Riva Soucie is a freelance food writer and staff writer for Public Affairs at the Embassy of Canada. In addition to volunteering with Slow Food DC, she’s a Registered Holistic Nutritionist and founding member of the Canadian Association for Food Studies, and she previously managed the Whistler Cooking School.
Being new to DC (and the USA) sometimes makes it hard to find out about simple, street-level socializing. Sometimes it seems like everything in our city revolves around work or politics…or policy or politicking. But that all faded into the background for a couple hours in March at SFDC’s Annual Winter Potluck. Even though the organization does have a partly political bent (i.e. the DC chapter promotes ‘good, clean and fair food’), the potluck was all about communal tables and crazy dishes, foodie jokes and secret recipes, shaking hands and digging in.
I suppose you can tell a lot about an organization’s culture by the food its members cook up and lug to potlucks. The spread included mushrooms escabeche, laced with melted onions, big metal pots with lids pushed down over duck and goat tamales, a jar of little local peppers, even a Vita Mix filled with a thick green vegetable smoothie for drinking. On the other side were Ibti Vincent’s day-pickled yellow beets, sliced potato frittata and a bright carrot root salad. In filling my plate, I made the lucky fluke of balancing a piece of freshly-based soda bread on a messy serving of traditional uova in purgatorio. Sopping the chewy bread in rich red tomato sauce and mild poached eggs was a tasting highlight for me.
Toward the end of our meal, Kathryn Warnes – SFDC President – turned to me and confessed to preferring savory tastes over sweet ones. And usually I would agree. Still, we both took a generous lap around the dessert station. And a good thing we did. Those pretzel and stout whoopie pies were delicate as air and deliciously salty! (Incidentally, whoopie pies are a Northeastern U.S., and particularly Pennsylvania Amish, traditional treat.) Plus, sweet almond points, profiteroles bébé on a tiered platter, spelt shortbread and one glorious apple pie made with Bramley’s Seedling apples (from Snail of Approval award winner Distillery Lane Ciderworks).
These dishes say a lot about the chapter’s ingrained sense of adventure and highlight an intense curiosity about local food and traditional foodways. Plus, they were all plain old delicious. For all of that, I’m so in! Already looking forward to the next SFDC adventure.
UPDATE: Unfortunately, this event is sold out.
While living and working in Hawaii, Christopher Vigilante developed a passion for coffee. This passion led him from working in coffee plantations to working in cafes, learning the nuances of the art of roasting to a commitment to sourcing quality beans. Christopher chose DC as the location he would launch his business, Vigilante Coffee, and has developed quite the following despite not yet having a permanent location. That location should come in the not-too-distant future, in the form of Maketto, a street food and fashion space dubbed the “next generation Eastern Market.” Until then, Slow Food DC is pleased to have arranged a coffee cupping at Vigilante’s current Pop-up Coffee Shop. Join us as Christopher Vigilante brings us through the cupping process and teaches us the methods they use to evaluate all of the coffees they roast. Learn about the subtle and not-so-subtle taste differences–and don’t forget your notepad!
Event: Coffee Cupping with Vigilante Coffee
Date: Saturday, April 6, 2013
Time: 10:30am to noon
Location: Vigilante’s Pop-up Coffee Shop, 1017 7th St NW, Washington DC 20001 (conveniently located by the Green/Yellow Mt. Vernon Metro Station)
Cost: $8.00 for Slow Food members, $12.00 for non-members. This event is sold out.
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Slow Food DC invites all our members and friends to join with us for our Annual Winter Potluck! Please note the change in venue from our past few potlucks. We will be meeting in the community room of the Friends Meeting House of Washington, in Dupont Circle. Hope to see you there!
Date: Saturday, March 2, 2013
Time: 1:30pm to 3:00pm
Location: Friends Meeting House of Washington, 2111 Florida Ave NW, Washington D.C. 20008 (The main entrance is on the Decatur Place side of the building.)
Cost: Free! (suggested donation of $5.)
What to Bring: Your favorite dish, along with the recipe for possible inclusion in a Slow Food DC cookbook!
(This is an alcohol-free event.)
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The annual potluck remains one of our favorite event. And we are more than excited at the prospects of tasting the delicious and varied culinary creations brought by you, the Slow Food DC community. It is also an opportunity for the board to reintroduce ourselves to you, and work together towards the goal of ensuring good, clean, fair food throughout the national capital region. We will take a few minutes to discuss our chapter, the events we hope to pursue for the year, and discuss things like community gardens and improving nutritional standards in DC. But mainly we want to enjoy good food with good friends, so we hope you’ll make it!
Join us for an informal get-together at the Queen Vic, a Snail of Approval winner!
We’ll help the Queen Vic celebrate their recent hire of Chef Michael Bonk. You may recall meeting him and sampling his delicious treats at last year’s Sonoma happy hour. If you missed it, now have a second chance!
Date: Wednesday, January 30, 2013
Time: 6:00 PM to 7:30 PM
Venue: The Queen Vic
Location: 1206 H Street Northeast, Washington, DC
We’ll also toast the upcoming INTERSECTIONS Festival
at the Atlas Performing Arts Center, Feb 22 – Mar 10th. Meet some of the people behind this 12 day all-arts festival that features over 100 performances from DC and beyond.
Hope to see you there!
Hurricane Sally satellite image
As we enter the holiday season, we have much to be thankful for. Our incredible Slow Food community turned out in great numbers for the Snail of Approval Awards, and for that we are very thankful. The days that followed showed us the brute force of mother nature, and although we fared relatively well here in DC, our neighbors to the North felt the full effects of Sandy’s wind, rain, and storm surge.
With that in mind, we’ve decided to hold a happy hour fundraiser for those affected by Sandy. The happy hour will be held at Snail of Approval Winner Dino in Cleveland Park. 25 % of the proceeds will be donated to Sandy relief, with opportunities to donate directly to the New Jersey Relief Fund and New York’s City Harvest.
Date: Thursday November 15, 2012
3435 Connecticut Ave NW (Cleveland Park Metro)
Happy Hour at the Bar (We hope to have a sign, but just ask on arrival)
Wine & Cocktail specials for $5
Beer Specials for $4
$3 off antipasti with your beverages
complementary olives, pickles & a daily treat
New York’s City Harvest
City Harvest is working hard to get food to those in need in the wake of Hurricane Sandy as well as continuing our work rescuing and delivering food in all five boroughs. For more information about our current operations and ways you can help, see the contacts below:
New Jersey Relief Fund
The Hurricane Sandy New Jersey Relief Fund is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization chaired by First Lady Mary Pat Christie to help New Jersey communities rebuild and aide in the relief effort.
We in the National Capital Region have a great deal to be thankful for. What better way to show it than to spend time with our Slow Food friends and help our neighbors?
It’s our second Snail of Approval Awards Party!
Update: ***Rain or Shine***
Join us in celebration!
The Snail of Approval Awards Party is our way of recognizing the recipients of the Snail of Approval. This year, the event is being held at Policy, a 2012 Snail Winner.
Where: Policy Restaurant and Lounge,
1904 14th St. NW Washington, DC 20009
When: Sunday, October 28, 2012
1:00pm to 4:00 pm
Tickets: Update: Ticket sales have ended, with a full house. Thanks everyone!
Ticket price includes a reception with food and two drink tickets. After that, the bar will remain open for the duration.
UPDATE: 2012 Snail of Approval Award Party Menu
Farm Fresh Deviled Eggs
Bacon, Local Goat Cheese, Tabasco Caviar
Grass Fed, Oven Dried Tomato, Caramelized Onion, White Cheddar, Black Truffle Mayo
Pork Belly Bao Buns
Chili Apple Glaze, Virginia Peanuts, Pickled Shallots, Micro Cilantro
Local Wild Mushrooms
Caramelized Figs, Goat Cheese Mousse on a Grit Cake
Salt Roasted Beets
Pistachio, Aged Balsamic Drizzle
Cheese Platter supplied by FireFly Farms
Seasonal Fruit Tarts supplied by Panorama at the Peak
Complimentary Crafted Cocktails by Art in the Age
Tickets include two drinks–your choice of beer, wine, or cider.
The full list of 2012 winners can be found in our Snail of Approval section of our website.
Now that the tallies have been counted and the winners selected, we are proud to announce the recipients of the 2012 Snail of Approval Awards!
The Snail of Approval program is our way of recognizing the local eateries and artisans that provide us with quality, authentic, and sustainable food and drink.
We just finalized our plans for the 2012 Snail of Approval Awards Party on October 28, 2012 at Policy, a 2011 Snail of Approval winner. Tickets are available at Eventbrite.
So, without further ado, here are the winners for 2012. Check back soon for an online directory of these great local food and drink purveyors:
District of Columbia:
Busboys and Poets
Dolcezza Artisanal Gelato
Policy Restaurant and Lounge
Smucker Farms of Lancaster County
Sonoma Restaurant and Wine Bar
Stachowski Market and Deli
The Atlas Room
The Queen Vic
Three Little Pigs Charcuterie & Salumi
White House Meats
8407 kitchen bar
Distillery Lane Ciderworks
Crossroads Farmers Market
ECO City Farm
FireFly Farms Creamery & Market
Moorenko’s Ice Cream
P. A. Bowen Farmstead
Sandy Spring CSA
Washington’s Green Grocer
Barrel Oak Winery
Bon Vivant Company
Clyde’s Willow Creek Farm
Cultured Frozen Yogurt
Deauville Fallow Deer Farm
Evening Star Cafe
Hunter’s Head Tavern
Jackson 20 Tavern
Maple Ave Restaurant
Market Table Bistro
Mom’s Apple Pie
Northern Valley Pastoral Guild
Olin-Fox Farms CSA
Red Apron Butchery
The Restaurant at Patowmack Farm
The Wine Kitchen
Lot 12 Public House
Panorama at the Peak
L to R Board Members Sarah McKinley, Kathryn Warnes, and Richard Naples man the Shrub table
Have you heard of a shrub?
As co-sponsors of Eat Local First Week, Slow Food DC was lucky enough to have a booth at the Farm to Street festival on the only cold rainy Saturday this July. And beyond just giving out information about our upcoming events, we felt like this was a great opportunity to showcase an Ark of Taste product that both preserves and highlights the peak ripeness of summer fruit–the Shrub.
A drink with colonial roots, a shrub is basically a vinegary fruit syrup. The high sugar content and acidity of the vinegar preserved the harvest in a time well before refrigeration. Mixed with cold water, it becomes a tart yet sweet summer thirst quencher. Today, it can be mixed with soda water, or made into a cocktail with the spirit of your choice, such as Gin or Whiskey. It could even make a decent champagne cocktail or wine spritzer.
There are various methods to creating a shrub. The following is the way I created the five shrubs showcased at our booth. But please, be creative! With so many wonderful varieties of vinegar out there, and an infinite combination of spices and herbs you can include, you can truly make this your own creation. The most basic ratio is one part fruit to one part vinegar to one part sugar, but even this is a suggestion. Adjust as needed given the natural sweetness of the fruit, acidity of the vinegar, and how you plan on using the shrub.
makes 20-30 servings
1. Combine one cup of fruit and one cup of vinegar to a saucepan. Bring to a boil and simmer until the fruit has softened. Mash with a potato masher or muddler to extract more juice and flavor.
2. Pour the mashed fruit and vinegar mixture into a sterilized jar. Cover and let sit at least 24 hours, and up to three days.
3. Strain the fruit and vinegar mixture into a saucepan. It is perfectly acceptable to place the fruit inside cheesecloth and squeeze out the juice.
4. Add a cup of sugar to the juice and bring to a simmer over medium low heat. Let the mixture reduce until slightly thickened, about five minutes.
5. Pour the shrub into a sterilized jar or bottle. Refridgerate for best preservation of quality. The flavors should mellow over time.
Once the shrub has cooled, add a small amount to a glass with ice and fill with cold water or seltzer water. Enjoy!
Here are the shrubs made for the Farm to Street party:
- Sour Cherry with Sherry and Balsamic Vinegar
- Strawberry with Sherry and Balsamic Vinegar (The strawberries were local. I used a jar of homemade jam and left out the sugar part of the recipe. This is a great way to use your extra jam!)
- Plum with White Wine Vinegar and Juniper Berries
- Peach with Cider Vinegar, Cinnamon and Allspice
- Apple with Cider Vinegar and Cinnamon
Sarah McKinley, Richard Naples, and Kathryn Warnes at the Slow Food DC table
We brought out the Snail of Approval winners list from 2011, and had a few of our new Slow Food DC products for sale
Richard Naples is not above getting excited about beverages and the color orange.
The nomination period for the 2012 Snail of Approval awards has ended. We’d like to thank everyone who nominated an eatery or producer.
Up next, Slow Food DC will be going over the nominees and finalizing the winners. Planning is also under way for a celebration where we recognize the winners of the 2012 Snail of Approval. If you’d like to help out either through volunteering or sponsorship, please let us know.
Save the date! Slow Food DC is proud to announce the tenth annual Slow Food – Clyde’s Farm Dinner, August 4th, 2012 at 5pm.
Slow Food DC and Clyde’s Restaurant Group join together to celebrate their 10th Annual Farm dinner, a once-a-year event that honors our local farmers and artisans. Hosted at Clyde’s Willow Creek Farm in Broadlands, Slow Food members and friends gather to sip wines and to stroll the property on a tour of Clyde’s raised-bed garden, where all their veggies grow. Then they sit down to a splendid four-course farm dinner with matching wines, prepared by Corporate Chef Brian Stickel and Willow Creek Farm’s Chef Nathan Thomas.