Soirée Guerre des Etoiles au Match de Baseball

Dans la catégorie experience typique Américaine à faire au moins une fois, je vous présente le baseball. Mon premier match c’était à Fenway Park, le terrain de jeu des célèbres Red Sox de Boston, qui est aussi le stade de baseball de plus ancien encore utilisé aux U.S. Tant qu’à faire, autant choisir un stade historique et une équipe mythique non?  

Match de baseball des Washington Nationals

L’équipe de D.C. c’est les Washington Nationals et elle est plutôt nouvelle. La capitale Américaine avait été privée de son sport national pendant des années, jusqu’à ce que les Expos de Montréal débarquent sous un nouveau nom et branding en 2005, pour la plus grande joie de tout le monde. En contraste au Red Sox et à Fenway qui sont pleins d’histoire et de nostalgie, nous on a un stade et une équipe flambants neufs. En tout, j’ai dû aller à une dizaine de matchs, souvent avec le travail, car ça se fait beaucoup ici les virées organisées au match de baseball l’été quand les bureaux sont un peu plus calmes. Sinon, je préfère m’abstenir et j’ai de la chance, mon mari c’est pas son truc non plus le baseball. Sauf que hier c’était soirée Guerre des Etoiles au stade et que pour une fois j’avais vraiment envie de voir ça!! 

Soiree guerre des etoiles au match the baseball

Et oui, comme la saison de baseball dure 6 mois et que chaque team joue plus de 160 matchs, le staff marketing des équipes organisent souvent des soirées à thèmes pour égayer un peu tout ça. Souvent c’est des “Girls Night Out” ou “Bark at the Park” quand on peut amener ses copines ou son chien. Et des fois c’est un peu plus geek avec des matchs Pixar, Zombies, Star Trek, Game of Throne ou Star Wars. Pourquoi pas…? 

Comme la force était forte du côté du thermomètre (il faisait encore 35 degrès à 7 heures du soir) j’ai laissé à la maison mon costume de wookie Chewbacca  et j’ai improvisé un look princesse Leia fan des Nationals, tout en blanc avec le logo de l’équipe (et surtout des manches courtes!) et les doubles chignons macarons. Les 20,000 premiers spectateurs arrivé au stade on eut le droit à un t-shirt special, les présidents qui vont la course au quatrième inning étaient en costume aussi et un peu partout a travers le stade il y avait des photos opps avec les personages de la franchise. 

Star Wars Night at the baseball game

Star Wars Night at the Baseball Stadium

Star Wars Night at the baseball game

 

 

 

Star Wars Night at the baseball stadium

Sinon, le match… oui, j’ai pas trop regardé 😉 

                                           *              *              *                *                  *

Deux trois trucs a connaitre pour voir jouer les Nationals, l’équipe de Baseball de Washington:

  • La saison de baseball c’est debut Avril a fin Septembre et les matchs se passent au Nationals Park dans le Sud Ouest de Washington, au metro Navy Yard. Y’a plein de truc à faire avant le match, comme le Bullpen at Half Street Fairgrounds, avec de la bière et des food-trucks, ou la brasserie Bluejacket. Mais il ne faut pas trop se gaver… les concessions à l’intérieur du stade valent vraiment une visite! 
  • Les billets s’achètent en ligne sur le site de l’équipe. Sinon, vous pouvez vous renseigner sur la disponibilité des places sur place au stade en vous rendant à la billetterie le jour du match. Les prix varient entre $10 pour des places plutôt basique à la Right Field Terrace et $370 dans le Delta SKY360 Club ou vous avez buffet et boissons à volonté (et une vue bien meilleure a mon avis…)

 

 

Happy Watermelon Day!

Rather than give you a French inspired recipe using summer’s most refreshing fruit, pastèque, I give you one of the most colourful house in Washington, DC and one of my favourite piece of street art in the city: the Watermelon house!!

DC's Watermelon House

The row house is located at 1112 Q Street near Logan Circle. Its exposed side has been painted in pink and green to resemble a has a watermelon slice, complete with seeds. Story has it all started with a bad paint job and since everything I know about Logan Circle’s famed Watermelon House I know from this Washington Post article, you can read all about it there too.

Oh, and if you really want some recipes, I do have two super refreshing ones for you right here.

Bonne journée de la pastèque!! Are you celebrating?

Weekend Highlights ~ It’s Getting Hot In Here

It’s been a scorcher of a weekend here in Washington, D.C. with temperatures in the high 90s and very little breeze. With that in mind, I tried to beat the heat by staying indoors and pretending the icebergs at the National Building Museum were real and not just made of translucent polycarbonate panels! And yes, there was pastis and rosé involved, of course 😉

Friday night I actually stayed in and finally watched Mustang, which is currently streaming on Netflix. Mustang was nominated for a Best Picture in a Foreign Language at the Oscars this year as France’s entry, though it eventually lost to Son of Saul. I was a little disconcerted at first that it was picked to represent France, given that the film is in Turkish and takes place in a remote Turkish village but now I totally understand why it was our best chance at an Oscar. It’s a beautiful film about patriarchal oppression and the bond between 5 sisters who become prisoners in their own home to prevent them from having any contact with the outside world and especially boys. It has the melancholic feel of The Virgin Suicides and you should definitely watch it when you have a slow night and are in the mood for a good, understated drama.

Mustang

Saturday morning, I crossed the moat to grab brunch and pedis with my good friends Nicole and Cecile. We’d been talking about checking out Coatroom in Ballston for a while and since my feet really needed a little TLC, it seemed like a good time to go. We also checked out the new location of Cheesetique afterwards and I must say I was rather disappointed by their brunch. I liked the $22 bucket of mimosas, but my lobster mac’n cheese and the rest of the food around the table food was just ok. I still think it’s a great wine and cheese shop, but I probably won’t brunch there again.

Grilled sardinesThat evening, my husband and I waited until the temperatures had cooled down a bit to grill. I had picked up a black bass for him and some sardines for me and had been looking forward to a fishy feast on our rooftop! My husband is still on a pretty strict no-carbs, no-sugar diet so I simply stuffed his bass with slices of limes and cilantro and served it alongside a lime-cilantro-red onions-avocados salad. For me, I made a panzanella salad with bread from A Baked Joint and tomatoes from the farm stand at 5th & K (that corner, by the way, is a pokestop!) to pair with my sardines, which I simply dressed with a little olive oil, and salt and pepper. The husband stuck to water while I had a bottle of 2015 Castelmaure Corbières vin~gris, which I had picked up at Whole Foods at the same time as the fish. At $8.99, it’s a great value pink wine from the Languedoc.

The whole meal was pretty perfect, except I got some weird looks from all our neighbours who were all grilling hamburger meat or steaks… Sometimes I’m pretty French I guess 😉  

Finally, on Sunday, I spent a bit of time at the pool. I like to get there pretty early before it gets too crowded and read the newspaper with my legs in the water (this sunday it was more like my full body… it really is that hot!) There happened to be A LOT of kids at the pool. I didn’t realize our building had this many kids, and I didn’t stick around too long and I made my way to the National Building Museum to check out the ICEBERGS exhibit.

Icebergs exhibit at the National Building Museum

Icebergs exhibit at the national Building Museum

Icebergs exhibit at the National Building Museum

And that was pretty much it. My husband and I took a late night stroll around the neighbourghood to catch some pokemon (and to get him to the 10,000 steps he walks daily.) Don’t judge me… I’ve already walked 30K since I downloaded the app, even though I’m pretty sure that’s just how much I regularly walk though…

How was your weekend? How did you beat the heat? Would love to hear in the comments! 

New Chinese Zodiac Sign Crosswalk in Chinatown

What’s your Chinese Zodiac sign? I’m a goat, personally, and loved spotting my sign’s symbol at the intersection of 7th and H streets NW in Chinatown. 

Goat chinese zodiac sign at the intersection of 7th & H streets in Washington, DC

Six years ago, that busy intersection got a little more interesting when it became a “barnes dance” crosswalk (also known as pedestrian scramble) meaning people could cross it in every direction, including diagonally, at the same time. Now the diagonal section of the crosswalk was just enhanced by a permanent two-dimensional artwork featuring colourful dragons — Chinese dragons of course, because the city tries *very* hard to give its Chinatown a semblance of Chinese identity 😉  

Barnes' Dance Crosswalk in DC's Chinatown

Zodiac Sign on the crosswalk in DC's Chinatown

The installation was done by Alternative Paving Concepts, based on a design by Charles Bergen, a DC-native and Yale educated architect turned full time artist who is responsible for a few public art features around town, including one of the Alphabet Animal Art Project aluminum plate in Capitol Hill (the Capitalsaurus is chasing a Falcarius across F and 1st Streets SE). He won the commission from DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities to paint the intersection to be more distinct and unique. The dragons allude to the Chinatown’s history of hosting an annual parade for Chinese New Year, which features a traditional Dragon Dance. What do you think of it? I’m a fan of anything that brings a little colour to the city… whether on walls on streets 😉 

Weekend Highlights: Flower Crowns, Mucha and Football

Happy Monday! Did you have a good weekend? After keeping a low profile last weekend and throughout most of the week (I’ve had the worst cold!) I made up for lost time and had quite a wonderful 3-day weekend. It all started with rosé and flowers on Friday. 

One of the best part about having friends from different parts of the world is learning about their culture and traditions (oh, and the amazing food too!) On Friday, my friend Bianca showed us how the Finns celebrate summer solstice. Midsommar is one of the most important national holiday in Finland (and it’s a big deal in many other Nordic countries too.) While her rooftop does have a fire pit, we didn’t light any kokko (bonfires) to keep evil spirits away but we did drink some snap and make midsommarkrans,  beautiful DIY flower crowns using string, birch and of course, flowers. Check us out being all crafty!

Making flower crowns for midsommar

Celebrating Finnish midsommar

Almost as good as the snapchat filter isn’t it? ps: speaking of, you can follow more of my day-to-day on snapchat (<– click on the link, or username laetitiabrock).

Saturday, I escaped the city with my friends Olga of MangoTomato and Nicole of Hapatite. We headed to Winchester, a quaint little town tucked away in the Northwest part of Virginia, about an hour and a half away from Washington. 

They love all things apple in WinchesterWinchester, Virginia

Winchester, Virginia

What prompted our mini road trip was an Alphonse Mucha exhibit at the Museum of the Shenandoah Valley though we snuck in some shopping in the city’s Loudoun Street Mall and some good eating at One Block West, a fabulous little restaurant, and Red Fox Creamery! And while we had to rush through them a bit because they were prepping up for a wedding, I *loved* the gardens at the museum, almost more than I loved the collection inside!

Alphone Mucha exhibit

The Chinese Garden at the Shenandoah Valley MuseumGardenThe Chinese garden at the Shennandoah Valley Museum

On the way back, we stopped by Wild Hare Cidery for a quick tasting then found our wine (as well as fabulous views!) at Bluemont Vineyard

Bluemont Vineyard

With France playing its 8th of final game bright and early at 9AM on Sunday, I had pretty much written the day off, at least as far as getting anything done beside watching football was concerned. I was a little worried about my choice of venue for the match… Fado’s is one of the best spot to watch football in the city, but we picked it BEFORE knowing that we would be facing Ireland 😉  Things weren’t looking too good when the boys in green scored within the first few minutes but luckily Griezmann was there to save the day and I’m looking forward to cheering on Les Bleus in the quarter finals next weekend (and then hopefully in France for the semis and finals!).

Allez les bleus

Keeping my fingers crossed that we’ll face Iceland, I’ve loved following their Euro Cup Cinderella story… and I’d rather not face England too. Have you been following either the Copa America or the Euro Cup? You’d almost never know there’s a major international soccer tournament that just wrapped up in the US… I feel like it’s barely gotten any coverage 😦 

We’ll be watching the game at Penn Social on Sunday with a bunch of other expats so don’t hesitate to join us! Is it bad that I’m already looking forward to next weekend? Between the July 4th holiday and all the football, it’s going to be another good one!

Legal Eats: Justices Dish Out On Supreme Court’s Food History & Traditions

Greetings from California! Before leaving Washington Thursday morning, I attended one of those only-in-DC events that reminded me why I love living in the city so much. Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Ruth Bader Ginsburg sat down with Catherine E. Fitts, Curator of the Supreme Court, and Clare Cushman, Director of Publications of the Supreme Court Historical Association, to dish out about their personal eating habits as well as reflect on the food traditions and culture of the U.S. Supreme Court.

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sotomayor discussing food at the Legal Eats events on March 31 in Washington, DC

The panel was a part of the Smithsonian’s ongoing Food History Programs at the National Museum of American History (same as the Battle of Paris anniversary event I attended recently). Not only was it really neat to be seating less than ten feet away from two associate justices, but they were there to talk about a topic that I could actually understand: food!

Among the tidbits of Supreme Court history I learned that evening is that its history was always intertwined with food. Prior to the establishment of the Federal City, the United States government resided briefly in New York and after the first Supreme Court meeting in 1790, the Justices went to a local tavern for dinner where they made 13 different toasts, including one to the Constitution. When the capitol moved to Philadelphia, the court did too before settling in the District in 1800. Until 1810, the Court had no permanent location and eventually began to meet  in a room in the basement of the Capitol. Back then, the Justices would all live together in a boarding house, while their families stayed behind back home. They shared all of their meals together there, until the 1930s when they finally got their own building which included a cafeteria for lawyers and staff as well as a dining room for the Justices.

Today, the Justices don’t eat together as often, though they do break bread on occasion, especially when the court is in session. One rule at the lunch-table though: no discussion of ongoing cases and an avoidance of controversial topics. Instead, the 8 (for now) of them talk children/grandchildren and sports. RBG doesn’t contribute much to those discussions, she noted and Sotomayor added that she loves baseball, but that Justice Kagan was the real sports-fan of the lot. They also talk about the latest exhibit they may have seen, including many at the Smithsonian Institutions, and books. All justices are voracious readers who love discussing their latest reads. Occasionally, they’ll invite a speaker to join them for lunch and that sounded like the most awesome guest series in town with the likes of Condoleezza Rice, Alan Greenspan, the head of the National Zoo and others (occasionally Justices from foreign countries) joining them to share a meal over what I’m sure is a fascinating conversation. Justices also always get together when a former colleagues comes to town and to celebrate each other’s birthdays. In addition to being one of the nation’s top tax law professors and practitionners, Martin Ginsburg, the late husband of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, was also a talented cook who used to bake for those occasions. Today, Chief Justice Roberts will bring the cake, as well as wine to toast the birthday guy or gal. RBG, who was elegantly dressed with purple lace gloves, joked that there would always be singing though “truth be told, most of them can’t carry a tune.” She also brought up that Justices now get together when a former colleague comes back to town and before the State of the Union. Showing that she has a great sense of humour and that she can laugh at herself, Justice Ginsburg recalled the time when Justice Kennedy brought bottles of Opus Wine to that gathering, which she really enjoyed. “It was the first time I fell asleep during the State of the Union ” she joked.

Other than wine, Justices will typically bring some treats to share with their colleagues. In the past, they would be local delicacies from their hometown or regions, like salted cod from Boston. More recently, Sandra Day O’Connor used to share the beef jerky her brother would make. “It was very spicy,” noted Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. “I bet I would have liked it,” replied Justice Sotomayor. And of course, as was highlighted at the time of his death, Justice Scalia was an avid hunter who would bring back everything from fish to fowl, though Justice Breyer had a bit of a hard time introducing one of the pheasant he brought back to his grandchildren apparently…

A couple of other fun tidbits I noted: Justice Harlan Fiske Stone (1925-1946) was a big cheese fan and would bring a whole platter of his favourites to eat for lunch. This prompted Justice Sotomayor to mention that, if she could have lunch with any 2 justices from the past, she would pick him in addition to John Marshall and Thurgood Marshall… because you know he would bring good food! On her own food habits, Sotomayor appreciates Puerto Rican cuisine, mostly that of her mom and sister, but hasn’t mastered how to make it well herself. Ever the typical New Yorker, she mentioned being a big fan of food deliveries, though those are not easy to get through the Court’s security 😉 When her clerks come over, they will try to order in from different places so they can try new things and she also relies on them for restaurant recommendations. Justice Bader Ginsburg, on the other hand, relies on her daughter to eat properly now that her husband has passed away. On her husband’s culinary skills, RBG quipped that he “developed a fondness for the kitchen shortly after I made my first meal.”

This was definitely one of the best events I’ve attended recently. Check out a complete listing of upcoming event for the Smithsonian’s Food History Programs. They always have some good ones coming up! 

Weekend Highlights: Packing, Crabs & Macarons Glacés

In France, in May, it seems that every other weekend is a three day weekend (because it is). Here in the United States we get one May bank holiday for Memorial Day. I rarely get to take advantage of the time off though because my huge annual work conference always falls right around that time. This year is no exception. I’m off to Anaheim on Thursday. It’s been a while since my last trip to California, so I actually decided to stick around for a few days afterwards and I’m SO excited. Now I just need to find a place to watch the France-Romania game on June 10th in Venice! I can’t believe the Euro cup starts next week!!

So I had a pretty low-key weekend, getting everything ready for my trip including tying up some lose ends at work. But don’t worry, that’s not all I did 😉

KICKING OFF SUMMER WITH RIBS, CRABS AND FRIENDS

First blue crabs of the season

Memorial Day officially kicks off summer here in Washington and it typically means three things: most pools (including the one on my roof) open, you can white and it’s blue crabs season! Blue crabs are so different from the ones I grew up eating in France but I’ve really taken a liking to getting down and dirty with a mallet to dig into Maryland crabs, steamed with old bay seasoning. My friend Madalene went to the Maine Avenue Fish Market in Southwest DC to pick up some fresh ones. She had us over for ribs and crabs and it was a messy, but lovely affair. 

MACARONS ICE CREAM SANDWICHES AT CAFE DU PARC

It’s already really hot and humid in the district and after the crabs, the best thing I ate all weekend was a refreshing macaron glacé from the new ice cream stand outside of the Willard Hotel. At $8, they’re not cheap, but I have no regrets! 

Macaron glaces from Cafe du Parc

 

STRAWBERRY SEASON AT THE BLOOMINGDALE FARMERS MARKET

Other than the Dupont Circle Farmers’ market, which operates year round, most of the other markets here in Washington, DC are seasonal. And the season has started!! There’s three markets that I typically visit. During the week, I usually frequent the White House Farmers’ Market, which operates close to my office on Thursdays. It’s a great spot to grab lunch and take a quick break. On the weekends, I’ll go to the Freshfarm stand at City Vista for fruits, vegetables and fresh eggs. If I need a little more (or if I’m craving pies from Whisked! or kimchi from Number One Sons) I’ll head to the market in Bloomingdale, which is exactly what I did on Sunday. I didn’t pick up too much stuff since I’m going to be out of town for 10 days but couldn’t resist those beautiful strawberries. 

It's strawberry season

On my way back home, I meandered through the neighbourhood to check some of the Pow! Wow! D.C. murals that were too far to get to during our tour last week (read all about it and see the murals in progress here). Those are on the back of the Studios at 52 O Street and I obviously LOVED to Yoda one by Wooden Wave (aka Matthew and Roxanne Ortiz.)  
o street art

On Monday, I met my friend Olga of MangoTomato and Laura of The Daily Suitcase to chat food and travel over brunch at BToo. I had the lobster waffle, which was good, though a bit on a small sized so I also devoured an order of delicious frites! Since BToo is close to my office, I actually headed there for a bit afterwards to finish up a few things. Womp womp right?

Frites at BToo

So all in all, not one of my usual busy bee weekends running around the city but I still had a lot of fun, and squeezed in some good eats! Did you get around to do anything fun over the long weekend? Did you stay in town or head out somewhere?

Pow! Wow! D.C. – Murals in Progress in NoMa

Famed Los Angeles-based French street artist Mr. Brainwash recently painted an awesome mural on the wall of Union Market (read more about it here) and was quoted saying that he’d be back in the District because “Washington, D.C. needs it,” having so many “blank walls that could have messages for people to see life more beautifully.” Well, right now, a couple of blank walls in NoMa are getting some graffiti love as part of Pow! Wow! DC, a week long art festival. Most of the murals are still works in progress at this time, and Thursday night, I joined a (rather large) group of street art loving peeps for a walking tour of the neighbourhood led by local artist Kelly Towles who’s been spearheading Pow! Wow! here in the District. 

There are 17 artists currently working on 7 walls, many collaboratively. From the Lobby Project at 1200 first street NE we walked over to what looked like a shack on M to hear about how Pow! Wow! came to the city.  and to see the first piece, painted by Pow Wow Worldwide director Jeff Gress and appropriately themed for the city.

This DC themed mural is the work of Jeff Gress from Hawaii

This DC themed mural is the work of Jeff Gress from Hawaii

From there, it wasn’t far until the next wall, the  Crucible Wall by Cory Oberndorfer (a.ka. Sweet Uncle Cory) at 16 M Street NE. Why the Crucible you ask? Well, that was the name of the alternate lifestyles/BDSM Private Club that used to be in that building…  The club closed down recently (though it’s searching for a new home apparently) and the whole thing will be torn down soon so I wouldn’t wait too long to go check out Cory’s mural if I were you.

Kelly Towles explains the history behind the Crucible Wall in NoMa

Kelly Towles explains the history behind the Crucible Wall in NoMa

Just around the corner from the Crucible Wall at 42 Patterson Street NE is a large, colourful wall that was practically done by the time we saw it. Dave Persue (pictured below telling us about the piece) collaborated with Yok & Sheryo on this homage to Washington, complete with historical figures like president Lincoln and a tribute to standout D.C. graffiti artist Cool “Disco” Dan (Dan Hogg). 

IMG_1446

My absolute favourite wall was the absolutely trippy work done to the old Ibiza nightclub by Douglas Hoekzema aka HOXXOH. I cannot wait to see the final wall! It’s right on First Street (1222 First Street NE) and I’m petty sure that very soon it’s going to pop up ALL over my instagram feed. Check it out:

HOXXOH new mural on the old Ibiza building in Washington, DC

Douglas Hoekzema aka HOXXOH is a Miami based artist known for his striking murals that seem to mix art and science

IMG_1549

The next wall was just as striking but for completely different reason. It’s the tallest of all the murals that have come up as part of Pow! Wow! DC and uses a captivating bright pink-purple hue that’s impossible to miss. Drew Merritt and camera shy London based artist INSA teamed up for this beautiful large scale portrait.  

Drew Merritt and INSA collaborated on this large scale mural in North East DC

#IfIWasYourGirlfriend collaborative wall by Drew Merritt + INSA at 41 New York Ave NE

The next two walls were a little further away, closer to the tunnel you go under to get to Union Market. There’s a companion piece to the No Kings Collective mural at the Colonel apartments in Shaw, made with old go-go posters, coming up at the new Elevation @ Washington Gateway building. And then there’s a bunch of different pieces coming up on a section of the 900-foot Metro Branch Trail wall. Local artists Decoydc, Matt Corrado, OneEightyOne (pictured hard at work below) and Jacob Eveland were hard at work on different sections of the wall when we walked by. I’ll definitely go back and take more pictures of all the different parts once they are completed!

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Finally, there were a couple of smaller scale pieces that weren’t included on the walk. Puerto Rican artist Vero Rivera is working on a cool illustration behind the 52 O Street Studios. There’s also a Yoda themed garage door mural by Wooden Wave that I didn’t get to see (yet!)  We did make one last stop to see two final pieces a little tucked away from the other ones, on walls above a parking lot at 1215 3rd Street NE. 

I love a girl who can rock a wall, and Hong Kong based Caranotoes is doing just that! 

Caranotoes from Hong Kong talking about her mural at 3rd street NE

Caranotoes from Hong Kong talking about her mural at 3rd street NE

IMG_1546 IMG_1547

Right next to her wall, DC-Based Artist Naturel is working on perhaps one of the most political piece of the lot. Artists participating in Pow! Wow! DC were specifically asked to refrain from controversial topics since there was quite a bureaucratic process involved in getting authorization from the city to use the walls, etc. He’s currently working on his interpretation of the upcoming Harriet Tubman $20 bill, which is more of a political statement than a political controversy. 

Are you as excited as I am about all these new murals in NoMa? Washington hasn’t had a large scale murals festival, yet, and I loved that Pow! Wow! DC brought in some international muralists from all over the world, while still showcasing some of the best local street artists from around the DMV. As I mentioned, most of the pieces I saw on Thursday, May 26, were still work in progress and if you want to check out the final works, there will be one more artist-led organized happy hour and walk on June 2nd. You can also do your own walk by using the Pow! Wow! DC map on NoMa Bid’s website. I know I will as soon as I’m back from Los Angeles in a few weeks!

 

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? 

Catch These French Films at Filmfest DC

FilmFest DC 2016

In the winter months, I try to cram in as many oscar-nominated films as I can before the awards are given out. After that movie-binge, I typically take a needed break from the cinemas. Until April and Filmfest DC

Filmfest is the District’s first, largest and only international film festival. Between April 14 and 24, 2016 Filmfest DC will celebrate 30 years of delighting Washington cinephiles with a really impressive line-up of 75 movies from 45 different countries. As always, that includes a number of films from France and Belgium. Here are some of the French(-ish) or French-language films you can look forward to this year. 

THE BRAND NEW TESTAMENTLe tout nouveau testament

The poster claims that “G-d exist… and he lives in Brussels.” Colour me intrigued, especially since the film is directed by Jaco Van Dormael who has made such great films as Toto the Hero or The Eight Day. In the story, G-d (Benoit Poelvoorde — catch him in Romantics Anonymous available on DVD on Netflix!) is alive and grumpy in the Belgian capital, where he controls the universe from his computer and torments his family, including his wife the amazing Yolande Moreau and 10 year old daughter, Ea. To get back at her dad, Ea sends everyone their death dates via SMS… and that’s just the beginning. Intrigued? You should be! The film was Belgium’s entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 88th Academy Awards, making the December shortlist of nine films, but falling just short of being nominated (it was nominated but didn’t win at France’s Cesars.) Watch the trailer here and catch The New Testament at AMC Mazza Gallerie on April 21 at 6:30PM or April 22 at 6:30PM. (In French with English subtitles.)

BELGIAN RHAPSODY 

Belgian rhapsody

Belgian Rhapsody illustrates the competition between the small country’s two linguistic groups – the French-speaking Walloons and the Flemish –  through the fierce battle of two brass bands vying for a European championship. The exuberant Wallo-Flemish musical comedy will be shown at Landmark’s E Street Cinema on April 18 at 8:45PM and April 23 at 5PM. (In Dutch and French with English subtitles.)

THE MEASURE OF A MANla loi du marche

I just saw posters for this film in new York City, which makes me think it has the best chance out of all the movies on this list to actually make it to theater in Washington, DC. Vincent Lindon is always superb and won awards for his performance both at Cannes and at the Cesars. This terrific drama echoes the Dardenne brothers’ “Two Days, One Night” in its exploration of what people are willing to do to keep their jobs. Here, Lindon portrays a fifty-something former factory worker, who after being unemployed for 20 months, finally accepts a soul-destroying job as a security guard for a megastore.  The movie is co-presented by the French Embassy where it will show on April 22 at 7PM. It will also show at AMC Mazza Gallerie on April 16 at 5PM. (In French with English subtitles.) The French Embassy will be screening another film, Anne Fontaine’s The Innocents, immediately following The measure of a man, at 9PM on April 22 if you feel like a French double feature. Details here

MY KING

Speaking of acting awards at Cannes, its director Emmanuelle Bercot, who also plays the tittle character in this movie (called Maiwenn in French), won that last year. Her film focuses on Maiween who tears up her knee cap skiing in the opening sequence. As her therapist hints that the whole thing was more of a cry for help than an accident she looks back at her life with her man-child partner Giorgio (swoon worthy Vincent Cassel) and remembers the highs and lows of their life together. My King is showing at AMC Mazza Gallerie on April 15 at 6:30PM and at Landmark’s E Street Cinema on April 17 at 5:30PM. (In French with English subtitles.)

My King

 

THE WHITE KNIGHTS

But back to Vincent Lindon. He leads the Move For Kids organization in this provocative Franco-Belgian drama that looks at the darker side of humanitarian assistance. Directly inspired by real events (the highly suspect story of French NGO Zoe’s Ark whose members were arrested in 2007 for illegally trafficking children they claimed to be orphans from war-torn Darfur) The White Knight raises many questions and offers no easy answers about what is wrong and what is right… what my husband would dub an excellent but infuriatingly French film 😉 Catch The White Knight at AMC Mazza Gallerie on April 15 at 9PM or at Landmark’s E Street Cinema on April 22 at 6:30PM. (In French with English Subtitles.)

The White Knights

 

LOVE & FRIENDSHIPLove and Friendship

What is this very British love satire based on Jane Austen’s never-previously-filmed novella in letters Lady Susan doing in a list of French film you ask? Well, it’s co-produced by France, the Netherlands and Ireland. So there, French enough-ish! Plus it looks really good (I always love a good period film!) Brit Kate Beckinsale plays a widow who seeks refuge with her in-laws. As rumours about her private life begin to circulate, she sets out to find a husband for a herself, and a father for her daughter, the reluctant debutante Frederica. There’s only one showing at Landmark’s E Street Cinema on April 19 at 6:30PM so don’t miss it. (In English… no subtitles.)

3000 NIGHTS

Saying that I loved Room doesn’t feel quite right because the topic the film/book dealt with is so dark. 3000 Nights feels almost like Room and is also partially based on true stories, that of Palestinian women in Israeli prisons. In the film, Layla is unaccountably thrown into a police van and convicted. She ends up pregnant and in jail and is allowed to keep the child who grows up in a grim cell, knowing nothing of the outside world, but surrounded by love from his mother and her five Palestinian cell mates. Palestinian director Mai Masri is initially a documentary filmmaker and 3000 Nights concludes with a powerful documentary.

3000 Nights

A Palestine/France/Qatar/Jordan/UAE coproduction, the film is co-presented by the Embassy of Qatar and showing at Landmark’s E Street Cinema on April 21 at 8:30PM and AMC Mazza Gallerie on April 23 at 9:30PM. That last screening will be attended by the director too. (In Arabic and Hebrew with English subtitles.)

MY INTERNSHIP IN CANADA

The festival saved the best for last with its closing film! Academy award nominated director Philippe Falardeau, of Monsieur Balthazar and The Good Lie fame, returns with a political satire featuring Starbuck’s Patrick Huard (one of my absolute favourite in-French film currently streaming on Netflix… watch it!!) as a former pro-hockey player whose career never took off because he was afraid to get on planes. Now an independent MP and the last honest man in office, his vote can decide the fate of legislation that could send the country to war. The PM relies heavily on guidance from his Haitian intern Souverain, who seems to know more about the ins and outs of Canadian politics than he does.

My Internship in Canada

While reviews agree that My Internship in Canada (watch the trailer here) doesn’t quite live up to its potential, you won’t want to miss this screening at AMC Mazza Gallerie on April 24th, the closing night of the festival, because it will be attended by director Philippe Falardeau and followed by a reception sponsored by the Office of Quebec. (In French, Creole, with some English dialogue and English subtitles.)

Are you looking forward to Filmfest DC this year? The list above is by no means exhaustive, just some French-ish movies that I would like to see during the festival. You can see a full list of all the films shown through April 24th right here. Let me know if you see anything good!