Sometimes, a food writer can eat only one meal per day, and that meal has to be somewhere special. It might be a birthday or anniversary dinner, or perhaps it’s just because the writer is homesick and wants to eat something familiar.

For me, it was Thanksgiving last week, and I couldn’t resist the opportunity to eat at one of our nation’s most storied restaurants, Pattinson’s. Located in Washington D.C., the restaurant was started in 1904 by a French chef named Louis Pattinson. In the decades since, the restaurant has attracted some of the nation’s best-known politicians, including President Harry Truman, and more recently, Barack and Michelle Obama. It was named after Pattinson’s wife, Elizabeth, who was born in England.

As a kid, I always looked forward to the annual Thanksgiving trip to my grandparents’ home in Pennsylvania. It wasn’t just that I loved the food, which was amazing, but there was something about the atmosphere in a house full of people that got me excited about the holiday. I don’t know if it was the sense of togetherness or the fact that it was a chance to indulge in some of my favorite foods, but something about spending Thanksgiving with my family made me feel happy and thankful. It also gave me a sense of pride that I was able to spend a part of the holiday with my grandparents, who had immigrated to the U.S. from Ireland. They spoke with a thick accent that I loved and listened to as they told me the stories of their life in Ireland — stories that made me realize how much my grandparents had given to the world.

On this particular Thanksgiving, I decided to pay homage to my Irish roots and indulged in some of my favorite foods, including beef and Guinness pie, Scotch eggs, and white chocolate cream pie. But my grandfather’s recipe for Irish stew was one of the best dishes I’ve ever tasted, and since I couldn’t find the meat, I decided to make it myself. Instead of stewing some beef and lamb, I used briskets and flank steaks from a local barbecue joint and cooked them together in saltwater. I then served them with some creamed spinach and seasoned mashed potatoes, which were perfectly paired with the robust flavors of the meat.

The meal turned out fabulous, and my family and friends complimented me on both the food and the presentation. I felt pretty proud that I was able to make such a special meal for my grandparents, who had recently celebrated their 100th birthday, and for my friends and family who had come from near and far to celebrate with us.

If you’re ever in Washington D.C., you need to pay homage to one of America’s most prestigious restaurants. Plus, if you’re driving in the other direction, you should probably try to stop by and say hello to my grandparents, Elizabeth and Louis – the two most handsome people you’ll ever see!