Cultural Dining in DC

Cultural Dining in DC

Sopa freda de cireres de Santa Coloma de Cervello, Catalonia Cafe, National Art Gallery, Washington DC

Jose Andres' sopa freda de cireres de Santa Coloma de Cervello

Dining in DC is a must, but be sure to check out this lesser-known place for some culinary culture.

Get yourself a lunch reservation at the National Gallery of Art’s Garden Café but instead of heading towards their own food, look out for the sign that reads Café Catalonia.

At the moment, the food on offer will take your taste buds on a journey through Spain, the region which infamous artist Joan Miro called home. Expect cherry-infused vegetables, authentic local cheeses, dried fruit in chicken and beef stews, plus pots of hot mushrooms.

Influenced by Catalonia, Washington-based Jaleo executive chef Jose Andres (last year’s winner of the James Beard award for outstanding chef) has created the dishes to connect with the “Joan Miro: The Ladder of Escape” exhibition which was formerly in the East Wing of the gallery, but the Catalonian cuisine will carry on through to mid September.

Last year, the café took diners to Italy, in 2010, they were in France and this fall, diners will be on home ground, in America; as the two exhibits, “Masterpieces of American Furniture from the Kaufman Collection, 1700-1830” and “Roy Lichtenstein: A retrospective” come to the gallery.

Guest chefs collaborate with David Rogers the executive chef of Restaurant Associates who are responsible for the Nation Gallery’s three cafes and espresso bar, to create these world-wide menus.

“We try to have a balance between unusual items and those people might know,” explained Rogers. “Among the more unusual current offerings are the sopa freda de cireres de Santa Coloma de Cervello (a cold cherry and tomato soup created by Andres) and beef cheeks.”

The gazpacho-like soup is even available on one of three recipe cards which get handed out to diners upon their departure. The cards popular with tourists and locals alike who aim to collect them all, “When the locals come in, they ask if the recipes have changed yet” said Rogers.

“Masterpieces of American Furniture from the Kaufman Collection, 1700-1830” opens on October 7, and “Roy Lichtenstein: A retrospective” opens on October 14. 

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