Since the 2004 opening of the National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, DC, the museum's Mitsitam Cafe (mitsitam means "let's eat" in the Piscataway and Delaware languages) has become a destination in its own right. Featured on Rachael Ray's television show and praised by reviewers nationwide, the Mitsitam Cafe continues to receive accolades from both critics and visitors.
Drawing upon tribal culinary traditions from five regions--Northern Woodlands, Great Plains, North Pacific Coast, Mesoamerica, and South America--the cafe's offerings feature staples that were once unknown in the rest of the world in dishes such as:
- Squash Blossom Soup
- Cedar-Planked, Fire-Roasted Salmon
- Pulled Buffalo Sandwich with Chayote Slaw
- Corn and Tomato Stew
- Cranberry Crumble
Replete with beautiful photographs of the finished dishes as well as objects and archival photographs from the museum's vast collections,
A 1995 graduate of the Baltimore International Culinary College, author Richard Hetzler worked at several fine-dining restaurants in the Washington, DC, and Baltimore area before joining the food-service firm Restaurant Associates at the Smithsonian. Hetzler was on the team that researched and developed the groundbreaking concept for the Mitsitam Cafe: serving indigenous foods that are the staples of five Native culture areas in North and South America. As the executive chef of the cafe, he continues to create and refine seasonal menus that showcase the Americas' native bounty.