formats
Published on August 17, 2012, by meg in Dining out, Food.

I’ve never written much about my culinary expeditions before, mostly because I’m never sure what to say. I like food! And drinks! And I like going out and trying new things!

No, that’s not terribly exciting, is it? But I promise, this write-up will be a bit more fun than that.

Photo courtesy of the Washington Post; Chef Ris is to Julia’s left

I received an email from Tasting Table mid-week informing that RIS, a restaurant where I had enjoyed a delightful brunch about a year ago, was offering a Julia Child-themed Restaurant Week menu. Learning that Chef Ris Lacoste cooked dinner for Child on her 90th birthday only made me more eager to go.

I used to watch her on PBS when I was a kid, at a time when we didn’t have cable. On a steady diet of Gilligan’s Island, Lost in Space, Doctor Who and the happy trees painting guy, Julia’s shows were a standout. I can’t say I really got them, but she remained a comforting presence throughout my childhood. And of course Julie and Julia and My Life in France revealed a new, delightful side to this amazing woman. Her self-determination, independence and fierce individualism are definitely inspiring.

I’m out of town this weekend, so I worried that I wouldn’t get the chance. Restaurant Week and the special ends on Sunday. But a friend kindly agreed to join me and we set off for a culinary adventure.

The Elderflower Collins and the Reverse Martini

I ordered the Reverse Martini.

All of RIS’s cocktails looked amazing, but I had to try the Julia Child special, of course. It’s a Reverse Martini, made up of dry vermouth on the rocks with a tiny splash of gin and a lemon peel. I worried that it would be a bit too harsh – I’m not the biggest fan of vermouth – but it was crisp and refreshing. My friend ordered an Elderflower Collins – consisting of  Hendricks gin, St. Germaine, cucumber juice, lemon, lavender spice bitters and soda. It was also refreshing and delightful and a bit easier to drink than the Reverse Martini!

We moved from the bar to the table, and the hard work of choosing which items from the prix fixe menu we would like. It was a tough call! With this menu, which had three choices for all but the dessert course, we were one person short, sadly. We soldiered on as best we could (it’s a hard life out there during Restaurant Week!).

In brief, my friend ordered:

  • Vichyssoise 
  •  Sole Meunière
  • Almond Vacherin with peaches and cream
I ordered: 
  • Moules Marinière
  • Dueling Meatloafs – one Chef Ris’s recipe, one Chef Julia’s 
  • The Salty Turtle Sundae
It was all, unsurprisingly, delicious. 
The standout, I have to say, was the vichyssoise, which I had never had before. It was pretty much perfect for a nice summer evening – perfectly smooth and creamy and wonderful. It was so nice I forgot to take a picture of it until it was halfway gone. Oops. Bad food blogger. Tasting Table thoughtfully provided a recipe for it and I fully intend to attempt it soon.

Vichyssoise

Mussels

Meatloafs: Ris’s on the left, Julia’s on the right. Sorry, Julia, but I prefer Ris’s in this case! The texture was more what I’m used to. Plus, I love ketchup. I know, I’m such an American.

 

The sole was freaking fantastic as well. Perfectly done and just lovely.

And then, dessert. Both were wonderful and very different, so I was glad we’d ordered both. The caramel was the highlight. It’s a good thing both desserts had some, or else one of us would have gone home feeling like we hadn’t had quite enough of it. It was that good!

Sundae! The perfect size.

Delicious, delicious merengue. I love the way they melt in your mouth.

It was nice to have a good chat with a dear friend before heading out of town for the weekend. That we shared an amazing meal is definitely an added bonus! RIS was, as ever, a delightful experience and paying tribute to Julia Child on her 100th birthday (slightly belated, I know) was a wonderful treat!