Tag Archives: Taste of Eighth

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

Weekend Round-Up

The weather forecast predicts gloriously warm temps in the 80s for this weekend. Woot woot! I am beyond excited to finally get out of this cold weather slump and dawn sundresses and sandals again. Luckily for me, and all Unpaid Gourmet readers out there, this weekend is full of fabulous events that offer good food, outdoor fun, and occasions to show finally show off your summer wardrobe. Here’s a list of events, compiled from some of my favorite D.C. blogs:

Saturday 5/1

Passport DC Embassy Tours: This Saturday, Washingtonians can travel around the world in one day. From 10 a.m.-4 p.m., embassies from Africa, Asia, the Middle East, Europe, and the Americas will all be open to the public for tours and activities. Each embassy will have booths, performances, and food (!) that will showcase their country’s culture. I’ll for sure be stopping by the Korean embassy, which will offer samples of delicious kimchi (their signature fermented cabbage) and Korean barbecue, and the Thai embassy, which will of course serve pad thai. For a complete schedule of events, click here. And please note: some embassies (e.g. Japan) require that you pick up tickets in advance. Thanks to the Going Out Gurus for pointing out this event!

Taste of Eighth: From 1-4 p.m., Barracks Row on Capitol Hill will host their annual Taste of Eighth event, where 14 restaurants along 8th St. will offer samples of their most delectable dishes. Participating restaurants include Cava Mezze (Greek small plates), Belga Cafe (Belgian fare), Levi’s Port Cafe (Soul food), Zest (recently opened, with American cuisine focused on using local ingredients), and many more. Tickets for food samples are $5 each or $20 for 5 tickets, and will be sold at retail shops on 8th St. Click here for more details. Props to Tasting Table DC for publicizing the event (and for your daily emails, which I would be lost without).

Cafe Green Opening Party: Prince of Petworth is one of the best sources for events and news all around D.C.–follow him on Twitter for the most up-to-the-minute updates (@popville). That’s how I found out about the Cafe Green Opening Party on Saturday! The restaurant will be open and serving its organic vegan cuisine from 11 a.m.-11p.m., along with a gift card raffle, music, and tons of specials. My friend is a big fan of Java Green (Cafe Green’s sister restaurant), so I’m sure the food will be excellent. Plus, there just aren’t many vegan restaurants in the D.C. area and it would be great to support one. Click here for more details–and menus!

Capital City Cheesecake Opening: If you’re in Takoma Park on Saturday, stop by Capital City Cheesecake for its grand opening. Capital City Cheesecake, or CCC, gained a following by selling their decadent cheesecakes online. Now, the bakery is finally moving to a brick-and-mortar shop, which will serve fresh baked bagels, truffles, and fair trade coffee in addition to cheesecake. Shoutouts to the Washington City Paper’s incomparable Tim Carman for scooping this event. Check out the Young and Hungry blog for more details.

Kentucky Derby Happy Hour at Acadiana: Put on your fanciest hat and heels and head over to the Kentucky Derby happy hour at Acadiana. From 5-7 p.m., the bar will offer $5 mint juleps and $5 Derby-inspired dishes to celebrate the race. See the Washingtonian for more details.

Sunday 5/2

Street Performance Festival at French Embassy: If you were disappointed with last week’s Georgetown French Market (which, in my opinion, was sorely lacking), then perhaps this event will satisfy your French cravings. From 12:30-6 p.m., la maison francaise will host more than 40 performances throughout the day. Performers include jugglers, acrobats, comedians, and more.  Patrons can nibble on dainty French pastries (like crepes, quiches, and croissants) and sip Mimosas while watching the show. Tickets are $5 in advance and $10 at the door; children under age 10 get in free. Click here for more details and props to the Washingtonian for finding the event.

Wags and Wine: For wine lovers in VA (or those in DC with cars), this is the event for you. From 1-4 p.m., Wags and Wine will offer over 40 wines to taste and food from Cafe Oggi, a popular Mclean restaurant. The event will be held at the Palladium’s Civic Green fountain courtyard and admission is $10. A portion of the proceeds will go to the Washington Humane Society, so animal lovers should check out the event as well. Click here for details; thanks to Tasting Table DC for the notice.

Bethesda Row Restaurant Week: Sunday marks the last day of Bethesda Row’s Restaurant Week–hurry over before these great deals end! As my friend Mary over at Girl Meets Food writes, guests can enjoy a three-course lunch for $15 or a three-course dinner for $30 at participating restaurants. These include Le Pain Quotidien, Jaleo, Lebanese Taverna, and many more. Check out the Web site for more details.

Have a wonderful, sun-and-food-filled weekend, everyone!