• Embassy of Iraq, 18th and P streets N.W. (northwest corner)
• House of Musical Traditions, 7040 Carroll Ave., Takoma Park, Md.,
• Freer Gallery of Art, The Mall, 1200 Jefferson Dr. S.W.,
Washington, (202) 357-2700
• Dean & DeLuca, 3276 M St. N.W., Washington, (202) 342-2500
• Mediterranean Bakery, Trade Center Shopping Center, 352 S. Pickett
St., Alexandria, Va., (703) 751-0030
• National Air and Space Museum, The Mall, Seventh Street and
Independence Avenue S.W., Washington, (202) 357-2700
• National Museum of Natural History, The Mall, 10th Street and
Constitution Avenue N.W., Washington, (202) 357-2700
Fischer, Washington Sidewalk
of Iraq. The
mansion near Dupont Circle is known as the Boardman House after Mabel
Boardman, an organizer of the American Red Cross. Iraq bought it in 1962
(for $394,000), but it has been empty since the Iraqis decamped at the
start of the Persian Gulf war in 1991.
Iraqi music. Not many Iraqi bands play D.C., but a CD featuring
some Iraqi sounds – Classical Music of the Middle East by Hakki
Obiadda – is available at the House of Musical Traditions. This
shop also carries the dumbeks (Middle East drums) and ouds
(fretless lutes) that make the music.
Iraqi food. The cuisine of Iraq is mainly generic, date- and
lamb-based Middle Eastern with a few spicy local specialties: perdaplow,
phyllo dough stuffed with chicken and rice; khouzi, phyllo dough
stuffed with shredded lamb, rice and almonds; and mamounia, a
dessert concoction made with couscous. You can get the ingredients for
preparing Iraqi dishes – which might include powdered sumac, pomegranate
molasses, frik (green wheat) and harissa (pepper paste) –
at Dean & DeLuca in Georgetown and the Mediterranean Bakery
in Alexandria where the local Iraqi community shops. Iraqi restaurants?
None dares speak the country's name, but some dishes at area Middle
Eastern restaurants come close to what you might get in Baghdad.
Iraqi movies. None is available, but Courage Under Fire (1996)
with Denzel Washington and Meg Ryan provides an American's-eye view of the
Iraqi art. On display at the Freer Gallery: a circa
1800-1650 B.C. cylinder seal depicting a man worshiping a goddess, an
11th- or 12th-century A.D. glazed clay vase, a 14th-century painting of a
leaf from the book Wonders of Creation and an opaque watercolor of
a page from a manuscript of the Koran attributed to Sayfuddin-i Naqqash
and dating from around 1330.
Iraqi vistas. Much to Iraq's chagrin, the best views are the aerial
photos shot from the cockpit of American U-2s. You too can at least see
one of the spy planes in the Looking at Earth gallery at the National
Air and Space Museum.
Iraqi literature. Read the good old stuff from when Iraq was
Mesopotamia on a figurine etched with a prayer to the goddess Inanna in a
3,000-character writing system known as cuneiform. It's on display in the
Origins of Western Culture gallery at the National Museum of Natural
History. Bookstores and video stores carry plenty of works about
Baghdad denizens Sinbad, Aladdin and Ali Baba.