A Little Bit Of Art + Soul

TGIF! I am so looking forward to this weekend- I’ve got some fun stuff planned with some friends (and fellow bloggers!) AND am definitely excited about sleeping in tomorrow. :)

I spent yesterday in DC, which is about 45 minutes south of where I live. I’m a big fan of chef Art Smith, and have been wanting to try his restaurant for quite some time. So, instead of just continuing to say “I want to go there,” I took action and made some plans! I asked my foodie friend Kelly if she would be interested in heading down there – and she happily said yes.

We took the metro down to Union Station, which is a just a few blocks away from the restaurant. I don’t know if I’ve actually ever been to Union Station- and whoa! I definitely have to go back there again! There’s a ton of great shops and restaurants- I could spend all day there! We walked around for a little bit and then headed over to get our lunch.

Art Smith’s restaurant is very adorably named Art & Soul and is located right along Capitol Hill (yes, you see this view when walking by).

I’ve been a big fan of Art Smith for years. You may remember him as Oprah’s personal chef- which is how I first heard about him. If you know him from his Oprah days, you probably remember a chubby and charming chef with a big personality.

(photo from Oprah.com)

Well, he definitely looks different now. After being scared with reality of a diagnosis of Type II diabetes, Art Smith took matters into his own hands- and lost 100 lbs!


I love that he lost the weight the old-fashioned way- through diet and exercise. Chef Art is currently a contestant on Top Chef Masters- for the second time! I root for him every week. :) I learned that he recently got married to his partner of (many) years at the Lincoln Memorial. They actually RAN four miles (along with the wedding guests!) from his restaurant to the Lincoln Memorial- and got married right there in their sweaty gym clothes! You can read about it here. I just LOVE that story!!

Anyway. Back to yesterday…

The ambiance of Art & Soul is really cool- and we sat in a neat little booth.

There’s also an awesome outdoor seating are with a big grill- and I can imagine that it would be really fun at night. It was a little too hot out for al fresco dining yesterday. We perused over the menu while munching on some delicious bread

and decided to share a hoecake. I’ve never actually had a hoecake before- but I know that it’s what Paula Deen is known for at her restaurant. This one had goat cheese, balsamic marinated mushrooms and pea shoots.

It was absolutely delicious! I decided immediately that I must learn to make hoecakes right away. I did a little Google magic, and actually found Art Smith’s recipe for hoe cakes, so I’m sharing it with you!

Cornmeal Hoecake (by Chef Art Smith)

1 c. corn meal

1/2 c self-rising flour

pinch salt + sugar

1 egg

1 c. buttermilk

1/4 c. melted butter

Combine ingredients and make a batter, it will be the same consistency of pancake batter. Heat skillet to medium before cooking cakes. To make hoecake spoon half cup of batter in pan, cook each side till brown about 6 to 7 minutes per side. When cakes bubble you flip over as you would make pancakes, remove from pan and keep warm.

For an entree, I got a mixed greens salad with roasted turkey, black beans and avocado.

It was good- but it was a salad. Nothing really special. I’m also not a big fan of cheddar cheese on salads, so I ended up pushing that aside (I’d much rather have goat or feta!). Kelly got a BLT- which she said was good, but the bacon was a little odd (I’m pretty sure it was Canadian bacon).

All in all, we were satisfied with the restaurant- but decided that it might be better to come to for dinner. I guess that means we’ll just have to go back!

We headed back to the metro and decided to get off at Dupont Circle to wander around for a bit. It was super hot and sticky out, and we were quickly having the life sucked out of us. Kelly wanted to head into Teaism to buy some crack salty oat cookies.

I’ve had these before- and they are UNreal. I resisted buying any, because I just didn’t need the temptation in my pantry… but believe me- I thought about it! If you live near DC and haven’t been to Teaism- GO THERE NOW! They have excellent food and drinks!

Our last stop was for frozen yogurt. I love the yogurt at Sweetgreen, which happens to be right next to the metro stop. They only have one flavor- which is tart. It’s made from Stonyfield Organic yogurt and has 80 calories per half cup! I got mine with some toasted coconut and blackberries.

Gone in under five minutes!

It was a really fun day and (again) made me realize that I really need to head down to DC more often! Preferably when it’s not so hot out.

Have a great weekend!

Which celebrity chef’s restaurant(s) would you like to dine at?


  1. Caitlin C. says:

    Looks so fun! If you’re heading to just Union Station, you could actually take the Marc train which leaves right from Downtown Frederick! :)

  2. We actually have quite a few Top Chef celebrities that have opened restaurants in Atlanta. Maybe you need to come try them…

    My mom works at Union Station. I mean, not in the shopping mall part of it, but her office is connected.

  3. This post hits on some of my favorite places in DC; I work right around the corner from Art and Soul and have gone for work lunches a few times. I really like the market salad (the one I had last week was different from the one you got, it seems) and my co-worker loves the pulled pork sandwich and mac and cheese. The salty oat cookies at Teaism are incredible and I love Sweetgreen’s yogurt (and their salads).

  4. Fun Lauren! Neal and I are BIG Bobby Flay fans. We’ve been to Mesa Grill in NYC and it’s A-Mazing!

  5. Looks like a really cute restaurant–and I thought your salad even looked good! :)

    The title of your post had me humming the song as I read it. Fun!

  6. That fro yo with toasted coconut and blackberries looks/sounds AMAZING> Yumm.

    Glad you all had fun!! I’ve never been to DC, and so want to go!

  7. YUM. I freaking love pea shoots. Add goat cheese, mushrooms and a hoe cake and I might be in heaven!
    Catherine’s boyfriend got an internship in DC and has been commuting through Union Station all summer….and JUST realized the other day that all those shops are in there!

  8. This sounds like such an adventurous and yummy day! I’ll be moving to the DC area at the end of the year and can’t wait to try all these places : )

  9. I love Union Station. When I interned on the Hill it was so much fun going shopping and grabbing dinner there before hitting the metro. We were actually probably in DuPont at the same time-it’s such a great place to go. Georgetown is pretty nice too :)

  10. Ummm, YUM! Any salad topped with feta is delicious, we are going out for greek food tonight and I can’t wait for a delicious greek salad with feta.

  11. I love Art Smith too! Fun that you got to try out his restaurant. :)

  12. You have to come down here and try out Richard Blais’ restaurant. I’m going again tomorrow night. :)

    I’m just catching up and read your “Baggage” post. That is one of the bravest I’ve ever read. No doubt you’ll get to your happy place. xo

  13. I’ve been there! bb and I stayed at that hotel when we went to DC a few years ago. We just got breakfast there one morning. I really want that hoecake! Love cornmeal cakes as well as goat cheese and mushrooms. Sounds good. I also went to Sweetgreen when I was in DC. Loved the salads and yogurt.
    Celebrity restaurants I want to go to are Babbo by Mario Batali and WD-50 by Wiley Dufresne.

  14. you do NOT need to show me pics of ARt….I know exactly who he is…and why I am jealous of you. Wish you were here this weekend…although I’m working and can’t go, you should google chiptole festival denver…FOOD NETWORK CHEFS AND FREE FOOD!!!

Comments are welcome (and encouraged)!