Archive for the ‘around DC’ Category

Hermione Voyage: Celebrating France in Alexandria

Wednesday, June 10th, 2015

The Hermione, a replica of the tall ship that carried the Marquis de Lafayette and aid from France to assist General Washington in the waning days of the American Revolution, docked in Alexandria last night at midnight. If the boy wasn’t still in school, I’d have taken the kids down to watch its arrival; but alas, we had to settle for heading to the waterfront this afternoon. We didn’t have tickets to board (very limited tickets are available each day at 8:30am), but there were activities and re-enacters on the dock and you can walk right up to the ship for a close-up view.

Hermione Voyage in Alexandria VA | foodietots.com

The Hermione sailed from Rochefort, France in April and arrived at Yorktown on June 5. Washingtonians can visit her in Alexandria tomorrow and Friday before she continues on to Annapolis (June 16-17), Baltimore (June 19-21) and on up the Eastern seaboard to spend July 4 in New York (and beyond). Find full voyage details at hermione2015.com.

maritime education on the docks | foodietots.com

Dockside entertainment includes live music performances and a very informative tent on marine navigation that captured the foodie tots’ interest for quite a lengthy chat. There are also boat-building demos and an interpretive tent to quickly brush up on Lafayette’s significance to the American Revolution.

period entertainers on the dock | foodietots.com

Tip: Get a birds-eye view of the ship from the third floor of the Torpedo Factory — and stop by the Alexandria Archeology Museum for some more hands-on education.

Hermione as seen from the Torpedo Factory | foodietots.com

Hungry? 3 French-Inspired Eateries in Alexandria

After visiting the ship, you may be in the mood for some French cuisine. One of our long-time Old Town favorites is Fontaine Caffe & Creperie, which serves authentic sweet and savory crepes and cidres in its cozy Royal Street location. It’s also where the foodie tot ate her first anchovy, on one of our ladies’ lunches.

Further up King Street is the French-inspired La Fromagerie, an artisan cheese and wine bistro, and for something a little fancier, Bastille has recently reopened in its new Fayette Street location.

Hermione reflection in Old Town | foodietots.com

Of course, you could also pack a picnic and eat in view of the ship down at Founders Park. Just hurry, Hermione sets sail again on the 12th!

5 Local Taco Joints for Cinco de Mayo

Tuesday, May 5th, 2015

As one-time Californians, the husband and I take our taco eating very seriously. Fortunately, we’ve staked out a number of acceptable local places over the years, and they’ve become favorites of the foodie tots as well. It’s hard to go wrong at any restaurant that provides free chips and salsa to satiate the can’t-possibly-wait-another-second-before-eating needs of toddlers and kids and tasty margaritas for mom and dad, but these in particular are our family favorites.

A photo posted by Colleen Levine (@foodietots) on Jul 15, 2014 at 4:26pm PDT

Los Tios, Del Ray: We’ve been eating here my kids’ entire lifetimes, and even though we no longer live in the neighborhood, we still get a warm welcome each time we return. It’s always loud, no need to worry about noisy kids, and a great place to celebrate birthdays — complementary ice cream for birthday kids or flan for adults. Get there early for a patio seat and then let the kids burn off energy on the playground across the street after you eat. Oh, and we always order the Tacos al Carbon, side of fried plaintains for the kids, though once in a blue moon we branch out and order something off the Salvadorean side of the menu.

District Taco, Arlington, Alexandria & DC: We have the original Arlington location of this beloved local chain conveniently located between home and the kids’ tae kwon do studio, so you’ll find us here often. The kids take their quesadillas with guacamole, rice and beans, while mom appreciates fish tacos (Tuesdays and Fridays) and the Boylan’s cane-sugar sodas (or bottled Jarritos sodas) for a treat.

Taqueria Poblano, Del Ray & Arlington: These popular taco spots make a fantastic margarita and have LA-style deep-fried tacos. The duck tacos are my favorite, and we always get a side order of jicama to share. Best to plan to eat early, though, especially at the smaller Del Ray location. (Look for the special spicy chocolate sorbet for dessert!)

Tacos de Jaiba Azul! #softshells @tacobamba A photo posted by Colleen Levine (@foodietots) on Jun 1, 2014 at 4:15pm PDT

Taco Bamba, Falls Church: When we’re craving something more authentic/unique, Taco Bamba fits the bill. Located in an out-of-the-way spot behind the Tyson’s Whole Foods, chef/owner Victor Albisu turns out classic and seasonal special tacos. My personal favorites are El Beso (yes, tongue) and soft shell crab, while the tots stick with flautas and El Gringo. Bonus: house-made horchata or agua frescas and elote. (Note: this is primarily a take-out spot with limited counter seating.)

Chaia, farmers markets, DC: Currently only available at farmers markets and occasional street festivals, Chaia’s fabulous vegetarian tacos will soon be available at their first retail spot in Georgetown. The flavors vary with the season but are always served on their homemade corn tortillas. For now, seek them out at FreshFarm Dupont Circle (Sundays) or White House (Thursdays) markets.

What’s your family’s favorite taco spot?

Pretty in Pink Picnic with Spring Radishes

Friday, April 24th, 2015

Happy Spring! We were in Florida over spring break and I was afraid we’d missed the annual DC cherry blossoms blooming — but it turns out they were much later than usual, so we still had a chance to pack a tea party picnic and enjoy eating under the beautiful blossoms. In years past we’ve been able to sneak down on a school day before the crowds of tourists invade, but no such luck this year. The foodie tot was eager to take her new bike for a spin, so we parked on the Potomac side of the Tidal Basin where the path was a little less crowded and biked down towards the Memorial Bridge to find a good picnic spot.

biking dc cherry blossoms | foodietots.com

I made cherry blossom green iced tea (from The Republic of Tea), sweetened with honey, to drink. To eat, we made pink radish and butter sandwiches with — of course — pink salt. The foodie tot was skeptical when I insisted on planting radishes in our garden, but couldn’t help but be intrigued when I picked up a bunch of small pink and lavender radishes at the farmers market.

radish and butter sandwich | foodietots.com

She made peanut butter sandwiches as back-up, but she did admit that the radish sandwich was pretty tasty. My kids will eat butter like it’s its own food group, so using it to make new vegetables enticing is a no-brainer. The butter pictured comes with our milk delivery from South Mountain Creamery.

radish-and-butter-sandwiches-foodietots

If you don’t have a local source for fresh butter, look for a cultured butter — it has a richer, tangy flavor that is divine on toast and also adds a great flavor to roasted veggies. But I must warn you it’ll be hard to go back to the regular old sticks from the supermarket. (Though we do buy those for baking.)

pink tea party picnic | foodietots.com

My French breakfast radishes in the garden will be ready to eat very soon — how do you like to use radishes?

ralph lauren polo dress | foodietots.com
What the Kid(s) Wore: I picked up this flare-skirted, petal pink Ralph Lauren dress on sale at The Purple Goose in Del Ray — she loves it for twirling! Worn with bike shorts, of course, for biking and her new very favorite ever “Twinkle Toes” Skechers. Oh, and the coral leather bracelet is from Hanna Andersson.

Pate with Degas: Foodie Tots Cook the Arts

Wednesday, December 3rd, 2014

When she’s not scouting out the city’s best falafel or macarons, the foodie tot is a ballet dancer. She’s been, at her own request, in ballet classes since age two. Her program focuses their learning units around a story time to draw the kids in and keep them engaged. One day, she came out of class and struck a pose, announcing, “I’m Marie!” It turns out they had read a story about Degas’ famed sculpture, Little Dancer Aged Fourteen. She wanted to know if we could go to the National Gallery to see the sculpture. As luck would have it (or perhaps it was intentional on the part of our ballet school), a musical production of the fictionalized story was about to premiere at the Kennedy Center, and I had been debating whether the tot, at age four, was old enough to attend her first grown-up production. I went ahead and got tickets for a weekday matinee, and we were off to the National Gallery to whet our appetite by exploring Degas’ sculpture and ballerina paintings.

visiting Degas' Little Dancer | foodietots.com

Of course, as a family food writer I’m always looking for a way to inject food into our experiences, and we had two chances in our Degas adventure. First, no visit to the National Gallery is complete without a stop for gelato in the below-ground cafeteria. We happened to run into a preschool classmate there and the two girls danced around the cafe in between bites of gelato.

Paté with Degas | chicken liver pate recipe | foodietots.com

During the show — which was more magical than I can describe — I noted that Degas’ housekeeper once mentioned preparing a lunch for him of “a baguette and paté.” So naturally I seized upon the opportunity to introduce the tot to paté at home. I didn’t grow up eating chicken liver or the like, but have acquired the taste for it as an adult. Liver is so rich in nutrition that I’ve been meaning to find ways to include it more in our home cooking. The foodie boy actually encountered it several years ago when we arrived at my brother’s for a holiday. My sister-in-law had made some paté and set it out for hors d’oeuvres. From the table, mouth half full, he called out to his cousin, “Come try this chocolate dip!” We all looked at him wondering what on earth he was talking about — only to notice he was scooping the pate onto crackers and scarfing it down. The foodie tot had a good laugh over this story as I tried to fend off her little fingers long enough to snap pictures for this post.

Paté with Degas tea time | foodietots.com

I’m not going to lie, the cornichons likely made all the difference in enticing the foodie tot to try our paté. I also set the table with our china tea cups (purchased at a thrift shop) and when she came into the room and saw the table she gasped, “Oh, are we having a tea party?!” Another reminder that sometimes it’s simply how you present a new food that will encourage little ones to give it a try.

chicken liver paté with cornichons | foodietots.com

Recipe: Simple Chicken Liver Paté

Makes 16 servings, as an appetizer

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound chicken livers, preferably from free-range chickens
  • 1/2 cup plus four tablespoons butter, at room temperature, divided
  • 1 shallot, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup sherry
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • black pepper
  • 4-6 fresh sage leaves

Instructions:

1. Melt two tablespoons butter in skillet over medium heat. Add shallot and cook for a minute, then add livers and saute, stirring occasionally, until outsides are browned, about five minutes. (Insides should still be pink.) And sherry and cook for an additional minute, until steam subsides.

2. Remove from heat and let cool a little before transferring livers and cooking liquid into a food processor. And 1/2 cup butter, two sage leaves, salt and pepper. Process until smooth.

3. Spoon paté into individual ramekins or small jars. Place a sage leaf on top of each. Melt remaining two tablespoons butter and gently spoon over tops. Cover and chill in the refrigerator overnight. Bring to room temperature before serving, and be sure to serve with toasted sliced bread or baguette and cornichons.

Cooking with Kids notes: Little ones can carefully chop the shallot (it doesn’t need to be perfect since the mixture will be puréed) and press the buttons on the food processor.

~*~

Sadly Little Dancer has already ended its (too short) run at the Kennedy Center, but thanks to the magic of social media, we now follow the dancer who plays young Marie on Instagram — and you can only imagine how thrilled the foodie tot was when Tiler commented on one of her own ballet photos. You can still see the Little Dancer sculpture, and the famous Degas ballerina paintings, at the National Gallery of Art.

@foodietots instagram

A Trip to France via Olivia Macaron

Monday, July 14th, 2014

In preparation for Bastille Day (July 14), we took a field trip to learn the secrets behind our newest favorite treat, authentic French macarons. Olivia Macaron opened in Georgetown in 2013, just off of M Street across from Dean & DeLuca.

clay macarons at Olivia Macaron | foodietots.com

The foodie tots love to check out the latest window display, featuring macaron trees in the colors of the season. (We learned a secret: the macrons on display are filled with royal icing so they’ll hold up longer — so don’t bother trying to pinch a taste, as they won’t taste very good!)

Olivia Macaron | macaron trees | foodietots.com

Inside, they are easily tempted by the rainbow of cookies in the case.

macarons at Olivia Macaron | foodietots.com

We met with store manager Joelle, who told us a little more about the shop and the process of making macarons. Unfortunately, Chef Michel Giaon does the baking at a commercial kitchen in the suburbs, not on site, so we didn’t get a true peek in the kitchen. (You can, though, by following @oliviamacaron on Instagram.) The macarons are delivered fresh each morning.

choosing macarons | foodietots at olivia macaron

There are 13 signature flavors available year-round, and three new featured flavors each month. We stopped by in June, so we got to sample the spicy chocolate bacon macaron created for Father’s Day. This month, look for a special strawberry — blue, white & red for Bastille Day — mojito, s’mores and champagne mango.

olivia macaron tasting | foodietots.com

So how do macarons differ from macaroons, the standard Passover dessert? Macaroons with two o’s are made with coconut, while the French macaron is made with almond flour. Olivia grinds almonds down to flour, then mixes them with egg whites and sugar. Those three ingredients are the base, which are then flavored, piped on baking sheets and baked. The fillings can be a cream cheese or buttercream frosting, ganache, or jam.

Olivia Macaron is named after the owner, Ana Claudia Lopez’s daughter, a three-year-old who, much like the foodie tot, tends to prefer the pink macarons in rose and raspberry.

A few more tidbits:

The most popular flavor they sell is salted caramel, and they offer mini packages of two that can be customized to match your event’s colors. (We thought about macaron pops as a party favor for the Foodie Tot, but were afraid they’d crumble too quickly.) Did you catch the clay macarons in the top photo? They were made by local preschoolers after their own field trip to the bakery.

From the Foodie Tot:

favorite part of the visit: tasting the flavors!

favorite flavor: bacon and cassis

flavor she’d like to create: blueberry bacon

From the Foodie Boy:

favorite part of the visit: Getting to taste the June flavors.

favorite flavor: piña colada (another June special)

flavor he’d like to create: red licorice

fun at olivia macaron | foodietots.com

We have plans to attempt to bake macarons at home this summer, but in the mean time, it’s nice to have Olivia Macaron nearby! After a visit (they also offer coffee and espresso for mom and dad), it’s an easy stroll down to the canal or waterfront park.

Olivia Macaron
3222 M Street NW
Washington DC
Monday to Thursday: 10AM-8PM
Friday-Saturday: 10AM – 9PM
Sunday: 11AM-7PM