Father’s Day At The Grill Room

The Grill Room

Father’s Day is celebrated differently across the world.  In America, a woman named Sonora Louise Smart of Arkansas inspired the national observance of Father’s Day.  The story goes that Sonora lost her mom when she was a teenager and she helped her father, a farmer by the name of William Jackson Smart raise all her younger brothers.  Her family eventually moved to Spokane, Washington and after witnessing all the things that her Dad did for her and her siblings, Sonora decided to approach a local Church organization and ask them to help her recognize the fathers in their community.  June 19, 1910 was the first official Father’s Day celebration. (Read more here).

Yesterday, Capella Washington, D.C. hosted the first ever Father’s Day celebration at The Grill Room.  One guest I had the pleasure of speaking with was John Oliver Smith of Lima, Ohio.  He is the father and stepfather to eight children – seven boys and one girl.  As I sat with John on the outdoor terrace, enjoying a delicious Chesapeake Egg Benedict, I was reminded of how history repeats itself in many surprising ways.  John represents all the father figures, who are patriarchs that give so much of themselves to make others happy.  It was a pleasure to sit down with him and get to know his family and honor and appreciate the love our father’s bring to each and every family across the world.

The Grill Room

During our breakfast, John spoke happily to me about how the outdoor seating on the C&O canal felt very European, much like sitting along an Italian canal, or sipping coffee at a Paris café.  “The whole ambiance had a city vibe but was tucked away in such a quiet and luxurious location, with unbelievable architecture,” says John.  I couldn’t agree more and was so delighted that he was able to relax and enjoy this special day in such a peaceful and gorgeous setting.

If you were not able to be here to celebrate this past weekend, there are plenty of other opportunities.  I highly suggest looking into the Fourth of July special, with rooftop views of the firework show at the National Mall!  To see a description of this package and specials for this year, click here.

Day Of Our Lady Of Guadalupe

Lady of Guadalupe by Jill Logan

December is filled with some of the most religious and culturally rich Mexican holidays.  Among them is Day of Our Lady Guadalupe, which is celebrated on December 12.  The holiday celebrates the apparition of the Virgin Mary (Our Lady of Guadalupe) to a Mexican boy named Juan Diego in 1531.

Speaking in Nahuatl, the boy’s native language, the Virgin told Juan Diego to go to the bishop and ask him to build a church on the hill so she could be close to her people.  The bishop, at first skeptic, asked Juan Diego for a proof of this apparition.  Juan Diego returned to Tepayac Hill and found roses growing where there had only been barren land.  He wrapped the roses in his cloak, and when he arrived to the bishop and showed him the roses, they discovered that the picture of Mary was imprinted in the cloak.  The bishop was convinced and the chapel was built.  The cloak with the image is now displayed within the Basílica de Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe in Tepeyac hill in Mexico City.

To honor the day of Our Lady of Guadalupe, each year on December 12th people from all around the country travel to the basílica dressed up in their native wear to pray.  The celebration begins at midnight, when faithful believers gather around her image to sing her the traditional mañanitas (happy birthday song).  Many of them pin small tin objects, known as milgaritos, near the statue of the Lady of Guadalupe, as symbols of the giver’s thanks.

Although Basílica de Guadalupe is the central place where the rituals and celebrations take place, there are fiestas all over the country in honor of Our Lady de Guadalupe.  All these different manifestations are just a humble way for the people to show their love and respect to the one they consider their mother, Virgen de Guadalupe.

At Capella Pedregal we love to honor and celebrate Mexican holidays and traditions.  From organizing visits to the churches or hosting events on property, we are always looking to immerse ourselves in the Mexican cultural experience.  And, for those looking to partake in the Day of Our Lady of Guadalupe events, AlmArte Boutique offers a lovely selection of items, including milagritos, used in the celebrations and traditions.


Photo credit: Jill Logan

Nuestra Señora De Guadalupe

Lady of Guadalupe by Jill Logan

Diciembre esta lleno de muchas de las celebraciones más religiosas y culturalmente ricas en México. Entre ellas el día de Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe, el cual se celebra el 12 de Diciembre. Este día se celebra la aparición de la Virgen María (Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe) en 1531, a un joven indígena llamado Juan Diego.

Hablándole en Náhuatl, el idioma original del indígena, la Virgen le dijo a Juan Diego que fuera con el Obispo y le pidiera construir una iglesia al pie del cerro para que ella pudiera estar cerca de la gente. El Obispo, escéptico, le pidió al indio una prueba de esta aparición. Juan Diego regresó al Cerro del Tepeyac y encontró rosas floreciendo donde antes solo había tierra estéril. Juan Diego recogió las rosas en su ayate, y cuando llegó con el Obispo a mostrarle las rosas, desdobló su ayate y vieron como una imagen de la virgen se había impreso en el ayate. El Obispo entonces convencido ordenó la construcción de la capilla. El ayate con la imagen es ahora expuesto en la Basílica de nuestra Señora de Guadalupe en el cerro del Tepeyac en la Ciudad de México.

Para celebrar el día de Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe, cada año en Diciembre 12, gente de todo el país viaja a la Basílica vestidos en sus trajes típicos para rezar. La celebración comienza  ala media noche, cuando fervientes creyentes se reúnen alrededor de su imagen para cantar las tradicionales mañanitas. Muchos de ellos colocan pequeños objetos de estaño, conocidos como milagritos, cerca de la imagen de la Virgen de Guadalupe, como símbolos de agradecimiento.

Aunque la Basílica de Guadalupe es el punto central de los rituales y celebraciones de esta fiesta, hay celebraciones a todo lo largo y ancho del país en honor a Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe. Todas estas manifestaciones son una humilde forma por medio de la cual la gente muestra su amor y respeto para la que consideran su madre, la Virgen de Guadalupe.

En Capella Pedregal nos encanta festejar también todas las festividades y tradiciones Mexicanas. Desde organizar visitas a iglesias o ser anfitriones de celebraciones en nuestra propiedad, siempre estamos atentos a sumergirnos en experiencias culturales Mexicanas. Y para ellos que buscan tomar parte de los festejos de Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe, AlmArte Boutique ofrece una selección de artículos, incluidos los milagritos, usadas en estas tradicionales celebraciones.


Créditos de la imagen: Jill Logan

Singapore’s National Day


Just around the corner is Singapore’s National Day!  Recognizing the day we gained independence, the holiday falls on the 9th of August and is day unity throughout our island nation.  This year we will be celebrating Singapore’s 47th Birthday.

People display their national pride with songs, flags and private celebrations.  But it is the much-anticipated National Day Parade that gets the most attention.

Floats are adorned with Singapore’s most beloved icons.  Military and civilian contingents march in unison and with passion.  There are even exhilarating air displays by fighter jets, as well as a fireworks spectacle.  The multi-ethnic performances, which incorporates traditional instruments and dance, reflects the harmonious mix of cultures that make Singapore unique.

This National Day, my family and I will be spending time at home enjoying local multi-cultural delicacies for lunch such as chicken rice, Satay (Malay barbeque meat skewers), chicken curry and a variety of Nyonya Kueh (Local desserts and cakes).  After that at about 6 pm, my family, along with the rest of Singapore, will tune in and watch the National Day Parade live on television. I am so excited!

The staff at Capella Singapore originate from various countries throughout the world, including France, Germany, Sweden, Holland, China, Philippines, Myanmar and India (just to name a few).  I love hearing about their excitement and anticipation of Singapore’s National Day festivities (some even plan to attend the parade live!).  It is this coming together that really captures the spirit of Singapore and its diverse inhabitants.


Tamales On Candlemas Day


Through my writings in the past you may have learned that Mexico is full of religious festivities and family celebrations.  Here, in fact, Christmas celebrations are not over yet; they conclude on February 2nd, when we celebrate another important holiday: Candlemas day.

Candlemas falls forty days after Jesus’s birth, and is celebrated by Catholics as the the “Feast of Purification” or as the “Presentation of Christ at the Temple.”  In Mexico we celebrate this day by going to the church and then gathering with family and friends.

Tamales are a traditional Pre-Columbian Mexican dish.  In Mexico we have over 200 different varieties of tamales.  Back in the day they were cooked with sweet chile, tomato and seeds, mixed with beef, turkey, pheasant and quails.  Today some are sweetened with molasses, others spiced with mole.  Some are plain, others filled with meats or vegetables.

In its essence, tamales consist of masa (a type of starchy corn dough) that has been wrapped in leaves, then steamed or boiled.  Some come bundled in cornhusks, others in plantain or banana leaves.  My favorites are tamales with huitlacoche (corn smut), with chicken in a green sauce, corn tamales, and tamales with potatoes.

Tamales require hours of preparations.  My family would gather for ‘tamaladas,’ and everyone contributed to the cooking process.  All that teamwork helps explain why tamales are a synonymous of family, love and holidays.

I wish you a wonderful Candlemas day.  Enjoy your tamales!  And please don’t forget to tell me which are your favorites!

Tamales Del Día De La Candelaria


A través de mis artículos pasados han visto que México tiene muchas fiestas y celebraciones familiares. Aquí, de hecho, las celebraciones navideñas no han terminado; concluyen el 2 de febrero, cuando celebramos otra fiesta importante: el día de la Candelaria.

La Candelaria se celebra 40 días después del nacimiento de Jesucristo, y es recordado por los Católicos como la “Fiesta de la Purificación” o como la “Presentación de Cristo en el Templo”. En México celebramos este día asistiendo a misa y después reuniéndonos con la familia y amigos.

Los Tamales son un platillo precolombino tradicional en México. Hay 200 tipos de tamales. Anteriormente eran cocinados con pimiento, tomates y semillas, mezclados con carne de res, pavo, faisán y codornices. Al día de hoy algunos son endulzados con saborizantes y algunos condimentados con mole. Algunos solos y otros rellenos con carne o vegetales.

En esencia, los tamales consisten de masa de maíz envuelta y posteriormente hervida al vapor. Algunos se hacen envueltos en hojas de maíz y otros en hojas de plátano. Mis favoritos son los tamales de huitlacoche (hongo del maíz), los de pollo en salsa verde, y los tamales con papa.

Los tamales requieren de horas de preparación. Mi familia se reúne en “tamaladas” y todos contribuyen en el proceso de cocinarlos. Todo ese trabajo en equipo explica por que los tamales son sinónimo de familia, amor y fiesta.

Les deseo un maravilloso día de La Candelaria. Que disfruten sus tamales, y no olviden decirnos cuáles son sus favoritos!