Saturday, Jan. 6, is the day of the Epiphany, also known as Three Kings Day, which traditionally marks the end of the Christmas season. It also is celebrated as Twelfth Night, a time of merrymaking. An Epiphany (and Mardi Gras) tradition is a king cake baked with a tiny baby Jesus doll inside.
Bayou Bakery, Coffee Bar & Eatery (1515 N. Courthouse Road, Arlington) celebrates the Epiphany as the beginning of Mardi Gras season in New Orleans by baking the traditional king cake. The B.B. King cakes at the Bayou Bakery are brioche style, laced with traditional purple, gold and green sugar-flecked icing and swirls of cinnamon wrapped around a creole cream-cheese filling. Each cake comes with tricolor beads, a plastic king cake baby trinket and a postcard detailing the cake’s history. Priced at about $40, the cakes go on sale Saturday and are available until Mardi Gras on Feb. 13. Cakes ordered before Feb. 1 receive a 10 percent discount.
Red’s Table (11150 South Lakes Drive, Reston) will host a tasting dinner at 7:30 p.m. on Jan. 13 showcasing a variety of wines from Eric Kent Wine Cellars in Sonoma County, California. The wines will complement a five-course dinner, priced at $95 per person. A portion of the ticket proceeds will be donated to the North Bay Fire Relief Fund. The menu includes sweetbreads, rack of lamb, lobster risotto and red velvet cake.
Beginning at 6 p.m. Jan. 24, magician/mentalist David Morey will entertain guests in the private dining room of The Lafayette restaurant in the Hay-Adams Hotel (800 16th St. NW) with an interactive evening of grand illusion. The three-course dinner with wine pairings accompanying the magic is limited to 18 guests and is priced at $195 per person, including tax and gratuity. Additional special evenings with Mr. Morey will be held Feb. 22 and March 29. Reservations are required.
January is National Soup Month. In honor of the occasion, Legal Sea Foods (704 Seventh St. NW; 2301 Jefferson Davis Highway, Crystal City; 2001 International Drive, Tysons Galleria, McLean; and Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport, 2401 Smith Blvd., Arlington) has designated Jan. 15 as Chowda Day. On that day, the restaurant’s New England clam chowder is available for $1 per cup with the purchase of an entree.
Throughout January, Nopa Kitchen + Bar (800 F St. NW) is offering its “Southern Good Luck” three-course menu, which highlights Southern specialties said to bring good luck in the new year. Pork, with its rich fattiness, symbolizes wealth and prosperity; cornbread, some say, resembles gold; and black-eyed peas augur good luck. (According to Civil War-era folklore, black-eyed peas — also known as field peas — were used to feed cattle. During the 1863 siege of Vicksburg, Mississippi, the town was cut off from food supplies for nearly two months. Close to starvation, people resorted to eating crops reserved for feeding livestock, which “luckily” saved their lives.)
Greens, which are most often paired with black-eyed peas, symbolize money, wealth and prosperity. The Nopa Kitchen’s special menu is priced at $50 per person and is available daily during the dinner service.
The District’s first restaurant specializing in the food of Georgia (the country, not the state) opened in November. The menu at Supra (1205 11th St. NW), which means “feast” in Georgian, reflects culinary influences from the Mediterranean and the Silk Road, and features classic dishes incorporating breads, kebabs, walnuts and pomegranates. The kitchen is helmed by chef Malkhaz Maisashvili, formerly the chef at the Georgian Embassy. Georgian wines also are featured.
Patisserie Poupon (1645 Wisconsin Ave. NW), which bakes the city’s best croissants, now has a rival. At Un je ne sais Quoi (1361 Connecticut Ave. NW), the croissants taste like those you get in Paris. For bread lovers, the new Seylou Bakery (926 N St. NW) makes extraordinary dense, rich loaves with house-milled wheat. They are expensive but delicious.
It’s time again for Winter Restaurant Week, this year from Jan. 22-28. More than 250 restaurants in the District, Maryland and Virginia will be participating. To find out which are taking part in the promotion, visit RAMW.org, the website of the Restaurant Association of Metropolitan Washington, which will update the participating restaurants. Prices are $35 for dinner and $22 for lunch and brunch.
Happy new year!