• Lunch at the National Gallery & Julia Child’s Kitchen

    September 30, 2011

    Hello! Happy Friday!

    I’m having a blast eating my way through the nation’s capital. Our schedule has been jam-packed since we arrived on Wednesday morning, but I’m glad we’ve had the opportunity to see and do (and eat) so much in such a short amount of time.

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    Our foodie tour kicked off with a visit to the National Gallery of Art for lunch at the Garden Café Italia. (I love that admission to DC museums is free!)

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    In honor of the current exhibitions at the National Gallery of Art (Venice: Canaletto and His Rivals and Italian Master Drawings from the Wolfgang Ratjen Collection, 1525–1835), Chef Fabio Trabocchi created a special Italian-themed menu for the Garden Café.

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    The menu includes signature Italian cuisine, including a buffet as well as à la carte dishes. The menu at the Garden Café changes about every 9 months or so depending on the featured art exhibits.

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    We all decided to have the buffet for lunch—mostly because it looked and smelled delicious.

    The buffet was really expensive ($19.75 per person), but it was worth it, especially if you’re looking for quality food and not the sub-par fare that you often find at museum cafés.

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    The buffet included a selection of Italian breads (focaccia, pane pugliese, and grissini) and gourmet Italian cured meats (prosciutto, San Daniele, and sopressata).

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    Gourmet Italian cheese: Parmigiano-Reggiano.

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    Marinated olives, Pollo in potacchio (chicken with rosemary, garlic, and tomato sauce), Buccatini e pancetta (pasta with pancetta and Parmigiano-Reggiano), Melanzane all Parmigiana (baked eggplant with tomato, Parmigiano-Reggiano, and mozzarella), and L’Anguria (watermelon salad with Pecorino Romano cheese and a white balsamic dressing).

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    For dessert, I enjoyed some Lattarolo (vanilla and honey custard), which was absolutely outstanding. Holy yum times million. (Click on the Lattarolo link for the recipe!)

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    If you did the whole tourist thing—visited DC and toured a bunch of museums in one day—the Garden Café would be a perfect place to relax, recharge, and eat a nice meal.

    After lunch, we headed to the National Museum of American History to see Julia Child’s kitchen.

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    In 2001, when Julia Child left her home in Cambridge, Massachusetts to return to her native California, she gave her kitchen to the National Museum of American History. Her husband, Paul, designed the kitchen for her in 1961, and there she cooked for herself, for family and friends, for professional colleagues — and for the entire country. For seven years the kitchen was a set for her popular public-television series. She also gave cooking lessons and tested recipes for her cookbooks in her kitchen.

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    It was really neat to see in person.

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    Derp.

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    While at the museum, which also got to see the only Leonardo Da Vinci piece in the US. Very cool.

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    There she is!

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    Stay tuned! More to come!

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    { 70 comments… read them below or add one }

    Tiff @ Love Sweat and Beers September 30, 2011 at 2:56 pm

    I’m a sucker for Italian meats and cheeses (and wine!) – looks like a good time

    Reply

    Allison September 30, 2011 at 2:57 pm

    So cool! I’ve lived in this area my whole life and been to the musem many times and eaten in the cafeteria style dining hall downstairs but never in the Garden Cafe- cute! I gotta check out Julia Child’s kitchen, looks like a fun exhibit!

    Side story… When the movie “Julie and Julia” came out a while ago, my fiance got Julia Childs mixed up with Julia Styles- I will never let him forget that one :P

    Reply

    Miriam September 30, 2011 at 3:10 pm

    Urgh… Dégustation de tripes… I ain’t sure that tripe is something to be “dégusté”… This is one food I’ve never had the courage to try…

    Reply

    Sarah@The Flying ONION September 30, 2011 at 3:37 pm

    I am so jealous! How awesome to be able to see this in person. :D

    Reply

    Jenn September 30, 2011 at 3:58 pm

    Very cool to see the kitchen in person! I admit, I didn’t know much about her until the movie came out, however I do know who she is now! Adding this to my list of things to do when visiting the USA!

    Reply

    Laura September 30, 2011 at 4:57 pm

    Ha. I love that all of the comments are psyched about Julia Child’s kitchen and I’m multiple times more excited about Ginevra de’Benci. Art historian geek.

    Reply

    Laura @ Unchartered 20s September 30, 2011 at 5:06 pm

    Fun! I went to DC w/ my husband over the summer and we did a ton of sight seeing in 4 days including Julia’s kitchen! I thought that was neat after reading My Life In France & Julie & Julia :)

    Sidenote, I went to a buffet once in Vegas at the Bellagio and that shit was $45. $45!! But there was a lot there.

    Reply

    Molly @ RDexposed September 30, 2011 at 5:47 pm

    Fact: I would have snuck that entire wheel of parm reggiano in my purse.

    Reply

    Kelly September 30, 2011 at 5:50 pm

    This looks like so much fun!! I want to check out Julia Child’s kitchen next time i’m in DC!

    Reply

    Mary (Sisters Running the Kitchen) September 30, 2011 at 6:04 pm

    wow…everything looks delicious! especially that honey vanilla custard dessert!!

    Reply

    Melissa (MelissaLikesToEat) September 30, 2011 at 7:16 pm

    Great looking buffet! I would have spent the money too. :) Lucky you getting to see Julia Child’s kitchen!!

    Reply

    Elisabeth October 1, 2011 at 12:13 am

    I just love visiting DC & your trip has put me in the mood to go, since I haven’t been in a couple of years. Julia’s kitchen is one of my favorites to see, especially since the Julie & Julia movie :) My all time favorite in DC though is the Air & Space Museum. I usually go there a couple of days during each trip to DC :D

    Reply

    Hannah October 1, 2011 at 12:39 am

    Come eat your way through Australia’s national capital too?

    Reply

    Tara @ Sweat like a Pig October 1, 2011 at 2:14 am

    Wow, I had to laugh when I read that $19.75 is ‘expensive’ for a buffet. In Australia it’s impossible to find a buffet for under around $40 a person. My favourite restaurant is actually $85 a head!!

    Reply

    Lauren October 1, 2011 at 1:50 pm

    I love love love the movie Julie & Julia! It’s inspired me to blog myself, http://wp.me/1SSd9 :) Thank you so much for sharing your pictures from your museum visit!

    Reply

    Meghan October 2, 2011 at 6:33 am

    Whenever I see Julia Child I think of the movie and can never seem to picture the real Julia. I love DC I can’t wait to take my hubby there, he has never been and the last time I went for a wedding/siteseeing he came down with the flu and had to stay home.

    Reply

    Denise @ Do you have that in my size??? October 2, 2011 at 10:22 am

    The Garden Cafe is my go-to lunch spot when visiting DC in the summer. The food is wonderful, the staff are kind and helpful, and it’s always lovely and cool inside.

    Reply

    Tina October 2, 2011 at 11:09 am

    I’m so glad to hear this! I really enjoyed the Garden Cafe too! :)

    Reply

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