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The new New Year’s resolutions: Dry January, Cook90 and Unplugged Diet

Plus, Chef Geoff Tracy wins his happy hour battle, and more restaurant news.


Mocktails, zero-proof, no-ABV, soft cocktails … We haven’t come up with a great term for interesting drinks lacking alcohol, but that hasn’t slowed its growth.

Dry January, the practice of giving up alcohol for the month, has caught on, and the industry is listening. (Even if some in the booze business aren’t thrilled.) Coca-Cola launched a new line, Bar None, with four fizzy bottled drinks: Ginger Mule, Sparkling Sangria, Dry Cider and Bellini Spritz (available in Atlanta, and online.)

With all of that sober time—also, please read McSweeny’s “Your Dry January is Obliterating Our Parent Friend Group“—it makes sense to stay in and cook. At least that’s how David Tamarkin thinks we should start the year. The editor of Epicurious (a recipe clearinghouse for Bon Appetit and Gourmet) started Cook90 with the idea of cooking three meals a day, every day, for a full month. The pattern of prepping all those breakfasts, lunches and dinners, the theory goes, will make us better in the kitchen, more conscious of what we’re eating and save us money, too. There’s even a corresponding cookbook.

Forming positive habits is what these kick-starters are for, and is there a harder one to start than pulling away from social media? Derek Brown, an award-winning spirits professional with a slate of bars in DC, wrote about his 2019 diet: no Facebook, Instagram or Twitter for a month. Keeping up with food and drink trends is how he rationalized the hours spent scrolling through perfectly messy tablescapes.

“By posting food and drink pictures, we’ve become graceless sheep with hungry cameras,” writes Brown. “The constant interruptions at meals, the obsession with style over substance, the repetitive posts that are more mimicry than meaning: All speak less to creativity than a charmless pastiche of our worst behaviors.”

And so he put his phone down. He thought about food less; he ate less food. Maybe it’s okay to step away from the endlessly churning machine of food and drink trends. The black sesame and ube soft serve from Smash’d Creamery will just have to wait.

News, events, etc. 

The crusade to allow Virginia bars and restaurants to promote happy hour pricing, led by Geoff Tracy, better known as Chef Geoff, is in its final push to victory. Both state houses passed bills that would now let consumers know about special drink prices and discounts. [WTOP]

Alexandria considers a proposal, sponsored by Vola’s Dockside Grill, for a food and crafts market in front of the Torpedo Factory Art Center. [Alexandria Living]

Sloppy Mama’s will open a barbecue restaurant in Arlington this April. [Eater]

Wild Wood, a craft pizza restaurant by Curtis Alfred (Balls of Glory), will open in Village of Leesburg. [The Burn]

Loudoun County continues its domination of the beer scene with the spring opening of Wheatland Spring Farm + Brewery. [Loudoun Times-Mirror]

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