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Shop for Pastry Pro Paola Velez’s Popular Sticky Buns at Nordstrom’s U.S. Cafes

Plus, Les Dames d’Escoffier hosts a biannual symposium, chef Matt Baker moonlights at Hill East Burger, and more pop-ups to try this month

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D.C. pastry chef Paola Velez’s beloved sweets just showed up for sale at Nordstrom.
Paola Velez/Nordstrom

Pop-ups and events are in full swing around D.C., and this selective guide includes everything longer-term pop-ups and one-off events.

“Bringing It to The Table: Talk. Taste. Transform” Symposium

The Deal: This day-long public symposium hosted by the D.C. chapter of Les Dames d’Escoffier features women leaders in the food, beverage, hospitality and related industries. Tickets include morning refreshments and lunch from Ghostburger, access to breakout panels and sessions on topics like lacto-fermentation, pitching a cookbook, and DMV food insecurity, along with tastings of sake, coffee, wine, honey, olive oil, and more. Guest speakers and participants include celebrity chef-author Carla Hall; sommeliers Nadine Brown and Swati Bose; authors Joan Nathan, Meryl Feinstein, Katherine Miller and Mary Beth Albright; chefs Najmieh Batmanglij, Jackie Greenbaum, Jamie Leeds, Ris Lacoste, Masako Morishita, Teresa Velazquez; food media and professionals including Mary Blackford, Lani Furbank, Kristen Hartke, Anna Spiegel, Tambra Rae Stevenson and so much more. The confirmed lineup and schedule are available here.

Where: National Union Building, 918 F Street NW

Dates: Saturday, September 30 from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Cost: Tickets ($225), which benefit food-related female organizations around the area, can be purchased on Eventbrite.

Hill East Burger x Chef Matt Baker

The Deal: Chef Matt Baker of Michelin-starred Gravitas takes over the Hill East Burger kitchen with four nights of decadent burgers and chicken sandwiches. The gourmet backyard barbecue spread includes a smoky smasher, “Hidden in Your Valley” ranchy chicken sandwiches, peri-peri fries, and crispy confit potato salad.

Where: Hill East Burger, 1432 Pennsylvania Avenue SE

Dates: Thursday, September 28 to Sunday, October 1 from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. Available for dine-in or day-of takeout orders.

Paola Velez x Nordstrom

The Deal: Acclaimed D.C. pastry chef Paola Velez has worked on some cool collabs as of late, whether its a Bakers Against Racism bake sale that went worldwide, a special Häagen-Dazs sundae, or a popular Dominican doughnut pop-up. For the active entrepreneur’s latest project, the Kith/Kin, Maydan, and Milk Bar alum explores her Afro-Latina heritage through food and fashion during Hispanic Heritage Month. On the food front, the 2020 James Beard Award finalist teams up with Nordstrom to sell her famed pecan-plantain sticky buns at the store’s nationwide restaurants and e-bars through mid-October. Velez also collaborated with Urban Outfitters to design a five-piece, limited-edition collection of kitchen workwear for Urban Renewal.

Dates: Available during Hispanic Heritage Month from September 15 to October 15

Salsa Saturdays at Lady Bird

The Deal: Lady Bird Rooftop Lounge spices up Saturday nights during Hispanic Heritage Month. Guests are encouraged to don their dancing shoes for salsa lessons from Baila DC and enjoy salsa beats from live DJs while sipping passion fruit and strawberry mojitos, blood orange caipirinhas, and Brazilian Cosmos. Peruvian chef Walter Silver sends out smoked short rib skewers, crispy pork belly sandwiches, seafood, and churros.

Where: Lady Bird (atop the Kimpton Banneker Hotel); 1315 16th Street NW

Dates: From 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. on Saturdays (September 23, 30, and October 7). Cerdafied Dance Studios will close out the month on October 14 with a special bachata demo and dance party.

Miami Vibes

The Deal: A Miami Vice-obsessed bar just zoomed into Del Ray, complete with a South Beach mural, ’80s music, neon-lit signage, palm tree wallpaper, retro posters, and hot pink-and-turquoise tones everywhere. Miami Vibes is the site’s latest themed activation in the old Sushi Bar space by its Homegrown Restaurant Group owners Bill Blackburn and “Mango” Mike Anderson.

The bar is fueled on daiquiris, mojitos, watermelon frose, and Kona lagers. Cute cocktail names like the Don Johnson, Crockett & Tubbs, and St. Vitus Dance pay homage to the cult show. A selection of on-brand starters and dishes includes pineapple-glazed wings, coconut shrimp, jerk chicken tacos, lobster and shrimp ceviche, and spinach and crab dip, plus Key Lime pie for dessert.

Where: 2312 Mount Vernon Avenue, Del Ray, Virginia

Dates: Now through October; hours kick off at 5 p.m. until 10 p.m. (and midnight Thursday to Saturday)

Señor Fukushima serves tacos with Japanese influences.
Vina Sananikone

Señor Fukushima

The Deal: Haikan, Daikaya Group’s sleek Shaw standby for Sapporo-style noodles and small plates since 2016, is now home to a months-long pop-up celebrating cross-culinary connections between Mexico and Japan. Chef/owner Katusya Fukushima’s newly remodeled menu at Haikan, now named Señor Fukushima through the summer, specializes in wafu (Japanese-style) Mexican dishes. The taco-centric takeover builds upon the success of the wafu menu full of Italian noodle dishes and deep-dish pizza at Daikaya’s Chinatown sibling Tonari.

Where: Haikan, 805 V Street NW

Dates: Through the summer

Oyster Shucking and Wine Pairing Classes at Seamore’s

The Deal: The sustainable seafood spot in Clarendon debuts a summer series on the art of shucking oysters. The two-hour class showcases four types of local and East coast oysters alongside four Old World wine pairings (and one glass of choice at the end), with oyster experts on hand to provide technique tips, demos, and pairing intel about flavors and textures of each bivalve.

Where: Seamore’s, 2815 Clarendon Boulevard, Arlington, Virginia

Dates: Tuesdays at 6:30 p.m. (October 17).

Cost: Each ticket ($95) includes take-home oyster knives and cut-resistant gloves

Chef’s Table with Amy + Friends

The Deal: Centrolina chef Amy Brandwein invites fellow top chefs to come cook four-course dinners for charity at her Italian restaurant at CityCenter DC. Each guest chef will select the cuisine of the night, and proceeds from each 26-seat seating will go toward a charity of the guest chef’s choice.

Where: Centrolina, 974 Palmer Alley NW

  • 10/5: Chris Morgan
  • 10/24: Joan Nathan
  • 11/1: Katsuya Fukushima
  • 11/14: Erik Bruner Yang

Cost: Tickets are $175 (excluding tax, tip and alcoholic beverages.) Reservations for the inaugural dinner with chef Jocelyn Law-Yone can be made on Resy, with proceeds donated to local nonprofit Imadi. More chefs and dates will be announced in the coming weeks.

In addition, Brandwein is hosting a Culinary Excursion in Umbria, Italy from July 19 to 26. The trip with her general manager, who’s a native of Umbria, will include truffle hunting, olive oil mill tours, gelato lessons and tastings, and culinary demos.

Mules pair well with new dishes like miso Caesar and tamarind barbecue ribs (pictured).
Beth Kennedy

Mules at Immigrant Food

The Deal: Immigrant Food at Planet Word celebrates summer with a six new mules: a peachy Southern Belle, The Watermelon Sugar…High with watermelon-infused Tito’s, a Paloma Mule, and Tokyo Flower Power with Japanese shochu, and more.

Where: Immigrant Food, 925 13th Street NW

Cost: For $24, guests can try three of the six new mules (or sold separately)

Elena James Pop-Up @ Nina May

The Deal: Shaw’s New American neighborhood gem Nina May debuts a Friday lunch pop-up to tease out its next project opening in Chevy Chase later this year. Co-owner Chef Colin McClimans and Danilo Simic envision Elena James as an all-day destination for seasonal, locally-sourced ingredients. The pop-up preview showcases highlights like Chesapeake Bay brandade croquettes with habanero buttermilk dressing, lemon wedge and dill and burrata cheese with confit leeks with charred onion vinaigrette, garlic pesto, and fresh baguette. Mains include crispy soft shell crab with caper remoulade, celeriac slaw and chili oil and nettle-stuffed roasted chicken with grilled ramps, confit sunchokes and chicken jus. Its springtime patio is decked out with colorful flowers, green vines, and new bench seating, tables and chairs.

Where: Nina May (1337 11th Street NW)

Dates: Kicking off Friday, April 21 and running every Friday through early summer from noon to 3 p.m.

Cost: The menu featuring both a la carte items and a chef’s course menu (four courses for $35 per person).

Lost Rock debuts a pop-up cafe inside Anxo.
Lost Sock

Lost Sock Coffee x Anxo Cider

The Deal: After roasting coffee next door since 2016, Lost Sock just debuted a pop-up breakfast cafe inside Brightwood Park’s Anxo Cidery. Situated in the space occupied by Brightwood Pizza & Bottle, Lost Sock offers a morning-to-midday menu of espresso drinks, single-origin options, and seasonal lattes alongside a selection of pastries, baked empanadas, breakfast sandwiches, and its whole bean lineup. Lost Sock maintains a standalone cafe in Takoma Park and recently wrapped a pop-up run in Dupont’s Phillips Collection.

Where: 711 Kennedy Street NW (inside Anxo Cidery)

Dates: Hours are Tuesday to Friday from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. and weekends from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. and the kitchen closes at noon. That’s when Brightwood Pizza starts slinging pies and a selection of ciders, beer, and wine.

Swiftie Sundays at Show of Hands

The Deal: D.C.’s obsession with Taylor Swift continues with a weekly party at Show of Hands to honor the music and cocktail influence of the superstar. The Roost’s cocktail bar on Capitol Hill celebrates the pop icon every Sunday night with cocktails, wines, beers and spirits themed around her song lyrics and track titles. Think: “Wine Stained Dress” (gin, Gentian, lemon, red wine float) and “Red Flushed Gold Rush” (bourbon, red bitter, honey, lemon). Dance to Swift songs in a dedicated space behind the bar.

Where: Show of Hands (inside the Roost), 1401 Pennsylvania Avenue SE

Dates: Every Sunday night

Rice pudding with white chocolate, hazelnuts and caviar is inspired by L’Ami Jean’s version in Paris.
Vina Sananikone

Tonari’s “Hole in the Wall” Pop-Up Dessert Bar

The Deal: Daikaya Group’s Tonari rolls out a dessert-only feast featuring five courses, including an opening cocktail and riff on Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s molten chocolate cake. Set up on the second floor, the seven-seat sweets bar puts its pastry-making chefs on full display. The name is an ode to Japan’s original wafu Italian restaurant Kabe No Ana, which translates to “hole in the wall.” Tonari’s fanciful tasting menu up top replaces its normal lineup of savory dishes. Daikaya Group’s pastry chef Mary Mendoza, best known for inventing the doffle and her decadent chicken-fat chocolate cakes at Bantam King, also runs the kitchen on the first floor of Tonari.

Where: Tonari, 707 6th Street NW

Dates: Fridays and Saturdays, with seatings between 6 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.

Price: Five courses for $55 (includes three drink pairings; the drinks menu also includes half-bottles of Champagne