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No. 68 Project: Evenings of Food, Discourse, Imagination

by Borderstan.com — March 31, 2011 at 12:57 pm 0

No. 68 Project, Fathom Creative, Chris Eichler, Borderstan

March 20: One of the nine dinners from No. 68 Project that are being held at Fathom Creative on 14th Street NW. (Photo: Chris Eichler)

From Keri Douglas. She is a writer, photographer and communications consultant who lives in Logan Circle.

A select few evenings of sensory and culinary delights enters Logan Circle via London. The No. 68 Project is hosting nine theme parties with celebrity chefs and mixologists from New York and D.C., based on themes “discovered” in Chinese fortune cookies.

Hosan Lee, the cultural director from New York, and Jill Richmond, the culinary director (who just returned to D.C. from London), founded No. 68 Project in an effort to bring more meaningful discussion forward to highlight innovation. Lee said she has a “desire to bring people together and connect on a human level.”

I had the good fortune to attend the March 20 event with Todd Gray, chef/owner of Equinox and the upcoming Watershed in NoMa. An intimate table for 45 guests was set up at Fathom Creative on 14th Street NW. The space glowed with floating candles, spring branches, video streaming on the walls as techno sounds vibrated throughout.

The evening’s food was based on American cuisine over the last 50 years. Gray, with his wife and colleagues, created a menu of extraordinary tastes and bites of history. With four assistants, Gray offered small plates from spicy Creole Gumbo to heavenly “Lobster Raviolini in a Can” (this was not the canned pasta of the 1950s!).

Mixologist Jared Boller of Lani Kai in New York City is a master of the palette. Working alongside Gray’s creations, Boller complimented each plate with original drinks using homemade tonic, white peppercorn, sage, rosemary, basil, fresh peaches and a brush of orange essence. A favorite was “American Dream” of soda infused with sliced peaches and basil and the charming “Dolly” with Beefeater, Calvados, honey, lemon juice, old-fashioned bitters and toasted Rosemary ice.

Only in D.C. could guests thrive on discourse on innovated culinary delights and public policy over a seven-course meal. Social entrepreneurs, school teachers and of course, government workers, pushed the volume up in the space with boisterous commentary. They paused only for guest speakers to reflect on global, local and personal change innovators — Kalsoom Lakhani for the Acumen Fund, Holly Jones of 826DC and Derek Beres, a yogi and global musician/journalist.

Questions were raised, “What is change?” and “What is innovation?” In the capital of public policy thinkers, the questions resonated with many. How do you effectively make change globally, locally and personally? As the Chinese fortune cookie so wisely says, “If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always gotten.”

No. 68 Project is hosting nine events in D.C. at Fathom Creative through April 17th.

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