Saturday, June 8, 2013

Re-cap: Sound Bites DC

Sound Bites DC has quickly become one of my favorite events of the year, meeting my three requirements for a great event: 1) Delicious Food 2) Great Music 3) No Lines (I did see a line for oysters at one point, but 1 line out of 20 booths isn't bad). It's also worth sharing that I went to Sound Bites DC the same day as another tasting event last year, and my friend and I enjoyed Sound Bites 10x more. We were this close to canceling our plans to attend Sound Bites last year since we already had a long day at the other event, but my friend and I were happy that we decided otherwise. We would have missed out on an amazing event! In a similar manner, this year my friend and I had went to another tasting event the day before Sound Bites DC, and during Sound Bites, my friend commented, "This event is so much better. Can they please have this event more often? Like weekly?" If only…

With all proceeds benefiting D.C. Central Kitchen, Sound Bites DC offered guests a day filled with food from more than 20 of DC's best restaurants, music from 7 local bands, a performance by Batala, and an epic mixology battle of 14th Street Bars. 

Borinquen Lunch Box had a variety of their empanadas on hand. I chose the chicken variety, while my friend was eager to try the empanadas stuffed with veggies. Though this was the first of 20+ restaurants we visited, we planned to come back for seconds.

Mada 14 offered spoonfuls of Hijiki Seaweed Salad made of carrots, chayote, sesame dressing and daikon sprouts. This was a nice lite bite to enjoy on a lovely summer day.

Todd Gray's Muse Cafe offered guests a Quinoa Salad made with figs and mint. As proof that these events are great marketing tools for restaurants, my friend and I now have reservations for the Muse Cafe's Sunday Vegan Brunch.

The team at Astro Doughnuts and Fried Chicken patiently waited for us as we tried to decide which one of the four flavors we wanted to try.

Doughnuts weren't the only sweets available at the event, as Shake Shack served samples of their Chocolate Chip custard, and Sticky Fingers Bakery sampled their vegan treats, including the most delicious brownies. 

The team at Pearl Dive Oyster Palace puts the finishing touches on their Crab and Shrimp campechana. 

Pizzeria Orzo put on a spin on the BLT, serving a burger made of brioche, lamb bacon and tomato jam. 

Beef Barbacoa Tacos from El Centro, made with brisket, pico de gallo, & creme fresco, were one of my favorite dishes of the day.

I can never turn down a grilled cheese. Cork Wine Bar grilled a version made with brioche, fontina, prosciutto and golden raisins.

H & Pizza showed guests just what makes their pizzas so good by making their house made mozzarella on-site. 

Bar Pilar mixed up a ceviche made with magi magi, mussels, octopus and calamari. 

Fat Shorty cooked my favorite sausage: Chorizo!

Dyvine BBQ In Motion served guests samples of their pulled pork and chopped chicken biscuits.

Last year Gordy's Pickly Jar simply served samples of their pickles, but this year they joined forced with Red Apron Butchery, offering guests braised beef sandwiches with cherry pepper spread.

The Hamilton provided Brisket Biscuits made with a cheddar jalapeño cornmeal biscuit, barbecue beef brisket and homemade slaw.

While enjoying bites from 20+ restaurants, guests were treated to a performance by Batala.

Immediately following Batalata's performance, guests turned their focus from the food to the drinks, as"The Battle of 14th Street" began. The Gibson, Bar Pilar, Birch & Barley and Black Jack were challenged with making the best cocktails while using a secret ingredient revealed seconds before they were to begin crafting cocktails. Gina Chersevani MC'd the event, while Todd Thrasher (PX, Bar TNT), Fritz Hahn (The Washington Post's Going Out Guru), Chef Anthony Lombardo (1789 Restaurant)  and I (your very own Capital Cooking Contributor won a spot on the judges table through Twitter) served as judges.

Congrats to the ladies of Birch & Barley for snatching the title away from last year's winners, The Gibson.

Now that the Mixology Competition had come to a close, it was time for the music! I filled a plate with Buffalo & Bergen's knishes and some other bites and moved inside the 9:30 club.

7 bands performed on stage, and one band even asked guests to participate in a sing-along about how much we all love peanut butter. I do love peanut butter!

Most restaurants had finished cooking food by the time the first band finished their performance, but Jaleo was just getting started. When we traveled back outside after the first performance, Jaleo was cooking a brand new supply of paella, made with baby sausages, artichokes and vegetables.

Sound Bites DC is an event that I add to my calendar as soon as dates are released. To do the same, bookmark For info about how to get involved with DC Central Kitchen, visit

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