Matt Cohen is Associate Editor at DCist and a columnist at The Week.
What was the food highlight of your year?
There’s this ramen restaurant in D.C. called Toki Underground that’s arguably one of the most popular, highly regarded restaurants in the city. It’s got a reputation not only for serving the best ramen (again, arguably), but also for being impossible to get a table at. The restaurant, situated above one of my favorite dive bars in Northeast D.C. is a tiny space (the entire place seats maybe 20-30 people), doesn’t take reservations and there’s always at least an hour wait. I’ve lived in D.C. for four years and have tried to go to this place many different times, only to find that the wait was almost two hours every time. I finally managed to eat at Toki Underground this year, and it was glorious. An exceptional ramen place that’s easy on the wallet and surpasses its reputation. If you’re ever in D.C., make it a point to go here (my advice is to put your name on the list, then go drink at the bar below, The Pug).
What was the music highlight of your year?
Oh man, there are many to choose from, but I’ll try to keep it to three: 1) I’m always skeptical of band reunions, but I thought the show I caught of Texas Is The Reason’s reunion tour at the Black Cat in D.C. was particularly memorable, if only because it felt like such a warranted, welcomed reunion. So many bands reunite and tour for the wrong reasons, but theirs felt so natural and organic, and created such an energy between the band onstage. 2) I’m not a huge festival person, but I went to Pitchfork Festival for the first time and really enjoyed it. So many great bands—The Breeders, Swans, Bjork, Waxahatchee, Yo La Tengo, El-P and Killer Mike, Pissed Jeans, Wire—all in one place. It’s hard for anything to top that. 3) Reviewing albums for year-end lists last week, I had the revelation that friend’s bands made some of my favorite albums of the year. I couldn’t be more excited for them.
Was there a moment when food and music came together in a memorable way?
There’s a legendary free summer concert series in D.C. at a park called Fort Reno that’s been going on for decades. Over the years, many of D.C.’s finest have played it regularly—Fugazi, The Dismemberment Plan, Q and Not U, Teen Idles, Ted Leo, etc.—and its become a summer staple for me. I can think of no better moment of when food and music came together than packing up a homemade picnic with friends and trekking over to Fort Reno to eat and catching some of the best local bands play.