Taste of the Nation DC

19 Apr

So on the night of Monday, April 12th, the National Building Museum hosted Share Our Strength’s Taste of the Nation 2010.

Share Our Strength’s Taste of the Nation is the nation’s premier culinary benefit dedicated to making sure no kid grows up hungry. Each spring and summer, the nation’s hottest chefs and mixologists donate their time, talent and passion at nearly 40 events across the United States and Canada, with one goal in mind: to raise the critical funds needed to end childhood hunger.

I went to Taste of the Nation in DC last year with my bff Jeff and had the best time ever!  I was enthralled that all the best DC restaurants that I had been vying to go to were in one place.   And better than that, I could sample little plates from each one rather than having to choose.  The night was spent eating and drinking way too much, and ending up with a serious stomach ache/hangover the next day….oops!  I knew the philanthropic idea behind it was right up my ally though!  What better way to combine two of my interests than eating and drinking amazing food and beverages all for the sake of helping the needy!  After the ’09 experience, I vowed to get involved in 2010 and that I did!

Since November I have been volunteering on the Auction Committee for TOTN, soliciting local and national businesses for monetary sponsorships, gift certificate donations for our silent auction, and/or product donations for our 500 VIP gift bags.  It has been quite the journey, but seeing everything put together Monday night reassured me that all the sweat and tears were well worth it!  The local DC individuals and families that will benefit from the money we raised deserve it more than I may ever comprehend, so I am happy to be even a small part of the betterment of their lives.

Now on to the food!

We had 60 of DC’s top restaurants all hosting a small plate, numerous wine and cocktail bars with mixologist’s making some of their most famous concoctions – not to mention ones they made especially for this event, 2 fully stocked Belgium beer bars, and, of course, dessert table upon dessert table making all kinds of unique and decadent after dinner (or pre or during) treats.

Here are just a few pictures of the venue and tables in the museum.  The space was absolutely beautiful and fit the event wonderfully!


I had a total of 15, YES 15, small plates throughout the evening.  Unlike last year, where I can gladly say I learned my lesson, I did not completely finish any one of my plates.  I shared every single one with someone, or after getting the taste I wanted, I simply put it down.  Now, I HATE wasting food.  I specifically plan my meals during the week to make sure I waste as little food as possible, but I knew I legit wanted just a bite of everything so I had a choice…be one of the many wasteful contributors of the evening or end up gaining a couple of pounds and suffering a severe stomach ache (clearly not trying a plate was not an option).  I chose the former, and while I felt bad about it, I knew it was best for my overall well-being this time around to waste a little food.  Here are a few of the plates I tried:

Food-

Spinach latke w seared scampi

A BJT tiny burger w their famous mojo sauce

Seafood salad w linguini

Raw octopus w an avocado and aioli dressing

Duck pate w prosciutto and pickled cabbage on a crustini

Lamb stew w puréed potatoes

Mini meatballs w garlic polenta

Chilled pea soup w Greek yogurt and pine nuts

Rosemary Belgium waffle w pate and fois gras

Curry shrimp w mango chutney

Shredded lamb w tomato polenta

Drink-

Black tea infused w tequila

Ginger, tequila, and whey protein???

Cruzan rum & lemon juice

Cabernet Sauvignon

Stella Artois

Hoegaarden

Clearly that is a lot of tasting of the Nation!  Like I said, either I only ate half of the plate, shared my plate with someone else, or just had a bite off of someone else’s plate, which in the end was a perfect balance for my tummy and taste buds!

On to my favorites…

I must say that I am surprised at what my fav choices were this year.  At the top of my list, in no particular order, were Bistro Bis’s Lamb Stew – the lamb was unbelievably tender and just melted in your mouth, and combined with the potatoes and gravy, YUM.  It was the perfect combination and such comfort food!  Next, was Belga’s Belgium waffle and fois gras – whattta combo!  It was like a savory dessert w a real meal feel.  Hello, it was basically one of the most delic carbs known to man and straight fat, how could that taste bad?!  Last, but definitely not least (I don’t think there is a least), was the chilled Pea Soup.  Maybe because I wasn’t expecting to love it so much, but the combo of the yogurt and pine nuts in it was such a delic surprise!  And it had such a fresh taste to it, def a welcome to my palette.

I didn’t overwhelm myself w desserts this year either (such a thumbs up for me).  I carefully chose one of Georgetown Cupcakes’ famous creations.  They didn’t have too big of a selection which I loved since I have such a hard time making food decisions! Between the double chocolate, vanilla crème, chocolate-hazelnut, and chocolate-peanut butter options, the choc/pb def won out, and it surpassed all my expectations!  There was a surprise chocolate lava liquid inside the cupcake which just oozed when I bit into it.  And the pb icing was the perfect fluffy, airiness that it tasted like a little piece of whipped heaven on top! It hit the spot and satisfied me enough that I didn’t even want to try other desserts b/c I just knew they wouldn’t live up.  Plus, there wasn’t one other dessert that I felt was calling my name.  I must admit that it was a really great feeling to tell myself that I could have any other dessert (or food) in the building, and that my higher consciousness knew that I was really satisfied w what I had and didn’t feel the need to binge on all the food in sight just because I could!  I also knew that I would want to save up room for some drinks w my friends since it was my last night hanging out in DC with all of them 😦  All about a balance right?!

I may have overdone it a little w the post event drinks, but it ended up being such a great time with all my friends and coworkers that I just didn’t want it to end!  Starting at 7 pm and ending at 1 am on a Monday evening is just necessary in special circumstances, and this night was definitely one of them!

Cheers to Taste of the Nation, great causes, and great friends!



Check out www.tasteofthenation.org to find one near you!  For what you get out of the evening, it was definitely worth every penny spent on a ticket.  And remember it is for a good cause!

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