FOOD: Bastille Day
By KATHLEEN NIXON
July 13, 2012
Falls Church Times Staff
July seems to be a month of “independence” with the celebrations of Canada Day, Independence Day and Bastille Day. I think more of us are thinking about the independence from the heat plume that has hovered over the US for the last few weeks which has put a damper on appetites, so celebrating the food of Bastille Day may be just the ticket this weekend.
Bastille Day, formally La Fête Nationale, is on July 14th and celebrates France’s freedom from monarchial rule. The French national holiday coincides with the anniversary of the storming of the Bastille, a large French jail that was a symbol of the King’s power. In France, Bastille Day isn’t complete without three traditions — parades, feasts with friends and family, and fireworks. After a parade, friends and families gather for a large midday meal complimented with many beverages; namely French wine. After the lazy afternoon, as this is an all day affair, more food is brought out followed by the setting up of dance floors for music and dancing. The grand finale of the day is a patriotic fireworks display. While many of us will not be hopping over the Atlantic to take in the parade on the Champs’ Elysees, we can hop over to La Cote d’Or in Arlington.
In keeping with the Bastille Day tradition there will be activities all day long to celebrate starting of course with a wine tasting from 11am to 3pm for a $1 cover charge. Music will be available throughout the entire restaurant for both lunch and dinner.
In years past before the development occurred around La Cote d’Or, they were able to have bocce ball tournaments, a parade and dancing in the streets with the piece d’ resistance of fireworks at the end of the evening. At last check, the restaurant was still trying to get a permit for the fireworks. However the big tradition at La Cote d’Or is the waiter race which will be celebrating its 20th anniversary this year and everyone is invited to participate – even if you are not a waiter. The race occurs at 2pm and requires you to walk/run from one end of the street and back balancing a tray with coupe de champagne and not spill any of it. The grand prize is a trip to Paris for 1 and everyone gets champagne at the end of the race.
The food of Bastille Day is lighter than food served during the winter – less cream, more vegetables and lots of seafood, but then again much of French food is centered around seafood as France is bordered by many bodies of water. The evening menu for Bastille Day at La Cote d’Or will of course feature favorites such as Clams Casino, Three Pepper Gazpacho and Dover Sole but other special dishes will include Lobster Gourmand, Rockfish Guyannaise with Pineapple, and Sea Scallops with Saffron Sauce.
La Côte d’Or Café
6876 Lee Highway
Arlington, VA 22213
By Kathleen Nixon
July 13, 2012