Posts Tagged ‘firefly’

Holiday Family Favorites in Washington, DC

Saturday, December 4th, 2010

One of the great things about growing up in Washington, DC, is the wealth of activities to enjoy — and the holiday season is no exception. Here are just a couple of our upcoming favorite activities, and corresponding dining suggestions too.

Trains at the Botanic Garden

Little boys seem genetically predisposed to love trains, but my son literally has it in his blood: his great-grandfather started a short line railroad in Maryland. There are many, many different train displays (and rides with Santa) around town this time of year, but our favorite is the one at the U.S. Botanic Garden. The holiday greenery on display is impressive itself, and there are replicas of DC landmarks made entirely of plant-based materials. You can also walk out front and catch a view of the Capitol Christmas tree. (And if you head further down the mall, there’s a model train that runs beneath the National Christmas Tree on the Ellipse.)

Where to Eat: The Botanic Garden is just across the street from the Museum of the American Indian, where the cafe offers native foods from across the Western Hemisphere. Or, head up Pennsylvania Ave. for burgers and shakes from Good Stuff Eatery (yes, Chef Spike’s place for you Top Chef fans).

Water-Skiing Santa at National Harbor

Yes, really. Santa, his reindeer, elves, Frosty the Snowman, the Grinch and even some pandas perform on the Potomac each year on Christmas Eve (1 pm). The show moved over to National Harbor a couple years ago, which lacks the cool backdrop of the monuments but has significantly more parking than the prior location. You could even take the Water Taxi over from Old Town Alexandria.

Where to Eat: We haven’t explored many of the dining options at National Harbor, which mainly caters to convention/tourist crowds. But you can’t go wrong warming up with chowder at McCormick & Schmick’s. There’s also an Elevation Burger there, which we love for their grassfed beef and real cheese.

merriment

Merriment in Georgetown

Picturesque Georgetown is especially charming this time of year. And this Sunday, Dec. 5, 2-5pm, is “Merriment in Georgetown” — There will be a performance by Milkshake, American Girl book signing, hot cocoa tastings, photo opps with Santa and more. Kids can even decorate cupcakes with Georgetown Cupcake.

Where to Eat: Georgetown is known for its college bars, but there are a few family-friendly options too. Clyde’s is always a safe bet; a small local chain that was sourcing local foods even before doing so was trendy. They have a solid kids menu, and free toy vehicles. Not too far away at Dupont Circle is Firefly, where Chef (and dad) Danny Bortnick takes pride in his kids menu options, which are divided into big kid and “lil’ kid” offerings. (And, they’re serving a latke tasting trio now through December 9.)

And lastly, don’t miss Zoo Lights at the National Zoo — now through January 1. It’s free!

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.