What's Cooking, Uncle Sam? at the National Archives on Saturday afternoon. Hot, hot walk from the hotel and long, long security line, but the exhibit was entertaining and informative and just a lot of fun. You could really tell that the curators enjoyed themselves with the topic of governmental food regulation. Sounds strange to say, but it's true. Where else could you write/read a label with the phrase: "...crimes against butter?"
We had reservations for dinner at America Eats Tavern that evening - the pop-up restaurant (in the former Cafe Atlantico space) linked to the Archives exhibit and with all proceeds benefiting the National Archives Foundation. Good food for a good cause. The menu reads like a history lesson of early cookery receipts and the food that resulted was a modern take on the historic dish. For the beau (the meat eater), it was the spoonbread with oyster ice cream and caviar, the pickled sturgeon with caviar (good old Virginia-inspired recipe from Mary Randolph), and the mutton shoulder with oysters and catsups. For me (the vegetarian), the vermicelli prepared like pudding, the Harvard beet salad, and the cobb salad (made veg).
For dessert we shared the Vermont Sugar on Snow, which was a pile of shaved ice with citrus zest and flowers that was embedded with maple candy and served tableside with pours of hot maple syrup that crystalized as you were eating. Pretty crazy. And made me think of that scene on the train in Holiday Inn where they are singing about snow...
The food was delightful and fun, but I was really impressed with the array of historic cocktails also being offered. The traditional D.C. rickey was a fun start (pictured above), and my martini post-dinner was to die for. Orange bitters = amazing.