Joyeux Anniversaire The Phillips Collection!

The Phillips Collection just turned 90 and has been celebrating all year long, offering $90 membership, getting D.C. area chefs to compete in creating art inspired birthday cake (you can read more about the cakes on my friend Olga’s blog) and now by throwing a birthday bash on November 5th, which Mayor Gray has officially proclaimed Phillips Collection Day. In honnor of the Degas’s Dancers at the Barre: Point and Counterpoint exhibit, (which opened on October 1st and lasts through January 8th, 2012) the all-day celebration will have a ballet theme, with free admission to see the Degas paintings as well as guest ballerinas from the Kirov Academy of Ballet of Washington, D.C. stretching in the galleries. There will also be children’s activities (like hands-on art making), cupcakes in the morning, champagne in the evening and music all day, including a Parisian-inspired accordionist!

In addition to the anniversary bash on November 5th, there’s a number of ways to celebrate the French impressionist’s exhibit around town. For out-of-towners, the Fairmont Washington D.C. is offering a “Degas Ballerina” package that includes accomodation for two, 2 tickets to the exhibit at The Phillips Collection, a ballet-inspired pastry and a mini puzzle from the Phillips Collection featuring Degas’ Dancer at the Barre. [For more information and/or to book, please visit the Fairmont’s website] The Sofitel DC is also celebrating fellow Frenchie Degas with a Dancers Package that includes 2-nights accomodation at the luxurious laffayette Square hotel, breakfast and tickets to the exhibit. [Email: birthe.konkobo@sofitel.com for more information or for reservations] Locals -and tourists too- can enjoy some Degas themed menu items at Urbana Restaurant and Wine Bar. I missed the Phillips After 5 last week when Obi Emenyonu of Urbana demo-ed how to make the “Degas Dance” cocktail but I still made it to Urbana to try it. I’m not going to lie, the combination of Absolut Peach Vodka, peach Schnapps, Amaretto, cranberry juice, muddled plums and fresh lime juice makes for a *very* sweet drink but exhibit ticket holders can try it for free with the purchase of an entrée. Phillips Collection members will also receive a complimentary dessert that Chef John Critchley created for the exhibit: a sugar plum ice cream, that sounds as sweet as the delicate dancers Degas was fascinated with!
The sweet Degas Dance cocktail at Urbana Restaurant and Wine Bar
All dinners can also enjoy a three-course prix-fixe “Dinner at the barre” menu which for $50 includes: a complimentary Degas cocktail or glass of house wine, an amuse bouche, your choice of appetizer and main course and the house-made sugar plum ice cream for dessert. If you do make it to Urbana this fall, I highly recommend the pappardelle. I’m pretty sure ths rich pasta dish made with squid ink pasta and a luscious lobster tail is not what ballerinas eat on a daily basis, but it was a real stand-out in my books stomach 😉

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