Unleash the taste buds at this year’s Emporiyum – an annual food event that gathers some of the most innovative and exciting culinary experiences from around Washington D.C. This is our second visit to this annual event, and both years we’ve had a blast. Read more from our review of Emporiyum 2016 Baltimore. Explore some of the unique dishes like vegan cheese, spicy bowl, donut waffle, and so much more. It’s all under one roof in the Union Market. Emporiyum is one of the only places you can do it all in one day. So make sure not to miss this annual event in Washington D.C. and Baltimore. Also, don’t forget to skip breakfast so you can try all the nom noms. There are so many that even Nomster had trouble eating it all.
Natalie Porkman @ Pow Pow (5 NOMs)
I tried vegan meat, and I liked it! We were very excited to try vegan sweet and sour pork seitan from Pow Pow, a New Asian restaurant that brings Chinese, Japanese, and Korean techniques together at a spot in the H Street Corridor neighborhood. This being one of our first dishes at EmporiYUM, it made for a great entry. What really caught our eyes was their vegan and veterinarian selections. If you didn’t tell us it was fake, we would say Natalie Porkman (LOL) is meaty goodness. This dish includes one very filling brown rice with grilled pineapple, green pepper, tomatoes, carrots, greens, and signature rice. The rice was on point – well seasoned, soft, and flavorful to add to the overall dish. With a choice of sauce, we went for something with a nice kick to it. They also offer an assortment of other dishes that are gluten and dairy-free.
Vegan Mozzarella Balls @ Pow Pow (5 NOMs)
I tried vegan balls. I mean…I tried Pow Pow’s Vegan Mozzarella Balls and liked them. It’s tough to believe these are vegan as they taste like normal cheese balls. We can’t stop saying balls, lol! The Pow Pow is definitely making a good name for vegan nom noms at EmporiYUM. Great presentation, too, as the balls look so tasty, we couldn’t wait to put them in our mouth. Trust us when we tell you this is a must, and we know a thing or two about balls in the mouth.
Who is your papa? The Hawaiian-inspired bowl is your new pap from Poke Papa, a brand new poke place in the Chinatown neighborhood of Washington D.C. It’s a simple 3 steps to building your own bowl with protein, toppings, and sauces. We couldn’t decide so we went for both Ahi Tuna and Spicy Tuna. We were huge fans of the spicy tuna because it had this nice heat, and the flavor made it quite memorable. We chose most items from the topping menu, including seaweed salad, cucumber, edamame, and pickled ginger. We also chose sriracha aioli for that little spice we enjoy. The ordering is slightly different at the actual location, but it’s still building your own bowl with even more toppings, sauces, and proteins. The Poke Papa people were so excited to be at EmporiYUM and have us try their nom noms. Such joy alone gets them high marks from us.
It’s the creation of an evil scientist: a tasty combination of donut and waffle together to bring us the Doffle from BToo, one of our favorite Belgian restaurants in D.C. We are very familiar with this restaurant and dish, but we can’t pass up having it again at EmporiYUM. It has everything you love all in one bite, including the softness of a donut and the texture of a waffle, all with glaze and sprinkles on top. That’s one way to make a waffle even better: fry it, glaze it and FEED IT TO ME! Even if you missed this event, the Doffle is available at BToo restaurants.
Get ready for a taste bud-blowing dish in the Veggie Okonomiyaki, a savory pancake from Uzu, located in Union Market, D.C. This dish literally means “how you like” in Japanese, and it is prepared to your liking. At Uzu, they are bringing Japanese comfort food with a twist. It may not look like it, but there are many ingredients there, with cabbage, Bella mushrooms, eggs, tempura crisps, and scallions. It’s all topped with Japanese BBQ sauce, a Japanese brand Kewpie mayonnaise, bonito flakes (dried, fermented, and smoked tuna), aonori (seaweed), and shichimi togarashi (red chili powder). With the first bite, we discovered an amazing brand new world. It’s so soft and flavourful that every bite brings joy to your taste buds. While soft, it’s a pretty heavy dish that will definitely fill you up. We were getting full but couldn’t stop and finished the whole thing. No regrets when food is that good. This was one of the most memorable dishes we had during the EmporiYUM.
It’s sugar overload with the Cotton Candy S’mores Milkshake from Fluffness, a company specializing in cotton candy but making something much more at EmporiYUM. While their main product is cotton candy in a jar or at the event, they serve up some amazing milkshakes. After all, ice cream and cotton candy aren’t enough, so let’s top it off with S’Mores! OMG, that was one of the most amazing milkshakes we’ve tried. Definitely worth all the calories, but we try not to think about it. Sadly, you can only find this amazing creation from Fluffness at events, though they sell cotton candy online in a jar or tub. Who doesn’t want a tub of cotton candy at home?!
We were very excited to try some authentic South African Beef Jerky from Ayoba Yo. The founder of this company wanted to have a beef jerky homeland after moving to the U.S., so he decided to create it himself. This beef jerky is dried, which according to their representative, is a healthier way to make the jerky. We definitely enjoyed trying the various flavors and look forward to having more.
Onigirazu is in the house and going for the two most popular orders, a Spam and a Chicken Teriyaki Sushi Burrito from Filling Good, a place that makes you feel good with nomnom food. These two little burritos sure pack a flavor punch. These were another tasty little nomnom we enjoyed at EmporiYUM 2017. They might be small, but they are delightful and shareable. Instead of going with one big burrito, we tried half of each of the two most popular flavors. Our favorite was the Chicken Teriyaki, as it had a very nice soft texture and greater flavor combination. It went especially great with the spicy sauce. Currently, you can find these burritos at Civic Plaza’s Farmers Market in Washington, D.C.
Not very often do you need an ID for ice cream, but that’s what happens when you eat liquor-infused ice cream from New York City’s Tipsy Scoops, ice cream just for grown-ups. We tried the Dark Chocolate Whiskey Salted Caramel, Cake Batter Vodka Martini, and Raspberry Limoncello Sorbet. OMG, being an adult has never been this good. All were great and tasted like a nice refreshing mixed drink but with more sugary goodness in there. We are big fans of sugar, so bring it on! Each ice cream had a nice liquor hint, it wasn’t too much, and you are not likely to get drunk off it. We are sad that this is an NYC-based ice cream shop, but they do deliver their goodies. Maybe someday they will open a location in D.C. We’ll cross our fingers.
Devile’s Backbone and Bacon Sausage @ Milton’s Local (3 NOMs)
Get some sausages in your mouth because we double sausage ourselves with an order of Devil’s Backbone and Bacon Sausage steam bun sandwiches from Milton’s Local, an all-natural meat provider in the Washington D.C area. This place focuses on creating sustainable agriculture with family farmers in the area. It’s always great to meet people with a passion for the environment and food. Being gay foodies, we are big fans of the sausages and enjoy them all the time ;). You can’t have sausages and not expect some dirty comments from us. We are a fan of these sausages -they had a nice flavor and texture. They did get a bit lost in all the toppings, but they were still enjoyable. This is a showcase dish, so, in the end, you should be buying sausages. If you are into environmentally friendly and family-owned businesses, make sure to check them out in your area.
We ended our Emporiyum adventure with some drinks from Buffalo Bergen, located in Union Market, as one of the few full restaurants there. Who doesn’t like a few drinks, shots, and more S’Mores made right in front of them?