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Anxo pours on the charm with complex ciders — and finger foods to match

By Maura Judkis | Photos by Deb Lindsey

Sidle up to the bar at Anxo, and it will be hard to resist the beautiful spread of snacks within arm’s reach: pillowy slices of Spanish tortilla, montaditos topped with marinated eggplant and pepper, and anchovies — so many anchovies. If you’ve ever had the fantasy of ordering “One of everything, please,” the Truxton Circle restaurant’s pinxto menu will be your happy place.

That’s because pinxtos (pronounced peen-chos), native to Spain’s Basque region, are smaller than small plates. They’re one- or two-bite dishes, so don’t be afraid to order a bunch of them. They have a perfect partner in the thoughtful, interesting ciders that Anxo (an-cho) goes to great lengths to produce: Reached on a Wednesday afternoon, co-owner Sam Fitz had just returned from foraging about 100 pounds of apples in Accokeek, Md. The restaurant also grows apples in its small yard off Florida Avenue, and Fitz forages from a dozen trees around the District, on homeowners’ property (he gets permission) or in median strips.

We just pressed the first of our D.C. fruit,” he said. “We only got one gallon.”

“Blending is really what’s at the heart of making good cider,” said Fitz, formerly of ChurchKey and Meridian Pint. “We’re going to do as many different fermentations as we can, both at our facilities and others’.”

The ciders are complex: funky, tart, fragrant. Stick your nose in the glass, and you might get notes of cheese, eggs or, in the case of a unique rosé cider made by Snowdrift, perfume. The menu groups them by flavor notes, whether they’re sour or sweet; “Structured” indicates one that is well-balanced. The draft Basque and Asturian ciders are served in bottles so guests can keep refreshing their glasses.

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