Friday, September 9, 2011

Table for 1: Founding Farmers

So I'm dating myself.

No, I am not suddenly single, but I am learning to spend as much time (and money) on going out alone as I do going out with friends or the Mister. Julia Cameron of The Artist's Way says artists must date themselves... Take their inner artists out on the town to spark imagination and that's just what I'm doing.

Last week I took myself to the Museum of Natural History to see an exhibit on race I've been eager to see. This week, its a swanky dinner for one at the acclaimed Founding Farmers. I've trudged through the torrential rain to find out there's a 45 minute wait for a table, so the bar it is.

The plan is as such: A huge glass of Sauvignon Blanc, a big bowl of mac n cheese, the NPR broadcast of Obama's jobs speech and some SERIOUS people watching.

Now if I have any trepidation about dining alone at one of the busiest bars in DC, the headphones are not helping. They are like our generation's version of eating out with a Danielle Steel novel or a coat covered in cat hair. These headphones scream "I'M ALONE. DON'T TALK TO ME. SERIOUSLY" but that's okay because I am alone and fine with it, thank you very much. I hold my head high and enjoy myself, despite the impatient looks from the seat vultures circling around me.

The wine I choose is the Mohua from the Marlborough region of New Zealand. A pretentious man at Whole Foods once told me "Just ANYTHING from Marlborough country" and I'm embarrassed to admit he was right. I've tried many over the course of the summer and this Mohua might be my favorite. It's crisp, fruity and super refreshing (makes me wanna say ahhhhhh like a Sprite commercial).

There's some confusion at the bar - plates are being thrust in my face and then withdrawn before I can examine their contents thoroughly. Flatbreads, colorful salads... Stop teasing me people!

Finally it arrives: my mac n cheese. Not as cheesy or macky as I hoped, but tasty nonetheless. This dish is loaded with ham, gruyere cheesy, peas and apples (yes apples) but it kinda works. I have recently been on a mac n cheese kick, trying it at Brookland Cafe in NE and Commisary in Logan Circle... both renditions were surprisingly good. Especially Commisary's which managed to be unconventional, heart warming, and a true meal. Founding Farmer's take is really just penne pasta with a bechemel sauce... not quite enough soul for me but I still have to stop myself from trying to eat it all. The bread was fresh and buttery but after a few bites I turn it over to discover the bottom was burnt black as tar. I do what I'm sure you all expect me to... I eat it anyway.

So my Founding Farmers dining experience has been mixed... great atmosphere, delicious wine, friendly (if confusing) service, but lackluster food. But I shall reserve my judgement for a later date. There is no way that after the rave reviews I've heard from friends that this is the best they have to offer. For now I'll just give up my seat to the eager beavers lurking behind me and step out into the rain, alone but with a to-go box of pasta that will make a decent lunch tomorrow.

The next date can only be better.

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