Monthly Archives: October 2010

SLOW FOOD DC AND POSTE BRASSERIE HOST ANIMAL ROAST WITH AREA CHEFS

Slow Food DC to Launch “Snail of Approval” Program Identifying Local Establishments That Exemplify the Slow Food Mission

WHAT: Slow Food DC will host an animal roast at Poste Moderne Brasserie featuring a variety of roasted meats provided by Eco-Friendly Foods, and prepared by area chefs. At the courtyard event, the organization will announce their “Slow Food DC Snail of Approval” program, which identifies local establishments that exemplify the Slow Food mission: good, clean, and fair food.

At the kick-off event, guests will enjoy samples of assorted roasts provided by Eco-Friendly Foods.  As well as specialty desserts and cocktails.  The menu will feature:

  • Roasted Pig prepared by Chef Robert Weland of Poste Brasserie
  • Roasted Goat prepared by Chef Barry Koslow of Tallula and EatBar
  • Roasted Lamb prepared by Chef Drew Trautmann
  • Cocktails prepared by Mixtress Gina Chersevani of PS 7’s
  • Desserts prepared by Pastry Chef Alison Reed of Cafe Saint-Ex

The $25 ticket price (in advance, $30 at the door – cash only) entitles guests to a tasting of each roast and dessert, along with two drink tickets for wine, beer or cocktails.  Additional drink tickets will be available for purchase for $5, and all proceeds will go to the Snail of Approval program and the DC Farm to School Network. Advance tickets are available at http://www.mycommunitytickets.com/organization_info.asp?orgid=1260

Nominations for the Snail of Approval can be made by members and supporters of the Slow Food movement using a simple form on Slow Food DC’s website www.slowfooddc.org.  A panel comprised of chefs, culinary professionals and industry representatives will judge the award submissions.  Slow Food DC will award the first round of Snail of Approval stickers in 2011.

The DC Slow Food Snail of Approvals aims to:

  • Recognize and celebrate eateries and artisans that serve and provide good, clean and fair food to our community.
  • Spread awareness of the Slow Food philosophy and the establishments that support it.

WHO:

  • Slow Food DC
  • Chefs Rob Weland, Barry Koslow, Drew Trautmann and Alison Reed. Mixtress Gina Chersevani
  • Eco-Friendly Foods

WHEN: Wednesday, November 3, 2010, 5:30 – 8:30 p.m.

WHERE: Poste Moderne Brasserie’s Courtyard

555 8th Street, NW, Washington, DC 20004

ABOUT SNAIL OF APPROVAL

The Snail of Approval is Slow Food DC’s way of recognizing the food-related providers that are making significant contributions to the transformation of our food system to one that is good, clean and fair. In order to help guide DC patrons and visitors to food that is good, clean and fair, Slow Food DC will award the Snail of Approval to those artisans and eateries who contribute to the quality, authenticity and sustainability of the food we eat and the beverages we drink in the City of Washington, DC and surrounding areas.

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Recap: Happy Hour at Radius Pizza

A fun time was had at Radius Pizza! Had a nice size group join us for a great happy hour. Chef Wiss had several specials for us including arancini, house made Italian sausage, as well as half price wines. We also shared some great seasonal pumpkin ravioli and fall pizza. Radius proves that local and seasonal can be done affordably, casually and great!

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Recap: Roseda Beef hay ride farm tour and dinner

It was a gorgeous breezy fall afternoon the day of the tour.  Mike Brannon, Director of Beef Operations at Roseda Beef, led us on a hay ride tour of the farm in the beautiful Hunt Valley, Md countryside.

He explained to us how they raise and produce the quality beef they sell and how they do it sustainably and humanely. They truly work to do what’s best for the land and for the cattle.

Next was a great barn dinner, with beef cooked in the ground, many great sides, desserts and drinks. Finally we sat by a bonfire making smores to end the night. An awesome and educational day!

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US Delegation – Forth report from Terra Madre

If Thursday’s events were wearying, Friday’s were discouraging. The panel called “Food Policies 5—Laws, Rights and Policies” presented a sound philosophical and legal argument on the right to food and set the lofty goals of guaranteeing everyone access to healthful, fair, and sustainably produced food. But the comments from the audience made clear that the reality of the economic strength and political influence of agro-business stands in the way of small producers when it comes to land use, access to water, and food safety regulations. Moreover, in some cases agro-business is threatening traditional and/or small producers. Panel members were drafting a section of the Terra Madre report that will be presented to political leaders around the world. But many of us in the audience felt that they were ignoring realities on the ground.

So events at the meeting of the US delegation the following day came as a unexpected and most welcome surprise. Indeed, the meeting was both energizing and inspiring. I came away very excited with what Slow Food USA might achieve and some of the strategies we can use. There are many opportunities here for Slow Food DC to engage in important activities and expand membership.

Josh Viertel, President of Slow Food USA, is a dynamic leader, a skilled cheerleader, and a masterful meeting planner. (I’m giving him credit for the structure and content of the meeting.)

First, Josh had Alice Waters say a few words. Alice said that to put pressure on Congress and to show the American people the importance of farms, farmers, and locally produced food she wants to bring 10,000 farmers to Washington, DC, to plant gardens on the Mall in 2011. Alice showed a photo of a demonstration in Paris in which farmers closed down the Champs Elysée and filled it with gardens.

Next Josh spoke. He started out echoing the need to make real food a universal right. But instead of acknowledging the difficulty of achieving that goal in the face of agro-business, Josh called for a political movement to influence the farm bill that will be redrafted in 2012 and 2017. “We need to do more than vote with our forks.” he said. Invoking Ghandi, Josh continued, “We need to bring love and power together.” We need to fight back.

Josh then told the story of the delegation from Burkina Faso to the 2008 Terra Madre who were at the airport waiting for the bus to Turin. Since one person in the delegation spoke English, Josh was asked to tell them the bus would leave in one half hour. The people from Burkina Faso had traveled for four days already and Josh felt bad about their having to wait. But the bus could not leave at the appointed time. So Josh again told them it would be another half hour wait. After two and a half hour delay, Josh again had to tell the people from Burkina Faso the bus was delayed another half hour. Before Josh could open his mouth, the person in the delegation who spoke English said, “Stop! . . . They have the watches. We have the time!”

Josh made that a rallying cry for the meeting asking the audience several time to respond to his “They have the watches!” with “We have the time.” The effect on the audience was electrifying.

Next Josh had ten delegates who were advancing the cause of Slow Food tell their stories. Here are eight:
Andy Nowak [I’m not sure I’m spelling the names correctly] from Denver told of how his group started schools on planting gardens. There are now more than 35 schools in Denver with gardens and the schools are also buying from local farmers to supplement their needs. Andy’s group also taught school cafeteria workers how to cook from scratch because many did not know how to prepare fresh food. Denise O’Brien from Iowa created the Women, Food, and Agriculture network to mentor and support women who want to become farmers. Erin Swensen Clott, a student at Oberlin College vitalized her campus Slow Food chapter. She said young people are concerned about what they eat and about Slow Food ideas. Rag Patel from San Francisco told of how his group has set the goal of making Ronald MacDonald retire. His group is borrowing tactics from the Black Panthers who greatly advanced social justice in Oakland by making the provision of breakfast in schools a key activity. Clayton Brackcupe, a Native American from New Mexico is revitalizing his community by teaching people how to farm. Another person was a “fixer of grocery stores”. He teaches people who run or want to run grocery stores in poor neighborhoods (were there tend to be few places to buy healthful food) how to best serve patrons’ needs for nutritional and tasty food. He visits grocers around the world and brings their best practices back to the US. Wood Tasch has started a program called Slow Money. He is working to get one million investors to put one percent of their money into local food projects. Sam Levin, age 17, started and organic garden four years ago. Now it is four times the size. He feeds a school and sells produce in his neighborhood. Sam wants his generation to reunite mankind with the earth. Then Sam invoked the image of the snail which, he said, works slowly, but very hard. We need to work like snails. He echoed Alice Waters’ call to bring 10,000 farmers to Washington, DC.

With each story the crowd was getting more energized.

Next, Carlo Petrini, founder of Slow Food, spoke. His style was very calm; his approach, mostly intellectual. He even commented on how energetic Josh was, getting the audience to respond, to stand up, and to cheer. Italians, Petrini said, would not understand such a presentation. They would find it very strange. “But,” Petrini went on, “the world must love the USA, because the US [will/must] lead change in food systems.” And sharing information about how this is done is a good kind of globalization. To support the US in taking the lead, Petrini wants to have a Slow Food international congress in the US in 2011, and he asked us for support. He also would like the Slow Food USA to organized a Salone del Gusto of its own, bringing together the producers of the best foods, wines, and spirits the US has to offer.

Petrini urged us to make people hear our voices. “Politicians,” he said, “will have to listen to the snail.” He concluded by saying that “We need a little power, some intelligence, and a lot of taste.” “The great transformation has to start in the US.”

Finally, he asked that each US chapter support one garden in Africa.

Next Josh took the microphone and disagreed with Petrini (as did I). Josh said we need a LOT of power, intelligence, and taste. And we are going to mobilize to influence Congress. He then led a cheer, shouting “They have the watches…” and the delegates responded enthusiastically “and we have the time.”

The snails are on the march!

The following day I ran into Alice Waters when I was having lunch at Eataly. When I told her I was from Washington, DC, she said, “I’m bringing 10,000 farmers to Washington on the third weekend in October 2011. We need to find people who can help and who can put a farmer up in their homes.” I volunteered to do so.

The meeting of the US delegation greatly energized me and got me thinking about all the things the DC chapter might do. I don’t know if we have the resources, but here are some things we should consider:

  • To what extent can we support Alice’s demonstration?
  • To what extent can we support Slow Food USA’s lobbying effort on the farm bill?
  • To what extent could we support a Slow Food world congress?
  • Recruiting college (and maybe high school) students to Slow Food. Giving them support for planting gardens and getting their food services to use locally produced food.
  • Expanding efforts with school gardens. Do cafeteria workers need to be taught how to cook from scratch?
  • Coordinate efforts to build the infrastructure need to make locally produced food a reasonable option for restaurants, large institutions, and consumers. This probably would entail working with other groups such as Farmland USA, CASA/Local Harvest, leaders of farmers markets, USDA, state and local agricultural and health departments, etc. It would also entail assessing the state of the current infrastructure to identify where development would be most useful.

As you can see I did not have time to focus on good eating since Wednesday. And the food I did eat was good (except for one bad meal), but not great. More importantly, I have become very excited about the prospects for reshaping food systems in the US, even if it takes 60 to 100 years.

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Friday – Third report from Terra Madre

Report number 3 from Stanley Feder:

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On Friday I went to a session called “Food Policies—Laws, Rights, and Policies.” The purpose of this session was to discuss the themes of a chapter with the same title that will be part of the Terra Madre report to world, national, and local leaders. I had them impression those leaders would mostly have positions in government or international organizations.

The foundation of the argument that was made was that the development of sustainable food policies must be rooted in the right to food. The right to food entails regular access to food (no one should go hungry), the quality and quantity of the food must be adequate to meet people’s needs, and cultural norms must be respected (e.g., don’t make beef available to Hindus).

Prerequisites for creating such a system are: land reform, access to water, rights and adequate pay for farm workers, the safeguarding of traditional knowledge about food production, and sustainability.

During the Q & A people talked about how difficult it was to get water if you don’t have water rights, or how the Bureau of Land Management has let large corporations despoil good grazing land, or how small farmers feel they don’t have a chance influencing Washington.

When I got a turn to speak I thanked the panel for their good work, because I believe it is necessary to articulate principles. It gives Slow Food moral and intellectual authority. I also said that I was frustrated with what I was hearing from the panel and the audience because moral authority was not enough. Moral authority has little persuasive power in Washington, Paris, or Moscow when going up against the money and “research” with which large corporations arm their lobbyists. I said I believed Slow Food needed to take political action as well. And if tax laws prevent Slow Food [which I believe is a 501(c)3 organization] from lobbying, then a new organization needs to be created. This was the first statement during this session (and we were well into the session) that received applause. After the session and during lunch I overheard a number of people talking about how regulations and laws work against small or organic or traditional producers.

I was feeling frustrated and discouraged going into the meeting of the US delegates the next day.

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Ore – Second report from Terra Madre

Report number 2 from Stanley Feder:

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Ore. It means “hours” in Italian, and it summarizes my experience of my first day at Terra Madre. Many hours of that day, Thursday, was spent waiting in line.

Early in the morning I went to the Palasport Olympico Isozaki, a huge arena built for the Turin winter Olympics, to register for Terra Madre.

The line there was not so bad. There where hundreds of people from all over the world, many in their national costumes.

After about 20 minutes on line I was able to register and get my badge. Next I wanted to get to the Salone del Gusto, a huge food fair that is run in conjunction with Terra Madre. There were at least 1000 producers of food and wine exhibiting at the Salone. But there were also special lectures, tastings, and dinners that I wanted to sign up for.

From the Palasport Olympico Isozaki I hurried to Lingotto, another former Olympic venue, where the Terra Madre meetings and the Salone were being held. The line for people who had not pre-registered for special events, such as me, had only about 20 people on it. After 15 minutes I discovered that it was moving at a snail’s pace. (Slow Food, yes: slow lines, no!) After two hours I finally got a chance to buy tickets. My first choice event, a special session on salumi (Italian fresh and cured pork products) was sold out. Instead I was able to get into a session on tequila production. I also got tickets for a lecture on two theories of chocolate and a dinner on the last day of Terra Madre for which six famous chefs would turn leftovers from the exhibits into a grand repast.

But, by the time I got my tickets it was 2:25 pm. The official opening of Terra Madre was scheduled for 2:30 at Isozaki, about 1.5 miles away. And, I had had anything to eat or drink since 7 that morning.

While I was on line I made friends with the person ahead of me, a chef from Barcelona. We grabbed a quick snack at the “Street Food” exhibit and jumped in a taxi. The driver was skilled; his catering to our urgency was exhilaratingly scary. He sped down alleys and narrow streets. But he got us to Isozaki by 2:35. We rushed inside, grabbed headphones for the translations, and found seats in the hugh arena.

Carlo Petrini, the head of Slow Food, welcomed everyone. He emphasized that one purpose of the meeting was to strengthen an international network of food and to work to provide everyone with adequate supplies of food that were natural, sustainably produced, and fairly priced. A second theme of this Terra Madre was to draw attention to the plight of indigenous peoples and threats to their traditional ways of life. To emphasize this, the program included presentations from leaders of indigenous peoples who are trying to maintain centuries-old traditions in Africa, Latin America, Asia, the South Pacific, and Europe. Each of them spoke in his native language. We also heard lengthy welcomes from the Mayor of Turin and the President of Piemonte. Heads of delegations from each country marched in, one continent at a time, in carrying their countries’ flags. A troop of men from Macedonia, accompanied by a drummer and a player of something similar to an oboe, did a slow and lengthy dance to welcome the harvest. A chorus of 300 children who came from around the world sang one song for each continent represented. There was much pageantry and an emphasis on both the need to share ideas globally and safeguard the traditions of threatened cultures.

After two and a half hours of sitting in very hard seats I had to leave. I was very hungry and thirsty. Mayela, the chef from Barcelona, and I took a bus back to Lingotto and grabbed a quick bite and a beer at the “Street Food” exhibit.
We then went to look for friends. Mayela was supposed to meet with the rest of the Spanish delegation and I was to meet with Genis Noguera, with whom I worked in 2007 and last March at his family’s charcuterie in Catalunya, who was also part of the Spanish delegation. Genis and I had a few glasses of wine at the enoteca which offered 1870 selections. By 9pm it felt to me as if I had spent a very long day, with a lot of waiting, and not enough to eat or drink.

The Spaniards all wanted to go out to dinner. Being too tired, I said good night to them and walked across the very long foot bridge that spanned both a highway and a rail yard,

under the monumental “oval”, back to my hotel. I went to sleep looking forward to Friday, when the substantive part of the meeting would start.

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Crudo – First report from Terra Madre

First report in from Terra Madre by Slow Food DC member Stanley Feder of Simply Sausage!

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When I visit Europe I like to find local sausage makers. After a nearly sleepless flight to Frankfort, I arrived in Turin yesterday around 11am. I registered at my hotel and set out to find Silvano Pistis, a butcher in a covered market on the north side of Turin whom Slow Food Piemonte has praised. I walked about two miles on the south side of Turin before I discovered that I was in the wrong (but architecturally attractive) covered market. Google Maps on my iPhone had led me astray.  I finally broke down and asked the merchant who had the store where Silvano’s shop was supposed to be. A long bus ride and a short walk later I found Silvano and his wife at their shop in the covered market on Corso Racconigi.

Silvano specializes in meat from Piemonte cattle, Sambucano lamb, and other heritage breeds. He gets his meat from farmers in nearby regions who will raise their animals naturally and according to his specifications. His meats looked beautiful and smelled delicious. When I told Silvano this he asked if I wanted to taste some. He picked up a large a large piece of top round and cut me a thin slice. “Do you want it with salt and olive oil?.” “Just a little salt,” I said. “And no oil.” I wanted to taste the meat, not the oil. The flavor and texture of the raw meat was wonderful.

Next we talked about his freshly made sausages. Both were unlinked long ropes. When he sold it, he just measured out the length the customer wanted and tore it off, no knife used. Silvano had two kinds. The first was a mixture of veal and pork seasoned with salt, pepper, and garlic, with ascorbate added (as a preservative). The other was just veal with salt and pepper, a veal version of the pork butifarra that I make. Again he asked me if I wanted a taste. This time he cut off a small piece of the veal sausage and gave it to me. It was veal tartar with in a casing, and absolutely delicious.

Finally just before I said goodbye, I asked what restaurants used his meats because I wanted to taste more. Silvano recommended Ristorante Monferrato (Via Monferrato, 6). In the evening when I arrived at Ristorante Monferrato it was “completo”, fully booked. They did, however, recommend a restaurant down the street. While I waited for the Ristorante Salsamentario (Monferatto, 14) to open, I killed time with a glass of nebbiolo at the Antica Enoteca nearby. When Salsamentario opened I was pleasantly surprised to find that many of its ingredients came from Slow Food-approved farmers.

Salsamentario, apparently like many other restaurants in Turin, featured “crudo”, raw beef and veal. I started my meal with a plate of crudo.

There was thinly sliced veal (on left), nuggets of beef filet on the right, and a small cylander of filet tartar (to the right of the lemon). These were topped with white truffle, shaved at the table. (And weighed before and after the shaving on a digital scale. You paid for exactly what you got.) The very enthusiastic server advised me not to use any olive oil or lemon. The verdict: Molto molto bene! If raw Piemonte beef is delicious, it’s even better with white truffles! I followed this with a plate of oricchetti with broccoli and sardines. Dessert was a Piemonte specialty, a dense mousse of hazelnuts and chocolate.

So on my first day in Turin I had seen much of Turin outside the old city. I had walked about four miles. I had met some interesting people. And I had eaten very well. Not a bad prelude to Terra Madre and il Salone del Gusto.

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Slow Food DC Happy Hour at Radius Pizza

Thursday, October 28 · 6:00pm – 8:00pm

Radius Pizza
3155 Mount Pleasant Street, NW
Washington, DC

Join us for our October happy hour at Radius Pizza! Chef Wiss strives to bring local and seasonal dishes to the plate in a casual and accessible setting. If you have never been now would be a great time to check out this Mt Pleasant eatery. There will be some food and drink specials just for us and there are always vegetarian friendly plates available. Please come by, no registration is necessary!

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Slow U: The Amazing Norton Grape with Todd Kliman

Thu, Nov 4, 6:30-9 p.m. Pyramid Atlantic, 8230 Georgia Avenue, Silver Spring (phone: 301 608 9101, Metro accessible)

Join Slow Food University as we welcome Todd Kliman, noted author, and food and wine editor of The Washingtonian magazine. Todd will read from his recent book, The Wild Vine, the riveting story of the Norton grape, considered by many to be the only indigenous American grape capable of producing great wines. This is your chance to learn about this truly native and local grape, and help restore the robust, distinctive wines it creates to their rightful place on the country’s tables. In addition to a book-signing, Todd will also lead us through a tasting of Norton wines from Missouri and Virginia. These red wines go especially well with the following kinds of dishes, so for the potluck, bring something inspired by the list so that we can have a food pairing.

This event is free, but space is limited and an RSVP is required: send an e-mail with names of attendees to rsvpsuri_at_slowfooddc.org (replace _at_ with @). Attendees must be 21 years of age or older.

POTLUCK FOOD PAIRING

We welcome dishes inspired in particular from the following list of dishes and flavors (which incorporates suggestions by Todd Kliman). “Finger food” appetizers would be the most appropriate. Please bring something that can be served at room temperature. We will be serving wine in “tasting” quantities – feel free to bring along a bottle of Norton wine to share if you have a favorite.

In general, Norton wines go with food that has “big” flavors. Some examples:

Sausage
Meatballs
Sliders (Sloppy Joe sauce optional)
Barbecue
Spanish flavors like romesco sauce, ham
Venison, duck, game
Grilled wild mushrooms
Balsamic sauce
Mexican Mole’
Moroccan food

Flatbreads incorporating some of these flavors would be particularly easy to serve as finger food.

We wish to thank our sponsors, Stone Hill Winery, MO, Chrysalis Vineyards, VA and Rappahannock Cellars, VA for their generous contributions to help make this event a success.

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Canceled: Dinner at 701 Restaurant showcasing Good Meat by Deborah Krasner

Update: This event has been canceled. Sorry for any inconvenience.

Time: Sunday, November 7 · 7:30pm – 10:30pm
Location 701 Restaurant, 701 Pennsylvania Ave, NW, Washington, DC

Ashok Bajaj’s 701 Restaurant located at 701 Pennsylvania Ave, NW is pleased to announce a special dinner and discussion that explores the future of America’s culinary landscape, with James Beard award-winning cookbook author and food and agriculture revolutionary, Deborah Krasner, on Sunday November, 7, 2010 at 5:30 PM. Ed Witt, 701’s… new Executive Chef will be preparing a variety of recipes from Krasner’s groundbreaking new book, “Good Meat: The Complete Guide to Sourcing and Cooking Sustainable Meat.” The dinner is priced at $55 per person for Slow Food DC members or $60 for non-members and includes gratuity and one glass of wine.

Krasner will be on hand to answer questions, share tips and sign copies of her latest book, which will be on sale for $40.

Follow the link below to purchase tickets:
https://www.mycommunitytickets.com/event_info.asp?eventid=27

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