Zero Waste Shopping is Here

Capitol Cuisine

152

It’s here! “Zero waste” Mason & Greens has arrived at 800 Pennsylvania Ave. SE (on the corner). The sustainable newcomer reminded me of the long-gone Cornucopia on Walter Street SE, which dispensed dried beans, rice, pasta and the like, in bulk. Mason & Greens has a similar mission. According to its website, the average American generates about 4.4 pounds of waste per day. Over 250 million tons of trash are thrown away annually; every hour 2.5 million plastic bottles are discarded.

Mason & Greens proprietor Justin Marino, who operates the store with his wife Anna, showed us around the sunny, two-level space. Management is serious about zero waste. No plastic, period. The policy extends to purveyors who must eschew plastic when shipping to Mason. (Perishable foods are generally exempt for health and safety reasons.) Even employee business cards are printed on seed paper which can be planted.

“We opened our first store in Old Town Alexandria in March 2020,” Justin told me. “Yes, that was unfortunate timing. Back during the early days of Covid, few businesses were able to source merchandise. It was challenging.”

All grocery items are plant-based, including cashew cheese, oat milk, almond butter. You’ll also find jars of pickled baby beets, bread-and-butter squash, salsas, pasta sauces, preserves, dried beans, chips, marshmallows, granola, animal crackers and much more. Plus fresh fruits and vegetables.  Upstairs offers beaucoup books—including vegan manuals, shampoos, bath oils, soaps, brushes, baskets and household products.

For hours and more information, visit www.masonandgreens.com.

Teutonic Cheer
Café Berlin’s 37th annual Oktoberfest is in full swing at 322 Mass. Ave. NE. Through October 17, guests can quaff German beer (and wine) while chowing down on German victuals like Kartoffel Pfannkuchen (potato pancakes), Goulasch Suppe (soup), Wiener Schnitzel, Sauerbraten (marinated braised beef), Schweinehaxe (roast pork), sauerkraut, Rotkohl (red cabbage) and much more. Oktoberfest, by the way, commemorates the October 12, 1810 wedding of Bavarian Prince Ludwig to Princess Therese of Saxe-Hildburghausen. In Munich, Germany, the beer-soaked blowout usually runs from late September through early October. For Café Berlin’s exact hours and Oktoberfest menu visit www.cafeberlin-dc.com.

Clucking Good
Last month, we reported that Chicken + Whiskey has hatched a spinoff at 70 N St. SE, in the Navy Yard. So we decided to see what all the clucking was about. Nothing fancy here; it’s fast casual, where customers place their orders at the counter, score a table and await their food.

But Chicken + Whiskey is funky and fun. Unlike the Logan Circle parent eatery, where victuals are served in front and the hooch in the rear, the Navy Yard spinoff has arranged the two components side-by side.

Although the kitchen slings sandwiches, wings, arepas, spicy chicken soup and salads, pollo a la braza (Peruvian-style rotisserie chicken) is the dish to order here. Latino chef/partner Enrique Limardo, who has wielded his whisk at topnotch local restaurants, brines the chicken for 12 hours and slow-roasts it over charcoal. Accompanied by tongue-tingling dipping sauces, the birds were tender and moist, enveloped with crisp, succulent skin.

Since Peter likes white meat and I prefer dark, we ordered the half bird (breast, thigh, wing and drumstick) with two sides. We were both happy. Among side dishes, we chose Caribbean- style slaw (red and white cabbage, carrots and pineapple dressing). Our other side was chaufa rice flavored with soy sauce, rice vinegar, onion, cilantro and bacon. The dish reminded us of a similar concoction we enjoyed at a restaurant in Lima, Peru. Chaufa rice is popular in Peru due to the 19th century influx of Chinese immigrants.

Now for the whiskey: there’s lots of it. Lined up behind the long bar are umpteen kinds of liquor—99 according to the Website.  Plus fancy cocktails with outlandish names like Jungle Boogy (rum); Bing Bong (Bombay Sapphire gin); Bitcoin Becky (Skyy vodka). The bar also carries beer. Better-than-decent red, white and rose wines are canned. There’s also a lively happy hour and a kid’s menu. Lunch for two with a drink apiece came to $36.74 including tip.

Sandwich Power
Peter and I decided to check out Fight Club, 633 Pennsylvania Ave. SE, where Hank’s Oyster Bar used to be. Fight Club—named after the popular 1999 flick starring Brad Pitt–is a few doors away from Beuchert’s Saloon. Both restaurant/watering holes are operated by chef Andrew Markert, who recently closed his upscale Newland “tasting room” near Eastern Market.

The former occupant’s long, convivial bar remains, and eye-catching lanterns hover overhead. Several TV screens bring football and other action.

Fight Club’s casual menu encompasses snacks and sandwiches, cocktails, beer and wine. (My glass of rose was pleasant, and the list includes many other choices.)  I ordered the “Heir to the BLT,” replete with house-made peppered bacon, pistachio butter, brown butter mayo, lettuce and ripe yellow tomato slices. Peter chose the crab and egg salad sandwich. Both sammies were delightfully messy, requiring several napkins. Among other options are the signature Fight Club sandwich, piled with club steak, roasted tomatoes and bacon; falafel wrap (cashew and tofu), wedge salad; deviled eggs; half-smoked pups and onion rings.

In keeping with the movie theme, our $55 tab arrived in a DVD holder. For hours and more information, visit www.fightclubdc.com.

Cheesy Market Watch
Thanksgiving is more than a month away, but it’s not too soon to think about entertaining. And that includes good cheeses. For almost six decades, Bowers Fancy Dairy Products—tucked inside Eastern Market—has been hawking artisan cheeses from all over the world. The stand is now operated by Mike Bowers, whose grandfather Harris Rockford Bowers launched the business in 1964.  A recent foray uncovered gorgeous cheeses like Roquefort, brie, cheddar, chevre, feta, ricotta and many more. We also saw fresh butter (including buffalo); mustards, chutneys, pates, crackers and Boska cheese slicers. For the holidays, expect festive gift baskets. Eastern Market is closed Mondays; for more information visit www.bowerscheese.com.

Gone
On Barracks Row, Nooshi, the Asian noodle and sushi restaurant upstairs at 524 Eighth St. SE, has closed after a decade in business.