D.C. music download 2 years

D.C. Music Download is proud to announce our Two Year Anniversary Show! The show will be January 25th, 2014 and  will kick off a great year of local music. It may seem like a ways away, but it’ll be here before we know it. We are so honored to be taking the stage with great bands at the historic 9:30 Club. Plus, funds will benefit Girls Rock! DC, a music program benefiting young girls.


Sugar Pie, Honey Bunch

Photo by Stephen Buchman

We are in the middle of a local honey shortage.  Our honeybee friends blame this on two things.  A cold spring and a decade long honey-laundering scheme that plays more like an episode of Breaking Bad (cue the federal agents, multi-continent smuggling ring, and white-collar prosecutions).  Not exactly the first thing that comes to mind when conjuring up the obstacles in running a food business, right?

Capital Kombucha spends a great deal of time thinking through the logistics of local food production and consumption.  Given our thirst for encouraging people to reduce consumption of cane sugar and corn syrup, we also devote energy to sourcing healthy, local sweeteners like honey.  Needless to say, we did not realize how far the honey-rabbit hole would go.  What we got in return was an education in how hard it can be for a business to keep its dollars in the community and a colorful story on a developing global trade scandal.

The US consumes almost three times as much honey per year as we are capable of producing.  We import the rest.  Much of this imported honey comes from China, which produces 26% of the world’s honey.  So, when the Commerce Department determined in 2001 that the Chinese were selling their honey at below-market prices (“dumping” if you read the Economist), U.S. businesses had a bit of a problem.  The Commerce Department, partly to protect domestic honey producers, imposed steep fees on the Chinese to bring the foreign honey to a fair market price.  Then, in a scheme that would make Saul Goodman proud, a number of, let’s call them, enterprising individuals, decided that the US demand for honey was so strong that people would buy something called honey, even if it was actually something else.

Federal investigators found that much of the “honey” making its way into the US was actually a mixture of sugar cane, animal antibiotics, corn syrup, water, and not so friendly contaminants like lead and other heavy metals.  Rightly so, the government banned the import of honey containing these additives and hired  forensic scientists to determine the ingredients and origin of all honey imports.

A decade later, it’s still hard for us to get our healthy sweetener on.

In a tale as old as bureaucracy itself, the government didn’t have the resources to test every honey barrel in the shipping containers at our ports.  Honey hustlers (yes, that’s a thing) quickly realized that the cost of legally importing honey would be more expensive than (1) buying black-market honey from China; (2) shipping it secretly to a third country and re-labeling it to conceal its Chinese origin; (3) importing it to the US; and (4) repackaging it under new labels before sale to U.S. consumers.

Turns out the smuggling scheme worked like gangbusters.  Honey experts estimated that in 2011 – ten years after the Commerce Department sanctioned China – one-third of U.S. honey was still illegally imported from China.

In February this year, the government finally cracked down.  With an undercover agent posing as a honey buyer, the government executed a sting operation that apprehended 14 executives from German conglomerate Alfred L. Wolff, the sales director of Honey Holding Ltd in Baytown Texas, the President of Premium Food Sales Inc., and independent honey brokers across Texas and California (also a thing).

As the Department of Justice disciplined the international honey launderers, large U.S. honey packers needed a replacement supply fast.  Imports from Argentina and Brazil climbed, along with purchases from small apiaries which are now all bone dry.  The global honey scandal has oozed its way down, all the way to our local supply chain.  Instead of normal Tuesday morning purchasing, we received a lesson that “local” and “organic” are more than marketing buzz words, and are often dictated by global politics that, at the end of the day, can be felt at our dinner tables.

In response, we have been buying organic honey certified by Truesource, a honey consortium that guarantees quality and labeling accuracy.  We are committed to using it until the next honey harvest from area producers early next year. 

Read more here:



Young & Hungry

Ice Cream Sandwiches and Breakfast Tacos at New Pop-Up From Milk Cult and Vigilante Coffee

MC-SANCTUARY_LAUNCH POSTERMilk Cult is no longer only selling ice cream sandwiches via motorcycle. It’s also now teaming up with Vigilante Coffee for a long-term pop-up at just-opened Park View Patio.

The Sanctuary, as it’s called, will have coffee, breakfast tacos, ice cream, pastries, and other baked goods during the day when Park View Patio is closed. The breakfast tacos—$3.50 each—will all be made with sous-vide scrambled eggs. The three varieties will include bacon, potato, and hollandaise; corn beef hash; and fried green tomatillo. Milk Cult will provide a rotating selection of ice cream sandwiches and, eventually, scoops and pints in flavors like milk honey, salted caramel, and buttermilk lemon zest. The pastries and baked goods will come from Rare Sweets, which like Milk Cult, works out of Union Kitchen.

The Santuary will be open from 7:30 a.m. until 4 p.m. Sundays through Wednesdays and until 2 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays. There will also be free Wi-Fi and eventually an indoor bike rack.

The pop-up kicks off this Sunday with free coffee, breakfast tacos, and other treats from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Milk Cult co-founder Ed Cornell expects to keep The Sanctuary going for a year at least.

The team is trying to get loans for an espresso machine, furniture, and other start-up food costs through crowdfunding site Clovest. Get more info here.

Posted by Jessica Sidman on Nov. 13, 2013 at 1:47 pm


MilkCult Sanctuary!


You probably already know Milk Cult as DC’s first motorcycle based mobile ice cream vendors (if you didn’t -you do now). Well, get excited, the duo is gearing up for their next project.

Enter: The Sanctuary.

Milk Cult’s pop-up style Cafe in the heart of Petworth. They are creating a space for people to come and stay a while, where they can enjoy the highest quality of coffee, food, and soak up the Milk Cult experience. The Sanctuary will provide a full espresso bar, free wi-fi, and a full fledged savory program featuring their take on brunch-style tacos. Basing their operation out of Union Kitchen, the pop-up cafe is a springboard for Ed and Patrick’s passion for quality food in a welcoming atmosphere.

A small group with an available space came to the Milk Cult guys aware of their passion for quality food. Wondering what they would do during the cold winter when they’re motorcycle ice cream rig isn’t on the streets the two came up with the idea for The Sanctuary. People in DC are already appreciating food in a great way, and the guys are providing a place for them to come and worship.

At The Sanctuary the expertly roasted Vigilante coffee will be on tap along with their own creation of brunch-ish tacos -think far away from tex-mex, and think more along the lines of:

  • Sous-Vide Steak n’ Eggs
  • Corned Beef Hash w/ crushed Pork Rinds
  • Fried Green Tomatillos w/ Hollandaise whip

Along with a rotating menu changing regularly and last but not least their own small batch ice cream made from scratch sourced from local dairies.

– See more at: https://clovest.com/projects/the-milk-cult-sanctuary/overview#sthash.64kD4u3Y.dpuf

TaKorean Opening Restaurant

 is expanding from food truck and Union Market stall into a new fast-casual restaurant in Navy Yard next summer.

Owner Mike Lenard says the location will offer a few new options beyond Korean-style tacos, including rice bowls with all the same toppings. TaKorean will also continue to offer salad bowls. In addition to bulgogi beef, tangy chicken, and caramelized tofu, there will also be a ssamjang roasted pork option, which has run as a special at the existing operations. Lenard plans to also have a limited beer selection and possibly small bottles of soju.

The restaurant will be located at the Twelve12 complex at 4th and M streets SE, next to a Sweetgreen. The 1,700 square-foot space will be “colorful, but simple,” Lenard says.

The food truck and Union Market location will continue to operate as usual.

Photo via TaKorean


Posted by Jessica Sidman on Nov. 4, 2013 at 12:02 pm