Dolcezza @ Hirshhorn, Michelle and Barack @ Portrait Gallery, American Art museum, Red Apron and Pitango lunch, mama Ayesha and tryst/Adams Morgan – Washington DCI

The National Portrait Gallery knew what I was looking for…

Thanks to a Washington Post story about good dining options near the National Mall (and, as it happens, the Holiday Inn Capital, where we are bunking), I ended up at the chic coffee bar in the lobby of the Hirshhorn, drinking an Americano over ice (it’s blazing hot here) and eavesdropping on a docent greeting a large group of very cute summer campers visiting the museum. Kids also were entranced by a kid-size talking robot holding an iPad that greeted them in the lobby. Kids young and teen tapped prompts on the iPad that allowed them to, among other things, take a selfie with the robot. Very interactive.

I ended up wandering a bit around the museum, which I haven’t been to in years and enjoyed the contemporary art including an installation by a Thai artist rirkrit tiravanija, that includes black and white protest murals covering the four walls of a boxy room with hot plates on a table in the middle of the room where word has it red, yellow and green curry are served on some days. Not sure what the message is but again, interactive.

On to the National Portrait Gallery to see the Obama portraits but there was so much more to see there too. I ended up on a docent-led highlights tour full of great information about the grand building’s history and the portraits of presidents and famous Americans through the years. The building is also home to the National Museum of American Art which has a broad collection of art through the ages and a spectacular atrium with a cafe. Thoroughly enjoyed my visit.

Posing with the Prez

Dirck had early release from work so he joined me for lunch at the Red Apron, which specializes in cured meats. We had a good charcuterie board and excellent fries cooked in duck fat, followed a few hours later by refreshing fruit (rhubarb!) sorbet at nearby Pitango.

After lots of walking in the heat, a plunge in the hotel’s rooftop pool was great, even with the tepid water temp. Next stop Adams Morgan for middle eastern fare at Mama Ayesha’s with Noah, Rachel and Laurie and a drink at a little cafe called Tryst. We walked thru the shabby chic Line Hotel, a revived 1912 former Neoclassical church with high columns, that seems to be more bars than hotel. (“The 220 guest rooms are located in a contextual addition behind the original building,” as one report put it.)

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