Destinations Magazine

DC/Baltimore: Zaytinya, Bottega for Food; Kelly, Marville, St-Gaudens and Van Gogh for Eye Candy.

By Johntalbott

While Paris is my favorite place for culture, sometimes our nation's capitol comes damn close.

Colette and I decided to spend most of the day in DC and dine in Baltimore.

The National Gallery, open again after the Tea Party's Temper Tantrum exhausted itself has three wonderful shows on right now; Ellsworth Kelly's glorious, almost sloppy-looking 1970's works on paper; Charles Marville: Photographer of Paris (works largely from the Carnavalet showing the pre and post Haussmann city); and an exhibition honoring the all-Black soldiers and all-white officers of the 54th Massachusetts Regiment led by Colonel Robert Gould Shaw, culminating in the monumental moving Saint Gaudens sculpture you've seen in the Boston Common.  3 Wows apiece!

We then repaired to Jose Andes' Zaytinya, the best of his current stable since the Cafe Atlantico closed, and both had the 4-course $25 "menu" which resulted in 8 terrific dishes with ingredients, spices and herbs (some of which he grows outside on the terrace) that caused our palates to tingle and expand.  What a guy!  With a bottle of Lebanese wine, two coffees and a raki, before tip our bill was $105.60.

Then off to the Van Gogh "Repetitions" exhibition at the Phillips.  Why it took the art world so long to put such a thing together, after the Monet haystacks, Munch Screams and so forth multiple pieces shows I do not know, but despite my boycott of one more show of everything from Fragonard to Basquiat, not forgetting (as Figaroscope famously says) Matisse, Sisley, Renoir, Toulouse-Lautrec, etc., etc., etc., I found Van Gogh to be refreshing, new and exciting, even though I think I've seen them all or their clones before, somewhere, from Buffalo in 1961 or 1962 to this year's at the Pinacothèque.

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