By Punch Correspondent Karen Garnick
One of my favorite local food joints is We, the Pizza, on Capitol Hill. After my first experience there, as I was licking my fingers clean of remnants from my spinach and artichoke slice, my friend turned me to and whispered, â€œDid you know that homeless people make this sauce?â€ I was shocked. And to be honest, I was initially a little uncomfortable.
But after a little research, I learned that like many restaurants in the city, We, The Pizza partners with DC Central Kitchen, an organization that puts homeless individuals through a culinary training program. Once I learned the facts, knowing my pizza purchases helped out the community made me even more inclined to eat there (as if the $4 slices werenâ€™t enough of a selling point). Other restaurants that support DC Central Kitchen can be found on their website.
â€œThrough job training, healthy food distribution, and local small business partnerships, DC Central Kitchen offers path-breaking solutions to poverty, hunger, and poor health.â€
DC Central Kitchen provides over 5,000 meals daily to homeless shelters, transitional homes, and nonprofit organizations. But there are many more dynamics to this organization. As mentioned earlier, it offers a culinary job training program for the unemployed who are eager to change their lives. It also participates in a food recycling program, the Campus Kitchens Project, and the Healthy Corners Program. I highly suggest going to its website to see what a huge impact DC Central Kitchen is making on our community.
So where am I going with all this? Well, once I found out that DC Central Kitchen was hosting a fundraiser at 9:30 Club which included samples from restaurants all over the city, I obviously signed up (and dragged along my boyfriend, who thoroughly enjoyed the plethora of foodporn).
On the Indoor stage, various local bands kept the mood upbeat all evening: Bones Fur Feathers, Nappy Riddem, The Archives (seen above), and Eric Hilton. Outside, one of my favorite DC groups, Batala (the womenâ€™s Brazilian percussion band youâ€™ve probably seen in the park or at street festivals on weekends) captured everyoneâ€™s attention.
The outdoor space was surrounded by a food loverâ€™s dream: chicken tikka masala from Indique Heights, frozen custard from Shake Shack, hanger steak sliders from Cork Wine Bar, Pork Tacos from Mandu, BBQ duck sliders from Mie N Yu, and over 20 more culinary creations, all from local restaurants who came out to support to cause.
Samy K from HOT 99.5 hosted the highlight of the event, Mixology Madness, featuring teams from Fujimar, Oyamel, The Gibson, and The Passenger. Teams went head-to-head during 5 minute rounds to create the best cocktail. Adding a twist, each round had a secret ingredient incorporated: sweet lychee fruit in the first, and refreshing summer cucumber in the second. The final round came down to The Gibson versus The Passenger, and The Gibsonâ€™s apple cider vinegar concoction went home with the title. The carefully chosen judges were Spike Mendleson of We, The Pizza and Good Stuff Eatery, Svetlana Legetic of Brightest Young Things, and Gina Chersevani and Todd Thrasher of Master Mixologist.
The event was definitely a hit â€“ who wouldnâ€™t like to score free grub and listen to jams all night for a good cause?!
For information on DC Central Kitchen volunteer opportunities, visit their website here.
Correspondent Karen Garnick is a California native trying to get accustomed to the East Coast lifestyle (and weather!). By day, she works as an event planner for a think tank, and by night you can find her out on the town. She is a world traveler, loves baby animals, and enjoys curling up to a good book and glass of wine. Contact her at email@example.com.