Posts Tagged ‘Union Kitchen’
Yummy in Your Tummy at Emporiyum at Union Market’s, Dock 5 – one of the last events at this foodie destination!
I attended my first Emporiyum on Saturday, November 14, 2015 in Washington, D.C. and found a boatload of new artisans and stories of small local food artisans. My first impression of this event designed to be a “Meet Eat Shop” by the organizer’s pen was one of slight fear – I don’t mind crowds, but I am fearful of children running loose and amok around Foodie adults. No worries – for whatever reason, the kiddies were pretty well-behaved – this is likely because the adults were in their own fantasy land, and the children knew better than to ruin Foodie Mommy’s chance to feast on chocokombuchanola and other treats!
Emporiyum comprised the major food categories, those categories being chocolate, booze and pork and some other delicious fillers like candy (had some awesome caramels from Mouth Party Caramels – I think these should be a food category as well!) and of course Kombucha – I think Craft Kombucha and other makers of this fermented/pro-biotic spritzed up to reduce the actual vinegary taste product are on to something – another relatively new drink category – tonics. I of course needed a cocktail (it was after noon of course!) and the wonderful True Tonics gentleman took goo care of me! Some other noteworthy beverages:
Thunderbeast – no booze in this, but this is root beer with character!
Charm City Meadworks – I said tonic, right? Well this is honey-based and alcoholic – honey+alcohol=deliciousness – and you don’t have to mix it! Use this with a little water or lemonade spritzer after a hot yoga workout to revive you – yes!
One Eight Distilling – Max said Hi and remembered me – that and the fact they make great white whiskey and gin .. I stopped by at their facility nearby after the show, and I can barely remember the rest of the day!
Rujero Singani – Singani..the next Pisco..
Element Shrub – yes, it’s vinegar based..but for us vinegar lovers, I’ve always wondered how lemonade vs vinegarade would taste – hey, acid is acid, lemons are not local, use local made vinegar in your ade’s first.
And of course, I have to talk about Route 11’s potato chips – here’s a great recent article in the Washington Post about Sarah Cohen and how her family started this Regional chiphouse. And this was a twofer..right around the corner was Jeremiah “Bullfrog” Cohen, Sarah’s brother with his food business – Bullfrog Bagels and this tagline “Great people, making great food, for great people. #CARPEBAGEL” – just plain weird, but hey the Bagels are really Great!
So many great foods and drinks – I was most impressed by the visual presentation of Buredo – I kept wondering why a Sushi bar was in the middle of Emporiyum and then it struck me – this is the new sushi/burrito mashup that will probably storm America just like donut bacon cheeseburgers and cronuts – Americans just love mashups – I mean, we invented peanut butter and jelly sandwiches!
My conclusion on Emporiyum? It was a fun romp among about 100 food vendors which covered more than just snacky snacks but both real food and real drink. I’d prefer the event if it were 21 and over, but the kids seemed to be in designated areas (event organizers take note – parents and kids seem to need to sit – those alarming outbursts that seem to happen at the most opportune times don’t last long – give this stressed out demographic side seating!). If you paid $15 or whatever (hey, LivingSocial had a deal, so don’t bitch if you didn’t get one!) you shouldn’t expect a free meal – another peave of mine – the “I bought a ticket and it’s a free-for-all-stuff-your-face-get-my-money’s-worth” crowd should get over it, and expect to dish out an additional $15-$25 for lunch and snacks. This is also essentially a bazaar/emporium so a great time to stock up on snacks and other gourmet foods. There were easily 1,000+ people at the event, but crowd control was good – I think the fact that the event was 4 to 5 hours long made people realize that nothing would run out – I also went on Day 1 a Saturday which is often a madhouse, but again, people seemed pretty well behaved. The demographic was solid female 20 and 30 something and my impression is they loved it – a great day out, shopping, munching, and hanging with friends. Cheers!
Charlie “I Drink on the Job” Adler
Taste Ambassador, TasteUSA
June 17th, 2014 – Enjoyed a fun evening with a group that is promoting Food Entrepreneurship throughout the U.S. – Spoon University. Taste Talks came to DC after a successful visit to New York, but they were totally shocked by the large crowd that came out – my estimate is close to 200 people, but whatever the number, it was pretty packed! Food Samples from various local vendors/restaurants including Luke’s Lobster and Founding Farmer (see list below) and actually 2 Panel Discussions (speakers below) made it an interesting event. I would say that most of the audience were Millenials – many still in college – but that is primarily Spoon University’s audience. Food businesses, like food trucks, are the kinda hip “thing” for 20-somethings looking for direction in their life.
And what did I learn? Nothing seriously new – food businesses tend to be passion businesses – margins normally are slim and hours are long – and hard work separates those who succeed from those who fail – but what I found the most interesting is the high interest level in a city like Washington, D.C. which frankly has quite a few jobs available with decent pay – why would someone just out of college want such a tough career, when most likely they could take a pretty cushy desk job at 50% higher pay? I think many younger people are looking to feel good about themselves – not just a Big Paycheck – and food businesses seem to satisfy the need for adventure, a little risk-taking, and maybe a sense of belonging/community.
Tuesday, June 17 from 6:30 to 8:30pm
On the heels of our wildly successful Taste Talks NYC event, we’re once again partnering with our friends at General Assembly to cover all things food and entrepreneurship. Join us on June 17 to nosh on delicious free food, hear from professionals and die-hard foodies in the DC culinary scene and network with speakers and attendees. Register for the event here, or use the ticketing buttons below.
When: Tuesday, June 17 from 6:30 to 8:30pm
Where: 1776, 1133 15th St NW, Washington, DC 20005
Luke Holden, founder of Luke’s Lobster
Susan Able, editor-in-chief and publisher of Edible DC
Jennifer Motruk, VP marketing for Founding Farmers
Jonas Singer, founder of Union Kitchen and Blind Dog Cafe
Chris Vigilante, founder of Vigilante Coffee
Greg Menna, partner, District Doughnut
Summer Whitford, founder of The Food & Wine Diva
Jimmy Edgerton, 2Armadillos
Come hungry to feast on:
Thunder Beast Root Beer
Luke’s Lobster bites
Founding Farmers grub
Blind Dog Cafe chocolate chip cookies
Capitol Kombucha drinks
I wanted to learn how to make the juiciest fried chicken and fluffiest biscuits in DC..
I had the really great luck to attend a cooking class on Thursday, February 28th, 2013 at a totally new facility in DC – the Union Kitchen. So you may ask what exactly IS Union Kitchen? That actually might be hard to explain, but let me give it a try – it’s a place for Start-Up food businesses to go the next level in production and ultimately business success. But not always..it’s also a commercial kitchen for Food Trucks and other food producers who can schedule a time and then produce their product for commercial purposes..but it’s also one more thing – a potentially excellent venue for hands-on cooking classes and events. In a nutshell, it’s an exciting opportunity for food ventures in DC to go to the next level – I was PSYCHED to go to this event! (Note: Here’s a really good explanation by City Paper )
The Chef: I stole this from the Chef’s bio on her website, but I also would like to add that the chef was excellent at organizing and teaching a cooking class – she had wonderful rapport with the 10 attendees and she was very organized and straight to the point of the class – let’s get cookin’! Jessica also mentioned to me that she’s working on a commercial recipe for her Southern pimento cheese ..but I didn’t get much detail, I’m sure there will be more to tell..From her page: Jessica O’Neal started JLOkitchens to share her love of Southern cuisine with the District. She teaches cooking classes at CulinAerie, is a personal chef for a very tall man and is currently developing a line of Southern food products at Union Kitchen. She will gladly trade you her tasty pimento cheese for honest feedback and/or champagne.
The Class: This class was held in a commercial kitchen, so we used the same industrial equipment that all of the commercial businesses use, but our recipe was for producing similar amounts to what we would make at home. We got right down to cracking eggs, adding them to the flour with hunks of butter and making biscuits. The basic format was that we were shown how to make each dish with basic recipes and then broken down into groups to cook for the group.
–Sweet Potato Herb Biscuits with Honey Butter – I finally learned the secret of making great biscuits – hunks of butter and folding the flour and compressing to create layers for steam and flakiness..
–Buttermilk Brined Fried Chicken – I actually missed the recipe for this part and basically all I did was flip some fried chicken (my fault – I was off on a tour of the facility!)-a much longer than expected slow fry in the oil made this chicken both crispy and cooked through..but the meat was really juicy – I ate it down to the bone!
-Creamy Cheddar Grits with Smoky Greens – this is actually 2 dishes, but they were combined. The secret is in both the type of corn grits and in the way they are ground – stone ground is best. And cheese was added at the very end only as a topping, rather than in the cooking process. We used curly Kale, but any green works for this dish.
–Cornbread Custard with Berry Coulis – this was a very simple dessert essentially using store bought corn bread, breaking it up and adding eggs and milk into a custard and heating at a relatively low temperature – simple, but classic comfort food!
-Bourbon Whipped Cream – real Bourbon..I should know, I was sipping some of that Jim Beam during the class..
Conclusion: This was a really fun event in a great location..I was warned about this neighborhood, but when I found the space (it was a little hidden – but it’s an old warehouse building, c’mon!) and parking in front, I began to think – people are just living in the past..this facility IS the future of DC and the entrepreneurs who run it are the next wave for DC. Jessica gave a great cooking class and the facility is perfect for a multitude of events – there’s even additional spaces for Pop-Up Dinners, wine tastings and more culinary endeavors. OK, so it’s a bit edgy, but you know the expression – you gotta break a few eggs to make an omelette – Cheers!
Charlie “I Drink on the Job” Adler
And the Winner is..
I attended a Startup Kitchen competition sponsored by ThinkLocalFirstDC on Monday, February 25th held at the Tabula Rasa event space at Barracks Row, a main street of Capital Hill in Washington, D.C. The competitors for this competition were Yael Krigman of Baked by Yael , Nadia Mitchem of S’Mores Amore and Meg Murray of Thunder Pig Confectionary. The Concept of this event was that 3 food producers in the DC area compete to raise funds for their culinary venture. In a nutshell, The winner was offered an 8-week incubation and mentorship program with Penny Karas of Hello Cupcake in her Barracks Row location – here’s the actual competition info:
Through a competitive process modeled on the Kauffman Foundation’s StartUp Weekend, food entrepreneurs will be given the opportunity to present their concepts before a panel of food industry veterans who will critique their business plans, offer constructive advice and review the general soundness of the concepts. The selected winner of the competition will be given access to an existing restaurant during its off hours, mentorship of the incubating business owner as well as assistance marketing and running a ticketed Pop-Up of their concept for six weeks. The restaurateur will receive 75% of ticket sales from restaurant as well as feedback from the consumers dining. The long-term goal is the growth of StartUp Kitchen incubators citywide. StartUp Kitchen is a joint partnership between Think Local First DC and NURISH: Center for Creative Culinary Economy.
The evening began with a nice reception of sparkling wine and tons of sweets – take a look..About 50 people watched the Judges and the competitors each make 10 minute presentations with 10 minutes of mostly Judge questioning. Yael started and of course we got to sample her Cakepop. Yael was very seasoned and professional, but maybe the presentation was a bit “canned” – her background was as a Corporate Lawyer, and it really showed for 2 reasons: 1)she’s a perfectionis and she had pretty much memorized her verbal presentation, 2)she was very secretive about her financial matters. Although I understand were she was coming from, she really needed to let go a bit and show the passion..maybe even show a little emotion – it’s obvious she could make WAY more money as a corporate attorney, the only reason to get into a Startup food business is an emotional release and the “possibility” of one day making it Big. I also thought her Cake Pops were too sweet and when I heard the retail price was $2.75 for essentially 2 bites of cake and icing, I didn’t get it! Having said this, I spoke with her afterwards and I actually felt her desire to succeed – I mentioned that her concept would do best as a corporate event giveaway or for weddings and personal catered events – there is no reason to open up a storefront and compete with the world!
The next competitors were the S’mores Amore ladies – they focused on their presentation on the vegetarian and potentially vegan aspect of their s’mores. To be honest, I really enjoyed their product with the crunchy cookie and chocolate, but the marshmallow..well, it wasn’t really a marshmallow – it had no fluff to it..this is because they don’t use gelatin because it’s an animal-based product. My thoughts were these were 2 passionate food producers who don’t really need a storefront – there are enough family, friends and friends of friends in their circles for them both to make a nice profit just selling there. Too many entrepreneurs want to open a storefront and expand too quickly before they’ve exhausted their existing resources – the people they already know. The other reason to focus on your existing personal networks is feedback – is there really enough demand for vegetarian desserts, should this just be an option that they offer?
And the final presentation was the winning presenter – Megan Murray of Thunder Pig Confectionary (here’s an article of her win on Eater) – This was an easy choice for a few reasons: 1)She showed the passion and even a bit of nervousness in her presenation that just made it very Real, 2)Her background and culinary training plus she works at a fine dining restaurant in the region (The Foodie Mafia!), 3)Even though she sampled 3 products, they were all very good (especially the Salted Caramel and the Marshmallows!) and 4)She knew her competitive market or at least mentioned that – it’s next to impossible to find decent caramels and handmade marshmallows in the DC market. I also found out that she was already producing her products for wholesale at Union Kitchen, a new culinary incubator which just began in the area. She won the competition and I’m sure you’ll hear about her products soon in the DC area!