My 2018 D.C. Holiday Season To Do List

Last year, Tammy Gordon of Florida Girl in DC made this awesome #DCChristmasChallenge Holiday To Do List. I crossed off many items on her list but thought I’d make my own this year!

1. Attend a Christmas Tree Lighting
I didn’t enter the lottery for tickets to the 2018 National Christmas Tree Lighting so it won’t be that one but there are lots of options like City Center (November 24 at 6PM), the Norwegian Christmas Tree at Union Station (November 29 at 6PM) or the Capitol Christmas Tree (December 5 at 5PM) or  to list a few. Have a fave? Let me know!! This year I’m leaning towards attending the Canadian Embassy’s La Soirée – A Holiday Tree Lighting Celebration on December 5th which benefits the United Way of the National Capital Area. 

2. Visit Zoolights at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo

 

3. Try Every Cocktail on the Menu at Drink Company’s Miracle on 7th Street 
Stealing that one straight from Tammy’s list because it’s a good one! I cannot wait to see how Derek Brown and his Drink Company pop-up elves decorate the bars this year… and try all the festive cocktails of course! And speaking of Derek, don’t forget to pre-order his book Spirits Sugar Water Bitters: Cocktail: An American Story on amazon. I know  it only comes out in March, but it’ll still make a great belated Christmas gift! Of course this isn’t the only bar doing something special for the holidays. There’s also “Chai-vy and Cohen-y” that will host menorah lightings at 7:30 p.m. on each night of Hanukkah (December 2-9) with dreidel-spinning and latkes and Archapelago that’s going tiki for the holidays. 

4. Cuddle up and watch a Christmas Movie
What’s your favourite? I’m biased towards Love Actually for English-language movie and Le père Noël est une ordure, of course, for french films (check out this hilarious scene!) but there are lots of great options on Netflix now too. 

5. Buy Someone (or myself!) a gift at one of D.C.’s Christmas Markets
SO. Many. Christmas. Markets. From the more traditional Downtown Holiday Market to the Heurich House Museum Christkindlmarkt, the Swedish Christmas Bazaar or DC Brau’s 5th Annual Holiday Market, there are LOTS of options. 

 

6. Sing Christmas Carols at the Willard 
No hotel does Christmas quite like the historical Willard InterContinental. The Pennsylvania Avenue hotel (which also plays hosts to the White House Thanksgiving turkeys during that holiday!) has the best decorations and every night in December, a different vocal ensemble performs in the lobby between 5:30 and 7:00PM. Bonus: grabbing drinks afterwards at the Round Robin Bar and there’s usually a really fabulous gingerbread house to admire too! You can check out the full schedule here.

7. Go say hello to Old Ebbitt’s Giant Nutcrackers
Maybe have some half priced oysters during happy hour while I’m there 😉 

8. Go on a holiday themed run 
I had a blast last year’s at Pacers’ Holiday themed run. I only did the three miles route, but of course, I’m a more experience runner now so I hope to make it to the 5 miles route that goes to more Christmas trees now! Also, I hope to have a better costume this year 😉

 

9. Check out how Alexandria, VA does Christmas
Last year, I really wanted to check out the Holiday Boat Parade of Lights, when dozens of brightly lit boats cruise the Potomac River at the historic waterfront in Alexandria. The timing just didn’t work out… and I’ve also never seen the Scottish Christmas Walk Parade 😦 Luckily, Port City Brewing Company is giving me an extra incentive to go this year with a Pop-Up Beer Garden During Parade of Lights on December 1 (4:00-8:00PM). Sounds super fun. The Scottish Christmas Walk Parade is also earlier that day (11:00AM) so hopefully I’ll make it to one or both! But Alexandria’s Boat Parade of Lights has some competition since the District is also having one at The Wharf later that day… (6:00-8:00PM) and let’s be honest, it’s the same boats and that’s a lot more convenient (and there are some fab restaurants I haven’t checked out yet!)

10. Do Something Good for Others
As much as I love soaking up the festive spirits of the holiday season, Christmas can be a stressful or downright sad time for many families and people. Whether it’s volunteering some of my time, donating food or gifts or all of the above, it’s important to do something for the less fortunate this time of year. 

11. Stroll along the streets of Georgetown during Georgetown GLOW
This year, the neighborhood-wide public art exhibition will take place from December 1, 2018, to January 6, 2019, and feature the work of local, regional, and international light artists in public and privately-owned spaces. Glow is one of my favourite public art display in D.C. I can’t wait.

 

12. Get my photo with Santa
Just throwing that one in there because why not? Also, Santa will be at Wundergarten’s Winterfest December 8 from 2-4PM so that might be a good time to catch him… 

13. Get all Dressed up for a Christmas Party
Someone invite me to a fancy Christmas party please!! Bonus: wear an ugly sweater. I bought a pretty neat one last year, would love to find an opportunity to wear it 😉

14. Check out Mr. Holidays and the Barbie Pond on Q Street Holiday Displays
Christmastime is Greg Nelson’s favourite time of year and he goes all out decorating his house on 16th street. And I love it! The Barbies don’t disappoint either usually.

 

15. Find a Small Way to celebrate Hanukkah
While my mother’s heritage is Jewish, I wasn’t brought up in that faith (or any actually) and I never really celebrated Hanukkah. I do like to find little ways to mark the festival of lights, from going to a menorah lighting (public or someone’s home), cooking latkes (Gather DC has a great round-up of recipes), attending Sixth & I Synagogue’s My So Called Jewish Life (great event event if you’re not Jewish! This year it’s on December 5) or donating to a Jewish charity. And if all that fails, I can also head to “Chai-vy and Cohen-y” or  attend Cassarole’s Second Annual People’s Hanukkah Party 😉 

Let’s see how many of these I can cross off during the holiday season (which I will generously start the day after Thanksgiving!) What’s on YOUR holidays to-do-list? 

So You Wanna Visit the White House…? Part Deux ~ the Arrival Ceremony Edition

Two years ago, I wrote this blog post with some tips for people wanting to visit the White House. Even with Trump in office, the post is mostly still relevant. If you reside in the United States, you can still request a tour from your congressional office (congressman or senator.) Melania Trump has also continued the tradition of opening the grounds of the White House for Garden Tours twice a year (the last one was a few weeks ago on April 14-15, 2018) so that option is still available to at least visit the South lawn. Since writing that post, I have had the opportunity to visit the White House on two new occasions. Last December, I toured the East Wing during one of the holiday tours. That was neat, if only to see the portrait of Hilary in there that you know Trump must just hate. And this just in, on Tuesday April 24th,  I *finally* got the chance to attend an arrival ceremony. Oh, and it was a good one! 

You may recall (though probably not) back in 2014, the White House social media team had invited me to attend Francois Hollande’s arrival ceremony BUT I had a previously scheduled work trip to New York that I simply couldn’t get out of. I’m no Hollande fan but I was super bummed nonetheless. My friend Kaylé, who was in attendance, wrote a lovely guest post recap for me but I had basically been hoping for another opportunity since then. And yesterday, I got it and it was truly an honour and once-in-a-lifetime experience for me to stand among some of my fellow countrymen/women and expats as we timidly sang La Marseillaise steps away from the American president, the first lady and, of course, my own president and his wife Brigitte. A president I had actually voted for this time around too! The cherry on top of the gâteau was also going to French Embassy that afternoon for a more intimate event celebrating our president being here in D.C. Here’s a not-so-quick recap of my amazing super-French day:

In a nutshell, I spent all day standing in line to go through security, then standing around waiting for Macron, then standing around while Macron spoke. It was a lot of standing around and waiting, but it was absolutely worth it! The arrival ceremony was scheduled to start at 9AM, and since the gates opened as early as 6:30AM I decided to get there at 7AM in case the line at security was long. It wasn’t. Actually, it was kind of a breeze. I was assigned to the Blue Gate, which was a smaller entrance and even though I had to give my name to 5 different interns before getting to the metal detectors, it all went very quickly and very smoothly.

After being given both a French and an American flag, as well as a program, I entered from the same spot as I had back in December except this time I was shown the door to the South Lawn.  I had been given a red pin when I checked it and that was meant to notify the staff of which section I was supposed to stand in. With my back to the White House, that section was basically immediately to the right of the podium, which I could see perfectly, if slightly from the back. I also could perfectly see the door from which Donald and Melania would be walking out, and then walking back in with Brigitte and Emmanuel and I was surrounded by Frenchies so I was pretty happy with my situation as I waited an hour for things to start happening.

I should have known this view was too good to be true 😉

Officials like Betsy DeVos or Jared Kushner began to trickle in. Their section was on the other side of the podium from me. And then two black mini-buses dropped off the French delegation. Luck would have it, said French delegation’s “assigned viewing spot” happened to be on the other side of the rope from my section. And while it was kinda cool to have Christine Lagarde basically right in front of me, I no longer could see anything.

First world problems: Christine Lagarde blocks your view of the presidential podium.

As we got closer to 9AM, secret service agents also started popping up all over the place and they all tend to be pretty tall . More officials arrived (hello Mike Pence!) and my previously beautiful view of the door and the podium was also a thing of the past.

Turns out Christine was the least of my problems 😉  Can you spy Stephen Miller and John Bolton’s mustache on this picture? The white hair next to Stephen Miller is the Veep too!

Slightly behind schedule, the programming finally begun with music and lots of flags — it was beautiful seeing French flags everywhere!

Donald and Melania Trump stepped out of the White House, a black car dropped off Brigitte and Emmanuel Macron, everyone was trying to take pictures and videos with their phones and since I’m barely 1m55 I didn’t catch any of that. Well, occasionally I could spot Melania’s hat. I guess it was pretty useful that way.

Big secret service head, small Donald and Melania Trump

Can you spy Emmanuel Macron in there? Also, Stephen Miller’s balding head.                     I told you I couldn’t escape it 😉

They reviewed the troops together, which I also couldn’t see, and before I knew it, they were playing the French national anthem and firing the traditional 21 gun salute. The French are never shy about singing La Marseillaise. Unlike the Star Spangled Banner, it is very easy to belt out even if you are the worse singer in the world but my entire section of Frenchies was pretty timid this time around, whispering the lyrics as if unsure whether it was an appropriate thing to do at the White House. And maybe it isn’t… because I didn’t hear the Americans sign along their anthems either. After the anthems, there were speeches from each of the leaders, starting with Trump in English then Macron in French. Before heading inside the house for their tête-à-tête, the two leaders and their wives spent some time on the balcony waving at us. At least I definitely got to see that!!

Getting out of the White House was a breeze as well. It was pretty early and we wanted to sit down for a bit, grab a bite to eat (and some warm coffee! It was a bit damp and cold, though luckily it didn’t rain!) and charge our phones before heading to the Embassy. I had spotted Eric Kayser, who was part of the official delegation, fan-girling over the event a few people away from me in the Frenchie section and figured his Metro Center restaurant would be our best bet since it was only 10:00AM. Turns out everyone had the same idea and everyone was there, including Eric himself. We still had a lovely lunch and then it was time to get into another line, this time for the embassy event. I don’t know how well you know the French but we are *incapable* of queue-ing up like polite, respectful people. The line was a hot mess and it didn’t help that we had to wait longer because Macron was running behind schedule (the French are also bad about being on time!) Even after we gotten in we still had to wait and wait and wait.

Just a bunch of Frenchies waiting for Emmanuel Macron at the French Embassy

Around 5PM, Brigitte came by to say hi to us, which I thought was pretty amazing since she had a big dinner to get ready for. I got to shake her hand and thank her for coming before she hopped on stage and joked about having to leave to attend to her chignon but ensuring us that her husband was worth the wait.

Brigitte Macron: “Il faut que j’aille m’occuper de mon chignon.”

And he was. There wasn’t much of an announcement that he was coming but all of the sudden we heard his voice on the speakers, awarding the Legion d’Honneur, France’s highest order of merit for military and civil merits, to three World War Two veterans: Robert Ewald who participated in D-Day at Omaha Beach, Stanley Rzucidlo who landed on Gold Beach on June 7, 2044 and William Barr who was in Air Force and dropped some bombs on German forces in Normandy and North of France. Once Macron jumped on stage, they wheeled Mr. Barr over to a corner of the stage so that he could watch the intervention as well. I’m not sure whether he understood everything but I could see him from where I was standing and I had the honor of being able to talk to him afterwards.  That was probably one of the most special moment of the whole for me. But back to Macron.

William Barr soaks in Macron’s speech, proudly wearing his brand new Legion d’Honneur (and yes, that IS Eric Kayser right behind him…)

Since he was so behind schedule, he spoke only for only maybe 15 minutes, praising the many French teachers in the room and the representatives of the many Alliances Francaises in the United States who do so much to promote our language here. Of course, we’ve all heard it before from other presidents but the truth is it’s really hard to afford a French education for your children. Bottom line: Rochambeau is not cheap!

Channeling his inner John F. Kennedy, he prompted us to ask ourselves what we can do for our country, because our country needs us before leading us in a much more enthusiastic Marseillaise than the one we had sang that morning. He shook a few hands on his way out and then everyone basically threw themselves on the wine and cheese waiting for us in the next room. And I mean “threw” rather literally 😉

The wine was from Jean-Luc Colombo, who  was part of the French delegation that came with Macron on the trip, and most of the catering was done by Kayser with some assistance from the Embassy kitchen. There were trays of mimolette and pâté en croûte and cheese and financiers and macarons and French people who seemed to starving the way they behave at the buffet tables (just like we can’t behave in a queue, we’re also not disciplined enough for buffets….) I always love going to these special events at the embassy because you get to catch up with people you don’t see very often since *everyone* is there. And make new French acquaintances of course. I love our little community here. But just like that, the day was over. I’ve been on such a Macron high since Monday, following all his appearances and speeches either on the news, via his facebook lives or, on Tuesday in particular, in real life… France was first and foremost in the news, and not in a bad or sad way like after a terror attack. There were French flags all over downtown D.C. And now it’s all over like it was just a dream… 

 

Washington, D.C. To-Do List for Thanksgiving Weekend

Guess who’s stuck in Washington, D.C. for Thanksgiving? 

Not Taylor Swift, me 😉 If you’re raising your hand too, I’ve got a few ideas of things you can do to still have a fabulous weekend in the city.

VOLUNTEER

So you have no family here or you’re stuck having to work on Friday… guess what, there are people who have it worse than you. So why not give back and help those less fortunate. The D.C. Jewish Community Center hosts a number of “everything but the turkey” volunteer events between Sunday November 19th and Tuesday November 21st (including one that is family friendly.) All of the shifts to assist with thanksgiving food preparation the week of Thanksgiving are already full at Food & Friends but you can still buy one of the Thanksgiving Pies they are selling to benefit their Slice of Life initiative (that one’s a win-win for everyone involved!). The Holiday Helpings opportunities at Bread for the City are also mostly all filled up (we’re obviously a city that loves to volunteer!) but you can still find some openings by looking through their volunteer opportunity calendar here. You can also participate in one of the region’s many Turkey Trots like the one benefiting SOME at Freedom Plaza on Thursday, November 23, 2017.

SOME is also accepting Thanksgiving donation baskets at 71 O Street on Friday, November 17 (8AM-4PM), Saturday November 18 (10AM-1PM) and Monday November 20 (8AM-4PM). You can learn more about this opportunity and what they need <here>

SEE A SHOW/PLAY/CONCERT/GAME

There’s always something happening at the newly re-branded Capitol One Arena in Chinatown. During Thanksgiving week, we’re looking at Lady gaga on Sunday, November 19th, hockey games on Saturday (Capitals vs Minnesota), Monday (vs. Calgary), Wednesday (vs. Ottawa) and Friday (vs. Tampa Bay) or basketball (Wizards vs. Portland on Saturday November 25. Other concerts include St. Vincent, performing at D.C.’s newest venue The Anthem on November 27 or Diplo at Echostage November 25th. On the more classical side, the National Symphony Orchestra will perform the score from Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets while audiences relive the magic of the film on giant screens (November 24-25 and 26.)

Picture courtesy of the Kennedy Center

And of course, the Nutcracker starts at the Kennedy Center too… because Christmas. That means yep, A Christmas Carol is back at Ford’s Theater too. Less Christmas-y, you can catch performances of Twelfth Night by the Shakespeare Theater Company at Sidney Harman Hall (November 14-December 20th, tickets here), Nina Simone: Four Women at Arena Stage (November 10-December 24, tickets here) or The Second City Presents ‘Nothing to Lose (But Our Chains)’ (November 11 – December 31) at Woolly Mammoth Theater.  

CHECK OUT AN EXHIBIT OR A NEW MUSEUM

The University of Iowa Museum of Art was kind enough to loan us Jackson Pollock’s ‘Mural’, the artist’s largest work which will be on display at the National Gallery of Art’s East Building starting November 19th. While you’re there, you can still catch the Vermeer and the Masters of Genre Painting exhibit which opened on the West Building a few weeks ago.  And since the Freer Gallery of Art just reopened after nearly two years of renovations, why not check out its Divine Felines: Cats of Ancient Egypt exhibit (Miaou! open through January 15, 2018 at the Sackler Galleries), Encountering the Buddha: Art and Practice across Asia (open through November 2020) or instagram your way through Subodh Gupta: ‘Terminal a new large-scale installation made from towers of brass containers that are connected by thread.

Image courtesy of the Hauser & Wirth Gallery

You can also catch the last few days of Kingdom of Colors at Artechouse. The  immersive visual experience, designed by French filmmaker Thomas Blanchard and artist Oilhack (with a soundtrack by Lyon-based composer Leonardo Villiger), closes November 26th. And there will be 5 augmented reality cocktails at this one! Finally, if that’s your thing, you can also visit D.C.’s newest museum, the Museum of the Bible, which will open November 17 (tickets are free.)

START CELEBRATING THE HOLIDAY SEASON

It might be Thanksgiving weekend, but as soon I’ve you’ve digested that Turkey the city is all about the holidays. Thanksgiving weekend is really Christmas season’s first weekend and you can get into the holiday spirits at one of those events:

  • Season’s Greenings, the United States Botanical Garden annual holiday show, opens Friday, November 23 (and runs through January 1, 2018.) Tickets are free but you might want to wait until a little later in December when the crowds die down a little. There will be a number of special evenings as well throughout the month with live music… and less children! You can read my recap of the 2015 edition right here.

  • Get a head start on buying those Christmas presents at the Downtown Holiday Market, whose tents will start appearing by the National Portrait Gallery as early as Saturday November 24.  
  • If the weather is nice, you can head to the National Zoo for ZooLights, a fun display of LED Christmas lights. (Free admission; 5-9 PM daily; November 24 – January 1, 2018)
  • CityCenterDC will light its impressive 75 feet tall holiday tree on Saturday, November 25 (6 PM) Also making an appearance, the 25-foot reindeer (I love those!)  
  • Donald Trump and his family will also be lighting the National Christmas Tree that Saturday. You had to enter a lottery to go to the actual ceremony but you can also just go check it out on Sunday instead. In addition to the National Christmas Tree, each state and US Territory has a smaller tree on display in President’s Park. 

 

Le Beaujolais Nouveau is Arriving at These 6 French Spots

Beaujolais Nouveau 2016

Ten days after the U.S. elections and one week before Thanksgiving, it’s time to celebrate a French holiday for a change: the arrival of the first wine of the season, le Beaujolais Nouveau. As always, it happens on the third Thursday of November, so unless you were up until 2 a.m. celebrating at Bistrot du Coin today’s the day! Here are 10 French restaurants and wine bars marking the occasion around town.

Cafe du Parc at the Willard InterContinental will be offering free George Duboeuf Beaujolais Nouveau along with passed hors d’oeuvres at the bar on Thursday from 5-6pm. Beaujolais will also be available by the glass and as a pairing with a 4-course, prix-fixe dinner at the restaurant upstairs ($65 per person without the pairing, $85 with.)

Le Grenier on H Street will also be pouring complimentary Beaujolais at its bar from 6 to 9 pm on Thursday. 


Beaujolais Nouveau at La JambeBeaujolais is pretty cheap wine, and Chef Cedric Maupillier totally gets that.
 He’ll be offering glasses of the vin primeur for $10 a glass ($7 at the bar during happy hour) and $25 a bottle throughout his Shaw restaurant ConvivialAround the corner from Convivial, my new favourite wine bar, La Jambe is celebrating the 2016 harvest with $9 glasses of Beaujolais Nouveau ($16 for two until supplies last so make it a wine date!) which will pair perfectly with owner Anastasia Mori’s homemade charcuterie. Petworth Citizen will also be pouring some Jean Paul Brun, but they don’t have Anastasia’s rillettes though…. 

Le Beaujolais Nouveau will also arrive at Central Michel Richard, where Domaine Dupeuble – Beaujolais Nouveau will be poured (and paired with Coq au Vin!) from Thursday to Saturday. 

Coq au vin and Beaujolais at Central Michel Richard

Across the pond in Old Town, Virginia, Michelle and Christophe Poteaux have crafted a fabulous three or four course menu ($39 and $49 respectively) at Bastille, designed to pair with a Domaine Manoir du Carra Beaujolais, which will be offered for $9 a glass or $32 a bottle. (ps: Domaine Manoir du Carra has a Beaujolais rosé which you should absolutely try if you can get your hands on it!!) 

Last year’s Beaujolais Nouveau release happened just on the heels of the Paris attacks when gunmen and suicide bombers hit the bataclan concert hall, the Stade de France, restaurants and bars, almost simultaneously leaving 130 people dead and hundreds wounded. It was a little difficult mustering the usual enthusiasm that accompanies the celebration. So I’m really looking forward to it this year and you’ll find me, as usual, celebrating with dear friends at home parties rather than out and about. Will you be celebrating the release of the new 2016 harvest this year?

 

Week-end Highlights: Pho, Poutine & Playing Tourist on the Mall

Happy Monday!! How was your first weekend of fall? Friday and Sunday were absolutely beautiful here in Washington. I really wish I had made some outdoorsy plans… or that I had a car so I could be spontaneous and go play outside of the city. But I still found ways to enjoy the beautiful weather.

SUNSET ROSÉ ON THE ROOF

I’d had a busy week and I wanted to go swimming Saturday morning (call it the post Olympics effect, but I’ve been going swimming at Dunbar Aquatic Center three times a week lately) so I took it easy Friday night and just enjoyed some rosé on the roof before watching the series premiere of Designated Survivor with the husband. I found a $8.99 bottle of Coteaux Varois, Mémoires rosé de Provence at my local liquor store and really liked it. I didn’t want to spend a lot of money on a bottle and this was a good value rosé.

Sunset rose on the roof

I love this pineapple wine tumbler I scored at Marshall’s for just $2.99!

I also really liked the first episode of Designated Survivor! The show marks Kiefer Sutherland’s return to television as a low-ranking cabinet official catapulted into the nation’s top job following an act of terrorism that kills all of the U.S. government during the state of the Union. I’m definitely going to watch the next few episodes! Have you seen it? Watched any other good new shows?

FOODIE SATURDAY (OH, AND ART ALL NIGHT TOO)

I was a bit upset Saturday because we were supposed to go to Barrel Oak Winery to celebrate a friend’s birthday but ended up having to excuse ourselves since we couldn’t arrange for transportation to the vineyard (the lesson here is don’t let your husband be in charge of those kinds of arrangement, even if he’s a former classmate of the birthday girl and good friends with her husband.) I was super bummed because I really wanted to get out of the city and would have love to spend the day outdoors, with friends, sipping wine. But I did end up slightly out of the city, in the suburbs, near Morningside, Maryland (where Andrews Air Force Base is) to try my friend Madalene’s family restaurant Pho Viet. I *love* pho and the weather was actually pretty perfect for a warm bowl of Vietnamese noodle soup. It was also super fun to chat with Madalene’s mom, one of the owners of the restaurant, and her sister who was in the kitchen making the soup that day. I actually I’m looking forward to cooler temperatures only so I can have more pho 😉

The #1 pho at Pho Viet in Morningside, MD

The #1 pho with brisket, tendons, meatballs and rare beef

The eating didn’t stop there 😉 Afterwards, my friends Cecile, Aparna and I checked into Le Diplomate for the last Saturday of their summer glaces and sorbets cart. The fromage blanc and strawberry ice cream were SO good but I guess summer is definitely over 😦 And for dinner I finally tried Haikan‘s mapo tofu poutine.

Mapo Tofu Poutine at Haikan in DC

Mapo Tofu Poutine at Haikan in DC

Ice cream from le Diplomate in DC

Ice cream from Le Diplomate

I’d been wanting to try it ever since the restaurant opened. I’m still on the fence about it though. I mean, having spent 4 years in Montreal, I’m always on the lookout for poutine here in DC but I think I’m more of a purist. The tofu just isn’t a good replacement for the cheese curds for me 😉 But still, it was an interesting twist on the dish. And while we were up in North End Shaw, we checked out Art All Night. Every year I tell myself that I’m not going to compare the event to the Nuit Blanche in Paris. But it’s hard not to. Yes, it’s fun to walk around your neighbourhood after hours and discover new businesses. It’s always fun to see Batala play and witness a new mural come up, but the art part of Art All Night just really isn’t there and it’s kind of the same thing year after year… There’s been a bit of controversy about this year’s event which was rebranded from Nuit Blanche | Art All Night to Art All Night: Made in DC but they really need to step it up if they want this to be more of a cultural event and not just a glorified evening block party. Putting a couple of DJs in restaurants and on empty parking lots, with some weak projections on the walls really doesn’t cut it. 

PLAYING TOURISTS ON THE NATIONAL MALL

Sunday was absolutely gorgeous and I reeeeeeally wanted to get out of the city!!! But alas, that wasn’t meant to be. So I did the next best thing I could think of and took a really walk around the National Mall. I’m so lucky that America’s backyard also happens to be mine! Altogether, I walked some 7 miles, stopping to catch some of the music performances at the Freedom Sounds Festival and take pretty pictures of the monuments. I still would have liked to escape the city for a bit, but this wasn’t bad 😉 

Picture Perfect day at the Tidal Basin

Picture Perfect day at the Tidal Basin

What’s your favourite way to escape the city when you simply can’t get out? Let me know in the comments!!

Questions/Réponses avec Elodie & Laëtitia de Français aux USA

Depuis quelques mois je participe à un super groupe de blogueurs/blogueuses francophones sur facebook, organisé par la fabuleuse Estelle Tracy. J’étais un peu en manque d’inspiration pour mon blog et ce groupe m’a complètement re-motivée et aidée à me lancer dans les billets en français. Et en plus je suis maintenant connectée à pleins d’autres expats un peu partout dans le monde dont Laëtitia (et oui, c’est un nom très commun dans mon groupe d’âge… merci Gainsbourg! Quoique moi j’ai pas les trémas… ) et Elodie, deux expats derrière un compte instagram que j’adore: les « Français aux USA». Quand on aime, on partage! Elodie et Laëtitia ont gentiment accepter de répondre un quelques questions pour vous présenter leur projet instagram. 

Laetitia de French Fries and Apple PiesElodie de Further West

Commençons par quelques présentations… Laëtitia, à gauche, est originaire de Grenoble, habite Portland dans l’Oregon depuis 2013 et tient le blog « French Fries and Apple Pie. » Elodie  quand à elle est de Caen en Normandie, vie à Los Angeles, aussi depuis 2013 et son blog perso c’est « Further-West. »  Elles ne se connaissent en fait pas, du moins pas en personne, même si elles collaborent maintenant sur plusieurs comptes instagram. Leur « amitié virtuelle, » comme la décrit Elodie, a commencé à travers leurs blogs avant d’évoluer et j’espère qu’elles auront l’occasion de se rencontrer bientôt! En attendant, en voici un peu plus sur Les Français au… 

 

J’utilise le hashtag #FrancaisauxUSA maintenant pour quasiment toutes les photos que je prends ici… Comment est née l’idée pour ce compte ?

Laëtitia ~ Je suis passionnée de photos et adore m’évader sur instagram. Je suis beaucoup de comptes très différents notamment beaucoup d’expatrié(e)s aux Etats Unis qui me faisait découvrir de chouettes endroits aux quatre coins du pays. J’ai eu l’idée de créer cette communauté pour rassembler toutes ces photos, prises par nous, Français aux USA, sur un seul et même compte. Le but était vraiment de proposer quelque chose qui présenterait les States d’Est en Ouest, du Nord au Sud et potentiellement d’inspirer à découvrir certains coins de cet énorme pays ! Au début, je l’animais seule, mais j’avais un nourrisson et donc moins de temps pour gérer le compte. J’ai pensé qu’avoir de l’aide et un autre point de vue aussi serait super bénéfique et Elodie est la première personne à laquelle j’ai eu envie de proposer de rejoindre cette aventure instagram.

Elodie ~ Quand Laëtitia m’a proposé de modérer avec elle le compte Francais aux USA, je n’ai pas hésité une seule seconde, j’ai toujours aimé le concept, j’ai donc été très heureuse qu’elle me propose d’en faire partie !

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Le compte se décrit simplement: « Les USA vus par les Français. » Au départ, est-ce que vous envisagiez plutôt un compte d’expats ? De touristes ? Un mix des deux ? Inspiration voyage ou regard sur la vie aux Etats Unis ? 

Laëtitia ~ Le hashtag #francaisauxUSA est ouvert à tous les français qui se trouve aux Etats Unis, qu’ils y résident ou qu’ils soient de passage. Par la force des choses le hashtag est plus fréquemment utilisé par des expats que par des touristes.

Elodie ~ C’est vrai que de temps en temps on publie une photo nourriture, mais on se concentre particulièrement sur les paysages de rêves que les Etats-Unis offrent. On espère vraiment donner l’envie de voyager, mais comme ce n’est pas toujours possible ( les vacances aux US ont un prix ), on souhaite offrir la possibilité à nos followers de s’évader le temps d’une photo. On envisage vraiment le compte comme une inspiration au voyage plutôt que tranche de vie lifestyle USA. 

Un peu sur le même sujet, comment choisissez vous les photos que vous regrammez ? Est-ce qu’il y une stratégie genre géographique ou c’est juste une ou deux photos qui vous plaisent ce jour-là ?

Laëtitia ~ On essaie de publier 2 à 3 photos par jour et oui, on essaie de varier les sources et les localisations géographiques au fil de la journée. Ce n’est pas une règle stricte mais c’est naturellement quelque chose que l’on fait. Bon d’ailleurs, je lance un appel parce qu’il y a des régions totalement « délaissées » pour lesquelles nous n’avons reçu aucune photo 😉 La partie centrale des US notamment. On est convaincue qu’il y a de magnifiques endroits à découvrir dans le Nebraska, l’Ohio, le Kentucky et tous les autres …

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Elodie ~ Effectivement, beaucoup de régions des USA sont encore peu, voir pas du tout, partagées et c’est dommage. Ce ne sont pas forcément des destinations très touristiques, et nous n’avons pas encore fait « la connaissance » d’expats dans ces Etats. Pour le moment, le partage de photos reste principalement concentré sur les côtes Est et Ouest, en plus d’Etat comme le Texas, le Kansas…

 

« Français aux USA » a commencé aux Etats Unis, mais maintenant il y a d’autres comptes, notamment au Canada. Je m’étais bien amusé à tagger #FrancaisauCanada pendant mon séjour à Montréal en juillet…. Pour l’instant, c’est très Anglophone avec d’autres comptes pour l’Australie et en Angleterre… est-ce qu’il y a d’autres projets d’expansion?

Les Francais sur Instagram

Laëtitia ~ Nous avons récemment agrandie la communauté à trois nouveaux pays. Je me suis réveillée un matin et me suis dit que finalement il y avait des français un peu partout dans le monde, et du coup pourquoi pas lancer le concept sur d’autres pays. J’ai pensé au Canada en premier ( proximité oblige ) et j’en ai parlé tout de suite à Elodie. En une demi-heure on avait décidé de se lancer dans 3 nouveaux pays ( Canada, Australie et Angleterre ), de créer des nouveaux logos, de créer le compte Facebook Français Autour du Monde pour y rassembler les photos qu’on partagerait sur les différents comptes IG… bref on était hyper enthousiaste toutes les deux. Le 12 juillet on a annoncé la création des autres communautés, on a recruté des modératrices et c’était partie !

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Pour ce qui est des prochaines étapes, rien de très précis pour l’instant, si ce n’est continuer de faire grandir les comptes déjà existants et être plus assidues sur Facebook. L’idée d’avoir une présence « mondiale » est un projet qui séduit forcement… A suivre prochainement !!

Elodie ~ Je me souviens encore très bien de cet échange. Très vite, j’ai proposé le compte Français en Angleterre ( pays que j’affectionne particulièrement ). Ces nouveaux comptes sont encore petits, c’est pas facile de se faire une place sur Instagram et le compte Facebook est encore tout neuf… Cela va venir petit à petit, il suffit de mettre tout en place ! Pour ma part, j’aimerais beaucoup ajouter des pays nordiques : Suède, Finlande, Norvège. Il y a tellement de destinations qui font rêver ! 

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Donc, Français Françaises, en gros, où que vous soyez en vacances ou en permanence, commencez à utiliser le hashtag #francaisaXXXX ou #FrancaisauXXXX! En temps qu’expat, j’adore vraiment observer le monde à travers notre point de vu bien Frenchies… et puis ça me fait plaisir de voir qu’on s’exporte bien et qu’on bouge aussi! Un grand merci à Elodie et Laetitia pour avoir répondu a mes questions! N’hésitez pas à suivre leurs blogs et leur comptes instagram aussi (ici pour Laëtitia, là pour Elodie) et bien sûr le compte Français aux USA. Et pis, si vous êtes dans les états-qu’on-survole (les “Fly-Over states” comme on les appelle ici) taguez!! On veut voir du Kentucky, de l’Iowa et tout ça 😉 

Weekend Highlights: Garnacha, Hello Kitty, a Pique Nique & a Sneak Peek at NMAAHC

I can’t believe it’s already Monday! I packed a lot in three short days, and the weekend definitely flew by! Now let’s just hope the week goes just as fast too 😉 

MEXICAN INDEPENDENCE DAY AT GRAND CATA

Have you been to Grand Cata yet? It’s one of my favourite wine store in the city… and since it doesn’t carry many French bottles, that’s saying something about the rest of their selection! My first instinct when picking vino is usually to go straight for what I know, French wines but Julio and Pedro who co-own the Latin-centric shop are always spot with their recommendations. Whether it’s a Spanish garnacha, a Portuguese rose or a bottle from South America, they’ve definitely helped me step out of my wine-comfort box and explore different wine producing regions. On Friday, they held a bit of a party at their 7th street store to celebrate Mexico’s Día de la Independencia. There was Mezcal (Grand Cata sells more than just wine) and tasty maizopes courtesy of Manos de Maiz. 

Manos de Maiz

Grand Cata Wine Store in Washington DCCelebrating #Garnachaday

Since Snooth, an online community for wine drinkers was hosting a virtual tasting party with Wines of Garnacha for #GarnachaDay I picked up a 2014 Gardacho from Alzania vineyards in Navarra, a 100% garnacha wine that they recommended and joined the twitter fun while watching St Vincent on Netflix 😉 I definitely needed a night in after a busy week, though I’m not gonna lie, I thought the movie was going to be a bit funnier… I was quite depressed after watching it… 

HELLO KITTY CAFE TRUCK PARKS IN BETHESDA

Hello Kitty Cafe Truck

I also needed a good nice rest since I had to get up super early to head to Bethesda for the scheduled appearance of the Hello Kitty Cafe truck. Yes, I pretty much dedicated all of my Saturday to waiting in line, outside a pink truck, to grab one box of $15 Hello Kitty themed macarons.

Nicole and the Hello Kitty Cafe Truck

Hello Kitty Cafe Truck

The wait was a bit ridiculous (Hello Kitty sure has some dedicated fans!) and the line could certainly have been managed better but it was all worth it! Besides, I got to swing by Fresh Baguette while I was there and tried their pumpkin croissant too! ps: speaking of Fresh Baguette, they’re in the running to have their bread named DC’s best baguette. Will I see you at the best baguette finale at the French Embassy on September 29th

 

END OF SUMMER FRENCH PIQUE NIQUE

Sunday, some of my Frenchies and I had planned a get-together with friends and other members of the french expat meet-up at Peirce Mill and Barn in Rock Creek Park for a low key picnic. The ratio of baguettes to attendees was excellent, which I guess is to be expected when French people get together… 

Peirce Mill and Barn Frenchie pique nique

Peirce Mill & Barn

 

 

 

NATIONAL MUSEUM OF AFRICAN AMERICAN HISTORY & CULTURE PREVIEW

National Museum of African American History and CultureA huge merci to Ninette who let me tag along with her during the friends and family preview of much anticipated NMAAHC, which will officially open this Saturday. I *cannot* wait to go back! Three hours was barely enough time to skim the surface of this fantastic new Smithsonian museum, which takes visitors on a journey through the lens of the African American experience, from slavery in Africa at the lowest underground level of the museum to the brighter upper floors to segregation to the third and uppermost history level, called “1968 to Today.” There, the mood lightens, with sections celebrating achievements and contributions to pop culture, music, sports and the arts.

National Museum of African American History and Culture

Oprah Winfrey at the National Museum of African American History and Culture

On my next visit to the museum (I have timed free-tickets for September 22) I’ll actually start at the upper levels and make my way down since I spent most of my time Sunday at the lower levels. I also will absolutely visit Sweet Home Cafe, the museum’s dining hall for which chef Carla Hall was a culinary ambassador. Like Mitsitam Native Foods Cafe at the National Museum of American Indians, the 400 seats-restaurant is split into 4 food sections that tell the culinary story of African Americans: the North States, Agricultural South, Creole Coast, and Western Range. I was only able to peek at the menu for the Creole Coast, with candied yams, house pickled vegetables, catfish po’boy and duck, andouille and crawfish gumbo among other. My husband is from Louisiana and I definitely want to eat my way through that menu — and discover the rest too! 

So that was my weekend… next week is the National Book Festival and Art All Night (two September events I’ve been looking forward toso I have another busy weekend ahead. Hopefully, the week will go by quickly!! How was your weekend? How’s your week shaping up?

Aux Etats Unis, en Septembre c’est Football

Ça y est, c’est reparti pour une autre saison de football américain! Même s’il fait encore plus de trente degrés ici, c’est l’automne et l’automne on football (et on citrouille aussi, mais ça c’est un autre sujet!!) La saison est assez courte (pas comme celle de baseball qui dure des mois!) mais très intense parce qu’en plus du football professionnel (les équipes de la NFL, comme les Redskins de Washington, ou les Dolphins à Miami) il y a aussi les équipes des universités… Les matchs pros c’est plutôt le dimanche que ça se joue, mais il y a aussi des matchs le jeudi soir et parfois le lundi. Les rencontres inter-universitaires c’est le samedi, donc en gros, de septembre à décembre il n’y a que du foot à la télé et dans les bars (et dans les ordis, parce qu’en plus il y aussi les leagues de football imaginaires!)  

Une partie des Packers, l'equipe de Green Bay dans le Wisconsin, prise par mon ami Christophe Remington

Une partie des Packers de Green Bay dans le Wisconsin, prise par Christophe Remington

Le football américain c’est sacré aux Etats Unis. C’est LE sport que l’on regarde grandissant avec ses parents, auquel les garçons jouent souvent dans les leagues pee-wee, et quand ils sont au collège et au lycée – et que les filles soutiennent avec leurs pompoms. Une fois à la fac, on soutient son école avec un brin de fierté et des grandes rivalités. En fait, il n’est pas rare d’être attaché à plusieurs équipes. Mon mari, par exemple, suit un peu les Tigers de la Louisiana State University (il est de Baton Rouge) et un peu plus les Fighting Irish de l’Université de Notre Dame. Et bien sûr, il suit l’équipe professionnelle de la Nouvelle Orleans, les Saints. Les Redskins il ne s’y est jamais trop mis, même s’il habite ici depuis un bout de temps… ce qui arrive beaucoup en fait à Washington. Comme tout le monde vient des quatre coins du pays, on a tendance à garder des attaches locales pour le sport. Certains bars se désignent comme quartier général pour les fans de telle ou telle équipe et le football crée de véritables réseaux sociaux de cette manière, avec des anciens élèves de la même fac qui se retrouvent tous les samedis, ou des transplantés d’une certaine ville ou region qui se regroupent entre eux pour soutenir les footballeurs de chez eux! Un peu comme nous quand on mate les matches des Bleus ensemble pendant l’euro ou la coupe du monde, mais bon, nous c’est juste quelques rencontres tous les deux ans  😉 

Le stade de foot de l'universite du Wisconsin - photo de Christophe Remington

Le stade de football de l’Université du Wisconsin – photo de Christophe Remington

Donc nous à Washington, notre équipe professionnelle locale c’est les Redskins. En ce moment c’est un peu la controverse sur leur nom (même Le Monde en a parlé!) et je crois qu’ils sont pas très bons… mais quand j’ai débarqué ici, j’ai voulu bien sûr faire l’experience d’un match. Comme il y a très peu de rencontres en fait (16 matchs par team par saison, dont seulement la moitié se passe à domicile) et une grosse demande pour les billets, les places sont assez chères. Mais bon, la partie dure plus de trois heures donc au moins t’en as pour ton argent!

Avec mon amie de fac Vlasta pour mon premier match de football americain a FedEx Field

Avec mon amie de fac Vlasta pour mon premier match de football américain à FedEx Field

Avec mon Americain, a un match des Bucaneers a Tampa

Avec mon Américain à un match à domicile des Bucaneers de Tampa

On ne se refuse rien: bateau pirate dans les stade!

On ne se refuse rien: bateau pirate dans le stade des Bucaneers à Tampa!

Malgré son nom, le football Américain est plus proche du rugby en fait que de notre foot à nous. Ça se joue avec les mains et pas les pieds. Le nom de “foot” vient de la taille du ballon un peu oval utilisé pour les matches et qui mesure exactement un pied de long. Les règles, j’y comprends toujours pas grand chose… et pour être honnête je fais pas trop d’effort pour suivre. C’est un jeu de gagne terrain. L’équipe qui attaque doit amener le ballon dans la end-zone de l’équipe adverse pour marquer un touchdown qui vaut 6 points. L’équipe qui défend doit faire son maximum pour empêcher la progression de l’équipe attaquante et cela en faisant le moins de fautes possible. Après ça devient un peu plus compliqué 😉 Chaque équipe compte jusqu’à 53 joueurs, dont 11 sont sur le terrain à la fois. Chaque joueur a sa spécialité (mon mari quand il y jouait était line backer) et le nombre de remplacement est illimité. Techniquement parlant, le match ne dure que 60 minutes (4 quart de temps de 15 minutes) mais la partie semble durer une éternité (souvent plus de trois heures) parce qu’il y a énormément de temps d’arrêt, ce qui permet plein de pubs à la télé et est une bonne occasion pour les américains qui regardent le match, que ce soit dans les tribunes, à la maison ou dans un bar, de passer du bon temps en famille ou entres amis, à papoter, grignoter et bien sur boire plein de bières. Parlons-en de la bière justement… pour beaucoup la partie commence bien avant le coup d’envoie, lors de grands rassemblements festifs, souvent sur le parking au dehors du stade.

Un apercu d'un tailgating, pris en photo par Christophe Remington avant un match dans le Wisconsin

Tailgating a Lambeau Field – photo de Christophe Remington avant un match des Packers

Le rituel du tailgating est parfois même plus prisé par les supporters que le match… comme la bière coûte souvent une fortune à l’intérieur des stades (genre $9 pour une bud-light dégueulasse) on en profite pour se bourrer un petit peu, on improvise des barbecues avec hot-dogs et hamburgers, le tout dans une ambiance conviviale et bonne enfant, comme les Américains savent si bien le faire! Contrairement à une avant-match de foot chez nous il n’y a aucune animosité entre les fans des équipes adversaires. Moi mon conseil, ce serait presque que sauter le match et de participer juste au tailgating avant 😉 Mais bon, assister à un match de football Américain c’est une experience culturelle à faire au moins une fois! D’ailleurs, moi, j’ai fais que deux rencontres d’équipes pros et ça me dirait bien d’essayer un match universitaire. Bon, comme l’équipe de George Washington University où j’ai fait mon master est pas top du tout, j’irais peut être plutôt voir les Terps de l’Université du Maryland… Y’a des partants pour venir avec moi? 

 


Los Angeles en 10 Photos

J’ai rarement l’occasion de visiter la côte ouest. La Californie, mine de rien, c’est quand même à six heures d’avion de Washington (DC! mais c’est quand même quatre heure de vol de l’état de Washington aussi) donc c’est pas comme si on peut y aller juste pour un petit weekend…  Mais comme j’étais à Anaheim pas loin pour une conference au travail, j’en ai profité pour rentabiliser le billet (surtout qu’il était payé par ma boite!) et je suis restée quelques jours de plus sur Los Angeles, histoire de redécouvrir un peu la deuxième plus grande ville des Etats Unis. 

Voici un petit aperçu de mon séjour à Los Angeles en 10 photos. Pas mal on été prises à Venice Beach comme c’est là que j’avais loué un AirBnB (que je recommande fort d’ailleurs pour ceux qui passeraient à Los Angeles!) Sinon, comme ce n’était quand même pas mon premier voyage là bas, j’ai évité les gros lieux touristiques et j’ai préféré explorer un peu des nouveaux quartiers comme Echo Park et Silver Lake ainsi que revoir le Hollywood sign, mais d’un angle un peu different cette fois 😉 Je vous laisse voir:

Palm Trees in Los Angeles

Le gros cliché de Los Angeles: les palmiers partout, à perte de vue, sur la plage, dans la ville. Ils font rêver et on ne s’en lasse pas!

 

Les surfeurs adorent et moi aussi! Un bol de sashimi hawaïen de Poke-Poke, dégusté sur la plage de Venice Beach pour un diner healthy et léger, et pas cher en plus.

Toujours à Venice, la célèbre Muscle beach, la plage du bodybuilding avec ses salles de musculations en plein air.

Toujours à Venice, la célèbre Muscle beach, la plage du bodybuilding avec ses salles de musculations en plein air.

Il n'y a pas que la plage à Venice Beach, y'a aussi le quartier historique des Canaux de Venice qui était tout près de mon AirBnB.

Il n’y a pas que la plage à Venice Beach, y’a aussi le quartier historique des Canaux de Venice qui était tout près de mon AirBnB.

Hiking to the Hollywood sign in Los Angeles

C’est LE symbole de Los Angeles et la meilleure façon de le voir de près, c’est a la fin d’une randonnée dans les collines d’Hollywood.

Trouvaille colorée au détour des rues du quartier branché de Silver Lake, à l’Est de Downtown

On reste dans le sport avec cet escalier, une trouvaille colorée au détour des rues du quartier branché de Silver Lake, à l’Est de Downtown. 

 

Decouverte pour moi lors de ce voyage: la quartier de Echo Park avec ces collines couvertes de petites maisons colorées et son superbe park, avec une vue imprenable sur downtown.

Découverte pour moi lors de ce voyage: la quartier de Echo Park avec ces collines remplies de petites maisons colorées et son superbe park, avec une vue imprenable sur downtown.

Autre découverte, celle du nouveau musée d'art contemporain du Broad. Il a ouvert ces portes fin 2015 et rengorge d'œuvres de Koons, Hirst, Basquiat, Mapplethorpe et Braque. Bonus: il est gratuit!

Autre découverte, celle du nouveau musée d’art contemporain du Broad. Il a ouvert ces portes fin 2015 et rengorge d’œuvres de Koons, Hirst, Basquiat, Mapplethorpe et Braque. Bonus: il est gratuit!

Un de mes buts pendant mon sejour a Los Angeles: ne jamais depenser plus de $20 par repas. Mission accomplie avec ces ramens a Tsujita LA Artisan Noodle.

Un de mes buts pendant mon séjour à Los Angeles: ne jamais dépenser plus de $20 par repas. Mission accomplie avec ces ramens à Tsujita LA Artisan Noodle.

Weekend Highlights ~ Low Key Labour Day

The first Monday of September is always Labor Day in the United States. It honors American workers and their contributions to the strength of the country. It’s also considered the unofficial end of summer… le sigh.

DRINKS AT THE WATERGATE HOTEL

We kicked off the weekend with happy hour at the Next Whisky Bar in the newly opened Watergate Hotel. Of course, everyone knows of the Watergate from the history books and the role it played in the demise of president Richard Nixon. But today, it’s a complex of 5 buildings right by the Kennedy Center. One of those building is now a landmark hotel overlooking the Potomac River and I hadn’t been yet since it reopened in June (it was closed for renovations since 2007.) The drinks are pretty pricey, so it’s not a spot where I’m going to become a regular at, but I loved the bar’s splashy atmosphere, with its lush red seats and the soft amber glow from the curved illuminated wall of 2,500 whisky bottles. 

The Bar at the Watergate Hotel

 

LABOUR DAY CAPITOL CONCERT

After that, my weekend was rather low key. Saturday, I went for a quick jog to the U.S. Capitol. I really want to get back into running now and jogging to and from the Capitol is a nice and easy 3 miles, the perfect distance when you havn’t been running for a while. Plus it’s such a pretty route, especially now that the scaffholding is almost all down. 

Concert on the West Lawn of the US Capitol

Sunday evening, I went back to the Capitol, to the West Lawn to be exact, to catch the free concert by the National Symphony Orchestra. It was a very only-in-DC concert. The musicians, led by Steven Reineke, kicked off the program with the star spangled banner. Featured singer Storm Large and her band Le Bonheur then launched into some American classic, including America the beautiful. My favourite moments were when she dedicated her performance of The Lady is a Tramp to Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg (her “spirit animal”) before serenading Bernie Sanders with a special version of My Funny Valentine, which she turned into My Bernie Valentine. Yep, politics is everywhere, always (but especially in an election year!) Washington, DC 😉 

Labor day concert at the US Captiol

 

STUNNING SUNSETS

Was it because of Hermine? I’m not sure, but we were treated to some pretty magical, unforgettable sunsets Friday and Saturday nights. According to my instagram feed, that was the case all along the East Coast, all the way to New York City. I wish my pictures could do justice to just how breath taking the red sky was… 

Sunset

Stunning sunset in Washington, DC

 

SUP-ING ON THE POTOMAC

I try to go kayaking on the Potomac at least once every summer, though I waited until the very end this year (let’s be real, it was too hot before that!) The weather was so perfect on Monday, we definitely weren’t the only ones who had that idea. We opted to do the Stand Up Paddleboards this time, which was a great workout on top of being a fun way to see the city from a different angle, including the Watergate where I had kicked off the weekend. 

Boating in DC
SUP-ing on the PotomacSUP-ing to the WatergateWe wrapped up the weekend with a little grilling, of course. That’s kinda synonymous with Labour Day right? In addition to running again, I’m trying to eat less meat so rather than cook steaks or burgers, I tried something different: grilled artichokes. 

Grilled artichoke with rose

It was actually really good and super easy to do. The trick is to boil the artichokes first. Once they’ve cooled down a bit, cut them in half and brush them with a mixture of olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, salt and pepper. You’ll grill them for 5-10 minutes (until the tips are a little charred) and enjoy with a little more of the olive oil mixture. It’s actually quite perfect if you ever have vegetarian friends over for BBQ!

How was your labour day weekend? Did you go anywhere fun or stayed behind and enjoyed an emptier city? Let me know in the comments and have a great (short) week!