The weekend

1.  A nice, quiet Friday night dinner.  Shad and shad roe.

2.  Saturday afternoon at Verizon Center, wearing red, watching the Caps beat the Penguins in the second round of the playoffs, 3-2.  Spectacular save by Simeon Verlanov!  Beyond spectacular.  This is going to be a tough series.  Will watch from home Monday night.  (The Nationals beat the Cardinals at the same time, a rare double win for Washington)

3.  Dinner was planned at St-Ex at 6:30, when we were going to meet friends, and then go to see “Berliner Kabarett” next door at 8.  Decided to get to the restaurant at 6, so we could see the Kentucky Derby.  The problem:  St-Ex does not take reservations, and their policy is not to allow anyone to sit at a table until the entire party has arrived.  By 6:15, the tables were filled.  I walked across the street, where it looked like a new restaurant had opened (we are speaking of 14th and T NW), called Policy.  A very nice young hostess at this 6 week old restaurant was the mirror image of St-Ex.  First, they took reservations.  Second, they had room.  And third, they will let you hold the table before the remainder of the party arrives.

The food at St-Ex is always good.  I’d call it typical, good food.  The food at Policy, as it turned out, was wonderful.  You can look at their website at, and see how interesting it looks.  There were four of us.  I ordered halibut (not on the menu on-line; I think it was called “Mexican” but am not sure) and a side of brussel sprouts with ginger.  Another ordered fish croquettes (quite good), and three dips with pita – an endomame dip, an eggplant dip and a hummus dip, all uniquely and nicely seasoned.  The third:  the peppered diver scallops (see the menu for the seasoning) and spinach with garlic.  The fourth had lamb chops and a beet/feta salad.  Two deserts, a strawberry rhubarb pie and bread pudding with bananas and caramel.

Unfortunately, the “Kabarett” was very disappointing.  Twenty German songs, and minimal sketching, set in a cafe in Berlin between the wars.  I have tried to find some of the tunes on YouTube, and couldn’t.  Three or four were familiar, and can be viewed.  There were five singers, two male, three female.  The two males were quite good.  Enough said.

4.  By the way, anyone who missed the Derby has to watch it on-line.  This come from last place win was extraordinary.  And don’t just watch the CBS version.  There is a version from an overhead camera that really shows what happened.

5.   When we returned, I watched the other Slovenian movie that I had rented.  This one, Guardian of the Frontier, was much better, I thought, than the other.  Three college girls decide to go on a river float on their summer break.  The river, though, forms the border between Slovenia and Croatia.  They decide that borders make no difference.  They were wrong.

6.  Berkeley professor Robert Alter is coming to town in a couple of weeks to be a weekend scholar at our synagogue.  Alter is a proponent of studying the bible as literature.  To prepare, one of our rabbis is holding two Sunday morning sessions.  Today was the first.  I was thinking about how you can look at the bible:  you can look at it theologically, you can look at it as literature, and you can look at it as a composition in historical context.  My interest is clearly almost all with the history of the writing.  I am not a literary critic, and theology is well beyond me (and in my opinion, beyond everyone).

7.  I did go to the gym, and had a chance to read through the current edition of the Biblical Archeological Review.  Most interesting was the article on pigeon raising in ancient Israel and throughout the Roman empire, both for fertilizer and for sacrifices (and perhaps for food).  The number of columbarians that have been found is extensive, and their design (two-bird niches, in a tower inaccessible except by ladder, with food and water distribution systems.  Also interesting to see how the salt towers at the Dead Sea were formed geologically and to read about the Jacob/Esau birthright issue from the perspective of then contemporary law.

8.  Picked up my daughter who completed the 39 mile Avon cancer walk, brought her home so she could get cleaned up and bathe her feet.  Now, we are all going out for supper.


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