From Mathew Harkins. Email him at mharkins[AT]borderstan.com.
There’s a lot to be thankful for in our community. Borderstan is home to some wonderful development projects, from new condos and apartment buildings to new supermarkets to a seemingly unending supply of new restaurants, bars and cafes.
There are a lot things being offered in the neighborhood, so why not carve a little time out of your day to give something back?
Along with all those great things mentioned above in the neighborhood, there are some great venues for volunteering here in Borderstan.
N Street Village
N Street Village, located on N Street between 14th Street and Vermont Avenue, is a facility designed to help homeless and low-income women in our neighborhood through supportive services and housing. NSV takes a broad, holistic approach in assisting these women as they face a number of challenges that vary from individual to individual, including homelessness, addiction, mental illness and more.
A selection of the volunteer opportunities at NSV includes: tutoring, preparing and serving meals, maintaining the courtyard garden, helping with fundraising and much more. To find out more about these opportunities and to apply to volunteer, head over to the NSV Volunteer page.
Common Good City Farm
Since there’s no better way to state it than what’s already on their website, Common Good City Farm’s mission “is to grow food, educate, and help low-income DC community members meet their food needs.” Located just outside the Borderstan area near V and 4th Streets, CGCF is exactly what it sounds like: a small farm in the middle of the city that teaches residents and students about food production, healthy eating and environmental sustainability.
Just last year, they CGCF “provided over 6,300 pounds of fresh vegetables to low-income families.” There are many ways to help, including donations, dropping off scraps for composting and volunteering on the farm itself. See their Get Involved page as well as their Volunteer page for more information.
Located on 14th Street between V and W Streets, Martha’s Table uses education, nutrition and family support services to address poverty and issues stemming from poverty. Some of their volunteering opportunities include preparing food, tutoring children and staffing their mobile soup kitchen. You can find out more about these opportunities and fill out a volunteer application on their Volunteer Opportunities page.
- Bread for the City – “The mission of Bread for the City is to provide vulnerable residents of Washington, DC, with comprehensive services, including food, clothing, medical care, and legal and social services, in an atmosphere of dignity and respect.”
- SOME (So Others Might Eat) – “An interfaith, community-based organization that exists to help the poor and homeless of our nation’s capital. We meet the immediate daily needs of the people we serve with food, clothing, and health care.”
- DC Central Kitchen – “Through job training, healthy food distribution, and local farm partnerships, DC Central Kitchen offers path-breaking solutions to poverty, hunger, and poor health.”
- Church of the Ascension and Saint Agnes – A local church, located on Massachusetts Avenue between 13th and 12th Streets, with a handful of programs that reach out to the neighborhood through blood drives, partnering with other institutions (like NSV), working with local seniors and the disabled, and more.
DC’s fifth annual two-day celebration of food and drink will take place January 26 and 27. Hosted by José Andrés, Joan Nathan and Alice Waters, Sips & Suppers, which has raised over $500,000 since its inception, benefits Martha’s Table and DC Central Kitchen (DCCK).
Sips will be held at the Newseum on Saturday, January 26 at 7 pm. The evening will feature a sampling from the local area’s finest food artisans, mixologists and wineries, including wine from Loudon County, beer from ChurchKey and cocktails from Buffalo & Bergen.
Suppers will take place on Sunday evening, January 27, and will be held in 26 private homes across the DC area. For the event, local and internationally renowned chefs come together to prepare multi-course meals and carefully selected wine for small groups in each home.
This year’s Suppers include a Chinese New Year feast by Chefs Scott Drewno of The Source by Wolfgang Puck and Erik Bruner Yang of Toki Underground, an Icelandic dinner with Chefs Siggi Hall of Siggi Hall Restaurant in Reykjavik and Jeff Buben of Vidalia and a kosher Greek and Spanish-style meal by Chefs Mike Isabella of Graffiato, Bandolero and the upcoming Kapnos and G and Victor Albisu of the upcoming Taco Bamba and Del Campo.
Tickets to Suppers are $550 per person, and can be purchased online.
Five of the East Coast’s best mixologists will be on-hand to create craft drinks from 8 until 10 pm. Local mixologists include JP Caceres of Pisco Porton and Juan Coronado of Think Food Group. Traveling guests include Raphael Reyes of New York’s Mihoko’s 21 Grams, Ryan McGrale of Boston’s Death By Cocktails and Brendan Dorr of the B&O Brasserie in Baltimore.
Entry into the event is a $15 donation, which includes a glass of craft punch. Additional drink tickets are $5 each. The Coupe is located in Columbia Heights at 3415 11th Street NW.
October 8 will be an evening filled with celebrity chefs, small plates and drinks from some of the District’s top restaurants and dramatic competition between some of DC’s top chefs – and it’s all for a good cause.
This coming Monday is the annual Capital Food Fight for DC Central Kitchen, hosted by Chef Jose Andres and Anthony Bourdian at the Ronald Reagan Building (1300 Pennsylvania Avenue NW). And as Jane Alonso points out, it’s going to be a “Chefomania.”
Here’s what you can expect:
- A number of celebrity chefs and food personalities will be in attendance, including Top Chef’s Padma Lakshmi, Bizarre Foods’ Andrew Zimmern and The Chew’s Carla Hall
- Local chefs will compete for the title of Food Fight champion. The battling chefs include Jeffrey Buben from Vidalia/Bistro Bis, Enzo Fargione from Elisir, Guillermo Pernot from Cube Libre and Adam Sobel from Bourbon Steak.
- Food and drink from more than 75 area restaurants will be available to sample.
- An auction will close down the evening’s event.
Tickets are $200 and are available online.
DC Central Kitchen offers path — breaking solutions to poverty, hunger, and poor health through job training, healthy food distribution and local small business partnerships. DC Central Kitchen has prepared 25 million meals for low-income and at-risk neighbors in DC. Read more about DCCK and its programs on its website.
From Jane Alonso. Her passion for food and spirits leads her on frequent excursions into Borderstan’s land of bars and restaurants. Email her at jane[AT]borderstan.com.
For those of you DC foodies (and do-gooders), don’t miss the year’s best charity event – DC Central Kitchen’s Food Fight annual fundraiser, hosted by The Travel Channel’s Anthony Bourdain and our favorite hometown celebrity chef, Jose Andres.
In case you haven’t experienced the Food Fight before, the event features teams of battling chefs on a stage in the middle of the Reagan Building’s atrium. Local restaurants fill the halls surrounding the stage with free samples from their menus, and the wine and beer flows from several open bars.
I’ve jokingly called this event “Chefomania” in the past because of the sheer number of well-known food personalities that you will see at the Food Fight. In addition to Bourdain and Andres, this year’s event will include Top Chef’s Padma Lakshmi, Bizarre Foods’ Andrew Zimmern and The Chew’s Carla Hall as judges.
The battling chefs: Jeffrey Buben from Vidalia/Bistro Bis, Enzo Fargione from Elisir, Guillermo Pernot from Cube Libre and Adam Sobel from Bourbon Steak. And it seems that every time you turn around at this event, you will bump into a food writer or a local chef (is that really Eric Ripert that just walked by?).
For some, the entrée into this annual foodie prom may be a bit expensive at $200 per person, but the money goes to one of the best charities in America. DC Central Kitchen takes leftover food from local restaurants, hotels, and catering operations – as well as food donated from local farms – and turns that food into 5,000 meals a day for low-income members of the community. The meals are loaded onto a fleet of trucks and distributed at little or no cost to 100 nearby homeless shelters, transitional homes, and nonprofit organizations, saving them money and nourishing their clients.
Most importantly, these meals go out with a message: DC Central Kitchen offers a rigorous Culinary Job Training program for unemployed men and women who want to replace homelessness, addiction, and incarceration with new careers and changed lives. Many of these graduates work at the Kitchen and others are placed at local food operations.
To help fund these programs and create good jobs for their culinary graduates, DC Central Kitchen runs programs that serve healthy meals cooked from scratch in DC public schools and delivers nutritious snacks to corner stores in low-income neighborhoods. The idea is that food can do more than fill stomachs – DC Central Kitchen’s mission is to use food as a tool to strengthen bodies, empower minds, and build communities.
And if you have extra cash to donate above and beyond the cost of the tickets, do not miss the fabulous auction that takes place on stage at the end of the event. The top offer – dinner for six at 13 local restaurants in the DC area, including Minibar. A friend I brought to the Food Fight last year bid on this fantastic package on a whim and (to his surprise) became the winner of this fantastic prize. I have been enjoying these meals all year, and I can say that it has to be one of the best tax deductible splurges you will find anywhere.
Get your tickets soon – this event sells out several weeks ahead of time.
- Where Am I Going: DC Central Kitchen Food Fight, Ronald Reagan Building, 1300 Pennsylvania Avenue NW.
- When Am I Going: Monday, October 8 at 6 pm.
- Paycheck Pain: $200 per person, $150 of which is tax deductible.
- Say What?: It’s a large charity event and the acoustics are loud in the Reagan Building, so expect some level of noise.
- What am I eating and drinking: Over 75 DC area restaurants have tables with free food to sample, complemented by free wine and beer.
Borderstan welcomes new contributor From Chelsea Rinnig. Email her at chelsea[AT]borderstan.com
9:30 Club and DC Central Kitchen teamed up recently to host another successful Soundbites DC. Under the groovy guise of a sixties tie-dye, outdoor music festival, DC music lovers and foodies reveled in tastings from the city’s best restaurants. I had the good fortune to be one of them. Tents lined V Street NW outside the 9:30 Club with vendors hawking tasting plates ranging from Shake Shack’s Oatmeal Pie frozen custard, to Indique’s chicken tikka masala, to Pepe the Food Truck’s Spanish ham and cheese. And with all food donated by the local restaurants themselves, ticket sales directly benefited DC Central Kitchen.
With my hand finally stamped and my mouth hanging open, I realized fairly quickly after cleareing the gates that I couldn’t simply eat my way from station to station; a Mac Rib slider from Sixth Engine, shrimp polenta from Policy, and a focaccia sandwich from Cork later, my strategy had to change. The sheer volume of samplings gathered in one place imposed a degree of selectivity. My passion for food and appetite to give each dish a chance drove me to literally overstuff myself. Even so, it was physically impossible to taste every single dish. Within the first 45 minutes, I was packed to the gills.
Nevertheless, I managed to sample a few of the dishes I knew I wouldn’t forgive myself for missing. One highlight included the ceviche from Pearl Dive Oyster Palace that otherwise would have required a two-hour wait on a Saturday night. A salty, crunchy tortilla chip was the vehicle for a tender and acidic octopus topped with red onion and cilantro. Mandu represented both East Asian flavors and upper Dupont’s 18th Street with a spicy kimchi and pork taco.
Herbivores, however, flocked to the Mediterranean dish at Room 11, offering one of the few vegetarian dishes at the event, tahini dressing and cayenne complimented the smoky, garlic roasted cauliflower well. Meat eaters rejoiced over the range of sliders offered, but unfortunately those with more classic interpretations often went overlooked in favor of the more exotic renditions. Harry’s Smokehouse provided a favorite, and practically a whole meal–the tasting plates (let alone my stomach) could hardly fit the juicy barbecued pulled pork slider, collard greens and cornbread.
Soundbites DC was the perfect marriage of philanthropy, music, and food, entirely designed and targeted for the active Washingtonian and highly representative of some of Borderstan’s very best. I keep my own bucket list of restaurants I have been meaning to visit, and this event allowed me to cross many of them off (and in quite the cost effective way). Knowing that the proceeds of ticket sales directly benefited DC Central Kitchen made the $40 deal even more delicious.
So what’s your strategy? How do you survive the enormity of DC’s food festivals? Let me know and I’ll try it out at DC’s next food event!
If you’re looking for an excuse to listen to some local music, sip cocktails from the city’s most highly-regarded mixologists and sample bites from the District’s hottest restaurants and food trucks, then look no further.
Music at this year’s event is curated by Eric Hilton of the Thievery Corporation, and includes Bone, Fur Feathers, The Archives, and Nappy Riddem, with a DJ Set by Eric Hilton.
Cocktails will be mixed by libation-enlightened employees from Oyamel, The Passenger, Fujimar and The Gibson. Food will be provided by local favorites, including BONMI, Borinquen, Cork, Harry’s Smokehouse, Indique, Policy, Taylor Gourmet and more!
The event starts at 5 pm at the 9:30 Club, 815 V Street NW – tickets are $40 and can be purchased online.
What is “Stuff the Bus”? DC’s largest food charity, DCCK, has teamed up with the restaurant app, Venga, to collect food and donations. DCCK provides meals for the homeless from its downtown kitchen and headquarters. The bus will be at various food and restaurant locations around the city through this Friday, September 30.
You can always donate online to DCCK if you can’t make it to the bus! Venga is a mobile app featuring exclusive offers from more than 100 of DC’s top restaurants.
Get to Know the Folks at Greater Greater Washington
Since we’re all trying to find a happy hour to go to, here’s an idea. The folks at Greater Greater Washington are setting up a time for you to join them for drinks in the near future as part of their regular series of happy hours. Check it out tomorrow, August 23, from 6 to 8 pm downstairs at the Laughing Man Tavern at 1306 G Street NW. They’ve even got drink and $4 app specials!
Sneak Preview of MLK Memorial
Tomorrow will give you a chance to get a sneak preview of the newest memorial, the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. National Memorial before it officially opens to the public on August 28. No, not everyone can go check it out, but you’ll be able to get a special look because Mayor Gray announced it to be D.C. Resident Day. The Post has the full scoop on the full events for the memorial. Don’t worry, Gray officially scrapped his plan for requiring you to get a ticket for tomorrow’s festivities.
In case you’re looking for a cause to support, DCist tells of two that are worthwhile. Certainly the more admirable of the options is the D.C. Central Kitchen‘s effort to open a second kitchen, their Nutrition Lab. But if transportation is more your cup of tea, then think about helping the Dulles Rail Expansion, which is somehow in need of more money.
DHS Making Strides
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security is “implementing changes to enable the government to focus its resources on high-priority immigration cases involving crime and other public safety concerns.” In other words, they’re going to focus on cases that are actually causing problems for the community, rather than whatever comes around. Notably, immigration cases in which one member of a same-sex couple is facing deportation will be dropped, allowing same-sex couples to remain as a unit in the states (Immigration is part of DHS). Read the full story from MetroWeekly.
What did you miss while you were out doing fun things? On Saturday, a plethora of volunteers went out as part of the DCPS Beautification Day to clean up D.C. public schools. I saw a bunch of folks at Ross Elementary, all of whom were doing a great job to make the school shine. And speaking of shining, yesterday was National GoTopless Day, which did have a happening in the District by the Reflecting Pool. How could you miss that?
DC Central Kitchen is promising that “DC’s hottest chefs and coolest music acts will be spinning plates and mixing jams–all to benefit DC Central Kitchen” on Sunday, May 23. Doors at the 9:30 Club (815 V Street NW) open at 5 pm.
For the first time, 9:30 Club will expand to its exterior, making this the first indoor-outdoor event planned at the club. You can buy tickets online.
Borderstan-area restaurants offering tastings include Masa 14, Churchkey, Cork, Marvin and Busboys & Poets.
Each day DC Central Kitchen collects excess food from local restaurants and food establishments and redistributes it to the homeless and hungry. At the same time, DC Central Kitchen trains the homeless for jobs in the food service industry.
BGR The Burger Joint on Connecticut Avenue hosted a small party tonight to launch a holiday program, “ONEforONE,” to help feed the homeless. During December when you buy a burger at any of BGR’s three restaurants, the chain will in turn donate a burger to DC Central Kitchen (DCCK).
DCCK is located in downtown DC and recovers unused food to feed the homeless and hungry. The organization also trains unemployed men and women for jobs in the food service industry. DCCK recently marked its 20th anniversary. (more…)