Happy holidays from the FoodieTots fam to yours.
We hope you’ve made many happy & delicious memories
this holiday season.
You know the drill. The crowd has gathered for the holiday, friends and family are seated around the table and lovingly-prepared food is passed from plate to plate. Just as the chatter dies down, while people dig in for their first bite, your charming child loudly declares, “Ew, this is disgusting!” We’ve all been there. (We have, right?) Well local parents rejoice: The Grille at Morrison House hosts a monthly story time tea with Mrs. B. Who’s Mrs. B, you ask? A children’s etiquette teacher.
The monthly themed teas cater to the children with an introductory activity, kid-friendly menu items (pb&j and egg salad sandwiches, naturally), and story time. All the while, Mrs. B works in subtle tips about proper tea time manners casually throughout the afternoon. Tea is served in the hotel’s elegant tea room (available for afternoon tea for grown-ups every Saturday, 2:00-5:00pm).
We were invited to attend the Spooky Halloween tea and my five-year-old son had an absolute blast. He was smitten with Mrs. B, delighted to hear they had a “special hot chocolate” just for him and thoroughly enthralled the entire time.
The breaks between the savory and sweet courses helped keep him entertained, and the champagne cocktail for mama made the afternoon even sweeter. As we left he declared that he wanted to return every month. The November and December teas feature Thanksgiving and Christmas themes, naturally, but story-time teas are held the third Saturday of every month. See details below for reservation information. And visit Mrs. B’s website for more info about her other classes and birthday parties. (I foresee a birthday tea party for the foodie bebe someday.)
MONTHLY STORY TIME TEA with MRS. B
The Morrison House
Old Town Alexandria, Va.
Every third Saturday of the Month, 2pm
November 19: Giving Thanks
December 17: A Very Merry Christmas Tea
All ages welcome
$38 adult / $28 child
Disclosure: We attended the tea as guests of the Grille at Morrison House. As always, all opinions and reviews are our own.
It’s no secret that citrus is one of the reasons I could never live on a 100% local diet — at least not without moving back to California first. As soon as the weather dips near freezing, I start stocking up on grapefruit, oranges, Meyer lemons or, my favorite, clementines. As much as possible I buy organic citrus from Florida, but for clementines it’s the real thing, all the way from Spain. (I actually spotted those newfangled California “Cuties” at Whole Foods the other day, but stuck with the Old World variety.) When I was a kid, we always got a clementine in our stocking, and devoured it while waiting for Christmas breakfast to be ready. I’ve planned to do the same for the boy, but considering how many clementines we eat in the weeks leading up to Christmas, I’m not sure it’s quite as special a treat.
Today I had a meeting near one of my favorite restaurants in the city, Jaleo, so I stopped in for lunch. Imagine my delight to see the “Clementina Festival!” sign in the window. I couldn’t resist and enjoyed a three-course clementine lunch. First up, seared clementines with olive oil, balsamic vinegar and microgreens. Simple yet bursting with flavor. For the main course, seared squid with artichokes and clementines, the citrus contrasting perfectly with the silky squid. And then dessert. Clementine ice cream atop clementine curd, with some almond/graham cracker crumbs and fresh clementine slices — drizzled with olive oil. Perfection. It was like being transported to sunny Spain for an hour, and left me inspired to do more than just eat our way through the box of clementines straight up. The clementine curd in particular has me pondering a clementine tart … stay tuned.
Do you cook with clementines? What’s your favorite way to use them?
If you’re in DC, the Clementina Festival continues at Jaleo through December 20.
I have been feeling a little Scrooge-like thinking of Thanksgiving this year (mixed holiday metaphors, I know) as it will be the third year in a row that I won’t be cooking my favorite holiday meal. The first year, when my son was just three months old, I caved and agreed to go out for dinner. Last year, my brother got married Thanksgiving weekend, and we spent Thanksgiving flying cross-country. (My sister-in-law’s family cooked a Thanksgiving feast for the rehearsal dinner the next day, though, so it’s not like we didn’t get turkey at all.) And this year, we’re taking the toddler to meet his only cousin on my husband’s side of the family. For someone who really loves to cook, it’s hard to let go of (control over) the food even though it means more time with family.
As I brace myself for November’s arrival, I am reminding myself to be grateful that we can celebrate the harvest feast in our own way throughout the month. My three favorite green “things,” in the context of Thanksgiving, are the wonderful farmers and producers who provide the real food that graces our table. We bought gorgeous pumpkins this weekend from our CSA farm, including some that are soon to be baked and will be transformed into pumpkin cookies, bread and cheesecake bars over the next few weeks. I am grateful that our Del Ray Farmers Market continues through the month, providing us easy access to apples, cider, mushrooms, greens and Tom our Cheese Guy’s fresh yogurt, cheese and Amish treats. And I’m thankful that we can squeeze a local, all-natural, free-range turkey from Smith Meadows into our freezer to cook once we return from our travels — when we’ll truly be thankful to be enjoying a home-cooked dinner.