Archive for the ‘foodietots in dc’ Category

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

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.

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.

Now Open: GBD Chicken and Doughnuts, DC

Friday, April 5th, 2013

Happy opening day, GBD Chicken and Doughnuts! GBD is the latest from one of our favorite bakers, Tiffany MacIsaac, also of Buzz Bakery and her husband Kyle Bailey, chef at the popular Birch & Barley. Happy (organic, hormone- and antibiotic-free) fried chicken and delicious doughnuts — maybe not the healthiest of meals, but perfect for the occasional indulgence. My college years were fueled by California’s famed Donut Man, and my hometown spawned the most delicious doughnut on earth — so I’m delighted that the doughnut craze has finally reached DC. (And that the GBD crew spell doughnut properly, at least outside of Twitter where you’ll find them at @GBDchixndonuts.)

The younger foodie tot and I sampled the chicken and doughnuts at a pre-opening pop-up. Here’s her review:

GBDchixndonuts pop-up from Colleen | GlassBottle on Vimeo.

That tres leches rivals my favorite from NYC’s Doughnut Plant, so I’m thrilled to be able to get my fix without commuting to the Lower East Side.

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Find GBD — which stands for golden, brown delicious — in Dupont Circle, 1323 Connecticut Ave. NW, Washington, DC.