BBQ season is definitely here. 18th and Swine prepares for the summer’s competitions.  
 
With hand-crafted boutiquey cocktails being all the rage in DC, we’re seeing a growth in the thought put into ice cubes. I even had an embarrassingly nerdy discussion with Derek Brown at Sova about the kind of ice they use and how difficult it is to make the perfect cube at home. The Violet Hour in Chicago takes it a step further – offering 8 types of ice so there is always one that best suits your drink.  

A new book reviews the life of pauper turned “vodka king” Pyotr Smirnov.  
 
Which food and beverage brands are perceived as having the best value? According to a recent Brand Index story, Subway sandwich chains offer consumers the best value for their money. The lowest performers? Red Bull, Starbucks and Perrier. 
 
Tim Carman, writer of Young and Hungry and DC’s resident Gossip Girl, like totally got tipped off to a spotting of Gordon Ramsey hanging out in Georgetown. Rumors are already swirling that he is looking to take over the Citronelle space, though it seems like odd timing as his company is going through some financial challenges. 
 
Everything’s political. The National Restaurant Association wrote President Obama an open letter thanking him for dining out.

Modern Domestic issues a public service announcement on carrots.  
 
Frito-Lay is launching an interesting new campaign in an effort to hitch themselves to the locavore bandwagon.  The company is promoting the 80 farms in 27 state where they source their potatoes. You can find out which farm your chips came from by going to the Lays website and entering your product code and zip code.  
 
The Office’s Rainn Wilson is unimpressed with a restaurant’s decorative choices.  

Planning a big Sunday dinner? Consider a finale with this chevre cheesecake with a  ginger snap crust from Arugula Files. 
 
Cocaine cheese bust at Dulles Airport.  
 
Screen on the Green, one of DC’s best picnic-worthy events, may be cancelled this year due to lost sponsorship

Foodie Tots checks out the new farmers market in Crystal City.  
 
Is the fridge in your office gross? Probably not as bad as this one: 28 people had to go to the hospital when the fumes of rotten food and cleaning chemicals made them vomit. The kicker? The person cleaning the fridge was just fine – she had allergies and couldn’t smell anything.   
 
Chefs share their scar stories
 
Business Week has a slide show of the oldest restaurants in America including DC’s Old Ebbitt Grill and The Occidental.  
 
Restaurant trends are having an impact on the snack market, influencing what consumers want available to them as an at-home snack option.  
 
Are urban chicken coops the next gardening trend in DC?  
 
Here is some food news I’m loathe to report: Inside Edition’s “rat patrol” temporarily shut down two Five Guys locations in the District. An update from the owner calms the situation somewhat.

Ben & Jerry’s launches a new ice cream flavor (chocolate macadamia nut!) and a contest to create the next Ben & Jerry’s flavor.  
 
Elevation Burger expands to Manhattan.   
 
It’s hard to believe but pasta primavera was once so new and so different that it was the talk of the Manhattan dining crowd.