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Infinite Kusama at the Hirshhorn + Polka Dot Eats

February 23rd, 2017 · No Comments

What’s red and white with polka dots all over? Why, it’s the first mirrored room installation of the Yayoi Kusama: Infinite Mirrors exhibition that opened today at the Hirshhorn Museum in Washington, DC. A retrospective of the Japanese artist’s sixty-five-year career, the exhibit includes six infinity mirror rooms, paintings and sculptures, and an obliteration room that lets visitors apply dots to fill the space. Obviously there is much here to excite younger artists, but how kid-friendly is the exhibit?


I toured it on my own first and was glad to have the chance to experience it myself before going back with the kids. Even with timed admission tickets there is a lot of waiting in line.* Unless your kids possess infinite patience, waiting 20-30 minutes to spend 30 seconds in each room may prove trying. If possible I would definitely recommend having two adults so one can roam back and forth with the kids while the other holds the spot in line. I spotted two benches between the rooms where kids could sit and rest. I may try using the audio guides when I go back with the kids too as those headsets tend to hold their attention far longer than just reading the sign plates in the exhibit.

Kusama pumpkins | foodietots

(*Not going with kids? To speed the lines, attendants were sending people into rooms in groups of two to four, and the 30 seconds you’re allotted in each room doesn’t allow much time to jostle for photos. So, take a friend or three if you aren’t crazy about selfies with strangers, or take advantage of the chance to move ahead of the line as a solo visitor.)

With those cautions in mind, here’s a peak at what you’ll see.

Kusama Infinity Mirrors | foodietots

Words and pictures can hardly do it justice though, especially the infinity rooms, so I highly encourage you to make plans to see it in person before May 14! From DC the exhibit travels to Seattle, LA, Toronto, Cleveland and Atlanta.

Kusama obliteration room DC | foodietots

Kusama obliteration room |

How to See It: Timed tickets are being released on the Hirshhorn website each Monday at noon for the following week. A limited number of walk-up tickets are also available each day at 9:30am. (Check their Twitter account to see if the passes are sold out.) If you go the walk-in route, there’s a Dolcezza pop-up in the courtyard serving coffee and gelato pops and of course you can roam the sculpture garden or ride the Smithsonian carousel just across the street while you wait. With timed tickets, you can get in line 30 minutes before your ticket time, although they were running about an hour behind on opening weekend. Allow plenty of time: we waited 80 minutes to get in and spent another nearly 2 hours to go through the exhibit on Sunday afternoon. (With kids, take advantage of the portable bathrooms in the courtyard before your group is called to enter the building so you don’t have to get out of line later.)


After the Visit: We always visit art museums with a sketchbook and colored pencils and I encourage the kids to sketch their favorite piece before we leave. At home, they may add to or complete the sketch or do an art project it inspired. This time, I’m thinking the repetitive tiny circle painting method Kusama used to create her net paintings would be a great way to test/build my kids’ focus …. but at 6 and 10 they tend to have their own ideas. We also try to create a menu tie-in, so I’ve pulled together a few polka dot-themed recipes we can cook together:

polka dot pizzas | foodietots

  • Grilled Portobello Pizzas — using olives &/or pepperoni to add dots (or use English muffins);
  • Toad in the Hole — using two different sized circle cutters to cut the bread in a larger circle around the egg circle;
  • Bake a cake and decorate with fondant circles — my daughter loves watching cake decorating videos on YouTube and is always asking to use fondant; this may be a fun weekend project to carry on the polka dot love!

If you take the kids to Kusama, let us know what they think!





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Slow Cooker Creamy Chicken Taquitos

November 15th, 2016 · 1 Comment

Looking to mix up your Taco Tuesday routine? How about this simple yet delicious creamy chicken that cooks in a slow cooker all day, and takes about 10 minutes to finish assembling in the evening? Doesn’t get much better than that! In the morning, simply place chicken breasts, green chiles, salsa verde, cream cheese and seasonings in your slow cooker. Set it for eight hours and come home to tender, creamy chicken. From there, you simply roll the chicken mixture and cheese into tortillas and bake them until golden. I serve them with sliced peppers and avocado and extra salsa for dipping; sour cream and guacamole are also welcome additions.

Slow Cooker Creamy Chicken Taquitos |

I was a slow adopter of the slow cooker (ha ha, unintentional pun there!), but it is such a life-saver during the busy fall sports season. What have you made in your slow cooker lately?

slow cooker creamy chicken taquitos |

Place shredded chicken in the tortilla. If your family likes things hot, you can also add diced jalapeño here, and a tablespoon of cheese over chicken. Roll them up, brush with olive oil or melted butter, and bake until golden.

homemade chicken taquito recipe |

Recipe: Slow Cooker Creamy Chicken Taquitos (Flautas)


  • 3 or 4 chicken breast halves
  • 1 cup salsa verde
  • 1 5-ounce can roasted Hatch green chiles
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 8 ounces cream cheese
  • 8 large flour tortillas
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil or melted butter


  1. Place chicken breasts in slow cooker and add all ingredients through cream cheese. Cook on low for 8 hours.
  2. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Warm tortillas in oven while it preheats. Grease a 9″ x 13″ baking pan.
  3. Remove chicken from slow cooker and shred with a fork. Mix in cooking liquid to keep chicken moist.
  4. Take each tortilla and place chicken filling across. Sprinkle with a tablespoon of shredded cheese and roll up, placing seam side down in baking dish. Brush tops with olive oil (or melted butter). Bake for 15-20 minutes, until golden.
  5. Serve with additional salsa verde — and, optionally, sour cream and guacamole for dipping.

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FamilyStyleDC: Honey Pig Korean BBQ & SnoCream, Annandale

September 9th, 2016 · Comments Off on FamilyStyleDC: Honey Pig Korean BBQ & SnoCream, Annandale

Welcome to FamilyStyleDC: our occasional recommendations of places to eat, play & go! around Washington, DC. Today we’re featuring a family favorite for Korean-style barbecue in Annandale, Va., and local dessert spot.

honey pig korean bbq | #familystyledc

It’s no secret that Honey Pig is the place to go in Northern Virginia for Korean barbecue, but we’ve had good luck avoiding a long wait — even on a Friday night — by arriving on the early side for dinner service. This is truly a family-style meal, as you choose your meats to be cooked on the hot plate in the center of the table. Each family member gets a bowl of rice, and an assortment of hot pickles, kimchi and other sides is quickly placed on the table. We usually start with an order of pan-fried dumplings while waiting for the meats to cook. Our go-to order is bulgogi beef and sliced pork belly, although the foodie boy recently asked to try beef tongue and loved it, too!


Loud K-pop music videos play throughout the restaurant, keeping it lively and giving the kids something to watch while waiting to eat — although the food moves very quickly, so the wait isn’t long.

And as for dessert…

SnoCream Company vintage school bus | #familystyledc

Just across the road in the back of the K-Mart parking lot you can find dessert served out of a colorful vintage school bus — SnoCream Company makes shaved ice-style ice cream with toppings ranging from traditional mochi, boba and lychee to your usual cereal, cookies, and candy. The girl and I shared a honeydew snocream with mochi, Pocky and condensed milk, while the boy went for mango with oreo and m&ms. Delicious! And, you get to sit on glowing “ice” cubes while you eat, for added entertainment value.

snocream shaved ice cream | #familystyledc

Where to find it…

Honey Pig Korean BBQ
7220 Columbia Pike
Annandale, VA
(other locations: Ellicott City, Centreville & Germantown)

SnoCream Company – check their website or twitter for location & hours




Comments Off on FamilyStyleDC: Honey Pig Korean BBQ & SnoCream, AnnandaleTags: around DC · foodietots in dc

Thai Curry Shrimp Bowls {Nona Lim Review}

September 7th, 2016 · Comments Off on Thai Curry Shrimp Bowls {Nona Lim Review}

Soccer, ballet, back-to-school nights…. Back-to-school often means back to rushed family dinners on weeknights, but at the same time, it’s even more important to make the effort to connect as a family during this busy season.  Anything that can make meals happen a little more effortlessly is welcome this time of year! Enter these flavorful prepared broths from Nona Lim, which we received to sample. I swooned over the Thai Curry & Lime Bone Broth at a trade show, and decided to make a quick shrimp noodle soup to share it with the family.

Thai Curry Shrimp Noodle Bowl recipe |

Simply bring the broth to a simmer and cook the shrimp until opaque. I added in noodles, also from Nona Lim, and veggies and cooked just another two minutes or so, until the greens were tender. Noodle bowls are also a tried-and-true way to load up on vegetables in my house, so this time I added bok choy and shredded carrots for an extra burst of color. Served with fresh limes for garnish, and sriracha for the younger foodie tot would loves to spice things up!

If you have choosy eaters, setting out the vegetables separately is a great way to let kids create their own bowl — and maybe even encourage them to try something new. Any Plants vs. Zombies players out there? That was the nudge that inspired my boy to try bok choy — and now he loves it!


Nona Lim bone broth review |


Recipe: Thai Curry Shrimp Noodle Bowls


  • 20 ounces Nona Lim Thai Curry & Lime Bone Broth
  • 1 package Nona Lim Laksa noodles (or other rice noodles, prepared according to package instructions)
  • 1 pound peeled frozen shrimp, thawed
  • 1 bunch bok choy
  • 1 large carrot, shredded
  • 1 lime, cut into wedges
  • sriracha, optional


  1. Bring broth to a low boil and add shrimp. Cook 3 minutes. Add noodles, bok choy and carrot and cook another 2-3 minutes, until bok choy is tender and shrimp is fully opaque.
  2. Serve with lime wedges for garnish, and sriracha if desired.

Note: If not using Nona Lim broth, add lemongrass and lime juice to your favorite broth and simmer for 20 minutes before proceeding.


I really love the whole-food, all-natural ingredients Nona Lim broths are made of. Simply vegetables, herbs, and bone broth without hard-to-pronounce additives. You can find Nona Lim products in Whole Foods markets; let me know if you’ve tried them!

Disclosure: I received product samples for review purposes; as always, all thoughts and opinions are our own.




Comments Off on Thai Curry Shrimp Bowls {Nona Lim Review}Tags: foodietots reviews · recipes

Crab Picking with Kids {3 Spots to Get Your Maryland Crab Fix}

May 27th, 2016 · 1 Comment

Do you remember the first time someone put a hot, angry red steamed crab in front of you and expected you to crack it open? Perhaps this a distinctly DC area rite of passage, but I’m sure the foodie tot will be telling this story to her children one day far, far in the future. It wasn’t actually her first crab, but let me back up.

quarterdeck crab house |

Last Mother’s Day, I had a craving for beach air and fresh crabs, as I tend to do when the weather heats up in May. Back in my carefree kid-free days, a coworker and I would play hooky on the first warm day of spring and head down to Annapolis for a little day-drinking. With kids in tow now, we hit the road for a day trip to Kent Island, just over the Bay Bridge from Annapolis. (Also, the spot where we were married, many, many years ago.)

twirling in Darling Betty |

After playing on a small sandy beach we found just down under the bridge, we headed over to Harris Crab House and put our name on the rather long list for a table. We were armed with books to read and settled in to a shady spot on the docks. We may also have treated the kids to ice cream before dinner, because, well, we were hungry. Fortunately they were still hungry when we were eventually seated on the upper deck, in a spot perfect for watching the nearby drawbridge over Kent Narrows. So hungry, perhaps, that when I read the kids menu options the girl didn’t really hear anything except the side items that came with the kids’ crab platter. Eagerly anticipating her corn-on-the-cob and applesauce, you can imagine the shock when she was suddenly face-to-face with a big, red crab, claws and all.

crabby kids menu |

If you’re looking to get your steamed crab fix this summer, here are three of our family favorites. They aren’t all on the True Blue Maryland seafood list (yet), though, so you may wish to search their directory for other options near you.

abners crabhouse |

  1. Harris Crab House, Grasonville, Md. A True Blue Maryland spot, this Kent Island crab spot is large, loud and popular. As long as you’re prepared for the wait, you’ll enjoy delicious crab overlooking the waterway. And, be sure to visit their adjacent ice cream counter after. Just be warned that the kids’ crab platter does, in fact, contain crab. 😉
  2. Abner’s Crab House, Chesapeake Beach, Md. When we need a beach fix, fast, we head to the little town of North Beach in Southern Maryland. Just over an hour’s drive south, there’s a city beach with a protected shallow water area that’s perfect for younger kids looking to splash and build sandcastles. (The pricey out-of-towners admission is worth it for clean bathrooms and showers/changing stalls, in my opinion.) After a day on the beach, we head to this no-frills creek-side restaurant for crabs. (There is a gaming room, so be prepared for questions about why there’s an “arcade” that kids can’t go in. We try to eat outside on the deck, anyway.)
  3. Quarterdeck, Arlington, Va. Okay, so this spot is decidedly lacking in seaside air, but does offer a view of planes taking off and landing at National Airport from its popular outside patio. And, it gets the job done when you need a crab fix without a long drive. Plus, the piping hot cheesy crab dip is full of YUGE lump crab meat and will help keep you sated while waiting for your crab order to be steamed.

Crab houses do often require a fair amount of waiting time; it’s important to bring a few light reads…

summer reads |

Of course, they also tend to have brown paper in place of table clothes, so kids can get their art on too. And, it’s hard to beat a meal that you get to whack with a wood mallet!

summer reads |

What’s your go-to spot for summer seafood? Please share! And yes, she may still be a little skeptical of the crab experience… but she eats them. :)

kid-friendly crab houses |

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