Downtown, Food and Drink, Penn Quarter, The Features, We Love Drinks

We Love Drinks: SEI

"Silver Samurai" cocktail at SEI

"'Silver Samurai' cocktail at SEI" by Jenn Larsen, on Flickr

Oh, SEI! How I wanted to be seduced by your mod opulence, so Versailles by way of Anime. Your pristine white and gold decor, your flirty little lounge, all punctuated by red coral. What a tease you are. For these are not the times to enjoy $11 cocktails smothered in ice (what are those cubes hiding, I wonder? about 4 ounces of liquor), no matter how lusciously they roll over the tongue, or $12 plates of tiny cubes of tuna, no matter how perfectly they quiver before melting in my mouth…


Honestly, going to a lounge like SEI at a time when everyday I hear of someone else losing their job, makes me feel dirty. I admit to a certain hypocrisy. But, really? Who are these people lining the bar? These spray-tanned wallet vampires in go-go boots? Of course, one can’t control clientele, and SEI’s decor (“New York? Miami? Where are they trying to be?” my friend sighed in confusion) is going to inspire people to dress a certain way. I just wish that the women of this city who still have disposable income would PLEASE learn that classy can still be sexy. It just isn’t seemly to see that much of your browned  (I meant) hyper-tanned crackling cleavage during a recession…

Ahem. Ok, sorry to get all social commentary on you. Back to drinks. 

The good news is that those ridiculously small cocktails are surprisingly good. I had the “Silver Samurai” first, a mixture of shochu, cucumber and vanilla syrup topped with cracked black pepper. I just had to try it, given the combination of cucumber and vanilla which to me sounded more like a bath gel than a drink. However, it was addictive, fresh and smart. “I could definitely take a bath in this,” I smiled to my friend, who was happily enjoying a mocktail concocted just for her. We never did find out its ingredients, because we could barely hear our lovely server over the electronica pumping through the place.

Next, I nervously ordered “Liquid Wasabi.” Continue reading

Entertainment, Penn Quarter, The Features, We Love Arts

We Love Arts: How Theater Failed America

How Theater Failed America

“You should not have come.”

That’s how Mike Daisey opens his monologue at Woolly Mammoth, acknowledging that this is going to be a different kind of show. He’s very wrong, mind you: this show has a self-selecting audience that is sure to be glad they came. The show’s title assures that. Anyone who reads “How Theater Failed America” on a program schedule and thinks “that’s something I want to see!” is pretty certain to enjoy it, since anyone who isn’t predisposed to be interested in a critical examination of the business of modern theater isn’t going to be jazzed by a moniker that holds up a metaphorical axe and grindstone.

That’s really too bad, since this is a show that anyone can take something away from. (Well, presuming they’re not afraid of the word “fuck,” which Daisey uses pretty liberally.) Daisey intertwines examination, analysis, personal anecdote and touching revelation to create something worth hearing even if you couldn’t care less about what ends up on local or national stages. Continue reading

Entertainment, Life in the Capital, The District

Downtown Holiday Market Opens

Russian Egg Christmas Ornaments
Russian Egg Ornaments by Tom Bridge

The Downtown Holiday Market on F Street in Penn Quarter started at noon today, and features dozens of market stalls of some of the coolest locally-made stuff that I’ve seen. There are homemade cutting boards, made with beautifully-grained Shenandoah trees, amazing decoupage boxes in just about every shape and size, with just about every different pattern you can imagine.

The pedestrian market is right across the street from the Verizon Center, so if you’re out to get lunch at Gordon Biersch, or Rosa Mexicano, or maybe Jaleo, stop on by the market. It’s open every day between now and the 23rd, from noon until 8pm. There’s fair-trade coffee and tea vendors, with sample pourers, so you won’t freeze despite the chill. There’s all manner of unique crafts and gift opportunities. Read on for more photos from the Market.
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