- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 11, 2005

The two major events this month are the second inauguration of President Bush and the annual Washington Restaurant Week. We are in the middle of the latter, and Jan. 20 soon will be upon us.

During restaurant week, many Washington restaurants offer three-course prix-fixe lunch for $20.05 and dinner for $30.05. Dozens of the city’s best restaurants take part, some offering the special only at lunch, some only for dinner, but most offering their special menus at both meals. Restaurant week continues through Sunday, so there’s plenty of time to enjoy.

Texas will be honored for the inauguration at Palette (15 and M streets NW; 202/587-2700), where chef James Clark will create a special three-course Texas-themed menu for $40, available Monday through Jan. 22. The menu will include Texas onion soup, barbecued beef short ribs and poached fig pudding with praline ice cream.

Anyone with a valid Texas driver’s license will receive a free dessert (with the purchase of an entree) during the same period. Who could resist 16-layer chocolate cake with burnt-honey ice cream, warm pear tart with brown butter anglaise or maple creme brulee with black walnut Florentine?

Tomorrow, Palette will hold a Texas-style bartending class from 6 to 7 p.m., showing how to make classic Texas cocktails such as the Texas fizz, Alamo splash, salty Chihuahua and Texas margarita. The class costs $10 per person and includes a Texas-themed drink of choice. The drinks are being served at the restaurant through Jan 22.

At the Four Seasons Washington (2800 Pennsylvania Ave. NW; 202/944-2055), the inauguration will be celebrated with a Presidential Tea Party showcasing more than 200 years of good taste. The tea is served daily in the Garden Terrace Lounge all this month between 2 and 5 p.m.

The cost is $28 for an adult and $18 for a child. Reservations are recommended.

The tea will highlight menu items made using the personal recipes of several former first families, including George and Martha Washington’s cherry-orange shortbread cookies, Thomas Jefferson’s almond-caramel macaroon, William Howard Taft’s Irish whiskey fruitcake, Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Depression apple-cinnamon mousse dome, Jimmy Carter’s chocolate peanut timbales, the all-American fruit tart and 13 Colonies scones. Each guest will receive a menu and recipe booklet featuring first-family recipes.

At the foot of Capitol Hill, Charlie Palmer Steak (101 Constitution Ave. NW; 202/547-8100) will honor the inauguration with its Red, White & Blue Inaugural Wine Flight available at lunch this month.

Wine director Jason Ferris has chosen a collection of American wines, including a selection from a vineyard on land once owned by Thomas Jefferson. The wines are $8 per glass, or $15 for a 3-ounce flight of all three. The red wine selection is Jefferson Vineyards merlot from Monticello, Va.; the white wine is Flag Hill Winery seyval blanc from Lee, N.H.; and the blue part of the trio comes from Shooting Star Blue Franc from Washington state.

Next month — for Valentine’s Day — at DC Coast (1401 K St. NW; 202/216-5988), executive chef Jeff Tunks and executive pastry chef David Guas will teach a cooking class for men only from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Feb. 5. Cupid’s Cooking School will teach participants how to whip up a special valentine dinner.

The class will feature hands-on instruction in creating a three-course dinner at home. A recipe booklet, tastings and some wine are all part of the class for the price of $65 per gentleman. For those men who are hesitant to don an apron, the chefs will pass along some manly techniques and tips — secrets that will be divulged to the class.

On Feb. 7, the 11th Epicurian Food & Wine Auction presented by Les Dames d’Escoffier will take place at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel (1150 22nd St. NW). The gala dinner and auction will feature a tribute to grande dame Julia Child. Master of ceremonies will be Marc Silverstein, co-host of Food Network’s “The Best Of,” and the guest speaker will be Stephanie Hersh, personal assistant to the late Mrs. Child.

Les Dames d’Escoffier is an international organization of female high achievers in the culinary world, including chefs and restaurateurs, cookbook authors, food writers and hospitality-industry professionals. The biennial gala benefits Les Dames’ scholarships and grant programs providing funding to women studying for careers in the food and hospitality industries.

The cocktail reception and silent auction will take place at 6 p.m.; the gala dinner and live auction starts at 7:30. Tickets are $200 per person. For reservations, call 202/973-2168.

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