On Wednesday afternoon, our group also visited the What’s Cooking, Uncle Sam? exhibit at The National Archives. The exhibit utilizes historical records to explore the Government’s effect on what Americans eat. We weren’t allowed to snap photos inside the exhibit, but it was super interesting and a MUST SEE if you visit DC. Trust me!
America Eats offers a new take on American classics and celebrate native ingredients and some long forgotten dishes, from burgoo to oysters Rockefeller. With recipes and stories collected through extensive research, and with help from the National Archives and a culinary advisory council of chefs and scholars, the menu showcases the fascinating history of our nation one plate at a time, whether it’s the origins of New England clam chowder or the introduction of grapefruit to America.
The tagline of the restaurant is “Eat the History of America,” which pretty much says it all.
Profits gained from America Eats during the run of the What’s Cooking, Uncle Sam? exhibit will be donated to The Foundation for the National Archives. How cool is that?!
When we arrived at America Eats, the plan was to enjoy a cocktail and some light refreshments. It sounded like a fantastic plan to me, but I didn’t expect to enjoy so many cocktails.
The bartender made us nearly every single drink on the cocktail menu to try!
They just kept coming!!
We started by taking a sip from each cocktail to try them, and then taking a few more sips from our favorites.
My favorite cocktail was the Switchel, which was a field worker’s drink from New England made with rum, cider vinegar, molasses, and ginger. It sounds kind of strange, but it tasted like a refreshing fig-flavored cocktail. I absolutely loved it, and ended up drinking most of it myself.
While we sipped cocktails, we also munched on a few appetizers: hushpuppies, fried chicken with blackberry catsup (FYI: America Eats offers 15 kinds of catsup!), buffalo wings, and mac & cheese vermacilli. All of them were tasty, but my favorite was the fried chicken. Mmm!
And then there was dessert— thank goodness they were tiny portions!
Pecan Pie, which was to die for! (Please order this dish if you visit America Eats.)
And “deconstructed” Key Lime Pie.
The crust and whipped cream were on the sides of the key lime filling.
After eating, drinking, and being merry at America Eats, we ate dinner at The District Line Restaurant in the Washington Hilton. For real. The food just kept coming on this trip!
Enjoy an authentic, contemporary urban neighborhood gathering place, serving up handcrafted cocktails, chalkboard specials and a host of hearty American comfort foods with a local twist. The menu features a variety of regionally-inspired comfort foods and seasonal dishes with high-quality, fresh ingredients from farmers within 150 miles of Washington, D.C.
The chef prepared a special four-course meal with wine pairings for us.
The first course was Maryland crabmeat salad served with grilled yellow watermelon and crisp yucca chip. It was light and refreshing—a perfect way to start off the meal.
The next course was tea-smoked and five-spiced duck breast served with roasted mushrooms, baby bok choy, red current tomato, lotus chips, and ponzu vinaigrette.
Initially, I didn’t think I’d like this course because I’m not usually a fan of duck, but I ended up really enjoying it. The duck was cooked wonderfully—it was moist, tender, and flavorful. The tea and spices really came through to enhance the flavor.
The main course was venison served with potato puree, shaved Brussels sprouts fondue and espresso reduction. Doesn’t that description just sound amazing? Well, it was! I had no idea that I liked venison so much, and the Brussels sprouts fondue was definitely something special. I mean, Brussels sprouts + cheese? Get in my belly.
The TDL’s dessert was my favorite of the entire three-day food tour. Listen to what it included: Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf hot chocolate brulee and panna cotta, caramelized fig cake, port reduction, and tuile with firefly goat cheese glace. Um, yea. It was basically a tasting plate of the best desserts ever. Even after eating all day long, I had no problem finishing off the whole dessert. Boo.Yah.
I’m stuffed just thinking about this day, but I’m not going to lie, it was pretty awesome!