Archive for the ‘eatLocalDC’ 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!

In the Kitchen at Cava Grill

Thursday, June 5th, 2014

We recently went into the kitchen at one of our favorite local eateries to learn how to make falafel. The foodie tot and I frequently lunch at Cava Grill on her days off from preschool. When I was explaining to her recently that both hummus and falafel start out from the same ingredient, chick peas, it seemed like a cooking lesson was in order. Fortunately, the kind folks at Cava Grill welcomed us into the kitchen to learn their secrets.

foodietot loves cava

Cava Grill makes their falafel and most other ingredients fresh in house each day. They work with a number of local farms to source their ingredients, including naturally-raised lamb, beef and chicken, and are working to ensure every item is GMO-free by the end of the year. Later this year, they’ll transition to baking pita in-house as well. Cava’s hummus and spreads are made in a central commissary and delivered to the restaurants three times a week; you can also find them at local Whole Foods, MOMs Organic Market and other natural grocers to enjoy at home.

But back to the falafel. It turns out their recipe is the result of a miscommunication when they started testing recipes. A cook didn’t mash the chick peas first and when the falafel were mixed, whole beans remained in the balls. This happy accident results in falafel that isn’t as dense as many others, and tastes fresh and flavorful.

fresh-made falafel at cava | foodietots.com

The foodie tot was eager to get into the kitchen and mix things up. There’s just seven ingredients: chick peas, salt, cumin, parsley, cilantro, onion and flour. The Mosaic District location, where we were cooking, goes through 100 pounds of chick peas each day — just making falafel!

Take a look at the video to see the foodie tot — and Cava’s director of operations, Rob Gresham — in action.

FoodieTot Loves Cava from Colleen | GlassBottle on Vimeo.

While I couldn’t entice her to write this blog post herself, the foodie tot did consent to a post-visit interview.

Q.  What did you enjoy about making falafel?

A.  Putting everything in!

Q.  Were there any surprises in the kitchen?

A.  How big the cans of beans were. (6 pounds each!)

Q.  What’s your favorite thing to eat at Cava?

A.  Fawaffle! (i.e., falafel ;) )

In addition the the tasty falafel, we love Cava for its healthy and customizable kids meal. The meal comes with a mini pita, choice of brown or white rice, choice of proteins, carrot sticks and hummus. The girl gets her falafel, while the foodie boy prefers the lamb meatballs. Kids can choose fresh toppings too — the foodie tot gets either the cucumber or cucumber-tomato salad and kalamata olives. I love the “super greens” salad blend, myself, which includes kale and brussels sprouts; I get it fully loaded with toppings and usually go for the spicy harissa or sriracha greek yogurt dressing. Perfection. Drink-wise, kids can get organic milk or choose the freshly-made juice. It’s strawberry season right now, which means strawberry mint lime juice is our beverage of choice.

cava grill healthy kids meal | foodietots.com

Just look at that colorful, fresh, veggie-loaded meal!

A casual spin-off of the original Cava Mezze restaurants, there are currently 5 Cava Grill locations in the metro DC area, with five more on the way within the next year. The newest location, Chinatown, will open early this fall. Visit their website to find the location nearest you. They have a fun Tumblr, too.

Disclosure: This is not a sponsored review, but we did receive a free lunch. As always, all opinions are our own, and we really, really love Cava! Many thanks to Nikki, Liz and Rob at Cava Grill for welcoming us into the restaurant.

Arcadia Farm Fallfest {Support School-to-Farm in Virginia}

Friday, October 4th, 2013

What’s even better than bringing farm-fresh foods to schools? Bringing school kids to the farm! The Arcadia Center for Sustainable Food & Agriculture is doing just that at its working farm on the grounds of the historic Woodlawn Plantation in Alexandria, Virginia. The non-profit arm of the Neighborhood Restaurant Group, produce grown at the Northern Virginia farm is sold via a converted school bus, the Mobile Market, which travels around DC providing access to fresh produce in under-served areas.

chickens on Arcadia Farm, Virginia | FoodieTots

I had the privilege of attending a summer dinner on the farm earlier this year, and toured the beautiful farm. Just take a look around the Children’s Garden:

Children’s Garden at Arcadia from Colleen | GlassBottle on Vimeo.

Arcadia hosted kids farm camps over the summer, but now that school is in session they welcome schools to visit on field trips and offer family education programs on weekends. They’ve recently launched a brand new membership program to support all the good work they do. Members are given first dibs to sign up for culinary classes with master chefs and bakers from the Neighborhood Restaurant Group and others in the local food scene. To see upcoming classes and join the cause, visit their website

Arcadia Farm Fallfest 2013

You can visit Arcadia Farm this Sunday, October 6, for their Farm Fallfest Family Frolic Funtacular. It will be held from 12 to 4pm at Woodlawn, 9000 Richmond Highway, Alexandria.

Fresh Summer Flavors at Silver Diner

Tuesday, August 20th, 2013

It’s birthday week at Casa de FoodieTots — mine was Monday, and the boy celebrates his this weekend. I know many of you are already back to school, but we still have two weeks of summer vacation here and are squeezing every last delicious bite out of it. So we thought we’d share a few of our favorite tastes and places this week. Up first, a local diner where you can feel good about what the kids are eating. No, really.

Our local Silver Diner chain, as I’ve written about in the past, sources local and natural foods from farms in the region. Earlier this summer they invited us in to sample their summer menu options, including more gluten-free and flexitarian choices. They offer an entire page full of options for kids, though the younger foodie tot is pretty set on her macaroni and cheese with strawberries on the side. I did talk her into sampling the black bean hummus appetizer with cucumbers and tomatoes, though, which was quite tasty.

Silver Diner summer menu | foodietots.com

The boy has a wider range of favorites, including the turkey and mashed potatoes, sliders, and pancakes. Kids can choose from a list of healthy sides that includes strawberries, edamame or mixed  vegetables.

The farm fresh ingredients include free range turkey from Koch’s Farms, PA; eggs from Martin Farms, PA; and goat cheese from FireFly Farms in MD — as well as fresh produce in season. I loved the bahn mi turkey burger (pictured above). Top off your meal with a classic ice cream shake or opt for a healthy pomegranate yogurt shake with wheat germ, my personal favorite.

Silver Diner kids menu | foodietots.com

And Tuesdays are kids night at the Silver Diner, with entertainment and activities to keep the kids busy while the parents finish their meals in relative peace. There are 15 locations in Maryland, Virginia and New Jersey. If you’ve been, tell us what your kids’ favorite menu selections are?

Disclosure: We received our meal for free to review the summer menu, but all opinions are our own. We frequently eat at Silver Diner on our own dime.

The DC Scoop Returns Sunday

Friday, July 19th, 2013

The DC Scoop, an annual taste-off of some of the District’s best* frozen treats, returns to Union Market this Sunday, July 21.

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Taking place from 1:00 to 4:00pm, participants will taste and vote on ice cream, gelato and other treats from over a dozen local purveyors. Three well-loved children’s performers will keep the kids entertained, including foodietot-fave Mr. Skip. And kids can enter an ice-cream eating competition, to be held at 3:00pm.

*I’m not sure how a “best of” can take place without the Dairy Godmother, but the competition is still pretty stiff. We’re especially fond of Dolcezza and Pitango, in particular.

Click here for more details.