Founding Farmers could have so easily fallen into the category of places for “betches who brunch.” Reservations are hard to come by, cocktails are strong, dishes are super Instagram-worthy (with a menu that encourages tagging all your #foodporn), and it’s located in the heart of Foggy Bottom near George Washington University. Yet, somehow, it avoids teetering into the betchy category. Matchbox Twenty plays at the ideal level through the speakers, and there are no squeals of girls downing one too many mimosas. You can bring parents, a date, and even infants in highchairs. It’s a restaurant you could go back to over, and over, and over again for whimsical dishes made with ingredients from local farms.
For Saturday brunch at 11:30am, the place is packed with patrons patiently holding a flutes filled with mimosas (made with freshly squeezed OJ) while drooling with envy as dishes pass by. With our reservation, we were seated promptly at one of the tables lining the windows. Two menus are placed on the table, one detailing the brunch selections, the other with the lunch menu. You need to share if you both want to select brunch items.
Both the food and cocktail menu finds inspiration from locally sourced, fresh ingredients. Vacations (and brunch for that matter) call for morning drinks, so we selected two options off the brunch menu.
Hidden underneath the murky mixture of gin and absinthe lies a single slice of lemon, which one can only assume is the “corpse” in the reviver. The subtle flavor of licorish, from the absinthe, lingers on the tongue when the gin fades away. On the southside, a lemon raft keeps fresh mint afloat, allowing it to fill the senses with each sip. It’s refreshing, like a glass of lemonade in the summer.
As for food, this is perhaps the most difficult part of the entire meal; what to get. It’s a gluten-free nightmare and a glutton’s paradise. With serious assistance from the waiter, stuffed French toast with strawberries and cream beat out the competition (I’ll come back for you Peanut butter, banana toast with marshmallow cream, I promise). ‘From the Range,’ we ordered the pastrami hash with poached eggs.
Crispy, shredded potato hash happens to be my favorite preparation, mimicking the texture of my beloved potato latkes. I felt myself longing for a bit more pastrami, or at least some incorporation into the salty (in a good way) potato mixture. The perfectly poached eggs acted as a sauce, mixing with the whole grain mustard and hollandaise. When I found pieces of pastrami, with the mustard sauce it tasted like my favorite New York deli-style sandwich — awesome.
But the real star, the main attraction, was the stuffed French toast.
First of all, just look at that. Rectangular pieces of French toast are filled with a vanilla pastry cream, that has that perfect texture of a light, rich custard. The outside is crispy, sweet while in the inside remains moist, fluffy and almost cake-like. It’s paired with strawberries and cream and topped with powdered sugar. Essentially, it’s dessert you can pass-off for a breakfast dish (and that is always okay in my book).
If you find yourself in Washington, D.C., and are looking for a really, really, ridiculously delicious place to brunch, make your way downtown to Founding Farmers. A place where not only is the name super cute (and punny), but the food is fresh, fun, and frickin’ delicious.
Founding Farmers – 1924 Pennsylvania Avenue – Washington, D.C.
Location: Washington, D.C.
Type: New American
Perfect For: Farm to Table, Chronic Brunch, Casual Meal, First Dates
Reservations: Recommended via OpenTable
Favorite Dishes: Stuffed French Toast with Strawberries and Cream