Monday, December 03, 2007

Washington's Local Flavor...

Not only are we Washingtonians fortunate to have excellent restaurants and farmer's markets, but other excellent local food purveyors and providers, a fact which can save your bacon this holiday season, when you can't, or don't have the energy, to prepare food.

Henry's Sweet Potato Pie (from Henry's Soul Cafe in Oxon Hill) is a fantastic, homemade tasting dessert. (Persnickety alert: Like my mother's sweet potato pie, Henry's is properly flavored, with nutmeg, not overpowered with cinnamon as most other pies are. The same is true of the heavenly nutmeg-scented peach cobbler from Gist Family Caterers in Washington, another local soul food provider.)

The gluttony regarding Henry's pies followed another glutton extravaganza, a (free!) year-end tasting at Biagio Chocolate on 18th Street. Sweet! Attending such an event (which was primarily attended by the fit and trim, who were served by the even more fit and trim) was possibly an example of a flash mob in action, as there were only a handful of folk in the choco-boutique before 6:30 pm, and near pandemonium only ten minutes later. The occasion? The introduction of new flavors from local chocolate-maker extraordinaire, Christopher's Confections. While the vanilla rum was fine, the margarita packed a wallop, and the peanut butter caramel was delightful, the almond chocolates were swoon-worthy--possibly the best chocolate I've ever had. (Next to Christopher's own citrus caramel chocolates, of course.) Unfortunately, I haven't yet had the pleasure of tasting food from the catering company, Basikneads, whose commercial kitchen Christopher uses to create his chocolate masterpieces, so I must attempt to rectify that situation!

Even mom-and-pop businesses like Scrumptious Entrees Catering and Cakes help in the important work of making life sweeter, especially with the party favor cakes made by Maria Smith, which resemble large petit fours (if such a thing could exist). Not only are they moist, but the fresh citrus used in the fondant pops out at you, giving a refreshing tang to the treats.

A relatively new, but already famous, food purveyor that I haven't yet had the pleasure of visiting is Uncle Brutha's Hot Sauce Emporium. Samples of some of his sauces were recently offered at the Whole Foods Market on P Street, and were remarkably thick and rich, as well as providing the necessary heat. The green sauce was almost chunky, and had a wonderfully complex flavor. Can't wait to head to Capitol Hill to try and buy a few of his bottled heat treats!

No comments: