Insatiable


Are you ready for some football? As we cheer for RG III and the rest of the ‘Skins, while hoping for a winning season, restaurateurs Jeff and Barbara Black invite fans to enjoy football Sunday happy hour specials at Pearl Dive Oyster Palace and Black Jack (upstairs). The address is 1612 14th St. NW.

On game days the bar will open at 1:00 p.m., just in time for kickoff. Customers may enjoy additional specials throughout the game, shown on Black Jack’s enormous 72-inch projector screen over the main bar, or on two 46-inch flat screen TVs in the bocce room upstairs. Specials include half-price draft beer, buckets of Bud Lite; $5 red, white and sparkling wine; frozen drinks; pizza; Addie’s mussels; two-for-one oysters on the half shell, and $7 burgers or nachos. Pearl Dive Oyster Palace serves lunch Friday and Saturday from noon to 3:00 p.m., Sunday 11:00 to 3:00 p.m., dinner Monday through Sunday from 5:00 to 11:00 p.m. For more information call 202-319-1612 or visit www.PearlDiveDC.com

In that same spot look for a pop-up eatery, Taco Bambo at Black Jack – operated by Victor Albisu on Mondays until the end of the year. Bambo’s tacos will be filled with the usual spicy beef and pork, as well as more exotic octopus and sweetbreads. Otherwise, Black Jack serves dinner Tuesday through Thursday from 6:00 p.m. to 1:00 a.m., Friday 6:00 p.m. to 2:00 a.m., Saturday 3:00 p.m. to 2:00 a.m. and Sunday 3:00 p.m. to 1:00 a.m. Call 202-986-5225 or go to www.BlackJackDC.com.

Pies from Pearl Dive

For Thanksgiving (Nov. 22 this year), Pearl Dive Oyster Palace Pastry chef Ashley Soto is baking pies and dinner rolls, the latter available by the dozen. You can pick them up Tuesday and Wednesday, Nov. 20 and 21 from 2:00 to 11:00 p.m. The five classic American pies are Key lime with graham cracker crust, Brazos River bottom pecan, Kentucky Derby, peanut butter black bottom and “lightly spiced” pumpkin. Each pie serves six to eight people. 

Orders may be placed Nov. 5 by calling 202-319-1612 and must be pre-paid by Monday, Nov. 19. Cancellations require a 24-hour notice for a full refund. Pearl Dive Oyster Palace will be closed Thanksgiving Day.

A native of Statesboro, GA, chef Soto graduated from the Culinary Institute of America (Hyde Park) in 2011. She joined Black Restaurant Group as assistant pastry chef at Black's Bar and Kitchen in Bethesda. When Pearl Dive Oyster Palace opened last year, she donned top pastry toque there.

Logan meltdown

In the Logan Circle neighborhood, Richard Sandoval’s Latin-Asian inspired Masa 14 has launched its “Melting Pot” series. Starting this month (November), in addition to his regular dinner menu, executive chef Adam Goldman is highlighting Chinese and Japanese influences on Sao Paulo’s culinary landscape. The cooking style dates back to Brazil’s colonial period. Did you know Sao Paulo has the largest Asian-Brazilian population in the country? Served in Masa’s main dining room, Goldman’s November Melting Pot menu will be available for dinner only.

Dishes encompass caldo verde (potato, chorizo and kale soup); beef and shrimp with hearts of palm; “street food trio” (chicken rissoles, chorizo and cheese skewers); cheese-stuffed plantains; pan-seared red snapper with collard greens; and spicy chocolate, pistachio, coconut and acai gelee. Prices range from $6 to $13. 

To complement the exotic fare are three caipirinha cocktails. Masa 14 will present its special international menus for one month each quarter (season). The next Melting Pot series is slated for February 2013, when the theme will be Lima, Peru.

Masa 14 is located at 1825 14th St. NW. Dinner is served Sunday through Thursday from 5:00 to 11:00 p.m.; Friday and Saturday ‘til midnight. Prix-fixe brunch is available Saturday and Sunday from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. on the main level, and the new Banchan Brunch is served on the rooftop, weekends from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. For reservations call 202-328-1414 or visit www.masa14.com.

More Logan

The lower level bar at Café Saint-Ex has launched “Pass the Peas,” its series of monthly soul food and DJ music nights. Named after the popular hit song from James Brown's band, The JB's, Pass the Peas is an evening of soul food dishes paired with live DJ tunes from Soul Call Paul, hosted in Saint-Ex's Gate 54 lounge. The series is slated for the second Wednesday of every month, and the next one is Nov. 14. Future dates are Dec. 12, Jan. 9, and Feb. 13.

Highlighting executive chef Billy Klein’s menu is country-fried steak with gravy, pork chops with candied yams, and cornmeal-encrusted catfish and corn bread presented in a cast iron skillet. Café Saint-Ex is located at 1847 14th St. NW. For more information, visit www.saint-ex.com or call 202-265-7839.

Down Mexico way

The other day, Peter mentioned that we had not done Mexican for a while, so on a chilly Monday afternoon we ambled into Alero, 1301 U St. NW. I’m a big fan of Mexican artist Frida Kahlo, so I was pleased to see a repro of her self-portrait on one wall. Vintage black-and-white photos graced other walls. 

From the moderately priced luncheon menu I ordered tacos de cochinita pibil – pork braised in orange achiote sauce and nestled in two corn tortillas. The savory pork literally melted in my mouth. Peter opted for sizzling chicken fajitas (he could have gone for beef, shrimp or a combo). They arrived really sizzling. Both dishes were escorted by Spanish-style rice and refried pinto beans. Open daily, the two-year-old U Street Alero is one of four in the area. Call 202-462-3222 or visit www.alerorestaurant.com.

Coming soon

In Shaw, Mandalay Restaurant and Cafe is due to arrive at 9th and P streets NW. Showcasing the cuisine of Burma (Myanmar), the family-owned enterprise currently has a location in Silver Spring. Last time we checked, the building was still under construction. Stay tuned. http://www.mandalayrestaurantcafe.com

Still gone

No update yet on last summer’s abrupt departure of Buddha Bar, 455 Massachusetts Ave. NW, near Mount Vernon Triangle. Will it reopen or will another restaurant slide into the fancy digs? The Paris-based, night-clubby Buddha had been around for two years. We liked the Asian-fusion fare but found the interior too dark to see what we were eating or to find the restrooms.


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