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?

 

U.S. Supreme Court? CHECK!

FINALLY!! After 6 years on my DC-to-do-list, I can cross off visiting the U.S. Supreme Court! Well, actually, the item on my list was a little more ambitious than just visiting the U.S. Supreme Court. I wanted to sit through an oral argument. And that’s not exactly what I did this week, but close enough. 

US Supreme Court

Thanks to a former colleague, I sat through a lecture on property rights in the progressive era, organized by the U.S. Supreme Court Historical Society and hosted by Justice Samuel Alito. The lecture itself was waaaay over my head, I have no legal background whatsoever, but the reception afterwards, in one of the court’s stunning conference rooms, was right up my alley! I mean, of course I would find a way to drink wine at the U.S. supreme Court right? 

Reception at the US Supreme Court

So now I actually do want to just take a tour of the building and get to learn more about it but I am still crossing the U.S. Supreme Court off my DC-to-do-list!! So far, I’m doing pretty good and I think I might be able to cross everything off… let’s recap:

  1. U.S. Supreme Court — check 
  2. Sipping cocktails at the Columbia Room.
  3. Catching a movie at the Arlington Cinema & Drafthouse.
  4. Dinner at Bad Saint — check (read about it here)
  5. Visit the Society of Cincinnati and Lars Anderson House.
  6. Watch the planes take off and land at Reagan National Airport from Gravely Point — check
  7. Catch the Caps practice at the Kettler Iceplex — check
  8. Meander through the lush grounds at Hillwood Estate, Museum and Garden — check (and during Cherry Blossoms season which was absolutely gorgeous!)
  9. Go on a hike in Rock Creek Park — check (though I’d like to crush it from top to bottom like this Washingtonian article recommends.)
  10. Have drinks at The Tombs in Georgetown.

So 6 down, 4 to go with 7 weeks left in 2016! I think I can do it!! 

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 😉 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-Duchêne, J de Telmont, Heucq Pere & Fils, and selections from the Terry Theise champagne portfolio. Select cuvées 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!! 

Christine & The Queens at the All Things Go Fall Classic Festival

Have you heard of Christine And the Queens? Did you go see her and her band when she played at the 9:30 Club earlier this year? I couldn’t make it, so I’m stoked she’s coming back! As part of a small North American tour, she’ll be performing at the All Things Go Fall Classic Music Festival at Yards Park this Saturday, October 8th. DC’s not a big music festival town  and I’ve loved seeing this one grow from its beginning at Dock 5 behind Union Market in 2014. And of course I love that there’s a French artist in the line-up!! 

All Things Go Classic

The headliners this year are Empire of the Sun (the videos from the Australian band are amazing, like this one for Alive, so I bet they put on quite a show!). They’ll be joined on stage by Passion Pit, Sylvan Esso and others, including of course Christine! The best part of this music festival, in my opinion, is that it marries music and food. In addition to all the artists, the restaurant review site Infatuation selected vendors like Buredo, Takorean, Milk Cut or Beefsteak to make sure festival-goers don’t go hungry. Isn’t that nice of them 😉

Christine and the Queens at the 9:30 Club in May 2016 - Photo by Francois Boo

Christine and the Queens at the 9:30 Club in May 2016 – Photo by François Boo

You can still grab tickets if you’re interested in going (click here) and use the code FrenchTwist to save 10%.

ps: check out my earlier write up on Christine and the Queens.

Premières Visites du Nouveau Musée d’Histoire & Culture Afro-Américaine

Ça y est! Le tout nouveau Musée National de l’Histoire et de la Culture Afro-Américaine (l’acronyme c’est NMAAHC en anglais) a ouvert ses portes au public samedi dernier à Washington. Et il les a ouvertes en grande pompe et circonstance,  avec l’ancien président George W. Bush, Barack et Michelle Obama, Oprah Winfrey et plein d’autres célébrités ainsi que deux jours de fête et de concerts sur le National Mall.
National Museum of African American History and Culture L’inauguration du NMAAHC c’est l’événement culturel de l’année ici… les billets d’entrée (qui sont gratuits d’ailleurs, comme ceux pour tous les musées nationaux gérés par l’Institution Smithsonian) se sont arrachés comme des petits pains en ligne. Il faut maintenant quasiment attendre jusqu’à janvier pour avoir des places. Heureusement, je m’y suis prise à l’avance et du coup j’en suis déjà à ma deuxième visite 😉 J’ai eu la chance de pouvoir le visiter juste avant son ouverture officielle, trois jours après l’inauguration et j’y retourne mi-octobre…. Un peu beaucoup? Non. Il y a plus 33 000 objets a découvrir sur presque 40 000 mètres carrés, donc je pense que j’aurais même besoin d’y retourner l’année prochaine, surtout que je n’ai pas du tout étudié l’histoire américaine  à l’école, donc j’apprends plein de chose à chaque fois!

En gros, le Musée National de l’Histoire et de la Culture Afro-Américaine propose un veritable voyage dans l’histoire des Etats Unis comme l’ont vécus les afro-américains. La visite s’organise chronologiquement au début et commence tout en bas, au troisième sous-sol du musée. C’est symbolique, bien sûr. Dans ces premières salles on revoit les épisodes les plus sombres de l’histoire Américaine: l’esclavage et la ségrégation… Cette partie m’a rappelé le Musée de l’Holocauste, qui est tout près d’ailleurs. On y voit des cartes retraçant le commerce des esclaves, des chaînes (dont des toutes petites pour enfants), des notes de vente et une cabane d’esclaves provenant d’une ancienne plantation de Caroline du Sud.
unnamed-27National Museum African American History and Culture

Un grand mur m’a fait particulièrement réfléchir: celui du paradoxe de la liberté. Derrière une statue de Thomas Jefferson on peut lire les noms de tous les esclaves dont il était “propriétaire…” lui, l’auteur principal de la Déclaration d’Independence qui décrit que tous les hommes sont nés égaux et sont doués par le Créateur de certains droits inaliénables; parmi ces droits se trouvent la vie, la liberté et la recherche du bonheur. Progressivement, on arrive à l’époque de la ségrégation et à la lutte pour les droits civiques. Là, il n’est pas rare d’entendre quelques personnes un peu plus âgés raconter leur propre experience pendant cette période et c’est extrêmement émouvant quand ils sont là en famille, avec leur enfants et leurs petits enfants, de les voir partager ces souvenirs difficiles qu’ils ont vécus personnellement. Cette scène de parents qui expliquent ce lourd contexte à leurs enfant se répète à travers le musée. Certains sont si jeunes qu’ils n’ont jamais connu d’autre président que Barack Obama, dont l’élection conclue d’ailleurs cette partie du musée. On sort enfin des épisodes les plus sombres de l’histoire américaine pour arriver aux plus glorieux.

Tuskegee Airmen Trainer Plane at the NMAAHC

Les étages supérieurs redonnent leur place aux contributions des Afro-Américains dans l’histoire militaire, le sport, les arts et la culture. Les thèmes précédents ne sont pas oubliés… la ségrégation et la lutte pour les droits civiques y sont encore mais on y célèbre surtout la réussite, les victoires, les premières historiques que ce soit celle de Josephine Baker, Alvin Alley, Spike Lee, Mohamed Ali ou des soeurs Williams. Et oui, d’Oprah Winfrey aussi… elle a donné plus de 20 millions au musée donc elle est un peu partout 😉

Oprah Winfrey's studio at NMAAHC A statue of the 1968 Olympics black power salute at NMAAHC

En dehors des expositions, il y a trois endroits que j’ai beaucoup aimé dans le musée. Le premier c’est une petite fenêtre cachée dans la section histoire militaire au troisième étage. Quelle vue! Attention, pour prendre la photo comme moi, il faut s’allonger par terre, sinon on coupe le haut du Washington Monument… 

The view from the 3rd floor of NMAAHC

Ensuite, c’est la cafétéria au premier sous sol, qui est en elle même un exposition à part entière puisque le menu retrace les contributions culinaires afro-américaine à la cuisine du pays. Enfin, un bon resto sur le mall 😉

Pulled Pork BBQ Sandwich from sweet Home Cafe at NMAAHC

Le dernier endroit est un pièce dédiée à la contemplation, un endroit calme (assez dur à trouver d’ailleurs!) où on peut s’assoir et, bercé par le murmure d’une fontaine qui tombe du plafond, réfléchir un peu à tout ce que l’on vient de voir, au poids de l’histoire, à la situation actuelle qui est loin d’être idéale en ce moment. Bonus: ça fait une belle photo instagram aussi! 

Contemplation room at NMAAHC

Le musée est déjà un énorme succès avec plus de 28,000 visiteurs en quelques jours… Si vous ne vous êtes pas pris comme moi au mois d’août pour réserver vos places gratuites, il faudra vous armer d’un peu de patience… et d’un bon réveil. Tous les matins, des places seront mises à la disposition du public à 9:15. Une fois toutes distribuées, il vous faudra revenir le lendemain. Donc surtout là au début je conseillerai d’y aller assez tôt! Sinon, les reservations pour janvier-fevrier s’ouvriront le lundi 3 octobre à 9 heures du matin. Après vous pouvez aussi juste apprécier l’architecture extérieur du musée, il est superbe aussi… mais bon, si vous pouvez visiter, c’est mieux tout de même! 

5 Events To look forward to this September

I actually love summer… I don’t mind fall, but it reminds me that winter is coming, so I’m usually sad when labour days comes around. That being said, there are actually quite a lot to look forward to in D.C. in the fall. Here are 5 events happening in Washington this September that I’m particularly excited about:

THE DC SHORT FILM FESTIVAL 
I have a short attention span, so seeing 7-9 movies in 90 minutes sounds pretty great to me. The DC Short Film Festival runs from Septembre 8-18, 2016 and showcases 131 films from 33 nations around the world, including plenty from France. A lot of the festival is geared towards aspiring filmmakers, with practical workshops on fundraising to finance your project or how to write a film review (actually, I might be interested in that one!) but there are plenty of film screenings too of course! 

PARK(ing) DAY

I just really love the creativity involved in PARK(ing) Day , which will be held from 9Am to 4PM on September 16. It initially started in San Francisco to encourage businesses and residents to rethink how they use public space by converting metered parking spots into temporary, pop-up parks. 

Park(ing) day 2015 in DC

 

UNCENSORED AND BANNED BOOKS WEEK AT MARTIN LUTHER KING JR LIBRARY

The D.C. Public Library, along with libraries across the country, is shedding light on literary censorship in American history through Banned Books Week, which will start September 25 and wraps up with Uncensored, a cocktail party on September 30. That event will feature live music, as well as local mixologists’ boozie interpretation of a specific banned book, like a chartreuse concoction based on Ronald Dahl’s The Witches. Tickets aren’t cheap at $50 (you can buy tickets here) but all ticket sales will support DC Public Library programs and services. Also, this will be one of our last chance to hang out at the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library at 901 G St. NW before it closes down for renovations starting in early 2017. Throughout the month of September, the D.C. public library system will be hiding copies of books that were once banned or challenged in businesses around the city and invite Washingtonians to go on a bit of an uncensored books scavenger hunt. Find a book (Compas Rose Coffee is one of the spots!) send a pic on twitter to @dcpl_literati using the  hashtag and you could win free tix to the party! (plus it just sounds like a fun thing to do!!)  

Uncensored at the MLK Library

Still on the topic of books, I always look forward the Library of Congress National Book Festival, happening this year on September 24 (and still at the convention center…. I miss the days when it was held on the mall!) Stephen King will be there, as will Shonda Rhimes (that’s going to be a popular session), Bob Woodward (always popular with the DC crowds), and Salman Rushdie (always popular with me!!) 

 

HISTORIC OPENING OF THE MUSEUM OF AFRICAN AMERICAN HISTORY 

You know you’ve lived in Washington for a long time when you’re getting ready to see your  second new Smithsonian museum open on the National Mall (and third overall, I already lived in DC when the National Air and Space Museum’s Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center opened in Chantilly). The first one was of course,  the National Museum of the American Indian in 2004. But I feel like I’ve really followed the NMAAHC, from its authorization in 2003 to the site selection in 2006 and finally construction after president Barrack Obama helped break ground in February 2012. I can’t wait to take an “after”-selfie once the building is fully finished. 

African American Museum in DC

The much anticipated grand opening will happen September 24th at 1PM, after an official dedication ceremony earlier that morning (featuring Barrack Obama no less). The NMAAHC definitely knows how to throw an opening party, with free three-day, two-night festival on the Washington Monument Grounds, featuring live music by Public Enemy and the Roots among others.  I’ll probably skip all that, but I can’t wait to go inside the beautiful bronze building for the first time! Got my timed entry tickets for the 26th and I can’t wait!

National Museum of African American History and Culture

On the topic of museums, I’m also looking forward to reopening of the National Gallery’s East Building Galleries. Designed by IM Pei (of Louvre Pyramid fame) the angular building has been under renovations for close to three years. In addition to 12,000 new square-feet of exhibition space, the museum will now have a rooftop sculpture garden, featuring Katharina Fritsch’s “Hahn/Cock” giant blue rooster. That one. It’s already there, I can see it from the street and I can’t wait to get closer!

ART ALL NIGHT – MADE IN DC

By now I’ve accepted that Art all Night isn’t trying to be Paris’ Nuit Blanche and I’ve come to appreciate the event for what it is here. It’s a great evening of cultural happenings showcasing some of the city’s coolest neighbourhoods and emerging or established artists. This year, the festival takes place on Saturday, September 24th from 7PM to 3PM in Capitol Heights, Dupont Circle, H Street, North Capitol, Shaw as well as Tentleytown and Van Ness. This year the festival will feature District of Columbia artists and collectives only, in celebration of the Made in DC initiative which I find pretty cool! The full schedule hasn’t been released yet, but you can check out the Art All Night website for updates.

Any event you’re looking forward to this fall?

 

What’s the Best Baguette in Washington, DC?

I’ve lived in the District for over 10 years now and as the French expat one of the top question I usually get asked is “where can I find good bread?” Usually it’s recent transplants from France asking… The answer partially depend on where you live I guess. I mean, Bread Furst probably makes the best baguette in the city. But I live in Shaw. It’s bad enough I have to spend close to $3 for bread, I’m not trekking all the way across town on top of it. So I get my baguette mostly at A Baked Joint now, and occasionally at Paul or Le Pain Quotidien. Two places where I would never buy bread back home…but hey, I have limited options here 😉
The best Baguette in DC

Of course, Parisians take their bread very seriously. It is like 20% of our diet… It’s so important that we have a trade association for bread and the bakers that make it, la Chambre professionnelle des artisans boulangers du Grand Paris. And since 1994, they’ve teamed up with the City of Paris to throw an annual baguette show-done to select the best loaf in town: la meilleure baguette de Paris. In addition to 4,000 euros, mad bragging rights and a guaranteed line outside your bakery for a few weeks, the winning boulangerie also becomes the official bread supplier of the French President and his residence. Yes, obviously, that’s a thing too.  

This year, the French Embassy to the United States has decided to organize its very own “best baguette” contest for the Washington, D.C. area. After polling district residents online to see what their favourite bread-spots were, the top 4 bakers are facing off for a carb-filled finale at La Maison Française September 29th. 

The bakeries competing for the Best Capital Baguette title are: 

A jury of chefs and other DC-food personalities will decide the winner that evening but guests are also invited to join and will get the opportunity to try the different baguette along with charcuteries, cheese and jam. Bonne Maman, D’Artagnan and President are partners, so you know there’s gonna be some good stuff there! No wine sponsor though, so that’ll be cash bar and at $25 for a ticket (which you can buy here), that seems fair.

My money is on Fresh Baguette or Bread Furst, but I guess we’ll have to wait until September 29th to find out and see who will become the official bread supplier of the French Ambassador’s Residence… and the 2016 Best Capital Baguette!

ps: New York hosted its own competition earlier this year… so if you’re looking for some the best bread in Manhattan, just head to one of Eric Kayser‘s many bakeries. And good news, it won’t be too long before we have our very own Maison Eric Kayser here in DC. CANNOT WAIT! 

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…)

 

 

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!

So You Wanna Visit the Broad Museum?

Today, I dedicated 3 hours of my life to visiting Los Angeles’ latest contemporary art space, The Broad (note: it’s pronounced brode not brawd… ) Opened in September 2015, the brand new museum has already become one of the city’s most instagrammed venue, thanks to some amazing (and very photogenic) art from the private collection of philanthropists Eli and Edythe Broad, as well as a stunning building designed by world-renowned architectural firm Diller Scofido + Renfro. When I said I dedicated 3 hours to the museum, I should specify that only one of those was spent inside. The other two I spent lining up outside in the standby line. I learned a few things visiting The Broad, so here are a few tips for you:

BOOK ADVANCE TICKETS IF YOU CAN

Entry into The Broad is free BUT you need advance tickets. The website doesn’t really tell you when those will be available, so your best bet if you’re looking to go on a specific date is to sign up for their newsletter to be notified when spots will be released. Right now, you can also purchase tickets to the special exhibit Cindy Sherman: Imitation of Life. They’ll set you back $12 but also include general admission to the museum.  

Cindy Sherman exhibit at The Broad in Los Angeles

If that’s not an option, you can do as I did and wait in the standby line. The museum opens at 11AM on weekdays, and 10AM on weekends. You can follow The Broad Standby Line on twitter to get updates on what the wait time will be like. On a weekday in June, I got in line 2 hours ahead of opening time and was the third person there. Within 20 minutes, the line wrapped around the building, so get there early, especially on Saturdays and Sundays when it’s more crowded. By 11:15AM, just 15 minutes after the museum opened I got to go in. Woohoo! Here’s my tip if you’re going to go the early morning route like I did: grab coffee and food before you get in the line. G & B Coffee at Grand Central Market is just a few steps away (153 steps along the Angel Flights tracks to be exact) and their delightful almond-macadamia milk latte is bound to make waiting a little less painful. 

 

BOOK THE INFINITY MIRROR ROOM IMMEDIATELY UPON GETTING IN

One of the highlights of The Broad, and one of its most instagrammed spot, is Yayoi Kusama‘s “Infinity Mirrored Room – The Souls of Millions of Light Years Away.” The small, shimmering, mirror-lined, experimental space will dazzle you with its seemingly infinite number of LED lights. It’s quite trippy, so it’s probably a good thing you’re only allowed 45 seconds in there – just the right amount of time to snap that perfect #infinityroom selfie!

Infinity Mirrored Room by Yayoi Kusama at the Broad in Los Angeles

To book your spot for this experience, rush to the left of the escalator in the lobby as soon as you get into the museum and enter your name and cell phone number into an iPad that’s provided for that purpose.

How to get into the Infinity Mirrored Room at The Broad

Once that’s done, get back to the lobby, soak up its cavernous look and head up the escalator to the third floor gallery, which houses most of the museum’s collections. You’ll receive a text message in approximately 45 minutes to an hour letting you know when your time in the room is up. Head back downstairs (don’t miss taking a glimpse at the museum’s central vault on the way!) and wait in line (again) until it’s your turn to spend 45 seconds in the infinity mirrored room.

How to get into The Broad's Infinity Mirrored RoomHow to get into The Broad's Infinity Mirrored Room

You can go in on your own, or with a friend/significant other if you prefer but they won’t let more than 2 or 3 people in at the time.

BRING A GOOD CAMERA

Photography is allowed and encouraged at The Broad so bring your good camera and go all out. While not as striking as its Frank Gehry designed neighbour, the museum is still a work of art in its own right. Diller Scofidio + Renfro, best known for the High Line in Manhattan, designed the 120,000-square-foot museum with the Walt Disney Concert Hall in mind and contrasted its smooth silver curves with a solid white block. Its honeycomb facade, known as the veil, softens the structure and makes for stunning pictures if you’re lucky enough to be there on a sunny day (I wasn’t… darn California June fog!)

The Broad Museum in downtown Los Angeles

Inside, there are numerous fun photo opps, like the previously mentioned Infinity Mirrored Room but also a couple of pieces by Jeff Koons (always picture-worthy!), El Anatsui’s 2010 Red Block which makes for a cool backdrop to any selfie or Robert Therrien’s “Under the Table.” Here’s a couple of shots I took in the gallery. 

Keith Haring's Red Room at The BroadTulips by Jeff Koons at The BroadDouble America 2 by Glenn Ligon

One last tip about the art: the museum staff, known as visitor services associates, is numerous (seriously, there’s a small army of them here to help you) and SUPER knowledgeable.  WhileThe Broad has a pretty neat app that you can download ahead of your visit, I found chatting with the VSAs a lot more interesting!

 

SPEND AN HOUR IN THE MUSEUM THEN EXPLORE DOWNTOWN

The Broad is a perfect starting point to visiting downtown Los Angeles, especially if you’ve paid good money to park in a garage. It’s right next to Frank Gehry’s Walt Disney Concert Hall (tip: check out the peekaboo view from the Lichtenstein room on the third floor) and a quick walk to Grand Park (I love that park and its pink chairs!) or Grand Central Market. If you do The Broad in the morning, that’s the perfect spot to grab lunch afterwards!

Peekaboo windows into the Walt Disney Concert Hall from The Broad

Lichtenstein Room at The Broad

Have you visited The Broad yet? If yes, do you have any additional tips you’d like to share?