Small Plates: When a Café Has Loftier Goals

Posted May 11, 2009 at 2:38pm

Poets are people too, posits the Phillips Collection in its latest exhibition, “this is not that CAFÉ.— The exhibit, which will replace the gallery’s usual café (1600 21st St. NW) through the end of the year, was created by dBfoundation, a New York-based group of artists. It will involve such public events as a night of poets mingling with the crowd rather than reading their works in an effort to answer the question: “Is a poet still a poet if he isn’t reading his poetry?—

“This is not that CAFÉ— is the first site-related project by the gallery’s new curator of modern and contemporary art, Vesela Sretenovic. The exhibit is designed to be reminiscent of the cafés of yesteryear and provoke thought and conversation much like a salon would. Visitors to the museum will be able to use the space as a normal café where coffee and baked goods are available, but they will also be able to participate in the exhibit by playing parlor games or reading books that will be rotated in and out.

On the first Thursday of each month, during the museum’s “Phillips after 5,— visitors will be able to sip wine and mingle with poets and other creative types. The café will be open to the public and will not charge an admission fee Tuesdays through Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sundays.

Elephants RuleAt Zoo Benefit

The National Zoo (3001 Connecticut Ave. NW) will open its gates to animal lovers Thursday at the annual Zoofari fundraiser. More than 100 D.C.-area restaurants and 15 wineries will be on hand at the event to wine and dine Washingtonians as they stroll through the zoo.

BLT Steak, 1789 Restaurant and Poste Moderne Brasserie will all cook for the event, which will feature a special appearance by “Top Chef— finalist Carla Hall, owner of Maryland-based Alchemy Caterers. Musician Janna Audey and the band Safe Harbor will provide entertainment throughout the night.

The theme of this year’s Zoofari is “An Elephant Affair— in recognition of the zoo’s commitment to Asian elephants. Proceeds from the event benefit the zoo and its efforts to improve exhibits and conservation and research programs.

Tickets can be bought on the zoo’s Web site for $125 for Friends of the National Zoo members and $175 for the general public.

Country Club TimeOn H Street Corridor

What could possibly be missing on the H Street corridor? The street that already boasts a vaudeville stage, a museum of oddities, a rock club and a Belgian restaurant will welcome something even more unexpected later this month: H Street Country Club (1335 H St. NE).

Another gem from restaurateur Joe Englert, the bar will feature an indoor miniature golf course, skee ball and shuffle board. In other words, it’s an urban version of a country club. The bar launched its Web site earlier this month, giving Washingtonians a glimpse of the menu. Developed in part by chefs Ann Cashion and Teddy Folkman and overseen by executive chef Pablo Cardoso, the menu will feature Mexican dishes like shrimp tacos, pork rib carnitas and coconut flan. Appetizers are priced from $5 to $11 and entrees from $15 to $22.

The cocktails also have a Mexican flavor. For instance the “Hot Tamale— is a south-of-the-border twist on a martini featuring Ketel One vodka chilled with jalapeno-stuffed olives. The bar will also offer sangria by the glass and pitcher, as well six different types of margaritas.