Long Overdue Update! We’re Moving!

I’m still here! I’m alive!

We’ve had a lot happen in a short amount of time so our lives have been a little crazy. Well, The first couple weeks of silence were lack of inspiration (with life in general) and the back half of the silence has been because WE’RE MOVING! Not far, just from Old Town over to Del Ray. But it was not expected or planned, so the past month has been pretty insane. Our landlord informed us that she needed to move back into her condo and that we would need to find another place. She gave us just under 60 days. We hopped right to it and actually found the place we’re moving to, about 3 days later. We had that lease signed in less than 2 weeks. It’s pretty amazing what the anxiety of possibly not having a home will do for your productivity! And actually really heartening how supportive our friends have been. Thanks to everyone who has checked in on us and who have offered to help us move next weekend. Our lives look like this now.

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We looked all over Old Town (our second choice was on Prince St. right smack dab in the middle of Old Town. The deal-breaker there was street parking) and Del Ray. We looked at a complex off of Columbia Pike (Penrose) in Arlington where some of our close friends live. We looked at 4 other units in our current community. We flirted with the idea of sharing an amazing house in Bloomingdale with another couple (Neither of us ever got a response to our response to the Craigslist ad). We thought about moving into the District, but didn’t see anything that was workable with two cats in our price range. Also, because the move was so unexpected, we sort of wanted to minimize our life upheaval.

We found a HUGE two bedroom condo in another garden-style development in Del Ray that was juuuust over our max budget. We decided that increasing our living space by ONE THIRD would be worth it though. Especially now that we have 2 kitties. We’re also giving up having an in-unit washer and dryer and dishwasher, but a two bedroom walking distance from delicious margaritas at Los Tios? SOLD! We can buy a portable dishwasher if that’s too terrible. And well, we’ll deal with the laundry. I can blog from the laundry room! I’m sure it will be a challenge, but we both saw ourselves living in that apartment. The lady was ready to move in as soon as she walked into it. I’m excited to have a guest room and space to entertain. Maybe dinner parties will become a new blog feature?

We’ve frequented Del Ray the whole time we’ve lived in Old Town, but I’m excited to live there and be part of that community. I even already found a community garden that I’m interested in joining next spring. I like the smaller-town feel of Del Ray. It’s less touristy and more neighborhoody than Old Town. Check out this timely article WaPo published today about the neighborhood!

The increase in rent and moving expenses are sucking up quite a bit of our fun money. It’s ok though! My mom put it best when she said that if going out was more rare, it would be more enjoyable when it does happen. And she was so right. Going out had started to feel like a chore (I know, crazy right?) just so I had content for the blog. It’s been nice to slow down and enjoy ourselves.

So, that’s been life in my corner for the past couple of months. I hope to be posting more regularly again after we get through schlepping our stuff two miles north and slightly west. Catch you all soon!

Compass Rose (14th Street NW)

 

The opening of Compass Rose was well-hyped on social media and other foodie outlets. As soon as all the positive reviews started rolling in, I had to add it to our ever-growing list. I got a look at the menu and it got bumped to the short list. We found ourselves with a free Friday this past weekend and tossed some ideas around. They all sounded good, but nothing got me excited. While on my way further south on 14th St. to one of the places we had decided on, I passed Compass Rose and finally got excited. I texted the lady, changed the plans, and headed over to grab a seat.

Since she wasn’t there yet, they wouldn’t seat me, so I posted up at the bar. My first impression of the space was that it was very cozy. Big plush bar stools and the blue tones used on the walls were very relaxing. The brick, tin, and warm wood layered very nicely. Had I not still felt icky from the cold I was fighting, I would have wanted to just sit there all evening.

While I waited for the lady, I started with a drink. Unfortunately, I didn’t flip the menu over, so I missed the cocktail menu- but I started with the sangria since it was on happy hour. Not too bad! I usually prefer my sangria bubbly, but the green apples and strawberries made up for it. I got a picture, but it was blurry. The lighting at the bar was pretty dim.

When the lady arrived, we decided to just stay at the bar. We started with an order of the fry bread and 3 dips.

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All 3 dips were tasty. I couldn’t put my finger on exactly what each of them were, but I preferred the orange one. The chips were sort of like pita chips. It was a perfect little starter. We needed a second order of the chips to finish up the dips.

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For entrees, after much deliberation, I decided to go with the very first thing that caught my eye on the menu, the lamb kefta. Guys, the aroma that wafted across my face as they set this dish down in front of me was worth ordering it alone.

The lady went with the El Lomito sandwich. Which was really quite large.

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Everything about the lamb was perfect. The meat was so flavorful and juicy. The tahini dipping sauce was a perfect complement, and side grain salad was so delicious, I would order that on its own. Oh man, that picture is making me salivate all over again.

The lady’s sandwich was also delightful. Juicy meat, every bite as flavorful as the next. it was too much for her to finish, and even though I was also full, I kept sneaking bites of it.

Everything was so delicious and the service was nice and laid back. I know it will be a couple of weeks before we can get back, but Compass Rose is the first thing that comes to mind to recommend when people are asking what we’ve had and loved recently.

  • Favorite thing I had: The Lamb Kefta caught my eye on my first glance at the menu, courted me, and did not disappoint.
  • Favorite thing she had:  Her El Lomito sandwich. It was so flavorful.
  • Most interesting thing I want to try next time: Basically everything else on the menu. The mussels sounded tasty. The papusas! I’ve heard that the Khachapuri is amazing. The Bhel Puri Chaat was another one of my considerations. Basically, I’d like to try everything on the menu, thanks. I also ordered my drink before I even saw the cocktail menu, sooo, I gotta get back to that too.
  • How soon I’d go back (tomorrow/next week/next month/special occasions): This is the kind of place I want to take people to! There’s so much other stuff on 14th street, but I think we’ll try to get back soon.
  • Places to go afterward (what’s nearby): We decided to also try Red Light. We discussed The Gibson or 2Birds1Stone. All are within a couple of blocks.

Rustik Tavern (Bloomingdale)

The lady and I were looking for a place to grab dinner after the Old Fashioned Happy Hour with Robert Simonson at Southern Efficiency last week. We were looking for affordable-ish. We’ve been putting a big dent in the options around 7th and 9th, so we widened our search area to Bloomingdale. The lady mentioned Rustik Tavern, I checked the menu, and we were on our way!

They have a really nice outdoor deck with tons of tables, but it was super humid and we had just walked 6 blocks. So we opted to sit inside. We settled in and decided on some drinks. I opted for the Texas Pear (Tito’s vodka, pear puree, mint syrup, and lime juice) and she went with the Blood Orange Old Fashioned.

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Mine was nice and light. It was less pear-flavored than I expected, but still good. It was definitely strong! Which I don’t mind so much, because I love Tito’s.

Hers was really amazing. A little on the acidic side, but I really loved it. The blood orange puree tamed the whiskey, which was perfect for me! I was afraid she didn’t like it from her first reaction the took a second to taste all the flavors and then deemed it good.

We noticed that they had some pretty good Happy Hour specials, so we decided on a starter. We went with the roasted cauliflower with prosciutto and sumac.

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The prosciutto was a perfect complement to the cauliflower, which was cooked just right- still plenty of crunch. I thought that the dish could have benefited from some sort of sauce though. It was still tasty, and relatively healthy! Yeeeah, vegetables.

For our entrees, I had already decided exactly what I was going to get when I looked at the menu earlier in the day- the Fresh Pita with Lamb. I’m never going to say no to a combination of pita, lamb, and tzatziki.

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It was INCREDIBLE. The pita was delicious, the lamb was nice and tender, cooked with potatoes and topped with onions, and the tzatiki was flavorful. It came with 3 pita triangles. I was full after 2 little wraps, but powered through the third one because it was just so good. Yum.

The lady decided on The Pep Pep pizza. Lamb, mozzarella, tomato sauce, roasted peppers, green Anaheim peppers, marjoram.

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She said it was a little spicy, but she really enjoyed it. And enjoyed it again as leftovers for dinner the next night. And it sure was pretty.

Overall, not too bad! It wasn’t perfect, but that lamb alone would bring me back.

  • Favorite thing I had: The lamb with pita. Her Blood Orange Old Fashioned was REALLY tasty too.
  • Favorite thing she had:  The Pep Pep pizza. She said it was a little spicy, but she enjoyed it a lot.
  • Most interesting thing I want to try next time: It’s a small menu, and I didn’t have any qualms making a decision. I might want to try one of the other pizzas and go for their brunch.  I DID have a hard time deciding between cocktails, so I could go back for a drink.
  • How soon I’d go back (tomorrow/next week/next month/special occasions): If we end up in the neighborhood and can’t get into Red Hen or Boundary Stone, we’d go here. Not sure I’d make a special trip. But I could be wrong… that lamb was REALLY good.
  • Places to go afterward (what’s nearby): Go grab a drink at Boundary Stone!

Weekend Round Up: Enjoying the Weather

The weather basically could not have been any more perfect this weekend, and we took full advantage of it and spent as much time as we possibly could outside.

Piola

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Friday after work, I hopped over the bridge to Rosslyn to meet the lady and her sister (who just moved here, I’m SO excited!), to scarf down some pizza at Piola. You all know how much I love pizza. We ordered Hawaiian and and Carbonara. I also ordered a Sgroppino Al Limone, which was basically a wine glass of vodka and lemon gelato. It was sort of like a tiny boozy milkshake. Tasty, but a bit thick to enjoy with pizza. The pizza was good! Not the best, but pretty good. The crust was nice and thin, not too heavy on the toppings. The best part- because it was happy hour, they were half price. We fed 3 people, with leftovers and a bev for $30, with tip. We will certainly be back for their bottomless brunch. Just all the pizza you can eat. Yeah, that’s my jam. 

Rosslyn Outdoor Film Festival

After dinner, we headed over to Gateway Park to grab a spot on the lawn and meet some friends for Office Space at the outdoor film festival. We always get there absurdly early, but it’s the best way to make sure you get a good spot. My advice is to make sure you have plenty of cozy, soft things. I am always over prepared, so I had a jacket, sweatshirt, blanket, sheet, and tarp. It was a little chilly, but even when it’s not, all those things will make for great pillows and padding from the ground. Because we’re getting old. I think next time we may picnic there beforehand. Maybe bring some cards? Before the movie they usually have some activities to occupy you while you wait.

 

On Saturday, we ended up bar hopping and spending the entire day outside (mostly) enjoying the perfect weather and accidentally drinking a lot. This is what living in DC is all about, right?

Nationals Game

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We had tickets for the Nats game and that was pretty much our only plan for the day. We were just going to take in the game then head home to do responsible adult stuff. Well, once you’re in the city, you might as well explore, right? We enjoyed the game and some sandwiches from G. Once it was clear that the Nats had this game in the bag- we headed out to beat the crowd. The lady had never been to Yards Park, so we strolled that direction. As we got closer, we noticed that there were bikes EVERYWHERE. Oh yes, it was Tour De Fat. Which I knew, but had totally forgotten about. We didn’t stick around long, even though it wasn’t too terribly crowded and could have been an enjoyable experience. That’s definitely something we’ll have to check out next year. Instead, we decided to head to U St. / Shaw and check out some things there.

Our initial idea was to check out Veritas. We had just had lunch, so a glass of wine and some small plates sounded perfect. Well, we got there and took a seat at the bar. It was clear it was still brunch, but no one paid us any attention. We weren’t in the mood for brunch, so we cut our losses and decided that this was not the place for us at this time. Maybe that’s more a post-work place for us. Better luck next time.

American Ice Co. 

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Instead, we headed over to American Ice Company. Surprisingly, it wasn’t too terribly crowded. We took a seat at a table in the outdoor area and perused the menu. I had heard about the nachos (Swachos) before, so we decided to give that a try. The pickled veggies on the menu also caught my eye. That and a couple of beers in a laid back environment was so perfect. We hung out there for quite some time, had a couple of beers and watched it fill up. Then, as it the case any time we end up within 5 blocks of Shaw, we decided that a trip to Mockingbird Hill was in order. We finished up our beers at American Ice but still had some time to kill. Where could we go and continue to drink outside and kill some time? Ah yes, El Rey. There was a pit stop there for one margarita, and then onto the DB3! (Derek Brown 3)

Mockingbird Hill

So, I know I’ve talked about how skeptical I was about the Derek Brown concepts.  Sherry and ham, what? Well, the lady and I have dropped our skepticism and officially decided that Mockingbird Hill is our favorite bar in the city. And for so many reasons. It seems like every time we go there, there’s always something new to discover. The lady is slowly exploring the world of sherry- and I’m really enjoying the cocktails on tap. Last time we were there about a month ago, we chatted up bartender Adriana. When we sat down this time, she immediately recognized us and remembered our names. Of course this makes you feel special and important and makes you feel like you belong there. The lady made such an awesome point while we were there- this is the kind of place that could so easily be a snooty, exclusive sort of bar, but it’s just not. The bartenders are friendly and willing to chat. You feel like you’re sitting down with friends.

I’ve also discovered my Drink Of the Summer. The PX Sherry Iced Tea on draft is one of the most amazing beverages I’ve ever tasted. It basically tastes like sweet tea. The southerner in me is so smitten. I was pretty sure that there was some simple syrup at play, and asked another one of the bartenders was it was. He said that actually, no, it was just a very sweet sherry- no simple syrup. He poured me a taste of the sherry and described the flavor profile to me. So perfect. I had 3.

I noticed that Derek Brown was in the bar that evening and geeked out a little bit. On the way back to my seat from the restroom, I caught Adriana’s attention and sort of whispered to her that I’d like to meet him. She made the intro and I was in! This man owns 4 of the most fantastic bars in the city and seemed more than happy to spend a couple minutes chatting with me. He was so friendly and gracious. I told him that I loved his bars and he mentioned sherry week and their one year anniversary to me. We will definitely be back this week to celebrate with them.

On the way to Mockingbird Hill, I texted an old friend of mine who lives in Bloomingdale. Luckily, she and her boyfriend were able to come out to meet us. We had a round or two of drinks and then decided it was time to move to the next place. They were meeting some friends at Dacha beer garden and invited us to come along.

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DACHA is somewhere we had been meaning to try for months and months. But any time we’d been past it, it was super crowded. I’m not one for elbowing my way to a bar, but after several drinks this particular day, I thought why not! If it was too crowded, we’d just stumble home. Well, we got there and while it was crowded, we were able to find a little spot to settle into. We made our way to the bar and I ordered the most giant raspberry beer for myself and a hefeweizen for the lady. They were huge and delicious.

During this time, my friend and I realized that we had been friends since like 2002 or 03 and talked about how awesome it was that we now lived in the same city and still hung out. It’s always really interesting to watch where life takes you and who follows a similar path as you. I have a few of those kinds of friends in DC. It’s so nice to have people here who understand Roanoke. We’re all here for similar reasons, we had bigger plans than Roanoke, but still love home.

Around 10-10:30, we decided that it was probably time to call it a night. We walked the few blocks from Dacha and hopped on the metro at Mt. Vernon Square and journeyed back to Alexandria.

 

We were going to brunch in the city on Sunday, but decided to stay close to home and recover instead. Cooking breakfast sounded really daunting, so we decided to tackle the few blocks to Buzz for a waffle and quiche instead. I really need someone to figure out the whole breakfast delivery thing, but in the meantime, the food from Buzz hit the spot. Since we had basically said “Screw responsibility” on Saturday, we spent most of the day catching up on all the stuff we had to do. We didn’t venture more than 2 miles from home and that was just fine with us. After dinner, we ended the evening hanging out in the courtyard with 6 of our other neighbors. (Hey guys!) It was a perfect end to the weekend.

It’s weekends like this that makes me realize how lucky I am to live here and have the friends that I do. This is a good life. Next weekend: PRIDE!!

 

From The Farmer (DC)

I’ve been causally researching CSA’s for a couple of years now. I looked at pretty much every option in the area, but could never justify the cost or commit to the pick-up day or location. And what if we got a box with a whole bunch of stuff we didn’t care for? Sure, I could keep trying, but I just don’t think I’m cut out to like beets. They taste like dirt. I thought maybe I just wasn’t ever going to be a person who had a box of produce from local farms, set aside just for me. Then I found From the Farmer.

It seemed to do away with pretty much every barrier that had stopped me before. You can order 3 different sizes of baskets- half bushel, full, or double. There’s no commitment, it’s relatively cheap, and you can pause it from week to week. To top it all off, it is delivered to your door between midnight and 7am. Done and done.

I signed us up for the half bushel for $35 per week. Unfortunately the e-mail the sent me a couple days before my delivery day told me that the first week’s basket had radishes AND beets, so I skipped it. There is a way to customize the bag. I could have skipped out on a thing or two and asked for more of another, but it just wasn’t a good combination of things for us. The next week looked more promising and so we went light on our weekend grocery trip and prepared ourselves for produce at our door!

I hopped out of bed Wednesday morning and ran downstairs to check for the red bag. As if magic, it was there. I brought it up and pulled everything out. It felt a little bit like Christmas, even thought I knew what was coming.

 

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We had apples, strawberries, arugula, spinach, button mushrooms, asparagus, and collard greens. It felt sort of like getting my very own Chopped basket (except awesome). I put all the produce away and the wheels in my head started spinning with what to do with all of this so that none of it went to waste.

I immediately chopped up some of the perfectly ripe strawberries and threw them into greek yogurt for breakfast. I also packed one of the apples and some peanut butter for a snack. The rest of it would have to wait while I did some research for recipes.

I decided on mushroom, spinach, and turkey sausage crustless quiche (I had enough mushrooms and spinach for two of them), I made an asparagus and arugula salad and collard greens with bacon and onions. The apples and strawberries were enjoyed on their own.

I was a little nervous that we wouldn’t be able to use all the stuff before it went bad. We got the bag Wednesday morning and I didn’t get around to cooking most of the stuff until Thursday evening. I had to toss a couple of the mushrooms and about half of the arugula was too wilted to use, but other than that, it all kept for that amount of time. I’m not sure if it all really was more tasty than the stuff you get at a traditional grocery store or if it was all in my head, but it was all really excellent. I’m pretty excited to keep up with it and eat more locally and seasonally.

  • How often I order a basket: I don’t know if we’ll be able to afford every week, but I think for the time being, if it’s a bag with mostly stuff we like, we’ll keep it up. Especially since we proved this week that we can consume most of it in time.
  • My favorite thing about it: That it comes to my door! And that I’m finally eating seasonally and locally. Something I’ve been meaning to do but have been too lazy to do so.
  • Why you should try it: Because it’s easy! And affordable! And just all around awesome.

Bourbon (Glover Park)

Bourbon made it on the to-try list by recommendation of P. I had been to the Adams Morgan location for his birthday, but had never had more than a couple of beers. Upon creation of the blog, he insisted it go on the list and that we check it out. So, when we finally got around to setting up a double date night with P and his boyfriend, that’s where we headed. The lady and I decided to go over a little early to grab a couple of drinks before dinner. She went with the Manhattan w/ Four Roses and I went with the Scottish Summer (Scotch, basil, strawberry, lemon, simple syrup, and ginger beer)

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The Scottish Summer was not quite as delightful as all those flavors sounded together. I think the bartender went a little heavy on the lemon juice and neglected the sweeter elements that would have helped balance it out. The Manhattan was excellent. P and his boyfriend showed up and we ordered another round. This time I went with a Pimms Cup and the lady stuck with her Manhattan. P went with a beer (Great Lakes, like a good Clevelander) and his boyfriend went with an Old Fashioned.

We sat and chatted for a bit and conferred that this was where we wanted to have dinner. So we moved to the corner of the bar, where we would be sitting less in a straight line. We would have loved to sit outside, but there were no seats available and a threat of rain. I think we were there during the changing of a shift, so it took a little while to get attention to order food. At that point, we were super hungry and feeling our drinks, so we ordered some wings.

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They hit the spot. Very flavorful and juicy. The way wings should be. For dinner, I decided on the BBQ salmon and everyone else went with sandwiches. (The Turkey Jack, the Chicken Cuban, and the Beer Battered Pork (B.P.T))

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I think the sandwiches fell in the “pretty good” category. The potato chips served with the sandwiches were really good though. I keep reaching over and stealing them from the lady. The salmon was excellent. The BBQ was tasty and it was cooked just right. I was pleasantly surprised to get such good salmon from a bar. So, overall, not a bad experience. I’d really like to try the Scottish Summer again to see if it’s actually a better drink if made by another bartender. The Manhattans were good enough, I’m sure the lady will insist we go back.

  • Favorite thing I had: The salmon. It was cooked perfectly. And the wings were really good.
  • Favorite thing she had:  The Manhattan w/ Four Roses Yellow Label and the Old Bay chips that came with her sandwich.
  • Most interesting thing I want to try next time: The lamb burger or the steak salad. The brunch menu looks pretty good.
  • What makes this place stand out: The whole wall behind the bar is just covered in bottles of bourbon and whiskey. It was really nice to look at. And tasty to drink, as well.
  • How soon I’d go back (tomorrow/next week/next month/special occasions)We would probably stop by here for a drink before or after dinner next time we’re in Glover Park.
  • Places to go afterward (what’s nearby): We went over to see our friends at Arcuri for a night cap

DC Donut Crawl – June 7th

There are two things in life that go surprisingly well together, and that is eating donuts and doing physical activity. I’m no stranger to this combination of things. There’s a small women’s college in Southwestern VA that cancels classes, feeds its students donuts, and sends them to hike a mountain. So, let’s just say the combination of donuts and physical activity take me back to a magical place. That’s why when I first heard about DC Donut Crawl, I got SO EXCITED. Someone else understands the magic!

The display case at GBD. Mmmmmm.

The DC Donut Crawl is a bike tour of the District’s donut shops. This is its second year – last year was intended to be a trial run and just for fun, but got so much attention that they had a few hundred riders! This year, they’re expecting more and are also partnering with a local non-profit called Food For Life and turning it into a benefit ride. Food For Life uses food to educate and train low-income young adults in Washington, DC, empowering them to change their lives. How cool is that?

Crawlers should arrive at Mount Vernon Square between 9am and 10am on June 7th to check in for the event and pick up their spoke card. The trek for tasty treats will begin at 10am and travel in waves to GBD (1323 Connecticut Ave NW), Astro Doughnuts (1308 G St NW) , and finally District Doughnut (location TBD) where they’ll have a block party style reception with donut-themed games, prizes, and some savory food options from local vendors. BicycleSPACE is the event’s main sponsor and will be coordinating the ride logistics.  All riders are encouraged to bring helmets and bicycles. Thanks to Capitol Bikeshare, 50 free one day memberships are available for those without one. So even being without a bike is not a barrier to join in on the fun, tastiness, and feel-goods that come from supporting a good cause!

When purchasing tickets, participants prepay for one donut at each stop, as well as a commemorative spoke card. Sweet DC Donut Crawl cycling caps are available for an additional $10.

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