thelma and louise ride again!

I have a friend from high school, who I don’t think I’ve mentioned before- Lou. Our friendship blossomed out of the happy coincidence that both of us tend to ridiculously overdress for mundane things.

This list of things that have happened to us while in the car together pretty much tells you all you need to know:

1) Almost crashed into herd of wild turkeys on the Blue Ridge Parkway while speeding around curves on the Blue Ridge Parkway on our way to Cheeseburgers in Paradise. (What? What do YOU do on a boring Saturday afternoon?)
2) Rode through the somewhat conservative streets of Greensboro in our underwear after an especially muddy lacrosse practice. I capped it off by streaking (out of necessity) across my yard to my front door, traumatizing me grandmother.
3) Chased down Holden Road by random guys (one of whom bore an uncanny resemblance to Fat Albert) yelling out of a bullhorn “you in the Green Volvo…PULL OVER!”
4) Wrecked her alignment hitting a highway divider while driving in the rain (after her dad told us not to) to see our favorite local band. Thankfully, there were truck drivers at the gas station to help us. We tried to thank them with the alcohol she kept hidden from her dad in the spare tire. I believe we were roughly 17 at the time. Oops.
5) Saw a live hog on one side of the road, driving towards the mountains. Gave each other the “WTF” look. Looked back out the window, giggling. Two minutes later, saw another hog, looking dazed in the median, this time with a guy standing next to it. Looked at each other and simultaneously began to dial our mothers. Shortly thereafter, we passed the truck the hogs were falling out of. (Welcome to North Carolina! Did I mention were about 15 miles outside of one of the state’s largest metropolitan areas?)
6) 12 hours of insanity (she wasn’t in the car for this one.) Carolina, another friend and I drove from DC to THE Pennsylvania State University (Lou’s alma mater) to surprise her for her birthday. When we got there, she was so drunk, she didn’t believe we were actually there. 12 hours later we left. I have no idea what happened in between. I’m a little fuzzy on after as well.

In high school, and even during breaks in college, she would regularly show up at my house, blindfold me, and we’d go off on some adventure. Once we stumbled upon RJ Reynold’s childhood home (or something) on our way to an apple orchard in southern VA. Because those are the kinds of things we do. You know that table of loud women in the restaurant, flirting with the waiter? That’s us. And our moms.

This weekend I’m taking a mini-break and getting my “pirate-y”wench on with Lou. I have been promised crabcakes.

We had the following conversation about this weekend:

me: i looked at the drink specials

$3 pints everywhere!
that means i could black out for under $50!
Lou: haha i know
drinks are really cheap here
especially compared to where you are
now i know you’re excited when you have blackouts within your sight
me: HAHAHAHA

Who’s ready to party like a rockstar pirate? Ahoy matey!

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Commonwealth and Cork

Metrocurean has news up on CommonWealth, the new gastroBritpub opening in Columbia Heights.

I have to gripe. I went to Cork the day it opened, and had the misfortune to sit next to a gentleman who claimed to be the architect of the place. I hope it wasn’t Eric Gronning, who is mentioned in the post. Cork is beautiful inside, and the two friends I was with compared it to a European country store. Perhaps not the best choice of words, but the gentleman/architect we were sitting next to promptly flipped out. I’ve never seen someone take such offense. Mind you, my friends had been nothing but complimentary, but their idea of the place didn’t match his vision, I guess.

The whole thing left a bit of a bad taste in my mouth. Cork is a nice place, but he was so rude and made my initial visit so unpleasant that I’ve shied away from heading back, despite the fact that I pass by almost daily. I haven’t recommended it to anyone either (nor have I bad mouthed it.) I just feel like it’s not worth it, especially when there are so many other places around to grab a bite and a drink- give me Vinoteca or the bar at Al Crostino or Saint Ex, or a glass of wine and a cheese plate at Bar Pilar any day. I’m sure I’ll get around to visiting Cork again, but in the meantime, I hope I don’t run into that guy at CommonWealth.

General Tso to the rescue!

Yesterday, I left work promptly at five in search of a new pair of jeans. For whatever reason, it is all but impossible for me to find jeans. Bring on your Seven for All Mankind, your Paper Denim and Cloth. Rock and republic, Blue Cult, Levi’s….doesn’t matter. Seems that my ass will defeat them all. Usually when this happens, I get pissed and end up buying shoes. That didn’t work either yesterday. So I found myself in one of my happy places, buying clothes for M&S.

I mention all of this because by the time my shopping debacle was over, I was a little grumpy. Fortunately, between my laziness and VT’s couch, the perfect remedy was at hand- Chinese food , crappy white wine, and baseball!

What?

Yup. Baseball. We’ll get to that. Chinese food first.

There are no pictures, as you might have noticed, because VT and I (mostly me) inhaled our food. Mr Chen’s is my favorite Chinese place in the entire city, aside from the place in Chinatown that serves beer after hours (for obvious reasons). It’s a holdover from my AU days, when I had Chinese food at least once a week. We usually ordered from some place called Taiwan Cafe, I think. It was decent, but…Mr. Chen’s was a revelation! And it probably extended my lifespan by about 6 years, thanks to the generally healthy and oftentimes organic ingredients.

Our order? General Tso’s Chicken, Lemon Chicken, and a double order of vegetarian spring rolls (mmmmmm.)

As for the baseball, I think my conversion into a slightly-more-than-casual fan is complete. It just feels weird not to have some sort of sports obsession. I mean, am I supposed to be twiddling my thumbs for the next five months? Can’t deal. Our entire meal, I peppered VT with questions:

“I know what ERA stands for, but what does it mean?”
“What about RBI?”
“Why is RBI such a biased stat?”
“Why does Big Papi spit on his gloves?”
“Why do you need a starter, a reliever, and a closer?”
“How many times can you switch pitchers?”
“Who the hell is THAT?”

And on and on.

Check back. I’m also in the process of selecting an English Premier League team. It’s looking good for the Spurs.

simple pleasures

I enjoy cooking, as you might have noticed. However, when it’s just me, I tend towards really
simple things. Usually involving pasta.

Like this:
I went to my grandparents this weekend to chauffeur my grandmother on some errands and report some orchids. I skipped breakfast, and around 1 or 2, after my stomach started gurgling, I though perhaps it would be a good time to eat. I’ve been laid low all weekend by some violent allergies, and in addition to Claritin-D, my other secret weapon against this time of year is spicy food. I dump hot sauce and pepper flakes on everything I eat. Sort of like how my mother likes to have Cosmos when she’s got a cold.

I made some spaghetti, mixed in a little sour cream (had I not been in the suburbs, I would have used creme fraiche or some Greek yogurt), a pat of butter, and a few glugs of olive oil. Dump in a bowl, and sprinkle with red pepper flakes and cheese. Done and done.

Speaking of simple pleasures, VT and I went to the Nats game Sunday. It was a little on the cold side, but still pretty fun. It’s my first official game of the season. Teddy didn’t win the race, but there’s always next time. Plus, he’s a better dancer than runner.

I think Lala’s right, I might be more than a casual baseball fan by the time the summer’s over.

Just what I need in my life, another sports obsession.

time for a pud, as they say

I was out last night with some friends, when one of them was overcome by an empanada craving. I didn’t want one last night, but when lunchtime rolled around today, I couldn’t think of anything else. Also, it’s gorgeous out, and I needed an excuse to take a walk. So, I went to Julia’s.

I returned from my errands, and, munching on my empanada (I finally branched out from chorizo to Jamaicans style beef with potatoes and curry,) started sifting through various e-mails, when I came across my newest “test” recipe from Cook’s Illustrated:

Sticky. Toffee. Pudding.

Holy crap. I love this stuff. Once upon a time, when I was but a wee high school cook, I invited my Sunday School class over for a dinner party in celebration of our impending departure to the British Isles. Our meal was decidedly Mediterranean in theme, with my favorite roasted tomato sauce and orzo with peas and mint. There were several vegetarians in our midst, and, well, traditional British food just wasn’t going to cut it.

For dessert however, I went with Sticky Toffee Pudding. It was easy, tasty, and had the added bonus of being sort of Scottish (depending on who you ask)- we were going to be spending most of our time on the trip in Scotland (It would mark the beginning of my love/hate relationship with Scotland.)

Also, we were waaaaay to immature for me to serve something called “Spotted Dick” with a straight face. Scratch that. I’m probably still to immature.

Sticky Toffee Pudding is everything gingerbread wants to be when it grows up. The wealthy manor cousin, if you will- rich, spicy, and decadent. It smells fabulous when cooking, is HIGHLY amenable to additions like candied ginger and dried cranberries, and most importantly, is very, very good. (Ok, time to stop anthropomorphizing my food.)

This particular recipe calls for individual servings, baked in ramekins in a water bath. As the unfortunate result of my living situation, I’ve put most of my kitchen purchases on hold for the time being. But now, between the new Target and this recipe, I now have the perfect excuse for buying a bunch of ramekins. They’ll also come in handy this summer, when I’m drowning in tomatoes and spend weekends making ridiculous batches of sauce and chili, and want to pretend I’m on a cooking show, and have everything nicely chopped in its own little bowl.

The recipe has to be critiqued by Friday, April 18th.

Who’s coming over for Sticky Toffee Pudding next week?