thirsty-bernie-exterior<<EDIT, 12/8 @ 3:30 PM:  On Friday, several sources reported that Chef Jamie Stachowski’s with Thirsty Bernie was not renewed when it expired on November 30th.  Even more disturbing, Washingtonian’s Best Bites blog quotes Stachowski as saying that owner Steve Sadeghian is planning to focus on “convenience cooking” and will be buying much of his food pre-made. 

Sounds like the things that made Thirsty Bernie stand out among sports bars is now gone, so please do not consider this review reflective of the current restaurant when deciding whether or not to visit.>>

Sports bar.  Strip mall.  Northern Virginia.  Sounds awesome, right?  Generally speaking, this is not a combination that screams “destination dining.”  But if you haven’t heard by now, Thirsty Bernie is no run-of-the-mill sports bar.  It’s a showcase for a chef who made a name for himself downtown and who now has carte blanche to indulge his creativity in an unlikely venue.

I never did make it to Restaurant Kolumbia, so I can’t wax rhapsodic about the way Chef Jamie Stachowski used to impress upscale diners with his charcuterie and his novel takes on classics.  Having experienced Thirsty Bernie with my father recently, however, I can definitely see what everyone is talking about. 

This is a place that takes meat, beer and sports seriously.  And since there are very few places that simultaneously do all three well, it warrants a visit from even the most NoVAphobic Washingtonian.

So what the heck is a ‘weck?  Find out after the jump. (more…)

Ted Allen (of Queer Eye, Iron Chef, or Top Chef fame, depending on your point of view)
CakeLove’s Warren Brown
Wine writer Paul Lukacs
Baltimore’s scenic Inner Harbor

Generally speaking, any three of these would be enough to convince me to drive up to Baltimore, but the Chefs and Wine Experience taking place this Sunday is nice enough to offer all of the above in one neat little package.

If you aren’t Experienced yet, don’t feel bad.  This is only the event’s second year, and they have grown considerably.  This year the Chefs and Wine Experience will feature nineteen cooking demonstrations on four stages from 12:15 to 4:45 PM, and their lineup boasts local chefs, authors and wine experts from DC and Baltimore.  To sweeten the deal even further, there is a Grand Tasting Event from 4:30 to 6 PM featuring over 150 wines and spirits and signature dishes from local restaurants.

Tickets are still available and the cost of the day is a very reasonable $55, but DC Foodies is helping you out even further.  They will randomly select two winners to each receive a free pair of tickets to the Experience on Friday.  Anyone who submits a comment to their post before 11:59 PM on Thursday will be eligible to win, so head over there now and give it a shot!

And if you do decide to head up to Baltimore on Sunday, keep an eye out for me – I’ll be the guy running up and down the aisles of exhibitors like a kid in a candy store…or a cheese shop…or a wine bar…