Dish City

By WAMU

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LC
 Aug 27, 2019
Can't wait for the full season, brilliant hosts, love WAMU content.

Description

When a city changes, you can feel it in its local food culture. As the pandemic spread across the U.S., local restaurants closed or adapted, with many relying heavily on takeout and delivery in unprecedented ways. This season on Dish City, hosts Patrick Fort and Ruth Tam discover how food delivery became normal and ponder if it actually benefits restaurants, couriers and diners during the pandemic. From WAMU.

Episode Date
Solutions Mode
42:44

There are problems with food delivery. There's the reliance on gig laborers who say they are underpaid. Restaurants have to pay high commission fees on top of most orders. And delivery companies wind up operating on threadbare margins and still haven't turned an annual profit. Oh, and soggy fries. We haven't quite solved for that yet.

There's plenty to vent about. But, food delivery's not going anywhere. So, on our season finale: Can food delivery be better?

Read a transcript of this episode at dishcity.org.

Follow us on Twitter and Instagram: @dishcity.

Leave us a tip at wamu.org/supportdishcity.

Email us your favorite delivery order at dishcity@wamu.org.

Jun 17, 2021
Gig Work: The Fine Print Of Food Delivery
36:43

"Quick sign up! Flexible hours! Be your own boss!"

The perks of gig work are well-known, but do they actually reflect the reality of drivers working for food delivery apps? Patrick and Ruth try driving for DoorDash to find out. Plus, they interview three drivers in D.C., Seattle, and Denton, Texas, to see how gig workers are fighting for better working conditions.

Read a transcript of this episode at dishcity.org.

Follow us on Twitter and Instagram: @dishcity.

Leave us a tip at wamu.org/supportdishcity.

Email us your favorite delivery order at dishcity@wamu.org.

Jun 10, 2021
The Rise And Farce Of Third-Party Delivery Apps
38:17

DoorDash started a decade after its competitors, but now controls half of the food delivery market in the U.S. What can we learn from the very first order its founders delivered? And how did all these third-party platforms reshape the way we think of food delivery? Ruth and Patrick explore the origins of DoorDash and examine whether the "magic wand" it built for restaurateurs is working.

Note: This episode has been updated to reflect DoorDash and Uber Eats' current policy regarding listing restaurants on their platforms.

Read a transcript of this episode at dishcity.org.

Follow us on Twitter and Instagram: @dishcity.

Leave us a tip at wamu.org/supportdishcity.

Email us your favorite delivery order at dishcity@wamu.org.

Jun 03, 2021
How Big Pizza And Big Tech Made Hot Delivery Possible
26:24

In the '60s, delivering pizzas meant wrapping hot pies in a blanket or driving them to customers over open flames. With those humble (and, uh, life-threatening) beginnings, how did we get to the quick and easy delivery everyone knows and loves today? From heatproof bags to rotating ovens, Patrick Fort and Ruth Tam investigate how 'big pizza' changed the delivery game forever.

Read a transcript of this episode at dishcity.org.

Follow us on Twitter and Instagram: @dishcity.

Leave us a tip at wamu.org/supportdishcity.

Email us your favorite delivery order at dishcity@wamu.org.

May 27, 2021
How American Chinese Food Became Delivery Food
32:24

On a cold November night in 1976, a New York City restaurateur named Misa Chang started sliding delivery menus under her neighbors’ doors for her Chinese restaurant in Manhattan. Chang wasn’t the first to offer delivery, but when delivery gained traction in U.S. cities, Chinese restaurants were often the first to do it. As dishes like chop suey and General Tso's chicken became part of American food culture, Americans’ feelings toward the Chinese Americans who made the food (and delivered it) remained stuck in the past. And now, as demand for delivery increases, many American Chinese restaurants are closing. Is delivery the key to survival?

Read a transcript of this episode at dishcity.org.

Follow us on Twitter and Instagram: @dishcity.

Leave us a tip at wamu.org/supportdishcity.

Email us your favorite delivery order at dishcity@wamu.org.

May 20, 2021
Why Is Delivery A Thing?
30:32
When you really think about it, delivering food from restaurants to homes is kind of strange. Nothing about the process saves money and it doesn't make the food taste any better! And yet, platforms like DoorDash and Grubhub doubled their revenue during the pandemic. So, what's the history of this weird system? Welcome to the latest season of Dish City, where we unwrap the past, present and future of delivery. Read a transcript of this episode at dishcity.org. Follow us on Twitter and Instagram: @dishcity. Leave us a tip at wamu.org/supportdishcity. Email us your favorite delivery order at dishcity@wamu.org.
May 13, 2021
Introducing Dish City’s Delivery Season
3:05
On a new season of Dish City, hosts Patrick Fort and Ruth Tam discover how food delivery became normal in America and ponder if it actually benefits restaurants, couriers and diners during the pandemic.
May 09, 2021
The Foodie With No Taste
26:46

Most people who contract coronavirus recover, but we still don't know much about the lingering side effects – including the loss of taste and smell. Patrick talks with a local foodie who survived the virus but hasn't fully regained his ability to taste and smell.

We're taking a break, but send us your thoughts and ideas for episodes here: dishcity@wamu.org

Twitter: @dishcity

Instagram: @dishcity

Leave us a tip at wamu.org/supportdishcity.

Theme music by Daniel Peterschmidt

Nov 12, 2020
Winter Is…You Know
21:44

As Game of Thrones nerds can tell you, "winter is coming" is more than a seasonal weather forecast –it's a warning. With that in mind, what are local restaurants with outdoor dining doing to prepare for the harshest season? And, given the limits in federal and local coronavirus financial relief, what do they actually have control over? Ruth and Patrick follow a restaurant and brewery owner's preparations –and their state of mind– as we count the days towards the cold.

dishcity@wamu.org

Twitter: @dishcity

Instagram: @dishcity

Support the show at wamu.org/supportdishcity.

Nov 05, 2020
The Restaurant From The Future
22:54
What does the future hold for restaurants? To predict what a restaurant in 2022 will look like, Patrick and Ruth time travel to see what lessons we can learn from previous pandemics. 

dishcity@wamu.org

Twitter: @dishcity

Instagram: @dishcity

Leave us a tip at wamu.org/supportdishcity.

Oct 22, 2020
It’s Fall, Eat A Mooncake
26:24
Now that fall is here, Patrick is enjoying his cozy flannel shirts and crisp pumpkin beers. But for Ruth, entering this season is bittersweet. Cultural holidays like the Mid-Autumn Festival are normally comforting this time of year. But for Asians who observe this harvest celebration, there's no easy way to safely gather and eat traditional mooncakes during a pandemic. To get some perspective on family food traditions and what they offer us this season, Ruth turns to D.C. resident Suzanne Nuyen, the creator of Vietnamese food blog, Bun Bo Bae.

Suzanne's blog Bun Bo Bae: bunbobae.com

dishcity@wamu.org

Twitter: @dishcity

Instagram: @dishcity

Dish City is made possible by listeners like you! Donate at wamu.org/supportdishcity.

Oct 01, 2020
The Decision To Dine Out
28:26

As bars and restaurants in the Washington region continue to reopen, diners are flocking back looking for a sense of normalcy. For Patrick, the decision to dine out is a lot more complicated than it was pre-pandemic. In his attempt to find a safe way to dine, he learns how others are making that decision and gets advice from local restaurateurs, government regulators and his co-host Ruth.

dishcity@wamu.org

Twitter: @dishcity

Instagram: @dishcity

Dish City depends on the support of listeners like you! Donate at wamu.org/supportdishcity.

Sep 24, 2020
Closing Time: A Farewell To Eighteenth Street Lounge
39:33

When Eighteenth Street Lounge closed permanently in June 2020, Washingtonians mourned the "end of an era." Ruth and Patrick look back on the nightclub's 25-year legacy, its mark on the underground music scene and the ways D.C.'s nightlife scene has changed since it opened.

Listen to music inspired by Eighteenth Street Lounge on Spotify: https://sptfy.com/dzNE

dishcity@wamu.org

Twitter: @dishcity

Instagram: @dishcity

Support Dish City at wamu.org/supportdishcity.

Sep 10, 2020
Call Your Landlord
27:04
Rent is due in a week! And restaurants are still struggling to make it through the pandemic. If they don’t renegotiate their leases, restaurants and bars won’t survive. But, landlords are hurting too. Patrick and Ruth continue their exploration of negotiating rent during coronavirus with real estate experts, and the owners of Sloppy Mama’s Barbecue and Pupatella. Plus: An update on Burmese restaurant Thamee and their rent negotiations. Note: This episode is Part 2 of a series on paying the rent. Listen to Part 1 wherever you get your podcasts.

dishcity@wamu.org

Twitter: @dishcity

Instagram: @dishcity

Leave us a tip at wamu.org/supportdishcity.

Jun 25, 2020
When Restaurants Can’t Pay Rent
16:48
Even before the pandemic, restaurants struggled to pay rent. And now, whether they're starting to re-open, only doing takeout or remaining closed...they still owe rent! Patrick and Ruth take a look at one restaurant's challenges, and their attempt to negotiate with their landlord. Note: This episode is Part 1 of a series on paying the rent. Listen to Part 2 wherever you get your podcasts!

dishcity@wamu.org

Twitter: @dishcity

Instagram: @dishcity

Photo Illustration by Ruth Tam, Photo by Patrick Ryan / DCist

Dish City depends on the generosity of listeners like you! Donate at wamu.org/supportdishcity.

Jun 18, 2020
When D.C. Burned In 1968
10:31

Following the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, D.C. has been gripped in protest for five days straight. As demonstrations intensify, local food businesses downtown have been broken into and burned.

This isn't the first time Washingtonians have protested the loss of black life, and it's not the first time restaurants have witnessed it. Ruth and Patrick revisit a conversation with Virginia Ali, who cofounded Ben's Chili Bowl and witnessed the 1968 protests that destroyed her neighborhood. Virginia Ali shares the origin story of Ben’s, why her business stayed open through the protests and how they survived the years that followed.

Music and archival audio in this episode included "Dancing In The Street" by Martha Reeves & Vandellas and an excerpt from the documentary "King Is Dead."

Read a transcript.

dishcity@wamu.org

Twitter: @dishcity

Instagram: @dishcity

Support Dish City at wamu.org/supportdishcity.

Jun 03, 2020
The Big Pivot
33:15

No surprises to anyone listening: Dish City has had to pivot. But, it's nothing compared to what local restaurant owners and workers are dealing with. On week 11 of working from home, Patrick and Ruth turn to the owners of Compass Coffee and Hank's Oyster Bar to see how they made decisions during some of the most intense weeks of their lives. Then, they talk to two Washingtonians –a bartender and a Muslim community leader– about how they've each changed their approach to food service during the pandemic.

dishcity@wamu.org

Read a transcript.

Twitter: @dishcity

Instagram: @dishcity

Leave us a tip at wamu.org/supportdishcity.

May 21, 2020
The Moral Calculus Of Buying Food During A Pandemic
35:02

Before the pandemic, getting takeout or going to the grocery store didn't seem too complicated. Now, the coronavirus is revealing new challenges, as well as old vulnerabilities. With the help of restaurant owners, grocery workers and small farmers, Patrick and Ruth navigate the moral minefield that is getting food during a pandemic.

dishcity@wamu.org

Read a transcript

of this episode.

Twitter: @dishcity

Instagram: @dishcity

Leave us a tip at wamu.org/supportdishcity.

May 07, 2020
Cooking Under Quarantine
26:31

Stopping by the corner store for an extra onion or a last-minute bottle of wine is just not going to cut it anymore. Many of us are quarantined or sheltering-in-place with fewer food options. So, how are Patrick and Ruth making the most with what they have? They talk to Charles Duan and Jenny Gao, two creative home cooks who never let any ingredient go to waste. Also, they chat with Derek Brown about his Twitter mission to write people custom cocktail recipes, and his suggestions for enjoying them mindfully. Read a transcript.

Jenny and Charles' Bolognese, aka "The Godfather Sauce"

This won't be your traditional recipe, but follow your instincts like Jenny and Charles do!

Brown pork shoulder in cast iron skillet and add to pressure cooker. Cook onions, garlic, veggies from freezer like carrots and celery in a pan until soft, and add to pressure cooker. Add optional vodka to pressure cooker. Season with thyme, oregano, rosemary, clove, star anise, all spice, and a bit of beef bouillon. Add canned tomatoes to pressure cooker. Cook on high pressure for 1 hour. Served with regular or edamame pasta with Parmesan on top!

Derek Brown's "The Getaway" Cocktail

Spirited (1 serving)
1 oz. Cruzan Black Strap Rum
1 oz. Fresh Lemon Juice
1/2 oz. Cynar
1/2 oz. Rich Simple Syrup (2 parts sugar, 1 part water)
Shake, strain into chilled coupe. Makes one serving.

Spirit-Free (1 serving)
2 oz. Chinnotto Syrup
1 oz. Lemon
½ oz. Maple Shrub
½ oz. Aquafaba
3 dashes Salt Tincture
Shake, strain into chilled coupe.

Here's the Bon Appétit recipe for cake doughnuts Patrick tried and the Serious Eats recipe for scallion pancakes Ruth tried.

Support Dish City and local audio journalism by donating at wamu.org/supportdishcity.
Apr 23, 2020
Introducing: Dish City Season 2
2:40

Ruth and Patrick are setting aside their original plans for Dish City Season 2. For the foreseeable future, Dish City will cover the coronavirus pandemic's affect on the D.C. area's local food systems. Here's a sneak peek of what you can expect every other Thursday.

dishcity@wamu.org

Twitter: @dishcity

Instagram: @dishcity

Apr 21, 2020
Epilogue: A Very D.C. Thanksgiving
13:41

Surprise! It's a special Thanksgiving episode of Dish City.

Thanksgiving is one of the few holidays with a set dinner menu. Despite the obvious dishes, families and friends all over D.C. put their own spin on tradition every year. Patrick and Ruth interview one Washingtonian who tried to make last year's Thanksgiving the most D.C. Thanksgiving ever. Plus: Patrick and Ruth get into the kitchen and cook together for the first time.

Recipes: dishcity.org/thanksgiving

Twitter: twitter.com/dishcity

Instagram: @dishcity

Leave us a tip at wamu.org/supportdishcity.

Nov 21, 2019
Power Lunch
20:16

From high-powered creatives and business executives in New York, to lawyers and politicians in D.C., the power lunch has long been a staple for the wealthy and powerful. And the classic steakhouse has always been the quintessential setting for these meals.

But as more and more young people move to D.C., do power lunches still hold the cachet they once did? And, despite being known as a "steakhouse town" for decades, are D.C.'s steaks still the ultimate "power lunch"?

Ruth and Patrick explore the local lunch scene to see if what you eat in the middle of the day indicates how powerful you might be in D.C.

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Please fill out our survey (dishcity.org/survey) so we can get a better sense of what you want most out of future episodes and events!

Meet us at Hawk 'n' Dove on Capitol Hill, October 29, from 6-8 p.m. to discuss this episode and more. Details: dishcity.org/sidedish

Twitter & Instagram: @dishcity Email: dishcity@wamu.org

Leave us a tip at wamu.org/supportdishcity.

Theme music by Daniel Peterschmidt

Oct 24, 2019
Soul Food
21:17

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.

Dish City depends on the generosity of listeners like you! Donate at wamu.org/supportdishcity.

Oct 17, 2019
Pupusas
20:38
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. Support our work by donating at wamu.org/supportdishcity.
Oct 10, 2019
Mumbo Sauce
18:35
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. Leave us a tip at wamu.org/supportdishcity.
Oct 03, 2019
Jumbo Slice
21:14
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. Dish City depends on the generosity of listeners like you! Donate at wamu.org/supportdishcity. 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.
Sep 26, 2019
Ethiopian Cuisine
21:10
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. Dish City depends on the generosity of listeners like you! Donate at wamu.org/supportdishcity. 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.
Sep 19, 2019
Half-Smokes
17:16

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.

Dish City depends on the generosity of listeners like you! Donate at wamu.org/supportdishcity.

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.

Sep 12, 2019
Introducing Dish City
2:16
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.
Aug 20, 2019