Federalist Pig — Lunch on 17 September 2017

Sunday was a beautiful day in Washington, so I decided to journey up to Adams Morgan and try the new-to-me Federalist Pig for lunch. The restaurant has taken over the space formerly occupied by Döner Bistro, the awesome German-Turkish kebab place that I discovered much too late in its existence—it closed a few weeks after my first and only visit, and I’ve been craving kebab ever since.

Dining at Döner Bistro made me feel like I was back in Berlin.  A meal at Federalist Pig—Barbecue!—could only happen in the good ole USA.

It’s a bit hard to tell from the pictures, but Federalist Pig’s storefront is a painted image of a distressed American flag. It’s easier to see another of the restaurant’s distinctive features:  From what I’ve heard, there’s almost always a line out the door.

Sampler Platter

Sampler Platter

This is the reason for that line.

For my lunch, I ordered the Sampler Platter, which gives the diner their* choice of three meats and two side dishes. I chose brisket, turkey breast, and pork shoulder, with seasoned French fries and crispy Brussels sprouts as the sides.

The sprouts were deep-fried, and calling the fries “spicy” would be a serious understatement. For my taste, the brisket could have been a little more tender, but that’s a minor complaint. The serving size was generous—I couldn’t finish the dish.

Beautiful day, beautiful meal, beautiful new experience.

*Yes, I’ve surrendered. I’m now using the singular “their” and “they,”  because that battle has been lost. But I’ll fight to the death on the “hopefully” front, and I’ve got a restraining order to prevent anyone who uses the vile “pro-active” from coming within 30 feet of me.


“France is Bacon”

Someone on Quora, a site that I’ve lately come to love, asked about the meaning of the phrase “France is Bacon.”  It shows up, now and then, in the oddest places.

I knew the answer to this one, because I still remember the first time I read the origin story. It came in response to a Reddit Inquiry entitled “What word or phrase did you totally misunderstand as a child?”

Redditor Lard_Baron responded with this charming reminiscence:

After all this time, that story still makes me smile.

Jane Austen in Your Pocket

The Bank of England released the new £10 note today, featuring an image of Jane Austen and of her Pride and Prejudice heroine, Elizabeth Bennett. But Austin fans—and there are reported to be several—are not all pleased.

Some object to the Austen quotation cited on the note: “I declare after all there is no enjoyment like reading!” A fine sentiment, but delivered, in the book, by the snobbish and superficial Caroline Bingley, who didn’t believe it for a minute. She was just using it to ensnare Mr Darcy.

Given how obsessed many of Austen’s characters are with money and the status it confers, one would think the designers could come up with a more appropriate, finance-related quote for a banknote. I’ve certainly plagiarized borrowed “It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife” often enough, although, now that I think about it, that line is probably too sexist and too damn heterocentric to be acceptable in the 21st century.

And then there’s a problem with the depiction of Jane Austen. It’s based on a portrait painted years after Austen’s death.

The Sunday Times quotes Lucy Worsley, Chief Curator at Historic Royal Palaces and author of the book Jane Austen at Home:

“It’s an author publicity portrait painted after she died in which she’s been given the Georgian equivalent of an airbrushing — she’s been subtly ‘improved.’

“Jane had a much sharper face — some might call it sour.”

On the left, a portrait of Austen by her sister, Cassandra. On the right, the image on the banknote.

On the left, a portrait of Austen by her sister, Cassandra. On the right, the image on the banknote.

I think she might have a point.

Still, it’s pleasant to see a nation’s writers and painters celebrated on its currency—the new £20 note, to be released in 2020, will feature J.M.W. Turner—instead of the usual dead politicians. I wouldn’t want it to happen here in the US, though. With the current sad state of American civilization, it’s all too easy to imagine the government replacing Lincoln on the $5 bill with a picture of Ayn Rand‎.

The Disaster Artist — New Trailer

Last month I wrote an item about The Disaster Artist, James Franco’s new film about Tommy Wiseau and the making of Wiseau’s chef-d’œuvre, The Room, which is generally considered to be one of the worst movies ever made. You can read my comments and see highlights from both films here.

A new trailer was released today. It just gets better and better.

I also found this video of a conversation between the Franco brothers and the characters they play in The Disaster Artist. James Franco is, of course, Tommy Wiseau, and Dave Franco is Greg Sestero, who played “Mark” in The Room and wrote the book on which The Disaster Artist is based.

The film is scheduled for release on 1 December 2017.

The Arab Hall in Lord Leighton’s House

“Of all the Arab Halls in all the towns in all the world…”

…this is my favorite.

I’ve spent hours in this room, in what was once the Holland Park home of Sir Frederic Leighton. The house is a museum now—I’ve posted about the current Alma-Tadema exhibition, which is taking place there—and I visit it whenever I’m in London, which is never often enough.

And now you can visit too, in a way. I’ve just found some gorgeous 360-degrees panoramic views of many of the rooms in the Leighton House Museum.

Clicking this link will take you to the museum’s Reception area.  From there, you can travel directly to the Arab Hall, or take a narrated tour through the rest of the house.

It’s a great place to visit, and I’d really love to live there.