By Lisa Comento, Foodable Contributor
Last week, the National Building Museum housed Taste of the Nation in Washington, D.C. This event draws foodies from throughout the D.C. metropolitan region eager to sample artisanal small bites such as ceviche, braised pork sliders and gnocchi crafted by local chefs. Wine bars and local distilleries along with more than forty local restaurants were spread out around either side of the main floor.
Behind the Scenes
Share Our Strength was founded in 1984 in response to the famine in Ethiopia by sister-brother team, Bill and Debbie Shore. The Taste of the Nation fundraiser is organized by Share Our Strength to support their No Kid Hungry campaign to fight childhood hunger in America. The campaign aims to educate families across the country on how to prepare healthy and affordable meals. This dynamic campaign also connects children to nutritional programs at their schools such as school breakfasts and summer meals.
The Cocktail Highlights
During the event, local bar Mockingbird Hill, located in the fast-growing Shaw neighborhood, served their Anda-Lucian, a refreshing drink comprised of Chairman’s Reserve Spiced Rum, Alexandro Sherry, fruit juices and bitters.
Catoctin Creek Distillery, nestled in the beautiful Purcellville, VA, served Red or Dead with their Roundstone Rye, Cheerwine Shrub, Coffee Tincture and Soda.
Local Bites & Local Talent
“It is wonderful to be involved in an event that does so much for the nation’s hungry,” said Chef Mariah Tysz of Juniper Restaurant in the Fairmont Hotel. “I believe that the D.C. restaurants that participate are viewed as truly caring about the welfare of our nation. I am very much looking forward to participating in Chefs Behind Bars on May 28th at Stanton & Greene for No Kid Hungry.” She elegantly displayed her tuna tartare that she mentioned was a favorite at Juniper.
Bar Civita, an “Italian inspired New America restaurant” opening in Woodley Park in a few weeks, was also part of the night’s festivities. Executive Chef and Owner Liam LaCivita featured his savory Limoncello-cured salmon, asparagus/sorrel/radish salad and preserved lemon goat milk yogurt.
Sona Creamery and Wine Bar’s Spring Dream graham-cracker-crusted dessert with housemade lemon curd stuffed with a goat cheese filling lived up to its name. Owner and creator behind the dessert, Conan O’Sullivan, was all smiles, inviting guests to visit and make cheese at Sona. How could anyone say no to that invitation? Sona opened its doors in early 2014 near Eastern Market and is the District’s only on-site creamery.
Executive Chef Sam Kim of 1789 Restaurant served a dish that was inspired by his love of Vietnamese pho beef noodle soup — Sriracha powdered beef tendon puff with beef tartar flavored with lime juice, jalapeños, cilantro and Thai basil, then dusted with toasted rice powder.
“I feel that events like this help bring to light that there are problems we have at home that need to be addressed,” said Kim. “Children starving throughout this country is a problem I feel we should focus on before we try to go out and fix other countries’ problems. We grow enough food to stamp out hunger, but so much of our produced vegetables are not sold commercially because they are deemed to be unattractive and unworthy of grocery shelves. Tons of these products are either thrown away or sold at bargain discount prices to other nations. The amount of edible food that we throw away annually could feed every starving child in this country.”
Desserts were situated in a separate room. Dolci Gelati, now with multiple locations in D.C., served their distinctive gelato flavors. Olivia Macaron, based in Georgetown, handed out their Lady Gray and Cherry Blossom macarons. Co.Co Sala, located in Penn Quarter, even participated, offering their handcrafted chocolates by Artisan Confections.
Share our Strength did not disappoint the sold-out crowd that attended for more than the delicious fare, but to support a cause that affects our entire country.