Posts Tagged ‘dining’

Kids’ Restaurant Week Kick-Off (and a dinner at Art & Soul)

Friday, June 19th, 2009

The Foodie Tot and I attended the Cookie + Gourmet Kids’ Restaurant Week kick-off at Eastern Market on Saturday, catching the fun cooking demos with Zola‘s Chef Greg Lloyd and Firefly‘s Chef Danny Bortnick and son. I know the vendors and businesses aren’t exactly thrilled with the 7th Street closure at the market, but the open promenade was a great platform for the event and made it easier to roam the market with kids. Anyone who’s attempted to navigate Dupont Circle’s summer market with a stroller can appreciate the advantages of a market with a little breathing room.

kids restaurant week greg lloyd zola dc

There was a full audience of kids watching the cooking demonstration when we arrived, while parents snatched up the reusable shopping totes and sipped lemonade. Zola’s four-cheese fusili, with a choice of mix-ins ranging from chicken, shrimp and bacon to mushrooms and broccoli – was quite a hit.

danny bortnick kids restaurant week dc

Chef Danny Bortnick’s three-year-old son Jonah was an adorable sous chef and clearly a crowd favorite. Their tough naptime time slot (1pm) saw a smaller audience, but those who remained seemed to enjoy the sweet banana bread. My son was impressed that another “kid like me” made the bread.

(Note: While Eastern Market’s temporary hall is closed this weekend for the move back into the newly-renovated building, the outdoor food/craft vendors will be open as usual this weekend, June 20-21.)

We chose Art and Soul on Capitol Hill for our dinner out, making a reservation for the first seating on Monday night in hopes of there being a smaller audience in case of any mishaps. Armed with a new sticker book, we settled into a cozy white booth. The boy had announced on the way that he wanted milk and salad for dinner (making that the first time in his life he’s actually asked for salad) so we were nervous when we ordered the crunchy macaroni bites as his first course. He heard us ask about the ravioli on the parents’ art and soul washington dc kids restaurant weekmenu and decided he wanted that; strike two as the kids’ menu offered only unfried chicken or a turkey burger. He was initially unimpressed by the fried macaroni and instead slurped up the husband’s asparagus soup with morels when dad stepped out to take a call. Any smugness I might have been feeling quickly evaporated when the turkey burger arrived with a side of peas and baby carrots, and the boy cried, “Where are my fries?!” A side order of fries later, and the boy happily ate a fair amount of his burger, veggies, and the insides of the fried macaroni balls.

The parents’ menu options were not the most exciting choices from the full menu, but the asparagus soup was excellent and my crispy fried trout was moist and flavorful, topped with rhubarb vinaigrette, a hearty dose of dill and a mountain of fresh spring vegetables. “Baby cakes” for dessert won the boy’s approval, the husband went for the chocolate meringue, and I enjoyed hot doughnuts with blueberry sauce. The dining room was full of families taking advantage of the designated kids hours, and while there were a few signs the restaurant is not accustomed to serving little ones (full-size glasses filled to the brim with milk, leisurely service) overall it was not too traumatic an experience. Maybe not as relaxing as a grown-up-only date night, but at $2 for a 3-course kids meal and no babysitting expense, it was a nice family treat. I hope Kids’ Restaurant Week becomes an annual tradition, as we’re sure to take more advantage of it as the boy gets older. And it’s not too late to make a reservation — the event continues through Sunday and a quick check on Open Table shows tables still available for this weekend. (Elsewhere, Kids’ Restaurant Week kicks off June 20 in NYC and Chicago.)
Art and Soul on Urbanspoon

Speaking of family fun, DC’s hometown ice cream shop Gifford’s is offering free ice cream sundaes this Sunday, June 21st, in honor of the first day of summer (and the premiere of the film (500) Days of Summer) – to the first 500 people beginning at 12:00 noon at the downtown (E & 10th NW), Bethesda, Chevy Chase or Hyattsville locations.

Kids Restaurant Week in the District

Thursday, June 11th, 2009

kids restaurant weekThis Saturday, June 13, Washington DC’s first Kids’ Restaurant Week kicks off with a day of kids-cooking demos and other fun at historic Eastern Market. Kids’ Restaurant Week, June 13-21, is sponsored by Cookie and Gourmet, my two favorite magazines, and took place last year in New York and Chicago. This year, they bring the fun to the District’s youngest foodies with early 5-7pm seatings and special prix fixe menus for grown-ups and kids at more than a dozen DC restaurants. Grown-ups will pay $29 and kids under 12 pay their age. And these aren’t your usual casual/chain “safety” choices, but truly some of the city’s best, including several who emphasize local, organic and seasonal ingredients such as Art and Soul, Dino, Firefly and Zola. Visit the website for the complete list and to make reservations. A portion of proceeds go to two worthwhile local charities, Miriam’s Kitchen and the Eastern Market renovation fund. I wish we could try every restaurant but I don’t want to push my luck at keeping the boy on his best behavior too many nights in a row!

Several of the restaurants have posted their menus online, so you can take a look before deciding. A few of the highlights: alphabet tomato soup at Belga Cafe; pasta with wild boar sauce (or meatballs) at Dino; a pop tart filled with Pennsylvania mushrooms, brie and asparagus at Juniper; shrimp and mushroom fried rice at Mie N Yu; lamb meatball sliders at Zola; and at Firefly, kids can decorate their own cookie after dinner. Firefly has a creative kids’ menu available anytime, that includes a side of broccoli & dip and other healthy options, if you miss out on the official restaurant week.

The kick-off schedule for Saturday at Eastern Market (225 7th Street, SE):

  • 10 a.m. – Kids’ Market Lesson: Bowers Cheese
  • 11 a.m. – Chef Demo: Travis Timberlake of Art & Soul
  • 11:30 a.m. – Kids’ Market Lesson: Agora Farms
  • 12 p.m. – Chef Demo: Greg Lloyd of Zola
  • 1 p.m. – Chef Demo: Danny Bortnick of Firefly (joined by his son Jonah)

Over at Metrocurean, you can find more kid-friendly food events and deals in her “Kids Week” series … and be sure to check out today’s post for some foodie parenting advice from yours truly!

Dinner at Central

Friday, November 14th, 2008

Last week I attended a FoodBuzz publishers dinner at Michel Richard’s James Beard winning Central in Washington, DC. Together with eight other DC bloggers, we enjoyed good wine, food, and conversation about food, of course.

We started with the much lauded gougeres. While they were enjoyable, I was wishing for a slightly more pronounced explosion of cheese upon biting in. This may just reflect my personal cheese addiction, though.

As an entree, I had the braised beef cheeks with tagliatelle and carrot puree. The carrot was topped with crispy carrot ribbons, a nifty contrast in texture. The beef cheeks were rich, falling apart tender and flavorful. I sampled another person’s brussels sprouts, which were sweet and creamy and appropriately loaded with bacon, of course.

For dessert, I took the advice of our waiter and ordered Michel Richard’s chocolate bar, a rich chocolate bar paired with decadent hazelnut ice cream and caramel sauce. Truly not to be missed. Overall, I thought the food was outstanding. Sort of like the comfort food your mom would have made, if your mom were a classically trained French chef.

Thank you, FoodBuzz! And thank you to Olga (Mango and Tomato) and Rivka (Not Derby Pie) for organizing the dinner. Photos thanks to Anna of Meals from the Girl in the Little Black Dress. And also attending were Lauren from Capital Cooking Show, Quinn from Daily Moderation, Maddy from Cook Like Mad, Matt from Foodphoria, and Taresa from Cook and Book. Check out their blogs for more pictures and reviews.

Around Town: Looking for a good meal next week? Open Table’s Appetite Stimulus Plan offers $24 lunches and $35 dinners at participating restaurants Nov. 17-21. Capital Spice created a terrific Google map of participating DC restaurants, to help you map out which ones you can comfortably hit up on your lunch hour. (This deal is being offered in all of Open Table’s cities, including NY, Minneapolis, Seattle and San Francisco.)

Central Michel Richard on Urbanspoon