Spotlight on the weekend: April 12 to 14

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Entertainment

NEIGHBORHOOD EATS

It came as no surprise to us when we learned Matchbox, which recently celebrated its 10th anniversary, was planting roots in the rapidly developing Mosaic District (2911 District Ave., Fairfax). The region's favorite pizza joint has a knack for finding great locations in happening neighborhoods. Executive chef Jacob Hunter heads up the new edition that features many of our favorite Matchbox dishes, such as the signature 3.6.9 mini burgers and wood-fired pizzas. We'll also see some additions to the menu, including crispy half chicken and an extensive canned beer selection.

The 220-seat restaurant, which officially opens Friday, is open daily at 4 p.m. and will close late to cater to moviegoers at the Angelika Film Center next door.

New Matchbox brings signature dishes, tasty additions to first Virginia location
When Matchbox opened along the 14th Street Corridor in the fall, I was excited -- not only for a new dining option in my vicinity, but for a destination that could be my neighborhood hangout. To me, that community focus is what has made the latest offerings from Matchbox and Ted's Bulletin standout among the many restaurant openings in Washington.

The newest Matchbox to open is in the much-talked-about Mosaic District, close to the Dunn Loring-Merrifield Metro in Fairfax (2911 District Ave.). For me, someone who lives in the city, it often takes a lot to get me to cross the bridge into Virginia, but this new shopping/dining/entertainment complex offers so many great options, it almost makes me a little jealous of the people who live in Falls Church and the area.

Back to the region's favorite pizza joint. Executive chef Jacob Hunter has kept many of Matchbox's signature menu items, such as the 3.6.9 mini burgers (tip: It's not on the menu, but vegetarians can ask to have the black bean veggie patties substituted, and it is delicious) and wood-fired pizzas.

There are also several new additions, including an incredible new bistro entree of crispy Asian short ribs accompanied by kimchi and pickled daikon and carrots, and served over jasmine rice. Also new is one of Hunter's specialties, a crispy half chicken served with bacon-braised collard greens, roasted garlic mashed potatoes and fresno pepper vinegar.

Other unique features that make this Matchbox location special include the draft wine (also at 14th Street) and canned beer (instead of bottled), which the owners chose because they are a more eco-friendly option. I also really appreciate the many different seating options, from a 10-seat bar alongside the pizza brick ovens to secluded tall-back booths, the latter offering a more private, homey feel that makes you want to linger at your table with friends and family for hours.

Just a final tip to close out the meal. The apple crisp is by far the best in town, and I highly recommend foregoing the vanilla ice cream for a scoop of a special flavor being offered right now: salted caramel. (Frozen treats are made locally by the always-delicious Dolcezza, which happens to have a location in the Mosaic District across the street from Matchbox.)

The 220-seat restaurant, which opens Friday, is open daily at 4 p.m. and will close late to cater to moviegoers at the Angelika Theaters next door. It will eventually add weekend brunch to its offerings. And like several of its other locations, there is a "to-go" station for those dining on the go.

For more information, visit matchboxmerrifield.com.

IT'S BOIL SEASON

Acadiana (901 New York Ave. NW) is making use of the warm weather by throwing a Crawfish Boil Throw-down and Kick-off party on its newly revamped patio Friday evening. The festive party will benefit Tipitina's Foundation, which supports Louisiana culture. There will be all-you-can-eat chicken gumbo, spice-boiled crawfish, house-made andouille sausage, corn on the cobb and apple-bourbon pie. If that's not convincing enough, there will be a cherry pie eating contest, a corn on the cob eating contest, and a 1-pound "Crawfish-with-the-Fixin's" eating contest (we're full already just thinking about it). It wouldn't be a Louisiana-themed party without live music by the New Orleans-native band Black Masala and plenty of alcohol fixings such as $3 Southern-inspired cocktails, $3 Abita drafts and more.

The party will kick off at 5:30 p.m. Tickets are $45 per person at the door.

REMEMBERING CAMELOT

It's been almost 50 years since the assassination of President Kennedy, and the Newseum (555 Pennsylvania Ave. NW) has decided to honor the 35th president with two new exhibits and an original documentary film. We're most excited about an exhibit titled "Three Shots Were Fired," with several never-before-seen artifacts from the assassination. The exhibit, which opens to the public Friday, features the long-sleeve shirt that Lee Harvey Oswald was wearing when he was arrested, the wallet he was carrying at the time of his arrest and the blanket he used to hide his rifle. You'll also get to see more than 100 rarely seen artifacts, such as Jacqueline Kennedy's personal schedule at the time, radio logs recorded by the Dallas Police Department on the day of the assassination and a drum used in Kennedy's funeral.

The exhibitions will be on display until January 2014.

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