French Inspired Romantic Day Date with Le Chef in Washington, DC
After the birth of our daughter, a romantic day date in DC has become our favorite way to reconnect. Around the holidays, we love going downtown in DC. With all the decorations and the chic French shops – add in a stop at Le Diplomate and it is like visiting Paris at Christmastime...well, almost 😉 This romantic day date has become our Christmas gift to each other for 3 years in a row now - it brings us more pleasure than gifts under the tree!
1st Stop : Le Diplomate DC
Reservations open 30 days in advance on Open Table so I always try to book our holiday meal as far in advance as possible as tables fill up quickly. I was a little late this year and was only able to get us a 10 :45am reservation – pas de problème!
The festive decor, the hum of holiday merry making, the waiters moving quickly in long white aprons and black ties – the rapid thump of baguettes being sliced as you enter – all of these are reasons why we love Le Diplomate, especially during the holidays. The buzz in the restaurant is contagious -it is the closest thing I have found to a busy Parisian Bistro on this side of the Atlantic.
Le Menu :
For our holiday date we always order the same thing. There are lots of great dishes on the menu (including Le Burger!) but this is not what we come for. This is our special gift to ourselves and nothing feels more French during the holidays than Champagne and Seafood. The crisp champagne, the saltiness of the oysters...very quickly I am transported back to the South of France and to Café de Turin, in Nice where Le Chef and I used to spend hours lingering over fresh seafood towers in those indulgent pre-kid years.
First : Le Champagne
We order a bottle and request that it be placed on ice – we will be here for a few hours. Santé mon amour!
Second : La Mousse de Foie Gras
Le Diplomate does a great job with their Mousse de Foie Gras. Light and fluffy, it is served with toasted brioche and blackberry jam. We also love spreading the Foie Gras on the crunchy baguettes that are served with the meal. (we ALWAYS ask for seconds on the bread basket )
Third : Le Petit Plateau
A generous seafood platter – Le Petit Plateau is more than enough for Le Chef and I as a meal. Served on Ice on a stand in the middle of the table – this is such a great date food. Le Chef cracks the crab legs for me. I dip a chilled shrimp in cocktail sauce and pass it to him. We sip champagne, discuss the merits of the different tartares or assortment of oysters and allow ourselves a moment to feel like a young, carefree couple in France again. Très Romantique!
Lastly : La Gourmandise
L'île Flottante. Even after a copious meal, we can find room for an Île Flottante. Essentially whipped egg whites floating in a sea of English Cream topped with a drizzle of caramel sauce. So good and refreshing and also very difficult to find in the US, so we always indulge. We saunter out of the restaurant into the chill of winter feeling refreshed and in need of a brisk walk so we are off to the next stop on our French Inspired Day Date: City Center DC.
Next Stop: City Center DC
The closest you can get to shopping in France while in DC. All of our favorite boutiques are here! Longchamp, Hermès, Louis Vuitton, Dior, Christofle or Sky Valet for my husband's shoes. Each store is decorated so beautifully for the holidays, even window shopping feels decadent. The sky high outdoor Christmas tree as well as the hanging sculptures and lights that decorate the main pedestrian street make City Center DC feel absolutely magical during the holidays.
My personal favorite store is Longchamp. We always pick up a few treasures here. Carole, the Store Manager, greets us with a smile and a tray of Macarons. Longchamp has become one of my favorite brands. Chic and feminine but with a decidedly Parisian edge and more reasonably priced than other French luxury brands, I keep my Longchamp pieces for years and wear them over and over again. I still wear the belt my husband bought me nearly 15 years ago and the black chain shoulder bag in the photo is a wardrobe staple from last Christmas. My new love affair is with their shoes – the black loafers Le Chef bought for me last Christmas are my favorite shoes to wear to work – so comfortable but chic too!
P.S. There are always great sales in December (-50% off on some pieces!), making investment pieces actually within reach.
Do you enjoy Day Dates? What is your idea of a romantic day date in DC or where you live?
Do you have a ritual during the holidays that you enjoy with your significant other? I would love to know how you reconnect during the holidays.