Made a trip to one of my favorite cities, Washington DC, for an event created by Issa Rae’s production company Hoorae. Hosted at the Kennedy Center, the event centered around connecting with other creators. Here is a brief recap of what we ate and saw during Hoorae Takes DC.
The Cherry Blossoms
While we were there for the Hoorae event, the organizers just happened to pick a weekend that fell during cherry blossom season. Despite all of my visits to DC, I had never caught the cherry blossoms in full bloom which apparently lasts about two weeks. It felt odd to see these pretty spring flowers in bloom while we froze in the 40 degree temps (there was even snow flurries one day!), but we braved the temps at the Tidal Basin to see the flowers. So pretty and worth it.
Arrive early for sure. Parking in that area is limited and there were some streets that were shut down to accommodate the festival activities. There was also a marathon that day too, which only made traffic even more of a nightmare. In short, plan ahead but again definitely go.
Let me preface this section with this thought, while I’ve had some great bites during my visits to DC the food is not the big attraction for me. It’s the history, the unapologetically Black element of Chocolate City and so much more. While DC is not much of a food city in my humble opinion, I am always going to hunt for places with good food and good vibes. So here are the places where I dined over the weekend that I truly enjoyed.
Located in DC’s Navy Yard, a visit here will bring you waterfront views and close up to Nationals Park where the Washington Nationals play (go ‘stros!). Jackie is an ode to first lady Jackie Kennedy full of 60s decor and girly colors. We visited for brunch before heading to the late afternoon events for Hoorae. We loved the decor, had great service from our waitress, plus we enjoyed the mimosas with the variety of juices. Oh and the executive chef, Jerome Grant, was the inaugural chef for the National Museum of African American History and Culture. We definitely enjoyed the food and had a good ole long chatty brunch.
The Gathering Spots
This Black owned, members only space caters to Black professionals. Here you can co-work (which we did on Thursday afternoon) and dine at their popular restaurant. We had a great time eating, drinking and convening with others. They have co-working locations in Los Angeles and Atlanta as well, plus they offer membership to collaborative cities like Houston where members can enjoy social events in their city and visit the co-working spaces when they are in town.
Ben’s Next Door
A stop to U Street is a must during a visit to DC. We opted for Ben’s Next Door for brunch and had a great time! The music was great and we each enjoyed our entrees.
Next Whisky Bar
Located in the Watergate hotel Next Whisky Bar is a great stop for drinks and snacks before heading to the Kennedy Center which is walking distance. Note the drinks and bites here are not cheap, but the convenience of being so close to the venue wins. A visit here gets you a few Nixon jokes of course and kinda feels like you are transported back to the 60s-70s with the distinctive facade. If you are lucky enough to visit during the summer months, make a stop at the Top of the Gate rooftop bar.
Featured on Real Housewives of Potomac, La Vie is a beautiful mediterranean restaurant with instagrammable vibes. We loved our appetizers such as the pita, burrata and various spreads. For our entrees, I ordered cheese ravioli with shrimp. It was not bad, but I could not get over the $68 price tag for it and since I can read numbers just fine I can only be mad at myself for that one!
Roof Terrace Restaurant at the Kennedy Center
In between events we decided to squeeze in a dinner at the Kennedy Center at the Roof Terrace Restaurant. This is truly a must stop for visitors to the venue. Not only is the restaurant gorgeous, but the food and drinks are great too. Make a reservation because this space fills up fast during major events.
Away from the toursity stops, Black Salt served up some of the bests bites of the weekend. A seafood restaurant and market, Black Salt has you covered for your seafood cravings. The highlight for me were the oysters rockefeller which I
So many elements to this weekend, but let me just share my favorites. On the first day, they hosted a great workout with Nike at the host hotel the Eaton. Guests for this event enjoyed a beautiful hot breakfast spread and went home with some Nike swag including a yoga mat. Y’all should’ve seen me trying to stuff that yoga mat into my already stuffed suitcase!
Other events included some previews of Issa Rae’s new projects. We were sworn to secrecy so I won’t share any details, however I will say that Issa’s reign will continue if you ask me! On the last day we enjoyed the Read podcast giving us snippets of their upcoming live album and an interview of Keke Palmer and Issa Rae. It was great to hear from them as we have had the privilege of watching their career trajectory.
DC is generally a good time and this was no exception!