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Taste of Georgetown 2009


Lola007
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I braved the crowds and checked this out with a friend yesterday. Here are the highlights of our eating experience:

HITS

- Neyla (Lebanese): The chicken shawarma sliders were juicy, fresh, and well seasoned. It was a good reminder that I need to visit Neyla again soon.

- Baked & Wired: The cherry pie was probably the best I've ever had. The crust was somewhat crumbly and delicious, and the cherries were slightly tart. Excellent!

- Bourbon Steak: The butterscotch pudding was very good. I was only disappointed that they didn't feature any meat dishes (just some sort of "lettuce cup" and the pudding)

- Cafe Bonaparte:We had a couple of sweet crepes--one with nutella and powdered sugar and another one with nutella, fresh bananas, and powdered sugar. Both were delicious, and we were impressed at how quickly

Bonaparte's staff worked to keep up with the crowd.

MISSES

- Agraria's chocolate-covered bacon lollipops were a MAJOR FAIL. After two bites, I had to trash it. The chocolate wasn' t bad, but the bacon tasted like pure fat.

- Georgetown Cupcake- Midway through the event, they ran out of cupcakes! They told ticket holderss that they could stop by the shop until 9 pm to get their cupcakes. Around 8:00 pm, the line was a mile long and the people just outside the front door said they had been there for an hour and 15 minutes. I really couldn't stay, so I spoke with the shop's owner who said I could return today. Unfortunately, I couldn't make it today, and I understood that they wouldn't be honoring them later. I had actually never tried Georgetown Cupcake's cupcakes before, so I had been looking forward to it. However, I've also heard that long wait times and at times, shortages are a frequent occurrence. I'll probably give Georgetown Cupcake another try, but with excellent cupcakes in the same area from Baked & Wired and Furin's, I don't see waiting in any long lines.

- Bodega: I'm not a fan of Bodega's food in general, so I passed. But my friend tried the paella, which had been prepared in a giant vat. She said the seasoning was pretty good, but the rice was mushy. It did not appeal to me at all.

- I also tasted some inedible mini-burgers/sliders (I think, but am not 100% sure that they were from J. Paul's). The burger was slightly charred on the outside, but completely raw on the inside. And there were beef tenderloin sandwiches from Morton's, but after my raw burger experience, I hesitated to eat what appeared to be very rare meat.

I didn't make it to the wine-tasting pavilion, which was treated like a separate event. Overall, the Taste of Georgetown was OK, but I wasn't wowed. Some things could be better. In future, I hope they'll have more drink options, accept credit cards for event tickets (they only took cash or checks, and implement measures to ensure that participating restaurants deliver what they promise. Also, it would be nice to have more places to sit and eat.

P.S. Not about food, but another highlight was getting to see some nice dogs from the Washington Animal Rescue League. I especially enjoyed meeting "Arlo", an adorable 5-month old pit bull (sweet disposition and friendly to kids, adults, and of course, anyone holding a plate of food!). Hopefully, he'll have a new home soon.

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I braved the crowds and checked this out with a friend yesterday.

I was actually a judge at the festival this past Saturday. The whole experience was surreal, I got to judge with Nycci from thelistareyouonit.com, Amanda from Metrocurean, and Marc Silverstein. I was really the small shrimp compared to them--other people recognized them and came up to them whereas I just didn't fit in :(

Also, they've been having the same judges for the past five years, so the judges mostly knew how everything was going to taste (a lot of people didn't change their dishes OR they changed them for the worse!) Some of the judges were done very quickly, but I wanted to taste all the dishes and make sure that we had the best idea of "best" appetizer, entree, and dessert. I also didn't have time to take pictures of any of the dishes! I thought we were going to have 10 tastes each (I received 10 tasting tickets from CityPaper), but we had volunteers that went and brought every dish to us, so that meant fifty dishes. There were 60 dishes on the menu, but like every year, some changed their offerings or didn't offer both dishes.

I went last year and had a blast (You can see my full account here).

As opposed to last year, there weren't any real plates where I was like "oh my gosh, this is great. This is so worth the five dollars". There were a lot of "ew, this is disgusting." (a lot of the seafood dishes that I had were 'fishy' tasting, and I'm quite picky on what seafood I put into my mouth based on past experiences). Bourbon Steak definitely had the best presentation. The shrimp lettuce wrap was laid out pristine-ly (tasted fishy though, about half the table had great shrimp and the other half--me and Marc--had fishy shrimp). I had a love/hate relationship with the pudding, but I really liked the complexity of flavors and textures (pumpkin bread, crunchy pumpkin seeds, and an at-times-too-rich, but well pronounced butterscotch pudding). The pudding won for best dessert. I liked the pad thai from bangkok joes because it was nice and warm; the Morton's sandwich was disgustingly cold and too chewy, I couldn't even rip a bite off and the meat was too rare for my liking; Clyde's lobster roll was good: nice warm buttered bread and a lot of lobster that wasn't drowned in dressing. the lobster was nice and fresh, but needed a little more seasoning (best entree); Morso's Olive-oil poached octopus won for best appetizer. I really liked the texture of the octopus because it was perfectly tender and not chewy at all, but it was too smoked for my taste. I only ate one piece of it.

The worst ones all around were the bacon lollipops (tasted like liquid smoke almost! and the apples tasted chemically); fig leaf-wrapped prawn (bad texture to the prawn and the mushy lentils were not appetizing); Nick's ribs (too much sauce--drowned out the meat); almost all the sliders except Rugby's which were tender and juicy; Bodega's paella was too mushy and had a slightly rancid strong fish taste; Mie N Yu's kimchi was good but the bulgogi was too mushy (liked the marinade's flavor though)--their tofu hot n' sour soup was bad. Neyla's chicken shwarma sliders were a favorite of the table, but I didn't like them. The chicken was a bit dry and the slider lacked juice, crunch, and aromatics. Fahrenheit's pulled pork slider was too salty, their dessert looked store-bought and too-safe. J.Pauls' crabcake/slider combo was bad as well.

Close runner-ups were:

- Hook's Sweet Potato Pie

- Baked & Wired's Dessert Plate (I loved the apple pie because it was creamy and crunchy at the same time and not too tart, but I didn't like the cherry pie at all)

- Rugby's Slider

- I *loved* Gtown's pumpkin spice cupcake with maple frosting. I liked the crunch on top of the hazelnut cupcake as well. (We received 6 different cupcakes to try: pb fudge, red velvet, pumpkin, hazelnut, chocolate ganache, vanilla/vanilla)

I had a wine tasting and a beer tasting and didn't care for either (not big red wine or beer fan!)

Anyone else have thoughts on ToG'09?

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