DC FOOD

Oktoberfest + Union Market

October 5, 2013

dc oktoberfest national harbor dc oktoberfest national harbor dc oktoberfest national harbor

^^this pretty much ends the normal (sober) photos^^

dc oktoberfest national harbor

^^Guy behind us = awesome^^

dc oktoberfest national harbor dc oktoberfest national harbor dc oktoberfest national harbor dc oktoberfest national harbor

^^These photos were made black and white in a last ditch attempt to hide how boozy we are at this point. Also, why am I posing like this?^^

dc oktoberfest national harbor

^^Guess who’s not amused? Answer: it certainly is not me.^^

dc oktoberfest national harbor

^^I took a minimum of 20 photos of the ‘Dust Cake.” We were super annoying by this point^^

Exploring Union Market this afternoon (despite the clouds, it didn't rain) #dc #thedistrict #unionmarket #washingtondc Food truck fare for lunch #dcempanadas #foodtruck #onthetable #yum

^^Union Market + food truck food. ^^

It wasn’t even yet October, and yet here we were, celebrating Oktoberfest, drinking any kind of ale with the word “pumpkin” attached to it…out of a huge plastic boot-shaped cup (or yardstick?) that was attached around our necks with what was essentially a black shoelace. Because the only thing cooler than drinking beer out of a massive boot is having that massive boot hang around said beer-drinkers’ necks.

This was our first time celebrating Oktoberfest in the area and had no idea what to expect. In fact, we had very little expectation as these things could be a hit (Fredricksburg, TX) or total miss (San Francisco). We were more than skeptical of this one, but since we bought our discounted tickets on Groupon and since said tickets promised us admission + all-you-can-drink beer (out of a boot) + a platter of sausages — all for $35, we figured it would not be terrible.

It was awesome. From the rows and rows of beer tents (so much beer), to the vendors that offered hard liquor (we threw the whole ‘beer before liquor’ adage into the wind that night), to the girls dressed in slutty porno versions of lederhosen, to the guy with the hat who photo bombed us, to the “venison” sausage (we had no idea what meat was in that sausage but it was good, so this isn’t a complaint), to the guy in the Yankees shirt with a shaved head except for the itty bitty ponytail on the very top of his head, to the oompa band that kept playing the same exact song at least 5x that night causing the older peeps that were dancing to pretend to swim? (I had to google it, the song is called Fliegerlied, which as far as I can tell is the German version of the Chicken Dance?), to the curly-hair girl who swayed to the music all night, her hair covering her face, who ended up crying her eyes out at the end of the night because she was so wasted, to the chicken hats that I tried on while drunky, much to the delight of the salesgirls, to the gingerbread cake that we were for certain was made from dust it was so damn dry. Like biting into a styrofoam square that has been sitting in the desert for a couple years – 0% moisture, 100% dust. It was a fun night. We drank too much. Again. The German side of me was pretty much satiated.

And I’m pretty much done with pumpkin-anything this Fall.

Our plans for attending a craft show in DC the next morning were looking pretty slim. And our plan of leaving the house before noon was pretty much a joke. Hangovers aside, we made it to Union Market before closing — a small victory — bought some cool things at Crafty Bastards, ate some overpriced, somewhat forgettable food truck food (DC still needs help with the whole food truck thing), and bought some expensive bacon at the awesome butchery inside Union Market.

Union Market was another first for us — essentially a less crowded, more modernly renovated Eastern Market with cute shops and farm-to-table type places to eat. “Brooklyn 2008” as it was described to us. Whatever that means. Despite the area (and reference to Brooklyn 2008?) I couldn’t get over how fancy everyone was dressed for a weekend jaunt to a craft fair/market, but then I’m guessing most people don’t like dressing in potato sacks and geriatric shoes the way I do.

Just outside the fenced-in area (literally, a fence) that is Union Market was what interested me more — rows of wholesale shops with garage door entrances, signs written in Chinese, Spanish, Korean, the overgrown, decaying and fenced off outdoor portion of the market, the fat, seemingly genetically-modified pigeons that stared down at us, the strong smell of urine…it all felt very ‘authentic.’ Like warehouses being used as warehouses instead of being transformed into trendy ‘urban lofts’…for now anyway…

I’m sure that I am over-romanticizing everything because I don’t have to live there on a daily basis, but its hard not to see where this neighborhood is going. Right now– it’s all so novel. Because its only a matter of time before stores like Whole Foods and Anthropologie (two stores I love, btw) show up and then it will be just like any other ‘up-and-coming’ neighborhood in a pretty colorful, quickly gentrifying part of town.

DETAILS

Das Best Oktoberfest on the National Harbor – There are a ton of Oktoberfests in the area, but we tried this one because a)I’ve never been to anything on the National Harbor, and b)it was $35 via Groupon. We chose the “Das Boot Nacht” aka “boot night” where you get a boot-shaped mug to drink from all night. Unlimited drinks. We also went on a Friday evening, which we all agreed was the way to go — there were a good amount of people but the lines were short and we didn’t feel like we had to push our way around like many other fests we’ve attended. Highly recommended.

Some of our favorites from Ocktoberfest:
Lancaster Brewing Company’s Milk Stout (the pumpkin ale was one of our faves as well, but I can’t really think about pumpkin ale right now)
Charred Oak Bourbon: If you are into whiskeys/ryes/bourbons then holy crap you will love this. So smooth, no burn, really nice earthy flavor. The distribution is really limited, but man it’s great.

Crafty Bastards — we tend to visit a lot of local craft shows and after a while, you start to see the same vendors so we weren’t really sure trekking into DC and paying $5 admission would be worth it. I still don’t agree with the admission fee but there were a ton of vendors, most I’ve never seen, many from out of state, and all selling pretty high-quality unique things. On the negative, there were way too many people pushing around inside the vendor booths so that you had to wait quite a while to see something if you were interested. I guess this is a good thing for the vendors though. Sly bought me this awesome camera strap fromSouldier — made from vintage fabric and recycled seat belts — and used by many bands for guitar straps. Totally love.

DC Union Market — Inside: lots of places to eat and shop. Outside: apparently they have drive-in movie nights where you can watch movies projected onto the side of the building while parked in the parking lot (or sitting outside). I’m a sucker for this sort of thing.

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