1220 19th Street NW, Washington, DC 20036 | (202) 835-0459

The Holidays at i Ricchi

For some reason, as I began holiday preparations, I found myself questioning why this time of year was so meaningful. Of course it is the celebration of Christ’s birth, an event that has changed the course of mankind. But there are traditions that have developed around Christmas that carry a strong message too. Traditions help form the structure and foundation of our families and our society. They contribute a sense of comfort and belonging.

Maybe it’s because this probably will be the first Christmas my little grandchildren will remember, I have been giving much thought to my own family’s traditions as well as what I want to establish as new ones going forward. They have already experienced the rites of decorating the tree, hanging stockings, visiting Santa to ask for a toy and even the concept of being naughty or nice. I even pulled out a red leather strip of sleigh bells that hung in my childhood home, and now little two-year-old grandson marches around the house waving that strip and singing his version of Jingle Bells at the top of his lungs. What a sweet sound and what joyful traditions – albeit small – that remind us that we are part of a history that has shaped who we are today.

After many years of facilitating traditions here at the restaurant, we welcome this season with great anticipation and allegria. There are many parties and dinners with planning under way for our Feast of the Seven Fishes as well as for our New Year’s Eve Dinner. It gives me great pleasure knowing these holidays spent at i Ricchi have become traditions for many of our customers. Join us this month for a chance to connect with others while celebrating Italian traditions and try out some new dishes and recipes.

Our calendar:
Squeeze into an Ugly Holiday Sweater Squeeze, Friday, December 15
Holiday Cheeseboard Class & Cocktails, Monday, December 18
Feast of the Seven Fishes, Friday-Sunday, December 22-24
New Year’s Eve Celebration, Sunday, December 31
All month long: Friday Squeezes, Donating to S.O.M.E., Red Envelope Gift and $100 Gift Cards for $80 – Info

Experience Diverse Community at Friday Squeeze

Washington has been my home for over thirty years. A lot has changed, but then again, maybe not. They say history repeats itself – the climate in Washington today, with tensions running high and with its lack of meaningful dialogue, is not dissimilar to other times in our history. There was a time when the two political parties could not be in the same room without coming to blows. During the administration of James Madison, around the time of the War of 1812, people of opposing views could not and would not talk to each other. (Sound familiar?) Enter the enterprising, First Lady, Dolley Madison.  She wielded an important influence on the divisive political climate by creating her legendary “Drawing Rooms” or “Wednesday Squeezes.” Her invitation-only events – the most popular social event in town – were for the president’s colleagues of various political persuasions, the top Washingtonians of the time. She would invite so many guests, they would literally have to squeeze into the space which forced people of diverse backgrounds to have influential discussions while enjoying refreshments and music. Read more here

As a community venue, we want to foster an atmosphere for all Washingtonians to communicate – even with their dissenting opinions – and come together over soothing libations. To continue in the spirit we have built through our Pop-Up Piazza Parties this Summer, we invite you to join our new Friday Squeezes at the Bar (pictured) every Friday from 5-8 pm. There will be complimentary hors d’ouevres, Happy-Hour priced drinks and specialty cocktails to encourage a free exchange of (opposing) thoughts.

Keeping It Classic

Twenty-nine years ago, Ristorante i Ricchi opened as the first Tuscan restaurant in DC.  With constantly evolving food trends and Instagram eats, we are not afraid to continue to pay tribute to the classics of Italian cuisine.  Dining with us is an opportunity to stop and savor the tastes of your memories.  Chef Ricchi was born in New York but spent nearly twenty formative years in a little kitchen in Tuscany. The dishes we serve here in DC are reminiscent of her time in Italy – her upbringing as a chef and her love of Italian cuisine. Consider our Rigatoni Strascicate made with a classic Tuscan 12-hour sugo that could easily have been made by your Nonna.  Our savory Ribollita (pictured) with autumn vegetables, Tuscan black kale, cannellini beans, layered with bread and parmigiano is an ode to a simpler time when soups simmered on the back of the stove for hours.

We make our own pasta from scratch – a tradition that is fading even in Italy today. Our Tortelloni with butter and fresh sage (pictured) is the epitome of classic Italian cuisine.  Step back into your childhood – or back to your last visit to Italy – when you dig into our Pici All’Aglione – thick Tuscan spaghetti with tomato, basil and garlic topped with whipped ricotta (pictured). Feeling particularly nostalgic? Then come early and watch us pull our fragrant foccaccia (Tuscan schiacciata) out of the oven. There is nothing that spurs food memories like the fragrance of freshly baked bread.

Dessert is our sweet finale. What’s more Italian than gelato or tiramisu or cannoli all made here in our DC kitchen. We serve these classics together with a revolving list of other Italian sweets.  In our opinion, the test of a true authentic Italian dining experience is the coffee! It isn’t easy to make that perfect espresso or cappuccino. Our barista, Eric, has been doing it beautifully for the past fifteen years! Check out our menu to see all the tantalizing options!

For those of you who have been visiting i Ricchi through the years, we appreciate your business.  Never been?  We welcome you to dine with us!  See the event page for a special gift card offer for to show our appreciation.

Taste First Ladies’ Recipes, Hear Their Stories from Anita McBride

The American first lady has a critical position in supporting and influencing the president as he carries the weight of the office to a large and diverse nation. Our history has been shaped in many ways by these unsung heroes. Over the course of the last few administrations, Anita McBride has witnessed the ever-changing role, where the first lady approaches her duties in a very personal manner.  With her experience of working within the administrations of Presidents Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush, Anita brings a unique perspective of the inner workings of the White House, its personnel and the complicated position of first lady. Read more about her here.

You will have the opportunity to dine with this Washington insider who has been an adviser on four presidential transitions and who is a frequent news commentator on the operations and history of the White House and its occupants.  Don’t miss our Need to Know Dinner with Anita McBride: The Role Without a Rulebook – America’s First Ladies and Their Legacies, next Monday, November 6 at 7 pm.  Because each first lady was unique, I thought it would be interesting to prepare a menu that showcased some of their favorite recipes. It will be an eclectic dinner, highlighting the style and tastes of different eras. For example, imagine dining on Jackie Kennedy’s French inspired Chicken in White Wine together with Rosalynn Carter’s down home recipe for southern hushpuppies! We’ll feature Martha Washington’s famous crab soup alongside Michelle Obama’s modern chopped salad with pecans and tarragon dressing. Try President Truman’s favorite dessert, Ozark Pudding, a dessert that his wife, Bess reportedly prepared for him when he was depressed and missing home. Get your tickets now for this intimate, informative gathering.

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