Archive for the ‘eatLocalDC’ Category

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.

Happy 15th FRESHFARM Markets!

Monday, July 16th, 2012

We had such a blast at the FRESHFARM Markets’ 15th anniversary bash yesterday at Dupont Circle. There were scrumptious eats from some of our favorite farmers and restaurants — the foodie tot was especially pleased to catch up with her personal pickle purveyor, Sarah of Gordy’s Pickle Jar. The boy loved watching the giant paella created by Jaleo/Think Food Group. There were crab cakes picked on the spot by the Hyatt Chesapeake. Fabulous Pleasant Pops to keep cool — their blueberry pancake was every bit as awesome as it sounds. And the kids loved rocking to local bluegrass band Newgrass Effect, too.

During the cake cutting ceremony, local politicians, including Councilmember Jack Evans and a representative from the DC Department of the Environment, lauded FRESHFARM Markets for their impact on the community. Chef Nora Pouillon, founder of the first certified organic restaurant in the country who inspired the creation of FRESHFARM Markets, remarked, “We never imagined it would be so big and so wonderful, and have so many farmers.” Chef Ris Lacoste, of Ris, noted that she spent $30,000 on market produce for her restaurant last year. Founding market farmers Bev Eggleston (Eco-Friendly Foods) and Mark Toigo (Toigo Orchards) were among the farmers on hand, too.

But enough chit chat, here’s a slideshow of the fun. The FoodieTots look forward to spending the next 15 years with you, FRESHFARM! (And hey, they’ll be old enough to volunteer for the 30th anniversary party.)

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