In D.C. Dream Day, we ask our favorite people in the area to tell us how they would spend a perfect day in the District.
Putting fervent liberals and conservatives together in a room with knives and forks seems like a recipe for disaster. Yet U Street resident Philippa Hughes tried out this experiment after the 2016 presidential election, hoping to unite the two sides over a peaceful dinner at her home. Miraculously, the evening went down without a hitch. “It was just such an amazing experience, so I kept doing it over and over every month or two over the last couple years,” says Hughes, who founded local arts outlet Pink Line Project in 2007. Now, Hughes is taking her efforts nationwide, curating a series of art shows where people of different political views will break bread together at dinner. Community is a consistent theme in Hughes’ work, and it seeps into her dream day too, with plenty of stops in the neighborhood she’s long called home.
If I could lay in bed with the windows open and my cat laying next to me and just read a great book — that would be a great start to my dream day.
Usually I will bike down to the Georgetown waterfront’s Washington Canoe Club, where I keep a paddleboard, and oftentimes I’ll go paddleboarding in the morning. That will still be a part of my dream, except in my ultimate dream, I’d bike down to the ocean and I’d go surfing every morning.
Most of my day involves a few blocks around my home, because I really love my neighborhood and the community I feel in my neighborhood. I would go do yoga at the YMCA that’s literally a half a block from my house. Charles is my favorite yoga instructor — I love his vibe and he’s so optimistic about life.
Then, I would check the Pink Line Project art picks calendar and go find an art exhibit. I would go to the Hirshhorn Museum and see Rirkrit Tiravanija’s exhibit [“Rirkrit Tiravanija: Who’s Afraid of Red, Yellow, and Green”]. One of the main elements of it is that you go into a gallery space and eat a small bowl of curry in the gallery. I’ve loved this artist forever. He does a form of visual art called relational aesthetics, and the whole premise is that a participation of people completes the artwork.
I’d then go back to my neighborhood and sit outside Cafe Saint-Ex on those seats that are right on the sidewalk with my friend Lia. We’ve done it before where dozens of people we know end up walking by and we feel like the most popular people in the world! The reason being, I’ve spent so much time building relationships in that neighborhood. Those seats at 14th and T streets are just one of the best seats for people-watching.
For dinner, I’d walk over to Little Serow, which is one of my top 10 favorite restaurants in D.C. But, on my dream day, I don’t have to wait in line to get in. Outside of the fixed menu, I also do a beer pairing, which is always exquisite.
I’d then go for an after-dinner drink at another place that’s impossible to get into these days — Maydan. There would be no line when I get there. Maydan always has really good cocktails. It’s a place where I always end up chatting with someone next to me, and it’s where other people in the food industry hang out — so that’s how I know it’s one of the best places!