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Night at The Yards Food Competition: The Results Are In!

19 Oct

Last Friday, I was invited by Living Classrooms to participate as a food judge at their annual Night at The Yards event, benefitting the Foundation’s work of educating disadvantaged youth in the Baltimore-Washington region.

Night at The Yards

Night at the Yards featured over 30 food and drink vendors as well as four amazing musical acts including the Queez Beez, Living Classroom’s own program that gives young girls a platform to sing and dance and generated a great response from the crowd.

Food Judge

Meanwhile, the selection of food vendors was outstanding. Ranging from local breweries such as nearby Bluejacket to soon-to-open restaurants such as Farmers and Distillers (from the team of Founding Farmers), attendees had a wide array of food and beverage to choose from.

Pate de Campagne from Sonoma Wine BarRoasted brisket taco from Agua 301Cava Mezze spreads

So without further ado, here are this year’s winners from the 2016 Night at the Yards:

Best Food: Capital Crab Company

This local food truck and catering company hit it out the park with their jumbo lump crab balls and crunchy, savory hushpuppies.

Crab ball from Capital Crab Company

Crab ball from Capital Crab Company

 

Best Food Presentation: Farmers and Distillers

This upcoming restaurant from the Founding Farmers team not only offered the most generous portion of the event, but also the best presented with its barbecue pulled pork shaobing slider.

Barbecue pulled pork shaobing slider

Barbecue pulled pork shaobing slider

 

Best Booth Setup: Ice Cream Jubilee

The ice cream parlor, which is a just a stone’s throw from The Yards, dazzled with its table presentation with lights, cones, and scoops.

Best Brew: District Chophouse

A pioneer in the District brewery scene, District Chophouse was serving a seasonally appropriate Dunkelweizen that was a hit amongst the crowd.

Best Cocktail: Lavagna

The Capitol Hill establishment warmed patrons up with their autumn maple bourbon cocktail.

Congrats to the winners as well as Living Classrooms for putting on a very memorable event!

A Waterfront Dinner at Sou'Wester

14 Jun

Root Beer FloatA few weeks ago, Brett and I decided to have a date night in DC as we wanted to check out Doug Aitken’s Song 1 exhibition at the Hirshhorn before it ended. It was definitely a unique and breathtaking exhibit and we were glad we went. First came dinner, and we thought a perfect place to try would be Sou’wester in the Mandarin Oriental since it wasn’t a far walk from the Mall.

This was the first time we had been to the Mandarin since Brett surprised me with dinner at CityZen the night we got engaged, and that night almost seems like a blur now, so it was nice to walk in and see the views from the hotel of the waterfront. Luckily, we were seated at a great table facing the water, so we were able to see the boats and sunset right from our table.

Sou’wester’s menu is mainly local fare with a southern influence and a heavy focus on fish and seafood. We had heard so much about the hush puppies that we knew we had to try them as a starter. Brett also ordered the bar’s alcoholic rendition of a root beer float, which consisted of Jack Daniel’s, housemade root beer, vanilla bean, bitters, soda and vanilla nuage. It was strong yet refreshing, especially since it was so muggy outside.

Corn bread and biscuits

Before we could even try the hush puppies, out came a basket with cornbread and biscuits accompanied with a honey butter spread. I’m not sure which I liked better, but they were both excellent and I would have eaten more if we weren’t limited to one per person.

Hush puppies

As for the hush puppies, they lived up to the hype. In fact, they may have been the best we’ve had in this area. They were piping hot and had the perfect balance of sweet and salty when paired with the honey butter spread. We certainly had enough carbs to start our meal, but hey, we weren’t complaining!

Roasted local rockfish

For our entrees, Brett ordered the blackened red drum atop a bed of jambalaya with a spicy tomato emulsion, while I got the roasted local rockfish with a farro salad. My rockfish was excellently prepared, and I loved the farro and lightness of the sauce it came with. Between the shaved cucumbers, grapes, and tomatoes, it was a perfect dish for spring.

Blackened red drum

Brett really enjoyed the red drum and remarked that he felt like he was back in New Orleans, which was where we last had this fish back in December. The seasoning gave the fish a nice kick while the outstanding shrimp jambalaya could have an entrée in its own right.

Collard Greens

We also shared a side of collared greens, which I couldn’t get enough of. They were cooked with stewed tomatoes and had a slight sweetness to them which I loved. They may have been my favorite part of the meal.

By the time we got to dessert, everything looked amazing, but we had to pass because we were simply too full. This was a case of us trying a place we likely wouldn’t have come to other than the fact that we had a LivingSocial deal, but we were glad we were able to try it out and would definitely go back again, if nothing else but to sit outside by the water and eat a basket of hush puppies.

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