Matt and I have tossed around a lot of ideas about how to celebrate cuisine from the United States. We’d eat a meal or see a recipe and say, “This could be American (referring to only the US of course).”
Just as a complete side note: I feel very 2015 Carrie Bradshaw typing this blog post. I’m taking the train back to DC from visiting my good friend Paige for the weekend in New York. What makes this so 2015 and not 2001? I’m using the train’s wifi for one, I’m writing about food, and it’s a post for a blog, not a newspaper column.
OK back to what you came here for.
So what did Matt and I decide was really American? Well instead of choosing just one dish, we went with a day of food and activities.
Sunday morning started out casual, like the way I like them to. The dogs woke us up at 7am, like they like to. We made a simple American breakfast, no photos because I was hungry. Whoops.
Breakfast needed to be big enough to hold us over until our late lunch. But before we could head over to DC Mash (#DCmash) we went on a little American adventure. As many of you know, at least those that are states side, Halloween is approaching quickly. While the notion of Halloween is not exclusively from the States, the over-the-top way we celebrate it is definitely akin to only the US. I’ve always loved Halloween (Happy birthday, dad!) and growing up it was always one of my favorite holidays.
Last year Matt decorated our apartment one afternoon while I was at work, and it was an awesome surpise. This year we decided to decorate together. So before heading to eat, we took a detour to the ‘burbs and went to a pop up Halloween store – you know the type, here for a month gone by November 1st. We found a couple of fun signs and a cool spider web that would go well with Matt’s zombie squirrel and gnome.
After our Halloween overdose, we worked up an appetite just in time for DC Mash’s Three Headed Beast to begin. From their website, Brooklyn Brewery describes Mash as, “a week of dinner parties, comedy, debates, screenings and art, all featuring humanity’s favorite beverage.”
DC Mash concluded with a benefit for The Food Trust featuring a fall feast of three different whole roasted animals, appropriately titled Three Headed Beast.
Wikipedia says that pig roasts have been a tradition of the United States for the past several hundred years, especially in the south. So it must be true.
We arrived at the painted church in SW DC, home of Blind Whino, to a quaint scene of picnic tables and a cotton candy machine (we ate that too – it’s definitely American). The food wasn’t ready yet so we headed over to the beer booth to grab a seasonal Brooklyn Brewery beer. Matt had a Brooklyn East IPA and I tried The Defender IPA.
Once the food was ready to go, each chef gave a brief introduction to their meal. We jumped in the shortest line and tried the lamb first. The lamb was slow roasted in Szechuan pepper, ginger and star anise, and served with roasted delicata squash and romanesco, and butternut squash puree.
The lamb was good, really good. But it was only a taste and we were ready for more. The pig line was still daunting, so we went with goat next. The goat was by no means American but it was delicious as well.
Finally we had what we really came for, the pig. As I mentioned above, pig roasts are a southern tradition.
Chef Russell Jones from Jack Rose Dining Saloon in DC prepared the pig portion of this three headed feast. We had smoked pork shoulder with chow chow (another southern cuisine) and a parker roll. The small plate was a delicious compliment to an early autumn day.
Our American fun did not end here.
We headed home to get ready for our next stop on the all American Sunday. Matt plays in a softball league on Sundays. Did you know that softball was invented in Chicago? It was!
I rooted for Matt from the bleachers (and snapped that sweet photo).
Luckily, our night wasn’t going to end on a loss. We had one more stop planned for our festive evening.
You want s’more, you say?
Of course you can’t make a proper s’more without a bonfire. Bonfires may not be exclusively from the US but they are certainly a cherished fall tradition.
At the end of our long day of celebration, I think we were quite happy with our “America” day. While possibly a bit DC cliche, it was still indicative of the way we enjoy food and culture from the US. (Maybe the addition of a pumpkin spiced latte would have made it a complete cliche.)