is a statement in and of itself: In the past, TV shows have portrayed black women as strong characters, even though that’s not always realistic, Orji said.

Orji said she’s learned to deal with being black in a majority white environment, which has forced her to deal with some of her own insecurities.

“For me it was a thing of ‘I have to be around different people in life, so let me learn now how they think, how I can function around them, how I can still be myself and teach them a couple things,’” Orji said. “I think you just have to realize that everyone’s different and in our differences what is that thing that makes us the most similar?”

Orji also had some dating advice for an audience member who asked if black women set their standards too high.

“I don’t know what ‘too high’ means,” Orji said.

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Friday, Nov. 11, 2016 4:27 p.m.

Gobbling for St. Jude research

The GW chapter of Epsilon Sigma Alpha hosted their annual Thanksgiving-themed eating competition “Gobblefest” to raise money for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

Video by Keren Carrion

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Thursday, Nov. 10, 2016 12:50 a.m.

Weekend Outlook

This post was written by Hatchet reporter Callie Schiffman.

Take your mind off the U.S. presidential election results this weekend with ice skating, comedy and a stunning photography exhibit.

Friday

Washington Harbour Ice Rink

Start off the holiday season off with ice skating at the opening day of The Washington Harbour Ice Rink. It’s a classic Georgetown waterfront activity for a reason, and you can enjoy this winter activity before it gets too cold outside.

Washington Harbour Ice Rink, 3050 K St. NW. Noon to 10 p.m. $10.

Saturday

Black Side of the Moon

This satirical show from The Second City explores black identity through comedy and attempts to answer a question on everyone’s minds lately: Where is our country headed?

Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company, 641 D St. NW. 8 p.m. $20-$59.

Sunday

For the Love of His People: The Photography of Horace Poolaw

This weekend marks the opening of a new photography exhibit at the National Museum of the American Indian. Horace Poolaw was an American Indian photographer in the mid-twentieth century whose photography reflects the lives of Native Americans on the Southern Plains. Poolaw took photographs of his friends, family and events like weddings, funerals, parades and baseball games.

National Museum of the American Indian, 4th Street and Independence Avenue SW. 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Free admission.

 

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This post was written by Hatchet staff writer Max McCrory.

Le Diplomate is a quintessentially French restaurant nestled in the corner of 14th and Q streets NW in the hip Logan Circle neighborhood. It opened in 2013 with red leather booths, a well-trained staff and an extensive menu.

Le Diplomate aims to educate the D.C. diner on the delights of French food. Menu items such as their perfectly crafted cheese board ($6 per cheese), delectable steak frites ($28.50) and their cheesy French onion soup ($12.50) do just that, while also creating the classic French brasserie experience.

A delicious, but often overlooked, dish on the menu is the soft and warm cheese gougères ($9). They are made in a similar way to biscuits, but when baked their center is hollow. Gruyère, a creamy French cheese, is mixed right in with the dough and adds the perfectly sweet yet salty flavor to the otherwise plain pastry dough. Nutmeg is sprinkled into the dough to give it a nutty flavor that complements the gruyère well.

When you first bite into this cheese pastry, it is incredibly light and airy – something you don’t often get with biscuits. The cheese’s distinct flavor and the rich pastry dough, or “le pate a choux,” as the French call it, create the perfect dish. Le Diplomate tops theirs with fleur de sel, which is French sea salt, and it rounds the dish out nicely.

It can be hard to snag a reservation at Le Diplomate, whether it’s for brunch, lunch or dinner. But never fear – cheese gougères can be found at a number of D.C.’s French restaurants, including Central Michel Richard located in the Penn Quarter neighborhood.

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Thursday, Nov. 3, 2016 12:29 a.m.

Allied in Pride hosts tie-dyeing event

Students joined members of the Allied in Pride executive board in Kogan Plaza to tie-dye t-shirts to fundraise for the organization.

At a price of $6 per shirt, students could tie-dye shirts with the Allied in Pride logo while spending time with members of the campus queer community.

Video by Jake Amorelli

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