In between bursts of reporting on the National Endowment for the Art’s inner workings, Andrew Beaujon decided to eat an average lunch in the Old Post Office Pavilion. His thoughts: The food court is aswarm with students visiting D.C. The NEA’s Maryrose Flanigan says tour groups visit the Pavilion because there’s good tour-bus access. Onstage, two guys with acoustic guitars performed songs such as “Losing My Religion” and “Redemption Song.” Beaujon had a combo meal from the Indian vegetarian place: “$7 for soup curry, rice side thingy, nan, and papadum. Soup tasted like cheebah—everything else was very good.”

He also offers this procedural gem from the NEA handbook: Usually, people approach NEA for funding; national initiatives such as Poetry Out Loud or the Big Read are conceived here, but how they’re executed is up to the states. What works in West Virginia might not work in Alaska.