Still Life with Newt (The Amphibian, not the Republican)

Friday: A day of meetings

Headed to the Hyatt Capitol Hill at 7:00 for 8:00 meetings. We were lucky with the nice weather, we have been there before when it was freezing cold, not pleasant to get around in.

We had a long lunch break where there weren’t any meetings that were key for me to attend, so I headed for the American Indian Museum for lunch. They have a very interesting cafeteria called Mitsitam with Native American foods from the different areas of the United States. I had a tapas selection of shrim ceviche (there was crab or lobster in there too), plus salmon croquettes, and some sort of crab cake. Remember the other night I said I was disappointed with the fried dough seafood (shrimp beignets?), this was a trend that continued. The croquettes and crab cakes essentially tasted exactly the same. The ceviche, however, was AMAZING, one of the best things I have eaten so far this year. Had a couple of different kinds of peppers, including jalapenos, very very very good.
Also had the smoked trout chowder, which was delicious and quite spicy. That was also very good. Should have just had the soup and a big plate of the ceviche.

(Photo of the National Gallery in 1941, this one shows how big it is, in current pictures the trees obscure a lot. Photo from

Then I walked to the National Gallery of Art, which I had stopped at the other day when I was lost and looking for the American Art Gallery/Portrait Gallery.

This place is huge, so I really just tried to hit the highlights. They have paintings dating back to the 14th century. The galleries are like a maze, some have two doors, some have four doors, some have one door, you can start to feel a little trapped.

Painting that made me the happiest: Still Life with Fruit, Fish, and a Nest, by Abraham Mignon c. 1675, because I mis-read it the first time and thought it said Still Life with Fruit, Fish and a Newt, and I was pretty excited about the amphibian content. Unfortunately, the painting does not have an actual newt. It does, however, have a lizard. Dead.The lizard is right in front of the cantelope, if you are looking for it.

I saw many, many paintings that I jotted down for ideas and inspiration and just general beauty.  I am thinking of doing a sort of still life for my next color theory class project, maybe, perhaps a Still Life with Newt.

After too little time in the West Building, I went to the East Building, where they have modern art, including several Calder mobiles (I learned about Calder when we were living in Michigan), and Wayne Thiebaud’s painting “Cakes” which I love of course because I love cakes.

And now I am a little obsessed with him and all of his food paintings.

I made my way back to meetings for the rest of the day, and that evening we ate at the DC Chophouse. Now, I suppose you should order steak when you go to such a place, but I have a freezer full of beef at home courtesy of my Dad, so I tend not to order as much beef when I travel. After being carded (!) and talked out of the lamb chops by the waiter, I had the fish of the day, which was OK, but not fabulous. The French Onion soup was very good, though.