Tag Archives: Julia Child

Convivial — Lunch on 21 January 2020



Convivial has consistently found a place on The Washingtonian’s annual “Washington, DC’s 100 Very Best Restaurants” list since the year it opened, but I’d somehow never got around to visiting.  TripAdvisor lists 2,750 dining options in Washington, and with my limited daily food consumption—just the usual four meals a day, plus snacks, and an extra dessert now and then—it’s impossible to keep up.

So I was off on another trip to Shaw, to find out what I’d been missing. Turns out, I’d been missing quite a bit.

Onion Soup Gratinée

Onion Soup Gratinée

A week earlier, I’d had a stupendously bad lunch in a restaurant that had never been less than perfect in the past. (Let’s call it Restaurant X.  I may write about the experience in a later post.) My starter at Restaurant X was French Onion Soup, but the cheese, instead of being melted and stringy, was a big solid blob with the consistency of chewed and solidified bubble gum. Ever have to cut your soup with a knife?

The Onion Soup Gratinée at Convivial was the very model of what French Onion Soup should be. I relaxed; it was an excellent start.

Trout Amandine

Trout Amandine

Trout Amandine, my main course, was also a stunner. It was served with roasted almonds, haricots verts, lemon brown butter, and capers. I took a lot of time with this dish, savouring the taste and thinking about Julia Child and that famous Trout a la Meunière that changed her life.

Key Lime Pie

Key Lime Pie

The only problem with my Key Lime Pie was that there wasn’t enough of it. I could have eagerly devoured three or four pieces.

Service was both friendly and efficient. Delightful place!

Julia and…More Julia

Twitch.tv is launching its new Food Channel with a marathon streaming of Julia Child’s classic TV series, The French Chef.   The marathon began on Tuesday, 15 March 2016, and will include all 201 episodes of the show.  With each episodes running about 30 minutes, that’s more than four full days, or 100.5 hours,  of Julia Child.

Can you think of a better way to spend the rest of the week?

Julia Child’s DC Residence Is on the Market…

…for $1,100,000.

In something of an understatement, the Agent’s Summary describes the property as  “As-is condition, Fixer-Upper, Needs work, Rehab potential.”  And this is what it looks like:

Julia Child House

In most places—even in Georgetown, where the house is located—$1,100,000 might seem a bit excessive for a “Fixer-Upper.”  My Mother used to enjoy driving me up the wall with stories about the mortgage on my family’s home, which was much larger and better kept than this one.  It was $87 a month.

Julia Child House

Paul and Julia Child lived in this house at 2706 Olive Street, NW, in 1948, when they were both serving in the Office of Strategic Services, an organization that later became the CIA.  They lived in France through the early 50s, and returned here In 1956.  Julia Child gave cooking lessons in the kitchen.

Julia Child House

All photos found on the Estately.com page.

Allen & Alinea

I see that the & Julia video I posted about a few days ago has already been removed, presumably for copyright violation.  The source for the “Julie” part of the movie Julie & Julia was Julie Powell’s blog—later revised and published as a book—in which she described her year-long project of attempting to cook all 524 recipes in Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking.

Now Allen Hemberger has done something similar, but vastly more complex:   He’s cooked his way through Grant Achatz’s Alinea cookbook.   It took five years.

I’m honestly surprised that it could be done at all.  I have a copy of Alinea.  It’s a beautiful book, with superb photography.   The recipes are not simplified or diluted; they are well beyond the capabilities of even the most skillful of home cooks.   These are the recipes that are actually used at Achatz’s Alinea restaurant in Chicago, which is generally considered one of the best  in the United States world.

I’m looking at Alinea’s “Guava” recipe.  It consists of nine components, and, by my count, 59 ingredients.  I would think that Chef would need a well-staffed professional kitchen to even consider making the dish.

Hemberger’s beautifully illustrated blog is linked above.  He had a successful Kickstarter campaign to finance publication of a book about the project, which is in the final stages of pre-publication.


From Allen Hemberger’s “The Alinea Project”.

& Julia

“Writer, director, editor, public speaker, occasional actor” Adam Goldman has had a brilliant idea.  He’s re-cut the movie Julie & Julia to eliminate the “Julie” parts, leaving only the Julia Child scenes.  The result is an hour-long video called & Julia.

Julia Child herself disliked Julie Powell’s blog and subsequent book.  In both the film and in real life, Julia is a far more interesting character that Julie. In the movie, Amy Adams gives a solid performance as the somewhat unlikable Julie, but it’s Meryl Streep’s Julia that soars.