Dish City Washington, D.C, is home to a diverse food scene — everything from shared platters of Ethiopian cuisine to the late-night jumbo slice. But there's more to each dish than what you see on your plate.Join Washingtonians Ruth Tam and Patrick Fort as they tell the stories of the people and places that make D.C.'s iconic dishes famous. They trek around the city to find the answers to questions like: Can you trademark mumbo sauce? Do immigrant communities need to change their menus to market to the masses? What's the future of the power lunch?
Dish City

Dish City

From WAMU 88.5

Washington, D.C, is home to a diverse food scene — everything from shared platters of Ethiopian cuisine to the late-night jumbo slice. But there's more to each dish than what you see on your plate.Join Washingtonians Ruth Tam and Patrick Fort as they tell the stories of the people and places that make D.C.'s iconic dishes famous. They trek around the city to find the answers to questions like: Can you trademark mumbo sauce? Do immigrant communities need to change their menus to market to the masses? What's the future of the power lunch?

Most Recent Episodes

Soul Food

D.C. has historically been part of the American South. But as D.C.'s population has grown and diversified, its obvious ties to the South are starting to fade. Patrick and Ruth dine at the Florida Avenue Grill and Succotash, and take a detour through local football history, to learn what D.C.'s Southern and Soul Food restaurants tell us about our regional roots. Meet us at Busboys & Poets in Anacostia, October 22, from 6-8 p.m. to discuss this episode and more! Details: dishcity.org/sidedish Twitter & Instagram: @dishcity Email: dishcity@wamu.org Theme music by Daniel Peterschmidt.

Pupusas

The pupusa is one of the most recognizable dishes in El Salvador and one of the most delicious street foods in the world. It's loved locally and yet restaurants that serve and celebrate just Salvadoran food seem underrepresented in the District. Ruth and Patrick sample local Salvadoran Mexican cuisine from Audi Field, El Tamarindo and Gloria's Pupuseria to figure out how lesser-known immigrant cuisines distinguish themselves in D.C. Meet us at Reliable Tavern, October 15, from 6-8 p.m. to discuss this episode and more! Details: dishcity.org/sidedish Twitter & Instagram: @dishcity Email: dishcity@wamu.org Theme music by Daniel Peterschmidt. Additional music by Xenia Rubinos.

Mumbo Sauce

Washingtonians have been pouring blood red, sticky-sweet mumbo sauce over chicken wings and fries for decades. That's why, when the D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser said it "annoyed" her and hadn't heard of the sauce until she was an adult, she caused an uproar. What would it mean if mumbo sauce wasn't even from D.C.? We trace the mysterious origins of D.C.'s choice condiment and consider what it takes to stake a claim on a dish: history or pride? Follow us on Twitter and Instagram: @dishcity. Join us for our Tuesday meetups to discuss our most recent episode. Details about our next event are at dishcity.org/sidedish. Theme music is by Daniel Peterschmidt.

Jumbo Slice

Jumbo slice is divisive. A single, floppy slice is longer than most diners' forearms. While it's a favorite among late night partiers, especially in Adams Morgan, it's often derided as "drunk food" and has historically been blamed for all the fights and litter on 18th street on weekends. Ruth and Patrick call on pizza experts near and far to understand why jumbo slice has stood the test of time — and why it's so beloved. Follow us on Twitter and Instagram: @dishcity. Join us for our Tuesday meetups to discuss our most recent episode. Details about our next event are at dishcity.org/sidedish. Theme music is by Daniel Peterschmidt. Additional music in this episode is by Vitamin Tramp and Blue Dot Sessions.

Ethiopian Cuisine

Ethiopian cuisine is a D.C. mainstay, so when Ruth and Patrick taste "fast-casual Ethiopian" at Union Market, they have questions. What does it mean when a chef tries to put a new spin on dishes that are thousands of years old? We visit a family restaurant that's sticking to tradition, talk to a chef who tried to make the "Rasika of Ethiopian food," and collect some scorching hot takes from perhaps the best-known Ethiopian chef out there, Marcus Samuelsson. Follow us on Twitter and Instagram: @dishcity. If you're based in the D.C. area, we host meetups to discuss our latest episode on Tuesday evenings at local bars and restaurants. You can find out more at our website, dishcity.org. Our theme music is by Daniel Peterschmidt.

Half-Smokes

The half-smoke is the first food that comes to mind when we think about D.C.'s "iconic" foods. But when Ruth and Patrick take a trip to Ben's Chili Bowl, which made the half-smoke famous, Ruth orders a hot dog by mistake and realizes she doesn't really know what a half-smoke is. We take a trip to a sausage factory, hop back in time to 1958 when Ben's Chili Bowl opened and foray into the struggle playing out between old and new D.C. Follow us on Twitter and Instagram: @dishcity If you're based in the D.C. area, we host meetups on Tuesday evenings at bars and restaurants around town. You can find out more at our website, dishcity.org. Our theme music is by Daniel Peterschmidt. Other music in this episode is by Blue Dot Sessions and Pierce Murphy.

Introducing Dish City

A new podcast from WAMU asks what we can learn about Washington, D.C. through its iconic foods. Hosts Patrick Fort and Ruth Tam trek around the city and meet the people eating, making, and fighting for the city's staples. New episodes on Thursdays starting September 12th.

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