WASHINGTON -- Belgian expats, diplomats and foodie fans who may or may not have thought they were eating French cuisine all this time, will unite in July to celebrate the small but spunky nation's independence with a week of food, drink and merriment.

In collaboration with the Belgian embassy, Belgian restaurant week will begin at the National Zoo, with a July 12 Brew at the Zoo event at the National Zoo. Over the following days, local eateries will showcase Belgian specialities like frites, waffles and plenty of beer, while poking fun at the French with an "anti-Bastille Day" bash. The week will culminate in a "Mussel Show Down" of local chefs at Yards Park near the Navy Yard.

What's on tap? Peruse these listings, as sent to us by event organizers.

Thursday, July 12th – A Taste of Things to Come- Brew at the Zoo VIP event Party like an animal at the annual kick-off to Belgian Restaurant Week with a selection of specialty Belgian beers to enjoy in the VIP tent.

Saturday, July 14th– Frog Legs & Beer Leaps us into the Celebration- Anti-Bastille Day
The Belgians forgot their French heritage long ago, so why not the rest of us—enjoy spoof-on specials —Frog Legs & Beer and keep the celebration Belgian!

Sunday, July 15th – Waffle & Genever Brunch
Feast on Larger-than-Life Waffles at a traditional Flemish brunch and toast in style with Belgian’s 500 year old national spirit. Who needs whiskey?

Monday, July 16th – “Chefs Go Fresh” Ride & the Launch of “Tour of Belgium” Global Beer Dinners
Hop on or over as chefs from across the city rev up their bikes and head to local farms and purveyors all day. [Sponsored by the Georgetowner newspaper] The night ends with ‘Belgian Beer to the finish!’ as the “Tour of Belgium” Global Beer Dinners fuel up for the week ahead. Flemish beers from the different regions— Antwerp, Brugge, Gent and Kortrijk will be presented on varied nights at the participating restaurants.

Tuesday, July 17th – Mussels from Brussels
All day long stop into any Belgian Restaurant Week participating eatery and enjoy Half-Priced Mussels & Beer specials of Belgium’s favorite casual fare pair.

Wednesday, July 18th – Chimay 150th Anniversary “Drink your Beer; Steal your Glass!”
In honor of the Trappist beer’s 150th anniversary, help us raise a collector glass to Chimay, then take it home with you—consider it your party favor.

Thursday, July 19th – Belgian Artist Exhibit
After tasting the artistry in some of our famous D.C Flemish kitchens all week long, feed your mind and soul at the Belgian Artist Exhibit at the Morton Fine Art Building in downtown Washington, DC.

Friday, July 20th – The White Party
A typical initiation to the summer, dress in your post-Memorial Day best – in all White— and fill your glass with the finest White Beers the country has to offer.

Saturday, July 21st – The Annual Mussel Throw-Down Presented by Stella Artois
Who will win the crowd and the judges as the best chefs in Washington, DC compete in the highly anticipated Mussel Throw Down at Capital Yards Park, presented by Stella Artois. Attendees can snack on mussels, frites, beer, and ice cream on this 182nd Anniversary of Belgium’s Independence.

Restaurants planning to participate include in Belgium Restaurant Week include Belga Café, Brabo, Brasserie Beck, Et Voila!, Granville Moore’s, Locolat, Le Pain Quotidien, Marcel’s, Marvin and Mussel Bar.

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