nopa's Upscale American Fare
Our picks at Ashok Bajaj's recently opened Penn Quarter restaurant.
May 23, 2013
Noted restaurateur Ashok Bajaj’s eighth District endeavor, nopa Kitchen+Bar, has been open for just over two weeks. Occupying the former Zola space and seating 160, the American brasserie welcomes guests to relax at the bar with a cocktail and savory bite or at a table in the main dining room to enjoy a bevy of dishes.
At the bar, try the twice-fried chicken—with just the right amount of crunchy batter, the starter dish is perfectly complemented with a delightfully spicy tomato dipping sauce. Wash your bar snacks down with nopa’s expansive wine list or a specialty cocktail like the Chinatown Sake, a combination of Tito’s Vodka, lemongrass, fresh lime, ginger, and soda.
If you require more sustenance, take a seat in the dining room to explore executive chef Greg McCarty’s ample menu. From raw bar selections and small plates to charcuterie, there is something for all. Order hearty oysters on the half shell—we like the Blue Points and Martha’s Vineyards options—to start your dining experience. Next, try the Frisée salad with Dijon and bacon vinaigrette, which is creatively topped with a poached egg. You’ll also find a selection of unique entrees, such as locally sourced rockfish with an Andouille and fennel broth, along with the requisite steaks, sandwiches, and burgers.
One rule to stand by at nopa: Leave room for any one of pastry chef Jemil Gadea’s desserts. The fried strawberry pie, featuring a buttery crust and fresh strawberries is our pick. 800 F St., NW, 202-347-4667
Photography by Greg Powers
7 Stunning Summer Shoes
From warm-weather booties to neon pumps to colorful kitten heels, our musts this season.
May 21, 2013
Top designers are now offering an incredible selection of summer shoes, and it’s time to take advantage of the opportunity to adorn our feet. Below, you’ll find offerings in multiple shades of the rainbow as well as kicks featuring florals, graphics, and multiple straps.
Honor Flight Recognizes Veterans
Documentary chronicles the journey of WWII veterans to Washington monuments.
May 14, 2013
“Every day is a bonus.”
This is the message from World War II veteran Joe Demler, one of several men featured in Honor Flight: One Last Mission. The poignant film centers on a Wisconsin community’s efforts to raise money so that World War II veterans could travel to see the DC monuments built in their honor. The film just won the Best Documentary Feature Award on May 12 at the GI Film Festival in Arlington, Virginia, and releases on video on demand platforms today, May 14, via SnagFilms.
The film follows four veterans: Demler, the 84-year-old who was once held in a Nazi prison camp and was famously pictured as the “human skeleton” on the front of LIFE magazine; Harvey Kurz, an 85-year-old with Alzheimer’s who witnessed the American flag being raised at Iwo Jima; Orville Lemke, a veteran fighting terminal cancer who is determined to make the trip; and 89-year-old poet Julian Plaster who once served as a gravedigger.
Funded completely by donations, the Honor Flight program takes the men on a 20-hour once-in-a-lifetime-trip to the World War II Memorial, U.S. Air Force Memorial, Iwo Jima Memorial, Korean War Veterans Memorial, and to see the Changing of the Guard at Arlington National Cemetery.
Veterans’ reactions upon seeing the monuments for the first time range from tears and grief to pride and awe to pure joy, says director Dan Hayes. Hayes recalls visiting the World War II memorial in 2009 and meeting a veteran on an Honor Trip named Theodore Gurzynski. “Gurzynski looked at me, blinked back tears, and said ‘I could die a happy man now that I’ve made this trip,’” Hayes says. “I knew at that moment that this memorial was a very special place for them. When they look at the wall of stars they don’t see 80- and 90-year-old men. They see the 20-year-olds who didn’t make it home.”
The film contains footage from Normandy Beach, Pearl Harbor, Iwo Jima, concentration camp liberations, and more. The next area screening is scheduled to be in Arlington, Virginia, at AMC Courthouse 8 on Thursday, May 23; admission is free but reservations are required by May 16 on honorflightthemovie.com. For information on the Honor Flight program, or to make a donation, visit honorflight.org.
Photography by Freethink Media (soldier picture, Lemke, Demler); Visual Image Photography (Arlington)
Q&A: Tadashi Shoji's Design Secrets
The designer reflects on 30 years in the industry and his well-fitting dresses.
May 09, 2013
Known for his elegant eveningwear and red carpet dresses, Tadashi Shoji is now celebrating his third decade in the industry. With women of all body types able to look amazing in his designs—his draping is spectacular and sizes range from 0 to 24 Queen—the Japanese-born designer is internationally recognized. So we were glad to get his thoughts on style when he recently visited the Washington area to receive Marymount University’s Designer of the Year award, and to visit Neiman Marcus at Tysons Galleria, where many of his flattering frocks are sold.
Shoji explains that his travels and art inspire him and hopes that “women exude confidence and feel beautiful in my designs.” Mission accomplished. Now read on as he reveals why his designs fit so well, and which anniversary collection piece is his favorite.
Congratulations on your anniversary! How has your brand changed over the years and how has it remained the same?
TADASHI SHOJI: Thank you! We have changed in size—increased both in the amount of employees as well as workspace—[and] the collections as a whole get bigger each season. …We recently launched an e-commerce site, and we have two retail stores in the states and have recently opened two retail stores in China…[but] we have stayed the same over the past 30 years because of our product and staying true to my design vision. I have always made my dresses accessible to everyone and put comfort and fit first when designing. The secret is in jersey fabric, Lycra, or soft chiffon. Everything I design is meant to stretch and move with the body and women almost have a “t-shirt feeling” when they wear my dresses.
Your new site lets women shop by body shape, such as “apple” or “pear.” Why?
TS: I design for all sizes and all shapes. My customer knows that she can come to our e-commerce site and find something perfect for her body and for any occasion. I like giving my customer a customized fit experience so that it makes them feel like it was made just for them.
Your spring collection includes beautiful lace dresses, and your 30th anniversary collection features six iconic frocks in shades of blue, ivory, black, and red. What’s your favorite anniversary piece?
TS: The blue lagoon V-neck gown because it has all the elements of a signature Tadashi Shoji look: the tiers, which I became known for; the flattering deep V-neck bodice; and comfortable, yet glamorous, stretch satin fabric. This piece is beautiful on its own yet can take on new looks with accessories. Our 30th anniversary brand ambassador, Chriselle Lim, paired hers with emerald and diamond jewelry and an emerald faux fur stole which looked fabulous and unexpected.
How did you become involved with Marymount University? What does this new award mean to you?
TS: I am an advocate of education and young talent so when the opportunity was presented, I was thrilled to participate. This award is a true honor, and I am privileged to be in such great company with the past honorees.
And, since we’re talking about the DC area, what’s your recommended evening look for Washington’s well-dressed women?
TS: I prefer the classic sheath dress because it looks good on all ages and sizes. It is sophisticated and easy to wear, and our stretch lining helps keep you comfortable from day to evening.
Mother's Day Spa Specials
Give mom the gift of calm at three area spas.
May 07, 2013
Indulge mom with one of two packages at the spa at The Ritz-Carlton Georgetown.
Mother’s Day is almost here, which means you have an excuse to pamper the leading lady in your life. So after you’re done lunching—or calling if you’re far away—consider giving your mother, sister, grandmother, or dear friend the gift of relaxation. Area spas have created special packages, and special pricing, just for her. And hey, if you decide to pick up a package for yourself, we won’t tell.
A visit to Karma by Erwin Gomez is sure to leave her feeling pampered. Headed by celebrity makeup artist Gomez, the warm yet industrial space is a welcoming respite, with its dark walls, tranquil treatment room, and friendly staff. Gift the mom in your life with an anti-aging facial ($89), which includes a deep cleansing and exfoliation and “collagen-boosting peptides,” as well as a complimentary lip polish. Or treat her to a complete haircut, style, and makeup session with Gomez’s team of artists ($139). All mothers are also given a complimentary amuse bouche sorbet and a glass of wine with their service. Offer valid Tuesdays to Fridays until May 31, 2013. 1104 24th St. NW, 202-293-3333
Another option is one of two Mother’s Day specials at The Ritz-Carlton Georgetown. First up, a package that includes a 50-minute massage, foot scrub, restorative or calming spinal rejuvenation (it includes a massage with an infused oil blend), and a 25-minute instant radiance facial ($180). Or, for $250, she’ll receive everything featured in the first package but a longer, tailored facial at 50 minutes (we love that). Special valid through the end of May; spa guests receive complimentary valet parking. 3100 South St., NW, 202-912-4175
If she’s hankering to see the harbor, book her a stay at Four Seasons Hotel Baltimore. The elegant hotel is offering a package ($860) that includes one overnight visit, a 60-minute yoga class, flowers (so you can check that to-do off your list), and much more. Plus, she’ll experience the age-intervention facial, featuring a three-layer mask, and the spa signature warm wrap and massage ease treatment, which includes a full-body exfoliation and massage. She’ll definitely feel calmer when she checks out: the spa session lasts nearly six hours. Offer valid through May. 200 International Dr., 410-576-5800
Capitol File 8th Annual WHCD Afterparty
Guests gathered at the Carnegie Library after the WHCD’s annual dinner.
April 29, 2013
Capitol File’s 8th annual White House Correspondents’ Dinner Afterparty took place at Carnegie Library on April 27. Following the White House Correspondents’ Association’s annual dinner, which honors excellence in journalism and awards scholarships to deserving students, the event was presented by the Bipartisan Policy Center and featured more than 400 notable guests from the worlds of media, business, politics, and beyond.
The party’s exterior was styled by Mercedes-Benz USA, and featured the luxury automaker’s SLS AMG Coupe and SLS AMG Roadster, while Syzygy Events, John Farr Lighting Design, and Multiflor curated a sophisticated scene inside the historic space—blue and purple florals and gorgeous lighting created a chic scene. Specialty treats were served by RSVP Catering and creative cocktails were mixed by Reyka Vodka and Art in the Age. Crown Imports served up its portfolio of beers, and the party also offered up an exciting late-night addition: The District’s gourmet food trucks—including Goodies Frozen Custard & Treats, Lemongrass, and Something Stuffed—dished out treats and provided a tasty end to the evening.
“We all need a little Hollywood glamour in our lives from time to time and once again our event was a memorable night,” said Sarah Schaffer, president and editor-in-chief, Capitol File. “The Capitol File afterparty provides a unique opportunity to bring together a wide range of people who you wouldn’t normally find all in one room. From Democrats, Republicans, and Hollywood actors to heads of associations, business titans, and top-selling authors, our party fostered a fun environment where bipartisanship thrived and camaraderie was celebrated.”
To round out the evening, the Entertainment Software Association built a lounge that featured a popular photo booth and interactive video games; Saks Fifth Avenue offered a welcoming beauty lounge featuring luxurious scent stations and lipstick touchups; and Clear Channel Communications, Inc., brought in LA’s DJ Skee, who kept guests moving on the dance floor until 2 a.m.
6th Annual Wine and Food Festival
The National Harbor event features cuisine, wine, and spirits, alongside special programming.
April 29, 2013
Visitors explore the pier at the National Harbor event.
Red, white, or blush. No matter your favorite type of wine, you’ll find it at the 6th Annual Wine & Food Festival on Saturday, May 4 and Sunday, May 5 in National Harbor.
Beyond the array of international and regional wines available for tasting and purchase, you’ll also find delicious food, all-star chef demonstrations, and spirits. “The chef lineup is amazing this year from Bryan Voltaggio to Scott Drewno, Mike Isabella, and Victor Albisu,” explains Dianne Murphy, the festival’s public relations consultant. “We have lots of amazing vendors, over 150 different wines, Skinny Girl Vodka, beer, and bourbon.”
To kick things off before the festival officially starts, try the May 3 dinner (7:30 p.m.) at Old Hickory Steakhouse ($125 additional, purchase tickets on wineandfoodnh.com), where guests will enjoy dishes like braised veal breast and pan-seared New York strip wagyu alongside renowned California wines from Paul Hobbs Winery. On Saturday, event-goers can flock to the Gaylord National Resort’s Pose Rooftop Lounge for a relaxing sunset wine and artisanal cheese tasting at 6:30 p.m ($25 additional, purchase tickets on wineandfoodnh.com). Meanwhile, on May 5, guests are invited to watch while Nycci and David Nellis from Foodie and the Beast host a live radio show at 11 a.m. with participating vendors and chefs.
The festival also has its fair share of jazz music headliners: on May 4, sit in on a performance by Rich Barry, and on May 5, hear the area’s own David Bach salute the keyboard. Tickets ($30-89) can be purchased on wineandfoodnh.com. 201 Waterfront St., National Harbor, MD, 301-965-4000
ScratchDC Expands to Northern Virginia
Premium ingredient delivery service offers pre-prepared, locally sourced meals.
April 25, 2013
From start to finish: a scallops and chorizo food bundle from ScratchDC.
While the District’s bustle mentality yields incredible economic productivity, it means that home-cooked meals are often replaced with takeout entrees. But quick thinkers have fired up a solution: ScratchDC, a local premium ingredient delivery service that launched last August, just expanded from DC to Arlington and Alexandria.
The service works like this: Customers go online and select a daily dinner option, which includes a main entrée and side dish. Then ScratchDC chefs chop, marinate, and mix each dish, and the company drops off fresh meal bundles to residences across the region. Customers simply unwrap each package and bake, fry, or grill their pre-prepared selections.
To bolster the local economy and offer quality meals, ScratchDC uses many local ingredients such as mushrooms from Mother Earth Organics farm in Landenberg, Pennsylvania, and beef from Roseda Beef Company in Monkton, Maryland. “These days, people want transparency. They want to know where their food is coming from, so we give them that,” explains founder Ryan Hansan.
The average cost for ingredients is about $27 for two people and bundles (delivered in 15-minute increments to ensure freshness, Hansan notes) have been selling out every day since the expansion was announced April 15. This week’s menu includes ScratchDC jerk chicken with pineapple avocado salsa, jalapeno lime rice, and sour cream.
“We hope to provide Maryland with our services soon and open a retail location that will give a face to our name,” Hansan adds. “We see a big opportunity to provide alternative options of healthy, accessible and delicious food.” Please contact ScratchDC to confirm current delivery areas. 202-549-1421
Make a Statement with Bold Wallpaper
Interior design authority Marika Meyer shares tips and trends.
April 23, 2013
Trying to update your home but not quite sure where to start? Refresh your space with luxurious wallpaper.
The decorative accent has improved quite a bit in the past few decades—today’s top trends are contemporary geometric patterns, organic patterns (such as a modern take on the Tree of Life print), classic stripes, and texture, according to Marika Meyer of Bethesda-based Marika Meyer Interiors. “It offers an opportunity to create great style and…finish to a room,” she says. “Pattern can bring new life to an otherwise bland space.”
Meyer’s favorite spots for wallpaper are powder rooms, large halls and stairways, and on the backs of shelves and bookcases. “I like to add it in a large hall or stairway because it is a great way to cover large expanses of drywall at minimal cost,” she says. “In [powder rooms] you can create a bold statement that you might otherwise not be able to make elsewhere.”
For a splash of elegance, Meyer explains that simply designed linen wallpaper or chinosiere paper, which reflects Chinese influences, can be equally chic. “To be elegant, the overall design needs to be well thought out and executed,” she notes.
And wallpaper has its advantages over paint. “Painting is all about the color, whereas wallpaper offers the opportunity to introduce texture, pattern, or color to a space,” Meyer says. She recommends Cole & Son, Farrow & Ball, Osborne & Little, Thibaut, and Phillip Jeffries paper.
Photography by Marika Meyer Interiors
Picks from Jonathan Adler's Latest Line
The home design powerhouse releases fun and functional items for spring/summer.
April 18, 2013
When you do spring cleaning this year, consider adding a few new items to replace the old. With design company Jonathan Adler’s wide-ranging collection of spring and summer additions, you’ll have your choice of trendy home trimmings. We reveal a few of our favorites below.
Celebrating the White House Correspondents’ Association’s annual dinner at Carnegie Library.