When I saw this Tweet about the Embassy Chef Challenge posted by Events DC last week, I knew I had to be there.
— Events DC (@TheEventsDC) August 2, 2017
So, I hopped in an Uber after work and headed out to the Rock Creek Park tennis courts with no idea what to expect.
The Citi Open venue was huge, but not overcrowded.
I was led to the tailgate tent, already full of people drinking, eating and chatting.
Each May, a bunch of the foreign embassies come together in D.C. to showcase their cuisines and drinks for the Embassy Chef Challenge. I’ve always wanted to go, and finally got to experience some of it at the Citi Open.
I started at Honduras, where they served tres leches cake and ceviche.
The cake was moist and creamy, but they unfortunately ran out of the ceviche. Chef Yovanna from Chimole, a Honduran restaurant in Leesburg, said someone even stole the sample to eat – it must have been good!
They had Honduran Salva Vida beer to drink, which was light and refreshing.
My next stop was to try the Chilean wines, where Alexander poured me six tastes.
The Tavali Saugivnon Blanc was perfect for summer and I fell in love with the Coronas del Sur red.
I’m so glad the Chilean winos were there when a big summer storm came out of nowhere and everyone had to wait in the tent. They treated me to another glass of red wine that hit the spot.
The representatives at the Philippines station were super friendly.
Chef Cho from Lumpia, Pansit, ATBP. in Wheaton, MD served her Sisig, a mixture of fish, rice and egg that I was told locals usually enjoy with a cold beer.
A group of Filipino men standing there saw me SnapChatting and yelled out that SnapChat began in the Philippines. See, I learn so much from this blog work!
Barbados was taken care of by Chef Dre.
He travels around the world to cook Barbados food for events such as this one. Each plate was crafted with precision, each bowl filled as if he were in the kitchen.
I hadn’t had oxtail since the Bahamas – where I had it for the first time, actually – and this one was very similar, but a little less syrupy. I LOVED the slaw on the side. The punch was good, too.
And last but not least, Peru.
I tried my very first pisco sour, made fresh by the embassy bartender. The frothiness was just right.
After the storm ended, I wandered around the complex a bit before taking the free shuttle back to the Van Ness metro.
Apparently back in the day the famous tennis players would stay in locals’ houses here in D.C. during the tournament. There was no running water on the field, and no food like this. Now it’s a big part of D.C. culture with an international following.
Mixed with the cuisines from the Embassy Chef Challenge, it’s about as D.C. a sporting event as I could’ve gotten. Who knew!