The inimitable Julia Child would have been 100 years old on August 15 and to celebrate her lifetime of contributions to the food world, more than 100 restaurants across America have joined together to offer special menus and events. The weeklong celebration begins today and continues through August 15. Here in DC, RIS, Café Dupont, Marcel's and Central Michel Richard are all participating — while, don't forget, the National Museum of American History has a stake in this, too, being the home to the temporarily shuttered Julia Child's Kitchen exhibit.
1) West End: Tonight at the West End Cinema, chef Ris Lacoste of RIS will host three screenings of the classic PBS documentary "Cooking for Julia," which followed Lacoste as she prepared a 90th birthday dinner for Julia Child and 160 guests at Georgetown's 1789. Show up at 6 p.m., 7 p.m. or 8 p.m. to catch a free showing of the film, followed by a Q&A session with Lacoste after each of the film screenings. And for dinner, RIS is offering a Movie Tuesday deal that includes a Julia-inspired burger and glass of Malbec.
2) West End: In other RIS news, the restaurant is featuring plenty of other Julia favorites on their menu for August, with a "reverse martini" at the bar, served Julia-style with Noilly Prat dry vermouth on the rocks with a twist and a "whisper" of gin. Restaurant Week lunch and dinner menus include a traditional vichyssoise appetizer, quiche Lorraine and roast chicken cobb salad for lunch, and sole meunière with parsley potatoes and spinach or poulet frites with haricots verts for dinner. Lacoste is also stacking her own meatloaf recipe against Julia's, serving each one side by side in a dual presentation.
3) Penn Quarter: Over at Central, Michel Richard celebrates his friendship with Julia by offering a Chicken "Julia" with ratatouille special for $24 from August 7 to August 15. Richard met Julia in the 1970s for the first time when Julia and Paul visited his brand new pastry shop in LA.
4) West End: On August 15, Marcel's is honoring Julia's birthday with a whole roasted tarragon chicken for two $85 special, with sides like asparagus in simmered onions, carrots braised in butter, mushrooms in Madeira sauce, and gratin dapinoise.
5) Dupont Circle: The fourth participating DC restaurant is Café Dupont, where executive chef David Fritsche is planning a three-course prix fixe menu offering some of Julia Child's favorite dishes: parfait de foie de poulet, canard a l'orange, and a peach tarte tatin. The menu will run at $50 per person from August 7-15 and reservations are required by calling 202-483-6000.
6) Dupont Circle: Also at Café Dupont, author Bob Spitz will be signing copies of his Julia Child biography Dearie: The Remarkable Life of Julia Child at the restaurant tonight at 8 p.m. and tomorrow from 6-8 p.m.
7) National Mall: Last but not least, the National Museum of American History is saluting Julia Child on August 15 with screenings of The French Chef, book-signings with various biographers, "a special birthday surprise" and a sneak peek of her Cambridge kitchen — you'll recall the museum's Julia Child kitchen exhibit closed earlier this year.