Happily, the friends I stayed with are foodies who welcomed me with a spaghetti dinner, gave me German chocolate every night and sent me off to the conference in the morning after a cup of Persian jasmine tea sweetened with saffron-infused rock candy. Yup, saffron-infused rock candy. They also took me here for gluten-free pizza and beer, as well as here for Ethiopian food (see picture below).
In other words, I ate well in DC, except for the piece of so-so pizza I scarfed down under an awning in the rain before a 3 pm panel.
On a somewhat unrelated note, here's a quick recipe I made for a friend's birthday party right before I left for the conference. I probably should have posted this in conjunction with the Super Bowl, as it is a terrific appetizer for any kind of party. This dip is a classic party recipe for me; it was served at every gathering I can ever remember my family hosting while I was growing up. The Beau Monde seasoning is my mom's special ingredient, which elevates this version of dill dip far above any other I've had. It's really good and really simple to make. Everyone loves it!
(makes enough to serve as appetizer for a small party)
hands on time: less than 10 minutes
total time: less than 10 minutes
1 small jar of mayonnaise
1 medium tub of sour cream
Beau Monde Seasoning
1. Glob out about a cup of sour cream and 1/2 a cup of mayonnaise; mix together. You may notice that the mixtures tastes more of mayonnaise or more of sour cream; you want the taste and consistency to be much more that of sour cream, so play with the portions of these as it suits you. I used this entire tub of sour cream plus a bit more, as well as this whole jar of mayo. Full-fat versions generally taste best (of course), but low-fat ones are ok to use.
2. Add in a few tbsps of dill, then stir:
3. Add in some Beau Monde seasoning to your liking.
4. Stir again. At this point, you may want to add more mayo or more sour cream or more dill or Beau Monde; feel free to do so! Just play with it until it tastes good to you.
5. Serve with crackers, bread, or vegetables for dipping. I traditionally serve it in a rye bread bowl, but any kind of bread is delicious.
See? Really easy and really good; the dill gives it a slightly sophisticated taste for how deceptively simple it is to make. I promise you this will be a hit at any party that isn't full of vegans; not sure how this recipe would adapt to using vegan sour cream or vegannaise. No offense meant to vegans, of course! If you are vegan, try this with those substitutions and let me know how it turns out.