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Smithsonian's American Indian museum wins award -- for food

The Smithsonian's National Museum of the American Indian,

The Smithsonian's National Museum of the American Indian, in Washington, D.C., opened September 2004. Credit: AP

A visit to the Smithsonian's National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C., could easily stretch over days. In one exhibit alone — and there are currently six total — the histories of eight tribes are examined. If you're a reader at museums, as I am, good luck feeling like you make a dent in an afternoon.

So it's a good thing the museum has a cafe, one that, as of yesterday, is award-winning. The Mitsitam Cafe nabbed best Casual Restaurant of the Year from the Restaurant Association of Metropolitan Washington. (Take that, anyone who flatly disparages cafeterias.)

Serving up a seasonally rotating array of items eaten by indigenous American tribes, the cafe connects the exhibits directly to the stomach with yucca and goat stew, buffalo with a grilled leek compote, a smoked venison appetizer and more. Click to check out the current menu, which is categorized into five stations representing different geographic areas. From the savory to the sweet, the cafe truly does offer a culinary adventure for many museum goers.

I went with my dad a few years ago, and we weren't far into the exhibits when it became clear just how excited he was about lunch. (The man loves tamales, which aren't exactly easy to find in our hometown of Pittsburgh.) So we had our history and ate it too.

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