I arrived in DC on Friday afternoon and met up with Whitney, Becky, and Rachel, three very good friends of mine from college, for dinner at Founding Farmers. I went to Founding Farmers for the first time two years ago during my last trip to DC and absolutely loved it. The restaurant strives to source ingredients responsibly. You can read more about their philosophy here. I am particularly fond of the menu which offers several small plates, salads, and flatbreads in addition to larger entrees.
To start, a few of us split the Ricotta, Pistachio, and Dates flatbread. Ricotta with any dried fruit and nut is one of my all-time favorite combinations. Add in some crusty sourdough bread, and it is a deliciously creamy and crunchy appetizer.
Becky ordered Lisa’s Pickled Vegetable of the Day, which last Friday was green beans and red pepper. This dish got points for the charming presentation. The beans were snappy and packed with the salty and vinegary brine.
Whitney ordered a very filling plate of 3 hot dogs: pickled jalapeño hot dog, chili dog, and chicken salad dog. She only made it through the latter two.
The hot dogs came with a plate of thickly cut and spicy housemade potato chips. I love thick potato chips and these were particularly crunchy.
Rachel and I split a few small plates. When we were seated, we were given a list of the seasonal market vegetables that were featured that night alongside the meat entrees. They allowed us to order them a la carte, and Rachel and I chose the sweet potatoes and the kale. The sweet potatoes were mashed with honey and possibly cayenne. They were very rich and creamy and hit you with an unexpected kick. I don’t often have sweet potatoes spicy and it was a nice alternative.
On the menu, the dish was listed as just kale, but when it arrived, it was mostly cabbage with just a few pieces of kale served in a very rich butter sauce. I fully enjoy cabbage but I was really hoping for a kale dish and the kale actually paired better with this sauce than the cabbage did. Additionally, the presentation left something to be desired.
The Farmer’s Salad had baby lettuce, avocado, dates, tomatoes, red grapes, almonds, parmesan cheese, and a champagne vinaigrette. While it was satisfying and flavorful, it was somewhat lacking compared to its description. If the description includes avocado and parmesan, I expect it to have more than just one chunk each of avocado and parmesan. There was also one lone crouton, which I found odd.
While this meal was not as stellar as my first experience at Founding Farmers, it was certainly very enjoyable. The atmosphere is fun and vibrant. The bar area was hopping with young professionals winding down after the workday, but by no means raucous enough to disturb people enjoying their dinner. Service could have been a tad more attentive. It took forever to get our appetizers, and though I was hungry, I wasn’t bothered too much because I was enjoying catching up with my friends. Appropriately, Founding Farmers is best enjoyed with a group of people, in my opinion.
After dinner, we headed to a wonderful show at the Kennedy Center, which I was excited to visit for the first time. We saw Broadway actor Alexander Gemignani perform a one-man cabaret show, “All at Once.” We considered ordering dessert at Founding Farmers, but decided to give our stomachs a rest and get dessert after the show. This way, we could get dessert at Kramerbooks instead, one of Rachel’s favorite places in DC. I had stopped into Kramerbooks on my last visit to DC but I had not checked out the cafe, which has a dizzying selection of desserts. Rachel mentioned two words during dinner, Goober Pie, and all I could think about for the next two hours was peanut butter mousse. The Goober Pie has a graham cracker crust filled with peanut butter mousse and topped with chocolate ganache and a sprinkling of chopped peanuts. Peanut butter pies sometimes threaten to be aggressively heavy and dense. This mousse was delightfully light and airy. The ganache was the part that was a little too rich, but overall, this dessert was fantastic. It was served with a small dollop of whipped cream and a drizzle of chocolate and caramel sauces.
I was tempted to get the salted caramel chocolate cake, but we decided on the mixed fruit crumble with cinnamon ice cream since we already had one decadent chocolate dessert. When it arrived, the ice cream had already started to melt over the warm crumble. The fruit had a bit more crunch to it than I usually encounter in crumbles, but it was quite nice combined with the soft crumb topping and the melted ice cream. I totally understand why Kramerbooks is one of Rachel’s favorite spots. Both the bookstore and the cafe were packed and buzzing with energy on a Friday night. It’s a great place to go to leisurely browse books or grab a late night bite with a group of people.
1924 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
1517 Connecticut Avenue NW