Category Archives: News

Volunteer Event: The Neighborhood Farm Initiative!

Come volunteer at the Neighborhood Farm Initiative  and help maintain their organic, urban garden right here in DC! We will be planting, weeding, and working compost piles in the (hopefully) warm morning hours, followed by our usual deliciousness in the form of a potluck picnic. Remember that this is dirty work, so dress the part! NFI will provide tools and gloves, but food and water are up to you, so remember to bring plenty of water and a snack! Your own reusable picnic ephemera is also appreciated.

Event: Volunteer Day at the Neighborhood Farm Initiative
Date: Saturday, April 13, 2013
Time: 9:00am to 1:00pm
Location:  To get to the garden from the Fort Totten metro station, turn left (north) and walk up the sidewalk past where the buses stop.  Across from the parking lot and after some trees, you’ll see a paved path going up over a slight hill on your left (going north), take that path across a field and you’ll see us at the top of the hill! (If you Google 100 Gallatin Street NE-map , you’ll see the field from the satellite view and the path that connects Gallatin street to the metro stop.)
Cost: This event is free, but we ask that you RSVP in advance since space is limited! email sarah@slowfooddc.org 

 

Neighborhood Farm Initiative Logo

click the logo for more info on NFI!

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Looking Back at the 2013 Annual Winter Potluck

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.

Happy Hour Fundraiser for Victims of Hurricane Sandy

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

Time: 5:30pm-7:00pm

Location: Dino
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

Charities:

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?

2nd Annual Snail Awards Celebration a Delicious Success

Marathon-related traffic and imminent hurricane and unreliable public transportation notwithstanding, DC-area food lovers came together last Sunday to enjoy — and celebrate! — some of the best food and drink our region has to offer. What better way to honor this year’s Snail of Approval winners?

This year, we skipped the long speeches and got right to the good stuff. I’m talking about raw oysters and savory pork belly buns and artisanal cocktails. There were a few words from Board members, but the focus was as it should be: on the food, and meeting the dynamic and dedicated people that work at bringing us good, clean, and fair food every day. As we nibbled and sipped, we had a chance to mingle and chat with farmers, chefs, culinary artisans, brewers, butchers, restaurant owners, farmers’ market directors, and others from DC, Maryland, Virginia, and West Virginia who have chosen to devote themselves to producing and promoting the food and drink that Slow Food DC is all about.

Congratulations to the 2012 Snail of Approval award winners — here’s wishing you continued success!

Think your favorite local restaurant should’ve been up there in the photo? Nominate them for a 2013 Snail award! Stay tuned for more details….

2012 Snail of Approval Awards

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:

BlackSalt Restaurant
Busboys and Poets
Cafe Green
DC Brau
Dino
Dolcezza Artisanal Gelato
Equinox
Graffiatto
Maple Restaurant
P&C Market
Policy Restaurant and Lounge
Restaurant Nora
Ripple
RIS
Seasonal Pantry
Smucker Farms of Lancaster County
Sonoma Restaurant and Wine Bar
Soupergirl
Stachowski Market and Deli
Sweetgreen
The Atlas Room
The Pig
The Queen Vic
Three Little Pigs Charcuterie & Salumi
White House Meats
FRESHFARM Markets

Maryland:

8407 kitchen bar
Distillery Lane Ciderworks
Crossroads Farmers Market
ECO City Farm
FireFly Farms Creamery & Market
Fisher Farm
Longview Farm
Moorenko’s Ice Cream
P. A. Bowen Farmstead
Radix Farm
Ricciuti’s
Rocklands Farm
Sandy Spring CSA
Washington’s Green Grocer

Virginia:

Barrel Oak Winery
Bon Vivant Company
Clyde’s Willow Creek Farm
Cultured Frozen Yogurt
Deauville Fallow Deer Farm
EcoFriendly Foods
Evening Star Cafe
härth
Hunter’s Head Tavern
Jackson 20 Tavern
Kegotank Farm
Maple Ave Restaurant
Market Table Bistro
Mom’s Apple Pie
Northern Valley Pastoral Guild
Olin-Fox Farms CSA
Open Kitchen
Red Apron Butchery
Restaurant Eve
Tallula
The Majestic
The Restaurant at Patowmack Farm
Tuscarora Mill
The Wine Kitchen

West Virginia:

Lot 12 Public House
Panorama at the Peak

Shrubs

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.

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.

Join Slow Food DC for Eat Local First DC, a Weeklong Celebration of Local Food – July 14-21

Slow Food DC is proud to be a part of Eat Local First DC, a weeklong celebration of local food, including our local farms, restaurants, chefs and independent retailers. There will be wide variety of events – like a garden tour, film screening, and food industry panel – in addition to happy hours and parties. Things kick off Saturday, 7/14, with a party at Acre 121 featuring local music from Listen Local First and local BBQ and beer.

The focus of this year’s Eat Local First DC will be on local farms and restaurants and the organizations and people that are making locally-grown food more accessible in DC. Throughout the week, you’ll be able to dine at restaurants participating in Farm-to-Table Restaurant Week. On Thursday, 7/19, Slow Food DC is hosting a happy hour for our Snail of Approval awards, which recognize local eateries and artisans for their commitment to quality, sustainable food and the preservation of food traditions and craftsmanship. The event is at Ripple, a 2011 honoree.

Slow Food DC is helping to organize a garden tour on Tuesday, 7/17 that will highlight the work of DC residents who have created sustainable and edible gardens in the historic heart of the city. Then on Saturday, 7/21, we’ll be out celebrating local food at the Farm-to-Street Party – look for our table. You’ll be able to enjoy delicious dishes made with local ingredients, drink local craft beer and wine, shop local retailers and take craft food classes. Listen Local First is providing music from local artists.

There will be a special focus this year on the emerging culinary entrepreneurs who are growing the local restaurant economy in DC. The Femivore Award winner will be decided at an event on Monday, 7/16. The award recognizes women in the local food movement and will provide $1,000 for the winner’s local food project. Additionally, there will be two all-star panels (details here and here) on the local food economy.

You can read about all the upcoming events on the Eat Local First DC website. We hope you’ll come!

Don’t just scream for icecream: make it!

I first heard the word Presidium during my time at Slow Food International’s Terra Madre conference in 2010. I recall sampling Presidio goat cheese and brought my dad back some Presidio olives from the Salone del Gusto (which translates roughly to “The Tasting Hall”). Mmm mmm mmm.

Now, I concede that I am tragically unhip — always have been — and so suspect that I am probably the last person on the planet to have heard of the prestigious award. But in case you are new to it as well, the Presidia, according to Slow Food International, are “projects that involve food communities in safeguarding native breeds, plant varieties and food products (bread, cheese, cured meats, wines, etc.). Their objective is to save traditional, artisanal, quality foods, strengthening the organization of producers, raising the profile of geographic areas, preserving traditional techniques and knowledge and promoting environmentally and socially sustainable production models.” That’s pretty impressive. It’s kind of like the food version of a UNESCO historic site.

Well. Wouldn’t you know it, when I was in Florence last month for a friend’s wedding, I caught wind that there was a Presidia-certified gelateria called “Perche no?” somewhere in the city. Perche no, indeed. While my friends shuffled off to the Ufizzi — eh, I’d been there in college — I prowled the winding backstreets in search of creamy, Snail-worthy, dairy goodness. And I found it:

Yes, I cropped myself out of that picture. I mean, seriously, language barrier or not, what kind of friendly stranger taking the photo doesn’t tell me I have chocolate gelato all over my face? Anyhow, the important part is the delicious gelato. I daresay I had at least two cones of it each of the 10 days I lingered in Italy. Mmmm….

Suddenly find yourself hungry for delicious frozen dairy? Learn to make your own. SFDC is teaming up with Moorenko’s in nearby Silver Spring to offer an artisanal icecream making class later this month. Space is limited, and tickets are required. It’s not Presidio certified, but you know, it’s pretty darn good. Perche no?

Ice Cream Tasting and Tour at Moorenko’s in Silver Spring, MD

Beat the heat with this hands-on ice cream event. The group will participate in crafting a unique flavor, which you’ll get to nominate with the purchase of your ticket. The most creative one will be selected and made during the event. You’ll learn about the artisanal ice cream process and how to discern the quality of ice cream. Best of all, you will get to take a pint home and our group’s flavor will be featured at the Silver Spring shop.

Moorenko’s Ice Cream was founded in 2002, inspired by ice cream that owner Susan Soorenko and her sons tasted on vacation. Determined to create ice cream that would stand apart from the rest, Soorenko attended Ice Cream University and has studied ice cream making in Italy and France. Moorenko’s ice creams and sorbets are ultra-premium, all natural, and built from the bottom up. The woman-owned company creates unique flavors for sophisticated palates as well as the all-time favorites.

Date: Sunday, July 15
Time: 2 – 4 PM
Location: 8810 Brookville Road, Silver Spring, 20910 MD

Tickets are $20 and can be purchased here. Space is limited, and you must buy a ticket in advance.

Email kati@slowfooddc.org for more information.

Snail of Approval Nominations closed

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.