A Lot to Taste: Hot Georgetown Eateries Satisfy
It may have been hot June 1, but the Taste of Georgetown proved hotter with 25 Georgetown restaurants offering their top dishes, a "Craft Libation Pavilion," live jazz from the lawn of Grace Church, a chef showdown -- oh, and lots of lemonade and bottled water.
Hosted by the Georgetown Business Improvement District, the annual tasting festival of the town's food and beverage establishments benefits the Georgetown Ministry Center, a non-profit which helps the homeless at Grace Church. Now in its 20th year, the Taste of Georgetown routinely shuts down Wisconsin Avenue from M down to K Street and with crowd attendance that winds up totaling, by the end of the day, 8,000 to 10,000.
With 50 signature dishes from more than 25 Georgetown dining spots, food lovers and tasters got a chance to add a few newcomers to their palate, such as Bandolero and the soon-to-open El Centro. Participating restaurants included 1789, Baked & Wired, Bandolero, Bangkok Joe's, Bodega Spanish Tapas & Lounge, Café Bonaparte, Clyde's of Georgetown, Connecticut Copperthite Pie Co., Dean & DeLuca, Degrees Bistro, El Centro, Filomena Ristorante, Georgetown Cupcake, J. Paul's, Luke's Lobster, Morton's The Steakhouse, Muncheez Mania, Neyla, Old Glory, Paolo's, Ristorante Piccolo, Sea Catch Restaurant & Raw Bar, Sprinkles Cupcakes, Tackle Box, Tony & Joe’s-Nick’s Riverside Grill and Thunder Burger.
To beat the summer heat, Taste of Georgetown unveiled a new focus on craft beers at this year’s Craft Beer & Wine Pavilion. The pavilion included unique brews, such as Brooklyn Brewery’s Summer Ale, Leinenkugel's Summer, New Belgium Brewing’s Fat Tire and Rolle Bolle and Starr Hill’s the Love.
Dishes ranged from savory tastes like Maine-style shrimp rolls from Luke’s Lobster and crab-stuffed deviled eggs with mustard barbecue sauce from Old Glory BBQ to sweet treats like Cap’N Crunch and red velvet ice cream from Sprinkles Cupcakes and Key lime cupcakes from Georgetown Cupcake and unique, gourmet creations like duck prosciutto with strawberry rhubarb from 1789 and hand-rolled beef short rib agnolotti pasta from Ristorante Piccolo.
Among the competing tastes, this year saw the first-ever "Georgetown Chef Showdown" at high noon. A la "Iron Chief," Clyde's executive chef Adam Newton and Bryan Yealy of Capital Restaurant Concepts headed the BID team and the Yelp team, respectively. Advisory neighborhood commissioner Bill Starrels was on Newton's winning BID team and helped to avenge a previous cooking loss at the Capella's Grill Room. Judges for this tasty contest were Anthony Lombardo of 1789 Restaurant and Jakob Esko of the Grill Room at the Capella Hotel.
The traditional table of judges was there to sample each dish. Taste of Georgetown emcee, 94.7 Fresh FM’s Kelly Collis, was also a food judge, along with Shaun Courtney of Georgetown Patch, Jessica Sidman of the Washington City Paper and Holley Simmons of Washington Post Express. Here are the results:
"Best use of Seasonal Ingredients" -- Filomena
"Best Overall Dish" -- Bandolero
"Veg-Friendly: Best Meat-free Dish" -- Bandolero
"Best Way to Satiate a Sweet Tooth" -- Degrees
"Carnivore's Dream Dish" – Ristorante Piccolo
Live music from local musicians included Laissez Foure, a swingin’ jazz quartet, reggae band Mystic Warriors and the Sandra Y. Johnson Sextet.
The event was begun 20 years ago by Grace Episcopal Church on Wisconsin Avenue and its former rector David Bird and member Robert Egger, who went on to found D.C. Central Kitchen. The Georgetown BID has been involved since 2004.
“2013 marks two important milestones in Georgetown: the 25th anniversary of the Georgetown Ministry Center and the 20th year of the Taste of Georgetown,” said Gunther Stern, executive director of the GMC. “Taste of Georgetown is an instrumental fundraiser for us, having raised more than $120,000 through the years in support of our efforts to eradicate homelessness through outreach and education. We look forward to continuing this constructive partnership with Grace Episcopal Church and the Georgetown BID for many anniversaries to come.”