Dining Notes – May 2017

Appetizers, Spanish rose wine, and flowers begin a delightful spring brunch at Joselito's. Photo: Celeste McCall

Husband Peter, a barbecue aficionado, was thrilled to learn that Sloppy Mama’s has arrived at Union Market. You’ll find it where Andrew Evans’ barbecue stand used to be. Created by Joe and Mandy Neuman, Sloppy Mama’s – which started as a food truck and catering company – dishes out St. Louis-style ribs, pulled pork, brisket sandwiches. Other items are available on a rotating basis. Sides might encompass coleslaw, baked beans, potato salad, cornbread, and hot sweet pickles. We’ve tried the pulled pork sandwich, which comes with tangy coleslaw and cornbread. Peter found it flavorful, moist, and smoky with very little fat or gristle. While they’re at it, patrons may pick up a bottle of Neuman’s signature sauces.

Sloppy Mama’s is open Tuesday through Sunday from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. and also does take-out and catering.

Also at Union Market is a lighter, healthier option, the District Fishwife’s poke salad bowl – sort of Hawaiian-style sushi made with marinated yellowfin tuna or salmon – arranged with pickled carrots, ginger, and seaweed on a bed of rice.

Union Market is located at 1309 Fifth St. NE; visit www.unionmarketdc.com.

Baseball ‘n’ Brew
Baseball and beer go together, and the Capitol Riverfront area has lots of both. To honor our Washington Nationals, the Arsenal at Bluejacket has launched an outdoor grill menu on home-game days. On the patio fans can enjoy a wide selection of home brews. Executive chef Marcelle Afram’s menu showcases Red Apron meats including dogs, wursts, “classic” burgers, and a falafel version with pickled beets, dill, and yogurt.

Also on the patio, beer director Greg Engert taps a rotating selection of 14-ounce pours of game-day brews. Located at 300 Tingey St. SE, the Arsenal at Bluejacket is open daily including Sunday brunch.

Across from Nationals park, another Dacha Beer Garden (the original is in Shaw) is coming to Dock 79 at 79 Potomac Ave. SE. And not far away at 25 Potomac is Bardo Brew Pub, transplanted from the Trinidad neighborhood.

More News
Nearby, in the Capitol Riverfront, 2014 RAMMY award-winner Haidar Karoum will unveil Chloe, his first solo venture. Showcasing a “wide range of cuisines,” his enterprise will occupy a 3,200-square-foot space in the Arris apartment building at 1331 Fourth St. SE. It joins Philz Coffee and organic/vegan eatery Juice Laundry as culinary tenants.

On the Southwest waterfront, the mile-long, $2 billion Wharf is getting yet another tenant: Danny Meyer’s latest Shake Shack. The poplar “roadside burger stand” will join nearly 20 food establishments opening at The Wharf this fall. Is Red Hook Lobster Pound (food truck) planning a floating restaurant there?

Super Size
“Wow! Supermarkets have changed since I was a little boy,” declared Peter as we gawked at the panorama of victuals at our newest Whole Foods. Sprawled at 600 H St. NE, the two-level, 40,000 square-foot emporium opened a few weeks ago to much hoopla.

Where to begin? We decided to have lunch first, rather than grocery shop on an empty stomach, when we always buy too much. We headed for Erik Brunner-Yang’s Paper Horse Asian “comfort food” station. There we selected a spicy chicken burger and sesame ramen noodles with pork. Both were lip-tingling delicious. Assisted by an employee, we ordered and paid on a computer. Nearby was a sushi stand, a bountiful entree and salad bar, and wood-fired pizza.

We took our food and chopsticks upstairs to the H Street Lounge. There customers may eat at a table or the bar. They may also select from 16 beers on tap, a few wines by the glass (we sipped DC Brau and Bensiger sauvignon blanc), cheese plates, and “gourmet” hotdogs.

Afterwards we shopped. The vast selection was almost overwhelming: gorgeous seafood, pyramids of colorful produce, an amazing cheese selection, a bakery, and well-marked aisles containing everything imaginable. We found prices comparable with those at Harris Teeter, where we usually go. Moreover, Whole Foods recycles and composts, and many items are organic. Whole Foods is open daily, with underground parking.

Happy Birthday
Also in the Atlas District, congrats to Pow Pow, 1253 H St. NE, which is celebrating its first year of creating innovative, Asian-inspired meat and vegan dishes, including its signature giant egg roll. Open daily; call 202-399-1364.

Spring Brunch
Joselito: Casa de Comidas, 660 Pennsylvania Ave. SE, now serves weekend brunch. While brunch is not a concept in Spain, chef David Sierra has incorporated the American tradition into his cooking. At a bountiful press luncheon we tasted deep fried anchovies with aioli, orange-hued gazpacho enlivened with salt cod, lump crab Benedict (an American touch), several other egg concoctions, and perfectly cooked T-bone steak. Most of us sipped a lovely, spring-like Spanish rose.

Brunch items are offered a la carte, plus the “bottomless brunch bar” with mimosas, Bellinis, and bloody Marys. Joselito serves brunch Saturday and Sundays from 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.; for more information call 202-930-6955.

Market Watch
I was intrigued to see skate wings – priced at $4.95 per pound – at Eastern Market’s Maryland Seafood stand. I have tasted the fish at Joselito’s and was eager to prepare it myself. Skate, similar to stingray, is a type of shark. It has no bones. The ribs are actually cartilage and the wings themselves are pectoral fins. When you buy the critter, ask the fish guy to remove the skin and spines. You might not find skate every day, so best to call first: 202-546-9135. To cook skate, poach it in white wine or stock, or dredge lightly in flour and saute in butter or olive oil until brown. Serve with lemon wedges and capers.

Bayou Bakery, David Guas’ folksy, New Orleans-style cafe in the carriage house next to Hill Center at the Old Naval Hospital, closed last month after two years. Aaron Silverman, who has Rose’s Luxury and Pineapple and Pearls on nearby Barracks Row, might be taking over the lease; watch for updates.

Bayou Bakery will be reborn – as an intimate cafe called Lil’b – in the Darcy Hotel near Scott Circle later this spring or summer. Meanwhile Guas thanks the Capitol Hill community for its loyal support, and he retains his six-year-old Bayou Bakery & Coffee Bar in Arlington.

Still Here
If you miss Sapore Oil & Vinegar, which departed from 660 Pennsylvania Ave. SE last year, remember you can purchase Renee Farr’s gourmet products online: www.saporeoilandvinegar.com. Farr will take the merchandise to Capitol Hill Frame & Photo, 645 Pennsylvania Ave. SE, where customers may pick up their orders. For more information visit Sapore’s website or the frame shop: 202-547-2100 or www.chframe.com.

Pretzel Factory Turns Five
The Pretzel Factory, 257 15th St. SE, turned five years old last month. Founded and owned by Sean Haney, the popular eatery will also be featured on WETA-TV’s “Local Eateries” series, which premiered May 5.