Taste of DC is an annual event in DC that brings together community, restaurants, food trucks, musical acts, other vendors and food demos together to benefit a local charity, this year, the Capital Area Food Bank. The two day festival was held October 11th- October 12th, 2014. I attended on October 12th. Taste of DC featured over 40 restaurants, over 50 types of beer and over 50 types of wine were available for sampling. There was also live music, cooking demonstrations, and raffles. A separate ticketed event within Taste of DC, Heritage BBQ Cochon 555 was also going on. Five local superstar chefs created their version of a globally influenced menu featuring whole heritage breed pigs. Each made six dishes. Competing chefs: Scott Drewno (the Source by Wolfgang Puck), Erik Brunner-Yang (Maketto), Kyle Bailey (Birch & Barley), Joe Palma (Bourbon Steak), George Pagonis (Kapnos). Ten other chefs also prepared BBQ items. I’m sure that this was an amazing experience.
The event was heavily attended, packed with people who appeared to be enjoying themselves. I think in order to have a good time at this event, you need to come hungry, be prepared for a large crowd, wear comfy shoes as the festival stretches over five blocks, and come with cash to score some small plates, and beer and wine samples. Beverage tickets are $1 each (there is a special deal if you preorder online to save some money on beverage tickets). The samples for food mostly range anywhere from $3-9. Yes, for some items this seems steep. However, it is cheaper than an entrée, and allows you try a variety of items. I brought my husband with me to help me taste test some of the offerings. Part of how we decided which dishes to try depended on how quickly lines were moving. I had a great time at the festival and enjoyed trying so many delicious and different foods in one place.
We started out on Restaurant Row:
Macon Bistro & Larder:
Biscuit with pepper jelly and ham: The flavors were on point, and the biscuit was perfectly buttery and flaky, but I would have liked it better if it was warm.
Burnt Ends with watermelon salad: Smoked brisket ends with honey- chipotle bbq sauce, watermelon, and greens was a really great symphony of sweet and salty and texturally balanced, with soft meat and crunchy watermelon. I had to beg for a bite of this because my husband loved it so much.
Deviled Egg. The deviled egg topped with bacon, scallion, and roasted red pepper. It was good, but it suffered a bit from having been sitting for a few moments (the bacon got a little mushy).
This miniature lobster roll broke my heart when it was all gone. The roll was really great bread, with a generous buttering. The lobster was fresh, sweet and perfectly cooked.
Pete’s New Haven Style Pizza
Neither my husband nor I had ever had New Haven Style Pizza before, and did not know what to expect.
We got a mini slice of sausage, meatball, and prosciutto pizza. The crust was thin and crispy. I’m normally in the deep dish camp, but I loved this. The toppings and sauce were very good as well.
I have to recommend Dolce Sweets for giving bites (a literal bite) away for free, as they were the only restaurant doing that. I very much enjoyed their tres leches cake and rice pudding. Both were perfectly balanced and not too sweet. (Not pictured)
My husband loves donuts, and therefore waited in a line that took half an hour for him to score us some donuts. We tried the vanilla bean and the brown butter donuts. They were incredibly good, the dough light and airy, and the glaze was sweet but not cloying. They were excellent, and I would stand in line to eat them again.
This was one of my favorite things all day. For $3.00, I got a Ssam, a spicy pork lettuce wrap. The meat was tender, spicy, and delicious, and a fantastic deal.
South Meets East
This food truck makes really fabulous and fresh soft tacos and burritos. You can get Southwestern style, Bahn Mi, or Bacon Tomato and Avocado taco. All of them are fresh and very good, but my heart belongs to the Bahn Mi taco. Tender pork is slathered in pickled vegetables and it is a beautiful thing.
I polled a few people about what they were eating and what they liked the best. A young lady and her friend said they loved the empanadas from Borinquen. I tried a chicken empanada. The dough was soft and flaky, with chicken tender on the inside. Another good value at only $3.00
I loved this food truck, which is actually a bus. Customers come aboard the parked bus), overhead lighting and upbeat music give it a kid friendly club feel. At the back of the bus, you order your snow cream and toppings. I got a mango snowcream with mango on top, and a Thai tea snowcream topped with mochi. The end result was a flavorful shaved ice/flavor/ and condensed milk treat with toppings on it. The snowcream is really delicate in your mouth, light and delicious.