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

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

Not Taylor Swift, me ūüėČ 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 ‚ÄėNothing to Lose (But Our Chains)’¬†(November 11 ‚Äď 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‚Äôs ‘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‚Äôs 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 ‚Äď 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.¬†

 

A First Look at the Shop Made in DC

I’ve been writing a lot about running lately, so I thought it was time for a non-jogging related post. Meet the Shop Made in D.C., a newly opened shop-caf√© combo at 1333 19th street NW. As you may have guessed by the name, the 2,500-square-foot space only stocks products that are made in the District, from the coffee (which comes from Small Plane, Ryan Jensen’s new roasting company) to a rotating selection of goods by local small business owners. All of them belong to the Department of Small and Local Business Development‚Äôs Made in D.C. program, which provided $100,000 in funding for the project, through a grant to the Golden Triangle BID. Other financial backers include Boston Properties,¬†People¬†Make Place¬†and the Neighborhood Restaurant Group.¬†

Two things caught my eyes right away when I came in last Saturday. First, big black letters at the back of the store with the words EAT and DRINK. I guess I was hungry ūüėČ

It was a little too early for tacos (from Tortilladora) or momos (from Dorjee momo), so I just grabbed an everything bagel from Bullfrog Bagels and a coffee. The shop carries oat-milk which is my new favourite so I was excited about that!

I’ll have to come back to try more of the food offerings, including the beers which Greg Engert, director of the beverage program, selected from 6 local breweries.¬†

Next, I couldn’t help but be drawn to a long brick wall on the side of the store, with bold and¬† bright posters from 18 of DC’s landmark neighbourhoods, created by¬†Anthony Dihle of Victory Dance Creative.

Alongside all the products featured in the shop, you can find little cards detailing the name of the artisan that made it (24 currently), alongside their makerhood, how many years they have been a maker, how many years they have been in DC and of course, their social media handles so you can look them up.

 

Food products and prints are most prominent in the shop, but you can also find beautiful leather goods from Stitch and Rivet , shirts by District of Clothing or pottery from Hollow Work Ceramics. For now, all of the local entrepreneurs featured have to be DC based businesses registered with the DC Department of Small and Local Business Development though that might change soon since that partnership is only slated to last 6 months as it stands right now.

I foresee the Shop Made in DC being a great event space too, and they are already organizing a Meet the Makers evenings as well as participating in Dupont’s First Friday art walks. I’m sure there’ll be a lot more different events planned soon, especially with the holidays coming up, and I can’t wait!¬†

Shop Made in DC. 1330 19th Street, Northwest. Open Monday though Friday, 7 AM to 8 PM; Saturday and Sunday, 11 AM to 6 PM. 

Drink all the French Bubbles at DC’s First Champagne Week

DC Champagne WeekIf you missed Champagne Day on October 21, don’t worry! Champagne shouldn’t be celebrated in a day anyway, it clearly deserves¬†its own week! At least that’s what my friends Jess and Alison thought. These two wine pros are throwing DC’s first ever Champagne Week, from Sunday November 6¬†to Thursday November 12.

The idea for DC Champagne Week started off small. Jess runs Young Winos of DC, a group that connects people in the District with wine tastings and events. She reached out to Alison, who runs her own wine consulting business Bon Vivant DC, to partner up on a champagne focused event. Jess jokes that Alison took a small idea and blew it up, but Alison retorts that Jess never would’ve reached out to her if she wanted something low key ūüėČ Before long, Alison was in Champagne attending¬†le¬†Printemps des Champagnes, the weeklong industry festival (you can read more about her trip to Paris and Champagne here). While there, she was able to meet producers, other champagne event producers and came back with a better understanding of what a champagne week might look like in DC. Right away, Alison had a¬†vision of a grand tasting like the ones she just¬†experienced at the Printemps des Champagnes and everything grew from¬†there…

Champagne Week DCSo what can you expect from DC Champagne Week? Here’s a run-down of the events:

The event will feature an elite lineup of champagne houses including Pol Roger, Gosset, Pierre Paillard, Charles Heidsieck,¬†A.R. Lenoble, Canard-Duch√™ne, J de Telmont, Heucq Pere & Fils, and selections from the Terry Theise¬†champagne portfolio.¬†Select cuv√©es will be available for purchase throughout DC Champagne Week at¬†Calvert Woodley,¬†a fabulous wine shop and¬†the event retail partner.¬†You can find out more about DC Champagne Week right here and I definitely hope I’ll be seeing you at some of the events!!

Santé!! 

Celebrating DC’s First Michelin Guide at the French Ambassador’s Residence

Bibendum at the release party for DC's first Michelin Guide

Being invited to the French Ambassador’s Residence is always a treat… I’ve only been there a few times in my 13 years in Washington and I’m always elated when I have the chance to attend an event there. Last night was¬†no exception, if anything it was more special than ever as Washington’s top toques gathered to celebrate the release of the District’s very first Michelin Guide. So. Many. Chefs.¬†

In addition to the 11 chefs who were awarded coveted stars in the red guide, representatives from the restaurants who were awarded Bib Gourmand last week as well as¬†from those who were listed in the book were present. Who was left in¬†DC’s kitchens last night? A lot of sous-chefs in charge ūüėČ

DC's Michelin Starred Chefs

There are 107 restaurants listed in the Michelin Guide, including 19 Bib Gourmand, 9 one-star restaurants and 3 two-stars restaurants. The big winners from this first edition are Jose Andres and Aaron Silverman. At 34, the chef who made D.C. fall in love with¬†a litchi and pork sausage dish is one of very people in the world to have both a one star (Rose’s Luxury) and a two stars (Pineapple & Pearl) restaurant.¬†And he’s just getting started! Jose Andres also had a very good week, receiving two stars for his Minibar and a Bib Gourmand for pretty much all of his other establishments¬†(Oyamel, China Chilcano, Zaytinya and Jaleo).

My favourite moment from last night’s event, other than sipping champagne among the who’s who of the Washington culinary scene — and getting my picture taken with Bibendum — was when Patrick O’Connor, the chef and¬†proprietor of the two-star Inn at Little Washington said a few words as he accepted his recognition. At 71, he is twice Aaron Silverman’s age and had long lobbied Michelin’s to cover the city.¬†‚ÄúI am living proof” he said “that if you wait long enough your prayers will be answered.‚ÄĚ Despite their insistence that they would only include restaurants from DC proper in the guide, I am so glad that the Michelin inspecteurs¬†ventured out to Washington, VA. I’m hoping to make a trip out there soon, but until then, I’ll be combing through the guide (which shouldn’t take long, the D.C. edition is a mere 96 pages long, of which maybe 15 are ads for Michelin and maps) and picking out some new spots to try!

DC Michelin Guide

The first on my lists are all around where I live, and I can’t believe I¬†eaten there yet: Ottoman Taverna (Bib Gourmand), Kinship (one star) and Chercher, a Bib Gourmand Ethiopian restaurant I hadn’t even heard of until the guide came out. Do you think the release of the guide will influence where you’re going to eat in the near future?

Getting my Coffee Fix at Qualia Luke’s Diner

Luke's Diner pop up at Qualia

Where you a fan of Gilmore Girls? I watched it religiously when I was in college and I can’t wait until Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life, the¬†four-episode revival of the series, comes out on Netflix November 25! To celebrate the 16th gilmoreversary¬†of the series‚Äô original pilot air date (this is making me feel old!!) and of course promote the new season, Netflix had the brilliant idea of bringing a little bit of Stars Hollow to life by¬†turning some¬†200 coffee shops across the U.S. and Canada into Luke’s Diner pop-ups. And to serve free coffee, which we know Rory and Lorelai would have totally be fans of!! ¬†

Luke's diner pop up

There were five coffee shops that got¬†the Luke’s Diner treatment in the D.C. area:¬†Bump ‚Äėn Grind¬†in Silver Spring; Grounded Coffee Shop¬†in Alexandria;¬†Flying Fish Coffee & Tea¬†in¬†Mt Pleasant; Three Fifty Bakery and Coffee Bar¬†on 17th Street and Qualia Coffee on Georgia Avenue which is where I headed for my coffee fix this morning. Of course, the lines were pretty long at all of these, but it was definitely worth it! Loved seeing the staff all dressed¬†up like Luke, wearing flannel shirts and (Netflix-branded)¬†baseball caps turned backwards.

Qualia turned into Luke's Diner for the day

Cell phones were only in their infancy back when the show first aired and we all remember that Luke Danes was not a fan, with a NO CELL PHONES sign prominently placed in his diner. Well, that was there today of course….

Luke's Diner no cell phone sign

Some pop-up Luke’s Diner¬†around the country even got a life size Luke’s cutout displaying the updated no cell phone rule… looks like 2016 Luke is still as grumpy as ever ūüėČ The new sign reads: “No texting while ordering. No MAN BUNS! No taking pictures of food. No headphones. If I can hear your music through your headphones, WHY ARE YOU WEARING HEADPHONES?”

New no cell phone rules at Luke's diner

No taking pictures of my food!?! Why doesn’t he just write no millennials allowed in ūüėČ Can’t wait to see play out in the show’s revival!!¬†

 

New Mural at 801 N Street NW

It’s been pretty gloomy in Washington, DC lately so I was pretty excited to stumble upon a new pop of colour in Shaw. Kuddos to Jessie and Katey, an artistic duo from Baltimore, for working in the rain to turn¬†a dull wall above a parking lot into a vibrant¬†public mural.

Jessie and Katey mural at 801 N Street NW in Washington, DC

The mural is part of the District Wall project sponsored by Blind Whino and the¬†DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities. Between September 19th and September 30th, abstract muralists like Jason Woodside (1380 H¬†st¬†NE), Remi Rough (649 Kenyon St NW), Tavar Zawacki (1012 7th St SE)¬†or¬†Waone Interesni Kazki (829 Rock Creek Church Rd. NW) have¬†been painting new pieces of street art around the city. I’m always eager to see more graffiti cover the city’s empty walls. And even though the project was supposed to end September 30, some of the murals are still works in progress.¬†James Reka (Rekaone) just got started on his for example, so there’s still more to come… yeah!¬†

 

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 ūüėȬ†

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¬†D√≠a 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¬†ūüėČ 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 ‚Äú1968 to Today.‚Ä̬†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‚Äôboy 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 to)¬†so I have another busy weekend ahead. Hopefully, the week will go by quickly!! How was your weekend? How’s your week shaping up?

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 ūüėȬ†

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!

 

Diner en Blanc by the Lincoln Memorial

The very first diner en blanc took place in Paris’ Bois de Boulogne in the 1980s and has popped up in some of the most iconic locations around town since then, like the Champs Elysees, Notre Dame or the Place des Vosges to name a few. While I loved Washington’s first two diners en blanc, the sites (Navy Yard Park in 2014 and the Carnegie Library in 2015) had lacked a certain wow factor. This year, however, the organizers really delivered that only-in-DC magic as 3500 white-clad diners descended on Henry Bacon Park for an over the top, elegant pop-up picnic in the shadow of the Lincoln Memorial.

Diner en Blanc, Washington DC

Getting so many people, slugging their tables, chairs, decorations and for many food, to an undisclosed location and setting them up at the site is always an exercise in organized chaos, but it always all comes together beautifully in the end.

Diner en Blanc at the foot of the Lincoln Memorial

Photograph by Vita Images for Diner en Blanc Washington, DC

The diner has many detractors but, as I mentioned to the Washington Post for an article on the event, one of the reasons I keep getting involved in Diner en Blanc is the camaraderie and the creativity. For all the talk that it‚Äôs a pretentious, posh, exclusive event, with a restrictive dress code and many strict rules, it‚Äôs actually one of the most inclusive and diverse I‚Äôve ever attended in the city. Whether you‚Äôre a chief of staff in a congressional office or an inter, a lobbyist or a student, a lawyer or a bartender, everyone is equal for one night. I’ve never heard anyone ask someone else the dreadful ‚Äúoh, what do you do‚ÄĚ question at Diner en Blanc. Instead it’s compliments on fun angel wings, a sparkly beard, original outfits or crafty centerpieces. Everyone is treated the same at Diner en Blanc: everyone has to drag their stuff across town, no one knows where they‚Äôre going to end up setting up and everyone is given the same blank white canvass to work with. And they are free to get as creative as they want‚Ķ well, as long as you keep it white¬†ūüėČ

Diner en blanc Washington DC

Diner en blanc Washington, DC

Some of my friends express their creativity through their outfits, others go all out on their table scape. Check out this sail my friend Jade made! It was amazing!

Diner en Blanc at the Lincoln Memorial

Some get creative on the dance floor too ! I usually focus on my menu but this year decided to spend some time and energy on a homemade flower crown instead. And I had a pretty simple but stunning table design planned that involved massive white balloons (inspired by this pin) too but that was thwarted by the National Park Service rangers who apparently disapprove of balloons… womp womp. We still got a few good pictures with them though!

Photo by Jai Williams for DCist

Photo by Jai Williams for DCist

Picture by Vithaya Phongsavan for DC Modern Luxury

Picture by Vithaya Phongsavan for DC Modern Luxury

Again, it was a wonderful evening, spent laughing, eating, drinking champagne and dancing under the stars with old friends, and strangers alike, in one of those truly only-in-DC moments. I only wish it could have lasted longer…

Diner en blanc 2016

 

 

Weekend Highlights ~ Restaurant Week, Caipirinhas & Grilled Peach Pizza

Definitely another low-key weekend… sometimes you just need some of those you know, especially as I gear up Diner en Blanc next Saturday. Friday night, I had a couple of girlfriends over for¬†ros√© on the roof. My friends Jean and Aparna can’t make it to diner en blanc, so we thought we’d dress in white and have a bit of a test run. I’m being a bit of a rebel this year and sprinkling hints of gold into my tablescape so I wanted to check out how it looked. Plus I love any excuse to host. I think it turned out pretty well no?

diner en blanc table

I wanted to keep things simple for the menu so I made Martha Stewart’s Grilled Peach Pizza recipe¬†as well as a pitcher of caipirinhas (check out my recipe here, along with some personal memories of drinking Caipirinhas in Brazil) ¬†since I wanted to finish my bottle of cachaca. We talked about the Olympics, of course, our latest trips, ones we have coming and diner en blanc. It was lovely.

Martha Stewart's Grilled Peach Pizza

Martha Stewart's Grilled Peach PizzaSaturday was beautiful and I was quite lazy, spending most of it at the pool. On Sunday, I caught the tail-end of Restaurant Week with a lunch-date with the hubby at Del Campo in Chinatown. I used to be so into restaurant week before, booking lunches and dinner throughout the time of the promotion, but now not much. Del Campo did a great job with their menu though. I kicked off my meal with the Chilean Salmon Ceviche¬†while my husband had the empanadas de Pino. Those were basically breakfast empanadas with bacon and egg and I’m totally going to try and make them at home one day!¬†

Salmon ceviche at Del Campo

empenadas de pino at Del Campo

Since I had Brazil on my mind,¬†I ordered the¬†Smoked Pork Feijoada. It was ok, though definitely not as good as my husband’s¬†Grilled Short Rib with jalapeno potato puree and bone marrow.¬†

Short rib and bone marrow at Del Campo

The desserts were lovely, I always love the tres leches twinkies with passion fruit sorbet. The menu offered for lunch and diner is actually exactly the same but it’s $13 pricier in the evenings, so I’d definitely recommend¬†the earlier option and the deal continues through next Sunday too. There’s also a $55 Restaurant Week’s chef menu, that swaps the short rib for grilled Wagyu bavette sirloin & chorizo and the empanadas de pino for Wagyu skirt steak empanadas. I still think the lunch menu was really good and a good deal, so I’d stick with that though.

Tres leche twinkies at Del Campo

Did you partake in restaurant week this past week? If yes, any stand-out meals? If not… why not? Do you find your interest in the promotion to have decreased over the years? Let me know in the comments and have a great week!!¬†