The “fastest two minutes in American sports” take place on May 6. It’s Kentucky Derby Day.
You can celebrate the 143rd Kentucky Derby in the Willard Room of the Willard InterContinental Hotel (1401 Pennsylvania Ave. NW) with an afternoon of Maker’s Mark mint juleps, an open beer and wine bar, a Southern-style buffet, a live jazz ensemble, casino-style games and a contest for the best derby bonnet and fanciest bow tie. The Bonnets & Bow Ties event takes place from 4:30-7 p.m. Tickets cost $99 per person. For reservations, call 202/942-7000.
After Bonnets & Bow Ties, the Race to the 200th Cup begins. Upon selling 200 mint juleps in the Round Robin Bar, The Willard will release 100 limited-edition commemorative mint julep cups. These handcrafted pewter cups pay tribute to the mint julep first introduced to Washington by Kentucky statesman Henry Clay in the hotel’s bar in the 1840s. The purchaser of the 200th mint julep will receive the first commemorative cup.
The hotel’s Mother’s Day brunch buffet will take place on May 14 in the Willard and Crystal ballrooms. Seatings are at 11 a.m., 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. Brunch tickets are priced at $110 for adults and $55 for children.
On May 6, Red’s Table (11150 South Lakes Drive, Reston) will host a dinner featuring craft beers from local 3 Stars Brewing Co., which has released more than 40 distinctive beers to date. The four-course dinner will be paired with featured beers including Clouds Farmhouse Pale Ale and Zombie Date Night Imperial Porter. Dinner is at 7:30 p.m. and is priced at $65 per person.
Cinco de Mayo commemorates the Mexican army’s victory over French forces at the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862. Today, the date is recognized in the United States to celebrate the culture and experiences of Americans of Mexican ancestry. Espita Mezcaleria (1250 Ninth St. NW) celebrates Cinco de Mayo from 5 p.m. to 2 a.m. by offering a limited release of Chamomile Saison, “a crisp, refreshing beer with a beautiful floral note on the back end” that was created in partnership with 3 Stars Brewing Co.
Summer cookouts will be held on the second Saturday of each month through Sept. 9 at Glover Park’s Town Hall (2340 Wisconsin Ave. NW). Featured events are a crawfish boil on May 13, a pig roast on June 10, a crab feast on July 8, a clambake on Aug. 12 and the ultimate tailgate on Sept. 9. The cookouts, priced at $30 per person, include unlimited food, beer and wine, served from 5-9 p.m.
May is National Burger Month. nopa Kitchen + Bar (800 F St. NW) will showcase a unique burger each week. Priced from $14 to $16, the burgers will be served with a side of french fries and a choice of draft beer or a glass of house wine. New burgers will include a crispy soft-shell burger BLT, and a mushroom and ancient grain burger.
On Friday and Saturday nights, nopa is offering a “Dinner for Two” menu priced from $70 per couple. The menu, which changes weekly, features a composed dish (protein, carbohydrate and side) for two people.
Sakerum (2204 14th St. NW), a new Latin-Asian restaurant, is offering a social cigar night on its 50-seat rooftop every Monday from 7:30 p.m. to 1:30 a.m. Afficionados can enjoy a cigar under the stars along with Latin-Asian small plates and a selection of spirits. Guests can bring their own cigars (there’s an $8 cutting fee) or purchase one from the restaurant’s extensive collection.
Good news from the Palisades: The Belgian restaurant Et Voila (5120 MacArthur Blvd. NW) has reopened after a renovation. Owner/chef Claudio Pirollo purchased the building next door and turned Et Voila into an updated restaurant with new dishes, a light-filled entrance and bar, a communal table and, later this summer, a market space.
It’s asparagus festival time at Old Europe (2434 Wisconsin Ave. NW) through the end of May. Asparagus soup, a pound of white or green asparagus with Hollandaise sauce, and asparagus with parsley potatoes and Westphalian ham are among the specials.
More than 30 embassy chefs from around the world will gather for the 2017 Events DC Embassy Chef Challenge on May 24 at 6 p.m. in the Atrium of the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center (1300 Pennsylvania Ave. NW) to showcase the unique flavors of their countries in a friendly culinary competition. Attendees will have the opportunity to sample a sip and bite from all participating chefs and cast their votes for the People’s Choice award. This year’s event will feature a range of performances to accompany the food and drink.
General admission is $65 and includes all the global sips and bites and live entertainment. For tickets and information, visit eventsdcembassychefchallenge.com/home_2017#tickets.