Style on the Go: Sunday, May 17, 2009

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By Lavanya Ramanathan
Friday, May 15, 2009

Food must taste better served outdoors, from under a tent. Why else would we flock to street fairs to eat funnel cake and meat on a stick, and every "taste of" event to eat curry and guacamole? Today, the taste-athons begin.

-- MoCo residents will find the Taste of Wheaton serving multi-culti fare today. The event features samples from local restaurants, kids' rides and live music. New this year are "flights" hosted by GiraMondo Wine Adventures (for ages 21 and older) that feature three tastes of Latin American, Asian or European fare (vegetarians, you'll definitely find options here), each paired with its own wine-taste. "Top Chef: New York" fave and top-three finalist Carla Hall is cooking up one of the European offerings.

"Tastes" are $1-$5; "flights" are $15. The Taste of Wheaton is 11 a.m.-5 p.m.; flights are served from noon to 3 p.m. only. Grandview Avenue and Reedie Drive, Wheaton. Visit http://www.wheatonmd.org.

-- Back in Ballston today is the annual charity Taste of Arlington bash, with food from such area favorites as Willow, Lebanese Taverna, and Busboys and Poets, as well as a moon bounce and science activities for kids and booths manned by NoVatheater companies. This year the event has a new organizer but will still benefit Community Residences, which helps disabled people live independently. (For more details about this weekend's food festivals, visit the Goingoutguide.com.)

Tastes are one ticket; drinks require up to two tickets. Books of eight tickets are sold on site for $25 till 3 p.m. Noon-5 p.m. today. Wilson Boulevard near Glebe Road, Arlington. Visit http://www.tasteofarlington.com.

-- If you work downtown, you can make your lunch Wednesday a charitable one. Wizards Care hosts the Taste of Eleven lunch at Verizon Center, with $11 lunches for sale to benefit the Capital Area Food Bank. The best part: You dine on the same food you'd usually eat; among the 30-plus participating restaurants are Zaytinya, Zola, the Source and Jaleo. Get there early to get your pick; customers can get up to six items to nosh on.

$11. Wednesday from noon to 2 p.m. 601 F St. NW. Visit http://www.nba.com/wizards/community.

Night Crawler: Omar Popal

We can't be everywhere. So we're enlisting like minds to tell us what they've got on their calendars.

If you've ever been to Adams Morgan hotspot Napoleon Bistro & Lounge, you've likely been greeted by dapper manager Omar Popal, who with his family owns the venue and Georgetown's Cafe Bonaparte. The former Merrill Lynch banker ended up in the restaurant world purely for "emotional reasons," he says. Many of his Afghan relatives reside in Europe now, and Popal and his immediate family felt a desire to do something European-inspired here.


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