Thursday, June 25, 2009

:::mom's visit, part 2:::

as i started putting this post together i realized how completely disjointed the chronology was in the previous post. to avoid any further confusion, i'm going to do part 2 as a numbered list of the things that we did that isn't tied down to any sort of timeline.

1. the american history musuem currently has an excellent exhibit about abraham lincoln. after experiencing it for myself, i would recommend it as a must see to anyone in the area. included in the exhibit were two facial casts of lincoln's head made at different points in his life, campaign signs and banners from his presidential campaign, his famous stove pipe top hat, the last cup he was purported to have drunk from before he went to ford's theatre, and the blood stained cuffs of one of the actresses who rushed to the president's aid after he was shot.

i took a lot of photos, but the lighting was so low that many of them didn't turn out well enough to post.

this quote from mary todd lincoln made me feel so sad. as you read it you can almost feel their weariness --

"During the drive he was so gay, that I said to him, laughingly, "Dear husband, you almost startled me by your great cheerfulness," he replied, "and well I may feel so, Mary, I consider this day, the war, has come to a close" -- and then added "We must both, be more cheerful in the future -- between the war and the loss of our darling Willie -- we have both, been very miserable."

from their we moved to an exhibit showcasing the dresses of the first ladies. they even had a dress of martha washington's from 1780 (not pictued).

2. on friday night we planned to meet my sister and brother-in-law at the natural history museum to watch night at the museum 2 at the imax theater. while we were waiting for them we popped upstairs to see the hope diamond and the rest of the jewelery on the second floor.

i generally forget in my day-to-day life that there are such stunning things in existence, and that at one point someone actually owned and wore such things. yeesh.

it was fun to seeing night at the musuem 2 in situ. for us, the best part of the movie was seeing so many familiar museum pieces come to life, especially degas's little dancer. we thought the movie had some funny parts, but we weren't blown away by it.

2. we had a great lunch at tenh penh, a thai restaurant on ten pennsylvania avenue. get it? ten penn...tenh penh.

we enjoyed the complimentary edamame that reminded me of a time that my mom and i bought a tray of edamame at a japanese market in costa mesa, ate them all on the way home, and got really sick afterwards. fiber!

these spring rolls were so good. i'd definitely go back there one day.

3. i could tell that my mom wanted to stop by the national gallery of art to see the beautiful painting. on the day we decided to go we needed a place to eat lunch, so i started looking for somewhere to go on washingtonian.

through an article on their website i learned that garden cafe in national gallery had recently been transformed into the garden café españa in conjunction with two exhibits of spanish art that have recently opened. the menu was created by a spanish chef who has many restaurants in the dc area, and gives diners the option between ordering off the menu or selecting from the buffet. after looking at the menu online, we decided before we left that we could not pass up the buffet.

the food was excellent in every way. it was fresh, simple, elegant, flavorful and beautifully presented. i wish that i could eat that way every single day.

i'm going to make you look at this menu --

Rustic bread

Spanish white anchovies in olive oil

Gazpacho al estilo de Algeciras
Classic chilled Spanish soup made with tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, and bread,
sharpened with sherry vinegar

Quesos surtidos con picos y membrillo

Selection of Spanish cheeses with crispy mini breadsticks and quince paste

Pasamontes Manchego, D.O. Manchego
Sheep’s milk cheese, sweet and tangy

Idiazábal, D.O. Idiazábal
Sheep’s milk cheese, smoked, nutty flavor

Garrotxa, Catalonia
Semisoft goat’s milk cheese, delicate, with a hint of nuttiness

Picón, D.O. Picón
Blue cheese of sheep, cow, and goat’s milk


Selection of Spanish cured meats

Jamón Serrano
18-month salt-cured Serrano ham

A slightly cured pork sausage, seasoned with pimentón and garlic

Lomo embuchadoPalacios
Cured pork loin with a smoky flavor and seasoned with herbs

Empanadas de pollos ensapados
Chicken and bacon empanada with caramelized onion, raisins, and lemon

Ensalada de endibias con queso de cabra, almendras, y naranjas
Endive salad with goat cheese, almonds, and oranges

Ensalada de lentejas con queso Picón
Lentil salad with Picón cheese and aged sherry vinegar

Albóndigas con ciruelas
Meatballs with plums

Pisto Manchego con flores de calabacín
Castilian-style zucchini and its flowers, with peppers, eggplant, and tomato

Flan al estilo de mi madre
Spanish flan in my mother’s style with seasonal berries

everything was excellent. we loved that the buffet wasn't set up to overwhelm you with quauntity, but to highlight each selection in a way that made you respect the food that you were eating. we had a wonderful lunch and were excited to receive our complimentary recipe cards, which can you download by clicking on the link.

4. after brunch we wandered around admiring the architecture and details of the museum...

and the lovely artwork, which i think speaks for itself...

The Alba Madonna, c. 1510, raphael

Geese; Girls in Bonnets, Geese [recto], 1884-1888, gauguin
(these were sketches he had done)

Seascape at Port-en-Bessin, Normandy, 1888, seurat
{a zoomed in look}

Girl With a Hoop, 1885, renoir

Miss Mary Ellison, c. 1880, cassatt

The Railway, 1873, eduoard manet

The Peppermint Bottle , 1893/1895, Cézanne

Cape Cod Evening, 1939, hopper

Allies Day, May 1917, 1917, childe hassam

George Washington, c. 1821, gilbert stuart

A Young Girl Reading, c. 1776, jean-honoré fragonard

i don't think i realized before that so many of these iconic pieces of art were in america, let alone in dc. they also have the only da vinci in the western hemisphere, but it was...ugly, so i'm not posting a picture of it. and yes, you were allowed to take pictures here. i heard someone ask a guard.

phew. this post took me over two hours to put together. if anyone thinks bloggers are lazy, they clearly don't know what they're talking about.

stay tuned for a final wrap-up post sometime next week. i just don't have it in me right now.


Janille said...

Hi Rebecca, this is Britt's sister Janille - she sent me your Arlington rap and I had to look at your other posts about DC - I am soooo jealous - we will have to come and bring the kids when they are older and can appreciate it all. ButI love the art - I had that fragonard print hanging in my bedroom, along with a Renoir and two small Gainsboroughs, when I was growing up. Loved them. And the food!

Sarah said...

I think I should have a portrait made of the girls like the Whistler when they're old enough. Wouldnt't that be cool?

Sarah said...

Also, I love that flan. It looks crazy good.
I love the face cast and photo lineup of Lincoln. It made me cry.
And I love the red dress. It looks so fancy and perfect.
And the spring rolls look crunchy. Mmmm.

Sharla said...

Sigh. So lovely!

michelle said...

What a mega-post!

That menu was truly amazing. And I am in love with that Fragonard painting.

Great fun!

aunti said...

any post with FOOD is awesome! oh, the paintings were pretty cool too!