Sunday, April 19, 2009

founding farmers

founding farmers
1924 pennsylvania avenue NW, washington, DC 20006
tel: 202) 822-8783
hours: monday-wednesday 8am-10pm; thursday 8am-11pm; friday 8am-12am; saturday 12pm-12am; sunday 10am-9pm
what was consumed: skillet cornbread, bacon lollis, heirloom cheesepuffs, meatloaf, pan fried chicken, prime rib dip sandwich, macaroni with meat ragu, farmer's salad, fries~
sustainable development, sustainable food ... it's all in the news today. so, when i read about a restaurant that focuses on sustainable food, i had to check it out (on top of it being just blocks from work - total bonus).
as of right now, i've visited founding farmers two times. both times, i enjoyed a filling lunch (i.e., i have yet to try out their breakfast or their dinner, both of which i've heard good things about). the last time i went, i made reservations for lunch. it was a good thing!there were lots of people and we were ready to eat. we were quickly shown to our table and greeted by friendly staff sometime after that (christine, willie, and i were preoccupied with the menu, so it's hard to tell how long we waited). i recommended the foods that i had the first time i visited (cheese puffs, meat loaf, pan friend chicken, fries) and those served to be the basis of the decisions that day.
we ultimately decided on a smorgasboard of small plates and entrees. definitely more food than we could handle, but you know how much i (and christine) can eat. we are champions! the food tasted fresh, well seasoned, and full of flavor. if you love corn bread (and i do), you will love the cord bread at founding farmers - not too dry and chock full of actual corn pieces. and the bacon lolly? i mean, can you really go wrong with bacon? not really, but when the bacon pieces are nice and thick, with a great flavoring, it makes it all the better. and, of course, the heirloom cheese puffs. essentially, it's a cream puff but instead of the cream, there's a delicious, savory, and light cheese filling. i loved how the macaroni was cooked just a bit al dente with a ragu meat sauce that had a lot of real meat. and the au jous for the prime rib sandwich melded the flavors of the onion and cheese just right. the pan fried chicken went so well with the gravy. additionally, the chicken was not too dry and the crispy covering was just right - not too heavy, not too oily.
at the end of my last meal at founding farmers, willie and i had great fun talking about the cool dyson air curtain hand dryers. try it out!
a couple of random thoughts ...
i was speaking with a coworker of mine who mentioned interest in waiting tables there. ditto. i wonder if they're hiring? they often seem short staffed in that it takes some time for orders to be taken and drinks to get refilled (though the food seems to come out pretty quickly. or maybe that's because we were stuffing our faces with food, i don't know).
i recommend making reservations. even with our lunch past 1pm, the majority of the tables were filled. maybe we were there on a busy day? maybe not. better safe than sorry!
oh, and those pickling jars with veggies? just for decoration. oh well~
i'm sure i'll find myself back at founding farmers sooner than later, pickeled veggies or not. next time, i want to try (among other things) their rotisserie chicken - YUM!
i really want to like founding farmers, but after this last experience, i may have to reconsider.
don't get me wrong - the food is still good. in fact, the food is fresh and delicious ... that is, when the food actually comes out and when the food comes out as ordered. my parents were in town and i wanted to take them to some restaurants that i enjoy. founding farmers came up. so, our relatively larger group (we ended up with 6) made a reservation for dinner. we got there almost 30 minutes before our reservation time and were promptly seated once our reservation time came around - that's good. we ordered our drinks and ordered all of our food. after a weekend otherwise full of gluttonous meals (and imbibing, per usual), we didn't really feel up to having drinks - should that even matter? it seemed, though, that that fact affected the service we were to receive. in any case, our appetizers came out and we began to enjoy our meal. after we finished the first course, we waited no less than 30 minutes for our salads (which were drenched in salad dressing, despite my request for less dressing) to come out and even more time after that for our entrees. am i being unreasonable? scary images of chef gordon ramsey in 'kitchen nightmares' began to fill my head (i need to watch less tv!). hmmm ...
we were also charged twice for the sodas that we had, even after we asked if they had complimentary refills (we were drinking club soda), to which they replied in the affirmative, and after they went into a pretty lengthy explanation about their double filtering water machine that makes their own carbonated water. hmm ... despite all of these things, of course, we left a sizeable tip. after all, there were 6 of us that needed to be appeased ...
so, maybe it was just the service this time around, but the slow and less than satisfactory service from previous times as well makes me increasingly hesitant to recommend and consider FF as a top dining experience. my former serving experience makes me more compassionate towards the work that servers do, but it also makes me a more critical patron because i wonder how/think/know i can do a better job. maybe i just need a FF break ... o_o ... tbd~

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