Just the Bottle

One woman's adventure in beer, food, wine and spirits

First Date Spots

My special fella and I recently celebrated our first date anniversary. It's been a year of fun, wine, and absurdity. It all started at Izakaya 2-F.

Izakaya 2-F has been one of my go to spots for dates and happy hour with friends. It's the upstairs sibling of Daikaya (one of the best ramen spots in DC). Izakaya offers an amazing sake and whiskey list. Their wine and beer list is also nothing to sleep on with a well curated selection that pairs well with the dishes or alone. I've never been disappointed with a drink there, food, or service. It plays well as a first date due to it's location and offerings. I find if a date is going well, you can order dinner or put your name downstairs for ramen. However, if you and your date aren't clicking, you can easily and quickly close out and move on. Being in Chinatown means, you have three different metro lines, buses, and several other places to drown your sorrows or celebrate that bad date ending.

Church Key is a spot that a friend recently reminded me about and it makes perfect sense. They are an award winning beer bar, but they do have a spectacular wine and cocktail list. They have plenty of dishes to share and if you go on the right night plenty of seating. It's not as near a metro line, but it's in the 14th street drag. Again, if your date is going well and you want to move on you can find so many fun dinner spots. Date sucked? No worries as you can go sip on some whiskey at Black Whiskey.

Barrel in Capitol Hill area has a baller bourbon list and is a chill environment. Their beer list and cocktail list also doesn't disappoint. You can't go wrong with almost any of the bourbons here. 

Teaism is a perfect spot if you aren't drinking and don't want to do the cliche coffee date. They have three locations in the DC area. The Dupont location is always one of my favorites. If the weather is nice, you can walk to Dupont Circle and people watch while chatting. The Penn Quarter location has a zen like downstairs space.

Those are some of my first date top spots in DC. What are your favorite spots for a first date?

Redeye Menus #ShashiSherry

On Wednesday, July 27th Redeye Menus celebrates one year of fabulousness - #ShashiSherry a special collaboration with Indique Restaurant.  In January, I attended one of their events for my birthday held at the Source with Chef Scott Drewno at the helm.  It was an experience like no other.  This team of awesome and powerful ladies curates an amazing experience from start to finish with no detail forgotten.  The cocktails are part of the journey along with one of the main stars - the Sherry.

Chantal, Carlie, and Holly continue to amaze and inspire me and other diners with each one of their community collaborative dinners.  It's a pleasure to see them join forces in this project as well as shine in their other ventures.

If you haven't attended, don't sleep on this latest foodie adventure.  If you have gone, why not return as each dinner provides new flavors and experiences.

Tickets are selling fast!  Get your ticket here.

Cochon 555 Returns to DC!

As you may already be aware, there are an insane amount of events constantly happening in the DC area...with more usually happening in the spring and summer.  One event that I never miss is Cochon 555.  My mom even flies up to attend with me.

This piggy fest contains magnificently crafted cocktails with a rum cart this time around along with some of the most innovative takes on tail-to-nose dishes.  There's always more than enough piggy to go around (seriously...last time I was informed there was 2 pounds per guest).  Even when one needs a break from piggy (say what), there are oysters, cheese and more to sample to cleanse your palate.  Because one must return to the piggy!

One of the most exciting things this year will be Chef Marjorie Meek-Bradley's appearance in this combination to determine the Queen or King of Porc!  She's a fabulous addition hot off her Top Chef kicking ass and taking names fame.  She's made so many impressive dishes in the past and never disappoints.  I can't wait to see what she chooses to put together.

Another reason to go, Cochon 555 will be donating a portion of their ticket sales to Piggy Bank. Piggy Bank seeks to build a future for family farming with the goal of changing the future of food and promoting long-term farming sustainability.

 The DC stop goes down on Sunday, April 17th at Loews Madison with VIP at 4pm and General Admission at 5pm.    Be there or be without delicious piggy.

Cochon 555's Heritage BBQ

As you may know, Cochon 555 is a food adventure where anyone with a pork lust can get their fill while supporting a great cause and promoting ethical farming.  Cochon 555 launched Heritage BBQ to continue in this trend as well as promoting various BBQ flavors and encouraging guests/consumers to be involved in farm to table efforts.

I attended Cochon 555 Heritage BBQ with great friends like Cecile who writes at the Worldly bite and wrote up an amazing review here and Aparna who writes for The Hungry Travelist.  My mom flew up from South Florida to join me again. If you may remember, she came up before for Cochon 555 and the chef's dinner at Blue Jacket (both were SPECTACULAR).  However, my poor mom had a migraine and I invited a friend to replace her.

Upon arrival, we immediately ran to find the welcome ribs among other goodies.  It really is a magical journey involving all the pork and bourbon one can consume. I stopped by Lukas Smith's stand to try his two cocktails on draft both with tequila.  One of my favorite things at the event was the Cochon 555 perfect manhattan.  

Competing chefs included Nicholas Stefanelli of Masseria, Will Morris of Vermillion, Sam Molavi of Compass Rose and RJ Cooper of Rouge24, and Jose Adorno of Graffiato.  With all the deliciousness, the judges had a tough call with who would be crowned King of Porc.  In the end, the crown went to Jose Adorno!

There were chefs who came to share their love of piggy and support this great event.  Non-competing chefs included Erik Bruner-Yang of Maketto, Scott Drewno of The Source by Wolfgang Puck, Zack Mills of Wit & Wisdom Tavern, Kyle Bailey of Birch & Bailey, Louis Goral of Rural Society, Craig Hartman of The Barbeque Exchange,  Jeremy Waybright of Boss Shepherd’s, Danny Lee of Mandu and Haider Karoum of Estadio/Proof/DoiMoi.

This is an event that I will definitely continue to support as it promotes local farming and supporting chefs, farmers, and more.  I can't wait to see how Cochon 555 and it's events evolve in the future.

Upcoming Adventures You Should Join

One reason I love living in the Washington, DC area is there is NEVER a shortage of events.  There are wine tastings, gallery openings, plays, and more.  There's an event for almost everyone of every price point including free.  It's up to you to decide what you find that you think is worth your money and you enjoy.

Some amazing events coming up that I would highly recommend attending are -

Art All Night

Art All Night does not go all night. But guess what?  Who cares?!  It goes until 3am with live music, .live art, interesting performances and more. One year I had my face painted. It takes place 7pm-3am on Saturday, September 26th.

Cinematery

Cinematery has taken place sporadically at Congressional Cemetery.  Congressional Cemetery is a fascinating cemetery with an interesting history.  On Saturday, September 26th they will be showing Alfred Hitchock's Pyscho at 7:30pm (doors open at 6:30pm).

Crafty Bastards

Crafty Bastards is a fun time supporting local people selling jewelry, art, and more. There's plenty of fun options at Union Market while there for drinking and eating.  Of course, there will be several delicious food trucks too.

Cochon Heritage BBQ

Cochon Heritage BBQ is part of the Cochon 555 experience.  It's a spectacular time sampling delicious piggy goodness and supporting a great cause.  You also get to meet local chefs competing against each other and having a great time doing so.

There's also great fun to be had celebrating fall with a corn maze (maybe a Taylor Swift corn maze?), pumpkin patch, apple picking, visiting a winery or hitting up the Maryland Renaissance Festival

Fall and winter are also the perfect time to re discover Washington, DC and all that it has to offer without tourists running into you with strollers.

What do you plan to see this weekend and next?  Leave your comments below!

Diner en Blanc

I attended my second Diner en Blanc this year where I rocked a white jumpsuit  from Rent the Runway again.  You have probably seen numerous articles from other bloggers or writers on the price, their recap and more.  But you haven't read about my great time.

Every year I forget about transportation to the event.  Every year I get angry and hot and wonder why I am doing this to myself.  Usually upon arrival there is still some stress over setting up the table and getting organized along with picking up my wine.  Once everything is set up is when I really get to take in what I am seeing.

The Diner en Blanc crowd is incredibly diverse and fun.  Everyone is welcoming, sharing food and dancing together.  I always make new friends every year and re-meet people I have met in previous years. 

After enjoying our dinner of cheese, meat, olives and salad, my date and I drank and danced the night away.  

I always question whether to go and who I will take.  Yet somehow I end up finding a fabulous friend to join me and I have a great time.  Chances are likely I'll end up dancing the night away again next year.  Maybe next year I can take my mom as she has always wanted to go.

Cochon 555 or How I Ate All the Piggy

Cochon 555 is a food loving, fun filled event involving friendly competition by local chefs and mixologists.  The road show hit Washington, DC area on March 22nd.  My mom traveled from Miami so she could go with one of her favorite people - me!

The butchery demonstration. PIGGY!

The butchery demonstration. PIGGY!

The road show hits various cities around the country.  Besides the main event, they offer tasty dinners with more one-on-one with chefs and key taste makers.  My mom and I attended Chef Kyle Bailey's dinner (post later).  Being a nonprofit professional, I respect organizations that have a larger mission to benefit others or raise awareness of a key issue.  Cochon 555 not only raises money for scholarships for James Beard Foundation, they also provide a platform for people to learn more about the importance of supporting local products. 

After reviewing the recommendations, my mom and I still weren't completely prepared.  We lost track of time and didn't sample as much or as many areas.  Always remember at events like this, keep moving and remember not to dwell in one area too much.

Some chefs went all out in theme with outfits and signage.  I really respect someone who goes all out.   It made it even more fun for guests.

Each dish was incredibly flavorful and different.  It made the event all the more fun that each dish brought something new to the table.

Chef Danny & Yesoon Lee of Mandu was crowned the Prince of Porc for DC!  Mandu has done many exciting things recently with the anju and I can't even begin to imagine what's next.  

Secret Monkey Social Club

Last month I attended the first Secret Monkey Social Club.  Founded by Lukas B. Smith (currently of Dram & Grain and Jack Rose Dining Saloon, formerly beverage director of Daikaya) and Shayna Blass (actress, singer and dancer, appearing in the upcoming Passion Play at Forum Theater) it combines the best of both worlds - amazing booze and music.

I wasn't sure what to expect the first time around.  I was joined by one of my partners in crime.  It was beginning to snow heavily and OPM had promised to shut down the next day.  It was a lively crew that joined in merriment that night.  Music and drinks flowed together as one.  I sampled each punch that exposed new flavors.

Shayna jumped into the set and killed.  As the night came to a close, we all finished our delicious punches and prepared to enter the frozen tundra once more.

Next Secret Monkey Social Club is Monday, March 23rd.  Navid "Navi" Azeez will provide an opening performance with Shayna performing again.  It will be a great time with Lukas manning the punch bowls with Dan Searing.  Check out February's punch menu below.

 




Emporiyum

This past week the Emporiyum came to Washington, DC.  In its inaugural year, the Emporiyum was held in Baltimore.  This year they decided to bring the party to DC.

I scored tickets from someone and grabbed a friend to join me.  The event was incredibly hyped in all sort of media including, but not limited to, Going Out Guide, Brightest Young Things, and Washington City Paper.  That should have concerned me as they seemed to be selling an endless amount of tickets.

We arrived right around the opening on Saturday.  It was already beyond capacity or one would think.  I wasn't in the best mindset to begin with, which didn't help matters.  The decorations were done well and utilized the industrial element.  It was hard to figure out where each vendor was located.

As we ran around, it finally hit me that this was not for me.  This has happened before.  I once decided I would jump off a cliff in Jamaica.  While I was mid-air, I realized that it was not for me.  This was similar although I didn't have the feeling that I was going to die.

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Some vendors seemed to get the market better than others.  Others didn't offer any samples.  It's odd considering there was a ticket to enter.  One woman made the mistake of trying to sell minicupcakes and leaving them uncovered.  I saw at least ten people walk up and immediately grab and put them back thinking it was a sample.

I would potentially go back in the future.  They definitely need to limit tickets and perhaps have timed entry such as 12pm-2pm, 2pm-4pm, etc.  Perhaps have a stroller area so people can safely leave strollers.  I would also possibly hit up a brunch with mimosas or other libations before making another go at it.

Life's Next Adventure

I don't think this really falls under fun per say, but definitely under other adventures.  I have had many great things happen to me within the last year or so.  I have had some great professional opportunities including a new gig in higher education.  Besides continuing in nonprofits, I have moved into higher education which affords me the opportunity to pursue graduate courses and hopefully pursue an MBA without taking out loans.

Last year I participated in an amazing trip to Spain that included touring Penedes and participating in a Cava Blogger Fam Trip.  This year I was lucky enough to join the media group for the International Wine Tourism Conference in Tbilisi, Georgia.  I'm hoping to join the conference in Champagne in 2015.  I would also like to participate in 2015 in the Digital Wine Communications Conference and Wine Bloggers Conference.

Recently, I took over as director of #winechat.  I am making new contacts and further building my brand.  This has included opportunities for me to write, tweet, and promote events in the Washington, DC area.  I was even able to participate as a judge for a cocktail competition.

All good, right?  In a way yes.  I was feeling like I had closed the chapters of my life where I was unfulfilled personally and professionally.  There were mistakes and sidesteps, but generally the direction was right.

That came crashing down when Man Friend ended our relationship.  A relationship that I counted on as being my last relationship.  I soon had to turn to others to regroup.  The first thing that had to be decided was where to live.  Continuing to live with someone who had shut down on me was not an option.  Luckily I have loving and loyal family and friends that immediately stepped up.  Everyone offered support from helping me move to just checking to make sure that I was doing well.

At the moment, shock and denial are still in control of my being.  The shock is causing me to question all that I am and question my worth.  I question if I am a failure.  Have I failed my family?

My goal is to turn this into my next adventure.  Maybe it's a move to Europe or Latin America.  Perhaps I'll get in better shape by training for a marathon.  I'm not completely sure, but I know that I can't wallow and be overwhelmed too long.  I know that I need to develop a plan, in which I achieve goals in a manageable way.

I welcome suggestions on what I should do next.  Feel free to leave a comment below.

 

Diner en Blanc

Feel free to click through the gallery above to see some of the photos I took.  There are several other photos available.

Diner en blanc made its Washington, DC debut last week and I was one of the first attendees.  Diner en blanc is not for the weary.  There were rules.  Many rules.  There were also many costs involved.  When I initially proposed the event to Man Friend I was met with confusion and annoyance.  Quite understandable on his part, however, I do what I want.

Diner en blanc has become a worldwide phenomenon that started in Paris.  The roots were very simple - a man wanting to have a nice dinner party.  It has evolved into a part flash mob, part dinner, part drinking, part dancing - a completely spectacular time.

Getting to Diner en blanc was initially frustrating.  It was approximately a million degrees that day.  I was rocking my Rent the Runway jumpsuit and jewelry.  I cabbed the table and chairs that Lisa who writes for Push Play Eat rented.  I met her and our group at Dupont where our table leader, Katie, provided us further directions.

This is where it got kinda hinky.  We tried to get all of the Dupont groups on the metro to the final destination.  Other groups throughout the city were doing the same thing.  I don't think commuters were too keen to see people carrying tables, chairs, several baskets trying to force themselves onto the metro.  I also did not enjoy dragging that card table.  The table was kind of mad at the situation, but realized I was in control and relented.

Once we made it to the destination we began setting up.  I ran to get my food basket (I ordered a basket from the caterer) and wine as Lisa set up.  I ran back and finally began to relax.  That's when I was able to look around at the sea of people who would be my dining companions for the evening.

There was music, laughter, dancing and sparklers.  I don't like sparklers, but felt the need to join in.  Long story short - my mom once severely burnt her thumb with a sparkler and I witnessed it first hand.  She's fine, I'm fine.  I would just rather not take that chance.

I was lucky enough to sit next to Alison who manages her own wine consulting business and Laetitia who was one of the group organizers.  As I have said before, Laetitia is one of my favorite Parisians.

There were so many amazing outfits, table arrangements and food!  I loved my own food, but did want to dive into other people's plates.

Diner en blanc was one of those events that I could easily have talked myself out of, but didn't.  I'm glad I didn't.  It was worth every penny and drop of sweat.

 

I thought I told you that I won't stop

Let’s recap more of my fun adventures in food, wine and merriment. 

Last week I had a DC type day. I met friends for a Ladies DC networking happy hour at Sushiko Chevy Chase. It was a great time with delicious sushi and cocktails. Bianca who blogs at DC Daybook and is the Director of Social Media for Ladies DC took many pictures.  She left early as did French Twist and I of course joined them. We headed to the Embassy of Italy for a Wigs of Hollywood retrospective. 

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Why hello there Jane Fonda’s costume from Barbarella. 

We enjoyed wine, mingled with guests and enjoyed the exhibit. By the way, this was all free. FREE. We ran into another friend and moved on to another event.

We ended the night at Mari Vanna for the Blogger Scene Happy Hour. It was a great time networking with many other female bloggers in the DC area. I of course convinced our group to do a round of horseradish infused vodka shots, which are amazing. There was heat from the spice especially on the finish, but the alcohol was very smooth. 

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Our very attractive bartender was originally from Romania and kept Romanian money in his wallet. One of my friends and I ended up closing down the third floor and securing the special keys. 

I volunteered at every Heart’s Delight event (April 23rd, May 1st and May 4th). The May 1st event was on the rooftop at Charlie Palmer and was again amazing. There were great views of the Capitol, amazing food and staff. Heart’s Delight staff were able to secure Harlan Estate at a table with Pluribus being poured.

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At the Saturday Heart’s Delight event, I volunteered in the Bordeaux Seminar. They did at least four flights of amazing wine with the cheateau owners and directors themselves speaking about what everyone was tasting and going into the history of each chateau.

Mostly everyone who attended were lovely people. I was surprised that some were not as passionate about wine as I would have expected. Occasionally certain guests would behave in an unbecoming way…but that’s life. There are people who have manners and know how to speak to fellow human beings and there are people who don’t. It’s not about money or education, it’s about being able to communicate. 

One person who was not a guest was quite snarky himself every time I had to deal with him. At one point I informed him that a guest had asked a volunteer if we would be starting promptly at 4:00pm. His response was “definitely maybe”. I responded “thank you” with a smile and began to walk away. He immediately snapped, “did you hear me?!”. I answered yes. He then asked, “what did I say?”. I replied “definitely maybe”. 

I would never be able to handle that level of snark and disdain from a supervisor on a regular basis. 

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A picture of the Bordeaux Seminar before it began.

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Heart’s Delight main event was well attended, decorated with great auction pieces, wine, food and more. I ran into the fabulous JP Caceres as he was making the cocktail magic happen.

I jumped in a cab and ran to a friend’s bachelorette party that night. We started off with an amazing meal at Pearl Oyster Dive Palace. They are seriously on point. The food was amazing and the cocktails were perfect. Our server indulged us by putting on a feather boa. He kept on the boa the whole time we were there. I mean…that’s serious dedication to our absurdity and I love it. One of our diners had food intolerances and the staff made sure every one of her needs was met. 

Our group shared a plate of raw oysters and I ordered a plate of hot oysters - Tchoupitoula (Oyster Confit, Blue Crab, Tasso, Roasted Corn). If you go, order tchoupitoula as it will blow your mind. 

My friend and I shared pork cheeks, mussels and french fries. A tiny friend ordered a giant steak. Really you can’t go wrong with anything there.

I was forced to go to Vegas Lounge where we became quickly surrounded by 22 year old students from Georgetown. The band was pretty solid and played a good amount of Motown. We left there to go to one of my favorite spots - Cod Mother. It’s divey, fun with a crazy owner who I love. We did a round of some sort of bomb shot and the bride to be was done.

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We also convinced several guys at Cod Mother to wear the boa. It was a badge of honor.

Wines of Portugal is touring the United States with multiple trade and consumer tastings. I hit up the consumer tasting, which shockingly was kinda insane. I wish there was a way to educate consumers more and allow them to enjoy the wine without it turning into madness. There were many great wines and there was an opportunity to learn more about the 250+ varietals in Portugal, but I am not sure how many people left with that information. 

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This guy is a saint. He was pouring several amazing vintages of his port and tried to really explain the process to guests. They had him placed near a very loud singer. 

I was lucky enough to attend two recent trade tastings Alto Adige Wines Grand Tasting Tour and Symington Family Estates.

Alto Adige is increasing in popularity, but will still need time. Just as when I spoke with a gentleman regarding port from Symington Family Estates, it may be easier to introduce people who are dining out. That requires a well educated staff and a great floor sommelier. I think my favorites from the Alto Adige were the Müller Thurgau. I really enjoyed  Müller Thurgau Valle Isarco 2012 which was dry, full with great aromatics.

Symington Family Estates seminar and tasting blew my mind. The seminar was incredibly informative, but the speakers did not drone on or overwhelm the attendees.

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The 2011 Vintage was quite tasty NOW and can be aged for many, many, many years. My favorite that I would love to have now and think will age well is the Warre’s 2011 Vintage Port. It was very floral, smooth and luscious. Texture in food and wine is very important to me.

That evening Girl Meets Glass, Organic Mixologist and I also attended a Wines of Morellino di Scansano DOCG tasting and seminar led by Jay Youmans,MW at Capital Wine School. This was a free event that was open to the public. We learned a great deal more about the wine and discussed the tasting notes.

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We took our party to Range and ate our faces off. The everything mashed potatoes are really quite yummy. 

Afterwards because I was hanging with a bad idea bear we continued to Industry Night at Graffiato. It was quite fun, but I was a little disappointed at not seeing as many people that work in the industry as I would have thought. 

Food, cocktails, staff everything was just spectacular. If you can take a bunch of people slamming your place for free food and cheap drinks while you serve up amazing quality, you rock.

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Look at that bad idea bear. 

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Can you believe Chef Isabella wasn’t drinking that night?! Of all nights not to drink…I should have made him do a shot.

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I wonder if Chef Tiffany was also hung over yesterday. I may have forced multiple shots of Jameison upon her. Listen…this woman keeps me filled with donuty goodness. Seriously, visit Church Key or Birch & Barley and try one of her amazing desserts she created or hell that bread board with the amazing pretzels. Go to Buzz Bakery and buy some amazing pastries or desserts. Go to GBD and eat your face off and try a beer pairing with your fried chicken or donuts. Tell me you wouldn’t want to get her drunk and possibly watch her drunk bake you some goodness because that’s my eventual goal.

Donut Fest Happened

Donut Fest at Penn Social put on by Brightest Young Things happened. There were donuts, donuts and beer. Brightest Young Things has a great write up on the event and tons of photos!


What’s that? Why hello photobooth. Why don’t I rub powdered sugar all over my face?
It was a great event where I was able to sample various donuts. A few vendors either had insane lines or ran out super early. One of my favorite donuts was a buttermilk crusted donut.
After, I joined some crazy cool kids at Daikaya. I added pork belly to my ramen and was instantly in heaven. We ordered several plates of gyoza. It’s a not to be missed or overlooked item. Perfectly cooked and served immediately. I understand the need to at times have food rest, but especially on a cold day I want my food hot.
I have never had real ramen and was amazed at the flavors, texture and just straight up deliciousness.
Unfortunately, I was full and couldn’t finish all that goodness. I need to go back soon.
I continued the fun back to Penn Social and then walked over to Kelly’s Irish Times. Kelly’s Irish Times is always an interesting place with unusual characters. My friend was holding her going away party in the basement.
My man friend met me there after I encouraged a group of us to have an Irish car bomb. At least, I didn’t suggest jaeger.
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After Kelly’s Irish Times, we headed to a friend’s birthday party. She had an amazing amount of beer, snacks and cookie cakes. Seriously, at least two cookie cakes.

My man friend wanted to go home as he was tired from apparently hanging around our apartment all day. I got home that night by 11:20pm and almost ate someone’s left over Chinese food. Next time I find food in the fridge, it’s mine.

Romancing myself

Sometimes you have to just go out and show yourself a good time. Last night was that night for me. I attended Romance the Evening at Tudor Place Historic House and Garden.

Have you been to Tudor Place yet? I have lived in DC since 2004 and always wanted to stop in. I love history and just being somewhere that has existed longer than me and will continue to exist long after I depart. The architecture was spectacular with details showing it’s age in spots or attempts of residents in the 1960s to add their own flair. 

Staff and volunteer at Tudor are welcoming, knowledgeable and helpful. I was greeted immediately. They stored my lunch bag containing two bottles of wine I just happened to buy at Bell Wine & Spirits beforehand. Shhh…don’t tell my man friend about the wine purchase as I am supposed to be on a budget.

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I met the Communications Officer who I had previously tweeted. She was pouring wine in the Conservatory. It was an interesting area that apparently the family would use to store their plants and fruit in the colder months. There was an amazing window with an equally wonderful view. The delectable desserts and cheese were also kept in this area. For the mere price of $13, guests of the event were offered unlimited wine, snacks and could wander open rooms and speak with docents to learn more. It’s hard to even find a glass of wine for $13 at times.

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The wine included a Cava, Prosecco, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Grigio and  Sparkling Peach Wine. I had the Sauvignon Blanc, which exuded classic New Zealand flavors of grapefruit. I tried the Chardonnay and it was a definite butter bomb. The Cava was a wonderful palate cleanser. At one point, a Domaine de Carneros 2008 by Taittinger appeared and I attacked it. It’s a very affordable sparkling done in méthode champenoise. It was fresh, somewhat floral with vanilla notes. Definitely my fave and I had to stop myself from drinking it all. 

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Brie, chocolate heart cookies, chocolate covered strawberries? Don’t mind if I do.

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As you can see near the cookies…delicious, delicious cookies, there were lovely Valentine’s cards placed throughout the house. I could only photograph the cards in the Conservatory and in the East Corridor as no photography was allowed in the rest of the house. You can view photos in that area of the event, including the early to mid 19th century Valentine’s Day cards on Tudor Place’s Facebook page

All the Valentine’s featured in the house were given by family members to each other. Interestingly enough, there was no writing featured on the inside of them. Perhaps signing cards is a more recent phenomenon? 

I really loved the older cards as they were so intricate. A few reminded me of a pop-up book. 

In the Drawing Room or perhaps the Salon, they had a violinist playing. She was wonderful and set the mood nicely.

Mostly couples (due to the nature of the evening’s event), wandered the the house and the gardens of the property. Docents (most were volunteers) were in each area to answer questions and tell stories.

I loved learning about the home, the family and more. I really wanted to get to know Britannia more as she seemed like a very intriguing woman. 

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I decided to walk some of the gardens during twilight as I thought it would be the best time. At that moment I realized I need to come back for their summer program evening program. I also understand why it’s been so popular. Look at that photo. If I had been smart enough to take a glass of wine outside with me, I probably would have sat out there and watched the sunset.

I would love to figure out how to hold an event there with Young Winos of DC. I think I’ll be checking their calendar of events for a garden tour too.

Oh and yes, I had a lovely night with myself. I think I might even get a second date.