Friday, April 27, 2018

It's almost the end of April, and the famous Tidal Basin cherry trees have lost their blooms, so I feel safe declaring this weekend as the end of the Cherry Blossom season.  I have mixed feelings on the cherry blossom tourism craze as a resident of the D.C. metro region.  The flowers are gorgeous, but after so many years of dealing with the traffic jams they create, this season in particular I just couldn't really get into them.  I did one sunrise visit, with overcast skies, but only brought my iPhone for photos.  Other than that, I somewhat celebrated the annual festival by trying two new themed offerings.  The first is a pop up bar and the second a cherry-based afternoon high tea.  

Good news, there is still time to visit the Cherry Blossom Pub before it closes after this weekend.  Pop Up Bar DC  by The Drink Company is known for super elaborate themed drinking experiences that change quarterly at the same venue.  I've been once before last year for a Game of Thrones themed bar around the time of the season premiere of the show.  Like that GoT bar, the Cherry Blossom Pub was divided into four rooms with different decor.  The four themes were cityscape Japan with exposed lighting wires and hanging lanterns, sushi bar with origami swans, a small garden scape with butterflies clustered on large sphere paper lanterns, and the beautiful cherry blossom bar with the ceiling covered in pink blooms (fake of course).

At the Game of Thrones bar, they had a "photo booth" room with the iron throne.  With the Japan themed, the Cherry Blossom Pub's photo op was perfectly paired with a mechanical Godzilla that breathed smoke periodically.  The drink menu was also cleverly curated.  I opted for the bean paste take on a piña colada, the beaña colada, that was served in a cute ceramic cat mug.

Don't worry if you can't make it into Washington D.C. to catch the tail end of the pub.  Since they have already announced the next theme will be The Royals, I suspect that we will know soon the opening date and that it will likely be around the upcoming wedding of Harry and Meaghan.

The second cherry blossom offering I tried was high tea at the Fairmont in D.C.'s west end near Georgetown.  This hotel does regular high tea seatings, however this one in particular was cherry based - desserts and tea.  

The tea sandwiches served were all delicious:

  • Curried chicken, mango, toasted almonds, and cherry marmalade on a brioche
  • Smoked salmon, horseradish creme fraîche, and salmon pearls on dark rye
  • Prosciutto, cucumber, and Boursin cheese on a mini croissant
  • Heirloom tomato, burrata cheese, and butter on sourdough
We actually opted out of the salmon sandwich and were served a sliced turkey on brioche.

The tea options had your standard tea selection with an additional black cherry almond tea specifically for this service.  The hint of tart cherry was fantastic!
For the desserts, there were four items, each with a cherry ingredient:

  • Chocolate cherry donut
  • Sour cherry almond pound cake
  • Rose panna cotta with rooftop honey
  • Rooftop honey tea scone with cherry jam

While this particular menu is no longer available due to the end of the cherry blossom season, I highly recommend the venue for high tea on any week - theme or no theme.  

Happy end of cherry blossoms!  (some morning iPhone shots below)

Posted on Friday, April 27, 2018 by Julie


Monday, March 5, 2018

One of the many reasons I love the band, Mumford & Sons, is their unwavering commitment to supporting charitable acts, using their fame to solicit for money and peoples' time commitments.  Marcus Mumford, specifically, has been named a Global Ambassador for War Child, a charity assisting children impacted by war in their home countries.  Just recently, Marcus also created a fundraiser soccer event, called Game for Grenfell, to raise the direly needed funds to support victims of the fire that destroyed London's Grenfell Tower building and took many lives, an event that Marcus witnessed personally as he lives close enough to see the fire from his home.  He also performed one song, solo, to open the benefit concert for the victims of the tragic and senseless bombing in Manchester after an Arianna Grande show. What a huge heart, right? As part of the Global Citizen movement and with the support of Citibank and their Sound Vault concert series, it came as no surprise the band threw together a one night only show in NYC last September to benefit Children in Conflict, the U.S. sister non-profit to U.K.'s War Child. A one night special Mumford concert you say?  To benefit something good you say?  Of course I'll rearrange my travel plans to get there!

While the concert was a standard Mumford concert, no new songs yet still amazing, it was the venue really stole the show that night.  Located in Washington Heights, United Palace is an old, grand movie theater, 1 of 5 Loew's NYC "Wonder Theatres" built in the late 1920s and early 1930s.  The design details in the lobby and theater are pure golden insanity, almost too much to take in.  So basically my friend and I, for 2+ hours that night, were both visually in awe of the event space itself and enthralled by our favorite four lads from London.  Magic!

Here's photographic Instagram evidence of my friend and I having a blast....can you see us, at the end of the green arrow??

It's not a surprise that Mumford & Sons, who are often found hanging around NYC when not at their homes in England or on the road, invited some other famous friends to the stage.  In the video below, the boys sang their cover of Simon & Garfunkel's "The Boxer" with their friend, Gil Landry, from Old Crow Medicine Show.

They also sang two songs I've not seen live before: "When I Get My Hands On You," Marcus' song contribution to his independent Bob Dylan lyric project: The New Basement Tapes, and "Where Are You Now."  Ok, technically I've seen the former song before when Marcus performed it with Chris Thile at a live taping of the "A Prairie Home Companion" radio show, but I haven't seen Marcus perform it with his band.

No Mumford & Sons concert is complete without their a capella "B-Stage" songs.  This night, we were treated to "Sister" and "Cold Arms."

Here's the complete set list:

Finally, a Mumford & Sons concert post from me is not complete without some photos!  They are such a photogenic band, after all!  Until next concert....hopefully with a new album to promote!

Posted on Monday, March 05, 2018 by Julie