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‘Top Chef’ Winner Mei Lin Will Make Sichuan Chicken Pitas in Navy Yard This Weekend

Plus, a Roman-style pizza truck finds a permanent home in Del Ray

Mei Lin is the first guest chef in Albi’s Habibi Sofra Club series
Mei Lin is the first guest chef in Albi’s Habibi Sofra Club series
Dylan + Jeni
Tierney Plumb is the editor of Eater DC, covering all things food and drink around the nation's capital.

High-end Middle Eastern restaurant Albi and companion cafe Yellow will host the first guest chef in a new Habibi Sofra Club series full of big names this weekend when Mei Lin — the L.A.-based Top Chef winner and Eater Young Gun (2014) — shows up in Navy Yard on Sunday, April 25. Headliners who are visiting to collaborate with Albi chef-owner Michael Rafidi will create pita sandwiches at Yellow by day (11 a.m. to 2 p.m.) before putting together a tasting menu at Albi that night.

Lin will stuff Rafidi’s wood-fired pitas with Sichuan hot fried chicken similar to what customers can find at her new sandwich shop, Daybird. Dinner ($150 per person) includes Asian snacks, small plates, and desserts, plus Rafidi’s spreads, pitas, and coal-fired meats. Lin will also sell her Umamei Sauce by the bottle.

Upcoming culinary stars in the series include James Beard Award-winning chef Michael Solomonov of Zahav in Philly (June 13), Danny Lee of Chiko and Anju (July 11), the Dabney’s Jeremiah Langhorne (May 16), and Michael Mina (August 15). Albi’s wine team will pick out pairings each night. A portion of proceeds support EmbraceRace, an organization that works to educate kids about racial bias.

In other news...

  • In honor of D.C.’s Michelin announcements this week, Logan Circle gay bar Trade put out a news release announcing it has awarded itself a “negative” star for meeting a food service requirement for D.C. bars with items like a Fyre Festival-inspired cheese sandwich and stale-and-salty popcorn. Its newest release? Hot Pockets “roughly four times” the cost at CVS. Trade is best known for its daily “XL” happy hour until 8 p.m.
  • The Guinness Open Gate Brewery outside of Baltimore releases the fourth beer in its “Allyship through Collaboration” series on Thursday, April 22. The magenta-hued Sorrel Spring Ale, brewed with hibiscus, ginger, cloves, and orange peel (7.5-percent ABV), is available in 16-oz. cans for curbside pick-up and on draft.
Sorrel Spring Ale is made with Black colleagues and allies at Guinness.
Guinness/official photo
  • The Navy Yard space formerly occupied by Peet’s (1115 New Jersey Avenue SE) will flip into the fifth D.C. location of NYC-born java chain Gregory’s, Popville reports.
  • Stracci, a Roman-style pizza truck started by former Vermilion chef Thomas Cardarelli and his wife Annalisa, has secured a restaurant space in Del Ray, reports ALXnow. On Tuesdays through Sundays (5 p.m. to 8 p.m.) the truck parks outside of Nectar Coffee & Wine Bistro, and plans to move into the space at 106 Hume Avenue in the Alexandria, Virginia, neighborhood.
  • Ballston Quarterfest Crawl is coming back this year (Saturday, May 15, from noon to 7 p.m.), with deals from Bronson Bierhall, Ted’s Bulletin, Copa Kitchen & Bar, Sidekick Bakery, Union Kitchen, Bartaco, Hot Lola’s, We the Pizza, and more.
  • Mohsin and Zuber Issa, the billionaire brothers behind petrol giant EG Group, just acquired Leon. The health-minded British fast food chain recently pulled out of the D.C. market.


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