Don’t mind if I do: Intern Hilary Indulges at Cherry Picks Cuisine and Cocktails
When the blogger is away, the Quintern will play…
Spring has officially sprung in DC, and the only thing harder to ignore than the tailgate-worthy weather is the explosion of cherry blossoms throughout the city.
This year’s National Cherry Blossom Festival marks the 100th anniversary of Japan’s gift of the blossoms, as well as the lasting friendship between the United States and Japan.
The Centennial Celebration, which officially lasts from March 20 to April 27, brings the taste of cherry blossoms to your palate by way of one hundred area restaurants, thanks to a partnering of The National Cherry Blossom Festival and the Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington (RAMW).
During the five-week festival, participating restaurants will feature blossom-infused or spring-inspired dishes and drinks. I had the chance to try some of these delectable entrées, desserts, and cocktails at the Cherry Picks tasting last week at Bobby Van’s Grill.
When I arrived, the room was already buzzing with rumors of homemade cherry Poptarts and delicious vodka blossom cocktails. Never one to be daunted by the prospect of jugging plates and glasses, I wore a cross-body bag to be hands-free. My first stop was the Old Glory table with its irresistible Bar B-Que aroma. Ever try to eat wings standing up? Try it in a cocktail dress. The meat was so tender it practically fell off the bone and the glaze was an alluring mix of tart lemon and sweet cherry.
The host restaurant, Bobby Van’s, offered citrus roasted chicken with cherry-infused basmati rise paired with a glass of rosé. Although it was a little harder to eat than Old Glory’s handheld wing, I managed to toss that tasty bite down the hatch glitch-free. The best savory sample came from Ceiba: a delicious empanada filled with smoked duck breast and squash blossoms. Feeling thirsty, I wandered over to the bar area, where I alternated between two frozen cherry blossom drinks and wondered why I’d never thought to pair vodka with egg white foam and edible blossoms.
My favorite dessert offering was the cherry Poptart from Ted’s Bulletin. The cherry-filled confection reminded me of high school mornings filled with sugar highs from toaster pastries. This version, served with a dusting of hot pink sprinkles baked into the top, looked more post-grad appropriate and had a light, subtle cherry flavor baked within the dough.
For a complete list of participating restaurants, and a sneak peek at their cherry blossom creations, visit http://www.restaurantweekmetrodc.org/Cherrypicks/. Don’t miss out on any Centennial Celebration events; visit http://www.nationalcherryblossomfestival.org/ for a complete schedule of culinary, artistic, and historical activities honoring the blossoms in the nation’s capital.
Photo credit: Allix Wright.