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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Check out this beautiful, just-made kimchi made by my fellow Slow Food board member and Rooting DC pickling workshop attendee, Shelu:
Tell me you wouldn’t put that up on your shelf to impress your friends. (Actually, if you really want to impress them, they should taste your homemade kimchi.) It’s so complex and spicy, not at all pricey, and so easy to make with just about any greens you have around. Pickles are just as easy and inexpensive. Who knew!
This is what 50+ attendees learned at the SFDC-sponsored pickling workshop this past weekend. I blabbed for about 15 minutes while folks nibbled on savory pickled beets, radishes, turnips, and spicy beet green/cabbage kimchi I’d made, and then folks got their hands dirty. (Well, after washing them first, of course.) A mere 20 minutes of mixing and mashing later, each eager novice pickler and fermenter left with a jar of something tasty. Not bad for a Saturday afternoon.
It was a group effort, as all good food experiences must be. I could not have done it without the help of my fellow Slow Food DC board members, who not only sponsored the workshop ingredients (including produce from Farmer Mo over at Moutoux Orchards) but also helped and encouraged me leading up to and throughout the day! Rich even made a beautiful poster with ideas for Ark of Taste you could find locally to pickle:
What’s that? Suddenly have a hankering for some pickles? Have more questions about making pickles? Well, I’ll be at the (also free) Slow Food DC annual potluck this coming Saturday, and I’ll be bringing along some goodies I pickled on Sunday afternoon (because clearly I have not done enough pickling lately)….
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!
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….
Many thanks to Ms. Sally Fallon Morell for her thoughtful talk this past weekend, and for joining SFDC members and neighbors for the potluck that followed. It was a lovely and informative way to spend a Sunday afternoon. And I may or may not now be in possession of a signed copy of Nourishing Traditions….
If you missed the talk, you can meet the outspoken author and food activist at Slow Food DC’s 2nd annual Snail of Approval Awards dinner, coming up later this month. She’ll be there representing Snail Award winner, P.A. Bowen Farmstead. Get your tickets now!
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
The way our ancestors ate was not only delicious, but conferred excellent health, generation after generation. Find out the key principles of healthy traditional diets and how to incorporate them into your daily life. The free talk will be given by the inestimable Sally Fallon Morell — author of the best-selling cookbook, Nourishing Traditions, and founding president of the Weston A. Price Foundation.
As always, this Slow U event will be followed by a potluck (with bonus points for anyone bringing a dish inspired by Nourishing Traditions, and a hug if you supply your own reusable plate, cup, and utensils)!
WHAT: A free Slow Food University talk with Sally Fallon!
WHEN: Sunday, Sept 30 from 4-6pm
WHERE: Metropolitan Community Church of Washington, DC*
474 Ridge Street, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20001
(about 3 blocks from the Convention Center metro stop)
RSVP: This event is free and open to the public, but space is limited, so please RSVP by sending an email to slowfooduniversity(at)slowfooddc(dot)org.
HELP OUT: If you are interested in volunteering with setup or cleanup, please email ibti(at)slowfooddc(dot)org.
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ALSO: Some other events relating to traditional foods and preservation will be happening at nearby Old City Green that weekend — Sept 29 & 30 — so be sure to check out their website for more details!
*Please note that this event takes place at a church with a no-alcohol policy.