as we exited the metro station next to the reagan building, bickering a little about which direction 13th and penn actually was, i found myself dodging hundreds of mini-puddles in the cobblestone sidewalk. now i know that with all this rain, i maybe should have gone with a closed toe option, but they were comfortable and quite simply the best shoes for the new wrap dress i was inaugurating, so i figured i could suffer anything for a couple of blocks.
the puddles on the concrete reflected the city and spotlights as the crews worked to deconstruct the parade paraphernalia on pennsylvania from earlier in the afternoon, and i can't imagine how miserable that must have been. the rain, the cold, the complaining children, the wind ... we chose to celebrate the cherry blossom festival in much more sophisticated fashion, and i tell ya - it was seriously worth having cold wet toes for ten minutes.
as soon as i got a glimpse of the willard lobby through a window as we approached, my breath caught in my chest. i knew what to expect, the huge japanese planters filled with tall, tall cherry blossoms, beautifully backlit. rk has been raving about this since she experienced the willard last year under much sadder conditions. i'm pretty sure we talked about the willard and the cherry blossom festival over a cappucino on the beach in st. martin forever ago. (maybe i should have added severe jealousy that rk is going back to st. martin this week to my reasons for the funk list....) so let's just say i've been really looking forward to this evening. but even with all this anticipation, it still took my breath away, just as much as if i'd randomly walked in off the street having no idea. the lobby was simply stunning.
this, i kept thinking, this is washington.
after a leisurely stroll down the length of the one-block long corridor, with ballrooms and the willard dining room open for us to gawk in, we made our way to the round robin bar ... all leather and mahogany and presidential portraits on the walls.
now this? this is a man's bar.
we walked past a small group of thirty-something lawyers or bankers or something, oozing money and sophistication as they lounged in the corner on the stuffed leather benches, before taking three seats on the far side of the bar, leaving us with a full view of the room and the hallway leading to another restaurant. a few minutes later, a man that may or may not have been senator allen circled the round bar before taking a seat close to a woman that may or may not have been a transvestite who'd had her/his adams apple removed. we chuckled when they introduced themselves. as we were just finishing our two blooming flowers (saphire gin, orange blossom water, hint of OJ and grenadine) and cherry blossom parade (dark rum, cherry brandy, touch of lemon juice), the tourists came in. now, rk and i can be brutal without ridiculously strong cocktails warming our empty stomachs. and i'm not proud of what i said that had rk keeled over in her seat, but look. it was true! they really couldn't have sat in those chairs with the arms on them. their girth is not my fault. as we were commenting on the great mix of people in that beautiful bar, rk leaned over and whispered,
this is sooo d.c.
we warmed ourselves with a delightful cocktail called winter therapy and ventured back outside, where rk flirted with the gentleman at the taxi stand before we were escorted under another gentleman's umbrella to our cab. the three of us made sure to discuss very dc topics in the cab, just to make sure the driver knew we weren't some tourists he could rip off ... because sure, i've lived here for four years, but that doesn't mean i know a damn thing about where the zones are or how many we're driving through. why is it again the cabs don't have meters? like every other civilized city?
we elbowed our way through the crowd waiting in the cold rain outside the chophouse three minutes before our 9:30 reservation, and were quickly wisked away to our table. the chophouse has long been a favorite of ours, but food must really taste better after a couple of cocktails, because that was the best filet mignon i've ever had. b's was so good, he didn't even offer me a taste. (and after he cleaned his plate, he told me he was glad i didn't ask, because he would've had to say no.) rk found a bottle of a favorite california zinfandel on the menu that was just heavenly. the place was emptying as we leisurely sipped our coffees, at times in tears over the ridiculous (but potentially quite effective) advice b was giving rk about a boy.*
we decided to take the slightly longer walk to metro center so we could hop on the orange line directly and avoid a transfer, and luckily the rain had eased up. as we hustled across e st. at 10th, i heard a man say something to rk and i, but it wasn't until i was halfway across the street that i turned to rk - did he say something about our leftovers? she nodded, so i scurried back to the corner and handed him the extra filet medallion i'd saved for lunch today and smiled.
this, this is going to knock his socks off ...
i needed some karma after making that mean comment about those tourists at the round robin.
we parted quickly with rk, since the rain was back by the time we got off the train in virginia. finally warm in the elevator on the way up to our apartment, i just smiled at b.
we really need to do this more often.
*someday i'll make b blog about exactly what it is a woman must do in order to get a man to realize she's coming on to him. the problem is it will be so hilarious, whatever i write about after that will pale in comparison. and this is my show, kids.