Founding Farmers

I knew I'd like Founding Farmers long before I stepped into the restaurant at 19th and Pennsylvania in Washington D.C.

I knew I'd like it because My Sister raved about it, and My Sister knows food. I also knew I'd like it once I heard it was all about creative, farm-inspired American food and a dedication to environmentally friendly practices.

And I wasn't disappointed.

The building itself was reason to ooh and aah, from its lovely jars of fresh-from-the-farm veggies on display to the light fixtures above our funky wooden table to the silo-shaped booths upstairs.

(And did I mention it's the first LEED Gold certified restaurant in D.C.? When it comes to environmentally friendly building, that's a big deal.)

But I know most of you don't care as much about that as you do the report on the food and drink. And let me just tell you: It was just as good as My Sister swore it would be.

There are a number of reasons why it was so great. For one, it's down-home American food—but with a twist. I'll thank the creative chefs for that. And for the wonderful flavors, I'll also credit the fact that much of the food served at Founding Farmers comes from family farms, many which emphasize sustainable agriculture.

We started with cocktails, a requirement in a place that employs some serious mixologists.

I had Nice Coat!—a little fresh basil, a little fresh lime juice, a little Blue Coat American Dry Gin, and a little love. It was divine.

My Mom opted for the Fraise Fling, with fresh strawberries. A bit sweet, but still tasty.

I can't recall which cocktail My Dad ended up with, except that it was serious. No frou-frou ingredients involved.

And My Sister's cocktail, the name of which escapes me, was all about whiskey. And a bacon lolly. Yes, that's a bacon lollipop ... bacon candied with a cinnamon and brown sugar glaze. Peculiar, isn't it?

For an appetizer, we opted for the popcorn of the day—a curious blend of salty and sweet.

And the bacon-wrapped dates. They're basil and bleu cheese stuffed dates wrapped with bacon in a balsamic glaze. I can't say anymore about them at the moment because just thinking about eating one has my mouth-a-watering.

Next up: the entrees. Brace yourself because, despite the bad lighting in the photos, you're going to want to try them. Trust me.

My Sister ordered the seasonal fish (yep, forgot which) with sea salt, pepper, and lemon, served with whipped potatoes and the most divine al dente green beans.

For My Mom, the scallops with butternut squash risotto.

My Dad opted for the Low Country Shrimp and Grits.

I had the house-made blue crab ravioli tossed in a tomato basil butter with goat cheese. I have goosebumps just thinking about it.

And, because we hadn't eaten enough, My Sister also ordered a side of the macaroni and cheese because she said we had to try it.

It was so good I would fly back to D.C. right now for a plate of it. Seriously.

Because we were going all out, we also had to have dessert. My Mom decided we should have the doughnut holes.

I was shocked and appalled.

The doughnut holes? When the menu featured house-made vanilla bean ice cream and an assortment of chocolately confections? I couldn't believe it.

But I should have known better, for these weren't just any doughnut holes. They were heaven.

Hot and light and melt-in-your mouth good, served with rum-vanilla, caramel, and chocolate sauces.

If you'll excuse me, I have to go cry now. I'm remembering just how good they were.

Now stop reading and book your flight to D.C. so you, too, can enjoy the culinary goodness that is Founding Farmers. Bring friends, as it's a meal that's best savored and shared with a table full of people you love.

And bring me back some mac and cheese, please?

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