Summer Fancy Foods, DC, Brazil, Australia…oh AND…I-495!!!

YES, what a week it’s been so far.  Spent Monday and Tuesday in Washington, DC where the experience (after the drive down) began by having the Valet at the Embassy Suites take my car only minutes before the Check In folks let me know that due to ‘construction’, I wouldn’t have access to my car ALL DAY on Tuesday…this began the cascade!  THEN…(if you don’t count the fact that my room wasn’t even close to ready)…the ‘concierge’ sent me to a Lot that closed at 8PM as an alternative…$19 for 6 hours….yata, yata, yata!

SO….I should quit complaining and talk about what all I did;  went to the Fancy Foods show and was completely overwhelmed to see the number and caliber of vendors there!  It is hard in that kind of environment…especially as a ‘small guy’ to take it all in, but the collective food knowledge in the place was incredible…as was the quality of the products.

I spent time in Ecuador with some really neat people and got chocolate, plantain and beet root chips, I talked Habanero’s with Roberto in Mexico (sampled some mescal too!) and enjoyed a melon popsicle in Korea!  I saw some incredible artisanal products made right here in the US as well as those with centuries of tradition behind them from all over the world.  My new friend Alberto took me through the most amazing flight of Balsamic from 5 to 100+ years old…incredible…both the product and his passion!

All the muckety mucks were there…I had tickets to the ‘Sofi Awards’ and attended (albeit briefly) the ‘pre-reception’.  Wall to wall people (I’m assuming mostly foodies like me) who weren’t the most polite on the planet.  Got to taste 2 wines and a beer, saw Chef Cat Cora, decided that the whole scene was a bit too intense for me to attend the awards and headed off to the Australian Embassy!

I was privileged and most appreciative to receive an invitation to sample Australian Beef, Lamb, Wine and Cheese at the Embassy and was AMAZED at the quality of the product and the range of tastes available!  As usual, their Filet and Lamb were incredible, their cheeses unexpectedly delicious and the wine superb!  A Shiraz/Cabernet blend that even I (as a varietal guy) enjoyed it…especially paired with their cheeses!

Met a good friend for Dinner at Fogo De Chao and had another INCREDIBLE experience!  Despite the crowd, the quality, quantity and tastes of the food were nearly indescribable!  If you’re ever in the vicinity of a ‘Fogo’ – do yourself the favor and splurge…you won’t regret it! (Unless you are a vegetarian…than please disregard the previous statement and note that this IS a ‘BBQ’ Blog! :))

Following dinner…off to Georgetown to the ‘Saloun’ to find an AMAZING 3 piece Jazz, Funk, Rock…fusion band that was tight, soulful and an unexpected GREAT end to the night!

Tuesday, back to the show and another million dollars or so in Parking fees…thanks to Embassy Suites….did I mention that my NON-Smoking room wreaked of SMOKE???  Solution – ‘We’ll send housekeeping up to make it better!’ – Read “We’ll spray deodorant so it wreaks of THAT and SMOKE!”! – Sorry…I got distracted…met a LOT more really cool producers and purveyors at the show on Tuesday…saw Chef Duff (popular guy)…found incredible Virginia Hams (Edwards) and Spice blenders, BBQ Sauce co-packers & LOTS more…I’ll keep you posted on how this all ties together in upcoming Blog posts!

Suffice it to say, all of the above is happening in the midst of ongoing computer ‘issues’ here at BBQ Central and a very busy BBQ Season (Thank you!)!  If you’re planning an event, want to learn how to “Q” or need someone to speak to your group…give us a call or e-mail me; Jim@GreatQ4U.com717-254-1937!

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