The District of Columbia might be the Nation’s Capital, but with such a vibrant Ethiopian community it is also the epicenter of Ethiopian cuisine in the US. Chef Hiyaw Gebryohanness, founder of Taste of Ethiopia was a perfect Slow Supper DC ambassador. I learned about the history and culture of Ethiopian cuisine, as we prepared modern riffs on Ethiopian classics. My Injera-baking compatriot expertly demonstrated the proper way to make an authentic one hundred percent teff crêpes (an ancient grain and staple of Ethiopian cuisine). The three day fermentation process yields a tart and sourdough-esque batter that is griddled on a hot plate until bubbles form on top and is slid off with a hand woven reed mat to join the steaming stack. Injera is the tastiest utensil I have ever encountered, and it served that purpose in 3 different iterations throughout our 6 course meal, a crisp chip for berbere guacamole, a perfect spoon for a rich and spicy chicken peanut Stew (Loze Wet), and a sweet version to scoop up the last bits of Cardamom Honey wine Pudding.
We got a chance to see some of Hiyaw’s family and friends at other Ethiopian restaurants around the city as we quested to find a few bottles of the homemade honey wine, Ethiopia’s answer to mead, a super potent but delicious drink. Over sixty guest filled the cozy second floor loft at Studio 52 to break bread the Ethiopian way, with a family style meal paired with Brooklyn big bottles, eye inspiring projection candy from Nuit blanche, and comic book inspired menus and place mats from local artist and illustrator Elizabeth Graeber.
Ethiopia may have been the inspiration for Slow Supper but it was Modern American with a new world Italian flair that graced the tables at Local 2 Ways. A Scallop crudo paired with Sorachi Ace started the meal off right. House cured Charcuterie and Foie Gras torchons welcomed the delicate fruit flavors and malt balance of Local 1, our golden Belgian Farmhouse ale. High gravity bottles abounded throughout the meal, to the last sips of Black Chocolate Stout that accompanied a warm and rich chocolate brownie with house made salted caramel ice cream. The new Match Box location is a serious addition to the 14th street corridor which boasts a slew of new eateries, watering holes, and funky places to be entertained after a long day on the hill (that’s Capitol Hill to those of you unfamiliar with the political lingo).
I did not have the pleasure of encountering any politicians, but I did get to hear the diplomatic comedic rants of those two hilarious buddies of ours Nick, and Joe as they waxed poetic about current issues in the world of VHS. Found Footage found itself at a super secret speak-easy theater called Warehouse Theater that I had trouble finding, until I realized the employees only entrance was just a silly ruse. DC, you get me every time.
Backdoor politics and backdoor theaters may be the norm here, but Glen’s Garden Market where Togather was held is a welcomed addition to the local DC food scene, where your neighborhood co-op meets event space and bar. Get your shopping done while enjoying a pint and maybe learn something too. I sure did, as Tracie McMillan author of the The American Way of Eating discussed the economic realities of our current food system with food writer and co-author of The Founding Farmers Cookbook, Nevin Martell. Nothing like an Oktoberfest and some intelligent discussion to end a rainy evening, especially if the meal you had beforehand was at Little Serrow ( my new favorite Thai spot).
We may have missed the cherry blossoms, but all in all DC Mash was a Capital success!