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Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Founding Farmers

It's a clever name, right?  You might have heard of this restaurant, Founding Farmers, in Washington, DC--their pot roast was featured on The Food Network.

I just got back from a quick visit to our nation's capitol.  I have a friend, Nadine, heading to Nigeria, her first foreign service posting, and I wanted to see her and her husband before they go.  It also gave me a chance to see my alma mater and all that has changed and stayed the same in The George Washington University's Foggy Bottom campus.

Nadine knows I like good food, and by that, she knows I mean ethical food.  She planned our meals lovingly around this fact.  We went to the Falls Church, VA farmers market--bustling with people and stalls, some even making food in stalls.  We gathers what we needed for the evening's dinner and brunch the next morning.  And for Sunday she made and early dinner reservation for us at Founding Farmers.

Now, when I say "early" I mean 4:30.  We were trying to accommodate her sister's travel schedule back to New York.  We went into the city, took in the Renwick Gallery across from the Old Executive Office Building.  It's a small part of the Smithsonian with American art, including craft work.  Some of the pieces are extraordinary and it is a shame most tourists miss them.

It's August, in DC, and we were somewhat prepared for inclement weather.  My flight coming in to National was "delayed" because of weather--we sat after landing for over an hour waiting for a gate at the closed airport to free up so we could get off.  But Sunday afternoon, while we were at the Renwick, the sky opened up.  Torrential downpour.  We got soaked just crossing the street!  And we got soaked again as we made our way the few blocks to the restaurant.  But by that time it was only 3:30!  I swear, some people were having a late brunch.

They were nice and happy to seat us immediately, even though we were an hour early for our reservation.  Laughing about how wet we all were, we were greeted with a pretty extensive menu and it took us a while to figure out what we were going to have.  But what a treat, eating at a restaurant that had really good food values.  That made it all the harder to decide--nothing was really off limits for me.

We settled on fried green tomatoes to start, served with goat cheese and a green goddess dressing.  At first I thought the breading was a bit much, but with the tangy goat cheese it was a nice pairing.  I had a "Farmers Fizz" cocktail--simple and light--gin, St. Germain and prosecco (that's a sugar cube on the bottom which makes for more bubbles rising to the top) and for dinner I had meatloaf served with a white mushroom gravy, mashed red potatoes and asparagus with lemon zest and tarragon.  Delish!  We did decide, as we all snagged one of Brian's french fried (which were good) to test the homemade ketchup that what I think was raspberry vinegar in the ketchup made it a bit too fruity--we don't want anything messing with ketchup unless we are warned in advance and expect it.

My only regret was that it all was so good I didn't save room for desert.

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