918 F Street

As most of you know, I work at LivingSocial and it's great. Fun environment, great co-workers and limitless free snacks. Another bonus is that when they opened their new building, 918 F Street, I got to go test out the classes for FREE. Let me tell you, everyone needs to take one of the classes they offer. There is everything from cooking classes to pop up restaurants, painting, flower arranging, dessert making, yoga classes etc all in one building. Essentially, different companies come and rent out space and offer classes and we advertise the classes on our website.

I had to be somewhat discreet in my picture taking since the Washington Post was also taking pictures for an article they're running, so I'm sorry for the lack of quality. But basically, the kitchens in this building where the classes are held are pretty amazing. It has every gadget you could ever hope for when cooking or baking. There are also TVs placed throughout, so that those people towards the back can still see what's happening up at the front of the class.

These pics are from the cooking class I took from the founder of Toki Underground. Toki Underground is a Ramen restaurant on H street in DC that is unbelievably popular - I tried to go one night and was told there was a 2+ hour wait which they said is standard. Luckily, I got to take this class and got a taste of the food without the wait.
The founder/chef is the guy in the red shirt with the beanie. He was really easy going and nice with a hipster vibe.
If you're in the back of the class this is what it looks like - you've got TVs to help you better see the front.
In this class we learned how to use an ENTIRE chicken for a meal. I've never handled a whole, raw chicken - popping hip bones and such out was interesting, but doable. It was nice to not be wasteful and find ways to use everything. We grilled chicken, made pot stickers, fried chicken and made chicken broth all in one night! It was easier than I expected. Sometimes I imagine cooking to be harder than it is and it intimidates me, but I shouldn't let that stop me because this was totally doable (although time consuming). Fun facts - pot stickers are done when you can see the green scallions through the skin. Also, the pot sticker filling should have a whipped consistency.
On a different night I took a painting class. Each person gets their own canvas and follows along while an instructor teaches you how to paint a picture, but you are free to paint whatever you'd like. They also serve wine and other beverages. I loved this class because how often do you paint for fun? It's definitely something I'd like to do again with friends.

My favorite class was the sushi making class taught by the chefs at Sticky Rice. Over time I have come to love sushi (which is strange because 5 years ago I despised it). Sushi is so expensive and foreign that I always figured it'd be difficult to make, but it's actually incredibly easy.
We took the seaweed and spread the rice over the surface. Then flipped it over on the mat and put the fillings on - in this case avocado, salmon and cream cheese.
Then you roll and ta-da - sushi!

I worked with a partner and the chefs came over and told us how nicely ours turned out more than once- maybe I have a future as a sushi chef? Nahh, but glad to know I can do it! While the process is fairly simple (unless you're getting into tempura or other things), the ingredients are super pricey. Another thing the chefs really emphasized was presentation. For example, even though we were just making and eating the rolls as we went along, the chefs still came by and organized our plates to look fancy by stacking them, adding ginger and other little garnishes. Even if you're just making it for yourself, you should not disregard the presentation of the food.
Also, my claim to fame is having my picture shown in the lobby of 918 F (where these classes are held).
So if you're ever in DC I highly suggest signing up for one of these classes. Not just because I work for LivingSocial, but because the classes are actually really fun!

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