July First Musings

July 1. New month. New quarter. 2nd half of 2020. 183rd day of the year, 183 days to go. Today, I choose to celebrate. celebrate. I have once and for all put to rest all of my grand 2020 plans (made pre-COVID-19), I have once and for all accepted that this current reality is indeed the new normal and will be for quite some time. Today, I choose to celebrate. 

I celebrate the first half of the year.  

  • My family and I are alive and healthy. 
  • My Mom got COVID-19 and beat it. 
  • I have spent 107 days and nights in a row with my husband and we are more in love than ever. 
  • I am still in business.  
  • I work in an industry that will never go away and that makes people not only look better, but also feel better. 
  • I did not lay off or furlough anyone on my Alchimie team. 
  • I became a cat mom. 

Today, I also choose to focus on all that I have to look forward to in the second half of 2020.  

  • My sister Rachel’s wedding (praying to the travel gods).
  • Botox at Forever Institut (praying to the travel gods).
  • A couple of weeks in Tinos, Greece (praying to the travel gods). 
  • Hamilton on Disney Plus
  • The elections. 
  • Quiet dinners at home with my husband and cat babies. 
  • Quiet dinners out in those places that are excelling at safety measures and social distancing (including Bourbon Steak and Peacock Café
  • Getting back out in the field. 
  • And, I am sure, many (hopefully good) surprises…   

 Here’s to the second half of 2020! 

Georgetown Gems

As I drove back from Louisiana to Washington DC almost two weeks ago, I “went backwards” in terms of COVID-19. By the time I left Hammond, restaurants and stores were open, and life felt  like “back to normal” (which may or may not be a good thing long-term of course…). I arrived in DC to Phase 1, no indoor restaurant seating, and no non-essential retail. 

I not only returned to a city in Phase 1, I returned to a boarded up M Street. Still, it feels wonderful to be back to DC, to be back to Georgetown specifically. As boards are coming down, as we inch towards Phase 2 (Monday June 22, fingers crossed), I am reminded of my love for this neighborhood, and for the brands and businesses that make Georgetown what it is.  

Shop Made in DC 

This retail initiative was created to highlight the creative minds of the greater Washington DC area. Founded by Stacey Price of People Make Place and Michael Babin of Neighborhood Restaurant Group, Shop Made DC has three locations dedicated to growing DC’s maker economy. It is very possible all of my holiday gifts this year will come from this store.

SCOUT 

Founded by Deb and Ben Johns (I love any family business!), SCOUT is first and foremost a brand of bags – beach bags, backpacks, grocery bags, everyday bags – now also offering face masks. Deb creates unique patterns every season, available at wholesalers nationwide. And, one of my girlfriends from business school works there! 

Stachowski’s 

My go to for Paris ham, steak, burger meat, and lamb lollies. And veggies from nearby farmer’s markets, good mustard and cornichons and once in a while cherry pie. Living a block away is both delicious and dangerous. 

Georgetown Butcher 

This opened March 9, 2020… and is reopening imminently. I have not yet been, but can’t wait to discover this European-style butcher shop / grocery, the brainchild of Wendell Allsbrook who has been a butcher for more than 15 years, most recently at The Organic Butcher of McLean. I love Stachowski’s and I can’t wait to discover this new gem. 

Tuckernuck 

Created by three friends, Jocelyn, Maddy, and September, in 2012, Tuckernuk offers classic and somewhat preppy apparel, home goods, and gifts. Wondering about the name? It is the name of a small island off the coast of Nantucket, where the three friends spent summers growing up. 

 

And of course… Peacock Café

Another family-owned business (Shahab runs the restaurant, his brother Maziar is the Chef), this restaurant never closed, served meals to healthcare workers throughout the pandemic, and is where I enjoyed my first meal (patio seating) back in DC. It is still my favorite, for lunch, brunch, dinner, cocktails. It feels like family.

Georgetown, How I Love Thee…

Last Friday, I had the pleasure of attending Carol Joynt’s Q&A Café. She interviewed Nancy Taylor Bubes, during a fabulous lunch at the Georgetown Club. (Read more about the interview here). There is hardly anything more Georgetown than that, and it reminded me how much I love this neighborhood I live in…

The sights

  • The amazing architecture, the row houses, the hidden gardens (and swimming pools), the cobblestones. Every time I walk down the street, I discover something new, beautiful, and captivating.  (Go on the House Tour and Garden Tour to discover some of these secrets…)
  • The Potomac, with its boat houses and rowers.
  • The trees, which change their dress with the seasons, and also look magnificent.

The tastes

  • Thunder: the best burger in Georgetown, and heaven if you like beer. Also, Bernard and Josh are possibly the most entertaining bartenders you will come across…
  • Peacock Café: the best fries in Georgetown, and my personal favorite lunch spot.
  • Bourbon Steak: the best Manhattan (other than the one my husband makes), and fascinating people watching if you want to see (foreign) Government-looking types in suits.

The smells

  • Georgetown Tobacco. Every time I walk by there, I am reminded of when my Dad used to smoke the pipe, and then Blue Gitanes… (shhhh, don’t tell him I told you).  
  • I even love the ginkgo trees around Olive street… stinky in the fall, yet so Georgetown.  

The sounds

  • The birds of Spring. They start chirping at 4:10 am, like an orchestra of happiness for things to come.
  • The sound of tennis balls hitting racquets on the courts of Montrose Park. There is nothing quite so civilized.

The feels

  • The community feel of the neighborhood, where people still say “good morning” and nod and smile to each other when walking down the street.
  • The international feel of the neighborhood, enhanced by the embassies nearby and the international Georgetown students.

DC, I love you

They say absence makes the heart go fonder. That is certainly true for me… after almost three weeks on the road, with 12 hours here and there in Washington, DC, I got back last night for 4 days straight. This morning, I woke up and my first thoughts were of the many reasons why I love the District (and Georgetown) so much.

  1. The monuments. Even with all of the scaffolding around it, the Washington Monument is jewel-like, in particular when it is all lit up at night. The list is long, I won’t mention them all…
  2. The cab drivers. In what other city is NPR the radio of choice for cab drivers, and where else can you have such insightful political conversations with them? I learn something every time I speak with one.
  3. The trees. The entire city is filled with trees… and today, they are the color of gold, copper, bronze.
  4. The security. There is something special about seeing the Secret Service or just some big security guys with earpieces outside the restaurant I am about to walk in to.
  5. The conversations people have. Invariably, they are educated, intelligent, hushed, and intense. And the conversations I randomly strike up with someone sitting next to me at a bar (see below for my favorites). Similarly educated, interesting, and enlightening.
  6. The running trails. Miles and miles of amazing running. The bridge loop. The C&O Canal. Embassy Row. The National Mall. The running trails, and the friendly (and numerous) runners.
  7. Town Hall. Ex-pat Louisianans come here for Saints games. New England Patriots haters are not welcome. The food is delicious. And their specialty cocktail, the Town Hall, is perfect to celebrate a touchdown or drown your sorrows following an interception.
  8. The Rye Bar, and its barrel-aged Manhattan made with Pennsylvania-based Dad’s Hat rye whiskey, Dolin sweet vermouth, and Byrrh quinquina. The restaurant at the Capella is just as amazing, topped only by the truly amazing service.
  9. Black Salt. I spend much time in Louisiana, where the seafood, the oysters, the shellfish is amazing. Yet (and even my Louisiana-born and bred husband agrees), Black Salt remains my favorite for seafood. And then, there is the fish market…
  10. Thunder Burger. Amazing beer selection, burgers worth dying for, and Josh the deadpan bartender, make this place a must.
  11. Peacock Café. When I need a French Kiss, or to feel like everyone knows my name, Peacock it is. And their fries are the best I have had in DC.
  12. Stachowski’s. As a European, it thrills me that the American city I live in still knows what it means to be a butcher, and to buy meat somewhere other than at the grocery store.
  13. And last, but not least, my amazing girlfriends who live here; you are my heroes, my sisters, my support network. You know who you are. Thank you.

DC, I love you.