Have you ever heard of love languages? You know, words of affirmation, acts of service, receiving gifts, quality time, and physical touch? According to the premise, these are the ways in which we show others that we care, and the way in which others show that they care about us. I’m not 100% sure of how much I buy into this concept, but I do know one thing for certain. One of the major ways that I like to show that I care for someone is through giving them gifts.
Clare is the same way, and we always joke that buying Christmas and birthday presents for each other is so easy that we could go broke. I cannot tell you how many times I have texted her in July saying that I found her Christmas present, or how many times Clare has told me that she found my birthday present 11 months early! Part of this is that the two of us are so similar that it is easy to shop for Clare, and I am always on the lookout for little pick-me-ups that I could send her or books that I want to share with her, and vice versa.
But in the past few years, I have realized that my favorite gift to give a person is an experience. What I love about experience gifts is that they last forever in pictures and in memories. While a t-shirt can rip or fade, and experience lives on in stories that we tell and memories that we share.
This year I was so excited to be able to celebrate Clare’s birthday with her in person! So while Clare was visiting me and my family in DC, I decided to take her to see a production of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream at the Kennedy Center. There were good things about the show (puppets and a set that helped the audience imagine much of the scenery and characters in our minds) and bad things (a costume change that took Bottom’s transformation into an ass literally and left no room for the imagination).
But I think that both of us agree that the best part of the experience was the meal we shared beforehand at one of my favorite restaurants, Founding Farmers. Founding Farmers is an award-winning restaurant in Washington DC that has also won many fans among residents due to its fresh, utterly delicious food. The restaurant is located three blocks west of the White House on Pennsylvania Avenue, and usually the line of people waiting for tables spills out onto the street. And with good reason.
Founding Farmers is owned by a collective of American farms run by families (hence the name). All of the food in the restaurant is provided by those families, which ensures that the food is fresh, seasonal, and so, so delicious.
If you are lucky enough to live in the Washington DC area, you should definitely check out the restaurant for a special occasion or a fun night out on the town. Clare and I highly recommend the bacon lolly appetizer (it’s as amazing and life-expectancy-reducing as it sounds), the dogs & rolls (the homemade potato chips that come as a side are also incredible), and the chicken bolognese with bucatini (all of the pasta is handmade daily and is such a treat). From past trips, I can also recommend the fried green tomato appetizer (at its best during the summer), the GCS Burger (which is topped with fresh goat cheese, spinach, and pickled cucumbers and onions), and the goat cheese ravioli with chicken cutlet (a perfect blending of sweet and savory that melts in your mouth). Their made-to-order beignets are one dessert that I now crave on a regular basis.
And if you live outside the DC area, fear not! The restaurant has also put out an amazing cookbook! That you can buy on Amazon! I just purchased this for a loved one, and cannot wait to look through the cookbook and decide what amazing dishes to make at home.
Clare and I made so many fun memories that evening at Founding Farmers, and look forward to going again in the future to make some more.