Wednesday, March 26, 2008

National Cherry Blossom Festival

The National Cherry Blossom Festival is about to begin in Washington, DC. Never been? The festival, held from March 29 to April 13, offers a glimpse of Japanese tradition, culture and a hundred-year-old event that sparked a friendship between two countries. And let’s not forget the cuisine: fresh fish, ancient spices and indeed, cherries.

If you weren’t able to score tickets to the Grand Sushi and Sake Tasting (which has been sold out for weeks) or the National Conference of State Societies Grand Ball and Sushi Reception (tickets go for $150 per person) don’t fret – there are many ways for families to enjoy the sights, smells and tastes of the Cherry Blossom Festival, the event that celebrates the gift of 3,000 cherry trees from Mayor Yukio Ozaki of Tokyo in 1912.

The event web site details the following events:
Annual Gala Dinner Cruise
Japanese Street Festival (featuring more than a dozen Asian food vendors) here's a link to the list of vendors

A variety of cherry blossom-inspired menu items from area restaurants. A few of my favorites:
Bangkok Joe’s Salmon Firecrackers with pickled garlic-sour cherry compote.
Beacon Bar and Grill’s Cherry Glazed Peppered Salmon, served with saffron risotto, rhubarb port sauce and spring asparagus.
Café Mozu’s Cherry Blossom Crème Brûlée with cocoa caramel, morello cherry espuma and iced prosecco twig.
Wash it all down at Hank’s Oyster Bar with a Cherry Stone Blossom – a cocktail combining vodka, sake and Hank's house-made lemonade and house-mixed cherry juice.

If you’re looking for an even pinker experience, (i.e. a tasting menu covered in cherries) try Perry’s (offering a six course meal paired with sake) or Ten Penh (offering a four course meal, paired with wine, and a cooking class on the first day of the festival.)

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