A birthday dream…Chopin and tapas in DC

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My kids live fairly close. My son, Alex, lives in Philadelphia and my daughter, Amanda, lives just outside of DC. I try to get to both as often as I can. Of course, it’s much easier to go to Philadelphia since it’s a 35 minute drive from where I’m at. There’s so much to do and so many wonderful things and you will be seeing a recent trip I took to the Barnes. Such a strange museum.

Since it was a birthday treat, Amanda and I went to my favorite restaurant in Georgetown, La Bodega.  This is a sharp and fashionable tapas restaurant and bar that has been around quite a long time and ,luckily, survived the pandemic.  We have been going there for years since Amanda began he degree at Mason.  It has been consistently good and has yet to disappoint as far as food or service.

There’s a small parking lot on M Street that we normally park at, which is about a half a block down and across the street from La Bodega. With our luck, there was a spot. We took a stroll to the restaurant and had a lovely lunch together. We took our time and just enjoyed the afternoon and each other.  My gift list as of the last couple of years has only one item:  The gift of time.

The restaurant is actually a store front. When you walk inside you are taken over by the strong presence of the red and black and bullfighting.  It’s very unique decor and works with what they do..wonderful food and service.  There is the main room (pictured below), a back room, and a courtyard.  I love the front room by the windows so I can people watch and the courtyard because it’s sunny and quiet.  It all depends upon the weather and the mood.

Amanda became a vegetarian last year.  I can only imagine how difficult it was for her since she was a meat and potatoes person up until that point.  She held to it and I am proud of her. Part of the reason she held to it, is because she was told she wouldn’t keep to it. She’s stubborn like that…..I wonder who that reminds me of?  Sometimes, the challenge is to find menus at our favorite places that will accommodate all diets.  I have given up some food items for health reasons.  Beef being one of those items.  A Spanish tapas restaurant is perfect because it accommodated all needs.

Our menu

White Sangria

Tostada de Queso de Cabra con Miel  (Toasted Bread with Goat Cheese and Honey)

Pimientos del Piquillo a la Plancha  (Seared Piquillo Peppers with Sea Salt)

Tortilla Española  (Spanish Tortilla – Potato, Onion and Egg Omelet)

Patatas Bravas  (Crispy Potatoes tossed in a Spicy Ali-Oli topped with garlic Ali-Oli)

Paella Vegetariana (Vegetables Paella) Individual size

Afterwards, we walked around Georgetown and window shopped.  We actually found an Amazon store and shopped at a few of our favorite places.  There are some national chains like Sephora, Lush, and Dean & Deluca.  There also quite a few locally owned shops that are worth the visit.  I encourage a visit Olivia Macaron.  It was perfect.

Georgetown Shopping Guide

Scenic Shopping

Amanda and I discovered the delights of the Fever concert series, last year. Our exposure to it was when Amanda bought tickets for us for my birthday. We attended the Chopin Best candlelight performed by a Johns Hopkin Peabody Institute graduate student.  He was an excellent performer and what I truly appreciate is how he walked you through each piece.  He made it relatable and didn’t lecture. He kept it brief, concise and relevant.

Our Program

  • Mazurka in A minor Op. 17 No. 4
  • Mazurkas Op. 41
  • Etude in C minor “Revolutionary” Op. 10 No. 12
  • Waltz in C sharp minor Op. 64 No. 2
  • Ballade No. 4 in F minor Op. 52

The performance was held at Saint Francis Hall at the Franciscan Monastery. I was confused because i didn’t know that there was a monastery in DC.   This is the first time I’ve ever been there and it’s a hidden gem in DC.  According to their website, St. Francis Hall:

St. Francis Hall is a ministry of the Franciscan Custody of the Holy Land, a province of the Order of Friars Minor, a Roman Catholic religious order.  Proceeds from the rentals of St. Francis Hall are used to support the work of the Friars in Washington, DC and surrounding communities, as well as the mission of the Friars in the Holy Land.

This is a lovely location and it was a perfect backdrop for the music. Due to Covid, we had to mask up and were socially distance. This actually worked in Amanda and my favor because we are both short and we were actually able to see the performance without neck stress.  The low lights and flickering candles clouded the setting so that the music was front and center.

One my favorite spots in Georgetown is not because of it because of the memory associated with it.  Amanda told me that she wanted to show me something because I introduced her to it, in the first place.  It was the movie, The Exorcist. The stairs that were actually used in the movie or not far from La Bodega. We went and we both agreed that it was pretty creepy, day and night.  One of my favorite websites, Atlas Obscura, has an excellent article, which you can find right here:  The Exorcist Stairs.

Sometimes, you aren’t sure if you kids are paying attention.  Alex is quiet and very observant, so I sometimes wonder.  Amanda is very observant and not as quiet, so I sometimes wonder.  I was at her apartment and saw these two paintings on the wall.  I recognized the one on the right as something I did when I went to a wine and paint with some friends.  I had it in the giveaway pile and Amanda thought it was good.  So there it is.  The one on the left is a painting she did.  Both kids love to draw and paint.  They carried it over from high school art classes.  It gave me the mom feels knowing that she did this.
My grandkitty, Earl.
My grandkitty, Gracie. The forever kitten.

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