A finalist in the 2003 season of Nashville Star, Grammy-winner Miranda Lambert's lively, heartfelt country rock sets toes a-tapping and eardrums abuzz with catchy Southern tunes. Strumming such well-known country songs as "The House That Built Me," and "Heart Like Mine," Lambert's virtuosic singing and guitar playing lends life to touching ballads and high-energy tunes alike, touching even the most curmudgeonly hearts and compelling weeping willows to wave their tendrils with unabashed excitement. Aural oceans wash over listeners in the Frank Gehry–designed Merriweather Post Pavilion, nestled among 40 acres of forest between Washington and Baltimore. Today's deal lets concertgoers relax with a Bud Light on the lawn, where they can watch the show beneath the open sky or whisper movie endings to clusters of furiously immobile grass stalks.
Winner of four dining Awards for 2009 in Howard Magazine, including Best Bar Food and Best Late Night Dining, Victoria Gastro Pub puts a gourmet spin on traditional pub cuisine. Chef Joe Krywucki’s menu draws on fresh, seasonal ingredients—including herbs grown right outside the restaurant—to hit diners with a flavor tornado, providing a mix of comfort and creativity. Begin with the Duck-Fat Fries, which can be served by the bucket, alongside the Roasted Garlic Aioli ($7), or partnered with their duck confit, gruyere cheese, and duck gravy to make poutine ($8 small, $12 large). More substantial fare includes the official sandwich of Flemish royalty, Lobster Grilled Cheese ($16), a duo of beef that pairs braised beef short rib with a petite filet and cheddar potato gratin and broccolini ($19), as well as the "Mushroom & Swiss" Snake River Farms Kobe burger with gruyere cheese and caramelized onions, and served with smoked paprika fries ($13, $15 with truffle cheese).
Carley's Ristorante and Piano Bar quells burning appetites for elegant flavors and family-style eating with an expansive dinner menu of shareables. Anchor incisors into The Meatball, a 12-ounce specialty studded with provolone cheese and three saucy dipping pools ($9.50), or prepare taste buds for scrumptious entrees with a variety of leafy delights, including the tuscan tossed salad with candied walnuts, goat cheese, and dried figs ($8.50+). Grain-grinding molars can chomp on mascarpone lasagna bolognese, built like an earthquake-ready skyscraper with secure layers of mozzarella, ricotta, and provolone cheeses ($13.50+). While soothing tongues with hugs of sophisticated flavors, enjoy live piano performances, including new-artist spotlights, open-mic nights, and group sing-along sessions of classic Beethoven sonatas.
The Irishness of Ceoltas Irish Pub is unmistakable. From the thick accent of owner and Ireland-native Des Conboy to the woodwork designed and built by Irish craftsmen, the pub is proudly steeped in its cultural inspiration. In addition to creating an authentic Irish environment, Ceoltas serves Irish pub staples such as shepherds pie, fish 'n' chips, and pints of Guinness.
The pub complements its old-fashioned look with live music that blares across two stage areas and events on the third-floor open-air bar. Here, chest-high plants surround about a dozen tables. The tables are barrels, though, topped with what resemble the ends of large cable spools. A glossy wood plank caps the cobblestone bar, and speakers line the walls just below the open air above, sending modern hip-hop tunes retro-translated to ancient Celtic over crowds of revelers.
Fiorentino's heirloom Italian menu culls rustic flavors from the Calabrian countryside. Baked lasagna stitches together hot italian sausage, slices of handmade meatballs, fresh basil, and four italian cheeses into a culinary quilt ($12.95), and made-from-scratch spaghetti and meatballs cloaks cravings in a patchwork of rich noodles ($5.95–$9.95). Sample a four seasons pizza with artichoke hearts, mushrooms, sun-dried tomatoes, and spinach ($8.95 for a 10", $13.95 for a 14") or personalize a pie with a bevy of toppings. Fiorentino's light menu, served all day everyday, features paninis, sandwiches, and à la carte pastas with healthy substitutes such as broccoli or whole-grain pastas available to fill in for full-flavored pasta, risotto, or potatoes on extended vacations ($1 extra). Kid-friendly staples such as cheese ravioli ($4.95) appease baby teeth as parents play tug-of-war with the house-cut filet mignon ($22.95).