a little julia childish lunch, or, filling a tall order

Chef Ris Lacoste (front left) hosted Julia’s 90th birthday dinner at 1789 in 2002 (via Washington Post).

The Sunday after Julia’s 100th birthday, Len and I had lunch at RIS, an “upscale neighborhood café,” located in the Foggy Bottom district of Washington, D.C. I thought it would be fun to eat at one of the places participating in National Julia Child Restaurant Week.

Ris exterior via Laura Padgett

Besides, it was a good chance to check out RIS, the culmination of Chef Ris Lacoste’s illustrious two decade career in the D.C. area, where among other things, she served as Executive Chef at one of our favorite restaurants, 1789 in Georgetown. Ris (short for ‘Doris’), first met Julia when she was 26 and Julia was 70, as she was graduating from La VaRenne Écôle de Cuisine in Paris. Over the years, Ris encountered Julia many times; Julia frequented a couple of the restaurants Ris worked at in New England, and there were many meetings, dinners and other official events associated with the American Institute of Wine and Food (AIWF).

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lunch in franconia

Wendle’s Delicatessen, Café and Then Some!

Recently, while visiting family up in New Hampshire, Len and I decided to visit The Frost Place in Franconia. We arrived as scheduled after a pleasant two-hour drive from Bedford, and agreed that Mr. Frost probably wouldn’t mind if we had lunch first.

‘Twas not the season for apple picking, so we were quite pleased when Wendle’s Deli magically appeared right on Main Street. The rustic exterior looked promising, and I was hungry for some interesting local grub.

I don’t know about you, but I consider it a good sign when twelve volumes of the Oxford English Dictionary are used as an end table.

Even if the food had turned out to be just so-so, the place would have been worth seeing, if only to read all the writing on the walls and door frames. I just happen to enjoy a good chalkboard (we have three in the kitchen, one in the dining room).

I admit a chalkboard in a deli seems logical for posting menus, nothing too out of the ordinary. But Wendle’s fairly revels in the written word à la craie. The Sandwich Board dizzies with its offerings of breads, cheeses, meats, and specials, and everywhere you turn, there is an inspiring, funny, or thought provoking chalky quote vying for your attention. For a minute I considered merely “reading” my lunch instead of eating it. I’m a captive audience for this sort of thing; they must have known I was coming. ☺ Continue reading