To help celebrate the Indian Festival of Lights and a new year in India, acclaimed sister restaurants Rasika and Rasika West End are offering gift boxes and hampers full of choice culinary treasures and tempting treats. A five-day fall festival across much of the Indian subcontinent, Diwali is a time when friends and families gather together to light earthen lamps called “Diyas,” as a way to welcome the Hindu goddess Lakshmi into their cleaned homes to bless them with prosperity and happiness in the coming year, and also to symbolize the victory of light over darkness, good over evil, knowledge over ignorance, and hope over despair.
Celebrants also feast on sweet delicacies, exchange gifts, play games, and burn crackers. And that’s where the Rasikas come in, with each location offering two options for the 2020 celebration, which begins Thursday, Nov. 12: A homemade Mithai Box, priced at $20 and consisting of Mango Besan Ladoo, Saffron Gujjia, Fig and Date Roll, Chocolate Barfi, and Cashew Nut Barfi; and a Diwali Hamper, priced at $100 and including the contents of the Mithai Box, plus the cookbook Rasika: Flavors of India written by James Beard Award-winning chef Vikram Sunderam, a bottle of the Bindaas private label wine, Cornflake Chiwda, Masala Cashew Nuts, Methi Para, and an Assorted Chutney Sampler.
“This is the first time Knightsbridge Restaurant Group has offered this amenity and we are very pleased to be able to celebrate Diwali 2020 in Washington, D.C.,” says Ashok Bajaj, adding that the offerings are available exclusively at the restaurants in limited quantities and only while supplies last. Advanced orders, for pick up the week starting Monday, Nov. 9, must be placed by phone. Call 202-637-1222 for Rasika (633 D St. NW) or 202-466-2500 for Rasika West End (1190 New Hampshire Ave. NW). Visit www.rasikarestaurant.com.
PassionFish: A Taste of TenPenh
Two months ago, chef Jeff Tunks offered an end-of-summer reward to fans of his former restaurant Ceiba with a weekend pop-up reliving the glory days and dishes of that former acclaimed downtown pan-Latin paradise. Now, the man who helped put D.C. on the map for gourmands everywhere revives another of his fabled concepts from the turn of the millennium, this time the pan-Asian TenPenh, which originally stood adjacent to the FBI complex at 10th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue NW, and more recently a short-lived outpost in Tysons Corner.
In the private room at his PassionFish location in Reston next weekend, Tunks will present a four-course meal of TenPenh favorites, served family-style. The meal kicks off with a Butternut Squash & Kaffir lime soup “Shooter” and Chilled Edamame with salt and Togarashi as the Amuse, followed by First Course offerings of Philippine Pork & Shrimp Lumpia, Spicy Calamari Salad with lime, Sriracha, and cashews, and Tuna Tempura roll with wasabi crème fraîche. Red Thai Shrimp & Golden Pineapple Curry with steamed jasmine rice and Sizzling Cumin Lamb Chops with caramelized onions, Fresno chilis, dates, and cilantro-mint chutney are the evening’s Entrées served with sides of Wasabi Mashed Potatoes and Roasted Brussel Sprouts with chili nam pia. Finish the foodie flashback with Sugar Five Spice Dusted Doughnuts with Vietnamese coffee cream and Crystalized Ginger Crème Brûlée with sesame biscotti.
The experience will cost $59 per person, or $84 with wine and sake pairings. Specialty drinks the Saketini, Blushing Dragon, and Jade are available for $8 each. Available the evenings of Wednesday, Nov. 11, through Sunday, Nov. 14. Seating is limited especially given “socially distanced seating.” Located at 11960 Democracy Drive in Reston, Va. Reservations are required and accepted by phone only. Call 703-230-3474 or visit www.passionfishreston.com.
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Doug Rule covers the arts, theater, music, food, nightlife and culture as contributing editor for Metro Weekly. Follow him on Twitter @ruleonwriting.
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