by: Victoria Harris (@Chef_Vicky)
Last weekend, I attended the Taste of DC, a two-day cultural and culinary adventure set over five blocks on Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, D.C. The event featured over 70 food vendors, a beer garden, contests, games and culinary demos on the main stage.
I spent much of the first day exploring the twenty-two vendors hailing from Union Kitchen.
On the second- and final day of the festival, I hung out at the US Foods Chef Lounge and afterwards, I visited a few restaurant vendors. When I arrived [at US Foods], they told me the lounge was the place where chefs and other industry influencers could kickback and that only light refreshments would be served. But after spending three hours in the lounge, I can say there was nothing light about these refreshments.
US Foods is a foodservice distributor for schools, restaurants, hospitals and other institutions. They aren’t really known for providing a heightened culinary experience, which is why I was shocked when I tasted the amazing food they were serving in the lounge. They’ve been working really hard to rebrand themselves as a company that is serious about food, and it showed.
The first dish I had was their poached shrimp which was served over a bed of marinated cherry tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, basil and topped with a balsamic gelee.
Next, I sampled some seasonally appropriate sweet potato fries sprinkled with feta and accompanied with a maple reduction dipping sauce. They were crispy, well seasoned, and the feta was a great contrast (even though it was a little difficult to get the feta to stick to the fries in one bite).
Brussels sprouts are coming back in a major way, and US Foods highlighted their knowledge of food trends with this tasty little number.
After leaving the chef’s tent, I was stuffed.
However, that did not stop me from marching on over to Wicked Waffle for dessert. As you can tell by their name, you won’t find traditional waffles at Wicked. Instead, you might find waffle sandwiches made with prosciutto and mozzarella or a nutella and banana combo (which is a personal favorite of mine).
Over the last year, DC’s food scene has been the topic of some heated debates. And although I still think it has a long way to go, I’m excited about the city’s potential to become a great food destination. And I’m definitely looking forward to next year’s Taste.