22 June 2017
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Happy Hour at Acadiana: An Urban Oasis (Kinda)

Every day at about 4 PM, a mass exodus begins in Washington. Pencil-pushers surreptitiously slip from their offices as students pocket fake IDs. It’s happy hour!

On a recent dusty afternoon around that time, my fiancé and I sat on Acadiana’s terrace, and – guess what – it was good. I usually think of happy hours as being populated by office cliques electric with undercurrents of sexual tension, but this one was surprisingly calm. A few ladies sipped on white wine and giggled over their appetizer as a young couple nearby quietly flirted while sipping cocktails. We didn’t have to squirm past the token perv perched at the bar to get a Miller.

The happy hour is hardly promoted at all – I had to navigate the Web site pretty thoroughly to get to the specials. The hours are typical (3:30-6:30 PM on Monday through Friday), and the menu’s pretty basic – just five bucks for the house white, house red, or specialty cocktail (a River Tea is one which, with it’s blend of Firefly vodka and lemonade, is so two summers ago), and four beers for just twelve bucks.

But the terrace seals the deal. On the end of K Street, NW (near 9th), the periphery is lined with shrubbery and blooming flowers. There are a few low couches on the far end accompanied by coffee tables (good for four to six people). As I sip my Pimm’s Cup, a few people walk along beyond the verdant edge, enraptured by the lazy afternoon sun. Acadiana’s Pimm’s Cup, by the way, is not actually so – because it features ginger ale rather than lemon-lime soda (Sprite), it deviates from the real recipe. But who has time to nitpick? It’s an effervescent sipper, I’m with my honey, and it’s a beautiful day.

Acadiana is a member of the Passion Food Group (the family of area restaurants that also includes CeibaDC Coast, PassionFish and TenPenh) and has a southern vibe. Chef/owner Jeff Tunks worked in New Orleans and continually seeks to express the culinary finesse found in southern Louisiana. We didn’t eat, but the options looked terrific (the smoked chicken and andouille sausage gumbo, for example, and the Cajun spiced redfish are two examples from what seems to be an authentic, thoughtful menu).

The service was so kind and gentle that I made a reservation – sight unseen, essentially – to take my hard-to-please Mom there for brunch this Sunday. Anyway, head to Acadiana for happy hour if you’re looking for a relaxed, outdoor environment. Savor each moment. With a vibe this good, soon you won’t be able to snag a seat.

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