Archive for March, 2009

Founding Farmers: Bringing local food to the DC restaurant scene

Posted in Uncategorized on March 15th, 2009 by Betsy – 4 Comments

Having only been open for the past four months, Founding Farmers is already getting a lot of attention from DC diners. I read and heard a lot about Founding Farmers, which boasts its connection to the farmers that harvest the restaurant’s food as well as being a LEED Certified Green Restaurant. When I first learned about Founding Farmers, I knew I wanted to check it out and learn more about their goals as well as sample their potentially celiac-friendly food.

I love the idea of knowing where my food comes from and how an entrée literally gets ‘from farm to table.’ I’m definitely one of those suckers for books like Omnivore’s Dilemma (Michael Pollan) and Animal, Vegetable, Miracle (Barbara Kingsolver) and my dream is to start a restaurant/gluten free bakery in Charlottesville or Linden, VA that only uses local produce and meat. So Founding Farmers is the fancy-urbanite version of my dream life.

My love for things natural and local definitely became much more pronounced after my celiac diagnosis because I immediately began to think more about:

1. What was in my food
2. Where my food came from
3. The flavors of the food I could eat

Upon learning about Founding Farmers, my hope was that they would be able and willing to accommodate my gluten free diet. I figured anyone who cares so much about ingredients and farms should be willing to make adjustments for those with allergies and be knowledgeable about the ingredients in their dishes. Fortunately, my assumption was correct!

David called early in the week to make reservations for Friday night. They only offered 5:30 and 9:00 reservations so we decided just to go without reservations and we were seated in under 30 minutes. We had a drink at the bar while we waited and it was very crowded and a bit difficult to get a drink, but not obnoxiously crowded and everyone was friendly so I didn’t mind too much. All of FF’s wines are organic and they have a lot of fun drinks. They even serve absinthe…I didn’t know if that was gluten free or not. An added bonus about Founding Farmers is that it was easy to find street parking, which is not always the case when going to DC restaurants.

Despite it being a busy Friday night, the wait staff was extremely friendly and chatty. I definitely felt good about their knowledge of gluten as well as their understanding of what was in the food. For example, the waiter immediately knew that I could not have the tomato soup. Our waiter(s) encouraged me to choose what I wanted and they would work hard to make changes to it so that it could be gluten free. I always love that response!

For a fancy restaurant, the menu is quite large and there are overwhelmingly, many options from which to choose. The menu also changes frequently so you’ll just have to communicate with the waiter about your options, but I can guarantee you there will be plenty of choices for entrees. (Appetizers were a bit more limited.) I selected the lemon meuniere diver scallops with pumpkin risotto for my dinner and I was not disappointed. The only change the chef had to make was not to use flour when searing the scallops. The sauce was naturally GF as was the risotto! The sauce was full of flavor and it mixed perfectly with the risotto. I ate every bite of my dish but did not feel too full when I finished.

I strongly recommend Founding Farmers as the staff was extremely friendly and willing to provide me with the food I wanted to eat. We had multiple waiters over the course of the evening but they all knew my dietary needs and didn’t seem to mind, despite it being a busy night. Some people have criticized the menu being too big, but I think a lengthy menu is a good thing for gluten free diners because it gives us more options!

And of course the “wanna be, organic farmer/baker” in me loves the idea of natural and simple foods that haven’t traveled across the globe to get to my plate.
Enjoy Founding Farmers for breakfast, lunch or dinner!

Founding Farmers:

1924 Pennsylvania Ave, NW (IMF HQ2)
Washington DC 20006
202.822.TRUE (8783)

Founding Farmers on Urbanspoon

It’s not about what I can’t have…

Posted in Uncategorized on March 6th, 2009 by Betsy – 2 Comments

When people first learn about the restrictive diet I must follow due to my celiac diagnosis, they often give one of the following responses: “That’s awful!” or “I can’t think of anything worse!” Even though the diet can be tricky, there are many worse diagnoses than celiac disease and I feel blessed to have my health back (most of the time) and a disease that I can control simply by my diet.

Instead of spending time thinking about the foods that I can no longer eat, I try to embrace the delicious items that I can enjoy that make me feel good!

My diagnosis has made me appreciate food more than I ever did, particularly now that I don’t live in fear of being sick every time I eat. David and I love being in the kitchen and we definitely keep a stocked pantry of naturally gluten free foods. I’m now a firm believer in getting quality foods and ingredients that will provide the most flavor.

Here are some of my favorite foods to have in the house:

Blanchard’s Coffee: There’s nothing I enjoy more than a lazy morning with a good cup(s) of coffee. I’ve definitely become a coffee snob and I love freshly roasted coffee. My favorite coffee brand is Blanchard’s Coffee. They’re located in Richmond, VA and they freshly roast all of their coffee. You can order their very reasonably priced coffee online or if you’re lucky enough to live in Richmond, they sell it in Ukrop’s. The flavor and aroma of Blanchard’s coffee puts Starbuck’s to shame! The Ethiopian Yergacheffe is my personal favorite.

Check out the Blanchard’s Coffee website: Blanchard’s Coffee

Blueberries: In the final stretch of winter, I long for the summer farmer’s markets and the fresh fruits and vegetables to be purchased! In the cold winter months, I’m still happy to splurge on a container of blueberries at the grocery store. While the flavor is not quite the same as local produce, I love any snack or meal with blueberries. Yogurt (I use Stonyfield Farms brand) and blueberries topped with granola is a favorite snack, but my all time favorite food with blueberries are pancakes.

I’m inspired to write today because of the blueberry pancakes David made this morning using Pamela’s Baking Mix. The pancakes are delicious and a perfect way to spend a morning on spring break! David has mastered the art of gluten free pancake making and today he made waffles for the first time as well. Of course we enjoyed Blanchard’s Coffee with the pancakes! (If we don’t have blueberries in the house when making pancakes, David adds bananas and chocolate chips to the mix.)

Aunt Ruby’s Peanuts: I love peanuts and I don’t know what I would do if peanuts weren’t gluten free! Aunt Ruby’s peanuts are crunchy, salty and very flavorful. This North Carolina company sells peanuts that are packed with yumminess! Their prices are very reasonable and you can freeze them so they last for a long time if you buy in bulk for the best prices. The Country Style peanuts are a staple cocktail hour snack for us.

Aunt Ruby’s: Aunt Ruby’s Peanuts

Feel free to share some of the many foods you enjoy! Remember, it’s not about what we can’t have; it’s about embracing all of the delicious food we can eat.

Traveling? Your guide to gluten free blogs!

Posted in Uncategorized on March 4th, 2009 by Betsy – 1 Comment

I must give my husband, David, credit for this discovery. If you click on the following link, it will show you a map that’s marked with the location of gluten free blogs throughout the country. When you click on the link below, it will look like it’s just a blank map, but if you click on the map, then thumbtacks will provide you with the locations and you can click on the individual thumbtacks for details.

This is so useful if you’re planning on traveling and want to find restaurants, stores, or resources that are accommodating for the gluten free diet. Since I’m going to Atlanta next week, I just found multiple Atlanta gluten free blogs that will help me make my dinner plans!

Gluten Free Blogs across the country

Check it out and let me know what you find!