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Four cities in two days will do that to you.

Upgraded on one hop to Pittsburgh on United!!

Then a tiny ancient United puddle hopper to NYC (Mesa needs more new planes).

New York was gorgeous

Train to Connecticut from Penn Station bright and early

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Now leaving NY

Now leaving NY

Then it was on to the worst Hertz rental car of all time. Dirty, over milage, driven hard, shimmy. Just crap. You can really suck Hertz!

This Hertz car sucks

This Hertz car sucks

When Kimpton does it right, it knocks it out of the park. A quick visit to DC to see the astoundingly great Eighth Blackbird at the Kennedy Center was a perfect time to cash in a free reward night at the Palomar in DC. What a treat. More about the performance on apothecaryshed.

Not only were we greeted by the front desk staff and the valet guys who recognized us, we were upgraded to a killer room: 1024.

The new look in 1024 is bright and spacious. Excellent design.

1024 sitting room

1024 sitting room

And yes, there was sparkling water.

We had a cocktail and some oysters with our friend Steph Vogel who ran this hotel for a few years. Steph specializes in lifting a property to its potential, and his touch can still be seen here at the Palomar.

1024 lounge

1024 lounge

The window treatments are SO much better!

Natural light on a bright spring-like day

Natural light on a bright spring-like day

1024 bedroom

1024 bedroom

What geometry

What geometry

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And yes, the bathroom is huge, with a great glass cube.

The NPS fantasy shower

The NPS fantasy shower

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A private reception at A Bar + Kitchen after the performance was very nice. Meeting the members of Eighth Blackbird was the highlight of course! The mac and cheese was also delish.

Bartender Alexandria Bianco mixed a mean cocktail or two, including the Potomac Bourbon
1.5 Bourbon
.75 St Germaine
.5 Lemon
.5 Honey/sage simple syrup
Blend in champagne flute. Top with prosecco.

When it comes to hotels, management makes all the difference. Five plus mega showerheads for the Kimpton DC.

After an exciting and very fun evening with the Neo-Futurists at the Woolly Mammoth watching (and participating in) “Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind,” we headed out for an after theater cocktail or two.

Souvenir

Souvenir

Our attempt to drop in at barmini was thwarted by their pretentious attitude. Fuck that place.

Fortunately, that meant we ended up at Brick and Mortar for a stellar post show time. We were served (mostly) by Marvin Zaldana who made some classics, played around with a drink or two of ours, and made two cocktails of particular note.

Fall Manhattan
2 oz Rye (Rittenhouse 100)
.5 oz dry port wine
several dashes of angostura
some drops of fresh lemon juice

Modern Vespa
1 oz vodka (pittsburgh’s Boyd and Blair)
1 oz dry gin (london style)
.5 oz cocchi americano
3 drops orange bitters
splash of fresh ginger beer (fever tree)

As you can see, Brick and Mortar has strong roots in great cocktails from the old days with interesting little twists. Delightful.

We were joined by two living neo-futurists.

Can you spot the actors?

Can you spot the actors?

Back at The Donovan D.C.

December 9, 2015

No fly nöel is not all it’s cracked up to be this year. No airplanes is nice, but local meetings fill the agenda. After one whole week, we’re back in DC, this time at the Donovan. The Donovan is a Kimpton property run by GM Steph Vogel.

1010 at Night

1010 at Night

View from the Donovan

View from the Donovan

No time this trip meant showing up at midnight. Dang. After dinner at Tabard Inn and a nightcap of Japanese Hirsch 16 bourbon at Jack Rose, the water was pretty much essential.

Thank goodness for sparkling water

Thank goodness for sparkling water

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Some of our favorite Kimpton things (thanks Steph): a glass shower, water, and power by the bed.

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Five showerheads for the Donovan and a wish that this trip to DC were not quite so rushed.

The Carlyle in DC

November 23, 2015

We’re back at a Kimpton, and you know how you can tell? Warm greetings by super friendly front desk staff on a cold day, an amenity that includes a cocktail and some charcuterie, and personal notes. All is well in Karma-land. (It does help to have Steph pulling strings and Thomas Fraher on the case.)

Amenity with a manhatten from the Riggsby

Amenity with a manhatten from the Riggsby

We were psyched to try the Carlyle, one of the newest additions to the Kimpton in DC family. DC is a big city and the Kimpton properties reflect that from the upscale George and Palomar, to the more modest Donovan and Carlyle with the quirky Helix somewhere in between. The Carlyle has the added benefit of being close to Dupont Circle.

We’re way spoiled, so you know which end of the food chain we like. But we also like trying new things! We especially like to try new things when we’re one smidgen from our inner circle status. The plan is for this visit to eek us over the finish line.

722

722

We’re in room 722 which is one of the King rooms with a hilarious little kitchenette. We won’t be boiling any hot dogs this trip, but you never know. DC has a fine restaurant scene these days.

Will we be cooking in DC?  Hells no.

Will we be cooking in DC? Hells no.

722 desk and glass door to the bathroom

722 desk and glass door to the bathroom

Lil blue couch

Lil blue couch

Open the bathroom door

Open the bathroom door

The diminutive bathroom has a glass shower, so that's good

The diminutive bathroom has a glass shower, so that’s good

Anyway, this is a nice little pod for a quick business trip into the city. For a weekend away, I would move up the Kimpton foodchain to something more fancy pants.

Speaking of food, Fiola Mare on the Potomac less than two miles from the Carlyle is very good indeed. Italian seafood with excellent old school cuisine and a great atmosphere. Our table with a view was very nice indeed as was the Napolitano waiter. Salute!

We started and ended the evening at the Riggsby. Devilled eggs and jalapeño tots with a Vieux Carré were a perfect beginning. Returning after dinner we had some hot tea and a Fernet or two.

All around, an excellent evening. Now if only that overzealous housekeeper did not try to clean the room at 9am!

We rate the Carlyle four out of five showerheads. Above average and well worth a visit.

General Thomas

General Thomas

Located on Thomas Circle in NW Washington, The Donovan is a Kimpton property in the midst of transformation. Apparently, General Thomas was a Union general.

View from 1010

View from 1010

A warm Kimpton greeting was in store (Steph Vogel runs a tight ship). Room 1010 is very nice.

Have a seat in 1010

Have a seat in 1010

Sitting room with a view

Sitting room with a view

Bedroom 1010

Bedroom 1010

View from the glass shower

View from the glass shower

Not plastic

Not plastic

The rooftop bar has real potential. Ditch the pool and improve the bar selection a notch and this place could cook.

Big plans (spun by Derek himself) to visit Southern Efficiency were thwarted by Monday. What? Eat the Rich was also closed. Because the Derek buildings are all situated next door to each other, Mockingbird Hill became the destination.

The Derek Complex in Shaw

The Derek Complex in Shaw

Ultimately, it was nice to ride the sherry bandwagon for a short hitch. Barman Phil made a delicious Old Fashioned with PX that carried chocolate overtones and reminded us of the Old 48. The pork was delicious.

Our next ill-fated Monday night move was to shlep over to Hank’s Oyster Bar for a bite to eat. Maybe it was an off night, but Hank’s was awful. Service was bad. Food was tasteless. Wine was unavailable. Even the oyster order was flubbed by the waiter (who frankly has no business working the front of the house). The storied bar upstairs was improperly staffed. Done with Hank’s. Cross it off the list.

The night ended on a great note thanks to Jack Rose. Fantastic selection of bourbon. Brittney Roberson was an excellent host.

In DC for a quick hit with no overnight, there was time between meetings to hit Quill with a friend. Quill has it going on in cocktail land.

First there was the obligatory DC Rickey for a DC denizen who had never had one. Quill thinks it is made with bourbon? Um, nope. But they corrected the error automagically, resulting in two Rickey’s, the proper one with gin.

Gin Rickey (a la DC) and bourbon (??) Rickey

Gin Rickey (a la DC) and bourbon (??) Rickey

The calamity comfort cocktail by Sophie Szych is a very interesting cocktail indeed:
1.5 oz rye
1.5 oz coffee calamity mix
.25 oz cynar
2 dash bitter cure blackstrap bitters

stir down. serve on a big rock with smoked ginger and orange peel

coffee calamity mix
1 quart coffee
2 double shots espresso
2 cinnamon sticks
2 star anise
4 cloves
4 oz molasses
1 orange peel (no pith)
1 vanilla bean
create toasty crush. add liquid. simmer 20 minutes.

Calamity Comfort cocktail

Calamity Comfort cocktail