Pizza, With a Side of Deep Thought


Pizza joints have long been a place for philosophical conversation, especially late at night, but few shops actually organize it.

At Broccoli Bar, though, deep thought is essentially on the menu.

A cross between a neighborhood pizza place, an urban watering hole and a TED Talk, the restaurant in the heart of the Shaw neighborhood hosts experts to moderate discussions on a range of topics, called Broccoli Talks.

“We’ve had people come to talk about everything from social empowerment to economics,” said co-owner Brandon McEachern.

That makes sense since Broccoli Bar grew out of the Broccoli City Music Festival that McEachern started with Marcus Allen and Darryl Perkins.

The festival, which is centered around Earth Day, kicks off on Thursday with Broccoli City’s annual BroccoliCon Conference— educational presentations geared toward an urban audience.

In October, the three partners joined with &Pizza co-founder Mike Lastoria to open up the brick-and-mortar restaurant.


It was important to McEachern and his co-founders to have a black-owned business in Shaw -- which is one of the fastest gentrifying neighborhoods in the district. Broccoli Talks are focused on attracting students with the goal of empowering, encouraging, and educating the local community.

“At the end of the day all it is is a conversation,” said McEachern. “And conversation can change the world.”

After all, it was a conversation that sparked the idea for Broccoli Bar in the first place. Lastoria and the Broccoli City co-founders were hanging out at South by Southwest when Lastoria asked if they wanted to collaborate on a new business venture. “And seven, eight months later we had a physical location,” McEachern said.

But talk is one thing. Action is another thing entirely.

Broccoli Bar had an opportunity to put its community-driven mission to work during the recent government shutdown. “Broccoli Bar was not only part of our fleet-wide offer of free pies to all furloughed workers for the first three weeks of the shutdown,” said Vanessa Rodriquez, Head of Brand at &Pizza. “But once we consolidated our efforts with Jose Andres and the World Central Kitchen’s "Chefs for Feds" initiative, we named Broccoli Bar as our official "Chefs for Feds" kitchen.”

Lastoria, McEachern and Robert Egger (Founder of DC Kitchen) at the first BroccoliCon 2017

Lastoria, McEachern and Robert Egger (Founder of DC Kitchen) at the first BroccoliCon 2017

For the remainder of the shutdown, which spanned a total of 35 days, Broccoli Bar became the axis on which many people’s world revolved. “Broccoli Bar performed a heavy lift,” said Rodriguez. In total, &Pizza and Broccoli Bar gave away 30,000 pies to federal workers in need.

“We live in a world that is all about competing, all the time,” said McEachern. “And I think that what Mike and Broccoli City did was show that we can connect up. We can link up by the arms prove that the best things grow out of collaboration.”

Community over competition is a motto that McEachern applies not only to Broccoli Bar but to the music festival as well. This collaborative spirit has accelerated the Broccoli City Music festival into an annual must-attend event, bringing together tens of thousands of people from all over the region. The festival has hosted names like Cardi B., Big K.R.I.T., Migos, Miguel, and Solange. This weekend, Lil Wayne and Childish Gambino will headline.

When McEachern thinks about community, he thinks about two things: food and music. Before he started the festival, McEachern, who lives in Los Angeles, existed between communities. He would get his haircut in South Central but he worked in Santa Monica.

“In South Central, you see liquor store after liquor store, and then maybe a McDonalds,” he said. “But in Santa Monica, there’s like avocados rolling in the streets. Everyone there is happy.”

Right away, McEachern made the connection between mood and food. “I figured they were happy because they had salad bars,” he said. “When you eat healthily, you feel good. I wanted to understand how could I bridge that gap without being preachy.”

To do this, he and his co-founder, Marcus Allen, turned to music as a mechanism for gathering the masses around healthier food. The festival uses its platform to spotlight vendors who sell healthier foods and cater to both vegan and vegetarians.

Broccoli City Music Festival

Broccoli City Music Festival

Now that Broccoli City Festival is in its seventh year, McEachern is bringing healthy food not only to the festival but to the streets of D.C. “This is a 365-day thing. It doesn't end when the festival is over. We keep going. We keep pushing. And we will keep leading by example,” McEachern said.

“At Broccoli Bar, you see in our ownership a white dude that looks like Jesus and three black dudes coming together to create a community space for everybody,” he said. “It shows you that anything is possible when good people connect.”

This Earth Day #NotWasted Dinner Serves Food Scraps to Save the Planet


Humans are notoriously wasteful creatures. Globally, we throw out around 1.3 billion tons of food a year, which is about a third of the food we grow.

To complicate things, in places like D.C., we face the issue of having too much and too little at the same time. Food scraps pile up outside restaurants and grocery stores, yet one out of nine families in the District suffers from food insecurity -- which means that food isn’t getting into the hands of people who need it most.

On Monday, chefs leading the District’s zero waste movement are hosting an Earth Day Dinner called #NotWasted: A Culinary Arts Experience at the Culture House in South West DC (formally BlindWhino).

Photo courtesy of Equinox Restaurant

Photo courtesy of Equinox Restaurant

The event, spearheaded by chef Todd Gray and Ellen Kasoff of Equinox restaurant, Robert Wood Co-Owner/Executive Chef at EcoCaters and SuperFd, and Michelle Brown of Teaism, is aimed at bringing awareness to the issue of food waste.

“No chef wants to waste food,” said Wood, “but no chef wants to run out of food either.”

Chefs Gray and Wood will be serving up sustainable hors d'oeuvres sourced from ingredients otherwise destined for the compost bin. Gray is debuting “fishbone tacos” made from discarded portions of fish heads and bones. Chef Wood will be serving an Indian inspired snack called “ragda pattice,” a fried potato cake made from ground potato skins accompanied by a curry sauce made from tomato tops, basil stems and the saved over water from chickpeas -- usually drained off and tossed when making hummus.

Photo courtesy of Robert Wood

Photo courtesy of Robert Wood

The chefs, in partnership with the DC Food Recovery Working Group, have created a culinary coalition focused on eradicating food waste. “When we show people what we can do with foods that you would otherwise throw in the trash,“ said Kasoff, “you start to change minds.”

In the spirit of opening minds, there will also be a panel discussion hosted by Kassoff, Gray, Wood, Brown, as well as Gregory Payne of Sodexo and Chef Tee of DC Central Kitchen.

The theme of upcycling will also be made visual. Local artists Malachi Broadnax and Shelley Smith will be auctioning artwork made from salvaged materials, revealing the inert beauty in the waste of others. The event is the second in the #NotWasted series and 100% of the proceeds will be donated to Capital Area Food Bank.

Photo courtesy of Equinox Restaurant

Photo courtesy of Equinox Restaurant

Despite the enormous challenge that food waste poses, Kassoff and Wood remain optimistic about its myriad solutions. Equinox, which is celebrating its 20 year anniversary next month, is committed to becoming D.C.’s first zero-waste restaurant.

“We can raise awareness, we can increase momentum, and we can leverage our strength across the hospitality industry,” said Wood. “Even if it’s small, we can make changes and chip away at the problem.”

What better way to spend Earth Day than to toast to the health of the planet with a “trash cocktail” and a taco made from fish bones?

Tickets are available here.

#NotWasted Culinary Arts Experience

CULTUREHOUSE DC (formerly Blind Whino)
700 Delaware Avenue Southwest
Washington, DC 20024

Hey Peeps! A Round-Up of Weekend Happenings, the Easter & Passover Edition


By Thomas Martin, Edible DC contributor

With only a few days until the weekend, the celebration of Easter and the start of Passover, we’ve made pulling together last-minute plans easy peasy. Luckily, the DMV has no shortage of possibilities. After you’ve dyed you own eggs using natural ingredients, plan a fun outing for farmily and friends. From Easter brunches and dinners to Passover tasting menus and seders, from special Easter cocktails to egg hunts for the young and not-so-young among us, DC is bursting with things to do this spring weekend.


Easter Brunches, Dinners, and Cocktail Specials

A Rake’s Progress
A Rake’s Progress will be celebrating the holiday with an Easter Feast on Sunday, April 21 from 11:00 am to 7:00 pm. Priced at $95 per person, the menu includes standout dishes such as sorghum-glazed ham, ember-grilled trout, mustard-crusted lamb and hot cross buns. Reservations can be made here and full details on the menu are here. Also, A Rake’s Bar’s Corey Polyoka has crafted a selection of new holiday cocktails. Try the Gingham, featuring Vitae Modern Gin, house made strawberry basil syrup, Verjus, honey and egg white, and a stenciled powder topping.

BLT Steak
BLT Steak will open for Easter Sunday from 3pm – 9pm to offer the steakhouse’s classic dinner menu, including raw bar selections, warm popovers and Certified Black Angus or USDA Prime steaks, in addition to a special blackboard menu, focused on seasonal ingredients and locally-grown items. Holiday specials include Japanese Wagyu Tartare ($26) with Beaver Creek quail yolk, cornichon and toast and Moulard Duck Breast Roulade ($42) with foie gras stuffing and rhubarb. For dessert, guests can enjoy items like Rhubarb with Strawberries, Fromage Blanc, Shortbread and Meringue ($10) or Pipe Dreams Ash Goat Cheese ($19) with rhubarb mostarda, apple, spiced nuts, and crackers. Make reservations by visiting BLT Steak’s website.

Chef Ryan Ratino and his team at Michelin-starred Bresca invite you to celebrate Easter Sunday with a creative family-style seasonal menu featuring dishes such as Ocean Trout Crudo, Rohan Duck, and Veal Striploin. The three-course brunch is priced at $60 per person (exclusive of tax and gratuity).  Price for children between 6-12 years of age is $30 per child (exclusive of tax and gratuity). For reservations, please call 202-518-7926 or book directly on OpenTable.

Brothers and Sisters

On Sunday, April 21 Brothers And Sisters will be offering an all-day Easter Brunch menu including a carving station with steam buns highlighted by duck confit, whole cauliflower and lamb shoulder seasoned with cumin and Szechuan peppercorns. The full menu can be viewed here

On Easter Sunday, April 21st, Chef Brandwein will be serving a special menu with reservations available from 11am until 8pm. For reservations, visit OpenTable. The menu will include tuna crudo with calabrese chili, tempura fried soft shell crab, grilled lamb sausage with a white bean crema, and more.

DBGB Kitchen and Bar
DBGB DC is Chef Daniel Boulud’s upscale casual bistro, located in CityCenterDC. Executive Chef Nicholas Tang offers modern French-American fare, including locally-sourced seafood and poultry, house-made sausages and seasonal vegetables. In celebration of Easter, DBGB will offer their classic a la carte menu in addition to holiday specials for both brunch, 11am – 4pm, and dinner, 5pm – 10pm. Special menu additions include items such as Roasted Leg of Lamb ($34), Sorghum Glazed Ham ($29) and a Rhubarb Tart ($13). To view DBGB’s full Easter menu, guests can click here and can make reservations by visiting their website.

This Easter Sunday Gravitas will serve up a festive prix-fixe brunch menu, perfect for the whole family. Chef Matt Baker's brunch specials include a spread of spring dishes like herb-crusted lamb chips with red wine sauce and rhubarb torte. Available on April 21 from 11:30am-4:30pm. $50 per person, exclusive of tax and gratuity. ($25 for children twelve and under.)

On Easter Sunday, Radiator’s popular all-you-can-eat brunch will be upgraded to a lavish holiday buffet perfect for families and kids of all ages. The elaborate spread from Executive Chef Jonathan Dearden will include an avocado toast bar, a local seafood-inspired raw bar, and a ribeye carving station. Priced at $42 for adults and $20 for children under 12, Radiator’s Easter Sunday Brunch Buffet will be served from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. on Sunday, April 21. Each adult will receive a complimentary welcome mimosa to toast the special occasion. Reservations for brunch are encouraged and may be made by calling 202.742.3150 or visiting

Passover Specials

From April 19th until April 27th, stop in and enjoy the Passover tasting menu, with the option to order a la carte as well. The menu is $55 per person and features wood-roasted artichoke, spinach & egg drop soup, matzoah lasagnette, roasted salmon with beets, and a chocolate macaron torta. More information and reservations here.

Equinox - SOLD OUT!

On Friday, April 19th, Equinox will host their Annual Community Passover Seder featuring a three-course prix-fixe menu of dishes created to honor the holiday; a plant-based menu will also be served. Tickets available here.

instagram post by @beautifulPaper sponsored by @incredibleegg

instagram post by @beautifulPaper sponsored by @incredibleegg

Easter Egg Hunts & More

Washington Parks & People Spring Easter Egg Hunt
Join Washington Parks & People and KonsiderDis Radio for our Annual Easter Egg Hunt on April 27th from 12-4pm at the Marvin Gaye Greening Center. We'll have a farm wide egg hunt, a petting zoo provided by Media Luna Farms, a DJ, food, fresh organic produce to be harvested, face painting, farm tours, games, a moon bounce, and much more! Tickets available here.

The LINE DC’s Easter Egg Hunt
Take part in the LINE DC’s Easter Egg Hunt on Saturday, April 20 and Sunday, April 21, from 9:00 am to 12:00 pm. From the hotel’s front steps to the front desk, keep an eye out for pink & yellow pastel mugs from The Cup We All Race 4, and golden eggs from the team at Brothers And Sisters. From Spring treats and cookies for kids to gift certificates for the grown-ups, Easter treasures will be hidden throughout the property.

Wild Sesame Powered by Getaway Weekend
The Little Sesame team will host a weekend getaway to the Shenandoah Valley (Wild Sesame!), bringing along a caravan of adventurous eaters to escape the city and explore the outdoors. The travelers will stay at Getaway cabins and get active with Outdoor Voices, who will curate immersive programming like a foraging and cocktail making class with a local herbalist, group yoga class and an outdoor cooking class. Newly-launched, modern kitchenware company, Great Jones, will feature their colorful cookware throughout the culinary portions of the event. Attendees will enjoy Getaway House’s campgrounds equipped with luxe cabins nestled in nature, as well as large family-style meals cooked over an open fire by Little Sesame’s chefs. Tickets and more info here.

True Colors: Creating Natural Easter Egg Dyes from Food Waste


By Madeline Crozier; Photography by Heather Schrock; Layout by Caryn Scheving

In food as in nature, color abounds. Natural dyes, made from food scraps that would otherwise go composted or unused, suddenly inspire creative opportunities that reduce food waste. They can replace synthetic chemical colorings in foods like frostings, icings and batters. They can also dye fiber such as yarn or fabric for clothing and pillowcases. And they can add color to DIY projects from paper crafts to home-made paints to Easter eggs.

Creating natural food dyes requires a willingness to experiment with ingredients to see what colors emerge. Here are some common food scraps and the colors they evoke. Visit for a “How To” guide when dyeing at home including safety tips and our favorite books on natural dyes.

Lemons (Yellow)

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Chopped lemon peels produce a soft lemonade-yellow color. When using natural dyes to color frostings or icings, add the dye little by little to achieve the desired shade. A small amount of flavor often remains from the original food, so taste as you go.

Onions (Orange)

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Onion skins contain their own tannins, no fixative is required to dye fabric (see web story for details). There’s no need to treat the fabric ahead of time. Yellow onion skins produce a yellow-orange color, while red onion skins produce a pale orange with pink undertones.

Beets (Red/Pink)


Save beet trimmings, peelings and tops to produce a rich, reddish-pink dye. The color produced from beets often fades over time in fabrics but serves well in short-term uses such as coloring Easter eggs, frostings or batters.

Red Cabbage (Purple)

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When boiled into dye, red cabbage leaves create a deep purple shade. Dye made from red cabbage leaves is generally difficult to fix to fabric, but the fixative will help for short-term projects (see web story for details). This dye is ideal for coloring frostings or batters.

Avocados (Peach/Light Pink)


Instead of tossing out avocado skins and seeds, store them in the freezer. Five or six avocados will create enough dye for smaller projects, but more scraps will encourage deeper color tones. Boiling the avocado skins and seeds draws out colors from warm peach to light pink.

Blueberries (Blue/Purple)


If you’ve picked more blueberries than you can eat, they can make a light blue or purplish dye, depending on the concentration of fruit. Experimentation is key.

Spinach (Green)


Wilted spinach can span a range of shades from deep green to soft celery. Increasing the amount of spinach deepens the color. Natural ingredients from artichokes to herb leaves to grass can create green tones. To develop your own natural green dye, experiment with different combinations.

Cuban Flavors Grow in the DMV

Colada Shop DC’s colorful facade. Photo by Rey Lopez.

Colada Shop DC’s colorful facade. Photo by Rey Lopez.

By Jessica Wolfrom

Thinking of Cuban food, we conjure up the island’s famed sandwiches, strong coffee and sugary rum cocktails. But Cuban food is so much more; it’s a confluence of cultures, ideas and people, mashed together to delicious effect.

“The history of Cuban cuisine has incredible influence from around the world, from Africa to Spain, Portugal and France,” says Mario Monte, chef and co-owner of Colada Shop.

Monte, who was born in Miami to a Cuban father and Italian mother, doesn’t seem at all surprised by the uptick in Cuban outposts around the District. “The resurgence of popularity in this pearl of an island just proves that how good its flavorful origins are as well as the vibrancy of its people,” he says. Now, Washingtonians can experience more Cuban flavors at a number of spots around the DMV. We’ve rounded up the best of the new.

Colada Shop DC’s croquetas preparadas. Photo by Brian Oh.

Colada Shop DC’s croquetas preparadas. Photo by Brian Oh.

Colada Shop

Coladas and conversation come easy at this 14th Street NW Corridor café. But Colada Shop serves more than just rum-drenched cocktails. This colorful shop from Barmini alum Juan Coronado, chef Mario Monte and Daniella Senior opened its doors (and walk-up bar window) to the District last February following the success of its original shop in Sterling, VA.

During the day, the shop brews the real-deal Colada—four shots of espresso sweetened with sweet crema and served with demitasse cups to share—as well as other caffeinated Cuban favorites like a cortadito (espresso steamed evaporated milk and foam) and café Cubano, a shot of coffee sweetened with crema.

Start your day with a potato and sofrito tortilla or a classic Cuban tostada. For lunch, the shop offers a lineup of sandwiches like the famous Cubano (ham, slow-roasted pork, Swiss cheese, mustard, pickles and cilantro on Cuban-style bread) or the croqueta preparada (crispy chicken croquet served over ham and Swiss). Late-risers can snag empanadas, croquetas or pastelitos at any time.

By night, rum cocktails flow to Caribbean beats and spending time here with friends is hard to beat.

Colada Shop DC, 1405 T St. NW, Washington, DC
Colada Shop VA, 21430 Epicerie Plaza, Sterling, VA

Little Havana beckons diners in with colorful murals.

Little Havana beckons diners in with colorful murals.

Little Havana

When Alfredo Solis and Joseph Osario teamed up to open Little Havana, a colorful Cuban eatery in Columbia Heights, their mission was to bring Cubano food to the district.

The space is a multichromatic celebration of Latin American culture. The walls are adorned with murals by artist Ernesto Zelaya, who painted portraits of Cuban icons including revolutionary leader Che Guevara, Washington Nationals pitcher Gio Gonzalez and “Queen of Salsa” Celia Cruz.

But the food here is the main attraction. Hearty dishes like braised oxtail, Cuban chicken stew, jerk salmon and guava barbecued ribs showcase Cuban home cooking and the lineup of sandwiches includes the iconic Cubano as well other versions brimming with slow-roasted shredded pork, grilled chicken or chorizo. Shaking your cocktails is Copycat Co. veteran Heriberto Casasanero, who’s taking tiki seriously, serving up rum-focused drinks in frozen pineapples and coconuts.

Little Havana, 3704 14th St. NW |

El Sapo Cuban Social Club

In Cuba, when people play the lottery or make bets they place their fate in la charada china, a mystical guide of numbers and pictures deeply rooted in Cuban superstition.

When Havana-born chef Raynold Mendizábal opened El Sapo in Silver Spring last year, he bet on the number 22. Mendizábal, who’s also the chef at the nearby Urban Butcher, opened El Sapo exactly 22 years after fleeing Cuba and stepping onto American soil. According to la charada china, the number 22 corresponds to el sapo: the toad.

Mendizábal has said that he wants his guests to entrar bailando, or “come in dancing.” And even for those of us with two left feet, it’s hard to resist the rhythm here. As you enter, Latin music and mojitos fill every corner. Mendizábal’s meat-heavy menu highlights both the foods of his childhood and the foods that defined his culinary journey from Cuba to the United States. You will find the Cuban national dish, puerco asado (roasted pork) as well as Mendizábal’s favorite childhood dish rabo encendio (fiery oxtails). Drinks flow freely from the rum cart, and the chef makes sure meals wrap up with their famous cortaditos or Cuban coffee, ensuring you leave the same way you entered: dancing to the music.

El Sapo Social Club, 8455 Fenton St., Suite #1, Silver Spring, MD |

Good Food Can be Hard to Find, but Now There's an App for That

The Bainum Foundation rolls out a Food Learning Locator

By Jessica Wolfrom, Edible DC contributor

Working like a Google maps locator, the Food Learning Locator helps connect people to food-focused education and job training opportunities.

Working like a Google maps locator, the Food Learning Locator helps connect people to food-focused education and job training opportunities.

Last week, the Bainum Family Foundation rolled out an updated version of its Food Learning Locator, an online tool which works a little like Google Maps helping connect residents to food-focused education and job training programs across the DMV.

Whether you are interested in cooking classes that celebrate the food traditions of the African diaspora, curious about the food education available at your child’s school, or looking for nearby job training -- the DMV is full of events and resources like these. You just need to know where to look.

Launched in 2017, the Food Learning Locator was designed to help area residents make these connections.

“We found there was a wonderful abundance of food programming happening in our region,” said Katie Jones, Director of the Bainum Foundation's Food Security Initiative. “But the barrier was the ability to find these programs and figure out what your options were in an easy way.”

The new version of the Food Learning Locator has been updated to make the user experience more intuitive, including information about pricing and links to each program’s website and social media. The updates make it easier than ever to tap into the large and growing network of local programs.

“The tool is especially useful for partner organizations,” said Mayra Ibarra, Produce Plus Manager at DC Greens. “The job training creates opportunities for connections between community members and concrete steps to reach career goals.”

Founded in 1968 by Stewart Bainum of the Choice Hotels empire, the Bainum Family Foundation has supported early childhood education for kids across the DMV through scholarships, healthcare, and other educational opportunities.

The Middleburg farm team harvests fresh produce that is targeted for District Wards 7 and 8.

The Middleburg farm team harvests fresh produce that is targeted for District Wards 7 and 8.

When Bainum passed away in 2015, the Foundation was gifted 263 acres of farmland in Middleburg, Virginia. Originally, the Foundation planned to use the land to grow and distribute fresh produce to D.C.’s food deserts, specifically catering to residents in the District’s Wards 7 and 8. But the farm proved to be the jumping off point for what is now the Food Security Initiative.

“We knew when we started the farm that food learning was going to be an important corollary to food access,” said Jones. In the future, the Foundation plans to offer “on the farm” education programs to help connect communities directly to their food.

The food system doesn’t serve everyone equally. But with Jones’ guidance, the Foundation is committed in its investments that can help balance the scales. “We see our role as threefold,” said Jones. “One is that the farm is a demonstration site of what good food can look like.”

The second is to act as the intermediary between the mainstream food system and the emergency food system -- which Jones contends is a really big space.

“Our third role is being a convener and a knowledge sharer,” said Jones. The Food Learning Locator is part of this mission to connect communities to non-profits and educational services, to assist job-seekers in finding training programs, and even, to help the occasional home chef make healthier choices in the kitchen.


Founded in 1968 by Stewart Bainum, the Bainum Family Foundation has supported early childhood education for kids across the DMV through scholarships, healthcare and other educational opportunities.

Good food is a term that gets thrown around a lot in our organic-obsessed culture. But it isn’t as simple as avoiding pesticides. To Jones, good food looks like food that is grown in an ethical and environmentally sustainable way. It is food that serves both the nutritional and cultural needs of the communities that produce it. And it is food that creates economic opportunities for everyone -- from seed to mouth, from tractor to table.

“There's a lot that goes into creating that and were a long way as a country from getting there,” said Jones. “But it's important to have that north star.”

Good food is an idealistic goal, but Jones and the Foundation are working hard to prove that it isn’t an impossible one.

Jessica Wolfrom.jpg

Jessica @jessicawolfrom is a freelance writer covering food, wine, farming and the environment in and around Washington D.C. She's also an Edible DC intern and student at Georgetown University, getting her masters in journalism. When she's not in school, you can likely find her sipping on something sparkling somewhere in the District.