This weekend we undertook an expedition we'd been contemplating for a while, to the wild west of DC: Foxhall. What is in Foxhall, you may well ask. None other than the Kreeger Museum. Ladies and gentlemen, I know all us spoilt Washingtonites rather resent a museum with an admission charge ($10), but the Kreeger is a bit of a treat! First, the building itself is fab! Really cool architecture, light and airy, and a lovely courtyard with a fountain and benches made for curling up with a book (preferably something pretentious about art) while looking out over the pretty sculpture garden. It's the sort of venue you'd want to get married in. It also has a lot of great art. Or more specifically, it has a really impressive collection of art by pretty much every big name in the last century or two. Not their best work, perhaps, but some really interesting pieces. All collected by the Kreegers themselves, which makes it somehow more charming than a curated museum. Plus downstairs they currently have an exhibition of contemporary DC-based artists, called K@20 - it's on til the end of July and has some really interesting pieces.
Be warned: Uber and Lyft took a good 12 minutes to get to the Kreeger after we were done! But luckily that's not the only option. You always hear me saying how lovely the Glover Archbold trail is for a city hike - but it ends in a pretty dull location (unless you want to buy plants at the garden center, or an ice cream at McDonalds). However, take a look at the map: you can actually walk to and from the Kreeger Museum along the Glover Archbold trail, which makes for a lovely sunny day out (enter at the end of W Street at the Kreeger side; from Georgetown on the other side). So of course, we did! Delightful. With the added bonus of feeling just a little off the beaten track.
I also very much enjoyed the second week of Filmfest DC, and saw two excellent films (in different ways) - Le Chef was a delicious helping of charm, humor and food, while gently mocking the current molecular gastronomy trends. While Bad Hair, set in a slum in Venezuela, was a sad, funny, energetic and true-feeling depiction of growing up gay. I felt rather lucky that due to a sore stomach, I stayed home and missed Gare du Nord at the French Embassy - my lovely wife and friends went along and it was apparently another gaze-at-your-watch-and-wish-it-was-over extravaganza. While I had a very pleasant time alone with Netflix... So all in all, Filmfest DC's film choices can be hit or miss, but that's the whole point of a film festival. It's one of DC's most exciting film events of the year and it will be a great shame if it can't return next year due to their current money worries.
Another treat this week was Sleeping Beauty: A Puppet Ballet by Pointless Theatre Company. It's on til the 3rd May at the quirky art-gallery-theatre-space Flashpoint Mead Theatre Lab, opposite the MLK Library, but I suspect you'll have to beg, borrow and steal to get tickets soon. These guys, fresh from their well-deserved Helen Hayes win as Outstanding Emerging Theatre Company, put on a rather brilliant show. I didn't quite know what to expect as I squeezed into my seat last night, but it was beautiful. The music, the dancing, the puppets, the sly wit, and overall, charm charm charm. One of the nicest hours I've spent in a while - this bright young theatre company is definitely one to watch!
It's also been a week for trying out new restaurants. First up, after another really excellent 14th Street meal at Cork (I previously mentioned that avocado bruschetta is one of my three top dishes in all of DC), we ventured next door to Red Light. I rather think that the premise behind this new establishment is genius: cocktails and dessert! Not only are these two of my favorite things, there are also a lot of people dining on 14th Street who are keen to bar hop around dessert time. The decor is fun - sort of black and slightly boudoir-ish. The servers are friendly. And the menu looks great. Conflicted on what to order, I went for the cake shake, which was essentially a boozy dessert in a glass - literally. Red velvet cupcake crumbs danced up my straw as I sipped what was, if you like creamy, desserty cocktails, the very best example of its genre I've ever had. Delicious. Whereas my lovely wife, who has opposite cocktail tastes, very much enjoyed a sour and spicy Peep Show. The cocktail, that is.
We also tried Roofers Union in Adams Morgan. Right opposite Tryst, this restaurant is a great addition to the area. Since rain was inching towards us, we decided not to go up on the roof but instead eat in their first floor dining room. This has a great look: a bit industrial, bright, fantastic vantage point for views up and down 18th Street (sit by the windows), and roofer-themed decor, eg boiler suits on the wall. I very much liked the aesthetic (other than the fact that it was pretty quiet on Sunday night, so the ambience wasn't what it could have been). The food is also good - nothing fancy, but simple burger-type food with a twist, done well. As vegetarians, my lovely wife and I both had their black bean and quinoa burger (though they originally accidentally gave her the beef burger our friend ordered! Faux pas, Roofers Union!). The drinks were okay, though nobody was dazzled by their cocktails. What really lets this place down though is the service. It was, as I said, a quiet night with plenty of staff. And yet, when we arrived, we were ignored for over 5 minutes before someone came over to seat us. When we tried to catch their eye to place orders at the table, they studiously walked past, willfully avoiding making eye contact with us. And when we wanted to pay, after eventually bringing us the check, they ignored us so long we had to go and pay at the bar (where we were further ignored for another 5 minutes by the staff near the bar!). Roofers Union has promise. I know it's still new so has teething problems. But where a couple of weeks ago I noted staffing problems at Mission in Dupont Circle, that wasn't for want of trying and friendliness - whereas at Roofers Union we got the impression, from observation, that the staff very much prefer chatting to each other than providing service to their customers - and they have definitely perfected the art of avoiding eye contact with us! A disappointing tactic...
What sounds cool next week
Wed 30th: Everyone's talking about heading over to Alexandria, to their cool Torpedo Gallery Art Center, for Art on the Rocks, an affordable version of the Corcoran's Artini evening: seven local mixologists make cocktails inspired by pop art. And it can all be yours for $35. Enjoy.
Thu 1st May: It's the Phillips Collection After 5 event again. That came round fast! This month the theme is The Rise and Fall of Prohibition, so expect jazz, drinks, and gallery talks about 1920s American art. Also on Thursday, it's not being generally advertised, but if you're a fan of the author Colm McCann (which you surely are), my insider info is that he will be speaking at Georgetown University at 4:30pm and if you can sneak out of work early, reserve a free ticket here.
Fri 2nd May: If my review of the Kreeger Museum inspired you, they have a cool-sounding after hours event on Friday, complete with jazz and an open bar. ..Or if you're feeling less extravagant/intrepid, head to the Freer Gallery for a free evening of enjoying the newly opened exhibitions by Whistler and Kiyochika, plus music and the London-based film noir, Night and the City (screens at 8:30). All details here.
Saturday 3rd May: I know that when it comes to cool views in Washington, we're all excited about the reopening of the monument... but while the monument is the highest structure from which to view, Washington Cathedral is the highest point, since it's on a big hill. But you hardly ever get to climb the tower to enjoy the views. Ladies and gentlemen, Saturday is that elusive day! As part of Flower Mart, you can climb the tower for $10 between 10am and 3:30pm. I hear it's a bit precarious, so bring your head for heights! You can also go and look at some Embassies - it's open house day (except European embassies which are open next week). Or head to the SW Waterfront for the second annual Running of the Chihuahuas... Keeping it in the South West, you can go to free simulcast opera that evening: Mozart's The Magic Flute in the Nationals Stadium. Cool.
Sunday 4th May: In the mood for a rock musical about ancient Rome? Obviously. Check out Nero Pseudo by WSC Avant Bard at Fort Fringe, which is pay what you can tonight (also Fri, Sat and Tue; $25 thereafter).
Monday 5th May: It's Perfect Liars Club at the Science Club! Hooray! It's sold out, of course, but there will be a limited number of tickets on the door. The waiting list opens at 6pm-ish, all remaining tickets will be sold to the waiting list at 6:45pm, and the show starts at 7. Come try your luck! Tickets are $5 this month.