At some museums, the food is a work of art
Mitsitam, the cafe inside the National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, was named the city's Casual Restaurant of the Year by the Restaurant Association of Metropolitan Washington. (mitsitamcafe.com)
At the Asian Art Museum, you'll find a collection that spans 6,000 years of history with tapestry and jade objects to sculpture and paintings. At its restaurant, Cafe Asia, you'll take a culinary trek through Indonesia, Korea and Japan. The Pan-Asian approach by chef Melinda Quirino has yielded a menu that includes Indonesian-style quarter chicken soaked in tamarind and an entree of pork shoulder that is grilled in Korean hot bean paste. There are plenty of vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free offerings along with beer, wine and sake. The cafe is open during museum hours, Tuesday through Sunday and 10 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Thursdays, but they don't accept reservations. If you don't want a full meal, take a visit to its tea salon where you'll find pots of oolong, black and green teas.
For more info, including the menu, visit http://www.asianart.org .
Visiting the Musee du Louvre is an all-day excursion. After you've navigated the queues, elbowed your way to the Venus de Milo and stood behind dozens of school groups to see the Mona Lisa, you may need to recharge. With more than 15 cafes and restaurants, the Louvre offers plenty of options, from a Paul to-go kiosk with croissants and tarts, to the brasserie Cafe Marly, which has a striking view of the Pyramid. Also among the many culinary highlights is Cafe du Richelieu, located in just steps from Napoleon's apartment, where the dishes include a salad of foie gras, shrimp risotto, beef tartare - even macarons. And, it's France, so of course there's wine.
Visit http://www.louvre.fr/en/restaurants-et-cafes for info on of all the Louvre's restaurants and cafes.
For his seasonal dishes, Chef Lorrin Rames draws his produce for Oscar's at the Museum, the restaurant of the Birmingham Museum of Art from the nearby Jonas Valley Urban Farm. The cafe is open from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesdays through Sunday and features dishes like the Georgia O'Keefe Chicken Salad and the Smoked Turkey Reubenesque, along with some kid-friendly options. Every first Thursday of the month, the chef features tapas and cocktails. But Sundays, visit for brunch, then make a day of wandering through the galleries, to see their collection of modern and contemporary art, or the special exhibit "Andy Warhol, Cars" which runs through Sept. 16.
Admission to the museum is free, but there is a charge for special exhibits. For more info on exhibits and the cafe menus, go to artsbma.org.
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