It's safe to say that most of 2017 felt like stepping on a lego barefoot. Thankfully, food was our shelter. We often took the time to ask difficult questions about what happens inside kitchens and behind bars, we collaborated on drinks, desserts, pop-ups, and we supported marvelous humans with a passion for sharing stories on a plate. Here's some good stuff that went down.
The team behind the Blagden Alley cocktail haven scored the Spirited Award for Best American Cocktail Bar, was named one of Esquire's Best Bars in America, and landed the number one spot in the Washington Post's Best Bars in DC list. Our favorite moment: collaborating with the Hirshhorn on the What Absence Is Made Of tasting room menu. Essentially making a menu about nothing.
Cotton & Reed
Cotton & Reed celebrated a year of making innovative rum in DC, sold out of Despaccino coffee rum in 24 hours, Our favorite moment: Hosting Knafeh New York for four days of Palestinian baking, drinks, and dancing. So much dancing. Our favorite moment: 1985 to One night with the Five to One team.
Thirteen years in business is no small feat, and Dolcezza topped that by hosting the first ever DC Coffee Fest, opening at the Wharf with a full kitchen and breakfast all day, and ran a (soon to become permanent) cafe at the Hirshhorn through the summer and fall. Our favorite moment: won the Express Best of DC Reader's Poll for best coffee shop for the first time ever.
Our favorite dumpling purveyors hosted a string of successful pop ups across the city, introduced the city momos at Smithsonian's IlluminAsia festival, and started a refugee chef program to support new chefs ready to rise through the ranks. Our favorite moment: soup dumpling shots at Emporiyum.
Grillworks celebrated 10 years of Grillworks 2.0, and announced the Grillworks X line (which includes an OVEN) that will be in action at Spoken English at the Line Hotel soon. Our favorite moment: Grilling bone marrow for Alice Waters.
Himitsu hit Bon Appetit's 50 Best New Restaurants list, earned top spot as Eater DC's Restaurant of the Year, and was shouted out over and over again in everyone's favorite restaurant roundup. Our favorite moment: Selena-inspired cocktails.
Co-founders Ann Yang and Phil Vong made the social entrepreneurship section of Forbes' 30 Under 30! Misfit got an incredible rebrand from Gander, joined Chobani's food business incubator, and led the charge in food waste education online. Our favorite moment: Ann speaking at the Atlantic's Washington Ideas Summit.
PUB hosted Game of Thrones, Cherry Blossoms, Super Mario, the creepiest dolls you've ever seen, David Bowie, and more this year. Miracle on 7th returned with an entire bar dedicated to our favorite tradition: Chinese and a Movie. Our favorite moment: a tie between professional cosplayers visiting the Game of Thrones PUB, and George R. R. Martin tweeting about it.
Room 11 revamped their cocktail service, brought back recipes from its original cookbook to the menu, got a nod from GQ as a DC drinking destination and lots of love Imbibe Magazine. Our favorite moment: constantly learning about wines we didn't think we'd like, and falling in love.
Toli Moli opened went from sweets and snacks to space, and lots of it. They opened the first Burmese Bodega in DC, brought nostalgia and travel to their menu, and ended up with the most satisfying selection of diverse books in all of DC with Duende District. Our favorite moment: filling our baskets to the brim with every kind of pickle at the bodega.