DC Dining Guide: April Essentials
• Love brunch? Love Thai food? Do I have the Sunday morning date for you... Shaw's little gem of a joint Beau Thai will start serving Sunday brunch April 15. So what exactly does Thai brunch entail? I got a taste of what's to come: Thai doughnuts dipped in condensed milk, sweet ginger soup with soy curd, quiche with Thai pork sausage, and a fantastic rice soup topped with a runny egg and ginger. More to come on the addictive little khanom krok — a street food snack made with a rice coconut batter. Oh, and bloody marys infused with Thai chili, mango bellinis and sparkling wine with lemongrass and housemade limoncello.
• Cafe Saint-Ex is saluting grilled cheese sandwich month with a menu of, what else, some delicious-sounding versions of grilled cheese. Five will typically be on the menu during April, and though it's called the "Ashley," the one with a fried egg, pepper jack, hot breakfast sausage and hot sauce on challah pretty much has my name written all over it.
• You'll have to wait until the end of month for this "April Essentials" pick, but Westend Bistro is bringing back its popular patio BBQ pop-up April 27. Each Friday through June 29, from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., you can grab pork shoulder and brisket sandwiches, sides and desserts like banana pudding.
• Ever tried Indian rum? At the brand new Rasika West End, beverage director Alexander Carlin is highlighting the spirit in the Rasika namesake cocktail, which includes Punt e Mes, Cardamaro liqueur and bitters. The rum is made with 100 percent Indian sugar cane and aged in old whiskey casks. Carlin says the rum has a heavy whiskey musk, with notes of caramel, butterscotch and pomegranate.
• Heard people buzzing about the Hirshhorn's new Doug Aitken's Song 1 installation? I'm looking forward to a warm night when I can go down to the National Mall to see the museum all illuminated. It looks incredible, and of course, I'll need some sustenance before or after. My picks for dinner a nice stroll from the Hirshhorn include: CityZen's relative steal of a bar menu, The Source, Central and 701.
• As spring brings new produce to the farmers markets, chefs are seizing on the fleeting moment when they can score certain sought-after ingredients — ramps, stinging nettles, morels and the like. Chef Claudio Pirollo is cooking up chilled ramp soup at Et Voila, and Johnny Monis is using stinging nettles with his catfish khao poon at Little Serow. Get a taste while you can.
• Buzz Bakery is offering housemade lemon Peeps again this year, and the sugary beasties are as cute as ever. Pastry chef Tiffany MacIsaac and her team are churning out the Peeps in a variety of colors and offering "baby chickie" cupcakes in vanilla or chocolate. (See last year's here.) The peeps are priced at $11.50 for a pack of nine and the cupcakes are $24 for a half dozen, or $33 for both.
• April 22: Cochon 555
• April 26: Dining Out for Lifen>
• April 26: An Evening with Common Threads and Chef Art Smith
Miss the March Essentials? Catch up here.