Sunday, July 17, 2011

Movin' On Up

After an afternoon of walking around the neighborhood north of the Mall, I met Jason at his office Friday evening.  We walked to Central for dinner, my favorite part of which was the gougeres we shared as an appetizer.  After dinner we crossed the street to the Ronald Regan Building and International Trade Center to see Capitol Steps.
I had heard a few of their songs through my Dad's music collection and the show is a Washington Institution, so it was on my To Do list.  There were some funny moments, but the show was surprisingly amateurish - for example, midway through a monologue over a microphone backstage the actor suddenly stopped and said, "But that's the wrong introduction for this next number!  Here's the right one..." and then launched into a different spiel.  I wondered, too, how much programs like The Daily Show, Colbert Report, and Wait, Wait Don't Tell Me have changed our tastes for political satire and spoofs, since many of the references in Capitol Steps were dated and, well, old news by now.

We went back to Jason's office to get his stuff, discovered I had left my phone in the theater, ran back over to the theater, thanked the staff member who had so nicely called the "Home" number on my phone and talked with my mom who asked her to call Jason to pass the message of the location of the phone on to me, then decided to go to a late showing of Harry Potter.  Two shows in one night!  It's like we're in college again!  (Although, given that we did the exact same thing last summer, I guess that's an unfair assessment of our late-night stamina.)

Despite the lateness of our bedtime, we were up at 9 the next morning.  Jason ran out for a haircut and to pick up some pastries from the German bakery while I got ready for the day.  Sunscreened-up, we got in the car and headed to Charlottesville, about 2.5 hours west of here.

We stopped at a Five Guys on the outskirts of Charlottesville for lunch, then found our way to the old part of the University of Virginia campus, the part that Thomas Jefferson designed.  It was so wonderfully academic - red bricks and white stucco and a bright green lawn capped off with a rotunda library/presentation hall.  The signs for summer orientation brought on fits of college nostalgia for us both, and I could easily imagine living in one of the dorm rooms hidden behind the rows of old wooden doors along the lawn.

From there we drove upwards to tour Jefferson's house.  I liked Monticello better than Washington's Mount Vernon.  It has great personality, stellar views, and a good library.  The weather was perfect with blue skies and a light breeze to temper the warmth.  Jason had been on the tour before (although it apparently used to be longer), but not since they discovered the actual color of the dinning room.

We staved off imminent starvation with the apricot hammentashen we had stashed in the backseat and drove through the Virginian farmland back to DC for dinner at a Belgian restaurant, Brasserie Beck.

They tucked us in a pocket-like back corner of the restaurant, too close to another couple for comfort and without any sort of view, and Jason was dismayed to learn that they had stopped offering the endives au gratin he had waxed rhapsodic about earlier.  I, on the other hand, had chosen the restaurant for the mussels, and I was not disappointed.

I did face a menu-dilemma.  I wanted mussels, yes, but there were so many other enticing dishes.  I narrowed my choices to a roasted beet and goat cheese salad, a pork loin with apple butter, and a half-portion of mussels.  All three sounded delicious, and yet ordering three dishes would be too extravagant, right?  I needed to eliminate one.  But then I heard a still small voice inside of me ask, "What would your father do?"  So I ordered and very much enjoyed all three.  Yes, most of the pork loin came home with me as leftovers, but oh! it was a tasty meal.

This morning we went to the Eastern Market to walk through the stalls of vendors selling produce, jewelery, and various other wares.  We got sandwiches at Market Lunch before getting some mozzarella, tomatoes, lemon basil, and peaches for dinner tonight, then headed back to Jason's place to change for church.

We don't have any grand plans for tonight, but I'm content.  We've had a full weekend, a full six weeks really.  I'm starting to accept (but I'm not done mourning) the fact that I'm leaving on Tuesday.  I've saved the National Gallery of Art for last of all and, given the temperature's forecasted rise, a day of air-conditioned art sounds just about right.


Dinner at Central
Dinner at Central (French Onion Soup and a Caesar Salad)

Gougeres at Central

Capitol Steps
A Sneaky Stage Shot

The UVA Rotunda

Part of the Academic Village


Front Hall of the Rotunda

My Man TJ


Proof that we were there

Flower in the Gardens

Vegetable Garden

The path from the house back to the visitor's center

Brasserie Beck
Mussels at (the very dim) Brasserie Beck

Brasserie Beck
Roasted Beet and Piped Dreams Goat Cheese Salad

Brasserie Beck
Pork Loin

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