Dying to Dine: Washingtonian’s Death Row Meals

Part I of a regular series where we ask some of Washington’s favorite foodies, journalists, chefs, and industry reps what their “last meal” would be. Interested? Email us.

A prisoner’s “last meal” typically has no boundaries or restrictions, and has elicited a bit of a cult following online. Recently, photographer Henry Hargreaves created a series called “No Seconds” where he recreated the images of death row inmates last meals to illustrate people’s food preferences speak volumes about their character.

John Wayne Gacy, for example, requested 12 fried shrimp, a bucket of original recipe KFC, french fries, and a pound of strawberries. Gacy, owned a series of KFC chains in life.

We don’t know what this says about anyone’s character, you can draw those conclusions. We did however think it would be awesome to bring together a mixture of some of Washingtonians chefs, culinary reporters, bloggers, and just general foodies / fun people to see what their last smorgasbord might consist of.

See below for the first installment of Dying to Dine.

Annie Johnson: Social Media Strategist, Bitches Who Brunch

“I would go with fresh steamed Ipswich clams, my mom’s shrimp fettuccine Alfredo, a glass of Veuve Cliquot, and the s’mores pot du creme from DC Harvest.”

Cedric Maupillier: Chef/Owner, Convivial & Mintwood Place

Credit: Jewish Food Experience

“A slice of warm Paladin bread from Breadfurst spread with some great butter and sprinkle with fleure de sel with a glass of champagne not too cold….”

Jenna Golden: Founder, EatMoreDrinkMore.com

“For my last meal I would orchestrate a progressive dinner across DC to enjoy many of my favorite restaurants and chefs. I’d start with a glass of wine at my neighborhood watering hole, Cork Wine Bar. For appetizers I’d go to Maydan and eat all of the dips and the warm freshly baked pita. The Beiruti hummus, the labneh, and the muhamarrah would definitely be part of my order. For my main course I’d head over to The Red Hen and stuff my face with pasta including a double order of the mezzi rigatoni with sausage ragu. That simple dish never gets old. I’d end the night at Le Diplomate with a beautiful bottle of Pinot Noir from Burgundy along with the apple tarte tatin and the milk chocolate pot de creme for dessert.”

Casey Patten: Co-Founder, Taylor Gourmet

Credit: The Tasty Escape

“Sunday dim sum service at Maketto. Everything on the menu.”

Kelly Cohen: Journalist

“Carne asada tacos, elote, guac & chips and one glass of Hennessy on the rocks.”

Kwame Onwuachi: Executive Chef, Kith/Kin at the InterContinental Washington, D.C. – The Wharf

“Los Hermanos tripe stew, stewed chicken, and roast pork with rice and beans. My fiancé’s beef ragu with orecchiette, garlic bread crumbs, and a ton of Parmesan. And the whole fried snapper with brown stew sauce at Kith and Kin. Also a glass of four roses small batch neat. Oh an Nigerian banga soup.”

Erika Kauder: Co-Founder, Loudmouth Creative

Credit: Best Crab

“Botan Ebi, Ika and Ikura w/ Quail Egg sashimi. Maryland crab. Butter. Lemon. Butter. More butter. Phipps family ham & cheese bread. My dad’s pan seared sweetbreads. A double cheeseburger from Doumar’s in Norfolk, VA. Steamed Pork Dumplings & Scallion Pancakes from Sang Kee in Philly. Uni Service at Brothers and Sisters…sub milk bread for paté a choux. Chicken Head sammy from the OG Passenger. Jaleo’s Texturas dessert: grapefruit supremes & granita with olive oil ice cream & sprinkle of salt. To drink? Any combination of an Adonis, some delicious Riesling, an amaro and some sherry, and I’m a happy lady.”

Chad Spangler: Service Bar/Menehune Group

“I’ve loved seafood & shellfish since I was a child, and it is one of those things that hasn’t changed. My last or favorite meal would have to be a well made paella that doesn’t skimp on the shrimp, squid, octopus, plump clams and mussels. Sticking with the Spanish theme I would have a gin & saffron tonic to wash it down, and maybe a creme brulee for dessert.”

David Fritsche: Executive Chef, Stable

“Cheese Spätzli with Apple Puree. It’s what I always asked my mom to make for my birthday.”

Frank Manganello: Bar Manager, Primrose DC

Credit: KFC

“Blackened shrimp, my grandfather’s recipe, with 4 ingredients, and incredibly delicious. I also have visceral memories associated with the times I ate it, so it’s really special to me. KFC Fried Chicken Bucket (extra crispy) with mashed potatoes, corn, and biscuits because, duh? Enough said? Dutch apple pie. The streusel might actually be my favorite part? I don’t know. Lattice apple pie or that stupid crust on top kind can GTFOH. Dosnan & Lepage Recolte Noire Champagne NV (Blanc de Noirs). I love champagne. I really, really do. There’s a reason I’ve been called “Frankie Bubbles” for years now. It’s my thing. And this is the best champagne I’ve ever tasted that A) is NV and so, not crazy hard to find and B) is NV so isn’t ridiculously expensive. It’s champagne of course, and you’ve gotta be willing to spend champagne money for champagne dreams, but this is about as good a value as you can find. Unfortunately, it’s no longer available in DC, which has broken my heart. I’ve even requested that an (Instagram) food blogger bring it back from his home state, because that’s the closest place that has it. They have so far failed me, and my stock has been depleted.”

Disclosure, we have failed Frankie Bubbles.

Cover image: Death row inmate Ricky Ray Rector’s last meal 

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