Restaurant hostess stands have long featured giveaways for departing diners — matchbooks, mints, the occasional toothpick. The only one that gets collectors excited, though, is the matchbook, an endangered species since D.C.’s restaurant smoking ban took effect in 2006. Several places, however, have come up with a popular alternative: branded boxes of toothpicks. “Our toothpicks purposely look like matchbooks so they can still fit in people’s collections,” says Gus DiMillo, co-owner of Passion Food Hospitality (which oversees Ceiba, District Commons and Passion Fish, among other restaurants), who didn’t want to see a longtime dining tradition disappear. Here are a few more branded boxes worth stashing away.
There are a lot of fiery debates in the barbecue world. Pork versus beef. Wet versus dry. Sweet tomato-based sauces versus tangy vinegar-based ones. No matter where your tastes lie, there’s one issue that everyone can agree on: summer is officially barbecue season. To save you the hassle of stocking up on supplies and firing up the smoker (not to mention the hour you’ll spend scrubbing the grill clean), we’ve composed this handy list of the best BBQ joints in the area. Feel free to argue ‘cue preferences while you chow down, but please keep your piehole shut while you’re eating.
Whether you get the pork, beef, or chicken barbecued sandwich here, all the meats are hickory smoked before being tossed with housemade Carolina-style sauce. Round out your platter with your choice of two sides: mac ‘n’ cheese, baked beans, coleslaw, or potato salad. You can also pick up a bottle of sauce to take home, so you can sass up your ribs the next time you decide to don your King of the Grill apron.
Pitmasters at this Lone Star state outpost in Penn Quarter are happy to remind diners that everything’s bigger in Texas. They’ll wrap up as much meat as you can handle – we’re partial to the brisket moist and the beer can game hen – before you head over to pick up some outsized sides like beer-braised pinto beans and gooey mac ‘n’ cheese. If you’ve still got room at the end of your BBQ binge, head back to the chow line pick up some sweet potato bread pudding.
Photo courtesy of Hill Country.