With a name like "Sweet Home Café," you think it's going to be anything but delish?
The last call for takeout orders is Monday, Nov. 25 from the Sweet Home Cafe at the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, or come on in and order off the menu and eat at the restaurant on Thanksgiving Day.
Sweet Home Cafe's Thanksgiving spread /Photo by Patricia Leslie
Sweet Home Cafe's southern-style green beans with smoked pork/Photo by Patricia Leslie
If anyone wants the delicious taste and home cooked food like Grandma used to make for Thanksgiving, Sweet Home is serving them up.
Sweet Home Cafe's candied yams and potato salad/Photo by Patricia Leslie
Sweet Home Cafe's cornbread, ham, and turkey are ready to go/Photo by Patricia Leslie
The Sweet Home is selling a Thanksgiving turkey meal for $190 (plus tax) or a ham meal ($205), each with four sides (please read below), cornbread, and choice of a fresh baked pie (pecan or sweet potato), enough to serve between six and eight. (Ummmm, ummmm, ahem. That sweet potato pie is the best I have ever put in my mouth and I've got enough years to make me Top Judge in this category.)
Sweet Home Cafe's delectable trio of macaroni and cheese, collard greens, and cornbread stuffing/Photo by Patricia Leslie
Sweet Home Cafe's good eatins on display/Photo by Patricia Leslie
That's banana pudding (which may be ordered separately) for the Thanksgiving non-traditionalist, with pecan and sweet potato pie for the traditionalist/Photo by Patricia Leslie
The meals come with choices of four of:
*Candied yams with ginger and vanilla
*Homestyle mac and cheese (Sweet Home has a glowing reputation for this)
*Down home cornbread stuffing
*Southern-style green beans with smoked pork (To die for!)
*Potato salad (the best! It looks pretty good, but it tastes a lot better than it looks.)
The free-range turkey is brined for two days in maple syrup, then cold smoked and rubbed with sage, and it comes with cranberry jam, giblet gravy, a thermometer and "herb mop."
The ham is rubbed with brown sugar, bourbon, herbs, spices and mustard, and served with a preserved peach-mustard sauce.
Pie choices are pecan or sweet potato. (See my recommendation above.)
Sous chef Ramin Coles said mashed potatoes are not offered since "they don't travel well," but Executive Chef Jerome Grant does (?).
He took a 12-hour break from his State Department duties in London where he's teaching cooking classes, to come home to the Sweet Home and help introduce the cafe's Thanksgiving menu at the preview.
The chefs said the recipes all come from the staff.
Meals may be picked up at the Café from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 27, or on Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 28, from 10 a.m. until noon. Call 202-633-6174 or order online https://smithsonian.catertrax.com/.
For every 25 meals sold, Sweet Home will donate one meal to Martha's Table which helps children, adults, and families who are in need. Also, the name of anyone who buys a Thanksgiving dish from the menu will be entered in a drawing for a signed Sweet Home cookbook.
This year his family will be eating Korean bar-be-cue "because who wants to clean up?" he asked. "My favorite aunt who cleans up is not coming this year."
Chef Grant's favorite Thanksgiving dish "is definitely stuffing," and he paused before adding: "with gravy. We do it different each year; sometimes, it's oyster stuffing; sometimes, cornbread."
Chef Cole said as soon as he opens the restaurant up Thursday morning, he's outa there since he'll be working all weekend.
Thanksgiving preparation begins in August at the Sweet Home Cafe.
"Our food is done with love, it's done with soul," the chefs proclaimed, and to that end, I say "amen,bro" and place my taste buds on ignition.