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Best of Gay D.C. 2016: DINING

Blade readers voted for their dining favorites



dining, gay news, Washington Blade

Dining, gay news, Washington BladeBest Asian Restaurant

Beau Thai

“Delicious, fresh, authentic Thai food in inviting atmosphere.” Also won this category in 2015.

3162 Mount Pleasant St., N.W.

1550 7th St., N.W., Unit A (Shaw)

Runner-up: Rice

Best of Gay D.C.

Owners, from left, Ralph Brabham, Aschara Vigsittaboot and Drew Porterfield meet at the Shaw location of Beau Thai. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Best Boozy Brunch

Level One

Brunch is served a la carte each Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m.-4 p.m.

1639 R St., N.W.

Runner-up: Freddie’s Beach Bar

<strong>Level One</strong> (Washington Blade photo by Pete Exis)

Level One (Blade photo by Pete Exis)

Best Local Brewery/Distillery

DC Brau

“Popular craft brewery offering free tours and tastings.” Also won this category in 2015.

3178-B Bladensburg Rd. NE

Runner-up: Right Proper Brewing Company

DC Brau (Photo by Steph Harding Photo)

DC Brau (Photo by Steph Harding Photo)

Best Burger

Duke’s Grocery

Runner-up: Tasty Burger

Let there be no mistake, despite the ever-changing menu at Duke’s Grocery, the Proper Burger reigns supreme. Whether you eat it to stop a hangover before it starts or indulge in it when said hangover has taken hold, it’s an artery-clogging melange of Creekstone Farms Angus beef (now that we’re on a Michelin kick in D.C., it’s the same beef you’ll often find in Michelin-starred restaurants) topped with smoky gouda and both a garlicky aioli and a Thai sweet chili sauce. Add a duck egg and housemade chicken liver paté when those two beef patties are just not enough protein, or pile on extra pickles and rocket if you’ve got your mom’s voice in your ear reminding you that you really need to eat more veggies. And some of us can’t resist adding a side of the truffle mac ’n’ cheese. Just sayin.’ (Kristen Hartke)

Duke’s Grocery

1513 17th St. NW

Duke's Grocery (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Duke’s Grocery (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Best Caterer

Old Blue BBQ

“Full-service catering company specializing in regional flavors, southern specialties and homemade favorites.” Also won this category in 2015.

4580 Eisenhower Ave., Alexandria, Va.

Runner-up: Mason Dixie Biscuit Co.

Best of Gay D.C.

Old Blue BBQ (Photo by Ella M. Photography)

Best Cheap Eats


1215 Connecticut Ave., N.W.

1250 U St., N.W.

1400 K St., N.W.

Runner-up: Amsterdam Falafel

ampersand_pizza_isnert_c_washington_blade_by_michael_keyBest Chef

Tyonne Johns

Runner-up: Alex Levin, Osteria Morini

The last meal that caterer and chef Tyonne Johns served was salmon and jerk chicken, macaroni and cheese and rice pilaf, at the wedding reception for a close friend on Aug. 6. An openly gay chef, her life was senselessly ended that night when an employee of the Chantilly, Va., park where the wedding was held argued with Johns over some folding chairs and stabbed her to death. It’s a tragic footnote on the life of a woman whose brother was murdered 10 years earlier; she is particularly remembered by her friends for her commitment to supporting LGBT events, programs and entrepreneurs, and using her business as a way to provide new opportunities for aspiring chefs. (Kristen Hartke)

Tyonne Johns (Image courtesy Vimeo)

Tyonne Johns (Image courtesy Vimeo)

Best Coffee Shop

Compass Coffee

Runner-up: Tryst

OK, so, yeah, Compass makes good coffee. The nitro cold brew, a process by which the grounds are steeped in cold water and then infused with nitrogen, results in a creamy, rich brew that almost mimics the texture of a protein shake, so we can fool ourselves into thinking that it makes a good liquid breakfast after spin class. But we’re kind of into the tea, too, which Compass co-owners Michael Haft and Harrison Suarez decided to custom blend in-house when they couldn’t find a tea that complemented their coffee program. Look for the Raspberry Rose Petal, a floral caffeine-free blend, or the bergamot-tinged Lavender Earl Grey. For chai lovers, don’t miss out on the housemade masala chai, a spicy blend of black tea with ginger, black pepper, cardamom, allspice, anise and licorice. (Kristen Hartke)

Compass Coffee

1335 7th St., N.W.

compass_coffee_insert_by_bigstockBest Date Restaurant


“Intimate, white-tableclothed bistro offering lasagna and other Italian classics with weekly specials.”

1602 17th St., N.W.

Runner-up: Busboys and Poets

Floriana (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Floriana (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Best Dessert

Baked & Wired

“Family-owned coffee shop and bakery in Georgetown with baked goods made in small batches with the finest ingredients.”

1052 Thomas Jefferson St., N.W.

Runner-up: Grassroots Gourmet

Baked and Wired (Photo courtesy Baked and Wired)

Baked and Wired (Photo courtesy Baked and Wired)

Best Ethiopian Restaurant

Dukem Ethiopian Restaurant

Runner-up: Ethiopic

Whenever people ask me for a restaurant recommendation in D.C., I invariably send them to Dukem, and here’s why: it’s authentic, it’s cheap and it tells a real story about our city. With the largest Ethiopian community outside of Ethiopia, eating Ethiopian food in D.C. is akin to eating pizza in New York. It’s also a communal meal, where everyone at the table shares in the dishes, eating literally off the same plate, and omnivores and vegetarians can all walk away perfectly satisfied. For meat eaters, the signature doro wat, a dish of slow-cooked chicken and hard-boiled eggs spiced with berbere, a blend of several spices including chili pepper, ginger, basil, nigella and fenugreek, is tender and saucy, while the vegetarian combination platters are piled with spicy lentils, savory braised cabbage and collards, and shiro, a peppery stew of powdered legumes like chick peas or broad beans. Utensils won’t be on hand, so order extra injera, the spongy sour bread used to scoop up the food. Dukem also won this category in 2015. (Kristen Hartke)


1114-1118 U St., N.W.

Best of Gay D.C.

Dukem (Photo by trotnort; courtesy Flickr)

Best Farmer’s Market

Eastern Market

Runner-up: Dupont Circle FRESHFARM Market

Oh, Eastern Market. Sometimes it’s exciting to visit other farmer’s markets in search of new freshly baked gluten-free cookies or odd varieties of winter squash, but Eastern Market, which also won this category last year, never disappoints — solid, reliable, always there when you need it. While it’s true that the same vendors have been there for decades, it’s also true that Eastern Market serves a real function to the community, because people actually shop there for their groceries, not just for novelty items. Inside the market, which is open every day except Monday, you’ll find most of the items on your list, from freshly butchered meats to loaves of cinnamon raisin bread to vegan kimchi. If there is a cheese you’re looking for, Bowers Dairy has nearly everything on hand, no special ordering required, and D.C.’s very own condiment, mumbo sauce, is available in both regular and spicy flavors at Market Poultry. If you’ve always wanted to eat at Market Lunch, take a tip from the locals and head over there for breakfast or lunch during the week so you don’t have to wait in line. (Kristen Hartke)

Eastern Market

225 7th St., S.E.

Eastern Market (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Eastern Market (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Best Food Truck

Red Hook Lobster Pound

Brings freshest Maine lobsters to D.C. Also won this category in 2015.

Find out where the truck is on Twitter: @LobstertruckDC

Runner-up: Captain Cookie & the Milk Man

Red Hook Lobster Truck (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Red Hook Lobster Pound (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Best French Restaurant

Le Diplomate

“Bustling brasserie serves classic French fare and drinks.” Also won this category in 2015.

1601 14th St., N.W.

Runner-up: Bistrot Du Coin

Le Diplomate (Photo by Jason Varney; courtesy ThreeLockharts PR)

Le Diplomate (Photo by Jason Varney; courtesy ThreeLockharts PR)

Best Indian Restaurant


Modern Indian food; famous for its crispy spinach. Also won this category in 2015.

633 D St., N.W.

1190 New Hampshire Ave., N.W.

Runner-up: Indigo

Best of Gay D.C.

Rasika (Photo by David Liu; courtesy Flickr)

Best Italian Restaurant

Red Hen

“Italian-influenced American restaurant located in historic Bloomingdale with wood-fired fare set in an airy, rustic-industrial space with open kitchen and bar.”

1822 1st St., N.W.

Runner-up: Floriana

The Red Hen (Photo courtesy of The Red Hen)

The Red Hen (Photo courtesy of The Red Hen)

Best Pizza


“Brick-oven pizza and contemporary dining.”

713 H St., N.W.

521 8th St., S.E.

1901 14th St., N.W.

Runner-up: Pizzeria Paradiso

Matchbox (Photo courtesy of Matchbox)

Matchbox (Photo courtesy of Matchbox)

Restaurant You’d Wait in Line For

Rose’s Luxury

“Eclectic New American tapas with menu crafted in cozy, converted townhouse with an upstairs lounge.”

717 8th St., S.E.

Runner-up: Little Serow

Best of Gay D.C.

Rose’s Luxury (Photo by T. Tseng; courtesy Flickr)

Best Rehoboth Restaurant

Dos Locos

“Spacious Mexican restaurant with vast menu including seafood, stone grills and margaritas.” Also won this category in 2015.

208 Rehoboth Ave.

Rehoboth Beach, Del.

Runner-up: Blue Moon

Dos Locos, Joe Zuber, Darryl Ciarlante, Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, restaurant, gay news, Washington Blade

Dos Locos (Photo courtesy Dos Locos)

Best Sandwich

Carving Room

“Hip joint with a patio serving cured and carved meat sandwiches, craft beers and innovative cocktails.”

300 Massachusetts Ave., N.W.

Runner-up: Taylor Gourmet

Carving Room (Photo courtesy Carving Room)

Carving Room (Photo courtesy Carving Room)

Best Seafood Restaurant

Hank’s Oyster Bar

Perennial lesbian-owned favorite. Also won this category in 2015.

1624 Q St., N.W.

1026 King St., Alexandria, Va.

633 Pennsylvania Ave., S.E.

Runner-up: Black Salt

Best of Gay D.C.

Hank’s Oyster Bar (Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

Best Steak Restaurant

Claudia’s Steakhouse

“Chic, high-gloss steakhouse supplements its beef offerings with Latin-style dishes and sides.”

1501 K St., N.W.

Runner-up: Annie’s Paramount Steakhouse

Claudia's Steakhouse (Photo courtesy Claudia's)

Claudia’s Steakhouse (Photo courtesy Claudia’s)

Best Sushi

Sushi Taro

“High-end sushi spot with chef’s choice dinners, bento-box lunch specials, sake and sho-chu.”

1503 17th St., N.W.

Runner-up: The Hamilton

Sushi Taro (Image courtesy Sushi Taro on YouTube)

Sushi Taro (Image courtesy Sushi Taro on YouTube)

Best Wine Bar


Shareable tapas and inspired wine and cocktail list. Also won this category in 2015.

1622 14th St., N.W.

3310 Wisconsin Ave., N.W.

Runner-up: Dito’s Bar at Floriana

Barcelona, gay news, Washington Blade

Barcelona (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Best Virginia Winery

Breaux Vineyards

Runner-up: Fox Meadow Winery

With an impressive array of awards, Breaux Vineyards is typically at the top of the list of Virginia wineries worth checking out, and it’s just 45 minutes from D.C. in Loudoun County, making it a great destination for a lazy Sunday afternoon. Of course, you’ll also find it well-represented in stores and restaurants across the city, from Glen’s Garden Market to Jack Rose Dining Saloon. Look for the Cabernet Franc, a peppery palate-pleaser with long notes of blackberry on the finish. (Kristen Hartke)

Breaux Vineyards

36888 Breaux Vineyards Lane, Purcellville, Va.

Breaux Vineyards (Photo courtesy Breaux)

Breaux Vineyards (Photo courtesy Breaux)

To see winners in other categories in the Washington Blade’s Best of Gay D.C. 2016 Awards, click here.

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Out & About

10 LGBTQ events this week

Parties abound with Silver Pride, the ASANA Series and more



From left, join the Nice Jewish Boys for a happy hour, watch Brooklyn Heights host the Trailer Park Ball and catch a drag show hosted by Rickey Rosé this week. (Blade file photos by Michael Key)

Below are our picks for some of the most fun and creative things to do this week in the DMV that are of special interest to the LGBTQ community.

Silver Pride

Rayceen Pendarvis hosts Silver Pride. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

UPDATE: Silver Pride was postponed; a new date is expected to be announced soon.

Join host Rayceen Pendarvis for ‘Back for the First Time: Silver Pride 2022″ at Studio Theatre this afternoon for a celebration of senior members of the LGBTQ+ community.

ASANA Series Opening Party

Tuesday, August 16
6:30-11 p.m.
Pitchers / ALOHO
2317 18th Street, N.W.

The Amateur Sports Alliance of North America kicks off its ASANA World Series in D.C. with a party at Pitchers/ALOHO on Tuesday. The event is hosted by Ba’Naka and features special guests DJ Tracy Young, Tatiyanna Voché and E-Cleff.

NJB Hot Boy Summer Happy Hour

Nice Jewish Boys held the “Mr. Nice Jewish Boy” competition last month. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Thursday, August 18
6:30-9 p.m.
Number Nine
1435 P Street, N.W.

The Nice Jewish Boys hold a happy hour on Thursday at Number Nine.

Kaftan Couture Happy Hour

Thursday, August 18
6 p.m.
1410 14th Street, N.W.

The D.C. Boys of Leather mix it up with a kaftan party at Trade on Thursday.

LGBTQ+ Speed Friending

Friday, August 19
7-9 p.m.
Moxy Washington
1011 K Street, N.W.
Facebook | Eventbrite

Go Gay DC! hosts a meet-and-greet at Moxy on Friday. Come by to make some new friends in the LGBTQ community.

We The Kingz: Wet n’ Wild

Ricky Rosé (Blade file photo by Michael Key)

Friday, August 19
10 p.m.
JR.’s Bar
1519 17th Street, N.W.
No cover

Rickey Rosé hosts the We The Kingz show featuring Artemis Demon, Atom Glambert, Baphomette and Phoenix King at JR.’s on Friday.

discoVERS Anniversary

Friday, August 19
10 p.m.
734 11th Street, N.W.

discoVERS returns to SAX for its one year anniversary with DJs Robbie Leslie and Alexis Tucci. There will be a special performance by KC B. Yoncé. The event will sell out, so get your tickets now.

ASANA Series Closing Party

Saturday, August 20
5:30-11 p.m.
DC Brau Brewing Company
3178 Baldensburg Road, N.E., Suite B

The ASANA World Series finishes with a bang. The Closing Party will be held at DC Brau on Saturday.

Miss Gay Eastern States America

Saturday, August 20
7-11 p.m.
Rehoboth Beach Convention Center
229 Rehoboth Avenue
Rehoboth Beach, Del.

Are you in Rehoboth this weekend? Catch a drag competition at the Convention Center on Saturday.

The Trailer Park Ball

Sunday, August 21
8 p.m.
Freddie’s Beach Bar
555 23rd Street S
Arlington, Va.

The Trailer Park Ball will be held on Sunday at Freddie’s. All Tips and donations are to benefit the Imperial Court of Washington and Reign X Charities.

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Out & About

Award-winning gay comedian returning to D.C.

Sampson McCormick performs at Comedy Loft



Sampson McCormick brings his latest comedy show to D.C. later this month. (Photo courtesy Kola for 510 Media)

D.C. native and award-winning comedian Sampson McCormick will perform in a series of shows from Thursday, Aug. 25 to Saturday, Aug. 27 at the DC Comedy Loft. 

The themes of the shows will include cancel culture and sensitivity —especially as they relate to the rise in violence against comedians — LGBTQ issues and probe many of the other current topics that have been circulating in the news and in conversations on social media and among the public.

Tickets are available on DC Comedy Loft’s website.  

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Out & About

Reel Affirmations to screen new film

‘Sweetheart’ to run at Landmark Theaters E Street Cinema



A scene from 'Sweetheart.' (Production still courtesy of Reel Affirmations)

Reel Affirmations, a branch of the DC Center for the LGBT Community that platforms LGBTQ film, will screen “Sweetheart” on Thursday, Aug. 18 at 7 p.m. at Landmark Theaters E Street Cinema. This film will be screened as part of its monthly series. 

“Sweetheart” is a coming-of-age film about a socially awkward and environmentally conscious teenager who meets a carefree lifeguard while on holiday with her family. 

In-person tickets cost $15 and virtual tickets cost $10. Virtual tickets can be purchased on this link. 

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