The head brewers at Silver Branch Brewing Company don’t favor any one approach to beer-making over another. They draw inspiration from the brewers of Belgium, Britain, Ireland, Central Europe, and the Americas, all in equal measure. That much should be obvious the second you see their list of house-made beers.
The flagship brews include a Czech pilsner, an American IPA, a witbier, and a tropical stout. The lineup represents the four major brewing cultures that inspire the team at Silver Branch Brewing Company. Come and grab a pint of one of the flagship beers in the open, airy tasting room, filled with high-topped tables and ample amounts of light. You can also savor a seasonal beer or a collaboration with another brewery. Chips, beef jerky, and popcorn are a few of the snacks Silver Branch serves, along with non-alcoholic beverages such as house-made soda, coffee, and tea.
If wine and pasta sound like the building blocks for a perfect evening, head to Olazzo on a Monday night. That’s half-price wine night at the Italian eatery. Order a bottle to share with your dining companion — or come on Tuesdays for $6 martinis — and enjoy Italian cuisine along with it.
Start with a few appetizers (which are conveniently $2 off during happy hour), such as the fried calamari, the bruschetta, or the mozzarella garlic bread. Then, devour penne smothered with marinara sauce and crowned with house-made meatballs or spaghettini tossed with olive oil, garlic, Roma tomatoes, and fresh basil. Try the gnocchi duck bolognese, house-made ricotta gnocchi with duck ragu, or the saffron risotto alla mare with shrimp, clams, mussels, and squid. You can also enjoy a fully loaded salad at Olazzo, like one topped with meatballs or chicken parm.
You'll feel like family when you dine at Olazzo. This family-run restaurant serves authentic Italian cuisine in a comfortable, old-world style atmosphere. The menu reads like a "best of" list of Italian cooking; from lasagna and pasta to signature dishes like Chicken Cardinale and Gnocchi Duck Bolognese, Olazzo has classic favorites and modern takes on Italian fare.
There are certainly plenty of rich dishes and creamy pastas that are the ultimate comfort food, but they also have light salads and low-carb items that won’t leave you feeling so guilty. And because Olazzo prides itself on being a neighborhood restaurant, they have crowd-pleasing happy hour deals and weekly specials like half priced bottles of wine on Mondays or six-dollar martinis on Tuesdays. Have an important event on the horizon? Catering from Olazzo is what everyone wants to eat, and they make it easy with their full service offering and years of experience catering for large and small parties.
With chairs built from custom-made drums from Gambia, hand-woven light fixtures hanging from above, and authentic Senegalese art adorning the walls, Mansa Kunda makes diners feel like they’ve been transported to West Africa. That feeling continues as you read the menu and try some of owner Hatiib Joof’s dishes, which are native to his home country, Gambia.
Joof opened Mansa Kunda in January in Takoma Park with the goal of introducing the DC area to the cuisine his family has been cooking and eating for generations. While regular cutlery is available, he encourages diners to step outside their comfort zone and eat with their hands as West Africans do. If you’re new to the food from this region of the world, those who’ve already eaten here suggest starting your meal with the abala, a Gambian street snack consisting of black-eyed pea tamales wrapped in a banana leaf. Move onto the main course, which traditionally focuses on meat, like a tangy, spicy chicken dish known as yassa, or a traditional fish stew. But if you don’t eat meat, no worries — the kitchen is happy to make just about any dish a meat-free one.
Take your little ones to a magical journey to Neverland at Peter Pan and Friends On Ice! at Cultural Arts Center at Takoma Park Silver Springs. This family friendly show is Saturday, March 9 at 3 p.m., and promises to be an afternoon of whimsical fun.
Enjoy a continuation of the classic tale of Peter Pan while talented skaters glide, spin, and jump over the ice. No matter your age, Peter Pan and Friends On Ice! is sure to dazzle. Tickets range in price from $10 to $20, and children under two years old are admitted free with an adult companion. Cultural Arts Center is located on Georgia Avenue, right at the intersection of Burlington Avenue on the Montgomery College campus. Visit the website for helpful information on where to park or how to access the enter using public transportation. Don’t miss this one-time performance guaranteed to make you and your little ones think happy thoughts for weeks to come.
Diners know Lib’s Grill for its American fare, like the highly rated barbecue-glazed short ribs and Maryland crab cakes. But another reason why people flock here isn’t just because of what’s on the menu, it’s for what’s on the calendar.
Weeknights shine at this Maple Lawn Boulevard eatery, which opened its doors in late 2017. Mondays are a little easier to handle thanks to Lib’s late night happy hour, every Monday from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. In addition to drink specials, you’ll find buck-a-shuck oysters and a free brunch buffet. It’s all about the lobster on Tuesday nights; diners can feast on a three-course meal with fresh Maine lobster playing the starring role. Then on Wednesdays, the chef selects a special cut of beef to serve as a three-course meal. Accompany your dinner with a half-priced bottle of wine. It’s not hard to see why Lib’s was named Maryland’s favorite restaurant in 2016 by the Restaurant Association of Maryland.
One of Silver Spring's most popular happy hours is at Urban Butcher, and it's one that you won't want to miss on your next night out after work. Urban Butcher is best known for its incredible house-butchered meats and house-cured charcuterie, as well as impressive drink specials that cater to the after-work crowd.
From 5 to 7 p.m. at the bar and on the patio, draft beers are on special for just $5 and house wines are $8. If cocktails are more your style, you can enjoy a classic boulevardier or vodka mule for just $6, or you can split a pitcher of lavender margaritas with a group of friends for just $25. Order shareable plates like bacon cheddar fries, beef empanadas, or the charcuterie board and you'll instantly become the most popular one at the table.
Bombay Street Food in Columbia Heights is restaurateur Asad Sheikh’s newest venture, and it pays homage to the street vendors of his childhood. Among the dishes Sheikh remembered from his childhood is Indo-Chinese chili chicken in a spicy tomato sauce with curry leaves. Another favorite is the vada pav, dubbed the “Bombay Burger,” consisting of a mashed potato patty topped with cilantro-ginger chutney. The Monsoon section of the menu reflects what people in Mumbai eat with their chai tea during the rainy season, featuring cheese pakora, vegetable pakora, and spicy chicken masala.
The 65-seat interior (with a private dining room and patio) has walls decorated with Bollywood performers, street food vendors, and Mumbai commuters. In addition, a photograph of Anthony Bourdain with the Bombay Burger honors the late chef’s journey to India. Visit Bombay Street Food daily for lunch, dinner, and late night eats.
You can’t mention the great flavors of DC without talking about The Original Velatis. This independent candy shop has been making small batch caramels for over 150 years, using only high quality ingredients.
Choose from European-style smooth caramels or traditional American chewy caramels, along with a variety of chocolates, toffees, and other confections. The retail store on Georgia Avenue in Silver Springs has row after decadent row of sweets lining their display cases. Create your own box of truffles, turtles, and chocolates, or pick up a box of their beautifully wrapped sweets to gift. With Valentine’s Day coming up, a short trip over to The Original Velatis to get a present for your sweetie is just what cupid would suggest. And if you have a special occasion coming up, like a wedding or a shower, The Original Velatis makes custom favors and has party buffet packages for a sweet end to any event.
The Keffa province in Ethiopia cultivates huge amounts of coffee today as it has for many centuries. In fact, the word “coffee” is believed to be derived from “Keffa,” as the region is believed to be the original birthplace of java. That’s why Lewi Organic Coffee Farm, the sole provider of beans for Lewi Café, operates in Keffa.
The coffeehouse in Silver Spring is the farm’s first outpost in the US, serving its organic coffee directly from the field to your cup. The high quality of the Ethiopian beans really carries the coffee, so the baristas don’t craft any beverages that are too over-the-top. They mostly dole out cups of drip-brewed coffee and espresso, along with a handful of lattes and chocolate-infused drinks. These coffee-based beverages pair well with the light breakfast, lunch, and dinner fare on the menu, from Belgian waffles to fresh salads and soups.