tall, proud, and progressive as a rainbow birthday cake

On Saturday, I drove to Washington for my friend Andrew’s talent show birthday extravaganza. The party began with his sister Caroline’s parody card,

Andrew with his birthday card

and Andrew opened the night’s slate of featured performers with an original song he composed for Annie, who is in library school, called “I Want You to Check Me Out”:

Highly referential and a very difficult act to follow, warm vegan banana bread was a good, gooey thing after the birthday Piano Man,

vegan banana cake

and folding an origami fox another great talent drawn randomly out of the bowl,

making an origami fox

Cardmaker Caroline, who has just started nursing school, demonstrated her new skills taking Andrew’s blood pressure,

I donned a hat and shoes for Tap Like a Pirate Day (it’s really Talk Like a Pirate Day that is widely celebrated, but I subbed tap shoes for dramatic effect);

all the African countries were named,

some joint flexibility displayed,

a couple, newly married, impressed with athletic synchronicity,

a buried flask was opened (freshly filled with whiskey),

opening the flask filled with Dickel that had been buried in his parents' yard (or something similar) for fifteen years

and used as a prop in a Eugene Debs reading (many of the guests work at a progressive think tank in the area, so more than a few of the acts alluded to the room’s high collective political and geographic knowledge).

A gentleman in an unusual tie did acrobatics (furniture was relocated),

and “Gin and Juice” was reinterpreted for the guitar,

(here’s the chorus)

and Annie closed with a German song and a truly incredible cake with diverse layers and a splendid sour cream icing,

cake of rainbow awesomeness

serious rainbow cake

The next morning, I was recovering from potent tumblers of homemade limoncello mixed with hibiscus tea (Annie and Andrew seemed fine), and my friend Cameron met the three of us at the Dupont Circle Farmers’ Market with a ready explanation of how to pronounce “praline” (he poses the quandary in his calm, forthright way):

We four ambled around the market, spotting the praline muffins Cameron had referred to,

those praline muffins Cameron was talking about

and beautiful fresh ginger, a nice reminder of the freshness ginger can bring to cooking and baking.

organic local fresh ginger

In Adams Morgan, Annie ordered homemade yogurt,


Andrew a crêpe with roasted peppers and goat cheese,

greens and a roasted red pepper - chevre crepe

and my friend Nina arrived on her trusty bike Rusty.

Nina and Rusty

Closing the loop on a weekend of celebratory sugar, we walked with Nina to Biagio, one of my favorite places, where she explained how the white chocolate we were about to taste surrounded a kulfi-like nougat (heavy on the traditional cardamom), that takes her back to the sweets at the end of Ramadan she waited for as a child.

I think D.C. is quite lucky to have all of these talented friends of mine that I hope to have occasion to see again soon; happy, happy birthday again, Andrew–

More images of talented people in the Flickr set.

CategoriesMarket Travel Video
  1. Andrew says:

    Well, let’s bear in mind that the chronicling is also a critical talent. So thank you for putting so much effort into recording everyone’s awesomeness. Menomena!

  2. Mica says:

    What a fantastic birthday party with a talented group of guests! (Tap like a pirate? I had no idea you could tap!)

    Caroline was my suitemate second year. I’m glad to see she is doing well at nursing school!

    And Annie’s rainbow cake is beautiful! I usually think rainbow cakes are weird and unnatural, but hers is really stunning and looks delicious!

  3. Kristen says:

    Anything for your talent show birthday party, Andrew. So wonderful to see you both and the smart circle of friends you keep—

    Mica, I agree. Annie’s commitment to rigor in the kitchen predisposed me to expect big things (have you made rainbow cake?); there were also excellent pickled watermelon rind pieces in the refrigerator. Caroline is doing well (and learning new nursing skills!)—

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