9:30 Club hosts street fusion of beats, eats, and booze

Crowd at Soundbites DC; Photo by Matt Rains

Two of DC’s boldest cultural aspects – tasty food and “groovy” music – came together for the 3rd Annual Soundbites, a local charity event last Sunday, May 20th at the 9:30 Club (815 V St., NW). The annual fundraiser which raised more than $50,000 was bigger than ever and took up over half of V Street and the entire 9:30 Club, block party style to accommodate an assortment of local food trucks and vendors, staging for their first ever creative cocktail competition, and a range of local performers — all to raise funds for the DC Central Kitchen (DCCK).

DCCK aims to promote empowerment, health, and community building by redistributing unused food from local businesses to the DC area, as well as provide culinary job training for those who are unemployed. Since their founding in 1989, DC Central Kitchen has prepared 25 million meals for our low-income and at-risk neighbors in Washington, DC. The 5,000 meals prepared daily are distributed at little or no cost to 100 nearby homeless shelters, transitional homes, and nonprofit organizations, saving them money and nourishing their clients.

Soundbites DC 2012; Photo by Matt Rains

More than 600 fans of food and music enjoyed a host of flavorsome mini-sandwiches from Jose Andres’s well-known food truck, Pepe, a spiced brisket with bacon-chipotle cornbread (holy bacon deliciousness!) from Harry’s Smokehouse, hoagies from Taylor’s, duck sliders from Mie n Yu, hanger steak sliders from Cork, crab rolls from Matchbox, and mini-burgers from P.J. Clarke’s.

Other dishes of the non-sandwich variety included an expansive assortment of cultural-themed foods – mini-chicken souvlaki from Delia’s, Chicken Tikka Makhani from Indique, squid ceviche from Pearl Dive Oyster Palace, kimchi and pork tacos from Mandu, and charred cauliflower salad with garlic confit and Tahini dressing (pictured on right) from Rammy-nominated Room 11.

Charred cauliflower salad with garlic confit by Room 11; photo by Matt Rain

Classic American cuisine also made a strong showing with sweet and spicy pickles from Gordy’s Pickle Bar, thirst-inducing, tender oysters from Rappahannock River Oysters, LLC, and an oatmeal cream pie frozen custard from Shake Shack that would make even Little Debbie ® proud.

Amidst all the culinary action, a beverage battle raged on the outdoor stage. In the style of Chopped, four of DC’s most-talented mixology teams took on a series of challenges to incorporate secret ingredients while crafting a unique cocktail on the fly for each round.

Local cocktail connoisseurs serving as judges were Svetlana Legetic (Brightest Young Things), Spike Mendelsohn, (Good Stuff Eatery), Gina Chersevani (Master Mixologist) and Todd Thrasher (Master Mixologist). Each cocktail was judged on presentation, team work, creativity, aromatics, taste, and use of the secret ingredient.

Gibson team celebrates their win; photo by Matt Rains

In Round One, Owen Thomson (Oyamel) took on Brendan Murphy (The Gibson.) To the tune of a saxophone accompaniment, The Gibson seized the first round with lychees as the secret ingredient. Round Two pitted Fujimar’s Arris Noble against Tom Brown and his team from The Passenger. Brother Derek Brown looked on from the crowd as The Passenger proudly won the English cucumber round, securing a spot in the final battle of the night. While Brown “[wasn’t sure an emo jacket [would] help,” Murphy and The Gibson team proved that despite him wearing his “duster”, he and his extremely talented group best utilized the secret ingredient of apple cider vinegar. In the end, The Gibson’s apple cider vinegar concoction went home with the title of best cocktail.

Batala performance; photo by Matt Rains

Though the bites and sips were delicious while they lasted, the music kept the crowd going once the food had run out. Performances rotated from the cool (in temperature and style) indoor stage and the outdoor stage with a backdrop of a massive video screen, so as not to miss any of the action inside while sampling the goodies outside. Included in the mix were the Joe Herrera Trio, Bones Fur and Feathers, Nappy Riddem and The Archives, brainchild of Eric Hilton, and other reggae legends. Also included were Batala, an all-female percussion group, dancing out into the crowd and creating a massive drum circle. Proud DCCK supporter, restaurateur, and Thievery Corporation’s Eric Hilton closed the night with a captivating set, leaving supporters to dance off the many (completely worth it) calories consumed throughout the day.

Heather Rudrow, who attended the event for the first time this year said, “This was my first time attending Soundbites DC but I will most definitely be attending again. Everything I tried was delicious, but I think my two favorites were the alcapurrias from Borinquen Lunch Box and Mandu’s Korean tacos with kimchi. I was also impressed with how quickly all the lines moved – I was never waiting long for food. The cocktail competition was fun to watch. I thought it was a fun, fresh take on those Top Chef-like shows; made only more appropriate by the fact that Spike Mendelsohn was a judge. I got to try the two final cocktails (with the secret ingredient apple cider vinegar) and they were both very tasty and impressive.”

For more information about DCCK, including how to get involved, visit their website at www.dccentralkitchen.org/ and tell them that Dining in DC sent you!
Another FAB Guest post by “Hove”

Dining in DC’s newest contributor, Lindsay Hovermale is a DC area local funding her dining and concert habits as a research associate for drug and alcohol studies, apprentice mixologist at Dirty Martini, and Ph. D student at the University of Maryland. She has a voracious appetite for quality and passion in food and in life. Lindsay enjoys all things bacon, bourbon, local music, running, and recovering from running injuries. She prefers her eggs poached.

Look for more posts from Lindsay to get information on the special event and music scenes in DC and the surrounding areas. Follow her on Twitter @theycallmeHOVE and her forthcoming blog, Hunger Hierarchy.

One Response to “9:30 Club hosts street fusion of beats, eats, and booze”

  1. Brandy, Shake Shack

    Jun 21. 2012

    Lindsay, thanks so much for covering Soundbites. We were thrilled to be a part of such a great event. Happy to hear you loved the Oatmeal Cream Pie custard, one of our May specials!

    Hope we see you at the Shack soon!

    -Brandy, Shake Shack

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