As always, a reminder to the guys out there who just remembered that Valentine’s Day is soon: Don’t call me for a reservation! The restaurant has been booked for weeks for Valentine’s evening. Along with New Year’s Eve and Thanksgiving, Valentine’s is one of our busiest nights. If I may, I suggest making a reservation for a romantic dinner at L’Auberge Chez François or Jacques’ Brasserie on another night in February to make up for it.
Happy New Year to all of you. We had a wonderful New Year’s Eve celebration at L’Auberge Chez François. Quelle fête! Even though I work long hours on New Year’s Eve (such is the life of a chef), I always get to celebrate royally because my friends, family, and long-time customers join me here at the restaurant to ring in the new year.
2015 was a good year for L’Auberge: We expanded our on-site gardens to provide even more home-grown produce for the kitchens, we opened for lunch at Jacques’s Brasserie and we expanded our happy hour times and offerings at Bar Rouge (have you been for happy hour yet?). For the third year in a row, L’Auberge Chez François was named one of the 100 Best Overall Restaurants in America by diners on Open Table. And, Washingtonian magazine told the rest of D.C. what many of you already know: that our Châteaubriand is one of the very best steaks in town (the best if you ask me).
Looking to 2016, I’ve posted my January and February special events and cooking demonstration schedule. Many of the January demonstrations are already sold out but there are still tickets to my annual Carnivore Lovers and Seafood Lovers Valentine’s Day classes.
This balmy weather is perfect for a drink outside, around our outdoor fire pit. The fire pit is open nightly (weather permitting) and we’ll be happy to serve you a selection from our winter cocktail menu while you relax around the fire.
I hope to see many of you in 2016 and I send you my best wishes for a happy and delicious 2016.
Happy holidays from all of us at L’Auberge Chef François and Jacques’ Brasserie. The Christmas lights are already up outside, marking our annual transformation into “Alsace Land,” and our much-loved Bûche de Noël is back on the menu.
We look forward to welcoming many of you during the holiday season – View Holiday Schedule. In order to accommodate as many of our patrons as possible this year, we’re opening on three Mondays in December (12/14, 12/22, and 12/24) for regular business hours. If you haven’t,made your holiday reservations, now is the time, and don’t forget that we’re happy to accommodate walk-ins at Jacques’ Brasserie on a first come, first seated basis.
A cooking class or dinner at L’Auberge makes an excellent gift for the foodie in your life. I say give the gift of good food and wine this year. You can purchase gift certificates for L’Auberge Chez François and the Brasserie, as well as tickets to cooking demonstrations and wine dinners on our website. If you would like to order a Bûche de Noël or any other of our cakes for a holiday event, just email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I’m thankful to our loyal customers who come year after year and I hope to see many of you at L’Auberge or downstairs at Jacques’ Brasserie during the holidays.
Happy holidays to everyone and best wishes for 2016.
“Winter in Papa’s Alsace” Cooking Demonstration & Luncheon
Please join us on Saturday, January 23rd at 11:00am for a cooking demonstration and luncheon featuring favorites from Papa’s beloved country, Alsace. The Alsatian feast entrée includes sauerkraut, sausages, pork, duck confit and foie gras. The dessert, Grandmama’s Favorite Kougelhopf en Neige, is a light and fluffy baked meringue with vanilla sauce. But of course, the meal is paired with three fine wines
“100 Best Restaurants in America for 2015” by OpenTable
For the third year in a row, L’Auberge Chez François has been voted “100 Best Restaurants in America” by OpenTable verified diners and you! Throughout the year, we have also been honored with receiving the monthly Diner’s Choice awards in categories such as Best Overall, Most Romantic, and French. We are humbled by the recognition and thank you for your continued loyalty and patronage.
Still have holiday gifts to purchase? Jacques’ Store has a variety of items available so that you can get your shopping completed. NEW items this year includeSpiegelau glassware etched with the L’Auberge Chez François logo and a limited edition, custom designed 100% silk scarf. In addition, cookbooks, DVDs, handmade chocolate truffles, and personalized gift certificates are also available.
George Torchio is the dining room manager, and started working at L’Auberge Chez François on July 5, 2001. He previously worked at Le Relais in Great Falls, after working at Maison Blanche in downtown DC for over 20 years. When you first come into the restaurant, you will see George’s smiling face. You’ll see the same smile as you leave. He is dedicated to making each visit special. We thank George for his commitment to us, the restaurant, and all of the diners. His loyalty has not gone unnoticed, not only by his peers but also his happy guests.
View Holiday Schedule – Open Mondays! We have some fantastic upcoming events: • New Year’s Eve Dinner and Celebration • January 15th: Musique et Cuisine series with the Nancy Scimone Trio featuring “A Souvenir of Paris” • January 30th: Wine Fest and Luncheon • February 6th: Seafood Lovers Valentine’s Celebration Cooking Demo and Luncheon • February 12th: A Carnivore Lovers Valentine Celebration Cooking Demo and Luncheon
Stay tuned for more information and registration.
Monsieur François Compétition
Congratulations to Steven A. of Oakton, Virginia for winning the November Monsieur François’ Profile Embellishment Competition. Steven will receive a $200 gift certificate to L’Auberge Chez François.
Be sure to follow L’Auberge Chez François on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for behind the scenes photos, specials, and more.
Now, I’ve got to get back to the kitchen. December is one of our busiest months. As is my tradition, I leave you with my poem, “A Chef’s Christmas”…
A Chef’s Christmas
T’was the night before Christmas, and all through the kitchen
Chefs scurried about while groaning and bitchin’.
The sauces were simmering and seasoned with care, Because soon the reveling hordes all would be there.
The tables were set, and not a moment too soon; Both waiters and hosts looked ready to swoon. Will we ever be ready? It’s so hard to tell;
Our chances are as good as a snowball in hell.
The pressure was on. The geese were a-roasting,
As partiers began all their holiday toasting.
With bags full of presents, dressed in festive apparel.
Our guests made such a racket that drowned out the carols.
In the kitchen waiters shouted, while cooks swore through their teeth.
The scene was pure bedlam, not a moment of peace.
The chef, he bellowed, to the cooks on the line,
“Move your derrières, make those plates look sublime.”
“I want everything hot, let us make haste,
Move onward you cooks, there’s no time to waste.”
The chef looked about, then said with a shrug, “To all a good supper and a hearty bah humbug!”
We’re ready for the holidays here at L’Auberge Chez Franҫois and Jacques’ Brasserie and looking forward to seeing you during the holiday season. We have many regular patrons who come for Thanksgiving every year. We’re happy that so many of you choose to spend your holidays with us. Our holiday schedule and hours of operation are located here.
In honor of Thanksgiving, we’ve added my pumpkin mousse cake to the dessert menu this month. With many of the same flavors as the traditional pumpkin pie, this dessert is always our most popular this time of year.
Just a few weeks ago, as many of you may know, I escaped from the kitchen to lead our first Rhône River Cruise with Tauck River Cruising. We had a wonderful week of wine tasting, cooking classes, fabulous meals, and culinary excursions. The weather was perfect and we had a wonderful group of fun-loving gourmands who made the trip a success. Thanks to all who came along on this adventure and I hope to be offering even more special trips like this to our patrons. In fact, just this past Friday, our cruisers and guests met again at L’Auberge Chez François for a reunion dinner with wines featured from Domaine Grand Veneur in Châteauneuf-du-Pape, one of our favorites that we sampled on the Swiss Emerald.
We have added three new Chef Jacques’ very popular holiday cooking demonstrations and luncheons – click here to view. Our cooking demonstrations and luncheons are a great way to get you into the holiday spirit and celebratory mood!
Happy Thanksgiving to you and your families. All of us at L’Auberge Chez François hope to see you during the upcoming holiday season.
We’re celebrating fall this month at L’Auberge Chez Franҫois and we have an exciting line-up of special events on the calendar. Coming in October are two wine dinners, a beer tasting luncheon, the next installment of our popular Musique et Cuisine series, and our final Garden to Table dinner of the year.
The Louis Latour Grand Cru Tasting and Wine Dinner on October 18th hosted by Louis Fabrice Latour himself promises to be historic. We start off with a glass of fine bubbly and then will taste 20 Grand Cru wines and you’ll sample two more with your dinner. Maison Louis Latour is the only winery in the world capable of presenting 22 Grand Cru wines at a single tasting. We’re thrilled to be able to offer this extravagant tasting and dinner to our patrons.
We still have plenty of greens, haricots verts, cabbages, a few tomatoes, and other produce coming in from the garden for the final Garden to Table Dinner on October 20. You’ll find our garden produce featured on the regular menus at L’Auberge and Jacques’ Brasserie but the Garden to Table dinners are a special chance for me to create a full dinner featuring the very fresh items that come from the garden. If you haven’t been to a Garden to Table this year, now is your chance.
Throughout the year there are local, seasonal delicacies that I eagerly await. There are morels and shad roe in the spring, heirloom tomatoes and softshell crabs in summer; and, in September, there are fabulous local plums for our famous plum tart. Popular in Alsace, my father put plum tart on the menu at the original Chez Franҫois in Washington D.C. when he first opened. Sixty years later, it is still one of our best-selling desserts.
Although I’m able to import excellent plums throughout the year, in late August and September our plums come from local growers in Virginia and Maryland who grow varieties for us that are similar to the quetsches grown in Alsace. The local plum season is short, so join us in September to try a slice of local plum tart, served as always, with our cinnamon ice cream.
Also this month, is our next installment in the Garden to Table series. This month’s event, Harvest to Table, will feature lots of home-grown fall vegetables, including heirloom tomatoes, haricot verts, and garden herbs. We will also have another in our Musique et Cuisine series. This month features the versatile and talented pianist and chanteuse, Jennifer Scott.
Come enjoy the beginning of fall with us.
Chef Jacques, Paul and the L’Auberge Chez François team
In mid-September, I’m leading a group of foodies and wine enthusiasts on a ten-night Rhône River cruise with Tauk River Cruising. The itinerary is packed with cooking lessons, wine tastings, and delicious meals. Tauk just opened up three more cabins to our ever-growing group, so there are now a few spaces available for those interested in joining this culinary adventure. I’ve just put the finishing touches on the menu for a special dinner I’m hosting in Paris the night before we depart on the cruise. For more cruise details and registration, please click here; registration closes on September 1st.
The tomatoes in the garden are ripening as fast as we can use them. All of the tomatoes in our tomato salads are coming directly from the garden and we never harvest the tomatoes more than a few hours before they arrive on your table. I’ve been asked by several diners about my secret for growing such vigorous plants. Here are two tips: First, mix your coffee grounds into the soil. The coffee grounds add minerals and acidity to the soil, which tomatoes love, and the grounds attract beneficial earth worms to aerate the soil and create nutritious compost. Second, when you first put your seedlings into the ground, put ½ teaspoon of Epsom salts around the base of the plant. The salts also add minerals and discourage fungal growth. We have a lot of the booming tomato plants, as well as a video explaining how to make our simple but ever popular tomato salad. A fresh, vine-ripened tomato and a good vinaigrette are key to making a good tomato salad.
We continue to have a full slate of special, summer events here at L’Auberge Chez François. In August we’re hosting the next installments of our popular Musique et Cuisine and Garden to Table dinner series, in addition to a wine dinner and cooking demonstration hosted by me. You can view the latest schedule of special events here. Stayed tuned for more events coming this Fall, including a Grand Cru wine series and Latour Wines!
Breaking news! Beginning Tuesday, July 7th,Jacques’ Brasserie will be open for lunch! Many of our friends and neighbors have asked for a more casual, “drop in” dining option, and we listened. You may also make reservations for both lunch and dinner in the Brasserie on our webpage. I have added some classic and seasonal dishes to the Brasserie menu (think local grilled lamb tenderloin, veal scalloppini with Virginia ham, and hand-picked garden tomato salad with fresh herbs). I personally invite you to enjoy dining al fresco on our newly landscaped patio, complete with a bubbling fountain and evening lighting for extra ambiance. Also, don’t forget our popular Jacques’ Bar Rouge happy hour! Voilà et bon appétit.
July also brings inspiration for moi in the kitchen. We have squash, peppers, cucumbers, beans, and (finally) tomatoes coming out of our two on-site gardens. Fresh herbs are also in abundance and I’m prompted to come up with dishes that feature our home-grown produce in the most delicious ways. All of our dishes are garnished with our garden vegetables and herbs in season; and, the best part: whatever we make can be eaten outside, under the stars.
My brother, Paul, and I are happy to announce that Jacques’ Brasserie will open daily for lunch, beginning on Tuesday, July 7th. Many patrons have asked about the possibility of lunch service at the Brasserie and I’m happy to offer this more casual lunch option to our customers. The lunch menu at the Brasserie will feature our popular bistro classics like beef Bourguignon, steak frites, bouillabaisse, and onion soup. You can also choose one of our three tarte flambées (an Alsatian-style pizza): there is the classic with bacon and onion, our vegetarian option with wild mushrooms, or the seafood tarte flambée with smoked salmon and trout. Of course, the full L’Auberge lunch menu will continue to be available in our formal dining room upstairs. Reservations for Jacques’ Brasserie can now be made on OpenTable, you can click here to reserve.
The kitchen gardens are in full flush. Last week we began serving the first salads of the season made exclusively from greens grown right here on the property. You can’t beat the freshness and flavor of organically grown greens that have traveled only a few yards to reach your plate. Each year we refine the varieties of lettuces and greens that we grow to create the perfect salad. We hope you’ll come in and tell us what you think of this year’s selection of Bibb, arugula, and mesclun lettuces, as well as spinach..
Spring also means fresh herbs for making stocks, sauces and (best of all) signature cocktails. Those of you coming to this year’s first Garden to Table Extravaganza on May 18th will be sipping on the first, fresh mint juleps of the season and enjoying a refreshing citrus sorbet made with home-grown tarragon. The Garden to Table Extravaganzas will happen monthly from now through fall and each month’s menu will be inspired by what we’re harvesting from the gardens.There is a full calendar of wine dinners, demonstrations, and special events in May and our terrace is now open for outdoor dining. I invite you to enjoy a meal outside and tour the gardens.
The upcoming months are going to be delicious at L’Auberge Chez François.