I Went to Landmark Music Festival for the Food

by Andrew Marder, Special to EdibleDC The picnic area and tables at the Landmark Music Festival.

"I really like that one 'TV on the Wolf' song," I say to a girl at my picnic table.

"It's 'TV on the Radio'," she says as she takes a bite out her Oyamel taco. "Their song is 'Wolf Like Me'."


Curley's Q BBQ fries.

Luckily, I'm allowed to be a musical idiot because I'm not here to cover the band line-up -- I'm here for the food. The Landmark Music Festival teamed up with Jose Andres to bring concert goers the DC Eats food court.

Oyamel, Amsterdam Falafelshop, Old Ebbitt Grill, Lemonade Love and a dozen other vendors line the edge of Ohio Avenue on the outskirts of the Mall, spilling out burgers, shakes, tacos and treats out into a hungry crowd.

Amsterdam Falafelshop fixings.

It's a far cry from epicurean horrors of yesteryear, when muddy hippies shoved grilled cheese in my -- I mean their -- faces just to fuel them for the next round of Grateful Dead knockoffs. To be fair, you can grab a grilled cheese at Landmark, but it's from The Big Cheese so it hardly counts as slumming it.

The elote locos from Duke's.

I wave down a girl with an ear of corn. On a stick. Covered in sriracha, crema, and cheese. It's elote locos, Mexican-styled corn on a stick from Duke's Grocery.

"I've only had one bite, but based on that one bite, I would highly recommend it," she tells me.

The Beefsteak vegetarian options by Chef Jose Andres.

Catering to the times, there's something for every taste. Vegetarian and vegan options from Beefsteak and PEPE. Fairground classics from Ben's Chili Bowl, Curley's Q BBQ, Rocklands Barbeque, and Shake Shack. If nuevo DC is more your scene, there's Maketto or Maki Shop.

It's a food scene to match the diverse musical line-up, which ranges from Dr. John to Drake, with The Strokes, alt-J, and Manchester Orchestra scattered in between.

Steamed bun from Maketto chef Erik Bruner-Yang.

All of this, of course, is out of my depth. As I take pictures of corn sticks and frozen lemonades, I deftly dodge musical preference questions by running away or pretending to only speak Swedish.

As the festival staff cover up Jose Andres' Potato Chips -- sold out -- on the menus, I head to the exit. Stuffed. On my way out, a half-dozen bright faces passed me on the edge of the DC Eats area.


"Let's take a moment to appreciate the situation," one of them said to his friends. They take in the general splendor of the food tents in silence for thirty seconds.

"I'm going to get a gelato [from Pitango], for sure."

Lemonade Love.

The Landmark Music Festival is hosted by the Trust for the National Mall - an official partner of the National Park Service - with the goal to restore and improve the National Mall and honor its ideals for future generations through the new Landmark Campaign. http://www.landmarkfestival.org/

BlogHeadshotAndrew Marder is a writer living in Hyattsville, MD. He enjoys playing with his son, having dinner with his wife, and sitting quietly with good friends. When he’s not awake, he’s asleep.