Beyond the Books

Your Guide to student life

President Barack Obama lit his last tree at the 94th annual National Christmas Tree Lighting.

The event was hosted by actress Eva Longoria and included performances by James Taylor, The Lumineers, Chance the Rapper and more.

Video by Sara Bugaighis

  • Permalink
  • Comments
Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2016 11:11 p.m.

Dish of the Week: Fig & Olive’s crostini

Fig & Olive’s signature crostini comes with a variety of flavors and toppings. Max Wang | Hatchet Photographer

Fig & Olive’s signature crostini comes with a variety of flavors and toppings. Max Wang | Hatchet Photographer

This post was written by Hatchet staff writer Max McCrory.

Fig & Olive is known for serving up Mediterranean style food with flair. It has locations across the U.S. in New York, Chicago, and luckily, here in D.C. You’ve probably passed by its D.C. location on your way to Momofuku, as it’s located in CityCenter.

The restaurant is the perfect place to go when you want to relax. It has cozy lighting and big couches where you can lounge while sampling from the vast menu. Dishes on the menu, like the creamy burrata heirloom beet salad ($16), the smooth butternut squash & chestnut soup ($13) and the rich truffle risotto ($26) are just a few of the Mediterranean eatery’s highlights.

But all of these dishes pale in comparison to Fig & Olive’s signature crostini (three for $12 or six for $21). They come with multiple toppings to appeal to everyone at the dinner table. For the adventurous eater, there’s a crostini topped with octopus, a bit of creamy hummus and spicy pimenton and for the meat lover, there’s an option topped with prosciutto, creamy ricotta, fresh fig, salty olives and crunchy walnuts.

While all of the crostini toppings are flavorful and delicious, not to mention beautifully presented, there a few you can’t miss. The crostini with creamy burrata, juicy tomato, garlicky pesto and tart balsamic vinegar is reminiscent of a caprese salad, without that pesky, healthy spinach. It’s the perfect combination of different flavors sure to make your taste buds explode.

Another notable crostini is topped with soft and creamy goat cheese, aromatic caramelized onions and crisp chives. The onion taste is not overwhelming with the mild goat cheese and is incredibly light.

Last but not least, is the crostini topped with buttery manchego cheese, fruity fig and sweet marcona almonds. The rich ingredients come together for a shocking sensation when you first take a bite. Order a mix of crostini to create the perfect appetizer that will have satisfy anyone’s tastes.

  • Permalink
  • Comments
Monday, Nov. 21, 2016 10:12 a.m.

GW Raas hosts 15th Raas Chaos

GW Raas hosted their 15th year of “Raas Chaos” featuring several college groups from around the country who competed against each other in this style of traditional Indian folk dance.

Video by Sara Bugaighis

  • Permalink
  • Comments
Wednesday, Nov. 16, 2016 11:12 p.m.

Weekend Outlook

This post was written by Hatchet reporter Bridie O’Connell.

Enjoy tree lighting, zombies and a dance performance in your last weekend in D.C. before Thanksgiving break.

Friday

Chinese Lantern Festival
The Chinese Lantern Festival brings ancient lantern-making and unique artwork together to create a special night for visitors of all ages. This is the festival’s inaugural year, and it will include live martial arts shows and traditional Chinese artwork.

Roer’s Zoofari, 1228 Hunter Mill Road, Vienna, Va. 5 to 9 p.m. $25.

Holiday Tree Lighting at Pike & Rose
To get in the holiday spirit, head to Pike & Rose in Bethesda for an annual tree lighting ceremony. Don’t forget to check out live ice carving, food, holiday music and surprise giveaways while you’re there.

Pike & Rose, 11580 Old Georgetown Road, North Bethesda, Md. 6 p.m. Free.

Saturday

The Great Zombie Invasion: DC
The Great Zombie Invasion returns to the District with the catchy slogan “Forget blue and red, come party with the undead!” To become part of one of the spookiest bar crawls in history, don your best zombie costume, gather your undead pals and head to Dupont Circle. It’s sure to scare away your election woes.

1825 M St., NW. 9 p.m., $25.

Sunday

What’s Going On
This dance performance takes inspiration from the music of Marvin Gaye to reflect on themes relevant to the world today, like love and social justice.

Dance Place, 3225 8th St., NE. 4 p.m. $15.

  • Permalink
  • Comments
Wednesday, Nov. 16, 2016 11:11 p.m.

This week in music

This post was written by Hatchet reporter Leah Potter.

This week’s must-listens include the return of Lady Gaga, a “Hamilton” remix and some a capella.

“Come to Mama” by Lady Gaga

Forget everything you thought you knew about Lady Gaga’s style when you listen to her new album, “Joanne”: The queen of pop has evolved into a rock country goddess.

My first impression of the album, like that of many of her fans, was shaped by her underwhelming single “Perfect Illusion.” The key change that comes about three-quarters of the way through the track isn’t enough to make up for its cliche lyrics.

Thankfully, “Perfect Illusion” is a great example of not judging the album by the single, so don’t let it discourage you from listening to the entire album start to finish – especially standout “Come to Mama.”

The track gives off a retro vibe, featuring a pulsing keyboard beat and a handful of saxophones to highlight the complementary – and somewhat ‘80’s – jazz melody.

The lyrics emphasize a message we all learned as children: Treat others how you wish to be treated. Gaga explains that humanity should take a step back and reflect on childhood innocence by “coming back to mama.”

A standout lyric goes, “So why do we gotta fight over ideas / We’re talking the same old shit after all of these years.”

“Joanne” was released Oct. 21.

“Satisfied” performed by Sia (feat. Miguel & Queen Latifah)

While the Hamilton Mixtape won’t be officially released until Dec. 2, fans of the musical – and of the noteworthy pop artists featured on the album – rejoiced over the release of Sia’s rendition of “Satisfied” released last week.

As a hardcore “Hamilton” fan, I was pleasantly surprised by how Sia’s echoey and ominous intonation carried the story of Angelica Schuyler. Hip-hop drum and bass beats merge with electronic music sounds, though none of the liberties taken with the rhythm of the song distort the power behind the original work of Lin-Manuel Miranda.

The best part of this rendition is when Queen Latifah takes over the rap at the line, “So this is what if feels like to match wits, with someone at your level.” It’s unexpected, and Latifah’s hard-hitting sound is perfectly paired with Sia’s whimsical style.

“Satisfied” performed by Sia (feat. Miguel & Queen Latifah) was released Nov. 10.

“Hallelujah” performed by Pentatonix

After Leonard Cohen’s passing last week, it’s a good time to revisit his classic song “Hallelujah.” Penatonix’s new album “A Pentatonix Christmas” features a cover of the song that couldn’t have been better timed.

I’ve resisted listening to Pentatonix in the past because it felt a little too much like “Pitch Perfect,” but this rendition deserves a listen.

The arrangement alternates between male and female vocalists to carry the main melody line, which is boosted by a strong group of bass singers. The high notes that the female vocalist achieves are chilling, and the vocalists on the percussion line will fool you into thinking you’re listening to a drum machine.

“A Pentatonix Christmas” was released Oct. 21.

  • Permalink
  • Comments
A fan meets Yvonne Orji, the one of the stars of HBO's Insecure, at a screening hosted by the Black Student Union. Anne McBride | Hatchet Staff Photographer

A fan meets Yvonne Orji, the one of the stars of HBO’s Insecure, at a screening hosted by the Black Student Union. Anne McBride | Hatchet Staff Photographer

Updated: Nov. 15, 2016 at 2:37 p.m.

This post was written by Hatchet reporter Giuliana Centofanti.

The Black Student Union hosted a star of HBO’s series “Insecure” and alumna Yvonne Orji Monday night. About 150 students gathered in the Marvin Center for a screening of the show and a question and answer session with Orji.

Orji, a Nigerian-American actress, comedian and writer, earned a bachelor’s degree in sociology and a master’s degree in public health at GW before deciding to pursue comedy instead of going to medical school.

“Insecure,” which premiered in October, has been praised for highlighting black women’s experiences. Orji plays Molly, a high-powered lawyer and the best friend of creator Issa Rae’s character.

Orji covered a variety of topics including stereotypes, education and playing vulnerable characters during Monday night’s event. Here are some of the night’s highlights:

1. Stereotypes

Orji said “Insecure” moves past stereotypes to offer a more realistic portrayal of black women.

“It’s introducing me to a new type of black, I think that’s one thing the show’s very honest about, everybody’s experience is not the same, everybody has a different relation to what it means to be black and there’s no wrong or right answer,” Orji said.

Orji also answered questions about code-switching, citing it as a tool black people use to climb to the top. Orji’s character is able to adapt from being a “hood rat” to working in a mostly white law firm through code-switching and having a “double consciousness,” she said.

“White people are just able to be white wherever because they’re the majority, but black people, in order to get ahead, to make other people feel safer in their own environments, it’s that thing you have to do in order to survive,” Orji said.

“Insecure” doesn’t have “to try to be the catch-all,” because black women play different types of characters on other TV shows, Orji said.

“The freedom now to have a show that allows us just to be regular. We’re not superheroes, we’re not Olivia Pope-ing it, we’re imperfect, and that’s freeing to see on TV,” she said.

2. Education

In response to a question about whether actresses should go to college to have a back-up plan, Orji said her education in sociology and public health has helped her as an actress.

“Nothing’s ever wasted because you need everything,” Orji said.

Orji took a marketing class in college that she said helped her to be aggressive and persuasive in Hollywood.

“I do know friends who all their degrees are acting, that’s not a bad thing, however, I personally would like to do that marketing, do that other thing because you need so much more,” Orji said. “Talent takes you only but so far. It takes savvy.”

3. Insecurity

The show’s title, “Insecure,” is a statement in and of itself: In the past, TV shows have portrayed black women as strong characters, even though that’s not always realistic, Orji said.

Orji said she’s learned to deal with being black in a majority white environment, which has forced her to deal with some of her own insecurities.

“For me it was a thing of ‘I have to be around different people in life, so let me learn now how they think, how I can function around them, how I can still be myself and teach them a couple things,’” Orji said. “I think you just have to realize that everyone’s different and in our differences what is that thing that makes us the most similar?”

Orji also had some dating advice for an audience member who asked if black women set their standards too high.

“I don’t know what ‘too high’ means,” Orji said.

  • Permalink
  • Comments
Friday, Nov. 11, 2016 4:27 p.m.

Gobbling for St. Jude research

The GW chapter of Epsilon Sigma Alpha hosted their annual Thanksgiving-themed eating competition “Gobblefest” to raise money for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

Video by Keren Carrion

  • Permalink
  • Comments
Thursday, Nov. 10, 2016 12:50 a.m.

Weekend Outlook

This post was written by Hatchet reporter Callie Schiffman.

Take your mind off the U.S. presidential election results this weekend with ice skating, comedy and a stunning photography exhibit.

Friday

Washington Harbour Ice Rink

Start off the holiday season off with ice skating at the opening day of The Washington Harbour Ice Rink. It’s a classic Georgetown waterfront activity for a reason, and you can enjoy this winter activity before it gets too cold outside.

Washington Harbour Ice Rink, 3050 K St. NW. Noon to 10 p.m. $10.

Saturday

Black Side of the Moon

This satirical show from The Second City explores black identity through comedy and attempts to answer a question on everyone’s minds lately: Where is our country headed?

Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company, 641 D St. NW. 8 p.m. $20-$59.

Sunday

For the Love of His People: The Photography of Horace Poolaw

This weekend marks the opening of a new photography exhibit at the National Museum of the American Indian. Horace Poolaw was an American Indian photographer in the mid-twentieth century whose photography reflects the lives of Native Americans on the Southern Plains. Poolaw took photographs of his friends, family and events like weddings, funerals, parades and baseball games.

National Museum of the American Indian, 4th Street and Independence Avenue SW. 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Free admission.

 

  • Permalink
  • Comments

This post was written by Hatchet staff writer Max McCrory.

Le Diplomate is a quintessentially French restaurant nestled in the corner of 14th and Q streets NW in the hip Logan Circle neighborhood. It opened in 2013 with red leather booths, a well-trained staff and an extensive menu.

Le Diplomate aims to educate the D.C. diner on the delights of French food. Menu items such as their perfectly crafted cheese board ($6 per cheese), delectable steak frites ($28.50) and their cheesy French onion soup ($12.50) do just that, while also creating the classic French brasserie experience.

A delicious, but often overlooked, dish on the menu is the soft and warm cheese gougères ($9). They are made in a similar way to biscuits, but when baked their center is hollow. Gruyère, a creamy French cheese, is mixed right in with the dough and adds the perfectly sweet yet salty flavor to the otherwise plain pastry dough. Nutmeg is sprinkled into the dough to give it a nutty flavor that complements the gruyère well.

When you first bite into this cheese pastry, it is incredibly light and airy – something you don’t often get with biscuits. The cheese’s distinct flavor and the rich pastry dough, or “le pate a choux,” as the French call it, create the perfect dish. Le Diplomate tops theirs with fleur de sel, which is French sea salt, and it rounds the dish out nicely.

It can be hard to snag a reservation at Le Diplomate, whether it’s for brunch, lunch or dinner. But never fear – cheese gougères can be found at a number of D.C.’s French restaurants, including Central Michel Richard located in the Penn Quarter neighborhood.

  • Permalink
  • Comments
Saturday, Nov. 5, 2016 9:46 a.m.

How to bake election cake

Celebrate Election Day Nov. 8 by baking an Election Cake – a naturally leavened fruit cake that contains fruit, rum and spices.

The recipe dates back to the U.S.’s early years. Women would bake the cakes and use them to entice men to vote.

Video by Halley Rogers

  • Permalink
  • Comments