5 Reasons DC Brau is Bro’s Best

While I’ve yet to get to a DC United match, I do imbibe plenty of DC Brau, DC’s best craft beer in my opinion. First, I love the fact that its local. Second, love that its available on tap in just about all my favorite locals, including DC Reynolds, which is no longer my local because I moved, but I return often for their killer patio and happy hour. Third, I love that its canned not bottled.

DC Brau Selection

Their award-winning sick graphic art and branding is super-crisp, and a can keeps the beer fresher and the hand cooler during the dog days of summer. Fourth, my favorite people like DC Brau and I’m a sucka from an endorsement from the Bourdain. It was his trip to Istanbul that inspired my wife and I to honeymoon in Turkey three years ago, and to unabashedly enjoy pork.

Fifth, the recipes DC Brau have got going are freaking dynamite. They are cleverly curated and balance experimentation with popular taste so they are very drinkable. You don’t have to be shy when trying El Hefe Speaks, a german-style wheat beer of the quite quaffable IPA, The Corruption. SO, if a six hits your deli case, I encourage you to GET U SUM!

DC Brau Bourdain

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Billy Reid + Frye Coming to Georgetown

So I’ve been mapping the best menswear in DC and today during a little stroll in Georgetown I noticed that Billy Reid is coming to M street and bootmaker Frye is coming to Wisconsin Ave. Both are superb American-made  brands that offer impeccable gear. I simply can’t wait.

Interesting note about Frye. Though their iconic Harness boot was born decades earlier and inspired by the US Cavalry, the Massachusetts-based family of designers gained a bit of inspiration for another now iconic boot from the district. “During a 1938 trip to Washington, D.C., John A. Frye’s grandson and namesake met a U.S. Navy Admiral who noted his difficulty in finding the Wellington styles he liked so much. As a favor, John agreed to make him a pair. Frye continued to fill these requests for boots through World War II.”

By the way Jack Spade just dropped their first watch line at their Wisconsin Ave location. I checked them out at a recent launch party, and its not bad for their first line.  They’re very deliberately fashion watches and so I’ll stick to my Bell & Ross and Luminox, but no man would be mad if he received one as gift.

Jack Spade Camo Watch

Wabbit Tracks

I’ve finally realized the American dream of home-ownership. Got to prep the nest for my wife and the baby! Beyond getting the workshop going and buying garden supplies, I’ve got plans to put in a generator, a freezer for game meat (for when I eventually bag that deer), but also cow-pooling. I noticed rabbit tracks in the snow yesterday and joked about taking them for the stew pot to my wife. I’m serious about it too, because I’ve acquired a really lovely garden with terraced walls and being half a block from a major suburban park with a large resident population of deer I’ve already started “worrying about my begonias.” I’m also looking forward to planting my first real vegetable garden soon. I see bountiful crops of carrots, beets, cucs and tomatoes ahead.

Our New House

So what the hell was I thinking when I visited my home store and purchased Round-up (Montsanto) to kill the weeds in my yard as well a big old jug full of pesticide to spray around the house perimeter?! Mind you, none of it is organic or natural. It was only today on the way to work that it hit me–of course I want a natural home. I want it free from pesticide and chemicals that will inevitably drain into the nearby creek or contaminate those plump rabbits I got my eye on. I’m an advocate for conservation and environmental protection as you well know but talk about having brain farts, the main ingredient of Round-up is glyphosate, a man-made chemical now found in many streams and creeks across the country that suffer run-off from suburban and urban areas. Its not terribly toxic and it biodegrades in 60 days, doesn’t build up in mammals or aquatic species, but frankly why risk it when there are perfectly good non-toxic alternatives out there. It still can cause breathing issues, and kidney damage at chronic levels.

So, again, what the hell was I thinking? Fact is, I wasn’t. I think I was acting on some base instinct to “protect” the homefront from invasion, and got a little too trigger-happy at the home store. Luckily, I caught myself because I think as a new home owner you get this opportunity to set new habits, to put a stake in the ground and really live your beliefs. And I’ve got big plans to create a safe, non-toxic, energy efficient home. Now I’ve got to get rid of these harmful chemicals and figure out my next move, dig in and do some research and find some natural approaches to weed and pest management. Fortunately, nature threw me a reprieve in the form of an early Spring snow-storm. Now its up to me to follow-through.

Cured DC

So my brother has a PhD from the London School of Economics. He works at RAND (that “consultant” to the Pentagon).  Sometimes I think he’s a CIA analyst because he occasionally makes clandestine trips to South America.  …But I ain’t scared. He’s also a passionate conservationist and outspoken defender of the weak and champion for social justice. But then again…he’s incredibly skilled with a knife.

In fact, he’s quite the butcher. After three years of self-training, including apprenticing under Mike Smollon, he’s ready to take the plunge into some serious butchery. He’s joined the culinary incubator at Union Kitchen in DC–already being praised by the press, Mayor’s Office and foodie scene, Union Kitchen promises to take the small army of food artisans in the area and give them a commercial home, launch advice and start-up expertise. Over the past few years I’ve tasted his bresola, guanciale, salumi, duck prosciutto, lardo, chorizo, and aged steaks among other delicacies.

I helped Cured DC move into their new digs over the weekend, after he wired up his new cure box. We had a wonderful lunch at Red Apron over in Union Market afterwards and discussed his future. He plans to offer a CSA-type approach with classic staples, and include limited edition cured meats with a special seasonal items. I can’t wait! For a full post with more pictures head over to Cured DC’s re-tooled blog here.

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And just in case you think he ain’t serious…here are couple of pix I snapped from his “secret stash”.

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That’s right, that’s prosciutto…

Taste of the Upper East in DC

We finally found New York bagels in DC–well Silver Spring to be more exact. Goldberg’s Bagels is easy to miss when you’re driving up Georgia Ave to the Beltway, in fact, its easier to hit when you’re coming BACK from whatever took you out of the beltway in the first place. You could just choose to cross the 8 lanes of traffic though to zip into the little strip mall that houses this precious jewel. My wife and I were skeptical of course, but as soon as we walked in we knew we had hit the jackpot–because you just KNOW the smell of a quality bagel place, and the first smell that hit me was whitefish. The hospitality and smiles were genuine and we had to take home half a dozen, starting with one of their famous Black Russians (pumpernickel with sauteed onions in the dough and sesame seeds) with a whitefish smear. Oh baby. Delish.

Black Russian Bagel

Remember Spring?

Everyday I look out the window for signs. Yesterday sparrows visited my birdfeeder first thing in the morning. And then just at dusk, I spotted an enormous eagle perched on the building opposite–she looked pregnant. And then I heard that last week Punxsutawney Phil  has predicted an early Spring. Sure, if you live on the NE corridor with the impending blizzard this weekend–you just ain’t feeling it. But down here in DC (which really is “the south”), its balmy. A couple weeks ago I posted on my little getaway to the Piedmont and now I’m thinking, what would Rose River Farm look like in all its Spring glory? I’ve become such a fan of what Doug Dear has put together at Rose River Farm that I thought I’d share these two videos of the operation they got going on down in Madison Co, Virginia, just 90 min. drive from Washington, DC.

When’s the first day of Spring again?

 

 

 

 

Seasonal Pantry

One of the best things about living in Brooklyn for several years was of course, the food. Access to Northeastern farms in Vermont, the Catskills and Hudson Valley, Pennsylvania and even New Jersey, great seafood from the coast inspired Brooklyn’s chefs and artisan foodmakers. So it seems Washington, DC also benefits from a nearby pantry–Maryland pick-your-own farms, the Shenandoah Valley, Virginia’s Piedmont, and of course the Chesapeake Bay bring riches, from farm to table.

Seasonal Pantry, the brainchild of chef Dan O’brien, brings the local larder to the Shaw neighborhood and provides a very fresh twist on eating local. From pork ragu to lemon confit, O’Brien prepares delicious take-home items that will knock your socks off. O’brien also cooks a full five-course dinner at the Pantry three times a week. On a recent visit we took home quite a few nice things, from scones to beef jerky.

We look forward to dropping in again soon, including hitting his new pub, A&D bar next door. O’brien told us he uses his homemade jams and syrups, and other ingredients in the cocktails, served alongside his charcuterie, all fresh, all seasonal. And get this, his next venue is focusing on Fried Chicken and Donuts. Hot damn! For more on Seasonal Pantry, check out the write-up NY Times gave them last year.

 

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Green Hat Gin

Green Hat Gin

Great story. As far as they know, the folk at New Columbia Distillery are the first to make legal gin in Washington, DC. Green Hat Gin has popped-up here and there around the District (try DC Reynolds) and is available direct at their distillery on New York Ave, along with some pretty cool swag.

Green Hat Gin is named for George L. Cassiday, the chief “capitol bootlegger” in the District during the 20s. He literally worked for the House and Senate during prohibition in their offices, and despite a couple of run-ins and a brief stint in jail, he was a “good man simply supplying the market.”

George Cassiday Bootlegger

When he was arrested, Cassiday was was wearing a green fedora and he became known as “the man in the green hat.” After a second arrest, the notoriously nice-guy bootler became fed-up with the hypocrisy of imbibing congressmen and senators and started publishing his story in the Washington Post–one week before the 1930 election. No doubt his column had an impact on repealing Prohibition. Up next for New Columbia Distillery, whiskey in about three years.

Guide to Men’s Shopping in DC

Just in time for the holidays, I’ve decided to publish a guide to places that appeal to me as a sometime shopper in the D.C. area. As in my holiday guide, if you read this blog regularly and are into quality craftsmanship, clothes and gear that will last you a lifetime, American-made stuff, you’ll probably like the deadbait D.C. Men’s Guide.

It ain’t easy to find solid menswear shopping in D.C., but its here if you look hard enough…and now you have a shortcut! If your favorite spot didn’t make the list, its because I probably haven’t heard about it, don’t care for it, or never shopped or ate there. I’ve also left out the soul-sucking made-in-china-stan retailers, with a couple of exceptions. I’ve also included a few good spots to hang-out, gear-up, and places to get your outdoor stuff too.

deadbait DC Men's Guide

MENSWEAR
Hugh & Crye (online but DC-based)

Lost Boys

Vineyard Vines

Rugby

Universal Gear

Rag & Bone

Palace 5ive

J Press

Redeem

Barbour

Rue 14

Gant (Swiss-owned but American-heritage)

Jack Wills

Brooks Brothers

J Crew

Federal

Allen Edmonds

Alden

 

OUTDOORS

Orvis

Urban Angler

Hudson Trail Outfitters

 

GEAR

Sterling & Burke

Smash Records

The Grooming Lounge

Leica Store

Goodwood

The Foundry

 

FOOD & DRINK

Cork Market

Seasonal Pantry

Three Little Pigs

DC Brau Brewing Co

Port City Brewing Co

DC Reynolds

Union Market DC

Stachowski’s

Meridian Pint

Pearl Dive Oyster Palace

The Brixton (English Pub from the Hilton boys)

American Ice Co.

H Street Country Club

Granville Moores

Chadwicks