The Conspirator Theories

The Conspirator Movie Poster
The Conspirator Movie Poster

So I just saw the movie The Conspirator last night, opening in the District on the same day that Abraham Lincoln died – April 15, 146 years ago.

I missed the red carpet premiere at Ford’s Theatre last week – complete with director Robert Redford and all the movie’s stars, including Robin Wright, James McAvoy, and Kevin Cline.

But I did get to see the film just three blocks from Ford’s Theatre, where the 16th president was shot on April 14.

And I was just one block away from the boarding house of one of the alleged conspirators, Mary Surratt, whose trial is the subject of the film.

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The Capital of Macaroni

Historical trends come and go in the District, and food trends are no exception.

After a history of culinary neglect, Washington is now considered to be a foodie haven, with new restaurants, star chefs, and now food trucks coming to the city in droves.

Top-Chef-DC-Poster
Season 7 of Top Chef was set in the District.

It’s currently home to two Top Chef stars – recent All-Star runner-up Mike Isabella, who is opening his Italian restaurant Graffiato in Chinatown, and Spike Mendelsohn, who helms a burger joint (Good Stuff Eatery) and pizza place (We, the Pizza) next door to each other on Capitol Hill.

The District even hosted a season of Top Chef, just a block away from where I live.

But for a town that used to be known only for its steakhouses and formal French restaurants, D.C. has had to import much of its food culture from other cities.

Recent food fads like upscale burgers and cupcakes (not served together, luckily) have their origins in nearby New York.

Right now, macaroni and cheese is having a resurgence of popularity in the

District, as evidenced by the success of the gourmet food truck CapMacDC.

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The District’s Lunar New Year Celebration

Yesterday I attended the CCBA Lunar New Year Celebration – or in other words, the District’s annual Chinatown parade.

It’s held on the first Sunday of each lunar new year, and organized by the Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association – an umbrella group of organizations that have governed D.C.’s Chinatown since its early days.

It’s amazing the kind of access you can get with a little bit of confidence and a professional-looking camera. The police let me through the crowd barriers and even onto the stage to take photos, and I enjoyed taking advantage of my New Media status for the day.

Take a look at the slideshow for a taste of the day’s festivities, starting with what I had for lunch in Chinatown.

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Gateway to D.C.’s Chinatown

Happy Chinese Lunar New Year, from Washington, D.C.’s Chinatown…

I’m writing this blog from Chinatown Coffee Co., a gem of a coffee shop on H Street NW.

As we officially enter the Year of the Rabbit, I thought this would be a fitting day to write about the most visible symbol of the District’s historic Chinese neighborhood, the Friendship Archway.

DC Chinatown Friendship Arch
D.C.’s Chinatown Friendship Arch

Just a few blocks from where I’m sitting, it spans H Street NW at its intersection with 7th  St., which is considered the heart of Chinatown.

It was designed by Chinese-born local architect Alfred Liu and built by expert Chinese artisans from the Beijing Ancient Architecural Construction Corp.

The finished product melded Ming and Qing dynasty styles, boasting seven roofs, 700 tiles, and more than 280 dragons and other classical decorative features.

Measuring 75 feet across and towering about 50 feet above H Street, it’s supposed to be the largest, single-span archway in the world.

But the characters in the middle – which mean “Chinese District” – announce what is perhaps one of the country’s smallest Chinatowns.

 

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