Weekend Highlights: Street Art, Rain, Rosé and my Cat in a Hat

It was another rainy weekend 😦 I’m sure you’re just as tired of this dreary weather as I am. We did get a bit of a break on Friday so I jumped at the opportunity to rosé (that’s a verb right? lol) with a few girlfriends on my roof. With #LanguedocDay coming up on May 27th, I thought it would be fun to focus try different pink wines from that part of France. 

Rosé from the Languedoc region

I already had a bottle of Chateau Lascaux AOC Languedoc rosé 2015 and a La Tour Boisee 2015 Minervois rosé that had been sent to me by a publicist and I picked up a bottle of Domaine Sainte Eugenie 2015 Corbieres rosé at my local wine shop Eye Street Cellars to round up the tasting. I love rosé and I’m especially biased towards those from Provence (I mean, my grandparents lived in Bandol afterall…) but I also  very much enjoy those from the Languedoc Roussillon region, which also borders the Mediterranean and extends from Provence to the Spanish border and the Pyrenées mountains. Most of the wines produced in the regions are great value wines so you should definitely pick up a bottle this week and open it on Friday to celebrate #LanguedocDay!

Saturday was another rain-fest but I did venture out to NoMa to check out the opening celebrations for Pow! Wow! DC. Pow! Wow! is a curated murals festival and global network of artists that started as a street art festival in Hong Kong and Hawaii. Under the direction of local creative Kelly Towles, 19 street artists from all over the world like INSA from London or Caratoes from Hong Kong will bring 7 new murals to walls in NorthEast Washington over the next week. I can’t wait to see all the finished murals so let’s hope they all get a bit of a reprise from the rain! 

Pow wow street art festival in Washington DC

 

I didn’t stay too long at the opening celebration since it was outdoors (not super fun in the cold rain) and I had plans to meet up with Mardi Michels from eat. live. travel. write. Mardi is one of the very first blogger I really followed, especially on social media, and it was super fun to finally meet her in person after all these years of online friendship. She was in town for a fun conference on writing your own cookbook organized by Smithsonian Associates. They always throw the best events, like the really cool panel and wine tasting for the 40th anniversary of the “judgement of Paris!” We had a few cocktails at China Chilcano (the five spice old fashioned is my fave there!) and it was so lovely to hang out with her. She’s walking parts of the camino de Santiago this summer, which my husband and I are planning on doing in 2019 (yes, I’m planning that far ahead!) and I can’t wait to follow along her walking adventures!

I went from meeting someone I felt I have known for years to celebrating with a friend I have actually known for years. Colleen is one of my oldest friends here in the District, we met in grad school at the George Washington University, around the same time that I met my husband and she was a witness at our civil ceremony. Well, she recently got engaged to a guy that’s not only great, but also happens to be French! He proposed during a recent cruise of the Mediterranean and it was lovely to celebrate the happy news with both of them and some of their other close friends. 

Colleen and Tarek are engaged!

 

I may have celebrated a little too much and Sunday I did NOTHING. Except watch the rain from inside my warm apartment and give my cat way more attention than she wanted. But I  mean, how cute is that hat? 

Cat in the hat
And I’m obsessed with the cat filter on snapchat filter!! Speaking of snapchat… are we friends yet? My username is laetitiabrock (<– click here!).

cat

How was your weekend? How tired of all this rain are you? 

Cat-Ladying at Crumbs & Whiskers

This isn’t my first cat café post – cue in my previous posts on New York’s Meow Parlour and Paris’ Café des Chats. It’s not even my first post about Crumbs and Whiskers – see post on the launch of its kickstarter campaign. But it is my first post on DC’s eagerly anticipated cat café since it opened. And it’s my first post since actually going there!! My friend Cecile who writes The Worldly Bites has Gentlemeow Club member status so we snagged 2 weeknight spots during opening month and went to go play with the kittiens last night. Let me take you through our experience at Crumbs and Whiskers

Crumbs and Whiskers House Rules

 

Cat café is actually a bit of a misnomer when it comes to Crumbs and Whiskers. Yes, there’s cats. Plenty of them actually. But it’s not really a café at all. It’s more of a space to hang out with cats. The 2-story Georgetown house on O Street is actually quite narrow. The foyer, despite the best effort of the resident cat-greeter and of the café’s bubbly owner Kanchan Singh, is not really the most welcoming area. Upon checking in for your appointed time slot, you’ll be asked to sign a waiver if you haven’t already done so online and shown a quick menu of drink items, like coffee, that can be ordered and delivered from the place across the street. Unlike at Meow Parlour, you’re not required to disinfect your hands or take off your shoes, which is good because I’m not sure where you’d be able to store them at Crumbs and Whiskers. I’ll be curious to see how they handle coats this winter… After glancing at the house rules that are stated on the entrance wall, cat-lovers can make their way through the first floor or up the stairs to find a spot to settle at. Which is easier said than done. By the time Cecile and I arrived, at 6PM on the dot, and checked it, all the seats at the café were occupied by either a sleeping cat or a lady desperately waiting for a cat, any cat, to wake up. 

Crumbs & Whiskers

 

Quite frankly, Crumbs and Whiskers felt crowded. The cats looked peaceful and relaxed. Most were sleeping, which is what cats do, and that seemed amazing given how and busy everyone was around them. The minute a cat would wake up or show any willingness to play it would be surrounded by 5 girls all trying to get its attention. At Meow Parlour, in New York, my friend Caitlin and I sat and chatted peacefully while sipping the cups of coffee we had brought in from the Parlour’s coffee and macaron shop around the corner. A handful of other people were doing the same, playing with the occasional awake kitty that would deign pay attention to them for a few minutes before hopping off to a higher spot. Same in Paris’ Café des Chats, which actually is more of a tea-house than a ca and serves a full menu of food items since, you know, the French aren’t as uptight about food regulations 😉  At both, patrons seemed to be enjoying each other’s company, in a nice place that just happened to have a lot of cats. At Crumbs and Whiskers it felt more like people were only there to see (and play with) cats. 

Crumbs & Whiskers

All in all, I’m glad I checked out Crumbs and Whiskers but I probably won’t be back until the hype dies down a little. And when I do go back, I’ll pick a time slot that will be less busy, like the middle of the day on a Tuesday for example. But I’ll definitely encourage you to visit if you’re looking to adopt a cat (or more), though, again, not on evenings or weekends. All of the resident-kitties at Crumbs and Whiskers are available for adoptions through the Washington Humane Society and 9 of them have already moved on to forever home, which is really great given that the café has only been open for a month. As for me, if I want to get ignored by a black cat, I might save $10 and stay at home for now 😉 

Crumbs & Whiskers

Postcard from New York: Meow Parlour

Meow ParlourCrumbs & Whiskers‘ kickstarter campaign has raised over $35,000, has gotten all of the necessary permits from the D.C. government and, this just in, officially signed a lease for a Georgetown location. So Washington is definitely getting a cat café in the near future though it probably won’t open until late summer. And until it does, I thought I’d share what I hope Crumbs & Whiskers will be like. And that’s basically Meow Parlour.

Meow Parlour is New York’s first, adn to date only, cat café. Or perhaps I should say a space with cats, where you can bring coffee purchased at another location around the corner. Unlike Paris’ cat cafe, Cafe des Chats (which actually is more of a teahouse than a café), D.C.’s Crumbs & Whiskers will also technically not really be a café. The US has stricter restrictions on food service industry regulations that basically mandate that kitchens be not only cat-free but also in a completely separate space. When I talked to Crumbs & Whiskers‘ founder, Kanchan Singh, at her kickstarter campaign launch (yes, I’m pretty into this cat café business) she mentioned partnering with a food provider in order to comply with health code regulations. Just like at Meow Parlour, you’ll basically be paying for play time with kitties… and you can chose to bring in pastries and/or coffee from an approved vendor along. For Meow Parlour, that approved vendor is Macaron Parlour, an East Village bakery I first discovered when it was just a booth at Union Square Holiday Market and have enjoyed visiting since, even when they make crazy flavours like Cheetos macarons (which are actually quite delicious by the way). Macarons and cats are basically two of my favourite things, so the minute online reservations opened for Meow Parlour I booked two spots to check it out during a business trip to New York. I dragged my friend Caitlin, who may not love cats nearly as much as I do, but can’t resist the appeal of macarons, and checking out a hot new local business.

Before getting to Meow Parlour, we actually swung by Meow Parlour Patisserie just around the corner to pick up a coffee and some macarons, including some adorable Hello Kitty looking ones.

Meow Parlour

We then entered Meow Parlour, where the first thing we were asked to do is sign a lengthy waiver, take off our shoes and sanitize our hands. In New York in February this wasn’t my favourite thing to do so if you go, be warned: wear pretty socks or make sure you’ve got a good pedicure going! Once inside, you’ll find the space bright, clean and chic. Also, of course, full of cats! There’s definitely a strong cat-theme but everything is done very tastefully. There’s a wall of cats of course, with pictures of the current residents along with their “purrsonality type” but there’s no tacky cat trees.

Wall of cats at Meow Parlour

Instead there’s a full wall bookshelf with nooks and crannies and holes that allow the kittens to hop up and down, hide in scratchers at the top or lay next to you and a tasteful Le Chat pillows as you read The Cat in The Hat (or another cat themed book) from the library.

I love the design of the space at Meow Parlous! (picture courtesy Meow Parlour)

Meow Parlour

Meow Parlour

Before even entering Meow Parlour, you’ll probably spot a few kitties observing the traffic on Hester Street from oversized white wooden letters that spell the word “meow” at the floor to ceiling window at the front.

Meow Parlour

Meow Parlour

Back towards the shelves, there’s also soft cushions on the floors surrounding low hexagonal white coffee tables with see-through tops and cat beds inside, as well as cat head shaped holes on the sides. There’s typically a cat or two inside the table as well and you can watch them sleep peacefully 😉 If you’re here to get some work done, there’s high top tables and free wi-fi. Cats, it is a well known fact, love nothing more than laying on computer keyboards while you’re trying to write a blog post… so hopefully you have realistic expectations about how much work you can actually get done at Meow Parlour. And if you just want to play with some cats, there’s plenty of toys laying around and plenty of cats willing to chase stuff around.

Meow Parlour

Meow Parlour

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Since visiting, I have loved following Meow Parlour on social media since it opened. That’s another thing that the New York cat cafe does really well and I can’t believe there’s actually someone on their payroll whose job it is to hang out with cats of day, take pictures of them and post them on social media (follow Meow Parlour on twitter, instagram and facebook). Add the fact that there’s macarons involved in the business too and, well, you can pretty much guess this is my dream job. All jokes aside (I’m actually not really joking) the folks at Meow Parlour do a great job of updating followers on new resident kittens and on letting them know who found his or her forever home. Because, of course, all of the cats at Meow Parlour are available for adoption. In that regard, Meow Parlour and Crumbs & Whiskers, which will follow the same model, are kind of halfway houses for cats… it’s not quite like being in a shelter and the idea is that they shouldn’t stay there very long. I can only hope that Crumbs & Whiskers will be as tastefully a space as Meow Parlour and that it will enjoy the same level of adoption rates. There’s definitely been a lot of turn-over at Meow Parlour since it’s opened and that’s a sign that it’s doing something right! I certainly hope for the same success rate for the cats at Crumbs & Whiskers, which will all come from the Washington Humane Society.

If you’re interested in checking out Meow Parlour when you’re in New York, they take a limited number of walk-ins so you should definitely consider making a reservation online at meowparlour.com. A half hour of kitty time will set you back $4 and you can book up to 5 hours. They have children hours too if you have kids (check the website for details). Meow Parlour is at 46 Hester Street in the Lower East Side, and Meow Parlour Patisserie is around the corner at 34 Ludlow Street. All pictures unless otherwise noted were taken by me back in February 2015.