- The Magazine
CocuSocial Safe Cooking Classes
Even if you’re proud of your prowess in the kitchen and the skills you may have acquired in the wake of COVID-19, it’s quite possible you’ve grown tired of doing it all alone — or taken to wondering whether you could learn more from experts, or while in the company of others. Perhaps you could corral a few friends, your significant other, or a prospective partner to do it with you? You could make it a date through CocuSocial, a platform for a wide variety of “social cooking and tasting classes,” often offered in nontraditional settings — whether socially distanced in person or virtually in your home. And all at prices comparable to a meal at your favorite restaurant — for two, in the case of in-person classes. Among the options for upcoming online classes (most of them priced between $19 and $36 each), are lessons in “Bun Cha: Vietanmese Meat Balls with Vermicelli Noodles,” “Buttermilk Fried Chicken with Classic Sides,” “Make Your Own Ramen,” “Bar Food Favorites,” “The Art of Bread Baking: No Yeast Rustic Loaves,” and “Intro to French Pastry.”
Among the upcoming in-person classes (priced at $59 to $99 each, with the average going for under $69), you can learn how to make cream puffs and eclairs, hand-roll sushi, and the basics of Indian cuisine, mostly in suburban locations of Virginia and Maryland. At such in-person offerings during the pandemic, chefs must wear PPE at all times, and guests must wear masks when not seated at their tables, food is served using disposable plates, cups, and utensils, and not shared among groups.
CocuSocial has also introduced Master Series, a live virtual experience allowing you to cook along, and ask questions in real time, with world-renowned chefs for under $40. This Sunday, Oct. 25, at 5 p.m., comes a session on making fresh cavatelli pasta from scratch with Neal Fraser, known from Food Network’s Beat Bobby Flay and as the Cat Cora-defeating victor on Iron Chef America. In December, Anita Lo, a Michelin-starred chef and another Iron Chef winner, will teach how to master authentic, scratch-made Asian dumplings. Visit www.cocusocial.com.
Bob & Edith’s Diner 50th Anniversary Special
Now until the end of 2020, Bob & Edith’s Diner, the famous Northern Virginia chain, is offering a special to end its yearlong 50th anniversary with a bang of a deal for burger lovers. An order of two signature B&E double cheeseburgers topped with bacon and egg, a side of French fries, and two slices of pie would normally run between $32 and $35 depending on the type of pie. Right now it’s $19.69, marking the year when Robert and Edith Bolton started the business with the purchase of Gray’s Donut Dinette in Arlington, a boutique counter spot they would later retrofit to operate as a family-run diner that employed their four children.
More than two decades later, Greg Bolton and his wife Victoria took over the original diner, running it with the assistance of their children Tammy and Chris. In recent years, the family has focused on expanding the business locally, with five Northern Virginia locations as of August and the opening of an outpost on Lee Highway in North Arlington. Known for their signature blue retro formica diner tables and metal bar stools, the tiled diners appeal to all manner of locals at all hours of the day — although during the pandemic, only two remain open 24/7, the original at 2310 Columbia Pike, and the Crystal City/National Landing spot at 539 23rd St. (Meanwhile, for proper social distancing, tables at all locations have been moved and spaced out, no seating is allowed at the counter, and takeout and delivery options have been expanded.)
As improbable as it sounds, a current priority of the business is to continue that expansion far and wide. “Even a Pandemic Can’t Slow Down Expansion for Iconic Bob & Edith’s Diner,” read the headline to a September article in RestaurantNews.com, noting that Bob & Edith’s has recently teamed up with the same national franchise development firm that turned Five Guys into a major national chain. The 50th anniversary burger-fries-and-pie special (“No substitutions please!”) is available during operating hours at all locations now through Dec. 31. Visit www.bobandedithsdiner.com.
Maybe you liked tequila before tequila was cool, but in recent years the Mexican spirit has become decidedly hot. Its popularity soared during the pandemic as a spirit of choice while drinking at home, but National Tequila Day, this Saturday, July 24, offers as good of an excuse as any to get out of the house and let someone else shake and pour for you.
A handful of local establishments have announced tequila-related specials to mark the occasion. At dLeña, the newest venture from Mexican-born international restaurateur Richard Sandoval (El Centro D.F.), the special of the day is a half-priced signature margarita called the Mercado, which kicks things up a notch with serrano-infused blanco tequila shaken with passion fruit juice, plus agave and lime, topped with a hibiscus-rosemary foam.
The Shilling Canning Company is set to debut a new seven-course menu exclusively for guests wanting a full direct view of the culinary action at the spacious, attractive restaurant in Navy Yard.
"We have this Chef's Counter that I built to be an integral part of the restaurant," says Executive Chef Reid Shilling. "I put myself in the center of that, so that I could have interaction with the guests that sit at the counter, but also be fully in my station."
Named for the family business in Baltimore nearly a century ago, Reid Shilling opened the restaurant with his wife Sara Quinteros-Shilling after spending a decade working at Thomas Keller's Bouchon Bistro in Napa Valley and helping Jeremiah Langhorne open his Michelin-starred Blagden Alley hotspot The Dabney. Launching Friday, July 23, the Chef's Counter will help showcase the regional and sustainable food and drink purveyors the restaurant partners with.
Star D.C. chef Haidar Karoum will prepare a three-course special menu reflecting his signature style, as well as that of his restaurant Chloe, as part of an effort to spotlight and support restaurants in 10 of the nation's most distinguished restaurant scenes.
Taste America, a new national culinary series from the James Beard Foundation, is a project of the nonprofit's Open for Good campaign, which is working to help independent restaurants around the country rebuild better from the pandemic in ways that is hoped will produce a more sustainable and equitable industry.
Philadelphia kicked off the series this week, and special three-course dinners from star chefs are also in the works over the next two months at restaurants in Chicago, New Orleans, Los Angeles, Denver, Utah's Park City, Seattle, San Francisco's Bay Area, and Boston. Each participating restaurant will benefit at a rate of 65 percent of total ticket sales, with the remaining 35 percent going to support the Open for Good campaign.
These are challenging times for news organizations. And yet it’s crucial we stay active and provide vital resources and information to both our local readers and the world. So won’t you please take a moment and consider supporting Metro Weekly with a membership? For as little as $5 a month, you can help ensure Metro Weekly magazine and MetroWeekly.com remain free, viable resources as we provide the best, most diverse, culturally-resonant LGBTQ coverage in both the D.C. region and around the world. Memberships come with exclusive perks and discounts, your own personal digital delivery of each week’s magazine (and an archive), access to our Member's Lounge when it launches this fall, and exclusive members-only items like Metro Weekly Membership Mugs and Tote Bags! Check out all our membership levels here and please join us today!