The 12th Annual Alexandria Film Festival Comes to Old Town This Weekend

Jordan Wright
November 7, 2018

The 12th Annual Alexandria Film Festival will bring over 70 films to area film enthusiasts from November 8-11.  For followers of this festival, it just gets better every year.  Expect to see shorts, documentaries and indie films that may never hit mainstream theaters, but may have debuted at film festivals around the country.  Talk with hot new filmmakers who are enjoying media buzz.

The celebration begins Thursday, Nov. 8 with a free program of six short films, screening outdoors at Waterfront Park in Old Town.  The Free Flowing Musical Experience will kick things off at 6:30pm, with shorts beginning at 7pm with free popcorn for the first 100 guests.

AMC Hoffman 22 Theater on Eisenhower Avenue and Beatley Central Library on Duke Street will serve as the principal venues.  More than 60 filmmakers will be in attendance presenting their films over the festival weekend.  See full program details at www.AlexFilmFest.com

Ticketed shows can be found at www.AlexFilmFest.Eventbrite.com for $12. or $15. at the door.  An All-Fest Pass is also available for $50. at www.AlexFilmFest.Eventbrite.com or for $70. at the door.

With more than 50 premieres of short and feature-length films, the festival features films from around the world including Canada, France, India, Lebanon, Spain, South Africa, United Arab Emirates, the U.K., and the U.S.  Local filmmakers will screen new work and several directors, producers, actors and crew members will take questions from the audience after each screening. We love talkbacks!

Free screenings at Beatley Central Library are on Friday, November, 10th from 10:30am - 5:30pm at 5005 Duke Street, Alexandria.

Ticketed screenings at AMC Hoffman Theater 22 are on Saturday and Sunday, November 10th and 11th at 206 Swamp Fox Road, Alexandria.  Tickets are available at www.AlexFilmFest.Eventbrite.com.

Highlights include:

  • Burke and Herbert Bank Family Showcase - Features five premieres for, by, or about younger viewers and their families, presented by nine filmmakers including the grand prizewinner in the national video contest “Lights, Camera, Save.”
  • Salute to Service Members Showcase - Features four films, including three premieres on Veterans Day Weekend. Veterans and active service members will be honored with free admittance plus one guest to this showcase.  First come, first served. Guaranteed seating must be made through advance purchase online.
  • Two “Film Noir” Showcases - Extend the season’s Halloween chills with these thrillers.
  • Meant to be Broken” is a clever “dramedy” about a mild-mannered guy who has never broken a rule, while he tries to cope with some very bad news by breaking them all. Q&A following with D.C. filmmaker Jonathan Zuck.
  • The Makeover” is about a conservative policy wonk who learns to embrace his feminine, alter ego, Giselle. Q&A with Alexandria Filmmaker Jane Pittman and Giselle Donnelly.  World premiere.
  • Hunting Lands” is a story about a veteran-turned-recluse who witnesses the aftermath of a heinous crime and takes justice into his own hands. A Virginia premiere that will keep you guessing!
  • Trickster” - A man’s life is forever changed when he meets a beautiful young woman who needs help. A ‘Twilight Zone’ meets ‘Inception’ thriller.  East coast premiere.  Q&A with filmmaker Jamie Paolinetti.
  • American Exploitation: The Slaves Among Us” – Investigates sex trafficking in suburban America.  Q&A with filmmakers Benjamin Brothers and John Carter.  World premiere.
  • American Relapse” – An inside look at the heroin epidemic in Southern Florida and the corrupt underground “rehabilitation” industry that sprung up, not to combat but to profit. Q&A with filmmaker Pat McGee.
  • Iron Orchard” - Virginia Premiere of an epic rise and fall of a Texas oilman torn between love and ambition. Q&A with filmmaker Camille Chambers.

The festival concludes with an awards ceremony and closing reception on Sunday, November 18th.

Born Yesterday ~ Ford’s Theatre

Jordan Wright
September 27, 2018

“The whole damn history of the world is the struggle between the selfish and the unselfish,” pronounces Ed Devery, Harry Brock’s outlier attorney.  It was this line from Born Yesterday that put playwright Garson Kanin square in the sights of Senator Joe McCarthy during the House Un-American Activities Committee hearings.  Described by the Roman Catholic Press as “Marxist satire’,  Kanin wrote it as a frothy comedy with a powerful message.  One as relevant today as it was 68 years ago.

Cody Nickell (as Paul Verrall), Kimberly Gilbert (as Billie Dawn) and Edward Gero (as Harry Brock). Photo by Carol Rosegg

Under the astute direction of Aaron Posner, Kanin’s witty comedy enjoyed a sensational and timely revival last night.  How could it miss with Edward Gero in the leading role as Harry Brock, the crooked, vote-buying, junkyard magnate?  When I wondered how Gero could segué so seamlessly from his recent award-winning role as Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia in The Originalistto a low-life conman from the other side of the law, he reminded me, “They are both from New Jersey.”  Ah well, so are the best tomatoes.  Both plays are set in Washington, DC with plenty of references to bribery and corruption, making it delightfully engaging for Beltway insiders.

Well-drawn characters are what give this comedy its undeniable spark.  There’s Brock’s cousin, Eddie (Evan Casey) who is Ed Norton to Brock’s Jackie Gleason (if you remember that slapstick duo); Billie Dawn (Kimberly Gilbert), Brock’s gal, the intellectually-challenged ex-chorus girl who wises up with the help of Paul Verrall (Cody Nickell) the Reporter, Billie’s mentor and savior; and Ed Devery (Eric Hissom), Brock’s alcoholic lawyer and enforcer.  Senator Norval Hedges (Todd Scofield) is Brock’s patsy.

Todd Scofield (as Senator Norval Hedges), Naomi Jacobson (as Mrs. Hedges) and Edward Gero (as Harry Brock) . Photo by Carol Rosegg

Gero does a formidable job of being the tough guy, strong arming and buying his way to the top, but it’s Gilbert’s lightness and seamless twist from dumb blonde to smart cookie that command the most attention. The minions pinballing in and out of Brock’s orbit provide additional humor to this lively farce.

Casting Director, Patrick Pearson, has done a bang-up job of pairing of Gero with Gilbert who are hilarious in a gin game scene that has Billie squealing with delight as she picks up all Harry’s discards, beating him handily and showing she’s pretty good at keeping score, a fast learner, and even better at pegging Harry for setting her up. 

Edward Gero (as Harry Brock) and Cody Nickell (as Paul Verrall) . Photo by Carol Rosegg

Recommended for Beltway newshounds looking for an evening of political comic redemption.

With Matt Dewberry as A Bellhop/A Barber; Naomi Jacobsen as Mrs. Hedges/Helen/A Manicurist; and Jamie Smithson as The Assistant Manager/A Bootblack/ A Waiter.

Spectacular Set Design of a two-story, swank hotel suite by Daniel Lee Conway; Costume Design by Kelsey Hunt, Lighting Design by Nancy Schertler; Sound Design and Original Music by John Gromada.

The cast of the Ford’s Theatre production of Garson Kanin’s “Born Yesterday,”
Photo by Carol Rosegg.

Through October 21st at Ford’s Theatre, 511 10th Street, NW, Washington, DC 20004.  For tickets call 888 616.0270 or visit www.Fords.org.

Nibbles and Sips Around Town ~ September 23rd 2018

Jordan Wright
September 23, 2018
Photo credit: Jordan Wright

Paella Nights at the Fairmont ~ Muze Restaurant Earns High Marks ~ Eagerly Awaited Eaton Hotel Opens ~ Atlantic Magazine’s Upcoming Three-day Festival ~ Mount Vernon Launches Aged Whiskey and Hemp Demonstrations

Paella Nights at the Fairmont Hotel

Paella by Chef Jordi Gallardo in the gardens

Blink and You’ll Miss It:  The Fairmont Hotel has been serving up delicioso paella nights in its stunning gardens on Wednesdays throughout the month of September.  The last one is tonight, Wednesday September 26th

Serrano ham on Paella night ~ Tortillas de Patatas ~ Anchovies

Spanish-born Executive Chef Jordi Gallardo oversees a fantastic menu of gazpacho, pan con tomate, manchego cheese, serrano ham freshly cut from the bone, tortillas de patatas, a selection of Spanish olives, fresh anchovies and caramel flan.  Cozy fire pits and comfy outdoor sofas present a luxe venue for Chef Gallardo’s live paella station. 

Using a family recipe from his hometown of Barcelona, he prepares authentic paella featuring shrimp, chicken and mussels.  At $10.00 per person you’d be a fool to miss it. The hotel is also offering specially priced glasses and bottles of Spanish Cava and red and white Spanish wines along with Mahou Cinco Estrellas Beer at $5.00 each and Er Boqueron Gastro Ale at $7.00 each.

Flamenco guitarist Ricardo Marlow

Accompanying the festival is renowned Flamenco Guitarist Ricardo Marlow who has played with musicians of other genres, namely Charlie Byrd, Frank Vignola, Canut and Andre Reyes of the Gipsy Kings, The Washington Ballet, Kivanç Oner, Duende Camaron and many others. 

No reservations necessary. Just go!  The Fairmont Hotel is located at 2401 M Street, NW, Washington, DC 20037.  www.Fairmont.com

Muze’s East West Kitchen at the Mandarin Oriental

The Mandarin Oriental’s grand entrance

Off the top of my head I can name a scant few restaurants in DC where service meets food meets elegant ambiance.  Throw in a waterfront view and I’m all yours.  For a milestone birthday, I chose Muze in the Mandarin Oriental in hopes of a hushed dining spot with tables well-spaced apart, gracious service and fine dining with a view.  We were not disappointed.  Just entering the grandiose massive-columned lobby, dripping in marble with bespoke gardens beyond, foretells a luxury dining experience.  I hadn’t dined there since Executive Chef Eric Ziebold left the restaurant in 2014 when it was CityZen.  It stayed shuttered for a time after his departure and now a redesign and new chef have reinvigorated its stellar reputation.

Muze Dining Room ~ View of the Wharf Harbor 

We kicked off the celebration with a bottle of Moët toasting merrily while reveling in a glorious sunset over the Potomac River.  If you like a view, this second story, bird’s-eye panorama is breathtaking.

Angus Beef Tataki 

Executive Chef, Stefan Kauth was on holiday and our Labor Day meal was prepared by Sous Chef Justin Houghtaling who sent out a refreshing amuse bouche shooter of lemongrass, honeydew, coconut and mint to tease and awaken the palate.  With so many appealing starters and salads to choose from we could hardly decide and opted for four for the three of us – Tatsoi & Arugula Salad with pea shoots and pickled lotus root, Angus Beef Tataki with two sauces, Ahi Poke with bits of pineapple and house made shrimp chips, and Crab, Corn & Coconut Soup.  Once we’d ordered three waiters sprang into action orchestrating our courses, answering questions and promptly refilling our wineglasses throughout the evening.  It doesn’t get any more attentive than this.

Tatsoi Salad with lotus root ~ Amuse bouche ~ Crab & Corn Chowder

Each dish was beautifully refined reflecting a unique Asian-inspired personality coupled with French technique.  However, we all agreed that the soup stole our hearts.  Enhanced by red pepper crème fraiche, grilled corn niblets, pickled fresno pepper and Thai basil, it achieved a sublimely restrained balance that wowed us.  Woe betide to my poor husband who had to tolerate a duet of spoons reaching across the table for yet another taste.

Ahi poke with shrimp chips~ Lobster Pappardelle ~ Corn crusted Black Grouper

Because our entrée choices ranged from Wagyu beef to corn crusted black grouper to lobster pappardelle, a 2015 Willamette Valley pinot noir from Lemelson Vineyards was selected. During our meal Chef Houghtaling came to the table to gauge our response and garner oohs and aahs.  As for dessert, nothing could prepare us for the exquisite and delicious sweet finales whose brief menu descriptions inadequately revealed the sum of their parts.

Berry Cheesecake with strawberry sponge, raspberry and strawberry marmalade, strawberry emulsion and lemon-scented mascarpone

All this and perfect service too.  After some prodding, we discovered our extraordinarily knowledgeable waiter, Nicanor, ‘Nic’,
had been in the employ of chefs as legendary as Yannick Cam and Jean Louis Palladin, and in more recent years, Fabio Trabocchi at Fiola.  He had also spent 25 years at the Ritz-Carlton seeing to the needs of sophisticated diners.  Ask for Nic when you make your reservation
and tell him I sent you.

Muze is located at 1330 Maryland Avenue, SW, Washington, DC 20024. For reservations visit www.MandarinOriental.com or call 202.787.6148

Eagerly Awaited Eaton Workshop Hotel Opens

Eaton Workshop Hotel

Eaton Workshop Hotel wants innovators, artists, and social and creative incubators to work, stay and lounge at their hip new hotel, Kintsugi café, rooftop bar and lounge,
and upcoming restaurant.  Did I mention the secret bar?  More on that later. 

Kintsugi Cafe at Eaton

Executive Chef Tim Ma led a tour of the exciting new space that will cater to hip travelers and trendy residents.  Designed by Parts & Labor as a platform for creatives and progressive millennials, the hotel will feature Ma’s restaurant American Son due to open September 28th.  Though Italian food was the original concept the giant wood-fired pizza oven will now be used for roasting vegetables for his Korean-inspired cuisine.  Nights on the rooftop will feature a DJ after dark and guests are expected to linger in the hotel’s many workspaces and library.

Executive Chef Tim Ma takes a break on the rooftop patio at Eaton

As the driving force behind the hotel’s food and beverage program, Ma’s influence can be felt in all aspects including the recently open wellness-influenced Kintsugi café featuring craft coffee from Red Rooster Coffee of Floyd, Virginia, mushroom coffee, wellness teas from strong>Neakita, juices from Misfit Juicery and pastries, including gluten-free and vegan options from Pastry Chef David Collier.

The Alice in Wonderland mural in Allegory’s secret bar

If you’re in the know, you’ll find the secret Allegory cocktail bar hidden beyond a series of ordinary-looking doors on the main level towards the back of the hotel.  This stunning, romantically-lit bar features a large mural of Alice in Wonderland as seen by Ruby Bridges, the first African American child to integrate an all-white school in New Orleans in post-Jim Crow America.

The rooftop bar and lounge at Eaton

Eaton Hotel is located at 1201 K Street, NW, Washington, DC. For information and reservations visit www.EatonWorkshop.com.

The Atlantic Festival Partners with The Aspen Institute

October’s three-day festival will present some of today’s most influential thinkers and leaders in technology, politics, business and the arts.  Why do we care?  Well, for one thing, José Andrés is one of the speakers. And don’t we want to hear what former Secretary of State John Kerry, Audie Cornish Host of NPR’s “All things Considered”, Actor and Playwright, Harvey Fierstein, and dozens more from varying fields of expertise have to say about our future and the current state of the nation?  We do!  It promises to be the most comprehensive gathering of CEOs, politicians from both sides of the aisle, techies, award-winning reporters and intellectuals – all in one spot.  Actually it’s a few spots including Sidney Harman Hall, the National Portrait Gallery, Hotel Monaco, Gallup Institute and others, but all close together in Penn Quarter. October 2-4, 2018.  For tickets and information go to www.TheAtlanticFestival.com.  See you there!

Mount Vernon Releases Limited Edition Aged Rye Whiskey

Mount Vernon Releases Four-Year Aged Whiskey

George Washington was America’s foremost whiskey distillers.  Along with his wife, Martha, the founding father was no stranger to imbibing and entertaining his guests with an array of wine and spirits.  As gracious hosts the dynamic duo made sure that guests at Mount Vernon were well fed – and well oiled. To celebrate Virginia Spirits Month, Mount Vernon is releasing a mere 200 bottles of George Washington’s Straight Rye Premium Whiskey, distilled at Mount Vernon from Washington’s original recipe. Unlike earlier offerings from the reconstructed distillery, this spirit was aged for four years in charred oak barrels. George Washington’s Straight Rye Premium Whiskey is now available in 375ml bottles for purchase at the Shops at Mount Vernon and at George Washington’s Distillery & Gristmill site. These will sell out quickly – most likely to collectors.

Preparation of Rye Whiskey at Mount Vernon's Distillery & Gristmill

It’s intriguing to peek at Washington’s distillery ledgers from 1798 and 1799, to note that this whiskey consisted of 60% rye, 35% corn and 5% malted barley.  Considered its finest whiskey release to date, it shows a fruity aroma with hints of oak from the barrels and a palate-pleasant taste of apples, apricots and baking spices.  As with other releases, traditional 18th-century methods were in the production.  Additionally, all the grain in the reconstructed water-powered gristmill was fermented in wooden mash tubs and distilled in copper pot stills heated by wood fires. If you visit, and I urge you to, you will see the historic process in real time.

If you miss out on this special whiskey, several other spirits produced at Mount Vernon’s distillery are available this month, including George Washington’s Rye Whiskey – now designated the ‘State Spirit of Virginia’ – Peach Eau de Vie, and Apple Brandy.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the planting of the first crop of hemp on the property in centuries.

Industrial hemp seed ~ Planting at Pioneer Farm Site

And, no, it’s not for smoking.  This is industrial hemp.   Planted on their four-acre Pioneer Farm Site under the 2015 Industrial Hemp Law enacted by the Virginia General Assembly.  Hemp was used at Mount Vernon for rope, thread for sewing sacks, canvas, and for repairing the seine nets used at the fisheries. An interesting historical factoid: Washington’s diaries and farm reports indicate that hemp was cultivated at all of his five farms. In February 1794, Washington wrote to his farm manager, William Pearce, “…I am very glad to hear that the Gardener has saved so much of the St. Foin seed, and that of the India Hemp…Let the ground be well prepared and the Seed (St. Foin) be sown in April. The Hemp may be sown anywhere.” Mount Vernon plans to use the plant for interpretive fiber-making demonstrations.

George Washington's Distillery & Gristmill

George Washington’s Mount Vernon is located at 3200 Mount Vernon Memorial Highway, Mount Vernon, VA 22121.  The Distillery & Gristmill is located at 5514 Mount Vernon Memorial Highway, Alexandria, VA 22309.  For information call 703.780.2000 or visit www.MountVernon.org.

Macbeth ~ Folger Theatre

Jordan Wright
September 13, 2018

Scotland has a new king in Macbeth (Ian Merrill Peakes)
Photo by Brittany Diliberto, Bee Two Sweet

Don’t you just love it when the wicked get their comeuppance? I find it deeply satisfying to witness how greed and unbridled ambition must pay the devil their due.  We need more of this.  Huzzah, MacDuff! Huzzah, Malcolm!  Hey there, Feason!  You nailed the bastard and his scheming bride with the not inconsequential assistance of a 10,000-man English army.  That’s not meant to be a spoiler.  You already knew the ending.  As Shakespeare once famously wrote, “The play’s the thing,” and this thing is delicious! And ghoulish… with a zombie ex-king, Duncan, who stalks his murderers with regal aplomb.

Macbeth (Ian Merrill Peakes, center) explains to the honorable Macduff (Chris Genebach) why he slew Duncan’s chambermen. Witches (Rachael Montgomery and Emily Noël) look on.
Photo by Brittany Diliberto, Bee Two Sweet Photography

Director Robert Richmond has re-imagined this classic from Sir William Davenant’s adaption from the mid-17th century.  It is also reminiscent of the tradition of le ‘Grand Guignol’, the 19th century Parisian theatre of horror plays.  “Oh, horror, horror, horror! Tongue nor heart cannot conceive or name thee,” warns Macduff.  Set in London’s notorious chamber of horrors, Bedlam Hospital, and performed against a background of delightful Restoration-era music by the Folger Consort, this Macbeth includes lilting operatic ditties, Enya-esque ballads and the haunting sounds of distant Scottish bagpipes. 

King Duncan (Louis Butelli, second from left) in performance with the wayward sisters (l to r: Emily Noël, Rachael Montgomery, Ethan Watermeier) in Folger Theatre’s Restoration-era production of Macbeth.
Photo by Brittany Diliberto, Bee Two Sweet Photography

It opens with the inmates rehearsing for a performance for the King in the insane asylum.  This play-within-a-play is a clever device for setting up the equivalent madness that follows.  Most beguiling, are the Three Sisters (one who is in drag for a soupçon of levity) who conspire to terrorize Macbeth and his wife at every gory turn to the bizarrely antithetical tune of classical Elizabethan music.  Their danse macabre in the double, double toil and trouble scene will be etched in my brain forever.  Never have prophesies and spells been such glorious, gory fun!  Sound Designer Matt Otto heightens the atmosphere with shrieking crows, hooting owls and subtle reverb to mimic the echoing that would be heard within the walls of a cavernous castle lit by lanterns and candles and the cauldron’s flame.  Was that the aroma of frankincense I detected?

The witches (Ethan Watermeier and Rachael Montgomery) and Hecate, possessing the body of young Fleance (Owen Peakes) in Folger Theatre's Macbeth.
Photo by Brittany Diliberto, Bee Two Sweet Photography

With Helen Hayes Award winners, the glorious Kate Eastwood Norris as Lady Macbeth and Ian Merrill Peakes as Macbeth, Louis Butelli as Duncan, Chris Genebach as Macduff, Rafael Sebastian as Malcolm, Karen Peakes as Lady Macduff, Rachael Montgomery, Ethan Watermeier and Emily Noël as the Witches, Jeff Keogh as Seyton, Andhy Mendez as Banquo, Owen Peakes as Fleance, John Floyd as Donalbain and Jaysen Wright as Lennox.  

Music Direction by Robert Eisenstein, Scenic Design by Tony Cisek, period Costume Design by Mariah Anzaldo Hale, Lighting Design by Andrew F. Griffin and Fight Choreography by Cliff Williams III.

Macduff (Chris Genebach) places the crown of Scotland on Malcolm (Rafael Sebastian), with Donalbain (John Floyd, far right) and company looking on.
Photo by Brittany Diliberto, Bee Two Sweet Photography

Highly recommended.  If you’re not ready for Guy Fawkes Night or All Hallow’s Eve after seeing this, you never will be. 

Through September 23rd at the Folger Theatre at the Folger Shakespeare Library, 201 East Capitol Street, SE, Washington, DC 20003.  For tickets and
information call 202 544-7077 or visit www.Folger.edu/theatre.

 You can listen to a specially playlist curated on Spotify.

Playlist of English Restoration music

Nibbles and Sips Around Town ~ September 2018

Jordan Wright
September 2018
Photo credit: Jordan Wright

Mirabelle Wows with New Executive Chef Keith Bombaugh

The Dining Room ~ The classic absinthe fountain

Stop! Please put down your pencils (okay, that’s quaint), pick up your phone and make a reservation for Mirabelle DC. It has the most deliciously original, gorgeously presented, technique-heavy cuisine in town at this writing. If you consider yourself a gourmand (you know who you are) run don’t walk to this stylish sleekly modern restaurant where newly appointed Executive Chef, Keith Bombaugh, late of Meritage in Boston and the Michelin three-star restaurant Alinea in Chicago, has thrown down the proverbial gauntlet.

Mirabelle’s Executive Chef Keith Bombaugh

Bombaugh joins forces with “Tales of the Cocktail” award-winning Lead Bartender Zachary Faden, and Pastry Chef Zoe Ezrailson, most recently from DC’s Ellé. We enjoyed several unique drinks like the Earl Grey served in a teacup and made with the noted tea and tea liqueur. But it’s Jennifer Knowles, an advanced level sommelier of the Court of Master Sommeliers, that oversees both the restaurant and its wine cellar of 12,000+ bottles with over 2,600 labels on the wide-ranging list. Knowles, who partners up with Wine Director Karl Kuhn, arrived in style via Requin at The Wharf. Earlier in her storied career she had built the wine and spirits program at Plume at the Jefferson Hotel with a stint at Fiola Mare and four years at The Inn at Little Washington. You could well say, she’s wine royalty.

G & Tea cocktail served in a teacup

Knowles works with Faden to dream up fantastic cocktails like the Earl Grey-inspired G & Tea made with Bombay Sapphire Gin, Italicus Rosolio di Bergamotto (an Italian liqueur made with bergamot the central flavor in Earl Grey tea), plus brewed Earl Grey tea, egg white foam and Marcona almonds, topped with lemon zest and served in a teacup. After dinner you’ll want to select from their well-curated collection of French, Swiss and American absinthes prepared in the classic way drip by drip through a proper absinthe fountain.

Overlooking the patio with an amuse bouche

But before you get too seduced (or drunk!) by the astonishing list of cocktails and spirits, let’s talk food. Bombaugh’s approach to ingredients is sheer genius. Think René Redzepi’s world famous Noma for its wildcrafted ingredients – though Bombaugh’s not a forager himself. He rethinks everything familiar about a what a certain ingredient can do to a particular dish and then takes it outside its comfort zone. You will find yourself wondering how certain ingredients could go together so seamlessly… so brilliantly… so deliciously.

Pacific abalone

How you may ask, can Chinese lettuce root pair with abalone, sea beans and marinated myoga, a Japanese ginger. (He must have amazing suppliers for all these exotic ingredients!) To further enhance this dish, he adds a sauce of green curry “tapioca” as a tableside pour over and served in a glistening abalone seashell? Don’t ask. Trust, but verify.

Foie gras tacos

Naturellement, given Bombaugh’s French culinary training the restaurant also boasts such bistro classics as the requisite seafood tower. But adds steak tartare to the crustacea. Mon Dieu! Tarte flambée with smoked Viking sea salt and foie gras in a banana taco shell with preserved fruit on toasted pistachios makes it to the menu. Let me at it.

She Crab Soup

Take Maryland blue crab. We do. We love it in all its many iterations. Over the years we’ve dined on dozens of preparations of this regional favorite. But wait… imagine pairing the sweet she-crab and its roe with celtuce (a thick-stemmed lettuce originating from the Mediterranean) and pine nuts toasted with Old Bay seasoning. Then, using a molecular gastronomy technique, Bombaugh adds tiny spherical sherry pearls on top. Finally, a cashew butter-based sauce affords the dish its sumptuous texture while keeping each ingredient from losing its rightful singularity. It is sublime, as so many of his dishes are. Notwithstanding all the wonderful chefs and world class restaurants we have in this town, Mirabelle is a gamechanger. I am spoiled forever. La petite mort, if you know what I mean.

Lemon Honey Beehive

Pastry Chef Zoe Ezrailson takes a more fanciful approach to her desserts. One particular stunner playfully named, ‘Lemon Honey Beehive’, is akin to lemon meringue pie, but with lemon parfait and Meyer lemon curd encased in a torched bee skep-shaped honey meringue flecked with gold dust and surrounded by bits of honeycomb candy, Dulcery white chocolate pearls and raw honeycomb. It is a triumph.

Steps from the White House, Mirabelle DC is located at 900 16th Street, NW, Washington, DC 20006. Valet parking is $8 from 5pm till closing. For reservations call 202.506.3833 or visit www.MirabelleDC.com.