Paul and I, and the entire L’Auberge Chez François family, wish you a very healthy, happy, and prosperous new year. We would like to thank each of you for your patronage, making 2014 one of our best years ever. The year started off with our 60th anniversary and ended with the announcement that we were once again awarded the Top 100 Restaurants in America for 2014 by Open Table Diners’ Choice. It is because of you, our loyal patrons, that we have had such great success. Merci beaucoup!
By popular demand, in 2015 L’Auberge Chez François’ team is expanding our special events: Chef Jacques’ hosted cooking demos and luncheons, music series dinners, wine and garden to table dinners, craft beer dinners, and oh so many more exciting events!
We are proud that we’ve been part of your friends and families’ celebrations and can’t wait to continue making more memories with you!
Happy holidays from all of us at L’Auberge Chez François and Jacques’ Brasserie. As we kick into high gear for our busiest season of the year, I am thankful to have such an excellent team, whose hard work and dedication have allowed us to be a Washington-area institution for sixty years. Many of our regular customers request a favorite server when they come in for lunch or dinner and we’re always happy to oblige when we can. But our customers only ever meet a fraction of the people who keep everything running in perfect time during their meals. We have over eighty employees, many of whom are hard at work in the back of the house. Behind the copper doors that lead to la cuisine,an ensemble of pot washers, line cooks, chefs, and pastry chefs staff stations around our large kitchen to ensure that the French fries at the Brasserie are pleasingly crispy and the lobster upstairs is sauced just right. Customers may view the goings on in the kitchen through a window adjacent to the main entrance of L’Auberge. If you’d like a closer look, feel free to ask your server for a tour of the kitchen.
We are getting ready for the holidays, our busiest time of year at L’Auberge Chez François and Jacques’ Brasserie. I’m always happy to see so many of our loyal customers celebrate the holidays with us. I want to thank all of you who make us part of your holiday traditions year after year. As is our tradition, we will turn on our holiday lights at L’Auberge on Thanksgiving. Great Falls practically experiences a brownout when the lights are switched on.
The arrival of Fall means that our Pumpkin Mousse Cake is back on the menu along with our game dish, Red Deer Chop, Grilled Quail, and Wild Rice served with Roebuck Sauce. And, those of you joining us on Thanksgiving will be treated to a five course dinner menu with options that include our Ashleigh Farms organic turkey dinner with all the traditional trimmings.
Our full holiday schedule is below and I look forward to seeing you in the coming months. Happy Thanksgiving to you and your families.
Continuing our 60th Anniversary celebration, I am hosting a very special Fall Harvest Garden to Table Extravaganza on Monday, October 13 at 6:30 PM. Due to the overwhelming responses and comments from our diners, I plan to bring the series back in the Spring as soon as our gardens bloom! I am still harvesting plenty of kale, lettuces, greens, haricots verts, cabbages, herbs and other produce from the garden. The Garden to Table Dinner is a special chance for me to create a full menu featuring the very fresh items that come from our gardens while enjoying all the added healthful benefits. You’ll find our garden produce proudly featured on our lunch and dinner menus at L’Auberge Chez François and Jacques’ Brasserie.
Our new Fall Cocktail Menu has been introduced! The cocktails include bourbons, cognac, elderflower, our garden herbs, quince, apples and other delightful ingredients to usher in the Fall season. We have, as well, created three seasonal alcohol-free libations. Don’t forget our very own firepit and seating area on the Brasserie terrace is a great way to sample these delectable drinks!
We are always happy to accommodate the special dietary needs of our customers, so please speak with your server or the receptionist when you make your reservation and we’ll be happy to prepare a meal to your specifications. Due to our patrons request, diners at the restaurant will find all gluten free menu items noted with the initials –
Remember, the holiday season is soon upon us and it’s never too early to plan for all your holiday parties, happy hours, dinners and special events at L’Auberge Chez François.
Allow me to propose a toast to you, our loyal patrons, and to the staff of L’Auberge Chez François for sharing in 60 years of delicious food and magical celebrations. We’ve been celebrating the 60th Anniversary of our opening all year, but September 15 marks the actual day we opened our doors at the original Chez François in Washington D.C. A week of anniversary celebrations will be kicked off at our sold-out Garden to Table Dinner on September 15, which will feature a special dessert by former White House pastry chef and friend, Roland Mesnier, with music by the Nancy Scimone Trio. Then, I’m reprising my two most popular cooking demonstrations, The Seafood Lovers’ Feast on September 19 and the Carnivore Lovers’ Feast on September 20. In addition to these special events, those who dine with us between September 16 and September 21 will receive a complimentary Champagne toast with their meal as a thank you for celebrating with us.
I’m proud and humbled that our simple philosophy, bien manger, c’est bien vivre, has carried us through 60 years in the Washington D.C. area. Merci to all our customers for your loyal patronage over the years and here’s to many more years of eating well and living well.
September will mark the 60th Anniversary of the founding of Chez François in Washington D.C. I don’t think that my father, François, could have imagined then that we would still be going strong 60 years later. Many of Dad’s loyal patrons followed when we moved the restaurant to Great Falls and become an auberge. I’m amazed at how often guests will stop to tell me their memories of eating with us in Washington D.C. and now in Great Falls. The painting above, gifted to my parents by Washington artist Lily Spandorf shows the sidewalk cafe tables of the original Chez François on Connecticut Avenue in the early 1960s.
The success of our expanded vegetable and herb gardens this season inspires me to share my views on the importance of healthy eating for yourself, and for and with that special someone. This month I will begin a new series entitled To Your Health, sharing my philosophy on healthy cuisine. At home, preparing a repast for your someone special is an act of love, much more significant than presenting candy or flowers. The food is tempting but the energy you put into the preparation and serving of the meal is sexy. If you prepare a romantic meal, make it as wholesome and nourishing as possible. The use of whole pure ingredients will result in a better tasting and more nutritious repast. Knowing you are using the the best ingredients is important and lends to the romantic mood.
As part of our year long, 60th Anniversary celebration I’ve decided to open the restaurant on Monday, June 16 for the first of our special Garden to Table Dinner events. L’Auberge Chez François is typically closed for business on Mondays, but I received so much positive feedback from our patrons when I suggested the idea of hosting these dinners that I’ve decided to open that Monday to hold this event. I hope to make the Garden to Table Dinners monthly events as long as we’re getting fresh produce from the gardens. The special dinner, which requires advance-purchase tickets, will be hosted on the terrace (weather permitting) and will feature produce grown using organic methods, just steps away in our kitchen garden. For your enjoyment, there will be musical accompaniment, and our sommelier has selected unique wines to go with each of the five courses. Vegetable gardening is a particular passion of mine, and I can’t think of a more satisfying process for any chef than starting with seeds and ending up with a meal that delights customers. I hope to see you on the 16th.
We’ve already harvested several bushels of spinach from the gardens here at L’Auberge Chez François, and many of the lettuces and greens we planted in early spring are almost ready for picking. After last year’s success at growing our own organic produce here at the restaurant, I’m doubling the size of the gardens once again. The greens and herbs are coming in nicely, and the tomatoes, cucumbers, beans, and peppers will all be planted in the next few weeks.
My father started our on-site herb garden out of necessity, when he first opened L’Auberge in 1976. Finding very fresh herbs such as tarragon and chervil, standards in French cooking, was not always easy. Dad’s only recourse was to grow these essential ingredients himself.
This summer almost all the herbs used at the restaurant will come directly from our gardens. We’ll be growing basil, tarragon, rosemary, chervil, mint and shiso to name a few. We’ll be serving them in our summer cocktails, adding them to salads, and of course flavoring our sauces and main dishes with them. Please come by and take a tour of the gardens and enjoy an herbaceous cocktail on the terrace. Summer is just around the corner, and at L’Auberge Chez François it is going to be absolutely delicious.
I am sad to share that my mother, Marie-Antionette Haeringer, passed away on March 20, at 95 years old. In last month’s newsletter, I wrote about the nightly family dinner I have at the restaurant that always included my mother, brother, and from time to time, other family and friends. I received a great deal of positive emails and comments from readers who enjoyed the story, especially the part about Mom recently refusing to cancel dinner (and her nightly glass of champagne) on account of snow. It was at this customary dinner two weeks ago that mom began to feel ill and was taken to the hospital. Fortunately, her stay at the hospital was short and peaceful. This year, we celebrate 60 years in business and mom was here, working along with my father and eventually us sons, for all of them. How fitting that she was enjoying a good meal and sipping champagne with her family, at the restaurant she helped build, right up until the very end. Thank you to everyone for your condolences.