One french-fried bucket to go

We're talking fried chicken with French chef Michel Richard, who may be on to something with his restaurant's version of KFC. "I've always liked the crispy crunch of fried food and fried chicken was one of the first things I enjoyed when I came to this country," he recalled.

His gourmet version, only at Central Michel Richard, comes in an untrademarked bucket with six pieces and 10 chicken "nuggets", gussied up with his signature mashed potatoes and a Dijon dipping sauce for $29.95.

When the daffodils pop and lunch al fresco proves irresistible, it should make for the perfect date nosh at the nearby National Gallery's Sculpture Garden. Available for lunch and dinner for takeout only he's also offering lobster burgers, beef filet tartare, grilled sea bass and mac 'n' cheese to boot. You can call ahead at 202-626-0015 or visit

Mexico's newest food star

Patricia Jinich, executive chef at D.C.'s Mexican Cultural Institute, spilled her big news last week at "The Moles of Oaxaca" dinner, announcing the debut next month of her brand new PBS television series, "Pati's Mexican Table". It puts her in pretty lofty culinary company with the likes of Martha Stewart, local chef Jose Andres, and the legendary Julia Childs. "The will show bring Mexican food and flavors into American kitchens," she told me. "It focuses on traditional and modern takes on Mexican cuisine. The recipes aren't too difficult or complex, but not like fast food either. They're definitely oriented towards healthy family-friendly meals."

During the wine-paired dinner, Pati hosted a lively demonstration alongside her friend Chef Alejandro Ruiz, one of Oaxaca's hottest chefs and creator of Casa Oaxaca Restaurant which boasts a Five-Star Diamond Award. Before serving three different types of moles, the duo taught guests how to prepare the regional dishes, whose varieties number in the hundreds, by using a variety of chiles and other mole ingredients like almonds, raisins, pumpkin seeds, tomatillos, plantains, Mexican chocolate and the ubiquitous corn masa.

For info on upcoming dinners and demo evenings with Pati and other guest chefs at the Institute visit