- The Washington Times - Tuesday, June 28, 2005

The Folklife Festival on the Mall, the Fourth of July. The month ahead is a jolly time in Washington.

Charlie Palmer is one of the festival’s celebrity chefs this year, and his restaurant, Charlie Palmer Steak (101 Constitution Ave. NW), will feature a special dinner until Monday, highlighting artisanal products offered in the United States. The multicourse dinner is priced at $115 per person, including wines and such dishes as heirloom tomato salad with Pipe Dreams Farm goat cheese, roasted halibut with New Morning Farm summer ratatouille and a tasting of American cheeses.

The Bombay Club (815 Connecticut Ave. NW) is celebrating the Folklife Festival with guest chef Suvir Saran from Devi restaurant in New York City; he will prepare a tasting menu showcasing regional Indian cooking Saturday. Guests will meet the chef and receive an autographed copy of his cookbook, “Indian Home Cooking.” Cost of the dinner is $90 per person, including paired wines and the cookbook.

Chef-owner Aulie Bunyarataphan of Bangkok Joe’s (3000 K St. NW) is introducing a rice tasting menu during the festival. Her three-course $35 menu includes sweet and savory dishes made with rice, such as spicy rice sausage, rice and crab pockets, smoked salmon served with rice jam, and black sticky rice ice cream.

Bastille Day, July 14, is the day when waiters from several of Washington’s French restaurants hold a footrace through town with loaded trays in hand. For a different type of celebration, Poste Moderne Brasserie (555 Eighth St. NW) will host Picnic at Poste from 5:30 to 8 p.m. to raise funds for the Trust for Public Land, a nonprofit organization that conserves land for people to enjoy as parks, community gardens and other natural places. Poste’s terrace and the courtyard of the adjacent Hotel Monaco will be transformed into an urban park for the occasion, and guests can enjoy organic wines, specialty cocktails and executive chef Robert Weland’s hors d’oeuvres. Tickets for the picnic are $35 and can be purchased by calling 202/939-6421.

Three of Washington’s most innovative chefs — Johnny Monis of Komi, Koji Terano of Sushi-Ko and Jamie Leeds of Hank’s Oyster Bar — are creating a summer night dinner July 19 among the bonsai trees at the National Arboretum (3501 New York Ave. NE) to support the Washington Youth Garden. The Friends of the National Arboretum’s Washington Youth Garden has given children in the District a hands-on educational experience for three decades. Tickets for the fundraiser are $175 per person ($110 tax deductible); the reception and garden strolling start at 6:30, followed by dinner at 7:30. For reservations, call 202/333-4187.

Helix Lounge (1430 Rhode Island Ave. NW) is serving brunch on its Inside Out patio from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sundays through late September. The Brunch Gone Fabulous features American comfort food fruit-stuffed crepes, blueberry yogurt smoothies, roasted corn and crab quesadillas and beer-battered calamari.—

July is summertime, and that means tomatoes that taste like the real thing. Jaleo (480 Seventh St. NW; 2250A Crystal Drive, Arlington; 7271 Woodmont Ave., Bethesda) will hold a monthlong “La Tomatina” celebration with tomato tapas created by chef Jose Andres featured on the menu. All three Jaleo locations also will have small tomato markets from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, Thursday and Friday afternoons during July to sell fresh tomatoes at market prices.

Speaking of tapas, Cloud Dining Lounge (1 Dupont Circle NW) is offering tapas at half-price from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. Tuesday through Friday throughout the summer. Tapas from all over the world include sea scallop ceviche, salmon carpaccio and coconut-barbecued ribs.

The Willard InterContinental Hotel (1400 Pennsylvania Ave. NW) has opened its outdoor terrace, where beverages, cocktails and a light menu will be served from 11 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. through October.

In Georgetown, south of M Street near the Key Bridge, the shops in Cady’s Alley will offer complimentary cocktails and hors d’oeuvres and live jazz or salsa bands to entertain potential customers on the first Thursday of every month through October from 6 to 9 p.m. Dates are July 7, Aug. 4, Sept. 1 and Oct. 6.

Paul Luna, executive chef of the Oval Room (800 Connecticut Ave. NW), is offering his Extreme Cooking Classes on Friday and Saturday nights throughout the summer. Up to three people per evening can call ahead to book a private cooking experience. The three student chefs will meet with Mr. Luna at the restaurant 48 hours in advance of the meal to plan a special menu and draw up the grocery list, keeping within the $75-per-person limit of the meal. (The price includes wine.) On the day of the dinner, the diner-chefs will arrive at the restaurant by 5 p.m. to begin cooking for their party. It’s a chance to cook in a truly professional kitchen.

Restaurant Kolumbia (1801 K St. NW) is offering an all-Austrian wine dinner July 11. The menu begins with monkfish, skate and smoked eel terrine wrapped in savoy cabbage with caviar and lobster cream sauce, and is followed by diver scallops; roasted quail Romesco; braised veal breast stuffed with exotic mushrooms; and cherries Pavlova.

Two additions to the Washington restaurant scene will open in July. Dino’s (3435 Connecticut Ave. NW) will be “somewhere between a wine-based osteria and a family-run trattoria offering good, rustic food,” promises owner Dean Gold. Chez Mama-San (Cady’s Alley NW), the new venture by the owners of the Japan Inn, will not offer sushi or sashimi but will concentrate on Westernized Japanese home-style cooking.

It’s a busy month. Stay cool; eat well.

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