“Every fish should have a head,” Chef José Andrés said to a large group of us standing on the convention center floor. He went on to joke about how Americans are so squeamish of fish and shrimp heads, yet everyone else in the world eats them.
I loved this cultural comparison and couldn’t wait to meet more chefs, restauranteurs, and exhibitors from around the world at Metrocooking DC last month.
Walking into the arena on Saturday, I was blown away by the size of it all. I had an idea of what to expect, but, didn’t realize just how huge it would be. My mission was to explore the 200 exhibitors and find new international cuisines and restaurants to try in 2018.
Here were some of my favorite exhibitors. Most of them are family-owned from countries outside of the United States.
I met this woman, who started her own business making Austrian food! I offered to take a photo of her and her husband, but, he said she should be in it since she is the owner. Her strudel was so tasty.
I also loved the Grandma’s Cuisine pierogi stand. They are all natural and homemade, sold frozen wholesale. SO good, and the line was always long for a taste!
These Georgian women were so kind, and their cheese pastry, or khachapuri, was flaky and extra cheesy. Also all natural and homemade food, found at local farmer’s markets or people can order for catering.
Then there was this gentleman giving demonstrations and selling Spanish cookware.
Island Bwoy cuisine for some Caribbean fare.
And soft pretzels – both regular and gluten-free – from Dutch Country Soft Pretzels.
International Bites at the Grand Tasting
On Sunday, there was a special section of the event sectioned off for the Grand Tasting. There, people could sample tons of decadent dishes from DC-area restaurants.
As you can probably expect, lots of these restaurants have worldly influences.
Like these Greek sliders from Talia’s Cuzina.
Lupo Verde, one of my favorite Italian spots on 14th street, had some prime braised lamb.
And Smith Commons brought out a rich, flavorful tikka masala!
Other Random Favorites
Not internationally related, I also really loved these fortune cookies from Fantastic Fortune Cookies. I bought a few for my family for Christmas.
The new Pinstripes served generous helpings of their artichoke dip, and their team was so friendly.
I also bought these biscotti as a white elephant gift.
And I enjoyed peeking into the L’Academie de Cuisine cooking classes throughout the weekend.
It was such a treat to try all of these dishes, meet with fellow foodies and buy some Christmas gifts. I’ll definitely be back next year! Did anyone else make it out this year?