Happy Birthday Ella

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The Gateway to Chinatown

Yesterday was the birthday of Ella Fitzgerald, the undisputed queen of scat. CAM invited me to attend an event they were having at the National Portrait Gallery honoring the jazz legend. Sounded cool and since we haven’t been hanging out much lately I agreed. I knew it would be tough by it being a Friday night, but I took a quick power nap beforehand to try to push through. I didn’t want to flake out even though it was raining.

The event was relatively low key. There was a 14 piece brass band and a lovely vocalist name Lena singing a selection of Ella’s songbook. She was a good singer with lovely phrasing, but a bit one dimensional. I liked that she included selections that are often not associated with Ella – lots of bittersweet, drippy, ballads reminiscent of Billie Holiday. And while she was good, I would have liked to hear a variety of singers sing their interpretations of Ms. Ella’s classics.

I thought there might be appetizers and wine, but apparently the food and drinks were for purchase. The crowd was somewhat mixed. It wasn’t what I was expecting, but it was a night out.

We then headed to dinner in Chinatown at a Latin/Asian fusion restaurant called Zengo. I was a bit skeptical since fusion can be hit or miss. Fortunately, this was a hit!They consider their food tapas style so all of the portions were meant to be shared and were in deed small bites. The shrimp taco was my favorite and the calamari salad was also very good. My main complaint is that the place was loud. Too loud to have a conversation and we could barely hear the server. Not sure if was because it was Friday night or if it is always that loud. I also thought it was a bit pricey for the small portions. The flavors were nice and the right combo of tapas would leave you satisfied, though a bit lighter in the pocketbook.

I was so tired despite my power nap so we hopped back on Metro and came home, took off my make up and called it a night. All in all it was a nice evening.

 

 

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