Today is a happy day!


Because I am a new Grandmother.  My son Nathan and his beautiful wife Louisa had a new baby boy on March 1st.  His name is Wills.

Happy "Birth"Day at Cafe Milano | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

Wills has a big sister, Elle, who you may remember recently celebrated her 1st birthday.  I shared with you her Panda Birthday Party here.

Pink Panda-Monium Party | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

I traveled to Washington, DC to attend her birthday party, which was celebrated one week before her actual birthday.  Two days after Elle’s birthday party, I returned home to Lake Arrowhead and headed off to watch my son, Austin, ski race in Lake Tahoe.

California State Championships, Northstar, Tahoe | www.SftyerOrangeCounty.com

I assumed I’d be traveling back to DC for Wills’s birth about 1 month later, as his due date was supposed to be today, March 24th.  Well, Wills decided he wanted to join us a little early (24 days early to be exact), and was born instead, on March 1st.  He came into the world one day after his sister’s 1st birthday, so Elle and Wills are 1 year and 1 day apart.

Happy "Birth"Day at Cafe Milano | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

Since Elle’s birthday party had been a week before her actual birthday, the family decided to celebrate her birthday again, on her actual day of birth, at one of their favorite DC restaurants, Cafe Milanolocated in Georgetown.

Happy "Birth"Day at Cafe Milano | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

Cafe Milano is a DC institution, where people-watching is a main event, as it is a gathering place for people such as:

  • Political movers and shakers:  Michelle Obama celebrated her 49th birthday at Cafe Milano.  Heads of state, like the Clintons, have been sighted there, as well as folks like Dick Cheney, the King of Jordan and many other foreign diplomats from far-flung ports of call.  Talk about a “Power Lunch”!
  • Hollywood celebs:  Rumor has it that the likes of Jennifer Lopez, Marc Anthony, Renee Zellweger, Bradley Cooper, Bo Derek and Quincy Jones are regulars.
  • Pro athletes: I hear Michael Jordan frequents Cafe Milano.
  • Holy Fathers: Cafe Milano catered the 81st birthday lunch of Pope Benedict XVI at the Vatican Embassy during the Pope’s visit to our nation’s capital.

Now, however, Cafe Milano is more than just a hotspot for Washington’s glamorous set.  Now it is officially the place where my Grandson Wills had his last supper in utero.  That is because, while celebrating my Granddaughter’s 1st Birthday at Cafe Milano, her mother went into labor with Wills.  After timing her contractions over a delicious dinner of authentic Southern Coastal Italian Cuisine, Louisa and Nathan headed straight to the hospital where Wills arrived the next day.  Had he made it a few hours earlier, he would have shared a birthday with his big sister Elle.

Happy "Birth"Day at Cafe Milano | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

As you can imagine, I headed straight back to DC to meet little Wills.  In honor of Wills’s arrival, we decided to celebrate his birth over another dinner at none other than Cafe Milano. After all, we needed to introduce the staff of Cafe Milano to the baby that was nearly born in their dining room.

Happy "Birth"Day at Cafe Milano | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

And, since today is the day that was-to-have-been Wills’s birthday, I thought I’d share with you the wonderful, celebratory meal we enjoyed there.  The great thing about Cafe Milano is that, even though it is frequented by politicians, diplomats, pro athletes and other celebrities, the friendly, well trained, and highly efficient staff make even commoners like ourselves feel like VIP’s. Legend has it that the owner of Cafe Milano, a native of Italy, was once an Italian tailor. True story or not, he certainly has a fondness for high style.  The restaurant, which looks like a high-fashion Milan boutique, is decorated with framed designer scarves and men’s ties, which apparently pays tribute to Italian fashion, so highly celebrated in Milano.  The waiters are also decked out in Italian-style skinny suits and ties, the kind that would normally seem out of place in America, but, at Cafe Milano, make you feel like you’re being served in Italy.

Happy "Birth"Day at Cafe Milano | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

We started our meal with a delicious and entertaining appetizer course.

Happy "Birth"Day at Cafe Milano | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

Entertaining because it was prepared tableside.

Happy "Birth"Day at Cafe Milano | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

And, not only did we enjoy the entertainment, so did the folks at the adjacent table.

Happy "Birth"Day at Cafe Milano | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

It was delicious because it involved aged Romano cheese……

Happy "Birth"Day at Cafe Milano | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

and black truffles……

Black Truffle | Happy "Birth"Day at Cafe Milano | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

and Grappa.

Grappa | Happy "Birth"Day at Cafe Milano | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

The waiter poured Grappa into the hollowed out interior of a wheel of aged Romano cheese.  He then let lit it on fire, which melted the cheese into a creamy deliciousness……

Happy "Birth"Day at Cafe Milano | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

and used 2 large spoons to scrape off the melting cheese.  Next, hot fettuccine was mixed into the melted cheese, black truffles were shaved over the top, and we were presented with this:

Pasta with Black Truffles | Happy "Birth"Day at Cafe Milano | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

Is your mouth watering yet?  If not, you might have preferred this delicious salad, made of butter lettuce tossed with a lemon vinaigrette, candied walnuts, and mild gorgonzola cheese.

Happy "Birth"Day at Cafe Milano | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

For a restaurant as elegant as Cafe Milano, they are very accommodating of small children, and the waiters doted over my Granddaughter Elle.  At age 1 she already knows how to be a charmer.  So, without our asking, they brought her this lovely small bowl of pasta, compliments of the chef, who prepared it especially for her.

Happy "Birth"Day at Cafe Milano | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

Another nice thing about Cafe Milano is their flexible menu.  The waiter always explains that if what you are craving is not on the menu, the chef will be more than happy to make it for you.  So Elle’s other Grandmother invented her own duo of two pastas.  She ordered a half portion of ravioli filled with braised veal and spinach in a sage and veal reduction sauce.  Then she added a half portion of truffle scented tagliolini pasta with a creamy Pecorino cheese and fresh black pepper sauce called “cacio e pepe”.  This dish is very famous in Rome.

Veal Ravioli & Cacio e Pepe | Cafe Milano, DC | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

Someone else in our party ordered this simple but delicious capellini pasta in a fresh cherry tomato sauce.

capellini pasta with fresh cherry tomatoes sauce | Cafe Milano | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

Then there was this delicious looking roasted Alaskan halibut fillet, served “Livornese” style, with sauteed escarole and fennel on top.

Roasted Alaskan halibut fillet, “Livornese” style, with sauteed escarole and fennel | Cafe Milano | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

My son enjoyed this fish and shell food stew in a saffron tomato broth with a julienne of braised bell peppers and grilled bread

Fish and seafood stew in a lightly spicy saffron tomato broth with a julienne of braised bell peppers and grilled bread | Cafe Milano | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

And finally, I had this amazing pounded and breaded veal chop made “Milanese” style and served with an arugula and tomato salad.

Pounded & breaded veal chop “Milanese” style | Cafe Milano | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

If you look closely, you can see that the chop has its rib bone.  I loved the presentation; it was both delicious and was so large that I enjoyed half of it for lunch the following day.

Pounded & breaded veal chop “Milanese” style | Cafe Milano | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

We ended the meal by sharing this combination of homemade pistachio gelato & mango sorbet.  It was presented on a frozen block of ice with a miniature ice cream cone on top.

Pistacio Ice Cream & Mango Sorbet | Cafe Milano | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

So, it goes without saying that Cafe Milano holds a very special place in our hearts.  Undoubtedly, we will be celebrating many more future birthdays and special occasions in this Washingtonian institution.

Thank you for sharing our Happy “Birth” Day at Cafe Milano!

PS – The folks at Cafe Milano don’t know me.  I just like sharing my favorite restaurants with you.


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