Weekend Highlights ~ Low Key Labour Day

The first Monday of September is always Labor Day in the United States. It honors American workers and their contributions to the strength of the country. It’s also considered the unofficial end of summer… le sigh.

DRINKS AT THE WATERGATE HOTEL

We kicked off the weekend with happy hour at the Next Whisky Bar in the newly opened Watergate Hotel. Of course, everyone knows of the Watergate from the history books and the role it played in the demise of president Richard Nixon. But today, it’s a complex of 5 buildings right by the Kennedy Center. One of those building is now a landmark hotel overlooking the Potomac River and I hadn’t been yet since it reopened in June (it was closed for renovations since 2007.) The drinks are pretty pricey, so it’s not a spot where I’m going to become a regular at, but I loved the bar’s splashy atmosphere, with its lush red seats and the soft amber glow from the curved illuminated wall of 2,500 whisky bottles. 

The Bar at the Watergate Hotel

 

LABOUR DAY CAPITOL CONCERT

After that, my weekend was rather low key. Saturday, I went for a quick jog to the U.S. Capitol. I really want to get back into running now and jogging to and from the Capitol is a nice and easy 3 miles, the perfect distance when you havn’t been running for a while. Plus it’s such a pretty route, especially now that the scaffholding is almost all down. 

Concert on the West Lawn of the US Capitol

Sunday evening, I went back to the Capitol, to the West Lawn to be exact, to catch the free concert by the National Symphony Orchestra. It was a very only-in-DC concert. The musicians, led by Steven Reineke, kicked off the program with the star spangled banner. Featured singer Storm Large and her band Le Bonheur then launched into some American classic, including America the beautiful. My favourite moments were when she dedicated her performance of The Lady is a Tramp to Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg (her “spirit animal”) before serenading Bernie Sanders with a special version of My Funny Valentine, which she turned into My Bernie Valentine. Yep, politics is everywhere, always (but especially in an election year!) Washington, DC 😉 

Labor day concert at the US Captiol

 

STUNNING SUNSETS

Was it because of Hermine? I’m not sure, but we were treated to some pretty magical, unforgettable sunsets Friday and Saturday nights. According to my instagram feed, that was the case all along the East Coast, all the way to New York City. I wish my pictures could do justice to just how breath taking the red sky was… 

Sunset

Stunning sunset in Washington, DC

 

SUP-ING ON THE POTOMAC

I try to go kayaking on the Potomac at least once every summer, though I waited until the very end this year (let’s be real, it was too hot before that!) The weather was so perfect on Monday, we definitely weren’t the only ones who had that idea. We opted to do the Stand Up Paddleboards this time, which was a great workout on top of being a fun way to see the city from a different angle, including the Watergate where I had kicked off the weekend. 

Boating in DC
SUP-ing on the PotomacSUP-ing to the WatergateWe wrapped up the weekend with a little grilling, of course. That’s kinda synonymous with Labour Day right? In addition to running again, I’m trying to eat less meat so rather than cook steaks or burgers, I tried something different: grilled artichokes. 

Grilled artichoke with rose

It was actually really good and super easy to do. The trick is to boil the artichokes first. Once they’ve cooled down a bit, cut them in half and brush them with a mixture of olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, salt and pepper. You’ll grill them for 5-10 minutes (until the tips are a little charred) and enjoy with a little more of the olive oil mixture. It’s actually quite perfect if you ever have vegetarian friends over for BBQ!

How was your labour day weekend? Did you go anywhere fun or stayed behind and enjoyed an emptier city? Let me know in the comments and have a great (short) week!

 

Les 5 Produits Français que j’Achète à World Market

Vous connaissez World Market? J’adore!! C’est une chaine de magasins ici où l’on trouve un peu de tout que ce soit pour le décor, les meubles, mais aussi des bijoux et de la nourritures venus ou inspirés des quatres coins du monde. Le mien est un peu plus petit, on n’y trouve pas de produits alcoolisés (certains ont un super choix de vins et de bière) ni de meubles, vaisselles etc. En fait, c’est juste un petit rayon dans mon Bed Bath & Beyond local près du Verizon Center. Mais c’est le rayon le plus important! Celui de l’alimentation 😉 Voici quelques uns de mes produits français préférés que j’achète à World Market

LE SEL DE GUERANDE

Fleur de sel de guerandeGros sel de guerande

Le sel de Guérande est un sel de mer naturel et artisanal récolté à la main par les paludiers dans les marais salants de la Loire Atlantique. Je le trouve version fleur de sel ($6.99) et gros sel aussi ($4.99) à mon World Market

LE SUCRE DE CANE LA PERRUCHE

Sucre de canne la perruche

Je ne trouve pas encore de cassonade à mon World Market, hélas, mais bon, le sucre roux, ambré en cube comme ca c’est un bon début et à $5.99 c’est pas encore trop cher et ça fait bien plaisir dans mon nespresso du matin! 

LA MOUTARDE MAILLE

Moutarde a l'ancienne et moutarde originale Maille

Il n’y a que Maille qui m’aille et si mon supermarché local a fait de bon progrès (j’y trouve maintenant de la moutarde Maille a l’ancienne) elle coute toujours un peu chère.  Alors en attendant que Maille ouvre sa boutique sur Washington (c’est dans les projets de la marque apparement) je rempli mon cadis à World Market!  

LES CORNICHONS

Cornichons

C’est pas facile de trouver des bons cornichons français, pas les gros pickles comme ils font aux Etats Unis (et que je trouve très bons aussi, mais c’est pas la même chose). J’adore particulièrement les extra fins Domaine des Vignes ($3.99) que je trouve à World Market

LES PETITES DOUCEURS

Quelques petits produits que j’adore: les mini-pots de confitures Bonne Maman (toujours pratique quand on a des invité pour le brunch), le Nutella version sample que j’ai quasiment toujours dans mon sac à main (je l’appelle mon Nutella d’urgence, on ne sait jamais quand on en aura besoin!) et les Kinder. Oui, je sais, ni le Nutella ni les Kinders ne sont français, mais on en consomme tellement chez nous que c’est un peu comme… Dommage par contre, on trouve toujours pas d’oeufs Kinder Surprise ici 😦

KinderEmergency Nutella

Mini-confiture bonne maman

BONUS: QUELQUES PRODUITS D’AFRIQUE DU NORD

Du côté de chez ma grand-mère maternelle on est du Maroc (de Casablanca) et le couscous est mon plat français préféré (et je suis pas seule d’après ce sondage.) Alors quand je trouve de l’harissa, du ras el hanout et de la semoule, je saute dessus!  

Harissa from World Market

Semoule pour le couscous

Ras el Hanout spices from world market

 

Vous avez trouvé d’autres bons produits français à World Market ou ailleurs? Je sais qu’on trouve de tout si on bien y mettre le prix (par example à Dean et Delucca, nous on en a un a Georgetown) mais l’avantage de World Market c’est que c’est très abordable! Quels sont le produits qui vous manquent le plus? N’hésitez pas a partager vos tuyaux alimentaires dans les commentaires! 

 

What’s the Best Baguette in Washington, DC?

I’ve lived in the District for over 10 years now and as the French expat one of the top question I usually get asked is “where can I find good bread?” Usually it’s recent transplants from France asking… The answer partially depend on where you live I guess. I mean, Bread Furst probably makes the best baguette in the city. But I live in Shaw. It’s bad enough I have to spend close to $3 for bread, I’m not trekking all the way across town on top of it. So I get my baguette mostly at A Baked Joint now, and occasionally at Paul or Le Pain Quotidien. Two places where I would never buy bread back home…but hey, I have limited options here 😉
The best Baguette in DC

Of course, Parisians take their bread very seriously. It is like 20% of our diet… It’s so important that we have a trade association for bread and the bakers that make it, la Chambre professionnelle des artisans boulangers du Grand Paris. And since 1994, they’ve teamed up with the City of Paris to throw an annual baguette show-done to select the best loaf in town: la meilleure baguette de Paris. In addition to 4,000 euros, mad bragging rights and a guaranteed line outside your bakery for a few weeks, the winning boulangerie also becomes the official bread supplier of the French President and his residence. Yes, obviously, that’s a thing too.  

This year, the French Embassy to the United States has decided to organize its very own “best baguette” contest for the Washington, D.C. area. After polling district residents online to see what their favourite bread-spots were, the top 4 bakers are facing off for a carb-filled finale at La Maison Française September 29th. 

The bakeries competing for the Best Capital Baguette title are: 

A jury of chefs and other DC-food personalities will decide the winner that evening but guests are also invited to join and will get the opportunity to try the different baguette along with charcuteries, cheese and jam. Bonne Maman, D’Artagnan and President are partners, so you know there’s gonna be some good stuff there! No wine sponsor though, so that’ll be cash bar and at $25 for a ticket (which you can buy here), that seems fair.

My money is on Fresh Baguette or Bread Furst, but I guess we’ll have to wait until September 29th to find out and see who will become the official bread supplier of the French Ambassador’s Residence… and the 2016 Best Capital Baguette!

ps: New York hosted its own competition earlier this year… so if you’re looking for some the best bread in Manhattan, just head to one of Eric Kayser‘s many bakeries. And good news, it won’t be too long before we have our very own Maison Eric Kayser here in DC. CANNOT WAIT! 

A Taste of Lille ~ Méert’s Legendary Waffles

No visit to the Northern French city of Lille would be complete without a stop at 27 rue Esquermoise. This address has delighted local gourmands since 1761. Initially, it was a humble chocolaterie and ice cream shop until it was taken over in 1849 by Michael Paulus Gislinus Méert who turned the shop into a local institution with its signature thin, gaufres filled with Madagascar vanilla. Today, the former confectionery is an elegant patisserie, salon de thé and gourmet gourmet restaurant and a must-visit sight if you’re in the area. 

Meert's famous waffles - image courtesy of Meert

Meert’s famous waffles – image courtesy of Meert

I don’t remember the first time I had one of Méert‘s waffles, but I must have been a baby — I’m a second generation Lilloise after all, though we moved to Paris when I was 5 years old and hardly ever think of myself as anything but a Parisienne. Today, you can find Méert in Roubaix, Brussels or Paris (I love the tiny shop near the Picasso Museum in the Marais) and the sweet waffles are set to jet off to America as well soon (to New York… of course…).

Meert's first boutique in Paris is located at 16 Rue Elzevir in the Marais. There's a new one in Saint Germain now too.

Meert’s first boutique in Paris 16 Rue Elzevir in the Marais. There’s a new one in Saint Germain now too.

During my last visit to Lille, we swung by Roubaix, which is a quick metro ride away. We visited la Villa Cavrois  as well as La Piscine-Musée d’Art et d’Industrie André Diligent, a fantastic museum housed in a former indoor swimming pool, with a notable art déco interior. My dad actually learned to swim in that pool when he was young!  

The former A.Baert's 1932 Art Déco swimming baths offer a stunning backdrop for the Museum of Art and Industry's collections

The former A.Baert’s 1932 Art Déco swimming baths is a stunning backdrop for the Piscine’s collections

Méert runs the restaurant and café there so we were able to get our waffle fix without having to wait in line at the shop in Lille — there’s always a bit of the line these days!

Meert's waffles at the piscine museum

 Trust me though, those waffles are worth waiting in line for…. and while I love their fun new flavours, especially the spéculos one, the classic Madagascar gaufre is still my favourite, and has been since I was a wee little Northern France girl.  

Meert Lille

 

Weekend Highlights ~ Restaurant Week, Caipirinhas & Grilled Peach Pizza

Definitely another low-key weekend… sometimes you just need some of those you know, especially as I gear up Diner en Blanc next Saturday. Friday night, I had a couple of girlfriends over for rosé on the roof. My friends Jean and Aparna can’t make it to diner en blanc, so we thought we’d dress in white and have a bit of a test run. I’m being a bit of a rebel this year and sprinkling hints of gold into my tablescape so I wanted to check out how it looked. Plus I love any excuse to host. I think it turned out pretty well no?

diner en blanc table

I wanted to keep things simple for the menu so I made Martha Stewart’s Grilled Peach Pizza recipe as well as a pitcher of caipirinhas (check out my recipe here, along with some personal memories of drinking Caipirinhas in Brazil)  since I wanted to finish my bottle of cachaca. We talked about the Olympics, of course, our latest trips, ones we have coming and diner en blanc. It was lovely.

Martha Stewart's Grilled Peach Pizza

Martha Stewart's Grilled Peach PizzaSaturday was beautiful and I was quite lazy, spending most of it at the pool. On Sunday, I caught the tail-end of Restaurant Week with a lunch-date with the hubby at Del Campo in Chinatown. I used to be so into restaurant week before, booking lunches and dinner throughout the time of the promotion, but now not much. Del Campo did a great job with their menu though. I kicked off my meal with the Chilean Salmon Ceviche while my husband had the empanadas de Pino. Those were basically breakfast empanadas with bacon and egg and I’m totally going to try and make them at home one day! 

Salmon ceviche at Del Campo

empenadas de pino at Del Campo

Since I had Brazil on my mind, I ordered the Smoked Pork Feijoada. It was ok, though definitely not as good as my husband’s Grilled Short Rib with jalapeno potato puree and bone marrow. 

Short rib and bone marrow at Del Campo

The desserts were lovely, I always love the tres leches twinkies with passion fruit sorbet. The menu offered for lunch and diner is actually exactly the same but it’s $13 pricier in the evenings, so I’d definitely recommend the earlier option and the deal continues through next Sunday too. There’s also a $55 Restaurant Week’s chef menu, that swaps the short rib for grilled Wagyu bavette sirloin & chorizo and the empanadas de pino for Wagyu skirt steak empanadas. I still think the lunch menu was really good and a good deal, so I’d stick with that though.

Tres leche twinkies at Del Campo

Did you partake in restaurant week this past week? If yes, any stand-out meals? If not… why not? Do you find your interest in the promotion to have decreased over the years? Let me know in the comments and have a great week!! 

A Taste of Spring: Cherry Blossoms Everything

IMG_7369

 

Cherry blossoms season is almost done here in Washington. The actual blossoms faded away late last week. Who can blame them? It’s been barely 40 degrees for the past two days… and don’t get me started on the wind! But officially, the festival ends on April 17 so there’s still more than an entire week to celebrate our city in boom and enjoy festival events, like the fireworks on the 9th, the Sakura Matsuri street festival and the official parade on the 16th, or all the different themed eats, which let’s be honest are my favourites anyway! 

Now, I’m not a huge fan of the official “cherry picks” gimmick co-sponsored by the Restaurant Association of Metropolitan Washington that sees restaurants as unrelated to Japan as Boqueria, Carmine’s or Lincoln come up with dubiously cherry-inspired menu items during the festival. But I’m a big fan of sweets of all kinds, most particularly when they don’t involve chocolate and I do love all of the cherry-flavoured pastries that have popped up all over town. Here are some of my favourites so far:
 

MILK BAR’S CHERRY ROSE COOKIE

5e685b5d-3e51-4143-b762-0c974927402e

Normally I find Milk Bar’s treats just a tad/a lot too sweet for me but the combo of freeze-dried cherries, milk crumbs and rose water essence with a final layer of dusted cherries on top really worked for me. 
 

OLIVIA MACARON’S CHERRY BLOSSOM FLAVOUR

All my favourite macaron flavours have always been on the floral side: fleur d’oranger, rose, jasmin, muguet… so it was bound to be love at second sight with this one — second because I had already fallen with it when it was first introduced last year.
Oli
 

RARESWEET’S CHERRY BLOSSOMS COOKIE

So pretty it’s almost a pity to eat it. Keyword: almost!
IMG_7539
 

ASTRO DOUGHNUT’S CHERRY DONUT

I can’t think of a better to spend $3.25 than this donut! Inside the vanilla dough rests a soft cherry filling, and all this deliciousness is topped by a decadent vanilla bean cream cheese glaze adorned with a sweet cherry blossom design. I’ll be very sad to see this one go.
IMG_7170
 

CHAPLIN’S CHERRY BLOSSOM BOMB

Normally I’m not a huge fan of the boozy cherry blossom specials (the exception this year being BLT Steaks Japanese whiskey flight… everything else is just too cherry-y and sweet) but I am a HUGE fan of sake bombs. Don’t judge. I have been since I did my first one at a trendy London Japanese restaurant/bar back in 2002. I like Irish car bombs too. Had my first one of those at Lindy’s Red Lion, because GWU! So I actually appreciate Chaplin’s $5 bomb featuring a pint of Kirin Ichiban beer and a shot of bright pink Sakura Emaki Rose Sake. Bottoms up on that one!
IMG_7207

 

Have you enjoyed any good seasonal eats (or drinks) during the cherry blossom festival this year? Let me know in the comments! I still have a few days to try and check them out!

5 Things I Ate While I Was in Chicago

Another week, another express work-cation, this time to Chicago in the mid-west. I’d been to Chicago a few times before, including for a hot 16 hours last July 4 and back in 1994 during one of my very first trip to the United States. Despite having a lot of meetings, I tried to squeeze in as much sight-seeing as I could in 36 hours, including catching the Van Gogh’s Bedrooms exhibit at the Art Institute of Chicago. And eating of course… Here are some of my favourites from my express “work-cation” in Chicago: 

LIQUID ENERGY AT INTELLIGENTSIA COFFEE

First things first after a 6AM flight from Reagan to O’Hare, I needed caffeine! But not just any coffee would do. I wanted some Intelligentsia Coffee since the roasting company started and is still based in Chicago. Bonus, their location at 53 East Randolph Street is around the corner from Millennial Park so I got the chance to squeeze in a little sight-seeing too! 

Intelligentsia Coffee at the Bean

Intelligentsia Coffee has many locations across town, including 53 E Randolph Street, 1609 W Division Street, 3123 North Broadway and 2642 N Milwaukee Avenue.

 

POTATO DUMPLINGS AT PIEROGI HEAVEN

As many as 1.5 million Chicagoan claim Polish ancestry and Chicago bills itself as the largest Polish city outside of Poland. Pierogis, delightfully doughy Eastern European dumplings, are pretty easy to find around town. For a quick lunch, I headed to Pierogi Heaven in the loop, a hole in the wall kinda spot that’s popular with nearby office workers. You can choose from 11 different pierogi fillings, all of which come with fried onions, bacon and sour cream. I polished off a plate of potato cheddar dumplings, with extra sour cream and a cup of hot red borsch. 

Potato and cheddar dumplings at Pierogi Heaven

Pierogi Heaven is located at 169 North Wells Street

GARRETT MIX AT GARRETT POPCORN

On paper, cheddar cheese and caramel popcorn don’t sound like they’d mix well together. But in a bucket of Garrett Popcorn, the salty-sweet combo known as Garrett Mix® is one of the most addictive thing you’ll ever eat. This staple Chicago food counts a lot of fan… Oprah listed it as one of her “favourite things” on a couple of occasions, President Obama gave a tin to Vice President Biden for his birthday and Beyonce herself declared it Deeeeeeeeeeeeeerrrricious” on instagram. I never leave Chicago without a bag 😉 

Garrett Mix at Garrett Popcorn Garrett PopcornThere are many locations of Garrett Popcorn, including one at151 North Michigan Avenue by Millennium Park, 625 North Michigan Avenue and 2 at O’Hare airport (there’s one at the Fashion Centre at Pentagon City too…)

CONFIT GOAT BELLY AT GIRL AND THE GOAT

Stephanie Izard’s Girl and the Goat inevitably comes up every time I ask anyone for restaurant recommendations in Chicago. So this trip, I actually made my way there! Forty five minutes and one “my little kumquat” cocktail later, I finally snagged a seat at one corner of the bar. I definitely blew my per-diem on that meal, but it was SO worth it. Everything I had from the kohlrabi salad with fennel, evalon, toasted almonds, autumn crisp apple and shiitake mushrooms to the goat carpaccio and the goat cheesecake with pretzel cream and beer caramel was amazing. But the real standout of the evening can be summarized in 4 words: Bourbon. Butter. Poached. Lobster. As if that didn’t sound amazing enough, that was just the side for a confit goat belly, which also came with a fennel puree and fennel salad (I’ve been really into fennel lately.) No wonder everyone and their mothers has been raving about Girl and the Goat 😉 

Bourbon butter poached lobster and goat belly confit at Girl and the Goat

Girl and the Goat is located at 809 W Randolph street. There’s now a Little Goat Diner right across the street too that offers more casual food, as well as breakfast all day.

ROASTED BONE MARROW AT THE PURPLE PIG

I talked my colleagues into squeezing in a late lunch/early happy hour at the Magnificent Mile gastropub The Purple Pig, I couldn’t convince them to try the roasted bone marrow with sicilian sea salt and herb salad (with Italian parsley, thin-sliced white onions and capers) smear. More for me right? Right!! It was a beautiful, warm day in Chicago so we ate outside, sorta overlooking the river. And of course, warm sunny days call for rosé, and the bone marrow paired perfectly with a glass of Scea Andre Roux Clos Cibonne côtes de provence. Sadly, my colleagues are not as adventurous eaters as I am and I really couldn’t justify ordering the pig’s ears on top of the bone marrow… I guess I’ll have to go back and eat my way through more of the decadent meat-centered menu at The Purple Pig

Roasted Bone Marrow Smear at The Purple Goat

The Purple Pig is located at 500 N. Michigan Avenue.

I also found a little time to swing by the stunning Palmer House. Now owned by Hilton, it’s the oldest hotel in the city and claims to be where brownies were invented. The Palmer House Brownie with walnuts and an apricot glaze (check out the recipe in Epicurious) is still served at the hotel’s restaurant and bar. 

Palmer House ceciling

Since I can’t eat chocolate, I settled for another local favourite, a quick Goose Island Honkers Ale, which I enjoyed under the magnificent ceiling fresco by French muralist Louis Pierre Rigal. Not a bad spot to wrap up the trip!

*                    *                    *                    *                    *

I think I did pretty good in less than 36 hours Where would be your five foodie stops or top foodie bites if you were to spend a few days in Chicago?

Beaujolais Nouveau Cranberry Sauce

There are two celebrations I particularly look forward to at the end of November. Both owe their dates, on the third Thursday and last Thursday of November, to laws in their respective countries. I’m of course referring to France’s Beaujolais Nouveau celebration and the United States’ Thanksgiving. Thanks to some rather brilliant promotion from Beaujolais’ PR people, the purple-pink Gamay wine is now often paired with turkey, stuffing etc. at tables across the country. This year, I decided to combine the two holidays in one festive dish: a Beaujolais Nouveau cranberry sauce. Since the recipe only requires about a cup of wine, it’s a perfect way to finish off a bottle!

Beaujolais Nouveau cranberry sauce

 For one 12oz pack of cranberries you’ll want to use:
  • 3/4 cup of Beaujolais Nouveau (of course, another fruity red wine works too…)
  • 2/3 cup of sugar
  • 1 small cinnamon stick
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons fresh orange juice or 1 tablespoon orange zest
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 1 pinch of nutmeg

Start by combining the sugar, red wine, salt, nutmeg and cinnamon in a medium saucepan over moderate heat. Once the mixture is boiling, add the cranberries. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the cranberries begin to pop, which should take about 5 minutes. Add the cornstarch and the orange juice or zest and simmer for another 5 minutes or until the cranberries are soft and the sauce has thickened to an almost jam-like consistency.

Beaujolais Nouveau cranberry sauce

Cranberry sauce can be served chilled or at room temperature, but you’ll still want to let it rest for a bit before serving.  Cranberry sauce can be prepared up to 1 week ahead, which works perfectly with the timing of both celebrations! No wonder Beaujolais Nouveau and Thanksgiving are such a perfect pairing! 

 

 

A Taste of Nice: Farmers’ Market Petits Farcis

Last Christmas, I spent a few days in the South of France with my family. We started in Marseille, where my mother was born and where she grew up, then made our way to Gould to spend the holidays with my uncle Philippe who lives there with his family. Afterwards, we made our way to Nice, on the French Riveria.
Le vieux port de NiceNice

France’s fifth largest city gets a pretty bad rep. It’s like the Florida of France, where grandparents retire (my grandmother herself considered moving there for a while) and older Brits winter. It’s no Cannes and it’s no Monaco. But it’s got a lot to offer: stunning Art Deco architecture, great museums (Chagall and Matisse both used to call Nice their home), the promenade des Anglais on the Mediterranean sea and, of course, great food! 

Marche de Nice 
Nice is a dream destination for hungry travelers and we certainly ate our way through all of city’s specialties: gelatto, socca, salade Niçoise, tarte aux blettes, Daube… we ate it all in the short amount of time that we had.

Nice SoccaIMG_2462Gelato nice

Well, almost. The one dish we simply couldn’t get our hands on – because it wasn’t the right season – was farcis niçois, and array of small stuffed (summer) vegetables, typically zucchinis, tomatoes and onions. So when I spotted some miniature patty pan squash at the Bloomingdale farmers’ market the other day, I decided I would just make my own petits farcis at home! I picked up most of the ingredients I needed at vendors throughout the market: bread at Panorama, pork sausage, tomatoes, zucchinis, parsley, patty pan squash and an onion. I grabbed parmesan and garlic at safeway and used olive oil and herbes de provence from my pantry.

Ingredients petits farcis

Here are the steps to make petits farcis:

  • First, scoop out the inside of the veggies. Start by cutting off the top and save it for presentation, using a spoon, remove the flesh of the vegetable so you can fill it with the stuffing. Reserve that flesh though, don’t toss it out. You may need to flatten up the bottom of the vegetables too so that they can stand in the cooking dish and the plates.
  • Next, make the stuffing: dice the onion and sauté in a few teaspoon of olive oil. Add about 1 tablespoon of chopped garlic. Once both the onions and garlic have softened, add the sausage meat and brown for 5 minutes. Add the flesh from the courgette, tomato, squash and any other vegetables that you are using and cook for an additional 2-3 minute before removing from the heat. Season with salt, pepper, and herbes de provence then mix in a little bit of chopped parsley (to taste), a quarter of a cup of grated parmesan, and half a cup of breadcrumbs (preferably homemade.)
  • Finally, put it all together: place the hollowed out vegetables in a baking dish (grease it with a little olive oil first) and spoon the sausage stuffing carefully inside them. Drizzle with a little bit more olive oil and bake at 400F for 30-45 minutes, or until brown. Make sure you don’t overcook them, the vegetables should still be holding their shape.
  • Last but not least: serve with the little hats from the vegetables and a glass of your favourite rosé!

Petits farcisPetits farcis

Dine at These 6 French Restaurants During Restaurant Week


Between August 17 and 23, some 200 restaurants will be offering three-course prix-fixe lunches for $22 and dinners for $35 as part of the
Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington’s Restaurant Week. I’ll actually be in France that week so I’ll be missing out on the biannual promotion. Which, let’s be real, is ok because I’d rather be in France 😉 If you’d like to pretend you’re in France too that week, may I recommend you make a reservation at these French restaurants:

Bistrot LepicBISTROT LEPIC WINE BAR

Did Tom Sietsema’s (glowing) review of Bistrot Lepic in the Post recently made you wonder why you don’t go to one of DC’s best French restaurant more often? Now that the circulator goes up Wisconsin, you have no excuse, and restaurant week is the perfect time to discover or rediscover this Georgetown gem. Standout items on the lunch and dinner menu include salade de langue de veau (that’d be French for veal tongues!), a beet and apple salad with farm goat cheese quenelle, snails baked in garlic butter and those are just the appetizers. For mains, there’s a truite meunière, rognons de veau (veal kidneys) or beef medaillons with Gruyère polenta. For desserts, there’s some iles flotantes (baked egg whites floating in crème Anglaise) one of my fave French dessert that you don’t see very often on menus here. I must say, you might actually need to go to Bistrot Lepic more than once during restaurant week!

FIG & OLIVE

The newly-opened City Center restaurant is offering 2 great prix-fixe menus for restaurant week. The $22 lunch includes a salmon crudo appetizer with Arbequina olive oil and a rosemary lamb with couscous with fig and Koroneiki olive oil. Dinner, priced at $35, gets even better: beef carpaccio with white truffle olive oil,fig & olive’s tajine, with harissa Arbequina olive oil or a paella del mar with oregano Hojiblanca olive oil. For an additional $10, you can even get filet mignon with Arbequina olive oil Béarnaise. Both menus include dessert crostinis and an optional crostini tasting for an additional $7 too. Fig & Olive is definitely the one restaurant I hope does extend its restaurant week promotion!!  

Fig and Olive Cocktail

MINTWOOD PLACE (DINNER ONLY)

Mintwood Place jumped on this list mainly for their key lime speculoos pie dessert, for which I would totally head to Adams Morgan for.  The bread pudding with rhubarb sounds pretty amazing too. Can I swap out an appetizer for a second dessert you think?  Hum, actually, I really want the steak tartare with jicama to start, so maybe no swapping, just two desserts 😉

BASTILLE

If you haven’t had a chance to out Bastille since it relocated to its new (and much bigger) location on N. Fayette Street, restaurant week is a great excuse. Not only does restaurant week at Bastille last until September 6th, but the menu includes some awesome modern French dishes like a a shrimp nicoise salade (lunch menu only), a shenandoah valley lamb burger with harrissa aioli, Moullard Duck breast or shrimp and grits a la basquaise. For an extra $12, you can even add a fourth cheese course before desserts. But don’t fill up! Chef Michelle Poteaux’ take on the key lime seems worth saving a little room for.

 

2941

2941 

Executive chef Bertrand Chemel and pastry chef Caitlin Dysart have designed a simple restaurant week dinner and lunch menu with seasonal ingredients. Start with the the ricotta salata with peach marmalade, ricotta, Cancale sea salt, TrueFarms lettuce or the crab Salad with watermelon gelée, basil, cherry tomatoes. For main, skip the risotto, though it sounds great with cherry tomatoes, goat cheese, popcorn shoots, yellow corn, marjoram oil, and opt for the pan seared rack of lamb with summer squash, herb vinaigrette, spaetzle before ending on a sweet note with Caitlin’s dessert, like the Peaches & Cream with yogurt mousse, poached peaches, vanilla chiffon, raspberry sorbet. For lunch, I wouldn’t miss the duck bolognese, because DUCK! Bonus: restaurant week is extended until August 28th, so I might even be able to squeeze in a quick meal when I get back!!

 

BISTRO BIS

Two appetizers really stand out for me on Bistro Bis’ restaurant week menu. First, the steak tartare. I love love love a good steak tartare! The other is the moules Marseillaises, which combines the two cultures I come from: my dad is from moules-land (aka. the north of France by Belgium) and my mom is from Marseille, the land of pastis which is used in the broth of the mussels. There are too many stand-out dishes to list on the entree side, classic French dishes like a confit de canard Toulousienne (kind of like a light cassoulet), a Daube d’agneau (with merguez saussages too!!) or a rockfish provencal. Here the lunch menu also brings the addition of a Salade Niçoise, but a more classic one with tuna. 

Pinea at the W Hotel

BONUS: PINEA

Pinea hasn’t posted its restaurant week menus online but based on past experience, the mediterranean inspired restaurant inside the W will probably open up their entire menu, which few restaurants do. Plus, the dining room recently underwent a complete re-do at the hands of street artist Gaia, so that’s an additional reason why you should check out Pinea during restaurant week! 

Do you usually dine out during restaurant weeks? Have you made reservations yet? Any dinner or lunch you’re particularly exited about? Let me know in the comments!!