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Tastes of fall

Lots of restaurant events slated for coming months



The cooler weather is arriving and the summer weekends on the beach in Rehoboth are coming to an end. It’s a great time to check out some new restaurants, chefs and foodie eventsl And don’t worry — you have six months to fit into your speedos again.

Masa 14 (1825 14th Street NW) announced a new executive Chef, Adam Goldman, on Aug. 22. Goldman has served as sous chef at Masa 14 for the past two years and he’s the one who created the opening menu for the new rooftop deck at Masa 14. A new chef and a new roof deck make Masa 14 an excellent fall escape option.

On Aug. 28, Lime Fresh Mexican Grill opened in Columbia Heights. Lime Fresh is famous for its fresh blend of Mexican-inspired dishes fused with the food conscious culture of South Beach. I recommend trying out Lime Fresh as an alternative to the mediocre food and service at Tortilla Coast.

Jose Andres of Zaytinya (701 9th Street NW) has a special two-week promotion celebrating the iconic ingredient of Mediterranean food — the grape — from Sept. 3-16. Zaytinya head chef Michael Costa will offer grape-inspired dishes during “The Grape Festival.”

On Thursday, Uptown Ethiopian Fusion Cuisine (1608 7th Street NW) was scheduled to open in Shaw. This restaurant will feature traditional Ethiopian Food as well as fusions of other ethnic cuisine.

On Sept. 20, Jeff Black is debuting his new Old Black Salts and Black Pearl Oysters at the one-year anniversary of Pearl Dive Oyster Palace (1612 14th Street NW). Tickets are $175 per person and include unlimited fresh seafood and an open bar. Guests will also be the first to try these two new exclusive oysters. Proceeds raised at this event will be donated to Food & Friends.

If that isn’t enough seafood, The Blue Crab Summit will be hosted at Johnny’s Half Shell (400 N. Capitol Street NW) on Sept. 21-22. For $60 per person, Chef Ann Cashion will prepare guests five large Maryland Blue Crabs in the East Texas tradition “Sartin Style.”

The Park Hyatt Washington and Blue Duck Tavern (1201 24th Street NW) will host the Master’s of Food and Wine on Sept. 22. The Autumn Mushroom Chef’s Table Dinner will feature recently foraged chanterelle and field mushrooms prepared by Chef Archambault, Chef Melfi and Bryan Irwin.

On Sept. 23, celebrity chef Mike Isabella, of Bandolero and Graffiato, will be signing his first cookbook, “Mike Isabella’s Crazy Good Italian” at Graffiato.

Taste of D.C. 2012 is taking place on Pennsylvania Avenue Oct. 6-8. It features tastings and dishes from about 80 of D.C.’s best restaurants, eateries and food trucks.  This will provide an excellent opportunity to try out some restaurants you have been meaning to try out all year.

Gay Chef and restaurateur Art Smith (currently competing on Bravo’s “Top Chef Masters”) is bringing you Election Night at Art & Soul (415 New Jersey Ave NW) on Nov. 6, and Swing State Cocktails from Oct. 1 until Jan. 31. On election night guests will be able to watch results roll in on large televisions and enjoy happy hour prices until a decision is made. Swing State Cocktails include drinks like The Colorado Orchid, The Cardinal Cooler (Virginia), The Cheese Head (Wisconsin) and The Patriot (New Hampshire).

In late fall, the Matchbox Food Group will be opening the region’s fourth Matchbox (1907 14th Street NW). Matchbox is known for its pizza and sliders. Matchbox Food Group will also be bringing Ted’s Bulletin to 14th Street in the upcoming year. Ted’s is famous for its homemade pop tarts and will add a delicious brunch option to 14th

Pearl Dive Oyster Palace celebrates its anniversary Sept. 20 with two new varities. (Blade photo by Jonathan Ellis)

and Swann Street.

A new personal favorite for the fall is Taco El Chilango (1119 V Street NW). You can enjoy tacos like Al Pastor (beef tongue, pinapple and onion) and Mixto (chicken and pork sausage) and they have habanero salsa. These tacos are so good you may see Anastasia Beaverhausen chowing down in the corner — don’t make eye contact, just know she’s there.

With many more restaurants and events slated for the weeks and months to come there will always be a new bite that needs to be tried, a foodie’s dream.



Tragedy and comedy intertwined in witty ‘Quietly Hostile’

Irby’s fourth essay collection addresses pandemic, TV writing career, more



(Book cover image courtesy of Vintage)

‘Quietly Hostile: Essays’
By Samantha Irby
c.2023, Vintage
$17/304 pages

You know from the get-go that “Quietly Hostile,” essayist, television writer and humorist Samantha Irby’s fourth essay collection, is filled to the brim with the author’s mordant wit, cynicism and empathy. Who else but Irby, 43, who has struggled with depression, would write: “This book is dedicated to Zoloft”?

There are zillions of essay collections. But few are as memorable, poignant, funny (sometimes grossly, in a good way) and heart-filled (a term Irby might hate) as “Quietly Hostile”

This long-awaited collection is filled with what Irby would call “good shit”: from hilarious descriptions of her bad dog in doggie day care to bits about, literally, shit, (that will gross you out, but reduce your shame about pooping).

Irby, who is Black and bisexual, grew up in poverty in Evanston, Ill. Her parents died when she was 18 (her mother from multiple sclerosis; her father, who gambled, likely, suffered from post traumatic stress disorder).

At the age of nine, Irby’s mother’s MS went out of remission. While still a child, she was called upon to care for her Mom.

“When I was an actual kid growing up on welfare with a sick mom and expired Tuna Helper from the dollar store, the future and its infinite possibilities stretched before me like a sumptuous buffet I couldn’t afford to go to,” Irby writes.

There is a backdrop of pain, sadness and, sometimes, anger to much of Irby’s humor. But  self-pity and rage don’t consume the book.

Irby, the author of “Meaty,” “We Are Never Meeting in Real Life” and “Wow, No Thank You,” knows that the cliche is true: tragedy and comedy often are often intertwined. 

It’s fun to learn in “Quietly Hostile” that Irby, who was a writer for the popular TV shows “Shrill” and “Tuca & Bertie,” is as much a fan as the rest of us of the TV shows she loves.

In 1998, Irby couldn’t afford cable or HBO. She had to wait to watch the “City” until it came out on VHS. “The show reflected nothing of my life,” she writes, “but provided something of a road map for my future…” she writes.

In a future, she wouldn’t have dreamed of then, she grew up to become a writer on “And Just Like That,” the “Sex and the City” reboot. (She’s a writer on season two of “And Just Like That” which premieres on June 22 on Max.)

Irby was stunned when Michael Patrick King of “And Just Like That” asked her to write for the show. “I was like … Are you allowed to work on a show like this if you only wear nine-dollar T-shirts,” she writes, “and have no idea how many Brooklyns there are.”

 “During my interview,” Irby jokes, “I said, ‘Can I give Carrie diarrhea?’ and I was hired immediately.”

Even ardent “Sex and the City” aficionados may find too much of SATC in “Quietly Hostile.”

No worries: Irby who speaks of herself as being “fat” and “sick” (she has arthritis and Crohn’s disease), riffs on many things in “Quietly Hostile.” Irby turns her sharp wit on everything from what it’s like to run for a public toilet when you have diarrhea to why she’s a David Matthew’s fan girl to her love for (approaching addiction to) Diet Coke to the “last normal day” before the pandemic to the “food fights” that are a part of the most loving marriages.

Grab a Diet Coke (or libation of your choice), tell your bad dog to quit barking and enjoy “Quietly Hostile.”

The Blade may receive commissions from qualifying purchases made via this post.

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Arena’s ‘Exclusion’ is a piece of art about art

Majority Asian production features intelligent performance by Karoline



Karoline brings intelligence and energy to every role they tackle.

Through June 25 
Arena Stage
1101 Sixth St., S.W.

When Asian-American historian Katie’s best-selling book about the racist Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 is optioned for a mini-series by a Hollywood mogul, she couldn’t happier. However, artistic and commercial visions clash and things go awry. This is the premise of Ken Lin’s new comedy “Exclusion” now at Arena Stage. 

Katie is played by Karoline, the mononymously named New York-based actor who brings intelligence and energy to every role they tackle. 

“I’m similar to Katie — honest to a fault, optimistic, both strong and naïve,” says Karoline, 28. “For me, the challenge is watching Katie choose yes or no at every turn. Should she address what’s coming at her with truth or not? Or hide what she’s thinking? My struggle in life has been similar. How do I stay true and at the same time get what I want in a corrupt world.”

When asked to be part of “Exclusion’s” early development, Karoline was unsure: Doing a piece of art about art can be tricky. But they soon changed their mind. 

“The workshop changed my life. I got into the room and it was majority Asian. Seeing Ken [Lin] talk about coming back to theater and about being able to write about Asian people with a play that’s ostensibly a comedy and obviously super personal, drawing from his life and what he’s learned from colleagues.” 

Karoline describes their experience with anti-Asian racism as more microaggressions. “I don’t have people point at me saying ‘you’re a chink.’ It’s been subtler versions of that.”

As a stage actor, they’ve had an activist history, taking complaints of racism to a company’s board, a move that can be contentious. Typically, it’s preferred actors “be grateful, listen and interpret, and not speak up.” 

When a respected mentor later asked Karoline whether they wanted to be an actor or an activist, they didn’t understand why it had to be mutually exclusive. “I was too young to say it could be both. Now it depends on the situation. Maybe both in theater because I have more of a career there. But in TV, I don’t know.”

Karoline was born in Shanghai and grew up in South Texas where they had little exposure to the arts. After graduation from a pre-med magnet high school (with no intention of a career in medicine), they headed off to Harvard on full scholarship: “I showed my family that I can be smart, but I was going to do my own thing.” 

They took a gap year from Harvard to train at Atlantic Acting School, then went to apprentice at Actors Theatre of Louisville. Weeks after moving to New York they were cast as closeted lesbian Bo in Tom Stoppard’s “The Hard Problem” at Lincoln Center Theater.

“I’ve played more than one lesbian in my career,” says Karoline with a chuckle.  In the fall, they can be seen in the entire first season of “Death and Other Details” (Hulu) as a very rich lesbian heiress, a darkly funny role. 

“It seems when you’re Asian, you’re expected to talk about your parents’ accents or dumplings,” they add. “The narrative is vivid and bright. I wanted to do classical theater so my work could speak about everything else. From the start, I was ready to do the work, and hoped to have a long career that included many different things.”

Not long ago, Karoline shed their surname owing to a difficult childhood and a feeling of estrangement from their family. “It’s unusual, especially for Asian Americans, but after some self-healing and thinking, I decided I didn’t need it. Now I feel a lot freer.” 

And there have been other changes in addition to their last name including coming out as queer and sharing their gender identity. This is the first year they’ve only used “they” pronouns. 

“When you’re queer, I believe you’re always queer even if you’re not in a queer relationship. I think of my character like that. In this space and time, Katie’s with a man but that doesn’t mean that’s the whole conversation about this person. 

“For me, playing Katie in ‘Exclusion’ has been a huge vote of confidence. Sometimes it takes someone writing something wonderful and casting you for you to know where you need to be.”

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Out & About

Mayor’s office to host Pride tie-dye party

Guests to make colorful shirts for ‘PEACE. LOVE. REVOLUTION’ theme



(Photo by Prime Look/Bigstock)

The Mayor’s Office for LGBTQ Affairs will host “Love Out Loud: Tie Dye Party for Pride” on Wednesday, June 7 at 5 p.m. at the Frank D. Reeves Center of Municipal Affairs.

The event, hosted along with the DC Center for the LGBT Community and Capital Pride Alliance, will be an afternoon for community and artistry. Guests are encouraged to bring their creativity to make some colorful tie-dye shirts in line with this year’s Pride theme, “PEACE. LOVE. REVOLUTION.”

This event is free to attend and more details are available on Eventbrite

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