WAMU 88.5 : Metro Connection

D.C. Simmers Over Washington Post Op-Ed About City's Food Scene

Play associated audio
http://www.flickr.com/photos/dinnerseries/8717450811/

A culinary controversy has been simmering in Washington, D.C., ever since an article appeared in last week's Washington Post titled, "What's missing from D.C.'s food scene? A lot. " It was penned by Mark Furstenberg: a baker, chef and the former owner of Marvelous Market and Remarkable Breads.

"I think I feel slightly more hopeful than the article that appeared reflected, but I'm very critical of the food scene," he says.

The way Furstenberg sees it, D.C., lacks what he calls a "discernible food culture": "People who care deeply about food and who come to Washington or grow up here, learning about a food tradition that is geographically native to us, as well as culturally native to us."

Furstenberg's comments got many in the local food scene pretty steamed up, including Jessica Sidman, food editor for Washington City Paper. She says Furstenberg isn't giving local diners enough credit.

"The people who live in Washington come from all over the world," Sidman says. "They come from those supposedly superior cities like San Francisco and Los Angeles. They know good food, and they're going to judge the new restaurants just as harshly as the old ones."

She also says Furstenberg dismissed a major part of D.C.'s culinary culture: the burgeoning craft beer and mixology scene. Which, says Derek Brown (who owns The Passenger, Columbia Room, and his newest spot, Mockingbird Hill, isn't all that "burgeoning."

"The Ricky was invented here in the 1880s," Brown says. "I mean, what other kind of tradition do you want? I invite Mark Furstenberg to come let me make him a Ricky so he can shut up about all of this no local tradition stuff."

Mark Furstenberg says he's aware of the food-based furor he sparked; in fact, that was the idea. He wants to get people talking about Washington's food scene.

"I'd like people, particularly young people, to notice much more acutely what they eat," he says. "I'd also like people to object to prices and object to pretention. I'd like to have restaurants that don't take reservations called to account for that."

We're curious: Do you think D.C.'s food scene has come a long way? Or does it still have a way to go? email us or send us a Tweet, and let us know!


[Music: "Hey Good Lookin" by The Nashville Valley Boys from Country Piano & Guitar Favorites]

NPR

Bob Odenkirk Mixes Laughter And Law In 'Breaking Bad' And 'Better Call Saul'

The actor's fast-talking, sleazeball character Saul Goodman has been known to bend the law — and to break it. The second season of Better Call Saul begins Feb. 15. Originally broadcast Aug. 6, 2013.
NPR

What The Heck Is Natural Wine? Here's A Taste

Natural wines can be off-putting at first: perhaps darker than usual, a little fizzy or cloudy. Some find them charming, others unsophisticated. Here's a guide to this trending, quirky style of wine.
WAMU 88.5

The Politics Hour - February 12, 2016

D.C. Council Member Yvette Alexander (D-Ward 7) joins Kojo and Tom Sherwood to chat about her upcoming fight for re-election.

NPR

Do You Like Me? Swiping Leads To Spike In Online Dating For Young Adults

A study by the Pew Research Center finds the use of online dating sites has mushroomed in the past few years, particularly among 18- to 24-year-olds.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.