by AJ Dronkers
It's Groundhog Day, and Punxsutawney Phil the groundhog saw his shadow, which according to groundhog lore, means another six weeks of winter. Happily, all the groundhog weather forecasting drama on Feb. 2 reminds us of Groundhog Day, one of our favorite comedy classics, where Bill Murray plays Phil Conners, a weatherman reporting on the story, finds himself inexplicably living the same day over and over again.
So what if you were caught in the Groundhog Day cycle? What would you do everyday, but most importantly, what would you eat if everyday was Monday? We asked some noted DC foodies and pros what they would do.
Chef Tim Ma (Kyirsan, Chase the Submarine & Water & Wall) @cheftimma
I would eat a good bowl of pho everyday over and over.
There is something about the combination of the texture of the rice noodle, the spiced, savory broth, the fresh thai basil and the just barely cooked meat that makes it soul soothing.
David Hagedorn (Dining Columnist for Arlington Magazine) @dchagedorn
I'd happily repeat my wedding day, September 22, 2013, the day I married Michael Widomski. The ceremony took place on the roof of 601 Pennsylvania Avenue, overlooking the Capitol. Dinner was at Fiola, downstairs, prepared by Chef Fabio Trabocchi. The second course was one of my favorite all-time dishes, I Vincisgrassi, Le Marche-style lasagna made with very thin layers of pasta, a luscious meat ragù, béchamel sauce and gooey cheese, all topped with shaved black truffles. I would happily eat that day and night, over and over. With my honey, of course!
Rina Rapuano (Zagat DC Head Writer) @rinacucina
If we’re suspending reality enough to pretend I could get stuck in a time loop, I’d like to take the fantasy a bit further to include time travel. If that were possible, I’d pick a day when I could still eat my Italian grandmother’s pasta sauce — that’s something I could literally eat every day. She grew and canned her own tomatoes, and maybe that’s what made it so special. My whole family gathers once a year to make four giant pots of what we call “family sauce,” which includes meatballs, braciole (beef sprinkled with Romano, parsley, garlic salt and pepper that are rolled up and tied) and other braised meats. We freeze it for our Christmas lasagna or to pull out for a quick weeknight meal over ziti. And while it’s always delicious and satisfies the craving, it never quite measures up to the memory of my late Nonna’s sauce.
Svetlana Legetic (Co-founder BYT) @svetlanabyt
I am somewhat famously always in the mood for spicy, crunchy, flavors (apparently it is the Eastern European in me). So aside from an endless supply or good bread butter and caviar which I could live on forever, there is one dish that I have ordered maybe more than anything else in this town and that I also recreate at home at least a few times a week. And that is the radish plate at Le Diplomate. It really is just a plate with some radishes, butter and toast on it but everything about it clicks, much like it did for some other radish plates that preceded it in changing my life: Gabrielle Hamilton's edition at Prune, and the NoMad hotel variation, namely. At Le Diplomate: the positive abundance of radishes are perfectly cool and champagne pop crunchy. The butter is whipped and chilled. The toast is the kind of brioche that brings to mind clouds melting in your mouth, and then there is a sprinkling of chives to add a little herbaciousness to the proceedings. So simple, so perfect, so appropriate for EVERY occasion. Pair with a glass of champagne and I am set for life.
Bonnie Benwick (Deputy Editor WaPo Food)
My choice for Groundhog Day food scenario would be to relive one of the best dinner parties I can remember.
It would be when 3 Star Michelin chef and restaurateur Michel Roux cooked for a party of seven, at my house. He was in town on a book tour in 2015, and I must have been out of my mind to suggest an intimate evening as a change of pace. But there he was at 5 o’clock, breaking down chickens with a dull paring knife, chatting all the while. Roasting bones for stock. Happy to use lion’s mane mushrooms when the recipe called for chanterelles. Coaxing sabayon into an ethereal consistency with a substandard whisk.
Culinaerie co-owner and chef, Susan Holt, came early enough to help with prep. The three of us drank one bottle of Ruinart Blanc de Blanc while we were in the kitchen, and the guests took care of two more once they arrived.
The menu (all Roux’s): cream of chestnut soup; chicken with Riesling and chanterelles; champagne sabayon. The other wines (courtesy of the Holts): a 1979 Moulin Touchais Coteaux du Layon and a 2009 Xavier Monnot Clos de Chenes Volnay.
And there Roux was, at the head of the table. Enthralling us with stories, flirting in the most charming way, discussing politics and bemoaning the demise of things artisanal in France. Graciously thanking us for such an enjoyable night, almost six hours later.
Do it over and over and over? Mais oui!
Chef Philip Thompson (Executive Chef Capital Hilton) @chefphilipthompson
Groundhog Day is one of my favorite movies and the thought of eating the same food over and over again is actually not as boring as it may sound, as I have a weekly “Groundhog Day” on a Sunday when I have roast dinner.
Sunday roast is for me the quintessential comfort food and takes me back to my childhood in England and sitting around the dinner table with my family. No matter how busy our lives would be or as we got older and started to leave home we would always get together on Sunday for a roast dinner.
Typically it would involve a trip to the local butcher to pick a nice leg of local lamb. M,y dad would spend the morning digging up the vegetables out of the garden and picking mint to make some mint sauce to compliment the lamb, which was smothered in fresh rosemary and roasted garlic. Then my Mum would make her delightfully sweet Apple Crumble. It’s a meal that to this day I insist upon enjoying every time I return home to visit family as it always inspires great memories. I would happily enjoy it every day.
Eun Yang (NBC Washington) @eunyangdc
My mom’s kimchi jigae (a Korean stew) would be the dish I would eat over and over again. It is comfort in a bowl.
Pati Jinich (Cookbook Author) @patijinich
It would have to be my chicken milanesa recipe, known as milanesa de pollo in Mexico. And for so many reasons. It is so good that I have eaten it regularly since I was a little girl in Mexico City and it tastes like home to me. It has and irresistible crunchy coating spiked with a bit of chili and aged salty cheese and the chicken stays very moist inside. Not only would I eat it everyday, but I can eat an insane amount on a sit down. It is also filling, easy to make and unpretentiously delicious.
Jessica Sidman (The Washingtonian Food Editor) @jsidman
I'd probably stick with something simple, like udon noodles. Ideally, they'd be handmade so they have that perfect bouncy chew. I love the version at Sushi Taro—not a soup—with a soft egg, nori, ginger, bonito flakes, and scallion.
Chef Yo Matsuzaki (Executive Chef of Zentan)
The one dish I could eat over and over like Groundhog Day will surprise you. It is bagels and whitefish with plenty of cucumber, cream cheese, and onion. It reflects my wife's Jewish background rather than my Japanese roots.