Record Crowd Enjoys Taste of Georgetown on K Street

Despite a drippy, drizzly Saturday afternoon Oct. 1, K Street under the Whitehurst Freeway was a bustling scene of hundreds of happy people. For about five hours, crowds of Georgetowners and visitors of all ages tasted choice samples of food and beverages from the best restaurants of Georgetown. They also collected swag from some of Georgetown’s most vibrant businesses and establishments.

It was the Taste of Georgetown street festival, sponsored by the Georgetown Business Improvement District and Washingtonian magazine. More than 30 restaurants participated — ranging from old Georgetown favorites like Clyde’s, Martin’s Tavern, Café Bonaparte, Morton’s Steakhouse, Ristorante Piccolo and Tony & Joe’s to relatively new favorites, such as Malmaison, Via Umbria and a new oldie, the waterfront’s Bangkok Joe’s.

Several Washingtonian magazine food critics served as judges. In the late afternoon, the winners in five categories were announced. Warning: prepare to salivate!

Best in the Show was awarded to 1789 Restaurant, near Georgetown University, for its sample of a Korean duck rice cake prepared by one of the restaurant’s three specialty chefs. “We serve a lot of duck in our old American restaurant,” explained general manager and certified sommelier Rich Kaufman. “This is one of the favorite renditions, prepared with roast duck, chile sauce, cabbage, rice and sesame seed.”

The Best Meat “Carnivore’s Dream” award went to the Sovereign restaurant. It served a “Bicky Dog” pork and beef sausage with a generous mix of nutmeg and creamy “bicky sauce” (like Thousand Island) on a brioche bun instead of on a stick, as in Belgium.

The Best Seafood award was given to Rí Rá’s fish and chips. Its haddock sample was spattered in an ale batter, deep fried and served with hand-cut fries.

The Best Vegetarian award went to Chaia for its kale and potato tacos and mushroom tacos with feta cheese, red jalapeño sauce, cilantro and minced greens topping.

District Doughnuts won for Sweetest Sweets, but by the time this reporter got to their table they had closed down, having been completely sold out — must have been succulent donuts indeed. The runner-ups must have been Maxine’s light-as-air caramel custard and Degrees’ “Some-mores’ with chocolate from a Gaithersburg chocolatier.

One of the longest lines of swag collectors was at the All State booth. For filling out a survey, participants could choose a chef’s apron hand-printed with either “Mess Protector,” “Cook Out King” or “Kitchen Queen.” Lyft gave out free rides and dark glasses. More millennials than little kids were seen at the coloring and face painting table.

“This is our best crowd ever despite the rain,” said BID Vice President Nancy Miyahira. “Maybe because of it,” said BID CEO Joe Sternlieb with a contented smile. “This is our third event under the protective roof of the freeway and in the fall instead of the late spring. Now, we can’t be either rained out or sunned out.”

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