Friday, August 28, 2009

Dancing With the Stars: Don't DeLay

Ok, so I'm getting on my ideological high horse. I have to. I am offended by the decision of Dancing With the Stars to include former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay this season. A Texas grand jury indicted the man on charges that he violated campaign finance law back in 2005. While he hasn't been convicted, others involved with him, like Jack Abramoff have. The investigation of him and others revealed that he had knowledge of and benefited from all kinds of atrocious and illegal activities including the slave-like treatment of workers in the U.S. territory of the Northern Marianas. There's a very good PBS documentary by Bill Moyers on this whole situation called "Capitol Crimes", which prominently features DeLay, Abramoff, and others. I actually don't even watch DTWS, but I really won't now. I've noticed from the blogosphere and ABC's own site that some fans are planning to boycott the show and/or advertisers. I think that's a good idea. It's just disturbing what TV producers will do to get ratings. I mean really, we're talking about someone who, whether indirectly or not, contributed to major human rights violations as well as violating the democratic political process. The thinking that DeLay would boost ratings is just odd to me anyway. That mug shot of his is just creepy. Who wants to see this guy dancing around? But then again, that seems to be the direction of reality TV. One of these shows had no problem casting a dude with a criminal record who may have murdered his ex-wife. All I know is that I'm adding two more categories to the "Who Not to Date" list: politicians and reality TV participants.

Sphere: Related Content

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Looking Good for Less

As the dog days of summer drag on, the need to look good and show more skin continues. I've tried many DC salons and spas over the years to narrow down a list of go-to's from inexpensive but good to splurge spots. It's not easy in DC to manage looking good all the time if you're on a budget. I've heard for years from friends and family in other areas how even in New York, it's not hard to find great, inexpensive nail and hair salons. When I visit family in Jersey, I frequent a hair salon that only charges $15 for a really good roller set. In DC, the lowest I've been able to find that same service is for $35. And don't get me started on manicures a pedicures in DC. What's up with all the $50 pedicures? This is why I was happy to stumble upon Spalon in Dupont this summer. A mani and pedi combined is only $35 and I've been consistently happy with the service. It's a comfortable, friendly, and professional environment and my toes have looked great for at least two weeks. A couple of times I've even gotten complimentary brow waxing. I recently walked in without an appointment and decided to use the time to test the hair services. I've been extremely satisfied with my regular stylist but stylist-owned salons can be rather pricey. I usually don't trust a whim when it comes to my hair but the stylist I requested was doing a good job on the woman in her chair. Once she was done with me I was pleasantly surprised, especially for only $35. My coiffed hair even stood up to the steamy DC air. Looks like I'll be adding Spalon to the list.

Sphere: Related Content

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Againn - Not a Typo

Looks like DC is getting another British-style gastropub come this fall - and right in my neighborhood - from the Whisk Group. I keep hearing how Shaw will explode with restaurants and retail once the Convention Center Marriott goes up, but it will be a while before that happens. That's why I'm always happy to hear about a new opening within a few blocks from my doorstep. I passed by tonight and noticed that the windows were still covered with paper. It's called Againn and no, that is not a typo. Why the extra 'n'? I don't know. Must be a language thing. It's located on street level inside the Tishman Speyer office building at 11th and I NW. It's also a block away from Brassirie Beck. Considering how packed Beck is almost every night after five, another option will be quite welcome.

Sphere: Related Content

Friday, August 21, 2009

Project Runway?

I met a couple of neighbors last night for the season premiere of Project Runway at the Duplex Diner, which was guaranteed to be showing it. I got there somewhat late but I don't think it would have mattered. The place was packed! Could there have been more gay guys in one place? I've noticed that in my old age I've become claustrophobic so I couldn't take it, not even for Project Runway. I took my old ass to Clyde's for a roasted turkey sandwich and a beer and called it a night. At least now I know Clyde's is having a filet mignon special for the month of August and a 1st Annual Old Ebbitt Grill (same owners) Block Party on September 5th. But the question was Project Runway?

Sphere: Related Content

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

DC Beer Week

Looks like there's something to celebrate this week: It's DC Beer Week. Tonight's lineup looks particularly good. While I'm not a beer snob, beer geek, or cocktail nerd (as explained by Derek Brown in the City Paper), I do love some good beer. I didn't start drinking beer until later in adulthood compared to other beer drinkers. I think this is why I bypassed the bad beer drinking (Bud Light) of college years. I didn't even have beer from a keg until a couple of years ago. I also love being served beer in the appropriate glass. It's like beer fashion. And it really does make a difference in terms of taste as well as how it feels in your hand. I absolutely hate huge mugs. I fell in love with the Sam Adams pint glass (right) a few months ago. The Boston Globe has a nifty little guide to glasses on their site. The good thing is that I've seen a growth in bars and restaurants with good beer on tap and in bottles as well as bartenders who are passionate and knowledgeable about beer. When I want a beer, you'll tend to find me at: The Reef, The Saloon, Commonwealth (the cask conditioned ales are amazing!) , and the Brickskeller. If I lived closer to Granville Moore's, I would be there more often too. Ok, I'm getting thirsty.

Sphere: Related Content

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Hot and Bothered

I'm quite sure I've ranted before about my dislike of hot, humid DC summers. And yes, I do agree that this summer has been rather kind comparatively. But today, I'm particularly bothered by this uncomfortable weather and thus, feel like ranting about other stuff as well.
First, could someone please remind me never to go on a job interview in 90 degree heat all the way out in Virginia?! I still haven't decided if I'm returning to my job next month after the restructuring and being offered less money and fewer benefits so, I've been looking yet again. Too much to think about. That, coupled with these freakish, gun-toting town hall protesters just makes me want to pack up and move to Copenhagen, where the summers are cooler and apparently Denmark is the happiest country in the world.
I'm also hoping to cure myself of this bad habit of giving out my phone number to stupid dudes. I got a healthy dose of Trickster Dude the other night and he has continued to text me for the past few days. The scenario: British journalist in town for business I met while out with friends. Seemingly nice, fun, interesting, yada, yada. He's here for a month and is having trouble finding fun places to go. At the end of the night we were both hungry and went to The Diner. We share a cab afterwards and as a typical dude, suggests I hang out in his hotel room. Uh, no! There will be two stops Mr. Cab Driver.
The next day he texts several times about my day and what I'm doing. I told him I'd be out later and to let me know if he wanted to meet for drinks. He said he felt really tired and might not be up for it but would call if he did. While I'm out later that night I spot Mr. Brit over in the corner with a woman getting pretty cozy. We glanced at each other a few times so I'm sure he saw me. I also notice him making the rounds and approaching several other women. At the end of the night when I walk over to speak, he acts all surprised like he didn't know I was there. I say good night and leave. About a half hour later, I start to get a barrage of texts asking me why I left and how he really wanted to see me. He actually said that he thought we had plans. Plans? I don't think so. He never called to make any.
Apparently he thought he would try his hand at a few other women (why waste time when you're only in town for a month?) rather than commit to hanging out with me. So, when he doesn't get lucky he figures why not make another attempt with Good Time Girl (me) from the night before. Same tactic as every other dude who likes to call/text at the end of the night to "see what you're doing." How stupid am I supposed to be? I'm done ranting for the day.

Sphere: Related Content

Monday, August 17, 2009

Mad Men Party Recap

Last night's Mad Men viewing party turned out wonderfully, even with one broken TV. The venue, show, and people were all great. I want to thank all the folks from Yelp for showing up. I just wish I had more time to mix and mingle and take pictures but was off to another spot right after the show. As expected, the Season 3 Premiere was worth waiting for. It was a thought-provoking, conversation starter that has already taken the characters to the next level. I can't wait for the next episode.
Ulah Bistro is one of those U Street places in my regular rotation but I obviously don't hang out upstairs enough. The lounge is gorgeous and it's a great place to throw a party. Since I'm usually there late when there's a limited menu, I haven't had much other than the typical bar food - burger, pizza, wings - and it's all been good. Next time I'll have to try one of the many entrees that sound delicious like the short ribs with gorgonzola polenta or the braised lamb fettuccine. They also have a great beer selection. While I didn't have a true Old Fashioned like Don Draper, I did have a bourbon drink prepared by Brian the bartender, who was great. As luck would have it, he informed me that Ulah will be showing Mad Men every Sunday now! Brian assured me that other TV will be fixed by next Sunday. So, for all of you TV-challenged people like me or those of you who just like coming out and watching a great show and socializing with cool people, come on out to Ulah next week. See you there!

Sphere: Related Content

Friday, August 14, 2009

Mad Men Viewing Party at Ulah Bistro

After hearing a friend's rave reviews of Mad Men, the show has been in my Netflix queue since late last year. I absolutely love the show. I'm always amazed at how few people have heard of it especially since its been on for two years now and has received so much critical acclaim. I would say 16 Emmy nominations is quite impressive. One of the best things about the show is how stylish it is. The fashion has obviously struck a chord with women and I see that Banana Republic has jumped on that. I have a feeling we will be seeing lots of women in DC this fall wearing pencil skirts and shift dresses. But I can imagine how the slow pace, intense yet subtle dialogue (you really have to pay attention while watching this show), and overt sexism, racism, homophobia, etc. could turn some people off. I look at it as a sociological study. It's unbelievable how much behaviors have changed since the early 60's.

Well, given that I still haven't upgraded my television situation to a full cable lineup and only have basic cable (that's another post altogether), I can't watch it at home. Apparently, there are others with this same dilemma. So, the folks over at Ulah Bistro were kind enough to offer the upstairs lounge for a viewing party. This works out great! I love the food there and it's right at the U St. metro. And don't be shy! Why not show up in your favorite 60's inspired outfit?

What: Mad Men Season 3 Premiere Viewing Party
Where: Ulah Bistro, 1214 U Street NW, upstairs
When: Sunday, August 16 at 9:30 (show starts at 10pm)

Sphere: Related Content

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Old School Hip Hop

So i'm at the De La Soul concert at the 930 club. Are there really that many goofy hipsters in DC or do people really remember this music the way i do? I do love this venue though. How do I always run into people I've known for a few days or a few years? Tonight I ran into a guy from grad school who was in one of my undergrad classes I was teaching. He claims he had a crush on me back then. Ha! Really?

Sphere: Related Content

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Three Men, One Night, No Money

It's a Saturday afternoon and I'm trying to sort out the last two days: where did these numbers in my cell phone come from and whose cards are these in my purse? What's missing? ATM receipts. And that would be a good thing even if I wasn't so broke right now.
Things got interesting on Thursday when I double-booked dates for the night. The first was for happy hour at Urbana. I met Bachelor #5 at a free small business seminar a week ago. Urbana was the perfect choice because I've been craving their bacon wrapped dates stuffed with goat cheese. These little delicacies are amazing! They're like warm, crispy candy with a soft center and a touch of saltiness. Perfect for one of those sweet/salty PMS-induced cravings. The date went well. We played a fun little game of this-or-that to get a sense of our likes and dislikes. Around eight, he headed to the train and I was on my way to date #2. I decided to take a stroll to my next destination and walk off the wine I drank. As I was walking, a harmless-looking guy approached with an armful of papers and a briefcase. I generally don't speak to random guys on the street but I guess the wine had me feeling friendly. Apparently he had just left the office after a long day where he worked as a legal consultant. I had some time before the next date, so when he suggested a quick drink at Local 16, I figured why not. He turned out to be rather nice and we made plans for a movie the next day. I was refreshed enough to continue my journey to Vinoteca, where I was meeting up with Bachelor #4. I knew exactly what I wanted - the lamb sliders. We decided to get a bottle of wine so, we went with the 2007 Turley Zinfandel which has been on my must-try list for a while. It paired extremely well with the lamb. As for the date, let's just say I don't think I pair too well with #4.

Sphere: Related Content

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Julie & Julia

I have been eagerly anticipating the movie Julie & Julia and I happily accepted advance screening passes from a friend. I have to be honest though. As a kid, I thought Julia Child was "that weird old lady" on PBS. It wasn't until much later that I understood her significance in the culinary and TV cooking world. Her cookbook, Mastering The Art of French Cooking is a must-have for any kitchen.
So, I want to see this movie for two main reasons: 1) It celebrates the life of an amazingly brave, pioneering woman and 2) It's the first major film about a blogger. And that's a lot for one movie! I'm just so excited to see a blogger in the spotlight. I really do think this is an important statement about the significance of blogging. So, on Friday, all of us bloggers should toast to this milestone! And of course, I'd love to hear how you enjoyed the movie. Cheers!

Sphere: Related Content

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Summer Bounty

One of the best things about summer in DC is the abundance of farmer's markets throughout the city. This year I've been making regular trips to the Penn Quarter FreshFarm Market. Even closer to home, is the fairly new Old City Green, an adorable community garden center, where I picked up a lovely purple basil plant. They even repotted it for me. Unlike the summer bounty of men, the food bounty never disappoints. Cooking with summer produce is so simple and delicious: tomato and eggplant sauteed in garlic and olive oil becomes a quick sauce for pasta. Yummy! And perfect with the Treana viognier I have. As you can see in the picture, I also picked up some really sweet plums in varying colors.
I think I'll take it easy tonight and play around with a new recipe. Given that there's also a bounty of things to do in the summer, I didn't get home until the sun was almost rising this morning. The night included dancing to the sounds of Quentin Harris, one of my favorite DJs, over at the Trinidad and Tobago house. This place has undergone vast improvements since the last time I was there a few months ago. The ventilation, dance floor, and bar have all been upgraded, making for a much more comfortable place to party. I could probably stand to rest up a bit tonight.

Sphere: Related Content