Saturday, June 26, 2010


Farewell, loyal readers. I'm leaving DC for Chicago today.

I've been writing this blog for exactly three years (I began June 23, 2007), and while posts fell off after I began writing for other outlets, it was fun to look back on things I've done. Here's a sort-of greatest hits list for my past four years in DC. They're things that were really fun, and that made my time here memorable. In no particular order…

1. I judged a cupcake contest.
2. I went to Barack Obama's inauguration.
3. I went to a Barbie convention.
4. I went out to lunch and gallery hopping with Isaac Julien.
5. I took part in a DC scavenger hunt.
6. The Poet Laureate recited poems for me.
7. I went to Presidential homes.
8. I went to Jose Andres' 40th blowout birthday party with wonderful friends and met Richard Wolffe.
9. I interviewed William Christenberry.
10. I ate a LOT of amazing food with amazing people. There's been too much to call out here.
11. I got to see incredible art for free at museums.
12. I covered the National Book Festival and interviewed a lot of great authors.

Thanks for reading, everyone. It's been fun.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Things You Could Do This Weekend

Here are some things you could do this weekend:

• Go to a reading tonight at Wonderland and support independent presses with Blueberry Pancake beer.

• Go to the Folger Library and learn about seafaring in the Age of Discovery.

• Explore how Leonardo da Vinci was even cooler than previously thought at the National Geographic Museum. Plus you there are things to play with. Win-win.

• Take Dad out to dinner.

• Wait around impatiently for Silverdocs to start.

Or you could be like me and spend your last DC weekend going to a crawfish boil, eating roasted pig at Poste, and making your first visit to the Air and Space Museum.

Friday, June 11, 2010

National Shrine and National Cathedral

I'm continuing to knock things off my list of places I want to go before leaving DC. Last week I headed to Catholic University to see the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, and though there were high school students milling about, waiting to graduate inside, I was able to still walk around the grounds and inside the shrine. Though I've been to lots of churches in Europe (including Westminster Abbey in London and St. Peter's Basilica in the Vatican) I'm not sure I've ever been so blown away by the art and architecture — especially since the Shrine has been just three Metro stops from my house for the last three years. The photos I took inside didn't come out especially well, but nearly every inch is covered with shiny mosaics, stained glass, and gold, gold, gold.

After that I took the train to Tenleytown, and walked down Wisconsin Avenue to the National Cathedral, which for some reason I thought you couldn't just visit. You can —the Cathedral is absolutely enormous, and is really new. The foundation stone wasn't laid until 1907, and construction was interrupted during the wars. But while the Shrine is stunningly beautiful, the Cathedral comes off as more imposing. There's some beautiful design to be sure, but the hand-stitched seat cushions are more kitschy Americana than anything else. That said, the outside is impressive, the view from the top lovely (click to enlarge the photo and you'll see the Washington Monument and Capitol Building, and the little Bishop's Garden in back (designed by landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted, Jr.) was pretty.

Monday, June 7, 2010


The Rammys, the DC restaurant awards, were last night. They were a total blast and a lot of very deserving people/restaurants won:

Chef of the Year: Scott Drewno (The Source by Wolfgang Puck)

Fine Dining Restaurant: 2941

Rising Culinary Star: Nicholas Stefanelli (Bibiana)

Best New Restaurant: Birch & Barley

Power Spot: BLT Steak

Neighborhood Gathering Place: Cork Wine Bar

Upscale Casual: Vermilion

Hottest Restaurant Bar Scene: Birch & Barley/Churchkey

Pastry Chef: Anthony Chavez (2941)

Beverage/Mixology Program: PS7’s

Wine Program: Proof

Restaurant Employee: Adolfo Cajchon (Seasons)

Restaurant Manager: Mark Politzer (Bourbon Steak)

Your Favorite Restaurant (voted by online/newspaper ballot): CoCo. Sala

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Leaving DC

I'm leaving DC in 3 weeks — but first I have a list of things I want to do. What else should I fit in? I'll be crossing out and updating as I go.

Restaurants: Either I want to return because I love them, or I've never been.

Seventh Hill
Bagel Place and dumplings in College Park
Heritage India
Granville Moore’s
PS7’s (lounge)

Air and Space Museum


National Cathedral
National Shrine

Friday, May 28, 2010

Visit to Monticello

I received a letter from a reader yesterday.

Do you do travel reports to places like Monticello? — Curious in Massachusetts.

Funny you should ask, Curious, as I went to Monticello earlier this week. I've been wanting to go for years, and a kind reader gave me a trip to Thomas Jefferson's homestead for my birthday.

Charlottesville, Virginia is about two and a half hours away from D.C., and on my trip we first stopped at the University of Virginia, which Jefferson founded and designed, and is extremely pretty. See evidence below:

From UVA we went to Michie Tavern, where we had lunch, then to Monticello. We had over an hour before our tour, but there was still plenty to see:

A huge vegetable garden.

The beautiful west lawn with a circular path lined with flowers.

Close-up of a flower.

Thomas Jefferson's grave. His descendants are still buried there today.

There were also slave quarters, an ice house, and things like that. After touring the grounds, we went through the house. It was beautiful, as one would expect, but Monticello is more note-worthy for what Jefferson put in it. There's an elaborate clock that uses weights to keep a record of what day it is on the wall; a set of doors that when you start to close one, the other automatically closes; portraits and busts of notable individuals of the time so Monticello-residents would know what they looked like; a dumb-waiter strictly for wine; closets built into walls above beds so space isn't wasted.

It's a technologically-savvy house — unsurprising then, that it took Jefferson 40 years to finish it. He began when he was 26 and continued improving it. I've visited plenty of notable houses — presidents, authors, castles, palaces — but Monticello is the first one where the inhabitant has put that much thought into the house. Monticello really is Thomas Jefferson.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Day Trip from D.C.

Mount Vernon, George Washington's house, is less than an hour's drive from D.C. and a pretty way to get out of the city.

The gardens are also quite pretty, although a few weeks earlier the flowers would have been a little more lively.

If you go in the springtime you'll get to see the farm animals out and about. This includes a pair of talkative lambs, who were racing each other along the fence.

After visiting Mount Vernon, it's a half-hour drive to Old Town Alexandria, which is one of my favorite spots — King Street is lined with shops and restaurants, and there's a nice view of the water.

Restaurant Eve has a lunchtime bar menu, and you get to pick any two items for $13.50. I had a great salad with blue cheese and golden raisins and a sandwich of pork and piquillo peppers. Another delicious item included this little birthday cake, which is just about a million times cuter than any cupcake I've ever seen.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Things to Read

Liberty Tree, a new H Street, NE eatery, offers clam pizza, lobster pot pie, and Larry Bird-era Celtics photos in the bathroom.

• I saw the Folger's production of Hamlet last week and really liked it. Here are some other Prince of Denmark-inspired events taking place this month.

• Eating locally can be a challenge; I talked to Erin Littlestar from Sweetgreen for tips.

• The farmers markets are here! I went to Mount Pleasant this weekend and got a ridiculously delicious goat cheese, along with other items. Here's a list of local markets.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Georgetown French Market & Dolcezza Artisanal Gelato’s Grand Opening Party

We're getting to the time of year when there are so many fun things going on that it is impossible to do them all. I have dinner plans at Liberty Tavern tonight, a high tea with some food writers tomorrow, and yoga on Sunday afternoon. It's a lot, especially since lately my weeks have been so jam-packed I plan nothing for weekends.

But this weekend I also want to go to Georgetown's French Market, which runs Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Wisconsin Ave. between P Street and Reservoir Road. Shops will be offering big sales and there will be French treats like crepes and merguez.

I also want to go to the Dupont Circle Farmers Market (my markets, the U Street and Mt. Pleasant markets, open next weekend), especially since it also happens to be the opening party for Dolcezza Artisanal Gelato’s new Dupont outpost at 1704 Connecticut Ave. From 12-6 p.m., there will be smoked pork and free gelato.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Celebrate Earth Day

Happy Earth Day! Though D.C. has become a whole lot more eco-friendly since the plastic bag tax took effect, there's more we can do. Many restaurants and other spots are holding special events today — here are some especially fun ones:

Poste Moderne Brasserie will be roasting a 400-pound pig in the courtyard with $4 food and drink specials from 5:30 to 8:00. Proceeds will go to Washington Youth Garden and Beet Street Gardens.

Jackson 20 kicks of its new “Late Night Blackout” Happy Hour, which starts at 11 p.m. The restaurant will turn off the lights and serve by candlelight throughout the spring and summer.

• The Phillips Collection hosts a special event in conjunction with the Georgia O’Keeffe: Abstraction exhibition. There will be a panel discussion with Maryland winemaker Robert Lyons, chef Nora Pouillon of Restaurant Nora, and Pennsylvania farmer Mark Toigo of Toigo Orchards about local food and the landscape. A tasting follows. The event, at 6:30 p.m., is $15 and free for members. Sign up on the Phillips web site.

Tallula is holding a four-course sustainable dinner tonight at 7 p.m. for $85. Dishes include bison carpaccio, and wines are local Virginia wines with a smaller carbon footprint. Get more info and sign up here.