Saturday, March 27, 2010

D.C. Day

This post should really be titled, "Why Sometimes Failing Is Exactly What Is Supposed To Happen."  We headed to D.C. today to go see the Leda painting by Gilbert Thomas.  It's the painting from the book The Swan Thieves and I wanted to see it in person.  Of course I was sure it was at the National Gallery, because that's where the book said it was (and Kostova tends to do her research, so I couldn't imagine her placing it there for no reason).  Let's just say I just skimmed a review (using a highlighting feature to search only for the artist) and found that Gilbert Thomas is fictitious and the painting described in the book hangs in the Musee D'Orsay.  No wonder it sounded familiar, I've probably seen it.  Lovely.  Anyhoo, it got our butts to D.C., so a fail was a win.  And there are plenty of Leda and the Swan artwork at The National Gallery, so perhaps I'll go photograph those for the review.  All in all, I usually do my research on these things but I avoided it this time to make seeing the painting memorable.  Ha!
Have I ever mentioned how much we love subways and trains?
We did have a fairly lovely day.  The weather was cool, but the sun was out.  Not until dusk as we were leaving did we freeze to death.  The pebblestone sidewalks killed my feet.  I wore high heeled boots.  To traipse around D.C., for the same reason I wore cute flats and a silk scarf to traipse around Athens and run through the cobblestones of Rome....I look good doing it.  But right now I am in such pain I have admitted that perhaps flats will be worn next time (unless I can find some good riding boots).  We walked through The National Gallery for a bit, and I got to show G some of Picasso's blue period.  Then we walked through their sculptural garden and helped a couple take photos in front of a flowering tree.  I know I keep using the word lovely, but it was.  The weather was nice, G and I were excited, and though there were a tad too many children running around with no parental supervision for my taste, it was looking like it would be a great day.
Cherry Blossoms!  And that building is gorgeous!

All Picasso, and I love each of them.  

The Museum of Natural History was pretty much a bust.  Not because it wouldn't be an awesome place to explore, but there were simply too many loose kids running around, and it was packed.  I did get to see the hope diamond and some dinosaur skeletons, and later as we sat killing time before dinner we looked at a piece of Easter Island, and coral, and fossilized trees.  I've decided I want a fossilized tree coffee table, they were gorgeous.  How much do you think it will cost me for a piece that's 220 million years old?  

Blurry photo of G with his dinos.  
The funny moment here was when we got asked directions.  It was amusing because we seemed to get that all day.  I don't know what shouted "locals" to the tourists, but I was giggling on the inside.
We avoided the FBI building, and I was highly disappointed by their vehicles.  I much prefer the dark SUV's they portray on t.v. (instead of their white cars and vans with huge FBI POLICE on them)
We walked the mall a bit.  There were a ton of people laying around or flying kites.  I walked with G singing the "Let's Go Fly A Kite" song from Mary Poppins to him.  He didn't know it.  I swear he had no childhood.  We didn't bother going to gaze at the phallic dedication to Washington (though we took a pic from afar) and we didn't make it to Congress of the White House, though I would love to see those soon.  We eventually walked all over in search of food, as both our tummies were grumbling.  I was hoping for a French restaurant.  Here's how that went down.

Bistro Doc looked promising, but though their doors were open and there was no sign up, we walked in to be told by a person sitting at a back table that they were closed until 5.  Not so nicely either, which annoyed me to no end.  Perhaps they might try locking their doors?  I was sad, since their menu looked like exactly what I was wanting.  

Cafe Du Parc was our next venture, but this time we were smart and called ahead.  A woman with a French accent answered and said that yes, they were open.  But that they were only serving a limited menu until 4:30.  Already hobbling horribly we walked the 4 long city blocks to the restaurant, thinking it was after 4, we would sit and have a coffee and wait for the dinner menu to become available.  What the woman failed to tell us was that after 4:30 they didn't serve any food until 6 when they began dinner. I sat at a little table inside and thought, okay, well, we're here, let's just order a coffee and pastry.  The waiter brought over the pastries they had.  No more croissants, pain au chocolat, or macaroons.  They had one pitiful fruit tart, a slice of some bread, some brioche, and he said they had cookies somewhere else as well.  I decided I had had enough and left, and he went to speak to the hostess about the mix up.

Starving we headed back to an Au Bon Pain to just grab coffee and a light sandwich, only to find they were closing in 15 minutes.  We walked back down the block to a restaurant that had looked interesting. TenPenh turned out to be amazing, a perfect choice.  They have a pre-event special for $29 a person gave a appetizer, entree, and dessert, and since the lumpia I wanted was on it, I went with that.  I took plenty of notes so as to be able to give them a review, but we will be going back soon to try some of their cocktails.  And more dessert.  Yum!
Hanging from the ceiling in our area of the restaurant, we had some above our head.  Loved this pop of color (and told G I wanted some for the house!).

We walked back to the metro, hopped on, and then drove home.  I fell asleep on the way home, exhausted, but happy.  G just rubbed my feet until his thumbs wouldn't work anymore, and is now making the pie crust for our quiche.  He made it last time, and didn't do enough blending, but rather than just doing it myself and discouraging him, I told him he was going to do it, explained what he needed to do differently and am letting him have at it.  Who cares if it's a little lumpy?  

Tomorrow we will be attending our brunch.  Overall this is turning out to be an expensive foodie weekend, but since we connect over good food and good conversation this has been a wonderful weekend so far.  We'll be poor but happy as we always say.  And I'm telling the world:  Bring it on!

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