Wednesday, January 30, 2013

movie time.

I want to get back to seeing movies more regularly. Scott and I used to see a movie (or two) a week in highschool. A week! I don't need that much film in my life at the moment but I really am going to start going more regularly. Movie date anyone?

In that spirit, last night Nasim mentioned two great upcoming film events. National Geographic is showing the five Oscar nominated films for Best Foreign Language Film all in a weekend in February!

Also of note, the Smithsonian is hosting an Iranian Film Festival all next week. So there you have it, if you are looking to be cultured and you are in DC, say no more!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013


Alison is leaving for Jordan on Friday until the end of February for work. She is traveling the country and for this project she will be checking out all of the tourist sites. Seriously, that will be her job. Isn't that amazing?  In my head, she is also scouting out the best sites to hit when Ben and I go to Jordan! This brings me to my point. I tend to get fixated on things and can't let go. It is completely out of my control really. Jordan is officially at the top of my list.

I have long had Petra on my must get-to list and now I can't wait to hear what Alison says and all of her stories of Jordan. Last night, she started talking about how good the food was, we were talking about how steeped in history the country is, how important it is to understand and see the region today, and so on.

All this is to say that Jordan is topping the list right now. And to get you on board, just check out these pictures of Petra (this doesn't include the rest of Jordan). And to make it even better, Ben could channel Indiana Jones the whole time we're there!


Loving these printed ceramic knobs over on Pottery Barn. For cabinets or furniture or even as wall hooks in a closet...


At dinner on Saturday, Nick introduced me to the Vivino app. Have you all heard about it? You take a picture of the label on a wine bottle and it pulls up all the information for you, allows you to rate it and then stores it in your profile for easy reference. So smart, since I am always the one wandering the aisle in Whole Foods trying to remember the name of a wine we drank at such and such restaurant. Now, it is right there on the list for you!

Monday, January 28, 2013

sunday sunday.

In addition to Erin's birthday meal out in Virginia, I feel like I was jumping all over the place this weekend in DC. For instance, on a run over to see an open house in LeDroit Park, I happened upon the LeDroit Park Market. It is this small, charming little market store right in the heart of LeDroit Park. Also, as I keep repeating to Ben, can we all agree that LeDroit Park is a little piece of heaven in there? I love it!
Later in the day, I heard there was an estate sale going on in this huge house right on Logan Circle that has been vacant for a couple months. I rolled on over to check it out, in hopes of finding some gems in the mix, maybe some old jewelry or a cool chair I could refurbish. I also may have really just wanted to wander around the big house too.

Alas, I got there five minutes after they closed. Damnit! But, I got Karen's card. She runs the estate sales around the city. I think she was moved by my disappointed face when she wouldn't let me in. Anyways, fair to say you should expect some future posts about estate sales. It's the perfect nexus of treasure hunting while getting to see the insides of big houses that I can't afford!

And to top it off, I finally ended up grabbing a beer with Jake at the Drafting Table on 14th. I was pretty happy with it. Great place to watch a game and they have made the most of the space.


There was a lot going on this weekend, and that included Erin's 31st birthday! To celebrate, she invited us all out for a pop-up restaurant dinner in an apartment out in Clarendon. By two degrees of separation, Erin and Josh are connected to this great young chef who has been hosting these dinners in his apartments. It was fantastic and a perfectly new but intimate way to celebrate her birth. Not to mention, the food was fantastic.

This was the start of the meal and described as tasting like a Christmas tree. It did. In a really good way. It was crisp apple seasoned perfectly and plated on this piece of wood.

I'm not including all the courses in this post, but this baked onion covered in a cocunut cream sauce had such interesting flavor...

Our two main courses included this salmon dish with a carrot puree. His technique was amazing. The top half of the salmon was cooked and the bottom half was more raw. And the second dish was fried chicken with a mole sauce that I couldn't get over!  

And to finish it off, he served up this ice cream with popcorn flavored cheese and caramel. It was shockingly good!
It was a great night. Dinner also included (not pictured) good wine, freshly baked bread, and homemade butter. It was a proper way to celebrate Erin in all her glory! 

Sunday, January 27, 2013

old love.

Ben sent me this piece in the NYTimes this morning, The Race Grows Sweeter Near Its Final Lap. I think he knows how much I love these love stories. Anyway, it's a lovely piece and a perfect read for your Sunday morning....

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

table time.

Speaking of food, check out this new restaurant, Table, that just opened last week right by my apartment! Ben mentioned it to me last week and then I ran past it on a run over the weekend.

It looks great and the menu is interesting. Alison and I are thinking of pulling Emily and Roy into a scouting mission to check it out soon...will report back soon.


I forgot about the Smithsonian's new exhibit, FOOD - Transforming the American Table 1950-2000. Thinking I might just make it two weeks in a row and head down to the Mall again this weekend!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013


I love pomp. Thanks to my Mom. So, you can imagine my excitement come Inauguration. And by chance, yesterday, I happened into the center of some of it! With a view of the Mall that was simply astounding, some incredible moments inside the Capitol, and a new found respect for just how involved and impressive a production the ceremony really is from the inside, it was quite a day...wasn't it?!


Just some random pickings...
Boyfriend Fatigue Jacket - JCrew
Tiny Gold Initial Necklace - Open Sky
Striped Buckled Crossbody - Forever21

what what.

DC was packed this weekend. For obvious reasons. Among the many who flooded into the city for their fill of pomp and circumstance was Emmy. We did a very brave thing and headed down to the Hirshorn on Saturday, in the thick of the mob of visitors, to check out the Ai Weiwei exhibit. It was worth it!

Weiwei is a Chinese artist and activist who has been outspoken in challenging "the political status quo" through his art and platforms. The exhibit was full of installations, sculptures, photography, video and more. Really quite something...

There were also quotes throughout the exhibit...we particularly liked this one. 

This was also a very cool part of the exhibit. You look through this long line of wood blocks that are cut out with circles. But when you look through them, he has arranged them to show the phases of the moon!
And who doesn't love a giant cube made of light and crystals?

In short, it was worth the trek to the mall. And yes, we may have ended the afternoon with a drink and view nearby at the POV. Highly recommend both activities!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

tabbard secret.

DC folk, I have a secret for you. Two months ago, some of my Mom's good friends came to DC and wanted to grab breakfast and I happened upon this little known fact. We all know the Tabbard Inn is one of the most popular brunch spots in DC. Trying to get in there on a weekend on short notice is nearly impossible. Here is the secret though. Yes, the brunch starts at 11:00 a.m. but they have a breakfast (same brunch menu) that goes from 8:00 to 9:45. So, if you are a morning person like me and want to avoid the crowds, you can just walk right in! I think they keep this on the DL so that their Inn guests can grab breakfast before the crowds rush in. You're welcome!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013


New Years Resolutions. I know I'm two weeks late to this blogging party, but better late than never, right? Anyway, it was all the rage to write about new resolutions around January 1. I am not quite jumping on that bandwagon. Instead, I give you this piece in the New Yorker, This is the Year!, which had me laughing out loud at work today and literally nodding in agreement at the ridiculousness. For a good laugh, you should go read it, one of my favorite bits was,

"The best way to remind yourself of your goals and to elicit support from family, friends, and even coworkers, is to write them out and post them in a visible place. There’s a big difference between thinking, Stop paying for sex so much, and actually seeing the words."

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Trip Diary: Barcelona Finale.

This is it. The last post. All about Barcelona!

First things first, our apartment that we found on AirBNB and I blogged about here, was amazing! It was gorgeous. The location was fantastic. We ended up meeting the owner and she was so gracious and nice. So, if you are headed to Barcelona and looking for a place to stay, let us know and we'll connect you.

We had a great time in the city with Ben's parents. We ate our fill of jamon of course...the best of which we tasted at Bar Canete (near the Boqueria).

Our apartment was right around the corner from the Santa Maria del Mar, a gorgeous 14th century church. Ben and I waited for his parents on Saturday morning on the steps, enjoying our coffee and watching the foot traffic pass by. 

And this was the beautiful scene by the church one evening walking back to the apartment...

We also stopped in to the Picasso Museum which we all loved! It tracks the evolution of Picasso's work and most interestingly shows how he was trained as a very traditional, classic artist before developing into such an eccentric artist. It was fascinating.

I also definitely got my fill of Gaudi. We went to a number of his houses, of course La Sagrada Familia and we also walked through Park Guell.

And, we had an incredible day of eating on the Sunday before we left. We went to Betlem for lunch, a great little restaurant that Ben's parents happened upon and absolutely loved it. It is small and charming and beautiful. We had a feast of food including some brilliant cheeses

And in the evening, Ben had picked out several great places for a tapas crawl. We started at Sagardi. I loved the culture of eating here! There were plates and plates of gorgeous tapas all over the bar and you take what you want and just hold on to your toothpicks. When you are all finished, they count up your toothpicks and that is how you pay. Also of note, the chorizo was unreal!

We then walked just a couple blocks over to El Xampanyet. This place was amazing! Ben found it and it is known to be one of the best champagne bars in the city and has been owned by the same family since 1930. It has this old school bar and was packed to the brim with people. We somehow managed to snag a table and also tried these unbelievable stuffed peppers!

This is the short version but you get the idea. Sadly, mixed in here was my passing my head-cold on to Ben somewhere between Fes and Barcelona, so it was time to get a move on by Monday and head back to real life! But while it lasted, we loved walking the streets, speaking Spanish, and eating and eating and eating!


We ended up sitting next to a couple on the train in Morocco and they had one of these classic Canon camera cases on their G11. Cool, right? You can find them on EBay for super cheap!

Monday, January 14, 2013

Morocco Trip Diary: Fes & Casablanca.

We are almost done, I swear!

So, after two nights and so much sand in the desert, our last day in the car meant driving from the dunes to Fes. We departed at 8:00 a.m. for an early start and came to a stop within about 7 minutes when we came across two guys from the Netherlands that had gotten their car stuck in the sand. We tried pushing the car out and then Yahia decided to run back to get some rope and help. We also learned a genius trick to get your car out of sand. We had tried pushing the car out and obviously the wheels spinning had really dug in. When Yahia returned with another guy, he showed us to rock the car side to side and the sand filled in around the tires and settled out. It is hard to describe but absolutely brilliant. We tied the cars up, pulled them out and got on our way.

The day was anti-climatic and especially sad as we got closer to Fes and closer to saying goodbye to Yahia. But the highlight was without question our lunch. We stopped in Zaida, a non-descript, very small little town. Yahia pulled up to a roadside grill where there was a butcher on the side. You pick out your meat and then they spice it and throw it on the grill. The meat was the best flavor and bite of food we had in Morocco!
It is amazing how quickly the landscapes change in Morocco and this day demonstrated that perfectly. We left the dunes in the morning and by the afternoon we were winding again through the Atlas Mountains with pockets of snow on the ground and forests of trees.

We stopped in Ifrane for a tea/coffee break. Ifrane is referred to as "Little Switzerland" and is a very odd place. It is in the mountains and has a very expensive, private university in the town (one of very few in the country). The buildings and houses are all very European/Alps looking and there is skiing nearby. It is very quiet, very clean and doused in elitism. More importantly though, Yahia met up with one of his friends here while we grabbed tea. It turned out, he had had his friend order a New Years cake for us and surprised us with it. Could the man have been any sweeter?!

We arrived in Fes in the late afternoon and after a tear-filled goodbye with Yahia, we settled into our gorgeous room at Dar Roumana. Our room and the Dar itself was stunning. It took the owner 4 years to restore and renovate the building. Our ceilings were 30 feet high, the woodwork over our door and windows was on par with what we had seen in kasbahs and palaces, and the tiling was beautiful.

We both loved Fes. I ended up getting sick our last day in Fes and was pretty much out of commission for the day. But we still saw a lot of the city. The Medina in Fes is hilly and charming. New Years Eve was our first night in and since neither of us are big on the holiday and all the over-priced prix fixe meals, we opted for camel burgers at a spot in the middle of the Medina.

We walked up and through the old streets on that first night. Worried about getting lost but in love with the old city and all the turns and how surprisingly quiet it was going into the New Year! 
We woke up the next morning and started out with our guide, Elhakim, who we had booked for a couple hours to get a sense of the Medina and all of the history. The Medina was founded around 850 AD, and what they refer to as the new city was founded in the 13th century. A very young 700 years! The Medina is also the largest auto-free urban area in the world. There are plenty of donkeys and carts but no cars and motorbikes. We stopped by the Bab Boujloude, the main gate and worked our way through souk after souk. We of course visited a medersa and peaked in at mosques. The true highlight for me was running into this amazing old man, a friend of our guide, on the street. He didn't speak English but was hysterical and hugged me and I loved him.

Before we finished, we visited the tanneries. The tanneries in Fes have actually been ranked the 3rd worst job in the world. As a tourist visiting the tanneries as an attraction was disturbing but I think it is better to see than to ignore. The tanneries are brutal. The workers spend long days dipping the hides into these huge vats of bleach and color. The smell is wrenching (though not as bad as you are led to believe, and they give you mint to hold to your nose if you really need it).

Elhakim also showed us this communal bakery. Families bring their bread to these little shops and they shove loaf after loaf into the furnace. Apparently this is how bread used to be baked for families throughout the Medina.

Our next day in Fes, we got out of the Medina walls and walked over to the Jewish Cemetery. We also happened into the beautiful gardens. After we got turned around a bit in search of the Cemetery, we ended up being walked through back streets and allies by a handful of people that live in the surrounding buildings. They didn't speak English but graciously banged on doors for us and a neighborhood boy ended up walking us all the way around to the front gate of the cemetery, it was really quite something!
Not pictured is a lot of shopping we did in the Medina and our meal at Restaurant 7 (which was unfortunately a total disappointment). Finally, on January 3rd, we made our way to Casablanca by train. Our train ride was wonderful. It was beautiful and the train system is amazing in Morocco.

Casablanca on the other hand is, well, we would tell you not to bother. With that said, we did visit the Hassan II Mosque, a montrosity that is truly a site to be seen!

Ben also happened upon this random donut stand. How good do these look?

And finally, we finished it all off with dinner at this fish restaurant in the Port. It was an interesting spot. A mix of Moroccans and tourists, I couldn't eat much, but Ben ate up!

 We flew out early the next morning to Barcelona. It was good while it lasted Morocco!