County State Fair and Baseball Game – An All American Weekend Highlights

It’s WAY too hot to spend a lot of time outside… so that’s exactly what I did lol. What can I say? I made plans and I wasn’t going to let record temperatures stop me ūüėČ

These plans included Star Wars Night at Nationals Park¬†on Saturday (pretty much the only thing that could get me excited about going to a baseball) and the Montgomery County State Fair with my friend Kaoru on Sunday. I mean, if you stay indoors with the AC on, you’re basically letting DC’s¬†steamy summer weather win and we can’t have that!!¬†

JASON WU FOR CAUDALIE LAUNCH EVENT 

I kicked off the weekend Friday night with my bestie  at City Center DC where Caudalie was celebrating the launch of their Jason Wu collaboration with mini-facials and wine.

Jason Wu for Caudalie Launch Event

If you’re not familiar with Caudalie, it’s a luxury¬†French skin-care line that’s famous for using grape extracts in its products. It was founded by Mathilde Thomas whose family owns vineyards in Bordeaux and they have a¬†Vinoth√©rapie Spa on the grounds of Ch√Ęteau Smith Haut Lafitte that I’ve been *DYING* to visit!! I’ve been using their products since the late 90s and I was stoked when they opened in the District. I Never fly¬†without one of the brand’s travel-size¬†Organic Grape Water in my bag – and¬†it’s so hot¬†right now, I pretty much always have a bottle in my purse these days¬†as well.¬†One of their other star product is¬†the¬†Beauty Elixir, a facial mist/toner hybrid that’s great to keep at your desk for a mid-day refresher. Apparently, designer Jason¬†Wu is a huge fan of Caudalie too and he paired up with the company to jazz up the Beauty Elixir bottle with¬†a delicate lace design inspired by his¬†spring/summer 2016 collection. As if I needed a reason to spend more money at Caudalie ūüėȬ†

IN A BALLPARK FAR FAR AWAY 

I kicked off Saturday like I typically do, with a little¬†poolside reading before stopping¬†by Freshfarm’s Mount Vernon Triangle Farm Stand. It’s pretty small and nothing like a full farmers’ market, but it’s perfect to pick up some fresh eggs and vegetables. I simply cannot get enough tomatoes right now so I grabbed¬†some stunning heirlooms¬†that I topped with some burrata for a light and refreshing lunch.¬†

Tomato-burrata salad

Since the force was still strong with the thermometer by 6PM, I left my Chewbacca furry onesie at home and opted for a Pricess-Leia as a Nats fan look, complete with the ear bun chignons of course, for Star Wars Night at the ballpark.

Star Wars Night at the Nationals game

I spent most of the match by the misters and walking around to take pictures with the characters that were spread around the stadium. 

Star Wars Night at nationals park

star wars night at the baseball game

I left the game early though I heard the Nats did well…¬†

For those who read French, you can read more about my experience with Star Wars Night at the Nats game here.

MONTGOMERY COUNTY AGRICULTURAL FAIR 

State fairs are big events in America. The first one I attended was one of the biggest, the Minnesota State Fair, and it was everything I had read about with politicians, rides, animals, fried everything and all sorts of food on a stick. Of course, DC isn’t a state so we don’t have a state fair (well, we sorta do… but it’s really not the same thing). But nearby Maryland and Virginia do and they also have county fairs. The one for Montgomery County is near Gaithersburg so¬†I jumped at the chance to spend a fun day at this all-American event AND stuff my face with all the typical carnival food with one of my fave junk-food loving friend.¬†

Of course, fried everything didn’t sound as fun in the 98 degree heat so I didn’t eat as much as I had planned on, though I did tried deep-fried oreos for the first time. Definitely an experience everyone should have once in their life. But only once ūüėČ

Deep fried oreo

Food vendor at the montgomery county fairWith Kaoru
Red velvet funnel cake

Other than the food, I also loved walking around the barns with all the lifestock though my favourite were the pigs’ race. That was SO cute!!¬†

Pigs' race at the Montgomery Country Agricultural Fair

Did you have a good weekend? Between all the beer at the baseball game and the fried oreos at the country fair I definitely indulged a little more than I meant to… and with Restaurant Week coming up in DC, I’m afraid this week isn’t going to be much better. Dining at any fun restaurants?

Weekend Highlights ~ It’s Getting Hot In Here

It‚Äôs 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 ros√© involved, of course ūüėČ

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‚Äôs 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‚Äôd 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‚Äôn cheese and the rest of the food around the table food was just ok. I still think it‚Äôs 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¬†Corbi√®res 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‚Ķ Sometimes I’m pretty¬†French I guess ūüėČ ¬†

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‚Äôt realize our building had this many kids, and I didn‚Äôt 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! 

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 ros√© 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 ūüėČ ¬†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 ūüė¶¬†

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!

Weekend Highlights: Work, Work, Work (and a Little Disney Fun!)

Greetings from California! I’m actually here for a work conference and working pretty much non-stop throughout the weekend. Since the conference is at the Disneyland Hotel, I did manage to squeeze in a little bit of fun (and Disney magic) though. Like during our staff work dinner Friday…¬†

After a long day of stuffing conference bags and making sure everything was set up, we all had dinner together at Wine Country Trattoria. The food itself was not highly memorable… I love Disney but fine cuisine isn’t their forte. What was great about the dinner was that the restaurant is located inside California Adventure Park, one of the two themed parks at the Disneyland Resort complex, and we had an opportunity to spend one quick hour inside the park between the end of dinner and closing time. I took full advantage of it, riding California Screaming and the Tower of Terror with some colleagues and reconnecting with an old friend. ¬†

IMG_1990Mickey's Fun Wheel in Disney California Adventure Park at the Disneyland Resort

Otherwise, it’s pretty much just work, work, work. When I do manage to get out of conference rooms, I can soak up the California sun for a few minutes.

California dreaming

I really wish we had palm trees in DC! 

Outside of the conference, I’ve been spending the bulk of my (free) time at Downtown Disney, an outdoor dining and shopping center similar to Disney Village at Disneyland Paris. It’s open pretty late, so it’s been¬†my go-to spot to escape work for a few minutes and immerse myself in Disney vibes, even for just a few minutes. Best way to do that? Eat all the things Mickey shaped, like this cute chocolate dipped¬†rice krispy treat!¬†

Mickey Rice Krispy Treats at Downtown Disney

My conference ends on Wednesday and I’m staying in California through next Sunday, so I’ll definitely have more fun things to report in my next weekend update! Until then, have a great week!

Weekend Highlights: Packing, Crabs & Macarons Glac√©s

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 ūüėČ

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 glac√© 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?

Weekend Highlights: Street Art, Rain, Ros√© and my Cat in a Hat

It was another rainy weekend ūüė¶ 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 ros√© (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 ros√© 2015¬†and a¬†La Tour Boisee 2015¬†Minervois¬†ros√© that had been sent to me by a publicist and I picked up a bottle of Domaine Sainte Eugenie 2015 Corbieres¬†ros√© at my local wine shop Eye Street Cellars to round up the tasting.¬†I love ros√© 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 Pyren√©es 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? 

Weekend Highlights: Road Tripping in Pennsylvania and a Brewery Wedding

It’s wedding season! How many do you have lined up for the summer? Over the weekend, we headed to Berwick, Pennsylvania, to see our good friend David¬†tie the knot at a local brewery. This being me and Berwick being in the middle of nowhere, I broke the trip up and squeezed in a little (rainy) keystone state sightseeing…¬†

Pennsylvania State Sign

We left the day before the wedding and spent a night at the Candlelight Inn in Ronks, in the heart of Pennsylvania Dutch Country. It rained the entire ride up but cleared up just enough by the time we got to Lancaster Central Market for a late lunch. Lancaster Central Market is the oldest continuously operated farmers’ market in the country. It’s smaller than Reading Central Market in Philadelphia but it’s in the heart of Amish country and offers a mix of produce stalls, bakeries and other more recent addition like¬†Saife’s Middle Eastern Food¬†and¬†Narai Exotic Thai Cuisine. Lancaster’s German roots have made it a center for pretzel bakeries (the country’s first commercial bakery was established in Lititz in 1861) so I opted for a traditional, salted hand rolled soft pretzel. Best pretzel I ever had!

Soft hand rolled pretzel in Lancaster, PA

There’s a number of coffee shops inside the market, including Lancaster County Coffee Rosters, but we¬†headed next door for an elf-sized latte at Rabbit and Dragonfly, a cute bookstore and cafe inspired by the works of Lewis and Tolkien.¬†

Tolkiens Themed Coffee Shop in Lancaster PA

If it had kept raining, we could have staying for a game or chess or something, but the rain miraculously cleared away so we took advantage of that instead. Since it was a Friday, we stopped by the Green Dragon Farmers Market & Auction in Ephrata. Otherwise, we just drove around on smaller roads, passing through miles of rolling farmland, covered bridges and the occasional Amish horse-drawn buggy. 

Horse drawn buggy in Amish Country

Our last stop before hitting the road to Harrisburg was Dutch Haven. It’s impossible to miss on Route 30 and I had¬†to try a little shoo-fly pie ūüėČ

Dutch Haven on Route 30

In Pennsylvania’s capital, we caught the 11AM guided tour of the state capitol, which is absolutely stunning. Theodore Roosevelt called it the “most handsome building I ever saw” and I can totally see why. Its grand staircase was modeled after that of the Palais Garnier, the Paris opera house, and its dome ceiling was inspired by paintings at the Vatican, so it’s all pretty ornate! We didn’t have much time to linger and explore the rest of the city.¬†The area around the capitol seemed pretty dead on a Saturday anyway and we had a wedding a two hour drive away to get to!

Pennsylvania State Capitol

Pennsylvania State Capitol

Pennsylvania State CapitolThe ceremony and reception were lovely, if casual, at Berwick Brewing Company. I’d been to a winery wedding before but never a brewery one. Have you? It was super fun meeting the bride and groom’s families, reconnecting with old colleagues and making new friends. One of my favourite element of the wedding: the couple¬†eschewed the traditional wedding cake (and many other typical wedding elements you come to expect at an American wedding) for a bunch of pies. I like pies (and also didn’t have a wedding cake at my wedding… ) And I loved trying the different brews too! Check out the groom’s beer-themed wedding details! I loved that too!

Berwick Brewery Wedding Details

On our way back, to¬†break up the return drive a bit, we stopped at Gettysburg National Military Park. It’s actually only a two hours away from Washington, DC via Frederick so I don’t know why we’d never been. We did the self guided auto tour, which took us about an hour and a half. If we had a packed a little differently, I would have loved to hike one of the trails near the battlefields. I guess that gives us a reason to come back right?

Gettysburg National Military Park

Sachs Covered Bridge Near Gettysburg

How was your weekend? Did you have to deal with as much rain as we did?