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Friday, January 18, 2008

Another Masonic Week Upheaval

It was enough of an upheaval that Masonic Week in Washington DC has, after almost four decades, been moved from the venerable Washington Hotel (now closed) down the road to a chrome and glass Hilton in Alexandria. Change is certainly inevitable, but the move brings an end to the many traditional gatherings in around the old haunt that had become so comfortable.

And I'm not happy that Wiley is not welcome at the Hilton. He was quite fond of his daily romps on Pennsylvania Avenue by the southeast gate of the White House. Frankly, with the medication I'm on now, I'm more likely to pee on the floor than he is.

Now comes word that yet another tradition has been lost. Tom Sarris' Orleans House was the annual dining location for the Indiana contingent for many, many years.

Tom Sarris' Orleans House was the kind of "theme" restaurant no one builds anymore - a massive, barn of a place, decorated like the French Quarter, with Disney-ish excess, a massive showboat-shaped salad bar, and prime rib portions bigger than a '66 Pontiac Bonneville. They claimed to sell more prime rib than any other restaurant in the world.

Of note to Masonic Templars, it was located just around the corner from the evocatively named Rosslyn Metro station, where Solomon's Builders readers know that I discovered the secrets of a modern-day Rosslyn Chapel...

Alas, word has come that the Orleans House closed January 15th, for good, the victim of real estate prices too high to ignore. Its funky, idiosyncratic charms were just too unsophisticated for modern DC, so it will be bulldozed to make way for another anonymous highrise.

True fans may wish to peruse the auction site and snap up a memento.

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