Saturday, September 27, 2008

A Night in the UK

The other night I finally stopped by Commonwealth in Columbia Heights owned by Jamie Leeds of Hank's Oyster Bar. One great restaurant should result in another, right? I had also been hearing so many great things about this British-inspired gastropub and Metrocurean's description of the fried olives had me determined to get there.
I usually prefer sitting at the bar but it was full so we sat at one of the bar tables which was even better because the seats were comfy and there was a great view of the patio. The patio is great and would've been nice but it's been kind of chilly these days in DC (I hear it's going to warm up next week, so take advantage of a patio while you can!). Comfort food was exactly what I was looking for. Luckily, the menu at Commonwealth is filled with comfort food. There's your typical British pub fare and some interesting twists like the smoked tofu shepherd's pie. And what I really love is that they're using local, sustainable, and humanely raised meat. I had the fish and chips. The Smithwick's beer battered haddock melted in my mouth and the chips were nice and crispy. I also had a pint of the cask conditioned ale which rotates. On this night, they were featuring the Victory Storm King Stout. It was amazing! Not at all bitter like some stouts but slightly sweet with hints of chocolate and coffee. And at 9% abv, I was very satisfied. I was also very satisfied with our extremely attentive and hot server, Alex. Not to mention that there's a late happy hour from 10-11:30 pm. It's a guarantee that I will be back to Commonwealth soon.

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Sunday, September 21, 2008

Going to Town

Last year I blogged about the opening of Town Danceboutique. As I imagined, Town has been a much needed addition to the DC nightclub scene. While $17 for admission may seem pricey to some, it was well worth it: two dance floors, great music, several ATMs, several bars and plenty of bartenders (which equals little to no wait at the bar), a spacious dance floor, and lounge areas where you can sit and actually have a conversation. I was there the other night with my gay friend Mitch. While watching the shirtless guys dancing on platforms, he leaned over and said, "aren't gay clubs so much more fun that straight clubs?" In many ways, I had to agree. The most common reason of course that women will give for going to gay clubs is that you don't have to worry about all the creepy dudes touching and hitting on you. But there are other reasons as well. For instance, I get to see some major skin that I don't get to see at straight clubs. Gay guys are all about being shirtless and so many of them are hot. I've also noticed over the years that the drinks are better. I even get asked to dance more often at gay clubs. While I have no problem dancing by myself (and even prefer it sometimes), it is nice to have someone ask or even playfully grab your hand and lead you to the floor. And gay guy compliments are so much more creative. One guy I danced with spun me around and then shouted, "these queens ain't ready for all your jelly!" Hilarious!

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Friday, September 12, 2008

Free Fun at the Kennedy Center

One of the things that I have accepted about myself is that I am not a weekend warrior. I am not a, "hey, let's get up early and get things done" kind of person on the weekends. I believe in sleeping in late, really late, and then bumming around doing whatever. I occasionally force myself to go to the farmers market only because I love good food. No, I don't take advantage of "all the great free cultural stuff DC has to offer" on the weekends because I don't get up early enough for that, ok? And then you have to take into account the screaming kids and strollers people trot out on the weekends and you know how I feel about that! I usually don't even leave my apartment until sunset. So, I was very happy to see that the Kennedy Center is offering a full day of free performances this Saturday featuring artists from across the country and DC at Prelude 2008: Arts Across America. There's a wide variety of acts to see and the festival goes on until 11pm. Imagine that, even in DC.

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Thursday, September 4, 2008

Drink Wine for a Good Cause

I just checked out the relatively new bar in the Grand Hyatt hotel at 10th and H Sts. NW called Cure Bar & Bistro. As often as I walk past that hotel, for some reason I can't for the life of me recall the name of the place that was there before. All I know is that Cure is definitely a step up. Its decor is chic and clean and the atmosphere is tranquil and cozy. It also helps that I love hotels and hotel bars (usually). It's like everything you need is in one place. This will surely be a frequent stop for me. While there, I had some great salty, smoky small plates and a very nice glass of wine from the Carmel Road Winery (featured in the movie Sideways). The bread basket came with butter and tray of different kinds of salt. While the menu and decor seemed somewhat innovative, I could sense borrowed elements from places like Proof and Vinoteca. I also got info on a great fundraising event sponsored by the Washington Wine Academy being held tomorrow to help fight breast cancer. It's called, Uncork the Cure (I love that name!) and will be at Madame Tussauds Wax Museum. Tickets are still available and while somewhat pricey at $150, it's a good reason to check out the Wax Museum, if you haven't already, and drink great wine. Here are the details from the WWA site:

"Uncork the Cure" at Madame Tussauds

Date: Friday, September 5, 2008

Time: 6:30 PM - 9:30 PM

Location: Madame Tussauds, 1025 F. Street, NW, Washington, DC 20004

Provisions: Wine and food. Wine provided by the Washington Wine Academy

Attire: Come as you are… Pink is always an option, and in this case the best one!

Silent Auction: Silent Auction – bidding from 6:30pm until 9:00pm

Admission: $ 150.00 - (Ticket is 100% tax deductible)

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Monday, September 1, 2008

Happy (Be)Labor Day: Debunking Myths

Like many of you, I don't even think about the meaning of Labor Day, I'm just happy for the day off. But as one would imagine based on the name, it is a holiday in honor of American workers according to the U.S. Labor Department web site. Well, on this day that I should be taking a break from labor, I'm finding myself having to belabor a point that should be clear to most reasonably sane people. But apparently not. I recently wrote about men and clowns and how I'm sick of bad male behavior. As expected, I get comments which pretty much paint me as the perpetrator of this bad behavior. It's happened quite a bit over the course of this blog and over the course of my lifetime when I am baffled by idiotic male behavior. I am honestly beginning to believe that when called out on such behavior, men have this need to blame women. Interesting. Well, I have a need to debunk some myths.

Myth 1) Women make men behave badly.

Here's one of my favorite comments: "Despite your
protestations, you DID "give dudes a reason to call [you] this late" simply by
being the kind of person that will "go out with friends or by myself after
midnight. If you want it to stop, just go to bed at 11 and stop answering the

How ridiculous is this? First of all, I never said I answer the phone when these guys call. Voice mail messages are just as bad. If I meet a guy while I'm out late at night with my friends, does that mean he should call me to come over late at night rather than ask me out on a date at an appropriate time??? I should go to bed at 11 pm every night so that guys won't call me for disguised booty calls??? Wow, way to keep a woman in her place!

Myth 2) Only certain types of men behave badly and women should know who they are and be smart enough not to associate with them.

Here's another good one: "Men generally act in such a disrespectful manner when
they believe that they will get what they are asking for. You say that you did
not give them reason to believe so. Maybe you are just hanging out with men who
have a low opinion of women, in general."

Now this really makes no sense. Men will try to get what they want the minute they see it. They don't need to know anything about you or the situation and most women will attest to this from rampant street harassment. I can be dressed to go to a funeral, to work, in gym clothes, whatever, and have the most disrespectful things come out of a man's mouth. And no, these are not just bums on the street. Do they think they will get what they want? I doubt it. But hey, why not try. Why do men pull over in their cars and try to get women walking home from the grocery store in flip flops and a ponytail to come over? Has this technique really worked for them? Probably not but they do it anyway. Don't tell me that men behave badly because they believe they will get what they are asking for. And I have friends who do in fact go to bed before midnight during the week and still have disrespectful things happen to them. And for the record, I would under NO circumstances hang out with men who gave me a reason to believe they had a low opinion of women. If they do, they hide it very well and I resent the idea that I should have to decipher this trickery. Also, I have met plenty of men who seemed perfectly normal on a first encounter who then call not for a date as one should, but to "come over". Is there a reason why those guys don't know any better but many other men I've met actually do?

Myth 3) Where you meet a man makes all the difference. Bar, club - bad. Work, school, church, through friends - good.

I do feel somewhat conflicted about this one, but my personal experience and that of others, has made me realize that this truly is a myth. This past year made me even more convinced. Most people will tell you that there's more of a chance at finding good relationships when you have something in common with the person and going after similar goals, hence the work/school thing. Well, not so much. I have met guys through work and school before and neither worked. This year, I met a guy with the same job title, in my own department (academia, no less) who seemed perfectly normal and about as nerdy as me. After a lovely dinner and conversation (about history, politics, teaching, etc.), why did he ask if I wanted to go to a strip club? Freak! Yes, him, not me. I also met a seemingly normal guy at work a few years ago who I had lunch with a couple of times. We talked about what it's like being single in DC and would occasionally email when work was boring. Funny, never once did he mention that he had a fiance and child. I found out through another co-worker in casual conversation. This year I also met a couple of guys at bars. First dates were great. What does that mean? Who knows. But I do know that there are no hard and fast rules, and until you've been single for as long as some, like me, just shut up and stop blaming women for all the bad male behavior out there.

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