So here it is, right on time, the rundown from the Beautiful Dish staffers on Share our Strength's Taste of the Nation event from April 8. Apologies to our growing legion of readers (and Professor Robbie Russell) for the delay, but I will happily use the two-year old daughter, pregnant wife plus being injured card in my defense (editors note – I like the nickname Professor Robbie Russell).
Onto the evening...
I've been really excited for Taste of the Nation ever since Professor Russell mentioned it. Some of the best chefs and restaurants in the city combining to support a cause that's very close to my heart = a win-win for me. The Professor was a late scratch due to an illness of unappetizing details that have no place on a food blog. So the Beautiful Dish was ably represented by myself and James Riley at the National Building Museum.
Before I get to the food and drink, I will say that I couldn't, in good conscience, criticize any chef or restaurant donating his or her time for a good cause, so the point of this entry will be to give you a feel for the event as well as some of the food and drinks that really stood out.
Not knowing what to expect, I was admittedly overwhelmed heading inside the museum. There was a line wrapping around the block that we avoided thanks to our VIP tickets. I had no idea there would be so many restaurants and bars represented, a testament to the chefs here in D.C. The whole atrium (what a beautiful space) was full of restaurants serving samples at stalls. If there was logic behind the layout it was lost on me, I got lost, surrounded by every type of food and cuisine you could imagine: Italian, Indian, Japanese, Belgian, French, Mexican (in big numbers), Greek, barbecue, seafood, comfort food, all intertwined with cupcakes, gelato, cookies, with some cocktail and wine bars thrown in to top it off.
I arrived hungry, which was great in the sense that I easily ate three times what the normal attendee would, but maybe at the expense of serving the purposes of this blog somewhat. (Note to self: avoid preoccupation with rushing to taste everything at the expense of taking pictures and remembering details.) If this event is any indication of food trends in the city, which I think a safe assumption given who was involved, braised anything, soups, and burgers are so hot right now.
On that note, will the cupcake bubble ever burst?
It was great to see a few favorites of my new city represented: Founding Farmers, Hank's, Dolcezza Gelato (go for the Salted Caramel) to name a few, and a few others that are worth mentioning.
Belga Cafe, which I went to last weekend, had the best stall/stand, a faux food truck and served up some sort of braised beef with a waffle, not a combo I'd ever experienced, waffles have always been breakfast food for me, but it worked.
I loved Rappahannock Oyster company, just fresh oysters served simply with the usual fixings.
I appreciated the quail egg that topped each mini burger at the BGR stand.
Best drink goes to Matt Ficke of the Columbia Room, who crafted up an amazing cocktail unlike anything I've ever tasted with Green Hat distilled gin.
All in all, it was a great night, a great opportunity for me to get a taste of the city, all in the name of a good cause.
In honor of Earth Day, D.C. United players Chris Pontius, Brandon McDonald, Bill Hamid, Ethan White, and Joe Willis, along with over 30 volunteers participated in a large-scale clean-up of the National Mall. D.C. United partnered with Trust for the National Mall to help maintain, restore, and beautify America’s front yard.
Today was team photo day for the Black-and-Red. The team headed down East Capitol Street for the shoot. Join us on May 8 when D.C. United hosts the Houston Dynamo on team poster night.
May 8 tickets available ONLINE
— Kyle Neville Porter (@KylePorter19) April 15, 2013
— Brandon McDonald (@BMcDonald4) April 15, 2013
—M.Saragosa (@MarceloSaragosa) April 15, 2013
— Dwayne De Rosario (@dwaynederosario) April 15, 2013
D.C. United had a special guest in the stands tonight. Nationals' Pitcher Gio Gonzalez made the short trek from Nats Park to RFK after the Nationals fell 1-3 to the Atlanta Braves. Gonzalez spent some time on the field during warm-ups and snapped pictures with fans before watching the match from the Director's Box.
— Justin McMahan (@thejboymc) April 14, 2013
After a tough loss at home Saturday night, D.C. United players took to Twitter to thank the fans and ask them for continued support.
Midfielder Perry Kitchen:
— Perry Kitchen (@PerryKitchen23) April 14, 2013
Defender Brandon McDonald:
— Brandon McDonald (@BMcDonald4) April 14, 2013
Midfielder Kyle Porter:
Stick with us we will bounce back! #DCUnited we are nothing without the fans! Tough game..
— Kyle Neville Porter (@KylePorter19) April 14, 2013
This Saturday is scarf night at RFK as D.C. United hosts the New York Red Bulls. The first 7,500 lucky fans through the stadium gates will receive a DCU scarf courtesy of Volkswagen.
Stadium gates open at 6:00 p.m. ET on Saturday, with kickoff just an hour later at 7:00. See the full gameday timeline
Tickets are still available for Saturday's rivalry match, visit ticketmaster.com
D.C. United's Head Coach Ben Olsen has been a DC resident for over a decade now. Last fall, Olsen got involved in the politics of DC residency for the first time when he put his support behind the DC Vote initiative.
Tomorrow, Olsen will be in attendance at the DC Budget Freedom Happy Hour, hosted by DC Vote. The fundraiser details are below:
WHAT: $5 at the door gets you an extended Happy Hour with a DC Vote specialty cocktail, and enters you in a raffle to win D.C. United Tickets for their April 13th game vs. the New York Red Bulls and signed D.C. United fan gear. 100% of proceeds from purchases of Three Stars beers will go directly to DC Vote.
WHEN: Thursday, April 11 5:00PM - 8:00PM
WHERE: Cause 1926 9th Street NW, Washington, DC
Get behind D.C. United for Saturday's Atlantic Cup Match - tickets available online
We’re kicking off this blog with our most recent trip to Kansas City, Missouri. I will attempt to curb my bitterness at not coming away from our match with a well deserved point (possibly three), and provide you all with an unbiased evaluation of the Bristol Seafood Grill restaurant.
Bristol Seafood Grill
51 East 14th Street, Kansas City, MO 64106
The Bristol Grille is located in the Power and Light district of downtown Kansas City. This area offers an array of restaurants, bars, and nightclubs that cater to whatever you are up for in an evening, all in the convenience of a few short blocks.
Members of tonight’s dining party include, Perry Kitchen – the youngster, James Riley – the seasoned vet, Mike Gartlan – their Agent and the money bags for this particular evening, and of course yours truly, Robbie Russell – all around great human being and the brilliant mind behind this blog. A couple other people contributed to the creation of this blog, but because they weren't here for this particular dining experience, they don't get credit (editors note – thanks Robbie! Some of the staff went to Jack Stack’s BBQ where we had some of the best BBQ around).
The evening started out with a brisk walk from our hotel, the Kansas City downtown Marriott, which was accompanied by a lot of belly aching from my teammates as to my efficacy with Google Maps, the correct direction of travel, and whether or not this restaurant I had found would be any good at all. James Riley can be quoted as saying “you picked a Seafood joint in Kansas City... Really?” and Perry's only concern was whether or not they would have pasta on the menu. In response I pointed out that I was the one who set up all the reservations, researched the restaurant and put this little shindig together, but as the saying goes 'No good deed...'
Needless to say I got us there on time, where we met Mike Gartlan at the bar. Our reservation was quickly honored by the hostess, but it didn't seem as if there was a shortage of tables. The inside was quite spacious with a separate bar and dining area. The décor was modern and the ambiance was lively. Pop music was being played in the bar area, but was never overpowering or difficult to talk over. There was a smattering of people all around the restaurant, which you could consider full but not packed. All in all not bad for an early Thursday evening. Our party of four was seated in the bar area at a high table for 6.
With all of that said, here is what we had along with some notes to accompany before we give you our final reviews and rating.
- Sweet Bread Biscuits and Honey Butter.
- Sweet Breads Biscuits were warm out of the oven. Crispy with excellent sweet and savory flavors combined with the honey butter.
Shared Fried Seafood Sampler.
Crab Cakes with apple slaw.
- Top Notch with large chunks of crab, Good ratio of breading to crab! Very Crabby
- Very Average, A bit chewy with a great deal of breading!. Not the best, but not the worst either. Thankfully not too greasy. High quality ingredients seem to come through though
- Excellently prepared, tender and flavorful, surrounded by a delicious cream and garlic oil. Good enough to sop up with our bread.
Sweet Potato Fries.
- Small and barely noticeable. Seemed to be more of a filler to be eaten along side the calamari.
Three dipping sauces.
- Sweet and Sour sauce, Mango Tartar, Creole Remoulade.
- All added something to the flavors of the appetizer, but all very heavy with cream.
Two Orders of Lobster Mac & Cheese
- Unremarkable amounts of Lobster in the orders. “You can get more lobster at a food truck in Seattle,” said James Riley. Pasta cream sauce was subtle with a good amount of cheese. Not quite thick enough to be considered a full comfort food but maybe that is a good thing.
Lobster Bisque—Mike Gartlan
- Creamy and rich, small chunks of lobster throughout. Can’t handle much more than was served but thoroughly enjoyed it.
Side Caeser—Perry Kitchen, Robbie Russell
- Too much dressing and too much cheese.
Mixed Seafood Grill-- Robbie Russell
Charred Ahi Tuna-- Mike Gartlan
Chicken Penne-- Perry Kitchen
6 Ounce Filet Oscared—James Riley
Key Lime Pie
- Perry Kitchen's all time favorite dessert so we will rely on him for an opinion. “Thought it was pretty good but too fluffy and the crust was a little overpowering. A graham cracker crust would have been better,” said Kitchen. I agree, and the mango sorbet didn't do anything to help the dish. It became bland slush when eaten along side the pie. Cocktail fruit addition seemed to come out of cans, seemed cheap
- James Riley was initially skeptical of seafood in Kansas City.... especially having lived in Seattle and LA, but he has since recanted this statement.
- The Surf and Turf Combos on the menu were numerous and varied. You could essentially pair any fish with any type of steak available and have it cooked to order.
- Mike Gartlan, who paid for the whole thing, was quoted as saying, “considering everything involved in the meal, it was worth the price.”
- Great Ambiance. Relaxing, modern sleek. Great for conversation with lively background. Unfortunately didn’t try the drinks, but the wine selection seemed varied and tasteful.
Overall Rating: Nutmeg City
Our next posting will be evaluating some of DC's finest chefs, restaurants and mixologists at this years Taste of the Nation charity function. It is happening TODAY at the National Building Museum. We encourage all of our readers to join us there, seeing as this event is helping to raise funds necessary to help feed our hungry children. The host of this event, Share Our Strength, is a charitable organization that seeks to bring awareness to the plight of our nation's hungry children.
Learn more and buy tickets here. We hope to see you there.
We’ll also be trying out D.C. United Bar Partner Rockland’s BBQ later this week, so be on the lookout for a review on that.
NEXT HOME MATCH: April 13, 7:00 p.m. ET vs New York Red Bulls