Just a Regular Old Ride Home From Work

  • Posted on April 4, 2009 at 6:36 am

I was driving along the beltway, next to a truck strapped with GIANT MISSILES.

They could have at least put a tarp over the weapons or something! Sheesh! Only in D.C.

Winter Sucks

  • Posted on December 5, 2007 at 10:07 pm

I live in Bethesda, Maryland and work in Alexandria, Virginia. For those of you outside the DC Metro area, that means I have a long commute–25 miles one way.

I must have some sort of chromosomal abnormality, because I waited until after 6 p.m. to leave work today, during the great blizzard of December 5, 2007. Retard.

In those 25 miles, guess how many snow plows I saw? Zero. How many salt trucks? One. And it was one block from my house. I was already in the home stretch by then, and could have practically slid into my driveway. Come on, VDOT. I watched Fox 5 this morning, and they said that there were 253 plows and salt trucks ready to go. Virg Jacques was broadcasting live in front of a giant dome of salt. Where were you tonight, plowers and salters? Thanks a lot.

Actually, the roads weren’t that bad, but this is coming from a midwestern girl. A little snow has never stopped a Hoosier. Back in Indiana, I had to drive 30 miles uphill to school in blizzards every day, even in the summer. Seriously, the roads weren’t that slick tonight. The biggest problem I had was visibility, and trying to stay within my lane. I know how to drive in snow. It’s the others I’m worried about. Thank science that most of DC had already left work hours before, so the traffic was light. Maybe I’m not a retard after all, because had I left at 3pm, I probably would have gotten home at 6pm.

Don’t even get me started on what happened on the way to work this morning, when it had barely snowed at all. Someone must have fired all the principles and superintendents around here that usually cancel school at the threat of snow. Last year, all it took was a forecast. I think today that most schools were in session, because all the parents were on their way to work at the same time I was this morning. I saw cars in ditches, smashed up cars, cars split in two—and the roads were practically dry.

Ah, DC. How I loathe you when it snows.

Crafts and Crafty Bastards

  • Posted on October 2, 2007 at 9:26 pm

We went to the Crafty Bastards Arts and Crafts Fair in Adams Morgan this past Sunday. I was expecting to find some really cool jewelry and art, and maybe a fun birthday present for my mom. All I ended up with is this:

Ohio Loves Me

So cute. I don’t know who will get it, but I just had to buy it.

There were so many people at the fair, it was really hard to even see some of the popular booths. I felt like a sheep, just being herded from booth to booth. When I tried to stray from the herd, or take a picture, I got elbowed or kicked. I was disappointed in the jewelry selection, which consisted of jewelry made out of hardware (think screws and bolts turned into necklaces) and broken plates. Definitely interesting, but kind of heavy and not quite my style.

The dominant themes of the fair were definitely monsters and T-shirts. Practically every other booth was selling hand-sewn monsters made from brightly colored felt. The most creative monster booth was Missing Monsters–you fill out a missing monster report describing your missing monster in detail, down to number of eyeballs, number of ears, body type and personality, and they “find” your monster and return it to you. I don’t have any missing monsters, but I know a five-year-old boy that might have one or two.

The Great Outdoors

  • Posted on September 7, 2007 at 8:44 pm

Last weekend was a whirlwind of activity, eating and emotions. My brother Eric was visiting from Indianapolis, and we managed to do some fun junk outdoors, eat way too much food and laugh a lot, in spite of some other really awful things that happened. (I’m still processing how to even write about one of them, it’s so intense and extreme and scary, so right now I’m going to stick to happy thoughts.)

One highlight of last weekend was our trip to the National Zoo on Friday-we spent eight hours walking around, and I think we managed to see every single animal there except the elusive liger baby anteater. However, by the end of the day, we were all so physically worn out, and my legs hurt so bad that I could barely walk back to the car. I did manage to get some pretty cool shots of animals with my nifty zoom lens:

Cute Panda
Panda!

Gharial
Gharial–sort of like a crocodile with a really funny mouth

Strange Creature
unidentified mammal with the speed of a liger and the wit of a mongoose.

We ate SO MUCH FOOD this past weekend. I am sure I gained 11 pounds. There were too many good meals to review them all, but a few of the highlights were: Fogo de Chao (again–we cashed in one of our free lunches), Mannequin Pis–an amazing Belgian restaurant that was an instant favorite, and Jaleo, which is always a winner. I am still full. (Okay, not really.)

Come back anytime, Eric!

Chocolate Decadence at the Ritz, Part Deux

  • Posted on August 26, 2007 at 9:38 am

On Friday evening, Larry and I joined our friends Amy, Kirk and Blythe at the Ritz Carlton for the return of Chocolate Decadence. Last spring, the Ritz held a Chocolate Decadence event every Friday night, an all-you-can-eat chocolate buffet of unimaginable sweetness. Amy, Blythe and I attended the spring event, which I blogged about here. When I found out that Chocolate Decadence was back again this summer, I just had to go.

The theme this time was ice cream–four flavors of chocolate-based ice cream, with about 20 gourmet toppings to garnish with. A regular ol’ ice cream social. They had toppings like brandied cherries, chocolate peanut sauce, nutella, and peanut brittle, but none of the traditional toppings like sprinkles and hot fudge. I was a little disappointed at the small portions of ice cream we were given, but I made friends with the pastry chef and was able to finagle more scoops from her.

The ice cream was delicious, but the whole thing just didn’t have the same WOW factor as the first chocolate decadence, maybe because we’d already been there, done that, or maybe because ice cream and toppings don’t look as impressive as all the cakes, pies, pastries and mousses that they had displayed last time. Also, we burned out of the ice cream way more quickly than we had expected to, and had to order some “real” food.

Although the chocolate may have been a tiny disappointment compared to the last Chocolate Decadence, the company more than made up for it. We had a great time.

In Search of Soup Dumplings

  • Posted on August 19, 2007 at 5:35 pm

Yesterday, Larry and I went to Chinatown in search of soup dumplings. We first saw soup dumplings a few weeks ago on Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservations, when Anthony took a trip to Shanghai. The soup dumplings he ate at Nan Xiang restaurant in Shanghai were pillows of dough enveloping a rich soup broth. The smaller variety look like they burst out soupy goodness in the mouth, and the larger ones are big enough to suck the broth out with a straw. Ever since I saw the episode, I’ve been obsessed with soup dumplings. Must have soup dumplings.

After some research, I found that Chinatown Express in Chinatown (where else, with a name like that) serves the elusive soup dumpling, although their specialty is the hand-stretched noodles you can watch them make in the window. They’ve got chickens, pigs, and ducks hanging in the window, which I think is super cool. We ordered the soup dumplings (duh), some seafood dumplings, stir-fried noodles with beef and the roasted half chicken.

The soup dumplings were…disappointing. They didn’t really have much broth in them at all. They were good for pork dumplings, but these are not the dumplings I saw on Anthony Bourdain. The noodles and the chicken were really delicious. The noodles were one of the best Chinese noodle stir-fry dishes I have had, for sure. I will definitely be back to Chinatown Express. But I guess we’ll have to go to either New York or San Fransisco for soup dumplings. Or Shanghai for the real thing. Sigh.

Chinatown Express

Restaurant Week: Bistro Bis

  • Posted on August 11, 2007 at 10:02 am

Last night, Larry and I had our second Restaurant Week dinner at Bistro Bis in Capitol Hill, and our buddies Greg and Martin joined us. My manager at work had decided not to use her reservation, and she offered it to me. Larry and I tried to say no, because going out to eat all the time is expensive, but our Foodie brain cells would not let us. We cannot resist. Will power, what is that?

The food was good–I had a pork pate de campagne, duck confit and peach mille feuille. Larry had mussels, steak frites and opera torte. Of course, I forgot to take pictures of the food, so you’ll just have to use your imagination. I thought everything was delicious and very Francais.

Bistro Bis offered pretty much their entire menu for restaurant week, with up-charges for certain dishes. This is so much better than restaurants that offer you a paltry two or three selections, like a chicken and a pasta dish. Restaurant Week is a chance for these restaurants to attract new customers, so why would they want to give you crappy selections? It’s a double whammy–you probably wouldn’t go back, and you wouldn’t recommend it to your friends. Bistro Bis definitely did right with their menu.

My one complaint is the service–we experienced the dreaded Restaurant Week service slump last night. It took over a half hour just to place our orders, and our waiter just rubbed it in when he finally came to our table and said with a smirk, “do you know what you want, or should I leave you alone for even longer?” When we were leaving, he said “I hope you come back again, so that I can actually spend some time with you.” Yeah, I hope so, too.

Restaurant Week: PS7’s

  • Posted on August 8, 2007 at 8:37 pm

Last night Larry and I met some of my former coworkers and dear friends at PS7’s for RESTAURANT WEEK. It’s one of my favorite weeks of the year, besides my birthday week and the week of Christmas. Some of D.C.’s finest restaurants offer three course dinners for only $30.07. It’s a great deal, considering that some entrees are normally over $30.00 at many of the participating restaurants. It’s also a great way to try out new restaurants. On the downside, service can be sub-par during restaurant week, but we’ve never had much of a problem at any of the places we’ve tried. (Not including Bethesda Restaurant Week–that is a different story, and it’s about Divino Lounge. Bleh.)

PS7’s was a winner! The service was great, and the food was delicious. I had a chilled watermelon soup with crab meat and coriander cream for my first course–it sounded so intriguing that I just had to try it. Larry had a baby beet mosaic salad which he said was superb, but I can’t really comment on it because you know me and beets–I think they taste like dirt. Our three companions all had the mussels as their first course.

Our entrees were equally good–scallops for me and the girls, veal breast and roasted sweetbreads for Larry. (Do you know what sweetbreads are? It is pancreas. From a baby cow. It was good. But it also sparked a discussion about eating strange foods that ended in someone, not me, confessing their love of eating cooked lamb brains right out of the skull. mmmmmm.)

For dessert, I had to get the beingnets–god knows I LOVE any kind of fried dough. It smelled like the fair and tasted like heaven, with little dishes of strawberry sauce and chocolate sauce for dipping. So good. Larry’s lemon cheesecake with blueberry topping was also good–nice and tart.

PS7’s was a great restaurant find. Spread the word.

Beingnets at PS7's

Fried dough goodness.

There is Such a Thing as a Free Lunch

  • Posted on July 30, 2007 at 7:22 pm

Remember when Larry, Martin and I went to dinner at Fago de Chao a few weeks ago? Well, as we rolled ourselves out of the restaurant, high on animal protein, Larry and I dropped our business cards in the “win a free lunch” bowl at the door. Just for kicks. Does anyone ever really win a free lunch?

You can win a free lunch. Two free lunches. Both Larry and I received gift cards in the mail congratulating us on being the week’s winner. How cool is that? Lunch for four, a $118 value. Good Monday thru Friday only, which means we might have to take a half day on a Friday, because I’m not sure that going back to work after eating there would be such a great idea.

Did they give out two gift cards, and we just happened to win both? Or do you think everyone who puts their business card in gets a free lunch?

Yay, free meat. And salad.

DC is Humid

  • Posted on July 28, 2007 at 3:34 pm

DC is really freaking humid. You think that strawberries might dry out if you leave them outside? Nope. They just grow mold. I tried, and it it turned into a scary science experiment.

Science Experiment Gone Bad

Yum.