Shannon’s Super Sexy Blog. Music. Travel. Randomness. And a Lot of Wine.

Archive for March, 2008

Last Stop This Town

Sunday, March 30th, 2008

I’ll write more about my last couple of days in DC but for now, this is hella cool.

I love E.

Behind the Blue Door

Saturday, March 29th, 2008

Sometimes, when I travel, a city’s charm and vibe hit me right away, and I immediately love it. Othertimes, it takes some days to unravel the layers that make a place great. Madrid and Venice were “right away” ones. Barcelona and Florence were “takes some days” ones. I think the cities that take more time are almost more interesting in the end, because I am always waiting for that moment when it all makes sense, and I like that feeling of waiting. And I like exploring.

It’s like I was telling Bob & Margaret the other night, over some really great pizzas and quite a few glasses of wine, that I hadn’t quite crossed the threshold of understanding the essence of DC yet. I was still waiting for the epiphany, that moment when everything becomes awesome. Now, it is all about the epiphany. They keep asking me if it has happened yet.

Two days ago, I went to the National Portrait Gallery and Museum of American Art, and walked around Chinatown, and met some Slowtrav Peeps at Dino. I had this thought that I could go to TWO museums in one day, and voila, there are two museums in one building, and it was massive and took many hours and I did not even see everything there. It was a really great day and I managed to pack a lot in and also realized that one would need many months, if not years, to see all this stuff.

Yesterday the housecleaner came so I had to get out of here at 8:30, even before the museums opened. I went to Union Station and ate a corn muffin and watched all the commuters. That station is so cool. Yet, the epiphany eluded me.

I headed down to the National Gallery of Art and got there right when they opened. I was there for FOUR HOURS and I did not even make it through the whole thing – not even close. I was totally blown away – they have an incredible collection of Renaissance art there, not only from Italy but also Germany and the Netherlands and I love all that stuff. I was especially touched by the painting “Adoration of the Shepards” by Giorgione. The colors, the landscape, the torn clothing of the shepards… it’s a remarkable piece. And nobody was even looking at it, they were all in the room with Leonardo’s Ginevra.

So I guess at this point I was very close, because it dawned on me that if you lived in DC, you could go to the Natonal Gallery every day, even just to look at one painting. You could go in and look at a German painting with detailed depictions of life 500 years ago, for an hour or two, whenever you want. Because it is free!

After that I met up with Bob & Margaret and we walked up to Georgetown and had some oysters and welsh rarebit at the tavern where JFK proposed to Jackie O. But we wanted some better wine, so I looked in my DK book and found a wine bar in Georgetown called “Bistrot Lepic.” We had to walk up a hill, and I will admit I am very sore from all this walking, but the call of wine kept me/us going, to what seemed to be out of Georgetown, even. When we got to the bar, there was a blue door and a Parisian street sign. I wondered if they went to Paris and stole it, because it looked pretty damn real.

In the door, up those stairs, was where I finally had my epiphany.


Bistrot Lepic is AWESOME. If I lived in DC, I would want to go there all the time. THAT is where people should get proposed to. It’s a room that envelops you, with mood music, what looked to be comfy wicker chairs (we sat at the bar, which was very, very comfy, so I am assuming the chairs were the same) and gold curtains that moved in the breeze. In the back, there was a long table to seat twenty with cherry trees outside. We drank Burgundies (both white and red) and Rhones, and the sweet Bartendress Lucia poured us a little taste of a really good Languedoc. We ate country pate with an Armagnac soaked prune in the middle. I totally fell in love with the place. I am totally in love with it. We needed bread for our pasta dinner at home, so Lucia sent us out with an long loaf of French bread. She rocks.

Any city that could have such a cool wine bar, is, in my mind, a great city. There it is – the epiphany. Long in coming but now that it is here I plan to make the most of it.

Today we are off to the Cherry Blossom festival and more wandering, and tonight we are going to see EELS at a synagogue. Bob read my blog entry about this show and he is giving me a little bit of shit about the “movie” but I keep telling him that he will love it, especially because he is a scientist. As for me, I couldn’t pass up the chance to see E again…



Thursday, March 27th, 2008

I have visited lots of cities in the U.S. but for some reason, never Washington D.C. – until now. My friends Bob & Margaret moved here last fall, and I love, love, love their house which is in the Cleveland Park area. They have a cool porch and a fantastic, overgrown, crazy looking park across the street.

Right now the park is devoid of greenery and I desperately want to be here when it erupts into Spring. But, with only five days I don’t think that will happen.

Yesterday, on my own, I must have walked about fifteen miles (and, unfortunately, I am totally feeling that today – in my calves, my hips, pretty much everywhere.) I got off the subway at the Mall along with about five hundred school kids and their chaparones and parents. Thankfully, the Mall is pretty enormous. I wanted to go to the American History Museum, but it is closed for renovations or something. So I just walked, to the Washington Monument, all the war monuments, the Lincoln monument. Everything looked really close on the map! The sun was out, and it was very warm, and if there is one thing I have learned in my travels it is: If the sun is out, utilize it. So I kept walking. And another thing, I couldn’t get that image of Twyla Tharp’s dancers writhing in front of the Washington Monument in the film version of “Hair” out of my mind, or the lyrics to the song they were dancing to:

Prisoners in Niggertown
It’s a dirty little war
Three Five Zero Zero
Take weapons up and begin to kill
Watch the long long armies drifting home

I’m not trying to make any kind of statement here, except that I am the kind of person who can’t get lyrics out of their head.

In all my reading about this city I have come to be pretty interested in Pierre L’Enfant, the architect who laid out the plans for this city – basically, he had this grand plan to design a European style city in a swamp. I think he was kind of a pain and he eventually got fired, but this vision, and how it actually worked out, is very intriguing to me. So, I decided to go check out L’Enfant Plaza, which I was sure would be a really cool square with cafes and restaurants around it. Not. They need to make it grander, to reflect L’Enfant’s contribution to this city. It’s a 1970’s business park.

I got on the subway there and headed to the Eastern Market, because I love markets, and this one was pretty cool but not in the original building because I guess that one had a fire and they are restoring it (I think I need more current guidebooks.) Instead they have the market across the street in a big tent. Lots of butchers, cheese shop, etc. but it was freaking hot in there and it is only March.

On the way, this couple sat down next to me and when we got to the stop before Eastern Market, they asked each other “is this L’Enfant?” So I said, are you going to L’Enfant station? ‘Cause that’s the other way. They looked at me like I was trying to put one over on them. I repeated it. You are going the wrong way. I just came from there. They got out their map. So much for trying to be helpful. Keep going then, homies.

After the market, I walked and walked… through the Capitol Hill area which has some really cute houses, and a nice vibe, then to the Library of Congress and to Union Station. Union Station is awesome! I love old train stations, and this one has all kinds of shops and restaurants. I stopped at one and had a glass of wine and half an avocado with crab on top. It was just OK, but I really like it in there.

Now I was pretty tired of walking so I took the metro to Dupont Circle and, uh, walked around. Toyed with the idea of going to a bar that my friend Sue recommended called the Fox and Hounds, but arriving there it looked like more of a nighttime place so I kept walking and eventually came back to Cleveland Park and a nice glass of Pinot on the porch.

Last night we ate at the famous Dino and it was really, really good… fantastic fried artichokes, some killer halibut, great pasta with wild boar sauce.. Dean himself told us what to eat and it was all spot on. Had some good Nebbiolos, too.

Woke up to rain, and it looks pretty wet, so I’m off to the National Gallery of Art.