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Friday, November 11, 2011

Dishcrawl DC: Penn Quarter...Absolutely Heavenly

JoAnn Pham

Event Coverage: Neeta Wooten
Images: Donell Sellow (DES Photography) for Ideal PR Media

In today’s society, we each have many decisions we have to make on a daily basis, some more complex than others. Thankfully, "Dishcrawl DC" isn’t one of the more complex decisions on the list; it is an easy, no-brainer decision. In fact, this event is so awesome that they take ALL of the decision-making and thought processing out of the equation. All you have to do is enjoy!

 They choose the date, they choose the time, they choose the locations, they choose the dishes, they choose the order in which you experience each of the four locations...they even bring 49 other happy, fun and interesting people for you to meet and eat with.  In fact, it is the most simple and amazing on-going food tasting experience that I know of in Washington, DC. Insert the pounding sound of my stamp of approval and an oversized-melodramatic stamp into the picture (smile).

The first ever DishCrawl DC was headed up by JoAnn Pham, the delightful Ambassador for the evening and her assistant Katherine. JoAnn opened the event by explaining exactly what Dishcrawl’s mission is. “This is a chance to have a gathering each month for you to come out and taste the local food within your neighborhood and socialize. We hope you get to meet some great friends today and try some new food that you may not had the chance to try before and have a really great time.”

In the Penn Quarter neighborhood starting at 8th and D Streets, NW, four restaurants were chosen and two items were provided at each location.

Teaism was our meeting place and first tasting experience. With the help of nametags we were able to mix and mingle with one another before the first tasting experience began.   

Michelle Brown, one of the owners of Teaism discussed that one of the reason’s they opened the store was “so that people could come and drink beautiful, pure and exquisite teas.”  Their food concept is inspired Asia and influenced by one world “wholesome.” Michelle stated that they do not use any high fructose corn syrup, MSG, or trans fats.“We use very pure fats. We cook with rice-brand oil only, no canola, no soy oil... we use a little bit of coconut and olive oil and we are bringing flax and hemp into the menu to supplement your heath.” They pride themselves on making most of their items from scratch to avoid having soy in their foods. Teaism has plans to open a new location in Old Town Alexandria Virginia in the spring of 2012

The two items presented were the following:
Soba Noodle Salad: Vegetarian Korean style noodle salad with napa cabbage and sugar snap peas drizzled with a spicy Korean chile sauce
Dog Bite: grilled sliced smoked chicken apple sausage with togarashi mayo with jicama-slaw in a ficelle roll

Noodles, dog bite, the freshly made mayonnaise spiced blend was the common favorite. 

 A few comments from the group included: 
“I really like the spicy mayonnaise aioli spread that was on the dog bite”“The kick in the noodles was great”

The array of Asian teas accompanied each sampling very well.

The second stop on the Dishcrawl was at Meatballs.

Meatballs Options:
Classic Beef, Chicken, Lamb, Lentil, Crab
Tasting included two meatball minis

The mushroom sauce was the hit.  Regardless of which type of meatball the crowd chose, the crowd favorite was the mushroom sauce and the bread. 

“It would be nice if the sauce came in a dipping cup, that way you could dip your mini into the sauce that way every bite would be the amount of sauce you want on each bite.”

Brain (L) and best friend/store manager (R)

Manager and co-owner Brian:
Founded in Oct 2009 by Luke in New York City, NY. This Washington, DC location is their first outside of NY. All of the seafood comes directly from their father’s seafood processing plant in Maine who has been in the business for over 35 years. Sourcing their drinks, food, d├ęcor and even employees from Maine, Brian said they try to bring as much of Maine to DC as possible.

Two menu items:
Lobster Roll
Clam chowder

The comments were

“One of the best I’ve ever tasted, its not chewy, very creamy, potatoes are perfect in size and texture.”
“This is the best claim chowder I have ever had”

“This is THE best lobster sandwich I have ever had”

My sentiments in that I enjoyed the lobster roll so much that I dreamed about it (literally) the next 2 days and can’t wait to get back down there to buy one. Why was it so good? Brian explained how they prepare their signature lobster roll.

“We take a New England Style split-topped bun, we butter each side, toast it. Put a little bit of mayonnaise, chilled seafood, lemon butter and add spices on top of that,” said Brian.

The last stop of the evening was at Red Velvet Cupcake:
Were the motto of fresh baking is taken seriously. They bake everything fresh and daily and are open 8am-11pm M-F and 9am-11pm Sat/Sun.

“We have bakers in here 23 hours a day making sure we have fresh product for every day part.” “In our commitment to the neighborhood we donate to non-profit organizations on a daily basis. So if we have left over cupcakes and you are involved in a non-profit organization and you want to request our day-old cupcakes, we are happy to give them to you,” said Tracy Wilson, General manager for the store.

Two items served:
Vanilla bean cupcake
Red Velvet cupcake

Tracy Wilson
The red velvet cupcake is a signature favorite that everyone enjoyed thoroughly, yet it was the vanilla bean cupcake that people were fight over if there were extras given out.  And rightfully so, as they use Madagascar bourbon vanilla and layer the vanilla flavor in this tiny piece of heaven.

Some comments included:
 “The cupcakes melted in my mouth, the cake was moist and the flavors blended very well together.”

“I loved the red velvet, and as much as I love red velvet, that vanilla bean cupcake was the best ever. Its not like typical cake seams like there was something else in there because it was really good.”

When I randomly asked people if they would visit the location again, everyone said yes. Some even said they would travel from a far distance to get that vanilla bean cupcake.

While all of the locations were absolutely wonderful, and different crowd members had different favorites, we all walked away with new friends, a full belly, and a history of smiles and good tastes in our mouths. This was definitely an amazing kick-off to the first ever Dishcrawl DC. 

Hurry up and reserve your place for the December Dishcrawl, which is set to explore the neighborhood foods in the Adams Morgan area. To find out more visit

A very special thanks to JoAnn and her staff for being very gracious and accommodating to Ideal PR Media

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