The Velveteers
Canada Gordon has always had a crush on cupcakes, and Ceiba‘s original pastry chef, David Guas, shares a similar affinity for the dainty desserts. They’ve opened Red Velvet, a lovely little place to spend a date and grab a sugar high. Try the Morning Call, a chocolate espresso cake with mocha butter cream. Devil’s food-chocolate buttermilk cake with bittersweet chocolate ganache is sinfully satisfying; the Peanut Butter Cup, a chocolate chocolate-chip cake dolloped with salted peanut butter frosting is a textural marvel of sweet and salty. And the Southern Belle is the, well, belle of the ball: A red velvet cake with whipped cream cheese frosting; it’s simple, elegant and too scrumptious for words.
» 675 E St. NW; 202-347-7895.

Bivalves 101
On Feb. 7, get a crash course in the many kinds of oysters one can find at restaurants on the contiguous 48. BlackSalt is providing educational pairings of tastings of the slippery little suckers harvested locally in Virginia, as well as selections from up and down the Atlantic Coast and the Pacific Northwest.

Classes include a three-station oyster tasting and lessons on how to prepare them. In addition, a specially chosen drink tasting accompanies each station, and there’s a faculty of oyster professionals who will discuss the myriad mysteries of mollusks. For $45, this is one school with a guaranteed — and immediate — payoff.
» 4883 MacArthur Blvd. NW; 202-342-9101.

Super (Bowl) Eating
If your party happens to not center on QB’ing in the kitchen, here are some ideas for eating well for the big game. HomeMade Pizza Company‘s pies use all-natural ingredients and high-quality produce. (Oprah featured it on her show!) HomeMade partners with local cooperatives and specialty purveyors to purchase its high-quality produce, meats and cheeses. Try the whole roster: wild mushroom with fontinella and fresh thyme; Savory Pie is inspired by the flavors of Provence (chevre and kalamatas); the Miesian is a margherita with style; and for sports fans, the BBQ Chicken is a succulent flatbread topped with grilled chicken tossed in barbecue sauce, paired with red onion and garnished with fresh cilantro. Score. Entrees range from $5.95 to $17.95.
» 4857 Massachusetts Ave. NW; 202-966-1600.

Written by Express contributor Christopher Correa
Photo courtesy Helen Hausman Photography