Archive for June, 2010

Eastern Market: A Feast for the Senses

June 13, 2010

Looking for something to do on a warm spring/summer day? Look no further than a stroll through Southeast’s Capitol Hill neighborhood, topped by a visit to DC’s Eastern Market.

Easily accessible by Metrobus or rail, this vibrant neighborhood is alive with neighborhood bars, restaurants and coffee shops. You can spend as much or as little time or money as you like. There’s an eatery/watering hole to match every wallet.

On my recent visit to the neighborhood with a friend new to DC, we started things off with a great lunch at Belga Café on 8th Street, SE. Belga is home to authentic Belgium food and beer. Although the fish and meat entrées looked inviting, we were in the mood for something a bit lighter. As luck would have it, we both decided to order LUIKSE WAFELS which are Liege waffles with caramelized apples and cinnamon. Liege waffles are chewy and rich while Brussels waffles are crunch and light. Whatever. They were delicious.

Fully fortified, we made our way up the street to Eastern Market, which is back in all its glory. Adjacent to the South Market Hall are flower, fruit and vegetable stands. Some of the packaged produce is exactly the same as what you’ll find at Giant and Safeway (Driscoll strawberries, for example). Stay away from those offerings and head for the fresh, unpackaged fruits and vegetables from the rural farms of nearby Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and West Virginia. You can literally smell the difference.

You may have a hard time pushing through the crowd to get inside the South Market Hall, but it’s well worth the effort. You’ll find fresh fish native to our area and a whole host of poultry, meat, pastas, pastries and cheese, just waiting to be served to your specifications. At the far end of the Hall is an area for chowing down your choice of charbroiled burgers, fish sandwiches, soft shell crabs, and oyster sandwiches. And if pancakes are your thing, make sure you get there in time to line up with your fellow citizens for the Market’s famous blueberry pancakes.

But Eastern Market doesn’t just offer food and flowers. You’ll find more than 100 exhibitors of handmade arts and crafts, jewelry and antiques. And the air will be filled with all kinds of music.
 

All in all, the Eastern Market is a treasured DC gem, as important to those of us who call DC home as the Washington Monument. Until you’ve paid a visit, you really can’t consider yourself a Washingtonian.

MARKET HOURS

TUE-FRI 7 am – 7pm  SAT 7am – 6pm  SUN 9am – 5pm MON Closed
Eastern Market is located at 225 7th Street, SE.
(1.5 Blocks North of Eastern Market Metro on 7th Street)

Mrs. Warren’s Profession—Theatre

June 13, 2010

The Shakespeare Theatre Company closes out its season with a winner, George Bernard Shaw’s Mrs. Warren’s Profession.

Part Mildred Pierce, part Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, Mrs. Warren’s Profession looks at morality through two conflicting points of views, those of mother and daughter.  The daughter, Vivie Warren, looks at life in terms of black and white, with no margin for compromise, while her mother, Mrs. Warren, sees life with room for large grey areas. Mrs. Warren’s “profession” has allowed her daughter to live a very comfortable, educated life–enabling her to live her life to her fullest potential. It’s unfortunate that the education and life experience her mother has made possible, makes Vivie so dogmatic and unyielding in her views. Therein lays the conflict and ultimate heartbreak.

Director Keith Baxter has assembled an excellent cast. Front and center is Elizabeth Ashley as Mrs. Warren. Although her voice is a tad raspier than her normal smoky voice, Ashley’s ability to use her voice gives her unfair advantage to any other actress who might assume the role. Amanda Quaid provide Vivie with just the right touch of vulnerability coupled with the certainty that comes with youth. All four male leads—Ted van Griethuysen as Mr. Praed, the architect, Tony Roach as Frank Gardner, Vivie’s friend and possibly more, Andrew Boyer as Sir George Crofts, Mrs. Warren’s business partner and David Sabin as Frank’s father and vicar of the local church as well as long-ago “friend” of Mrs. Warren—bring their “A” game to the Sidney Harmon Hall. Roach and van Griethuysen are especially good as confidante’s—both young and old—to Vivie.

I saw the play in previews, during which the cast performed under extraordinarily difficult circumstances. The play calls for an intricate lighting system, which unfortunately failed. The cast was asked to perform with the house lights turned on for the entire play, breaking the barrier between audience and actors. That they more than rose to the occasion underscores the amount of talent on stage. Unfortunately for the audience, I’m guessing the lighting would have added to the dramatic effect and enjoyment of the play. However, the audience is treated to an absolutely gorgeous set. One can practically smell the countryside.

Director Baxter’s interpretation of Mrs. Warren’s Profession adds musical hall numbers to the play. Although well sung and performed, they really add nothing to the overall play and are, in fact, a distraction and a director’s conceit.

All in all Mrs. Warren’s Profession is very well done and should be seen just to take advantage of a terrific cast working at such a high standard, with or without lighting.

Shakespeare Theatre Company / Harman Center for the Arts

 Sidney Harman Hall 610 F Street NW, Washington, DC 20004

A Fistful of Lemonade—Comedic Nugget

June 11, 2010

The BP oil spill in the Gulf is horrible.What’s happening to the people, the wildlife and economy is terrible and BP should be made to pay through the nose for what they have done.  But they say when life throws you a lemon, make lemonade.  Philippe Cousteau, you are my tall, tall drink of lemonade. Yikes! Where have you been hiding all these years? It’s awful, I know, but I find myself going from coverage to coverage in hopes of seeing him. I want this oil crisis resolved as much as the next person…but what will I do without him? What about the levels of lead in the DC water supply? Our President drinks, showers and bathes from this water. I think Philippe needs to come to DC stat and cover this potential crisis.


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