Category Archives: Washington DC
Epic Vacation Eats- Founding Farmers, Washington, D.C.
I love to travel.
And I love to eat.
So what could be better than travelling to eat?
With that in mind, I thought I’d share with you all (or y’all for my American friends) one of my favorite restaurants from holidays, in May of 2009. Founding Farmers in the Foggy Bottom neighbourhood of Washington, D.C.
We first tried FF on a recommendation from front desk staff at Hotel Lombardy, our home base for the week. “Give us a great place for dinner in the area” we said. “And if you point at the TGI Fridays across the street there’s gonna be trouble”.
Lucky for us, this recent European transplant had no trouble telling us that one of his pet peeves since arriving in the U.S.A. is American “fast food”, and compared it to something you would scold your dog for doing on the rug.
“This is our kind of guy”, we think as he continues his rant.
And then he pauses, “But THAT place…” he says as he points excitedly down the block a ways, “that place is great!”
“And I don’t even get anything to refer you to them;” he continued, “I just really like it. It’s just about the only place I eat around here anymore.”
I look over at my wife and I can tell we’re thinking the same thing; “This guy thinks the only place worth eating at in this whole country is just 2 blocks away”? How can we NOT take this recommendation? Or at least let’s walk by and check out the menu.
So off we go excited at the thought of trying this new restaurant, but as we get to the front door of the hotel we can hear some familiar rumbling.
And not just rain, a torrential downpour! Huge drops blowing sideways.
We join the crowds of people huddled under the hotel awning, and try to wait it out. After about 10 minutes and a failed attempt to borrow an umbrella from the front desk we decide even walking a couple blocks in this downpour is not appealing. People are getting out of cabs in front of the hotel and are drenched before they get inside. No thanks.
People, start your judging, because what happened next defies everything Fojoy and I stand for; especially on a holiday.
Fojoy and I, we… oh man this is hard to admit. We uh, well we went across the street to TGI Fridays.
A national chain restaurant.
On our holidays.
To understand what a big deal this is, you need to understand us a bit:
We love to find restaurants that are steeped in local flavour. We want quality food, made by a chef; not assembled from a chart by a 17 year old “cook” working part time for extra drug money. (Because all teenagers are on drugs you know). We want somewhere non- touristy. Somewhere locals go.
Bubba Gump’s? No thanks. Applebee’s? Keep it. McDonald’s? Are you kidding me?
Founding Farmers may not fit the bill on all accounts, but it certainly hit the mark on some important ones… It’s independent, cooking from fresh, and has a great upbeat feel.
By the time we left Fridays the rain had given way to beautiful sunshine. (Because what a crazy hot day really needs is 100% humidity) We decided to walk a bit and headed down the street to check out Founding Farmers menu.
Stopping out front, I pressed my now frizzy fro’ to the glass and peered inside. “looks really nice, let’s check out the menu”.
We stepped inside for a closer look. Immediately we were hit with the smell of the popcorn of the day being served at the bar.
Seriously, you’re making a different gourmet popcorn every day? I love you! (insert awkward silence)
Being severely snack deprived from the holiday, this really sealed the deal for us.
“We are definitely having breakfast here” Fojoy demanded, as if she was going to get an argument.
We were told that FF is owned by a collective of 40,000 American family farmers. Most of the ingredients are organic, and pretty much everything on the menu is made here. The restaurant operates at “Carbon neutral” and is considered the “greenest” restaurant in D.C.
Cool, I love the concept. Don’t disappoint me tomorrow.
Now excited for breakfast, we continued on our walk. We stopped a few blocks down at the White House for some pictures, and headed back to the hotel. “The sooner we get to sleep, the sooner we can have breakfast” I reasoned. Plus, I can’t tell if this shirt is still drenched with rain, or sweat; so I want to get it off.
Up early the next morning, we dashed over to FF and sat down to go over the menu in more detail. I went with the Founding Farmers Breakfast: Sausage and eggs served with a homemade english muffin.
A mouthwatering, toasted english muffin.
I know what you’re thinking, “What’s the big deal about an english muffin”? But let me tell you, this was nothing like what you buy at a grocery store. It was light, fluffy, and delicious.
I still rave about that english muffin to this day. And the sausage was the best I’ve had anywhere. I couldn’t believe that this was, at least on paper, the same thing I order at home all the time.
We loved it so much that we ate there 3 times for breakfast.
And twice for dinner.
The dinner items that stand out in our memories were the Chicken and waffles, and the Prime Rib sandwich.
We had never had chicken and waffles before and were sceptical of the combination; and I have to say I still don’t care for it together. However, I ate them separately, saving the waffles for a kind of dessert. The chicken was definitely the star of the show. Crispy, and full of flavour. Not dripping with grease like a certain southern gentlemans place who for the purposes of anonymity I’ll call “The Corporal.”
The prime rib sandwich was fall apart tender, with caramalized onion and an au jus for dipping. The inappropriate sounding moans heard in the dining room that night may or may not have been coming from us while eating this.
Being a tomato soup junkie, Fojoy also devoured a grilled cheese with fresh made tomato soup. I don’t ever really like tomato soup, but even I had to marvel at how tasty this soup was. And since all the breads are made in house, the grilled cheese was crunchy and fantastic as well.
Fojoy also tested the Mint Lemonade (all the beverages are also fresh, made-to-order, in house), which started an ongoing infatuation at our house with it, and it’s distant minty cousin: the Mojito.
Simple foodand drink, done well. This is my kind of place.