The fabulous folks over at Eventbrite recently conducted a study on the top food and drink trends across the US, and Washington, DC was included in their “Top 10 Fastest-Growing Food & Drink Cities” (see graphic below). Of course we were! Eventbrite is running a Trends in Food & Drink project and I decided to join. Eventbrite is a great way to find events in your areas like my summer series of Detox to Retox: Yoga + Beer Tasting happy hours at Hellbender Brewing Company.
While I’m a little surprised that DC came in 7th behind some places which shall remain nameless that I don’t particularly associate with killer food – and believe me, I did the research with all the travel my last job entailed – I’m going to be the glass half full kind of gal here. The DC food scene is upping it’s game every single day. Having lived in San Francisco, a locavore and foodie’s Candyland, I’d venture to say DC is starting to rival culinary gems like Chicago, New York and even SF. I know some of you may balk at the idea that DC can give those cities a run for their money, but we’ve come a long way since I first moved here 10 years ago.
Of the observations noted in this study, the three food and drink trends I find most prevalent in the DMV, inspiring, and worth blabbing to you about are: Communal Dining, Local or Organic, and Spirits and Mixology.
DC has some of the best communal table restaurants around. I loved this style, or “trend” of dining experience before I even knew what it was. You never know who you’re going to rub elbows with or what kind of shared conversation just might spark. One of the classics, in my opinion, is Le Pain Quotidien. LPQ has been a Georgetown staple for fresh and tasty food without a lot of pomp and circumstance for ages. They have one of the best bagel and lox plates I’ve ever savored – hello behemoth capers – and rich, dark French-roast coffee to boot. Others I’ve enjoyed include Zaytinya, Masa 14, and Founding Farmers. For a more extensive list of where to go to see what eating with others is really all about, check out Jenny Mayo’s article from the Washington Post Express.
Local or Organic
Want to know what’s on the top of my locavore bucket list for the summer? Arcadia’s 2015 Summer Solstice Farm Dinner. Arcadia Center for Sustainable Food & Agriculture, located just outside the city in Alexandria, is “dedicated to creating a more equitable and sustainable food system and culture in the Washington, DC area and a collaborative space for the many local efforts and initiatives around better food.” They’ve got something real good going and there are countless ways to get involved if you’re looking to get your hands dirty this summer. Sadly I’ll be missing out on their solstice dinner and instead will be eating local Vermont fare at a foodie friend’s wedding that weekend. I wouldn’t miss it otherwise! It’s well worth the big ticket price for an incredible farm-to-table meal in support of this worthwhile endeavor.
Spirits and Mixology
DC’s bar and brewery scene is growing rapidly. From Mockingbird Hill, a Sherry and ham bar in DC’s Shaw neighborhood, to DC Brau, a local craft brewery distilling world-class beer right here in the District, we’ve got something for everyone. Heck, my Detox to Retox event series proves in many ways that District residents are finding creative ways to breathe new life into their joint passion for tasty libations and supporting local businesses. You see, that what it’s all about – community. The DC food and drink scene goes well beyond innovative concepts and delicious end products, it’s bringing together people from all walks in search of something they can share in this otherwise transient and uptight city.
What’d they miss?
There’s only one thing I think Eventbrite missed while evaluating these trends – all the amazing food you can eat at and take home to cook from our amazing DMV Farmer’s Markets. Mount Pleasant’s Saturday market has steamed pork buns that sell out halfway through its open hours and the Columbia Heights’ market has some of the tastiest local goat cheese and grass-fed meats I’ve ever put in my body. The markets are many and, thank goodness, they’re everywhere! Check out my Guide to Spring Seasonal Eating in the DMV for a complete list of where to go in your neck of the woods.