So, I find myself near the end of day two of a nine day work related trip to Washington, DC. Last night I met with a "niece" and her boyfriend to eat some Italian food; perhaps I'll do a post about that dining experience as well. My plan for most of today had been to visit a local burger joint that I've frequented on a few other trips to the District. However, as it came dinner time I thought: "David, perhaps there is some place near your hotel that you've never dined at before and you should try tonight.
So I pulled out my iPhone and opened up my Google Maps app and searched for restaurants. Out of the many options located within mere steps of my hotel I saw "Founding Farmers", a place I had considered at my last trip to D.C. in December 2016. I read some reviews and looked at the menu; Founding Farmers is one of these restaurants that specializes, as best as it can, in being a farm-to-table concept in which most of the ingredients are locally sourced. It looked like a solid place and would only be a 2-1/2 block walk away. The reviews must be pretty good, because the place was packed with both locals and visitors to the District. Being alone for the evening and due to how crowded the place was (a family of four was told it would be at least a 45 minute wait) I opted to sit at the bar...I still waited nearly 20 minutes for a bar stool to open up.
Having had already looked at the menu online I had an idea of what I was interested in trying. I did ask the bartender, Paul, a few questions and he made some recommendations. I had not seen seen the meatloaf online (it was there I just notice it) and was leaning that route rather than the steak and enchiladas which I did see online. The steak and enchiladas were under the "signatures" portion of the menu which is why I had taken notice of them originally. I asked Paul for his recommendation between the two of them and he said hands down, no questions, the steak and enchiladas. I ultimately went this route because I do love good enchiladas (I judge Mexican restaurants by this staple dish and I have not returned to some Mexican places the otherwise get "high marks"...if you can't make those right, you don't deserve to call yourself a Mexican restaurant, but I digress) even though I'm not a big fan of eating steak (insert the calls for demanding I surrender my Oklahoma citizenship card). Paul added that the steak and the chicken enchiladas were accompanied by sweetened corn on the cob.
My findings: the steak was much better than I was prepared for (that means it was GOOD) and the chicken enchiladas would make any quality Mexican restaurant a regular feature in my food play book (that means they were also GOOD). The star of the plate, however, was actually the sweetened corn on the cob. The sweet corn was coated in a sauce that highlighted the natural sweetness of the corn yet provided a savoriness that was just WOW. I could have easily forgone a dessert order and asked for another cob instead. And I truly contemplated it. So in the battle of land, air, and seed, in which all three were very strong competitors, worthy adversaries, the seed (sweet corn) won the day.
Speaking of dessert I asked Paul for his recommendations from among the lengthy list. He said the beignets or the apple pie (in that order, he insisted). But the chocoholic in me just wanted to try the three-layer chocolate mouse cake: devil's food cake with semi-sweet chocolate ganache served with house-churned strawberry ice cream. The cake was TALL and pretty and I enjoyed the strawberry ice cream so much more than the cake. The cake was a tad dry for my tastes and seemed more like a dense traditional cake rather then devil's food. The ganache was tasty but much thinner that I'd prefer as a true ganache for what should have been a truly decadent cake. But that ice cream, that sensational blend of cream and strawberries...think of that ice cream social from your church where all of the ladies (or guys) made a batch of their own homemade ice cream (preferable in the hand churned makers, but the electric ones work too)...picture the most delicious crowd pleasing favorite and then multiple it by ten. YES!!! That's how good this strawberry ice cream was. I'm not sure if I regret having gone with one of Paul's other recommendations, because the ice cream was that much of a privilege to enjoy.
I know beyond any doubt that I will return to dine at Founding Farmers...and it could easily occur within the remaining seven days of this trip.