I don’t usually start an article by dropping names, but I couldn’t help myself. So many shining lights of the local and national firmament in one place! They almost outshone the food. Almost.
New this year at Sips: alcoholic elevators. If you’ve ever been to the Newseum, you know that there are huge elevators to convey museum-goers to the top floor, from whence they process downward to street level. The Sips planners decided to take advantage of the space by installing bars in each of them.
On the third floor, a reception with book signings was held where one could schmooze with and take very good pictures of the aforementioned lights,
and partake of games such as corn hole, and strange-looking food.
Unfortunately for me, the bar elevators went directly from the third floor to the Concourse level, where dispensers of sweets were grouped. I am a strict believer in “life is short, eat dessert first,” so I was easily distracted from one of my main objectives for this event, which was to arrive at Rappahannock Oysters’ table, on the first floor, before they ran out.
There was way too much to pass up. The Great Pyramid of Macarons at the Sweet Lobby’s display, for instance.
And Shake Shack, which offered one of my favorite things in the world: affogato! They made theirs with Stumptown coffee, their own frozen custard, and shortbread cookie crumbs from Baked and Wired. I had more than one. They didn’t mind.
Then there was Sonoma, offering uni panna cotta with preserved lemon. Admittedly a savory take on custard, similar to Japanese chawanmushi, it still pulled me away from my briny objective.
Then, just as I was about to board the escalator up to the first floor, there was Chef Tee (Terrell Danley) with his students from DC Central Kitchen.
He’s one of our favorite demo chefs at the Olney Farmers and Artists Market. He assured me he’d be out again with us this summer season, and bring some of his students with him.
Finally, I was borne upward towards those oysters. But as I made my approach, there was yet another display of panna cotta! Ghibellina had the classic sweet vanilla custard flavored with almond cookies. I just had to see how it compared with Sonoma’s.
And then I was finally there – but the oysters were not! All that was left was a cruelly mocking empty bed of ice. Skunked again!
I consoled myself with some more food and drink. I said hello to the Catoctin Creek crew,
admired Tico’s display at their table,
and joined in the accolades for the three Honorary Chairs of the event: Jose Andes, Joan Nathan, and Alice Waters.
Afterward, Chef Jose had a great time with his fans and friends.
Another great event this year, and for a terrific cause: ending food insecurity and providing job training towards eradicating poverty.