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I’m not gonnna lie, going to the White House for the first time was a bit of a thrill–hence the cheezy cell phone pic. In all my travels, I’ve missed D.C. so we had a lot to cover in our few free hours. The usual local morning shows all had an edge, with a tinge of a heightened politico edge to them all. Being there on veterans day had a powerful feeling too, especially driving through Arlington National cemetery. Another thrill was visiting the Washington Post in order to do a story with the food editor Bonnie and her favorite shooter, Jim- for next Weds food section. We had a lot of fun and I was just tickled to be included in their coverage. There will be a great Thanksgiving leftover idea included so check it out next week.

The area is also home to a very large Vietnamese community so we headed out to Fall’s Church, Virginia for a really good lunch at Present. Unlike so many of our local NYC Viet joints–all the food was distinctive and flavorful and I liked the above pictured idea of making a roll out of fried vermicelli noodles. The Saigon pancake (flavored with coconut) is a favorite recipe and was executed so well. We raced amongst 9 bookstores to drop in and sign books: a little activity that gets your books out of oblivion and hopefully put in a more prominent place once they put “autographed” stickers on it. Finally-there was time for one more thing before our evening event so we went to the National Portrait Gallery which was gorgeous, FREE and filled with familiar American history–so interesting to see painted. Visiting the portraits of the Presidents, I was most struck by the JFK one, differing from all the others painted so straight and paternal-like, his was a contemporary rendition painted by Elaine DeKooning. Very cool.
Arriving at Zola Wine and Kitchen, I was heartened and happy to be met by relatives who came–a second cousin Joan, the daughter of my grandmothers brother Virgil and her husband Richard. The small crowd was so great, interested, warm and I loved being there. My NYC friend, Rita Jamais of the famed La Caravelle restaurant came by with her son Nic, also a restaurateur in Washington with his organic Sweet Greens restaurant. We made Crunchy Chicken Wings from MH, proving to be a tour favorite, along with tasting samples too.
Am back in NYC for a few glorious days at home. Middle son has returned safely from Thailand, thank the universe for getting him back to me unscathed. All my boys home tonight for dinner–aahhhhhh, nothing makes me happier. Off to the west coast tomorrow. Check the schedule– should this be your neck of the woods, would love to see you.
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