2017 DC FOOD ROUND-UP – BY THE FOOD WRITERS
BYT at large | Dec 13, 2017 | 9:00AM |

2017 tasted good. We ate amazing food, drank amazing cocktails and dined in amazing spaces. But what about the other food writers? How was their year? Based on the following responses, 2017 tasted good for everyone else as well. Some things more than others tho. Obviously.

So, we asked some of our favorite food writers in the area (read: people whose taste buds we TRULY trust) the following questions:

  • The best food trend on 2017/The worst?
  • The most anticipated or best DC restaurant opening in 2017/The one that didn’t quite live up?
  • The best dish you ate in 2017?/ The one you wish you hadn’t?
  • Best food event of 2017?
  • What do you think was THE food story of the year in 2017?
  • What opening are you most looking forward to in 2018?
  • What you wish for DC in 2018 food trend wise?/ What you hope stays away?
  • Favorite Chef? Favorite Restaurant? Favorite Bar? 
  • What is the place you ended up at the most in your own spare time?
  • Favorite food story of the year someone else wrote and why?
  • Favorite thing YOU covered in 2017 and why?
  • Go to cookbook(s)?
  • Instagram vs twitter for staying in the food loop and why?
  • Favorite instagram accounts and why?
  • Favorite twitter accounts and why?

And here is what we heard back:

Jessica Sidman – Food Editor at Washingtonian

The best food trend on 2017/The worst?
The best trend is fast-casual dining that’s not an assembly line, build-you-own-bowl format. Mostly, I’m thinking of Chiko, where you have pedigreed chefs cooking amazing food in a really casual setting for a very reasonable price. More of this, please.

The worst: I continue to be irked that restaurants only bring one cocktail menu to a table of four people, especially when it’s a one-pager. I want my own drink menu, damn it! Also: tasting menus have gotten way too long, time wise. There’s really no reason they need to be longer than two hours. After three hours, it’s a hostage situation.

The most anticipated or best D.C. restaurant opening in 2017/The one that didn’t quite live up?
I’m already quite smitten with Maydan, particularly the whole roast chicken from the wood-fired hearth. Arroz also tops my list for its cocktails, bomba rice, and that burnt eggplant dip.

I had high hopes for Jinya Ramen Bar on 14th Street, in large part because I’d like to have a go-to place for ramen in the neighborhood. I went there for the first time on a Sunday afternoon when the restaurant wasn’t too busy. A hostess sat us in a booth upstairs, we ordered our food, got our drinks. Then 10 minutes in, another hostess came over to our table and sneered: “Who said you could sit here?! This table is reserved.” When we explained the other hostess sat us there, she didn’t seem to believe us. It was bizarre, accusatory, and a perfect example of the lack of common sense in service these days. Adding insult to injury, the ramen was bland and way too salty. I’ll stick to Daikaya.

The best dish you ate in 2017?/ The one you wish you hadn’t?
Best: I can’t pick just one: uni toast at Himitsu, fried chicken at Bad Saint, avocado tempura at Pineapple and Pearls
Worst: In general, I think Ambar is totally fine and their all-you-can-eat “Balkan experience” is a good deal, but I had one of the most perplexing dishes of the year there. Tuna tartare with black butter, pear salsa, and roasted almonds sounds interesting enough. But it comes on a wooden plank with a thick swipe of black butter and small pile of grayish tartare on the end. Forgetting what it was, I took a big bite of the dark paste, because it looked like some kind of puree. Nope, just a mouthful of butter. How exactly are you supposed to eat it? Does butter really go with tuna tartare? Why make the butter black? So many questions. I feel like you need to see the photo:

What do you think was THE food story of the year in 2017?
In DC, the opening of the Wharf. It’s basically an entire neighborhood that has appeared over night, and I think it will still be a while until we see it’s full impact. Nationally, of course the story of the year is that people are finally taking a cold hard look at sexual harassment and assault in the restaurant industry.

What opening are you most looking forward to in 2018?
A Rake’s Progress from Spike Gjerde and Brothers and Sisters from Erik Bruner-Yang at the Line Hotel in Adams Morgan

What you wish for DC in 2018 food trend wise?/ What you hope stays away?
Still hoping and praying for a Korean barbecue restaurant in DC. I hope restaurateurs will give up on gimmicky themed concepts and just deliver solid food and drinks. I don’t need to drink a cocktail out of a lightbulb or whatever.

Favorite Chef? Favorite Restaurant? Favorite Bar?
Arroz and Requin chef Michael Rafidi is doing great stuff, and I don’t think he’s built up the name recognition he deserves yet. Favorite restaurant? Himitsu. I had one of my best meals of the year there. Best bar? Service Bar. The cocktails are stellar, and it’s just a fun spot.

What is the place you ended up at the most in your own spare time?
Baan Thai. Yes, it doesn’t hurt that I live super close, but the vermicelli with chili peanut sauce is one of my favorite things ever. Also Sushi Taro, because it has the best sushi in DC.

Favorite food story of the year someone else wrote and why?
I just love this essay in Eater titled “Rosé is Exhausting.” There’s not enough humor in food writing, and this was just a FUN read. On a more serious note, how can I not say that the food story of the year was Brett Anderson’s expose on the sexual harassment allegations against New Orleans chef and restaurateur John Besh? Exhaustively reported, impactful, important.

Favorite thing YOU covered in 2017 and why?
Spies, Dossiers, and the Insane Lengths Restaurants Go to Track and Influence Food Critics

Go to cookbook(s)?
I have so many cookbooks, and I never use them. When I use recipes, I almost always turn to Bon Appetit magazine (I like their “Healthyish” site) or Smitten Kitchen.

Instagram vs twitter for staying in the food loop and why?
Instagram. Even food Twitter has been invaded by politics, and it’s depressing. That said, I’m masochistic and spend way more time on Twitter.

Favorite Instagram accounts and why?
I love following Minibar GM Jonatan Cano (@memoriesofagourmand). Every weekend, he’s jet-setting to one of the world’s best restaurants and posting about it.

Favorite twitter accounts and why?
Even though he’s based in New York, I like following Eater critic Ryan Sutton (@qualityrye) because he has great insight about the business of restaurants and Michelin, etc. I always get a kick out of DC restaurant designer Brian Miller (@brianbillion) because he’s so snarky and his observations are spot on. He shares cool design things too.

Tim CarmanFood Writer at Washington Post

The best food trend on 2017/The worst?
The best: Food halls. I like them and the kinds of vendors they attract, even though the vendors can get screwed over by food hall owners.
The worst: Poke. All. The. Damn. Poke.

The most anticipated or best D.C. restaurant opening in 2017/The one that didn’t quite live up?
The most anticipated had to be Mirabelle, where chef Frank Ruta and Aggie Chin would finally be given the freedom they deserve. The one that didn’t live up to the hype? Q by Peter Chang, a fine-dining restaurant that doesn’t do enough to separate itself from the casual eateries in the chef’s portfolio.

The best dish you ate in 2017?/ The one you wish you hadn’t?
Among my favorites this year were the basket tacos at Mezcalero Cocina Mexicana. The snacks, original to the streets of Mexico City, are not easy to reproduce in a restaurant, so I’m grateful chef Alfredo Solis has developed a technique to replicate the process in which homemade tortillas absorb the flavors all around them.

I don’t regret any of the dishes I sampled this year. Even the bad ones told me something about the restaurant, or the team in the kitchen. With that said, I was not impressed with the famous pan-fried chicken at Florida Avenue Grill, which was reheated in the oven after being fried earlier that day.

Best food event of 2017?
This year, it was the Smithsonian Food History Weekend, with its cooking demos, roundtables and, of course, the gala honoring Danny Meyer.

What do you think was THE food story of the year in 2017?
Jose Andres, who put his responsibilities on hold with ThinkFoodGroup to help feed the hungry in Puerto Rico following Hurricane Maria. He and the Chefs for Puerto Rico crew produced more hot meals than any other relief organization on the island. It was a massive logistical undertaking, which required the coordination of many kitchens, the government and countless volunteers. If Andres doesn’t at least receive a Nobel Peace Prize nomination, it will be an injustice.

What opening are you most looking forward to in 2018?
I’ll be curious to see how Sushi Nakazawa fares when it opens in the Trump International Hotel. Will people go? Will it match the experience of the four-star restaurant in New York? Will people protest it?

What you wish for DC in 2018 food trend wise?/ What you hope stays away?
I wish Washington had more and better late-night options, beyond takeout and jumbo slices. It’s still hard to find a decent restaurant open past 10 p.m. on weekdays. Our city is still deeply committed to an early-to-bed, early-to-rise ethos.

Tasting menus have been dying off in large numbers. I hope they go extinct.

Favorite Chef? Favorite Restaurant? Favorite Bar?
I don’t have a favorite chef or a favorite restaurant. My favorite bar is the one tended by my wife, M. Carrie Allan, the Spirits writer for The Post. I’m her guinea pig.

What is the place you ended up at the most in your own spare time?
When Carrie and I lived in Takoma Park, we’d go to the Classics on a regular basis. It was frequently our stress relief after a long week. We don’t see Nick, Elliott and the team nearly as much since we moved to Hyattsville. We haven’t found a new regular spot that we love nearly as much as the Classics.

Favorite food story of the year someone else wrote and why?
That’s a tough one. I’d have to tip my hat to Brett Anderson at the New Orleans Times-Picayune, who conducted an eight-month investigation into sexual harassment allegations against chef John Besh. Brett, a former food columnist for Washington City Paper, started reporting the story well before the Harvey Weinstein investigations were published. His story had a huge impact and inspired other reporters to start looking at the chefs in their own cities.

Favorite thing YOU covered in 2017 and why?
It’s the same thing that always makes me happy about working at The Post: The $20 Diner column. I love finding and writing about restaurants in the suburbs and the side streets of Washington. The food is often delicious. And why not? It’s what the owners have been preparing for decades. And their stories are frequently just as compelling.

But I also loved writing about Joan Nathan this year. I admire her on many levels.

Go to cookbook(s)?
When I have time to cook, I usually pull the cover off my smoker in the backyard. No surprise, then, I refer to a number of barbecue cookbooks, including “Franklin Barbecue: A Meat-Smoking Manifesto” by Aaron Franklin, and “Meathead: The Science of Great Barbecue and Grilling,” by Meathead Goldwyn. I’ve also prepared a few dishes from Ottolenghi cookbooks.

Instagram vs twitter for staying in the food loop and why?
This is not an either/or situation. I think Instagram is better for seeing what dishes and ingredients are making repeated appearances across the landscape. But Twitter is better for following trends and news that don’t rely on visuals. Linking to stories is just much easier on Twitter.

Favorite instagram accounts and why?
Eater’s national food critic Bill Addison has a great Instagram account. It always gives me a serious case of FOMO.

Favorite twitter accounts and why?
J. Kenji Lopez-Alt, author of “The Food Lab,” still has one of the best Twitter accounts. It’s full of hard-earned wisdom from the kitchen. Plus, he’s often painfully honest, bordering on confessional. In other words, he’s not a blowhard. So refreshing.

I also love following Darra Goldstein, the founding editor of Gastronomica and the current editor of Cured magazine. She always shares these smart/scholarly stories that I would never find otherwise.

Laura Hayes – Washington City Paper

Twitter: @Laurahayesdc – Instagram: @BTMENU

The best food trend on 2017/The worst? 
Best: I’ve long appreciated when the kitchen creeps into cocktails—call me a sucker for a beet cocktail or anything with Chinese Five-Spice—but this trend seems to have picked up steam in 2017. The best drink I sipped this year was the “Stealing Tomatoes from the Garden of Eden” at Dram & Grain. That’s not to say it always works. I’m still gagging from Nocturne’s lukewarm ramen cocktail that stirred in as much fish sauce as Scotch.

Worst: Restaurants and bars building novelty dishes and drinks for Instagram instead of for flavor.

The most anticipated or best D.C. restaurant opening in 2017/The one that didn’t quite live up?
Best: Bresca. Gets better with every visit.
Didn’t live up: Nobu

The best dish you ate in 2017?/ The one you wish you hadn’t?
Best: Tie between the Parisian gnocchi at Requin at The Wharf with egg yolk, blistered bok choy, red kuri squash, truffle butter, and mushroom consommé and the spaghetti nero at Centrolina with small squares of rare tuna that gently cook when tossed with the warm pasta.

Wish I hadn’t: The “pig shoulder confit” at District Winery advertised to come with pickled shrimp, rice grits, husk cherries, and XO emulsion. It featured a tepid piece of pork smaller than the size of a credit card, a single shrimp that didn’t have any vinegary kick, a teaspoon of grits, and no umami flavor to speak of from the sauce. The two-bite dish costs $19.

What do you think was THE food story of the year in 2017?
Kwame Onwuachi rebounding from Shaw Bijou by securing prime real estate at The Wharf for Kith & Kin where he’s responsible for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

What opening are you most looking forward to in 2018?
Reverie from Johnny Spero and Gravitas from Matt Baker.

What you wish for D.C. in 2018 food trend wise?/ What you hope stays away?
Wish for: As obnoxious as the label is, more “fine casual” restaurants. Places like RASA, ChiKo, and Taco Bamba have figured out how to use prime ingredients in creative ways at a surprising price point.

Stay away: Chains and restaurant moguls from other cities who are capitalizing on the fact that the price-per-square-foot in some neighborhoods is too steep for independent, local operators to stomach and the landlords that let this happen.

Favorite Chef? Favorite Restaurant? Favorite Bar?
Chef: Scott Drewno & Danny Lee of ChiKo
Restaurant: Sushi Taro
Bar: Maxwell

What is the place you ended up at the most in your own spare time?
Kapnos

Favorite food story of the year someone else wrote and why?
I liked Washingtonian’s bar food package that ran in the magazine, but hats off to Maura Judkis for her raw, reeling sexual harassment in the restaurant industry story. She and a colleague interviewed 60 people.

Favorite thing YOU covered in 2017 and why?
I was humbled to write a chapter in the long, important story of addiction in the restaurant industry. Specifically, the national opioid crisis working its way into restaurants, making it ever more critical for there to be industry-specific resources for those who are struggling. Oh, and going behind the scenes at the National Zoo was a bucket list story.

Favorite twitter accounts and why?
@ThePugDC for pure, unadulterated irreverence and cheer.

Atara Bernstein & Ariel Pasternak – Pineapple Collaborative

Instagram: @pineapplecollaborative

The best food trend on 2017/The worst?
Best: Coconut yogurt
Worst: The fact that food deserts still exist in 2017

The most anticipated or best D.C. restaurant opening in 2017?
Himitsu (opened in 2016) or Primrose…we love all the new spots we’ve been to so no complaints here!

The best dish you ate in 2017?
Anything from Little Serow

Best food event of 2017?
pineapple camp!

What do you think was THE food story of the year in 2017?
Exposing sexual abuse, harassment & toxic masculinity in kitchens across the nation.

What opening are you most looking forward to in 2018?
Gotta say, we’re stoked for A Rake’s Progress and The Cup We All Race 4 at the new LINE hotel. Their pastry chef Amanda kills it.

What you wish for D.C. in 2018 food trend wise?/ What you hope stays away?
More healthful edible cannabis products made by women. On the healthful note, can coffee shops and bakeries around town please provide more healthy options?

Favorite Chef? Favorite Restaurant? Favorite Bar?
Chef: Chef Johanna Hellrigl
Restaurant: Bad Saint/On Rye/Tail Up Goat
Bar: Dio Natural Wine Bar

What is the place you ended up at the most in your own spare time?
The Dupont Circle Farmer’s Market/Yoga Del Sol in Georgetown.

Favorite food story of the year someone else wrote and why?
Laura Hayes’ reporting on female food & beverage professionals taking over the D.C. cannabis scene.

Favorite thing YOU covered in 2017 and why?
Our editorial series “pine for pantry” with Elyse Cohen, former director of Let’s Move and right hand woman to Michelle Obama. She really uses her kitchen to reflect her style and it was fascinating hearing her personal food journey through the context of her fridge & pantry.

Go to cookbook(s)?
Julia Turshen’s Small Victories & Feed The Resistance, Amy Chaplin’s At Home in The Whole Foods Kitchen.

Instagram vs twitter for staying in the food loop and why?
Instagram – everyone knows we eat with our eyes! Love the marriage of food and photography and Instagram is a perfect platform to showcase that.

Favorite Instagram accounts and why?
Too many to choose from but here are a few: @trendsontrends_ because she covers breakfast like a boss, @elcaminotravel because we have wanderlust like whoa, @leelacyd because she makes everything look absolutely beautiful and @healthyish because their content is spot on.

Rina Rapuano – Food Writer at Zagat

The best food trend on 2017/The worst?
Poke might have been the best AND the worst food trend of 2017.

The most anticipated or best D.C. restaurant opening in 2017/The one that didn’t quite live up?
Best: It’s tied up between Arroz and ChiKo.
Didn’t live up: Nobu.

The best dish you ate in 2017?
Not one dish, but the whole experience at Kobo was pretty spectacular. I can’t wait to go back.

The one you wish you hadn’t?
Fish sauce caramel soft-serve at Doi Moi. (Sorry, chef! Love all your other stuff!)

Best food event of 2017?
Can I cheat and say the March of Dimes Signature Chefs Gala since I served as culinary co-chair? I can? Sweet. I’m gonna go with that one, then, because I was really proud of how it turned out, and we raised $251,000 for vulnerable babies and their families.

What do you think was THE food story of the year in 2017?
Cultural appropriation; José Andrés serving food to hurricane victims in Puerto Rico

What opening are you most looking forward to in 2018?
I’m pretty excited about The Line Hotel’s food and beverage options coming to Adams Morgan, and Aaron Silverman’s upcoming Little Pearl, a coffee and wine bar on Capitol Hill.

What you wish for D.C. in 2018 food trend wise?
More awesome vegan restaurants, please. Also, can we get a few more gin bars in DC? I think we’re good on whiskey bars.

What you hope stays away?
No. More. Steakhouses.

Favorite Chef? Favorite Restaurant? Favorite Bar?
Scott Drewno at ChiKo; Himitsu; Left Door

What is the place you ended up at the most in your own spare time?
Bantam King, Taqueria Habanero and Shake Shack

Favorite food story of the year someone else wrote and why?
The most important story was definitely Maura Judkis and Emily Heil’s look at sexual assault in restaurants. It was timely, well-reported and disturbing. That said, my favorite story might have been Maura’s take-down of the pumpkin spice industrial complex. Hilarious. Laura Hayes at City Paper also continued to impress with breaking restaurant news and in-depth reporting.

Favorite thing YOU covered in 2017 and why?
The Fire, Flour and Fork festival in Richmond this fall, because I got to experience everything from Espita Mezcaleria’s Megan Barnes talking mezcal at Flora in Richmond to eating a meal on the water at Merroir prepared by Gabrielle Hamilton of Prune in NYC.

Go to cookbook(s)?
I love any recipe from Jacques Pepin and from Jose Andres’ Tapas.

Instagram vs twitter for staying in the food loop and why?
Instagram, no contest. I hate Twitter.

AJ Dronkers – Associate Publisher & Digital Editor at EdibleDC

The best food trend on 2017/The worst? ​​
I’m enjoying the widespread exploration of ​really unusual and fun ​spirits by our local distilleries. Vodka and whiskey/bourbon have been ​popping up from local distillers for the past few years, ​but spirits like rum (Cotton& Reed or District Distilling), allspice dram (Cotton & Reed), apple brandy (Republic Restoratives),​ ​Capitoline​’s​ vermouth​s​ and Don Ciccio & Figili​’s amaros really are defining what is local in our cocktail scene.​

The most anticipated or best D.C. restaurant opening in 2017/The one that didn’t quite live up?
I​’ve loved ​Compass Rose Bar & Kitchen for years and ​it’s my go-to ​for a night​c​ap​,​ so I was really looking forward to their newest project, Maydan. The location, design, team​ ​and food definitely lived up to the ​anticipation. ​W​e went during one of the​ pre-opening friends and family​ nights​, and I’ve been back several times–I’m​ really impressed with their execution of the food.

The best dish you ate in 2017?/ The one you wish you hadn’t?
Bindaas​, ​the more casual offspring of famed Indian restaurant, Rasika​, focuses more on Indian street food.​ I’m still dreaming about Golgappa​, this frie​d​ indian snack that is hollow ​and​ filled with avocado, sweet yogurt and tamarind chutney. It was like the best Tostitos guacomole scoop Indian remix I didn’t know I needed in my life.

Best food event of 2017?
Outside of ​HRC’s ​Chefs for Equality​,​ I’m going to say our 3rd Annual EdibleDC Eat/Drink Local. Every year we bring 35+ of the best local chefs, restaurants, bars, distilleries to the Long View Gallery and it just keeps getting better. We had this epic photo booth, drag queens dropped in​ as a surprise to everyone​, ​our V​IP experience ​was ​at Columbia Room ​with ​a DJ after party at Tiger Fork. I mean if I had a wedding I’m pretty sure I’d just tell people to come to Eat/Drink local and call it a day.

What opening are you most looking forward to in 2018?
All the stuff opening inside the Line Hotel​,​ specifically A Rake from acclaimed Baltimore Chef Spike Gjerde and also Spoken English by Chef Erik Burner-Yang.

What you wish for D.C. in 2018 food trend wise?/ What you hope stays away?
Continued focus on local sourcing and supporting local talent — more diversity across the industry especially in leadership positions such as chefs, owners, mixologists etc…

Favorite Chef? Favorite Restaurant? Favorite Bar?
Service Bar & Truxton Inn are go​-​to bars for me. Truxton Inn is perfect for catching up with a friend or for a date. Service Bar has an electric atmosphere I just love. You can’t go wrong with either​, they​ both have an excellent cocktail program.

What is the place you ended up at the most in your own spare time?
Dacha Beer Garden for sure whether for their brunch or some beers under Elizabeth Taylor’s side eye. They also have this sidewalk cafe open daily at 8​. I shouldn’t share this secret, but not many ​know about ​it ​and I take full advantage of the breakfast items and coffee. Or sometimes I’d go there for lunch and sit in the garden and jump on their wifi instead of fighting for space at an area coffee shop.

Favorite food story of the year someone else wrote and why?
I met the amazing bakers behind the newly opened Seylou Bakery & Mill in Blagden Alley last Spring and geeked out about what they were bringing to our city. I brought some of their bread ​back to the office for​ Susan Able, Publisher of EdibleDC, and she literally scheduled ​an​ interview the next day. We don’t often “break stories” but we did on this front and Susan did such a good job covering on all angles. It’s fun to see everyone freaking out about them​ and understanding who they are​ and writing stories now like 6 months later.

Favorite thing YOU covered in 2017 and why?
I ​conceptualized and co-​wrote “DC’s Fast Casual Eaters and Sustainability” ​for ​our Summer issue talking ​with local ​companies who originated here in DC​, Elevation Burger, ​Beefsteak​ and CAVA​. They’ve ​had ​great ​success but also ​have maintained a ​huge focus on the environment. I was so inspired by their efforts​,​ such as CAVA’s partnership with ​VA farmed ​Border Springs lamb​ and how hard they worked to make that happen. ​I wanted the profiles to show how challenging it can be for them to pull off such​ ​great product​s ​​​​a​t​ an affordable price point​, and still keep commitments to sustainability.​

Go to cookbook(s)?
It’s not new but the whole ​J​erusalem, NOPI, Plenty, Plenty More, Ottolenghi series is a go to for me. I happened upon the Sprouted Kitchen a few years back — the author is from my hometown in California. I love the focus on fresh ingredients and from scratch dressings which are really easy. Also recently picked up the Hartwood cookbook at Salt & Sundry and am having fun exploring some of the recipes.

Holley Simmons – Contributing Food Writer at the Washington Post

The best food trend on 2017/The worst?
Best: Quality food served in a fast-casual setting that is quicker and less expensive than a proper sit-down meal — but just as good. “Fast fine,” if you will.
Worst: Savory cocktails.

The most anticipated or best D.C. restaurant opening in 2017/The one that didn’t quite live up?
Best: Maydan is spectacular and I can’t help but order the entire menu every time I go. Rose Previte is making DC infinitely cooler. Chiko is a game changer, and I never want to leave Bresca.
Didn’t live up: Nobu.

The best dish you ate in 2017?/ The one you wish you hadn’t?
Best: A plate of dal in Sri Lanka prepared by our AirBNB host. A glass of red wine after a 13-mile hike in Patagonia. A bite of steak and chimichurri sauce made by my friend Kevin using ingredients grown on his roof. A plate of carbonara at RPM Italian. An everything bagel pizza at Alta Strada. My grandma’s eggplant parmesan at Thanksgiving.
Wish I hadn’t: I’m usually a huge fan of Panda Gourmet, but one dish recently tasted like kerosene and I had to spit it out.

Best food event of 2017?
The Edible DC Eat/Drink Local party. No one throws a party like AJ Dronkers.

What do you think was THE food story of the year in 2017?
Jose Andres’s efforts in Puerto Rico, and the opening of The Wharf.

What opening are you most looking forward to in 2018?
A Rake’s Progress at the LINE, and Amparo – a Mexican restaurant from Christian Irabién Gamboa that I’m predicting will make waves.

What you wish for D.C. in 2018 food trend wise?/ What you hope stays away?
I’ll say this until I’m blue in the face – I wish DC had a Sqirl-like spot that served thoughtful, healthful rice bowls made with fresh and straightforward ingredients. Someone please do this. I’ll even invest.

Favorite Chef? Favorite Restaurant? Favorite Bar?
Favorite chef: Daniela Moreira Camia at Timber Pizza is doing wonders with simple ingredients. Jesse Miller has been at Bar Pilar // St. Ex for what seems like forever and yet still manages to keep things fresh. And the Jersey girl in me is forever grateful for Mike Friedman at Red Hen//All Purpose.

Favorite restaurant: Rose’s Luxury 4EVA. Bistro du Coin for ambiance.

Favorite bar: Compass Rose. All Souls. Copy Cat. Wisdom. Service Bar.

What is the place you ended up at the most in your own spare time?
The other day Google tried to guess my home address, and the No. 2 suggestion was Compass Rose.

Favorite food story of the year someone else wrote and why?
A story about a BBQ joint in South Carolina in the New Yorker by Lauren Collins that shed light on its complicated role in America’s history. And a story by Maura Judkis and Emily Heil about sexual assault in the restaurant industry was impactful, well-researched and important as hell.

Favorite thing YOU covered in 2017 and why?
I had fun begging embassies to let me into their hidden bars.

Go to cookbook(s)?
What’s a cookbook?

Instagram vs twitter for staying in the food loop and why?
Instagram because you eat with your eyes. Though as more and more influential grammers charge to post pics, I wonder how trustworthy the content is.

Favorite instagram accounts and why?
That Cheese Plate makes me happy.

Favorite twitter accounts and why?
Michael Twitty always offers an enlightening take on food and its relation to a person’s identity.

Nevin MartellDining Editor of DC Modern Luxury

The best food trend on 2017
All the long-terms pop-ups – from Dorjee Momo and Tortilladora at Shop Made in DC to Restaurant June’s stint at Mess Hall and Sloppy Mama’s residency at Solly’s.

The worst?
Too much poke. I (lovingly) blame Jessica Sidman.

The best D.C. restaurant opening in 2017
Bresca. Ryan Ratino is burning so brightly right now.

The best dish you ate in 2017?
It’s a tie. The foie gras pâté with ras el hanout doughnuts at Arroz hit almost every part of the palate at once: sweet, savory, salty, and uber umami. Meanwhile the svelte Chinatown chirashi at Del Campo with scallops, tuna, and avocado with shoyu brown butter sauce managed to magnificently meld rich and clean flavors in a way that was utterly enthralling.

Best food event of 2017?
New Kitchens on the Block 3.0 at Mess Hall, of course.

What do you think was THE food story of the year in 2017?
#MeToo in the restaurant industry.

What opening are you most looking forward to in 2018?
Tangle Foot in Charles Town, West Virginia by Tarver King of the Restaurant at Patowmack Farm.

What you wish for D.C. in 2018 food trend wise?
Drone delivered food.

What you hope stays away?
Pretentious New Yorkers, who think they know everything, but in fact have no understanding of the D.C. restaurant scene, such as the team behind Sushi Nakazawa.

Favorite Chef?
The Tjan brothers at Kōbō/Sushiko, Austin Fausett at Proof, and Russell Smith at the Source all had a banner year.

Favorite Restaurant?
Himitsu is the perfect blend: great space, great service, great drinks, great food. It’s definitely my happy place.

Favorite Bar?
Maxwell is swell.

What is the place you ended up at the most in your own spare time?
Little Sesame for deeply satiating hummus bowls, Taco Bamba for the most inventive tacos around, Inferno for the best Neapolitan pizzas in the DMV, and Buttercream Bakeshop for pretty much everything.

Favorite thing YOU covered in 2017 and why?
Having the chance to spend four days eating my way through Vancouver on assignment didn’t suck. I’m still thinking about my meal at Miku, which featured lightly singed aburi salmon oshi sushi that was served warm and incorporated a spicy house-made mayo for kick.

Go to cookbook(s)?
It’s called the internet.

Instagram vs twitter for staying in the food loop and why?
I love Instagram, because it allows people to tell visual stories backed up with detail-rich captions.

Favorite instagram account and why?
@acreativedc Because I can’t look at food porn all day.

Tierney Plumb – Associate Editor of Eater DC

The best food trend on 2017/The worst?
Best:
I feel like Negronis really had a moment this year. Caviar too.

Worst: I am not a big ramps fan…sorry not sorry. And they really don’t work on a pizza. Teeth don’t act as good scissors.

The most anticipated or best D.C. restaurant opening in 2017/The one that didn’t quite live up?
There were so damn many, hard to pick just one. Really into Bresca, Succotash, Maydan, Rasa, the list goes on. Shaw Bijou was obviously a disaster, but I love a good comeback story. It was awesome getting to follow Kwame on his next adventure with Kith and Kin.

The best dish you ate in 2017?/ The one you wish you hadn’t
Best:
I am obsessed with pasta, and Rosario in Adams Morgan has a legit fettucini meatball bolognese. Mama DePandi’s Pomodoro at RPM is so simple, tasty and just $14. Reminds me of the one I used to have at Delfina once a week in San Francisco.

Worst: One with peanuts at some Thai spot. I am allergic. My bad I forgot to ask.

Best food event of 2017?
I covered Sips & Suppers in January at the Newseum to benefit DC Central Kitchen and Martha’s Table and it had an intense message, just weeks after Inauguration and blocks from The White House. Co-chair José Andrés gave an inspirational speech sporting an “I am an immigrant” shirt.

What do you think was THE food story of the year in 2017?
Chefs losing their careers over sexual harassment allegations, most recently Mario Batali. The whole thing is just so sad and disappointing all around.

What opening are you most looking forward to in 2018?
The Line DC has been teasing us for a year and it’s finally almost here! January. Really happy for all those guys. I actually went to college with Erik Bruner-Yang! It’s exciting to see how far he’s come.

What you wish for D.C. in 2018 food trend wise?/ What you hope stays away?
Four meals a day becoming a thing for us grazers out there.

Ridiculously expensive cocktails are pretty dumb. If you think you’ll impress a lady by blowing money on a $50 Old Fashioned instead of a decent meal, goodbye. And I can’t with Trump Hotel’s lounge prices. Extremely detail-oriented places like barmini, I’ll gladly pay.

What is the place you ended up at the most in your own spare time?
Probably Service Bar in Shaw. The cocktails are amazing and vibe is always fun. It’s also in a central location in Shaw to kick off or end the night. And then sometimes go to Flash haha.

Favorite food story of the year someone else wrote and why?
I appreciated the honesty behind Laura Hayes’ opioids story in WCP this spring, shining an important light on addictions in the restaurant workplace.

Favorite thing YOU covered in 2017 and why?
Breaking the story about Eaton, a new co-working/hotel/bar and restaurant coming downtown next year with Tim Ma and Derek Brown behind the wheel. It’s going to be a super sexy addition to DC.

Go to cookbook(s)?
Rasika’s new cookbook is the first from its chef Vikram Sunderam and one of our 2017 Holiday Gift Guide picks.

Instagram vs twitter for staying in the food loop and why?
Twitter is better for breaking news and now there’s 280 characters to do it.

Favorite instagram accounts and why?
@hypebeast, @highsnobiety, @complex capture top trends well. Fashion icon @carolinevreeland is always eating something carbolicious and amazing, as is @mattatouille (our Eater LA editor) and our roving food critic @bill_addison. @tablehopper keeps me missing SF. For comic relief, there’s @foodbabyny, @worldstar, and @breadfaceblog. And NYC chef @michaelchernow for his hot selfies.

Amanda Andrade-Rhoades – Food Photographer at DC Refined

Instagram & Twitter: @moxie_manda

The best food trend on 2017/The worst?
The best food trend is the rise of rosé. I make no apologies about wanting to get day drunk on something pink and pretty. The worst food trend is the infusion of tiki menus on random bar menus. There are a few good tiki drinks out there, but I get a hangover and get the urge to call an ex just thinking about the amount of sugar and booze in some of those beverages.

The most anticipated or best D.C. restaurant opening in 2017/The one that didn’t quite live up?
Best one is Himitsu, hands down. The flavors are fresh, complex and I went back for my birthday. The one that didn’t live up was, of course, Shaw Bijou. I didn’t get to go, but I’m increasingly convinced no one did. Maybe it was some bizarre collective illusion to distract us from Trump being elected. (Am I allowed to say that?)

The best dish you ate in 2017?/ The one you wish you hadn’t?
The short ribs at Tiger Fork melted in my mouth. I think I died and went to heaven when I ate there. The one bad dish I had was the Patriot poutine at Small Fry. The fries were cold and the gravy was non-existent, it just made me sad.

Best food event of 2017?
The RAMMY’s. Although the food at the event is sometimes mediocre, which is absolutely bizarre considering it’s an event to honor people in the industry, the cocktails from Barmini were stellar. The crowd is really the draw though – people in the food and drink industry are fun to party with and they actually get on the dance floor.

What do you think was THE food story of the year in 2017?
Jose Andres’ work in Puerto Rico. Andres actively went out of his way to care for others and used his resources to make an impact; I admire his willingness to put himself on that front line. There’s something deeply powerful about the narrative of an immigrant stepping in to help Americans, especially in a political climate that’s increasingly hostile to immigrants.

What opening are you most looking forward to in 2018?
Mi Vida. There’s been a surge of interest in high-end Mexican food and I’m curious as to how that newfound appreciation will be received in D.C.

What you wish for D.C. in 2018 food trend wise?/ What you hope stays away?
I’d really like to see more cultures represented in the culinary scene – preferably by people from those countries. The cost of living in D.C. is very high and that shuts out a lot of immigrants. Homogeny is the death of creativity and innovation. Honestly though, I’d settle for a place that does really good burritos for fairly cheap.

Ultra-small plates at high-end eateries are the bane of my existence. I love a focused, beautifully crafted dish as much as the next girl, but I don’t want to leave feeling so hungry that I’m Googling the nearest Chipotle as I walk out the door.

Favorite Chef? Favorite Restaurant? Favorite Bar?
Sasha Felikson is a really talented chef, but he’s also incredibly funny. Every time I work with him on a story I spend 30% of my time photographing and the other 70% laughing.

I’d probably have to pick Himitsu again. I’ve only been twice but I still daydream about the food.

I deeply love The Big Hunt in Dupont. I’ve celebrated there with friends, I’ve drank away my sorrows alone at the bar and there’s just something special in its weirdness. The wall art is kind of terrible, the booths are cracked, the beer is cheap and it’s absolutely perfect in my eyes.

What is the place you ended up at the most in your own spare time?
Maketto – it’s close to my house and I can focus in the coffee shop upstairs. Plus their leek buns are to die for.

Favorite food story of the year someone else wrote and why?
Laura Hayes’ story on the opiate crisis in the industry stuck with me – it was candid, thoughtful and poignant. It’s easy to forget how close to home this crisis is, but her story made it seem critically important right now.

Favorite thing YOU covered in 2017 and why?
DC Refined did a run down of the The 17 restaurants to try in 2017 that I really enjoyed. It’s a technical challenge to take all of these dishes and make every image distinct enough that it stands up on its own, but make the whole series visually cohesive.

Plus I got to eat a lot of the dishes. I probably gained like, five pounds but I didn’t have to buy groceries for two weeks.

Go to cookbook(s)?
It’s not a cookbook, but I live by Budget Bytes for prepping my food at home.

Instagram vs twitter for staying in the food loop and why?
Twitter for stories – I just get kind of hungry on Instagram.

Favorite Instagram accounts and why?
@thetufftruffle is run by a 16-year-old. I really appreciate his unabashed love of food and the fact that he treats bar fare just as seriously as the high-end dishes.
I also really love @tacobellsommelier and @corgisinfood – they’re creative and hilarious.

Favorite twitter accounts and why?
I stalk Laura Hayes’ Twitter account. Her stories are always thoughtful, well-written and interesting, but she also posts lots of corgi photos.

Tim Ebner – Food Writer

The best food trend on 2017/The worst?
The best: Chefs who took a stand for what they believe in. We saw big chefs like Jose Andres (ThinkFoodGroup) and small restaurant owners like Kazi Mannan (Sakina Grill) serve and speak up as engaged citizens. Add to that, there were many in the industry who partook in larger social movements like the Women’s March or Day Without Immigrants strike.

The worst food trend of 2017 was probably the proliferation of tiki bars. I love tiki, so it pains me to say this, but DC overdid it on the paper umbrella drinks.

The most anticipated or best D.C. restaurant opening in 2017/The one that didn’t quite live up?
Arroz and Tiger Fork were my favorites. In year two, Bad Saint didn’t quite live up to the hype #tbh.

The best dish you ate in 2017?/ The one you wish you hadn’t?
Wagshal’s chopped brisket with rice and furikake butter at ChiKo. The one I wish I hadn’t: any and all Jumbo Slice, except Duccini’s–that stuff is golden.

Best food event of 2017?
When Cotton & Reed hosted the Knafeh guys from New York City, and it turned into a three-day, dance party around a bonfire.

What do you think was THE food story of the year in 2017?
Jose Andres delivering more than 3 million meals to Puerto Rico.

What opening are you most looking forward to in 2018?
There’s still no announced date, but I’m hoping Danny Meyer’s Union Square Cafe opens in 2018. I also hope it comes with a Daily Provisions takeout shop attached to it.

What you wish for D.C. in 2018 food trend wise?/ What you hope stays away?
My wish: More Eastern European and Balkan cuisine. Right now, one of the only places that I can eat Hungarian food is in my grandma’s kitchen. Let’s change that.

What I hope stays: Restaurant experiences like Maydan that transport me to faraway places like Georgia (the country).

Favorite Chef? Favorite Restaurant? Favorite Bar?
Favorite chef:
BJ Lieberman
Favorite restaurant: The Red Hen
Favorite Bar: Jackie Lee’s in Brightwood Park

What is the place you ended up at the most in your own spare time?
You will find me eating tacos al pastor at El Sol.

Favorite food story of the year someone else wrote and why?
Maura Judkis and Emily Heil’s reporting on sexual harassment and abuse in the restaurant industry.

Favorite thing YOU covered in 2017 and why?
For Eater, I visited the Crystal hot sauce factory in Reserve, Lousiana. It was a really interesting story about the history of Louisana hot sauce and the cult-like obsession that is Crystal hot sauce.

Go to cookbook(s)?
Egg Shop: The Cookbook by Nick Korbee; The Flavor Bible by Andrew Dornenburg and Karen A. Page; The Spice Companion by Lior Lev Sercarz

Laura Wainman – Editor at DC Refined

The best food trend on 2017/The worst?
Best and Worst: I am one of those people that could eat breakfast for every meal and be very happy about it, so the rash of new diners opening this year was a-ok in my book. But, what I’m not ok with is the attempt to “fancify” diner food. You don’t need to reinvent the wheel when it comes to pancakes and hashbrowns. Stick with traditional, not nostalgic with high price tags, and we can still be friends, diners of D.C.

The most anticipated or best D.C. restaurant opening in 2017/The one that didn’t quite live up?
Best: Himitsu is the one restaurant that I keep hearing every food writer or self-proclaimed foodie raving about – no one seems to have a bad word to say! I’m embarrassed to admit I still have not tried it (it’s at the top of my list, don’t worry!) but I would have to say Salt Line was a highlight of the year for me. The clam chowder is the best I’ve had in D.C. and the stuffies brought me back to my childhood summer vacations spent on the Cape.

Didn’t live up: Mirabelle. I am sad to say it because I had really high hopes for the Frank Ruta/Aggie Chin dream team, especially after Sietsema’s rave first review. There was nothing technically wrong with any aspect of my meal, but it also wasn’t memorable. And at that price point, I expect to walk away reminiscing about something on my plate.

The best dish you ate in 2017?/ The one you wish you hadn’t?
Best: I am late to the game on this one, but I finally got to try the lamb ribs at Tail Up Goat and they are 100 percent worth every bit of acclaim they’ve garnered.

Wish I hadn’t: As a former picky eater, I never regret trying a new dish, but there are definitely those that stick out as less than desirable. The camel sliders from Oz are at the top of that list. They were overcooked and completely flavorless, and seemed to be on the menu merely for “shock” value.

Best food event of 2017?
I’m a big fan of New Kitchens on the Block (NKOTB) as you get a sneak peek of a handful of the city’s hottest restaurants before they’ve even opened.

What do you think was THE food story of the year in 2017?
2017 was another banner year for the D.C. food community, with the creation of an entirely new neighborhood down at the Wharf bringing with it dozens of new bars and restaurants, another round of Michelin stars doled out and several out-of-towner restaurateurs opening up shop in the District. But I think THE story of the year has to be Chef Jose Andres’ relief work in Puerto Rico. Seeing what kind of man he is, and knowing where my money is going when I choose to patronize a Jose Andres restaurant, only makes me want to support his businesses even more.

What opening are you most looking forward to in 2018?
As a huge proponent of The Wharf, I am anxious to try the next wave of restaurants, most notably Nicholas Stefanelli’s Officina. I’ve also been excited for Gravitas for a long time now, and can’t wait to see what he does with the space.

What you wish for D.C. in 2018 food trend wise?/ What you hope stays away?
I just finished reading Washingtonian’s restaurant wish list, so I feel like that might be influencing me here, but my reaction was “hear, hear!” when I saw the demand for more BYOB places. C’mon D.C., lets take a page out of Philly’s book and get that going. Also, really good pierogies, please and thank you!

Stay away: I don’t think it was as big a trend in D.C. as it was nationally, but I don’t really get much out of the activated charcoal in food trend. Maybe it makes for a cool insta, but I didn’t try a single food item where charcoal added something to the flavoring, IMO.

Favorite Chef? Favorite Restaurant? Favorite Bar? 
Ugh these are like asking a parent to pick their favorite child…

Chef: At the moment, I think I have to say Ryan Ratino. He is doing such special things at Bresca, and his energy and passion for creating great food experiences for his customers is contagious. Plus, he’s hilarious!

Restaurant: I simply cannot choose between Hazel and Tail Up Goat. I wind up at Hazel more frequently, but every experience at Tail Up Goat is beyond special.

Bar: I’ve been on a major Mezcal kick for the past two years, so Espita will always be a go-to, but Service Bar found its way into my heart this year. I love Jazz Tuesdays and can sip Griselda Blancos all night long and be a very happy camper.

What is the place you ended up at the most in your own spare time?
Without a doubt, Hazel. I will never stop craving that gnocchi or steak tartare.

Favorite food story of the year someone else wrote and why?
It was definitely not an easy story to stomach, but Maura Judkis’ powerful piece on sexual assault in the restaurant industry was absolutely necessary in today’s troubling times. Not only was it the kind of story that stays with you for days, but the research and reporting was excellently handled. The women who shared their stories are brave beyond measure, and I applaud each and every survivor who is standing up and saying enough is enough. Sexual misconduct should never be “simply part of the job.”

On a lighter note, I thoroughly enjoyed Jessica Sidman’s deep dive into the lengths restaurants will go to in order to identify and impress a critic.

Favorite thing YOU covered in 2017 and why?
We launched a new feature late this year called 34 Under 34, which is meant to highlight rising star millennials in the city. Personally, I’m tired of hearing about how millennials are ruining this country when I get to meet millennials every day who are killing it in their fields, and busting their butts to make a difference. I wanted to feature those millennials, and showcase the great work young minds can produce. The inaugural feature highlighted the best of the food and drink industry, and it was a pleasure to get to know some familiar faces even better, while also being introduced to some brand new talent, and getting to share their stories.

Go to cookbook(s)?
I honestly don’t ever use a cookbook, as I’m more of a Pinterest or online recipe gal.

Instagram vs twitter for staying in the food loop and why?
Instagram. I think it is easier for food news to stand out on Instagram versus Twitter because a great visual can really capture you and draw you in. Especially in D.C., food news gets lost in the overwhelming sea of political rants on Twitter.

Favorite instagram accounts and why?
@districtfoodies, @eatthecapital, @thetufftruffle and @dcfoodporn for their drool-worthy photos

Favorite twitter accounts and why?—
I like to keep an eye on @eater_dc, @jsidman and @LauraHayesDC for food news and @NotTomSietsema for when I need a laugh.

Lani Furbank – Food Writer

Instagram & Twitter: @lanifurbank

The best food trend of 2017: The rise of more cuisines we don’t typically encounter — Balkan at Ambar and BABA; Middle Eastern, North African, and Caucasian (as in from the Caucasus) at Maydan; Georgian at Supra; Swiss at Stable; Burmese at Toli Moli; Spanish and Moroccan at Arroz; Hong Kong style at Tiger Fork; the list goes on.

The worst? Insanely indulgent and unrealistic Instagram posts of excessive amounts of food that’s often thrown out after getting the perfect shot. We’re all guilty of going to great lengths for an epic post, but this particular brand of #foodporn is a blight on food photography and it’s a horrible waste.

The most anticipated or best DC restaurant opening in 2017: ChiKo. 

The best dish(es) you ate in 2017? Himitsu’s Peking duck platter, Arroz’s foie gras doughnut, Siren’s blue crab custard, The Salt Line’s crudo, ChiKo’s orange-ish chicken, Bresca’s chestnut agnolotti, Kith and Kin’s Brussels suya, Komi’s goat shoulder, Alta Strada’s ricotta cheesecake.

The one you wish you hadn’t? The dry ice cocktails at Sugar Factory.

Best food event of 2017? Mess Hall’s New Kitchens on the Block.

What do you think was THE food story of the year in 2017? The play-by-play of every restaurant coming to The Wharf.

What opening are you most looking forward to in 2018? Gravitas.

What you wish for DC in 2018 food trend wise? More natural wine that doesn’t taste “earthy.” Dio and Primrose are doing an amazing job of spreading the gospel truth about natural wine — it doesn’t have to be funky — but there’s more to do to improve the rep!

 What you hope stays away? Please, no more crazy shakes. I’m not sure how they’ve managed to hold our fascination for so long…They’re wasteful (you can’t eat the stuff cemented to the glass) and they are the epitome of over-the-top. Also, cashless restaurants.

Favorite Chef? Ryan Ratino.

Favorite Restaurant? I live near Mosaic District, so B Side is a go-to recommendation for anyone, anytime.

Favorite Bar? Cotton and Reed.

What is the place you ended up at the most in your own spare time? Honestly? My own kitchen, experimenting with homemade pasta, ramen broth, and tiered cakes.

Favorite food story of the year someone else wrote and why? Hard-to-read but infinitely important pieces by Laura Hayes on the restaurant opioid addiction crisis and by Maura Judkis on sexual assault in the industry. Plus everything from Tamar Haspel’s Unearthed column.

Favorite thing YOU covered in 2017 and why? The state of organic food at DC restaurants after Nora Pouillon closed up shop.

Go to cookbook(s)? Carla’s Comfort Foods by Carla Hall, Cúrate by Katie Button, Barefoot Contessa at Home by Ina Garten, and Fresh Food Fast by Peter Berley. Plus the food sections of The Washington Post and The New York Times.

Travis Mitchell – Food Writer

The best food trend on 2017/The worst?
Best food trend: I am a fan of how easy it is these days to find really well-executed fried chicken, especially Asian-inspired variations. This is not just a Southern dish anymore.
Worst food trend: I’ve had enough with tasting menus that continue to get more expensive.

The most anticipated or best D.C. restaurant opening in 2017/The one that didn’t quite live up?
Most anticipated opening of 2017: It’s hard to top The Wharf restaurants like Del Mar, Requin, and Kith and Kin.

Anticipated restaurant that didn’t deserve the hype: Nobu. There’s plenty of cheaper (and better) sushi to be had around D.C.

The best dish you ate in 2017?/ The one you wish you hadn’t?
Best thing: Chef Alex Levin’s Pot Brownie Sundae at The Riggsby. It’s one dessert I’ll eat until the last bite, no matter how full I am from my meal

Wish I hadn’t: The Spicy Korean bowl at The Protein Bar had me ready for a second lunch. I should have gone down the block to Rice Bar.

Best food event of 2017?
The annual Dine-N-Dash is always a fun way to taste around some of D.C.’s top restaurants. Even better, it benefits World Central Kitchen, which is doing fantastic work in Puerto Rico and elsewhere.

What do you think was THE food story of the year in 2017?
Jose Andres’ hurricane relief efforts in Puerto Rico. It’s amazing what he is doing with his charity.

What opening are you most looking forward to in 2018?
Chloe by Haidar Karoum

What you wish for D.C. in 2018 food trend wise?/ What you hope stays away?
I would be excited to see more Scandinavian cooking in D.C. It’s still a region we don’t see represented much on menus.

Favorite Chef? Favorite Restaurant? Favorite Bar?
Chef: Chiko chefs Scott Drewno and Danny Lee
Restaurant: Maydan
Bar: Colada Shop. Go for the sub-$10 rum cocktails.

What is the place you ended up at the most in your own spare time?
Cocktails and pizza at 2 Amys. And quick lunches at Eatsa (Rest In Peace!)

Favorite food story of the year someone else wrote and why?
Tom Sietsema’s story on being a dishwasher for a day.

Favorite thing YOU covered in 2017 and why?
New Kitchens On The Block at Mess Hall. It is always a great opportunity to talk with chefs and bartenders about their new and up-and-coming projects and track their progress as they get ready to open.

Instagram vs twitter for staying in the food loop and why?
Instagram. No question. Visuals are such a big part of food.

Kaylee Dugan – Editorial Assistant / Food Writer at BYT

The best food trend on 2017/The worst?
D.C.’s cocktail and distillery game continues to flourish in the most wonderful ways. From Cotton & Reed to One Eight to Don Ciccio & Figili to Republic Restoratives to District Distilling, I love all of it.

The worst is really any trend that has ran away with itself in 2017. Poke, tiki bars, outrageous tasting menus. We don’t need a 10 of any of these places. One or two will do just fine.

The most anticipated or best D.C. restaurant opening in 2017/The one that didn’t quite live up?
The Salt Line was hands down my most anticipated. Any place I can get a lobster roll and clam chowder is sure to worm its way into my heart forever.

There’s no one restaurant that really stood out to me as truly disappointing, but I guess Nobu was only fine. I probably wouldn’t go back.

The best dish you ate in 2017?
Garlic knots at All Purpose. The langoustine at Martakjallarinn in Iceland. Spicy Shoyu ramen at Haikan. The rockfish ceviche at Clavel. Everything at Sfoglina (but especially the grilled octopus). The blood sausage at Parts & Labor. The fish sandwich at District Fishwife.

Best food event of 2017?
Dine-N-Dash is one of my favorite days of the year. I get to eat and drink like I’m going to die the next day and I get to run around like a crazy person. It’s fun and pure and delicious. 

What do you think was THE food story of the year in 2017?
There were so many! Tom Sietsema’s dishwasher pieceMaura Judkis’ and Emily Heil’s sexual assault piece and José Andrés trips to Puetro Rico are some of the top stories, but it’s been an incredibly busy year.

What opening are you most looking forward to in 2018?
I’m still excited for A Rake’s Progress! I hope I don’t have to write this again next year!

What you wish for D.C. in 2018 food trend wise?/ What you hope stays away?
I want DC’s many different and diverse neighborhoods to continue to become dinging destinations of their own. What I don’t want are more luxury condos with nothing but luxury restaurants and retail to prop them up.

There are a lot of development companies stepping in and creating flashy consumer driven neighborhoods out of nothing. They throw in big name restaurants and high end retail and call it a day. It doesn’t work, it’s often times detrimental to the neighborhood that existed before all the construction and it makes D.C. look and feel like a hot mess. We already have a bunch of lovely neighborhoods with great food options and cute local stores and happy neighbors, and many of them did it without a huge development company stepping in and deciding what would work best for them.

Favorite Chef? Favorite Restaurant? Favorite Bar?
Chef: Chef Drewno is the nicest man (and I’m so glad ChiKo has been doing well).
Restaurant: The Royal. Everything I eat there makes me happy.
Bar: Slash Run, Anxo: Kennedy Street Edition and Copy Cat Co. forever and ever amen.

What is the place you ended up at the most in your own spare time?
Slash Run. It’s (kind of) close to my house on the edge of the city, they have killer burgers and they’re live music is always fun.

Favorite food story of the year someone else wrote and why?
This crazy story Jessica Sidman just wrote for Washingtonian.

Favorite thing YOU covered in 2017 and why?
Always and forever, Least Douchey Bars In D.C.