Around the World in 1 Day

Last weekend was filled with glorious spring weather and loads of fabulous food events (as I wrote here). My friends and I spent a blissful Saturday afternoon at two of these events: Cultural DC’s Embassy Tours and Taste of Eighth. With the splendid array of international cuisine and culture featured at each of these gatherings, I felt like I had traveled around the world by the end of the day.

First stop was the Korean embassy, where pleasantly smoky aromas and sounds of Korean barbecue sizzling on the grill greeted us. After waiting in line for 30 minutes, we were rewarded for our patience with a plate of kalbi (barbecued spare ribs), rice, and kimchi (the infamous Korean dish of spicy fermented cabbage). I always lament the dearth of Korean restaurants in DC, and was very grateful to the Korean Embassy for providing a satisfying, authentic taste of Korean cuisine (and for free!). The kalbi tasted slightly nutty from the sesame seed oil and smoky from the grill–perfectly cooked to be chewy and meaty. The rice and spicy kimchi provided a tasty accompaniment.

In addition to food, the embassy also showcased Korean culture with tae kwon do demonstrations, Korean drumming, and gorgeous exhibits of traditional Korean art and clothes. It was a fun and lively way to become acquainted with Korea’s exciting culture!

Next on our international tour was the Brazilian embassy. I won’t even attempt to describe how idyllic and charming the Spanish colonial style house looked, with sunlight streaming in through the tall windows, ornate wall paintings, dark mahogany furniture, and lush bougainvillea-filled gardens outside. Words can’t do it justice, but photos just might.

The only thing that the Brazilian embassy was missing: some Brazilian food. I would have loved to chow down on some pao de queijo (cheesy yuca bread), picanha (Brazilian grilled meat), and feijoada (a hearty black bean stew) after milling through the impeccable embassy.

After the embassy tours, we headed to the opposite end of town to Capitol Hill, where the annual Taste of Eighth event was taking place. Since we arrived at 3:00, and the event ended at 4:00, it was a bit frenzied to use up all our tickets and get to all the vendors in time. But, in what’s probably a record time of 30 minutes, we were able visit 5 (technically 6, if you count Levi’s which closed early) restaurants and sample some of the tastiest food I’ve had in a while.

Cava Mezze, which specializes in Greek small plates, served the most delicious roasted lamb chops with homemade pita chips, hummus, dolmas (grape leaves), and homemade yogurt. Though not all lamb chops were equal (my boyfriend’s was particularly fatty), mine was very meaty, juicy, and tender. It was so good that I couldn’t stop myself from gnawing on the bone! The pita chips were also phenomenal: crunchy and crisp on the outside, but soft and bready on the inside. Great with the tangy yogurt and spicy red pepper-flecked hummus.

Next, we walked over to Zest, which served a lamp wrap with onions and pomegranate barbecue sauce (pictured in the top right). The wrap was hearty and flavorful. But I wasn’t a big fan of the pomegranate sauce; a bit too sweet and overpowering for my taste. The bread was also a bit hard, probably from sitting out in the sun all day, but hey, I understand it’s street food.

Starfish Cafe, a bright and eclectic cafe further down 8th St., offered avocado gazpacho and ceviche (pictured in the bottom left). This was the only restaurant where patrons could sit inside and eat; and it was a much needed respite  from the heat. The gazpacho and ceviche were both refreshing and light.

For our last dish, we chose Capitol Hill Tandoor, where a vibrant, colorful dish caught our eye. They served chicken biryani, a traditional Indian rice dish. The flavor was incredible: mildly spiced, but complex in flavor. The chicken in the dish was also super tender.

And for a sweet ending to a sweet day, we went to Ted’s Bulletin for the most decadent vanilla milkshakes, with fresh dark chocolate shavings on top. Ted’s Bulletin, which was set to open this week, is a cute 30′s style diner. With milkshakes that tasty, I’ll definitely be coming back for more.

Cava Mezze

527 8th St. SE

Washington, DC 20003

202-543-9090

Cava on Urbanspoon

Zest Bistro

735 8th St. SE

Washington, DC 20003

202-544-7171

Zest Bistro on Urbanspoon

Starfish Cafe

539 8th St. SE

Washington, DC 20003

202-546-5006

Starfish Cafe on Urbanspoon

Capitol Hill Tandoor and Grill

419 8th Se. SE

Washington, DC 20003

202-547-3233

Capitol Hill Tandoor & Grill on Urbanspoon

Ted’s Bulletin

505 8th St. SE

Washington, DC 20003

202-544-8337

Ted's Bulletin on Urbanspoon

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2 responses to “Around the World in 1 Day

  1. thomas Francis

    I would leave a nasty note to the Brazilians, such a lovely site for a light lunch with a nice brazilian wine….you know they produce white wine. You did a good job of hiding the fact that you spent your k thru 12 adjacent to LA’s Korean town, and had a million classmates that were K-american, which you taded lunches with….uncle tom

  2. Pingback: Goodbye, DC | The Unpaid Gourmet

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