DC Food Makers Showcase Their Products and We Discover Some New Favorites
by Arielle Weg
Union Kitchen opened its doors last Saturday, March 4th to hungry customers, inviting them in to sip and sample from more than 80 local businesses. A dream come true for locavores, and trust me, the tastes definitely did not disappoint.
The Union Kitchen space in Ivy City serves as a communal kitchen, distribution company and grocery store, all designed to offer small businesses the opportunity to get started, flourish and produce their products. Union Kitchen takes it steps further, and provides help in distribution getting their makers’ products out to 200 retailers in the region. Not only a monumental support to a just-started food business, it’s a win-win for people who enjoy finding local products at their grocery.
After an afternoon of tasting from the makers of Union Kitchen, it was tough to choose, but I picked my top 10 local products you definitely need to try out yourself.
Capitol Kettle Corn
There’s no way you can resist trying a perfectly popped kettle corn coated in acai and charcoal powder. It sounds odd, but the black powder gives a perfect twist on the classic snack food. Other crazy combos include harissa mint, pesto parmesan, zatar feta and sweet beets. You’ll never need to wait in line for movie theater popcorn with this local favorite. Capitol Kettle Corn can be found atarea farmers markets or order online. A pack of a dozen 3.8 ounce bags are sold for around $28.
You’re home late from work and want nothing more than to curl up with a bowl of home cooked food, but you don’t want to spend the night cooking. The Vegetable Butcher gives you the chance to order ready to eat meals with your health in mind, straight from your local farmer. You can order a basket of ingredients to prep, home or office delivery day of or a planned set of meals to get you through the week. The menu varies every week, but examples include vegetable enchiladas with avocado and roasted tomato salsa or chocolate hazelnut crepes with strawberry and toasted hazelnuts. Orders are dependent on package, but most meals range from $11 to $14.
Whether you’re a professional mixologist or an at-home cocktail maven, Embitterment Bitters helps to make your cocktail something special. They have the classic bitters, like orange. But what makes Embitterment Bitters special are their lavender bitters and chocolate bitters. These flavors are unmistakably unique, and Embitterment Bitters has stepped up to offer you a delicious drink experience. You can find their bitters in a variety of vendors across the DMV.
This Ethiopian catering company kills at producing delicious, vegan, paleo and gluten free foods. Think traditional dishes like lentils in berbere sauce and chickpeas stewed with tomatoes. This family owned business serves up classic Ethiopian recipes and serves them up on delicious basmati rice and perfectly spongy injera. Call them with price inquiries for your next event.
Have you ever had a delicious pork rind? These are them. But no! Snacklins are 100 percent vegan and gluten free snacks that look and taste like pork rinds, but are crafted from mushrooms and you wouldn’t even know. The snack comes in three flavors of soy ginger, Chesapeake Bay and BBQ. You can purchase a six pack for $18 at many grocers in the DMV.
Inspired by traditional Indian recipes, these spreads are something you’ll want to put on everything you eat. Sasya Foods jars South Indian flavors of cilantro, eggplant and peanut. All of the spreads are all-natural, gluten free, vegan, and are crafted with non-GMO ingredients. The spreads were delicious with veggies and chips, but also would make a killer sauce for any stir fry or as a marinade for grilled chicken or fish. Each 9 oz jar is available online or in some grocers for $7.45.
Vegetable waffles may sound like an oxymoron, but SWAP is truly the breakfast of the future. With flavors like tomato pizza, spicy spinach, cinnamon and everything, these plant-based toaster waffles are way too good to pass on. But what really make these waffles unreal is their main ingredient- yucca. The plant is a high-fiber, starchy root (like a potato) and is the base to every SWAP waffle, making them all wheat free and delicious. Find them in a variety of grocers across the DMV.
Homeshed Kitchens is more than just an artisanal bakery. They’re selling tarts, flavorful sourdough breads and pot pies out of the Bethesda Farm Women’s Market. What makes this these breads extra special (other than the perfectly crunchy crust?)- the homemade butter you can spread on top. Plus try funky flavors like chocolate chip sourdough. You definitely won’t regret the trip.
Starting out as a small catering company focused on delectable chicken dishes, this fabulous find is opening their very own restaurant this May on H Street. The menu is packed with never frozen, fresh chicken that are raised humanely on all-vegetarian diets. Plus no growth hormones or antibiotics, and sourced from your local farm. The current catering menu offers plates of flavorful sliced chicken breast or thighs plus a vegetarian option of tofu in tons of spices and sauces. They’ll even toss your selection onto a fresh baguette or over greens for something different.
If you haven’t tried Sri Lankan cuisine quite yet, hold tight. Short Eats is coming to a pop-up in Petworth in just a few weeks, and we are way too excited to try all of their flavors. Try their veggie roti with potatoes, leeks, green peppers and poached egg or snag a roti with turkey or sausage for something meaty. Can’t wait for the opening? Give them a call to cater your next event, and share the flavors of Sri Lanka with your friends and family.
Arielle Weg is a senior at American University studying journalism and health promotion. She is a spring semester intern at EdibleDC.