Another travelogue featuring the best of everything that Farklempt has ever seen or tasted. My own family mocks me for my extravagances, but everything you are about to read is true.
Thanksgiving is spent with the Naparsteks in Cleveland. Passover is at our house. For over 20 years, the Krepons have been sponging off the rest of the family, stuffing their faces at their siblings' houses. Finally, the balance of justice begins to swing to the side of fairness.
We met in Washington: Carol, Andy, and I; Belleruth, Art, and Keila, and the Krepon-Savines: Michael, Sandy, Josh (just back from the outback), and Misha. Arthur, using his connections at C-Span (he is one of their two regular viewers), got us the best hotel in Washington, the River Inn, in the best section, Foggy Bottom. For $79/night, you get a huge room with a dining room and full kitchen and breakfast.
Carol and I went for walk in the neighborhood and had lunch at the best Italian restaurant in Washington, Donatello. We ate al fresco. Carol had gazpacho, the best sauteed shitake mushrooms she ever had, and I had the best sauteed spinach with garlic I ever had, along with a wonderful caprese salad of tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, fresh basil, a drizzle of olive oil, and balsamic vinegar on delicious Italian bread. A decent Montepulciano d'Abruzzi for wine. Then we took a cruise down the Potomac.
Then we drove to the Krepons, who live in the best house in Arlington, with the best garden, the best birdfeeders, and the best dog, Zoe. Sandy served a terrific gazpacho, wonderful poached salmon pasta salad, the best macaroons, and the best bing cherries. Also wonderful Rosemount Chardonnay and Black Opal Shiraz. As we ate, Michael was busy barbecuing the Tequila-marinated Chicken from a Dean & DeLuca recipe that was to be our main course Saturday night. After dinner, we went to the rehearsal of the concert that was to be given the next evening on the mall. We sat on the lawn of the Capitol and heard Tony Danza, the moderator, hold forth wit' his deez and doze. Someone in the crowd collapsed (from laughter, I suspect), and as the EMT's tended to him, Tony ad libbed for half an hour, thereby driving the man into ventricular fibrillation, I am sure. Michael Feinstein played 'Swonderful...'Smarvelous...", Harolyn Blackwell sang Summertime beautifully, Sha Na Na sang very bad music very badly. Did we really like that stuff in the 60's?
Saturday morning we went to the Krepons, and Michael served the best bagels in Washington from What's a Bagel? Their granola bagel ranks with the greatest of all time, including Lenny's My Two Sons. Then we went kayaking on the Potomac, which offers a tranquil and healthy way to see the sights of Washington, which in many ways, is the nation's best city.
Michael and Sandy were furiously finishing up the logistics for the great battle which we had come to fight: to have the best view of the best fireworks in the world. In the wee hours of the morning on Saturday, they left cars filled with coolers of food and drink at the new FDR Memorial in West Potomac Park. After our kayak ride, Andy, Carol, and I went to the National Portrait Gallery, which was quiet and empty (the mall was packed), and which featured caricatures of show business people. It was the best exhibit.
Then, we returned met the rest of the family at the FDR memorial, where they had staked out a lagoonside series of blankets adjacent to the Memorial, with a magnificent view across the water of the Washington Monument. The Tequila-marinated Chicken was the best. The mozzarella and tomatoes were wonderful, as were the roasted Red Bliss potatoes, the string bean salad, the bing cherries, and for those who would indulge (not me, of course) a pear tart and peach pie to die for.
After we ate, we explored the FDR Memorial, which is a long walk through a series of large granite blocks and waterfalls, each of which comprise one of his terms. There are carvings with his epigrams, bas reliefs by Baskin, sculpture by George Segal and others. No wheelchair, but one is coming in response to protests from the crips. It is a wonderful monument, inspiring, moving, and soothing (rather like Roosevelt himself, I guess).
The sun set, the darkness came, the phallic thrust of the Washington Monument glowed in floodlights, and the fireworks erupted. They were the best of all time, the biggest of all time, the loudest of all time, in the best setting of all time. They even had skyrockets that exploded into smiling faces and peace symbols.
Do I exaggerate? No.
Sunday morning, back to the Krepons for bagels, then on to see the new offices on Dupont Circle of the Stimson Institute, where Michael is President. The offices are power offices. High tech. Commanding views of the embassies, big conference rooms for briefing Bubba and Madeline "I'll have another helping of kashe varnishkes, please" Albright. While we were there, he checked his phone messages. One was from NBC Nightly News, asking if he would go on camera about the Pakistani nuclear engineer turned bookkeeper. Michael is, as they say, the shit.
Then on to the National Gallery, where we saw the Calder exhibit. Really wonderful. The best. Also Monet and Manet at La Gare St. Lazare or something. It sucked. Better you should see Picasso and Einstein at the Lapin Agile. Then the encylopedia collectibles of the Dutch Masters, a really interesting exhibit of tchatchkes that the Dutch artists collected. Many of them were exquisite.
So, it was the best weekend, in the bosom of
the best family. The Krepons have have outdone themselves.