Wednesday, December 17, 2014

power up.

She is just striking and interesting and awesome. For your plane and train rides wherever you are headed for the holidays - this is a phenomenal read - In the Land of the Possible - and a very fair profile.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

restaurant roundup IV.

Time for a restaurant roundup. New places to eat are popping up all over the are some updates...

Sauf Haus Beer Hall & Garten - opened this past summer and it is right off Dupont Circle. Thank god because Dupont is a dry zone for any good place to grab a drink and I always have to rack my brain and then inevitably end up suggesting someplace on 14th street because Dupont is so boring! The Sauf Haus though is a great place for a laid-back post-work drink. I actually have only had beers so I can't speak to anything else, but on that front they meet expectations with good beer selection and generous pourings. Of note, keep going upstairs, the best part is the rooftop - though inside by the windows is a good spot too.

Alphonse - opened late summer and we went with Josh and Erin. We all agreed it was solid and definitely hit the spot. And credit to the restaurant for going all in on the italian theme - red, white and black throughout. We also got a sneak peak at Nonna's Kitchen which has since opened on the second floor right above (here is a WashPost article about it). All in, a solid choice on U Street to hit the pizza/italian fix if you are wanting it.

Chaplin's - is tucked over in Shaw and I kind of fell in love with it. Ali and I met up there a couple weeks ago for a weeknight drink and ramen. In the cold right now, nothing could have hit the spot better. And the feel in there is working. There is an upstairs as well. It has personality but not too much...low key and doesn't have a chip on its shoulder - feels like a modern neighborhood bar/hold in the wall. Definitely recommend it.

El Camino - over in Bloomingdale remains to be seen. Here is a link to an Eater piece about it. We went here with Em last month. The chips were a great start. The guacomole didn't have quite enough flavor. My margarita was a margarita - it passed the test but it wasn't anything more. Our food was solid - my tacos were fine. The inside is well laid out, great ceiling, nice long bar. So the jury is out on this one. DC has a lot of plain, fine, nothing to write home about California inspired taco places at this point...though the good news is that it is right next door to Boundary Stone - so I would say, hit two birds with one trip over to Bloomingdale if you go!

Ocopa - doesn't have a website, so here is a WashPost piece on it. Ben and I went to try it out right after it opened and we have been meaning to swing back again. Here's the thing, I really didn't like the way they laid it out and more specifically, the chairs. I know, I know, that sounds small and petty - and admittedly the food makes you forget, but the chairs are odd and not super comfortable. Nonetheless, this place is serving up great food and reviews are raving about them. So get yourself over to H street, ignore the chairs and terrible lay out and enjoy what you're there for!

Copycat Co - has opened finally. We were excited when we heard this was in the works. It opened last month, and we went to pay a visit on Sunday night. The upstairs has a good-looking bar - though pretty dark. We sat downstairs at the front window on stools and tried the potstickers, the skewers and the steamed bao. We both thought the potstickers and the steamed baos were great. The skewers - they were ok - so we would tell you just to get another steamed bao. Great spot - so happy to have it in the neighborhood!

Chez Billy - saving the best for last! This might be our new favorite place in DC. We went here last Friday for a date night and it won. We loved it. Up in Petworth - about a block from the metro - it is just, for lack of a better description, really cool. The inside was brilliantly designed. The bar is awesome. Our food was spot on. The service was fantastic. They have two huge fireplaces which Ben immediatly started talking about and has mentioned twice since. It was cozy but also spaced out. Just a cool, laid back, why can't every restaurant be like this?! Good stuff - get yourself up to Petworth the next time you need a pick me up!

And in case you need even more, here is roundup I, roundup II & roundup III...good luck out there!

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

acai it.

Molly and Rags tipped me off to acai, and specifically acai bowls and smoothies a while back. In case you are looking for something to mix up the smoothie/breakfast/health routine - this might do it for you. Apparently, Sambazon is the big producer you can find here in the can find it at Whole Foods and it comes in frozen sections that you throw into a blender with fruit to make a smoothie or mix up to make a bowl. It is good stuff!

Here is what an acai bowl looks like...

...and in case you are in DC and want to try one out before you head over to Whole Foods to stock up, they said the juice bar at Body Smith Gym on 14th Street makes a great Acai Bowl.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

side show.

I almost forgot to update on the bedside table. I don't know what took me so long, I have been putting this project off for months and in painful stages when it really could have all been done in an afternoon. The lamp in the guest room has been sitting on the floor since July. I finally got around to doing a quick paint job - yay for productivity! Here is the table before...this was actually a leftover piece from the apartment I rented in 2010. The previous tenant had left it for me, and so it traveled to my next apartment and then on to our house. I always liked the shape of it - just wasn't big on the color/stain.

A couple months ago, when it was still warm and wonderful outside, I took the sander to it.

And then when it was cold and frosty outside, I dragged it back outside...

Then I left it in the hands of my new best friend, Graco the paint sprayer (click here if you want to know all about her) and did a very easy paint job. And here is the final product. Admittedly, the paint job itself isn't great if you get up close (I had some control/valve issues!)...but for now, it will do. I will probably sand some of the edges and do a second coat in the spring when it is warm again...

Not bad, right? How great does the little alarm clock look? I had mentioned it a while back here. It is from Anthropologie - great holiday gift idea! 

And here is the full room shot as of now. There is still work to be done but coming along. Next up are stay tuned!

off track.

Big news. So, I have had it on my list to check out a warehouse over near Bladensburg since the summer when I saw a mention about it somewhere someplace - I can't even remember now. It is only open on Thursdays and Fridays during the day and the first and last Saturday of the month. We either happened to always be out of town or couldn't make it over. Anyway, we finally did on Saturday morning and it lived up to all my expectations. Here's the story. It is the Off the Beaten Track Warehouse. It is filled to the brim with vintage and antique furniture and art and lights and more. The owner is a super friendly guy who bought the warehouse a couple years ago. Upstairs is a pottery studio and apparently a bunch of independent artists and studios. They occasionally open it up for an open house. It was awesome. We were very rushed and up against making sure that we got back for a train, so we didn't end up spending a whole lot of time but enough time that we seriously considered buying a set of chairs, a lamp that I loved, and also some old planters. We didn't end up buying anything this round...but sure to go back for another visit soon. Full disclosure, things in there were a bit overpriced and he definitely wasn't up for bargaining - but no doubt you can find some great stuff in there!

Monday, December 8, 2014


Did you all read the New Yorker profile on Angela Merkel, The Quiet German? I meant to share this with you last week. I read it on the plane to Nashville and didn't want to land until I was done. It is a fascinating read...highly recommend it!

Saturday, December 6, 2014

the summitts.

Anyone who knows me well, knows that I love Tennessee women's basketball through and through. This started very early. I adore Pat Summit. I started following Candace Parker when she was in 8th grade. I was borderline obsessed with Chamique Holdsclaw and still occasionally check in on Tamika Catchings. And, I won't stand to have anything UConn or Auriemma related in our house or near me. I was devastated by Summit's diagnosis two years ago- not just because of the actual diagnosis but because she had so many years left to coach and for her legacy. So, earlier this week when I saw that 60 minutes did a feature on Tyler Summit, we spent 20 minutes trying to hunt it down online a couple of nights ago. I finally got to watch it today and I actually cried watching it. Besides having watched him grow up on tv on the sidelines of his mother's games, and besides the fact that he is Pat's son, he is just impressive on his own. Always a Volunteers fan but now I'll also have my eye on the Lady Techsters. Great stuff. This is great great stuff. You should watch.

Friday, December 5, 2014

the leftovers.

Happy Friday! Ben and I are going on a date tonight!

On another note, if you are like me and have a crush on Connie Britton - here is your Friday gift - The Cult of Connie Britton. Ben and I debate this a lot. I have very (very!) strong feelings about the power of language, and in particular jokes. This Vulture piece, Bill Cosby Shows Why We Need Off-Limit Jokes touches on our ongoing conversation - I don't agree with it but in the spirit of good debate...This WSJ piece with excerpts from a Ruth Bader Ginsburg interview is old but in light of the news around her this week - I thought it was appropriate. And this, Prinstagram - I love it!

nashville travelogue.

Nashville. Mom and I met up there over the Thanksgiving holiday and it turned out to be a great city for a weekend trip. So, here is the tour de force...probably a long one - so buckle up!

We stayed at the Hutton Hotel. We really liked it. Modern and comfortable. It is about a mile from the main strip. Nashville is spread out in very odd ways and kind of sprawls randomly in lots of difference directions. As long as you have a car, it's a good spot. Though, fair warning, there isn't much around to do and see within walking distance.

The first night we got there, we left the airport and went straight to dinner. We went to the Stone Fox - a hole in the wall place west of downtown. It has live music, a bar, and down home food. I wouldn't necessarily trek out there for the food alone but it hit the spot.

Thanksgiving morning, I woke up and went for a run up the road which happened to include both Vanderbilt campus and Centennial Park. Vanderbilt first. The campus is really big. Mom and I explored it in bits over the course of the three days, driving around and through it, and we concluded it is a really ugly campus. We couldn't find a beautiful part. Surprising, right?  

Centennial Park is just really odd. The doorman at the hotel enthusiastically told me I had to run to Centennial Park which is "beautiful" and I would see the Parthenon. Umm...yeah. I ran there. It is a park. I wouldn't go so far as to say a particularly beautiful park. And the Parthenon....well that was just weird. It stands in the middle of the park, and is literally, to the inch a recreation of the Parthenon in Athens. It was built in the 1890s because apparently Nashville was known as the "Athens of the South". Anyway, in short, I found it really odd. In fairness, it was Thanksgiving morning and the park was completely empty and it was grey and they are doing a little construction around it - but yeah, it's still a full-scale replica in the middle of Tennessee...and not really worth seeing. 

Mom and I decided to head over to check out the old Union Station which has been converted into a hotel - the Union Station Hotel. It was awesome. We both loved it. It is this gorgeous old train station...we went in and sat down at the big, old fireplace, admired the amazing ceiling and details. It still felt like a train station (and reminded Mom of the old train station in Louisville). Loved loved it - definitely wander in!

We then drove downtown and checked out these awesome old warehouse buildings...
And then we went to see Gone Girl! Have you all seen it? We had both read the book. I liked it. Mom enjoyed but was less impressed by it...At this point, it was time to get dressed and ready for dinner!

For Thanksgiving dinner, we went to Adele's. It turned out to be a great, lovely spot. Obviously, nothing compares to your own dining room table, but this was a really nice second best. The food was very good, the service was right on, and the space is cool and comfortable.

We went back to the hotel full and grateful.

This is getting long, so I am going to try to move the rest quickly. On Friday, we headed to Franklin. A small town about 30-40 minutes due south of Nashville with a rich civil war history. It is charming and bucolic and very pedestrian friendly. If I am not testimony enough, here is the link to the NYTimes feature of Franklin - though full credit goes to Mom for beating the NYTimes and suggesting it without knowing about this!  We parked and stopped into Merridee's for breakfast - a restaurant and breakfast. We would recommend it.

After breakfast, we walked the main street and window shopped.  From Franklin, we headed to the Belle Meade Plantation. We ultimately opted out of the full house tour and happily wandered the grounds and went into all the buildings around it. The history of the plantation and especially the slaves there was quite something.

Of note, we didn't stop because it isn't the season, but Cheekwood is basically right next door, and apparently a beautiful place to stop when everything is in bloom.  We got on our way, and headed downtown to walk and see the honky-tonks and all else. Full disclosure - it really isn't that big or long of a strip!
We also walked over this awesome bridge that they have made into a pedestrian bridge...with full views of the city...
For dinner, we decided it was time for some BBQ. On a recommendation from a friend, Stephanie, we headed to the Peg Leg Porker just east of downtown. We got there on the early side of dinner...but by the time we left, the place was packed. I opted for the pulled pork, Mom went for a rack of wet ribs and there is no question she won in ordering.

Unfortunately, the big disappointment for me was that the Nashville Flea Market had been rescheduled for the weekend before, so alas, we didn't get to check it out. Obviously, if you are there when it is happening each month, it is a must go!  But on Saturday, we went to breakfast at Marche Artisan Foods which is across the water, northeast of the city, but an interesting and cool little spot. After breakfast, we went and checked out the much touted about (mostly by the NYTimes in this recent 36 Hours in Nashville piece) 12 South Neighborhood. It is clearly as my Mom put it the "milennial part of town" and that means this is where you can find your hipsters. It is cool. I guess. We both agreed though that it is not cool enough to merit NYTimes attention...

Before we left and said goodbye to Nashville (and each other) - we ended up randomly happening upon Fort Negley. It was the "centerpiece of Union occupied Nashville" and you can hike up and around it. Here was a view on the top...

And here is me and Mom....

Nashville was wonderful. We enjoyed quality mother-daughter time and the city is small and manageable and friendly. Our only regret is that we didn't get to the Grand Ole Opry - so make sure it makes your list. There is never enough time to explore it all - so including below the rest of the list I had put together of things and places to do/see/eat in Nashville in case they help you plan your own trip!

Thursday, December 4, 2014

for the win.

I haven't posted about the neighborhood in a long time, so I'll make sure to do that more regularly since there is so much happening and developing in the area. Today the big news is that REI has been formally announced for the Uline Arena! Woohoo...the Colorado in me just high-fived myself!

rock out.

Oh hey was your Thanksgiving?! A full review of Nashville is coming soon. In the meantime though, Chris Rock. He is on a media/interview blitz right now. Have you been reading any of it? I've always liked Rock, I've always thought he was really smart when it came to his comedy and his profession, but I did not realize just how damn brilliant he is. I read his interview last week with Vulture two times. If you read one thing this week, read his interview with Vulture, In Conversation - Chris Rock. And then if you have time, read his interview with The New Yorker - Duke of Doubt, his essay with The Hollywood Reporter - It's a White Industry and finally his interview with Grantland - School of Rock.