I love D.C. something serious. This past Sunday, I found my way to Ivy City’s ‘Big Chief’ venue for Dine Diaspora’s ChopBarDC event, featuring cuisine by Chef Hiyaw. Hosted by Travelista and fellow #Baldie Jessica Nabongo, it immediately felt like we were all friends of a mutual friend and had convened to eat good food (and look good while doing so). Afrobeat going, drinks flowing, Afros fro’ing… The vibe was so real. Jessica’s hilariously down to earth commentary lead us through intros, the many ChopBarDC giveaways and a dance-off for best-dressed. Yes, I said dance-off. I’m not sure how much more Diaspora-spirited it could’ve gotten than that. The Winners received pieces that had just been live painted by Dunnie The Artist. I’da danced for that too.
Is it cheesy to say that DJ EarthKwak was trying his hardest to shake things up? Oh well. He definitely succeeded at that. He took our food happy and drink buzzed bodies from West Africa through the Caribbean and then back to the Dirty South. We Gawra Gawra’d, Swag Surf’d, Palance’d and hit mean Slides (the electric variety of course). Yawl. We had a blast.
So. Although everyone clearly came to party, it was really about the food. From my understanding, Chef Hiyaw managed to achieve the impossible task of combining West African and East African flavors. Highlights of the party truly were the ever-flowing, belly-joy inducing chops that I couldn’t stuff my vegetarian face with. I thought SO hard on my dietary standings each time someone serving passed by with a tray. Temptation was everywhere. However, just when I thought I’d cave: Veggies and Injera. Oh my soul. Salvation. Sweet, savory, tangy, delicious salvation.
I had sweat quite a bit by then thanks to the crowd and the DJ, but I still needed a little something to soak up all the…
First of all, you get a drink ticket upon entrance. Now, I knew it was a part of the ticket price, but that didn’t make them putting it into my hand any less magical. Then I got to the bar and actually SAW the themed drink menu. Straight up Gryffindor level work. I went straight for the African Sunrise and stayed there for the following… however many I ended up buying. I’ve never been a fan of Tequila but… ChopBarDC did it for me.
Can’t forget about the marketplace! Vendors like JoonAfrica with their beautiful selected home goods alongside Neek & Nan’s flavor-packed hand-made spices. They lay in wait on the rooftop, glittering in the Sun, beckoning my wallet. ChopBarDC definitely tried to set me up! Little did I know that each had gifted an item to the GARGANTUAN giveaway bags. One of which I’m sure I totally almost won. Next time, aye? Dine Diaspora even gave away a case of selected African spirits. Big name sponsors like Bai beverages gave out their drinks and hand fans while Ethiopian Airlines gave away a flight. All of us at ChopBarDC were kept super cool and super fly.
DineDiaspora clearly wants all of us to #LevelUp. See you at the next event!
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