- The Washington Times - Tuesday, July 25, 2006

It’s summer in the District, and that adds up to hot and humid. Colvin Run Tavern (8045 Leesburg Pike, Vienna; 703/356-9500) is keeping its summer menu current with the drinks trend and has added its cooling Tyson’s lemonade (lemon vodka, Cointreau and fresh lemon juice); watermelon martini (a variation on the lemonade but made with melon); a Bellini made with sparkling wine and peach puree; and a mangorita (a combination of mango puree, tequila, Cointreau and citrus juices).

Speaking of drinks, the Curious Grape (4056 S. 28th St., Arlington; 703/671-8700), the specialty food and wine shop in Shirlington Village, is offering its in-store wine seminar series, Passport to Spain, during the August. Aug. 1 and 5 will concentrate on northwestern Spain; Aug. 8 and 12, southeastern Spain; and Aug. 15 and 19, central Spain, which includes the sherry region. The seminars are held at 6 and 7 p.m. Tuesdays and repeated at 1 p.m. on Saturdays. They are free, but space is limited, so reservations are a must.

The elite sausages and pork loins produced from Spain’s Iberico pigs — descendants of the black-hoofed wild boars that once inhabited the forests of the Mediterranean — are appearing as tapas at Jaleo (480 Seventh St. NW; 202/628-7949). The premium pork products will be augmented every few months with new items from Spain as they become available for import. Hams will be available soon.

Executive chef Jose Andres will celebrate the salted and dried roe of the grey mullet (avgotaraho) from Aug. 7 through 13 at Zaytinya (701 Ninth St. NW; 202/638-0800). During the weeklong celebration of the Greek delicacy, Mr. Andres will host Zafiris Trikalinos, a producer of avgotaraho. Zaytinya’s special menu will feature a selection of Greek-inspired dishes prepared with avgotaraho.

The ever-busy Mr. Andres is celebrating the tomato at a two-week festival at the three Jaleo locations (2250-A Crystal Drive, Arlington, 703/413-8181; 7271 Woodmont Ave., Bethesda, 301/913-0003; and 480 Seventh St. NW, 202/628-7949). Each restaurant will offer a $32 four-course special tomato tasting menu with a La Tomatada drink daily from Aug. 14 through 27.A five-course cava — Spain’s sparkling wine — dinner, priced at $75, will be served at the Crystal City Jaleo at 7:30 p.m. Aug. 24.

The D.C. Summer Restaurant Week is on its way, this year from Aug. 14 through 20. Local restaurants will celebrate the season with three-course menus priced at $20.06 for lunch and $30.06 for dinner. For a list of participating restaurants, go to www.restaurantweekdc.com.

An unusual fish is swimming onto the plates at Oceanaire Seafood Room (1201 F St. NW; 202/347-2277). Conger eel from Chile is flaky and light, with a texture and taste comparable to cod. Chef Rob Klink introduced the eel during the restaurant’s Chilean Month of the Sea, and it was so popular that it has become a mainstay on the menu; the chef is experimenting with new dishes using the eel, including a conger eel pad Thai.

At the Fairmont Hotel (2401 M St. NW; 202/457-5020), Chillin’, Grillin’ and Chillin’ is in full swing from 5 to 10:30 p.m. nightly in the flower-filled courtyard. The menu includes summer cocktails with such exotic names as Berry Me in the Sand. Chef James Phillips has created a menu of miniversions of dinner items for $12, including grilled lamb lollipops, bacon-barbecued chicken wing on grilled pineapple, and tuna tartare with sweet sesame chili.

Guests at Restaurant Kolumbia (1801 K St. NW; 202/331-5551) will see the work of Berlin-born artist Kathleen Sarah Gough through Sept. 15. Chef-owner Jamie Stachowski is continuing his monthly Polish dinners.

There’s a new restaurant in the Dupont Circle area adjacent to Hotel Palomar: Urbana (2121 P St. NW; 202/956-6650). The cooking, under native Washingtonian Richard Brandenburg, is influenced by northern Italian, southern French, Greek and Spanish food. Mr. Brandenburg is a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America and has worked in kitchens in New York, San Francisco and London.

Summer is always a good time for brunch. Indigo Landing (1 Marina Drive, Daingerfield Island, Alexandria; 703/548-0001) serves brunch of Southern Low Country classics from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday. Brunch is priced at $30 for adults, including a glass of sparkling Barboursville Brut, and $15 for children. Choices include oyster stew or truffle corn soup, grilled mussels, malted vanilla waffles, crab cakes with pimento hollandaise, hanger steak with red-eye gravy, cheddar grits and Smithfield ham, and cheese omelet.

A Southern-style brunch is available from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday at Clyde’s of Gallery Place (707 Seventh St. NW; 202/349-3700). Specialties include eggs Jessica with potato pancakes, poached eggs, crumbled bacon and chive hollandaise; fried chicken and waffles; and corned beef hash with two eggs sunny-side up.

Another long-standing Southern-inspired brunch is the Cafe des Artistes’ Sunday gospel brunch at the Corcoran Gallery of Art (17th and E streets Northwest; 202/639-1786) from 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. The buffet is accompanied by music from some of the region’s gospel choirs. The price of the brunch, which includes admission to the museum’s exhibits, is $23.95. (Reservations are required for groups of eight or more.)

A perfect way to end the workweek is to visit the Pavilion Cafe in the Sculpture Garden of the National Gallery of Art (Seventh Street and Constitution Avenue Northwest). Jazz fills the garden from 5 to 8:30 p.m. Fridays through September. It’s a fine setting to enjoying one of the Pavilion’s delicious sandwiches, light entrees, stuffed small peppers, salads, wraps and desserts as well as beer and wine.

Hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Thursday and Saturday; until 8:30 p.m. Friday; and from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday. From November to March, the Pavilion’s indoor seating is a good place to watch the ice-skaters on the rink outside.

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