taco bell, and a small digression into bbq

Taco Bell is one of my dirty little secrets. It’s terrible for you, not very tasty, full of salt, and generally is just awful. But it reminds me of my childhood. Fast food was a rare treat with my mom, so with my grandparents, we did what any normal children would do and gorged ourselves. On the weekends we stayed with them, my grandmother, tired of my and my grandfather’s ham-fisted attempts at cooking (the chicken grease muffins are a story for a later date,) would send him out to get something for dinner. My sister and I, being about 7 and 9 at the time, alternated between Taco Bell and Pizza Hut (with an occasional McDonald’s cinnamon roll thrown in for breakfast on Sunday.)

I explained this to VT and he pointed out that when I get stressed or grumpy, I have a tendency to hit Taco Bell. Point taken. As a result, I limit my Taco Bell intake to once every three months.

I broke that rule last night.

Some time ago, I received an e-mail from VT:
“i trust you will be joining me at this event?”

with the following attached:

My response?
“holy shit! i am SO there. if this is a joke, I’m going to be pissed beyond belief.”

So, yesterday, I met VT outside of Cannon, and we walked with another one of his coworkers into the Rayburn cafeteria for free Taco Bell.

I have never worked on the Hill in the classic sense. I worked for a non-profit that’s located on the Hill, but I have never worked in a Senate, House or Committee office, and I have NO intention of ever doing so. Yesterday, i was dressed for work in a denim jacket, tank top, and bubble skirt. That is basically the highest level of formality my job requires. I was wearing flip flops, but in a concession to the occasion, switched to flats. Things like that don’t work on the Hill.

I do LOVE Hill receptions though, which is why I’m glad VT (for the time being) works there. Free beer. Free taco bell. Did I mention the free beer?

I got into an argument with one of VT’s coworkers, a Grade-A bullshitter who tried to convince me that barbecue had originated in Vermont. “We use artisanal pigs,” he said.

“You can use artisanal pigs for barbecue. It’s made from hogs,” I replied.

This led to a discussion of the major fault lines in barbecue- wet vs. dry, pork vs. beef, and most importantly, ketchup vs. vinegar. I, being from NC, come down on the wet, porky, vinegary side. I also might have referenced this map of SC barbecue.

I later resumed this discussion with a friend from Texas, who clearly came down on the exact oppossite side. Poor saps. They don’t know what they’re missing down there.


dispatches from the field: headed down south to the land of the pine…

It’s noon, we’re searching for a radio station, and we hit my favorite part of the trip- coming around the curve on 95, VCU’s ever expanding campus on one side (screw you, Eric Maynor) and the Richmond train station on the other.

The Wendy’s in South Hill won an award for fastest fast food service. It’s sleeting in DC, and sunny and a little breezy here. We’re far enough South that I can have Cheerwine with my Wendy’s combo.

There’s a pit stop at the ABC store, which combined with a request for a cup of ice from Wendy’s, leads me to believe my grandfather will be snacking on peanuts and drinking something on the rocks while I drive.

Time for the switch at the first rest stop in North Carolina.

I could do this drive in my sleep (but still in my driving shoes.) I can wake up, look out the window, and tell you exactly what highway we’re on (495, 395, 95, 85, 40) and approximately where we are. I’ve been up and down this route more times than I can count- every 2 weeks from the time I was 6 until I was 13, and probably about once a month between then and college.

It’s good to be home.


Anyone who knows me will tell you that I am just a little obsessed with Target. In my hometown, there are three Targets, and when I go home, I visit each of them at least once. My aunt swears that whenever I’m home and I call her, I’m in Target/going to Target/have just left Target. I get e-mail updates about the GO International line. I have memorized the layouts of the Target on Jefferson Davis Highway, as well as the ones in Largo, Lanham, and Bowie (all close to my grandparents’ home in the ‘burbs), and the three in my hometown. I am one of those people who walks in for some mascara and walks out $250 poorer with a cart full of things I didn’t know I HAD to have- my last batch of Target purchases included Riedel bourbon glasses, silicone potholders, a fabulous trench coat, 3 pairs of shoes, Mr.Clean, serving platters, face wash, and wooden spoons for VT. My grandmother always asks me what I need at Target, and I always respond, “I don’t know, but I’m sure there’s something.”

As such, I am pissed that I was not invited to the soft opening. However, I’ve decided to forgive Target, and will be headed there after work today. I have no intention of buying anything (not that that means much- I could use some more mascara) but I just can’t BEAR the thought of it being open AND so close to my house, without me making a pit stop.

Full report tomorrow. For now, DCist has pictures.

things i enjoy

1. Running into friends on the way home.
2. Bonding over basketball, election results, and “mackey cheese” with Carolina.
3. Falling asleep listening to the rain.
4. Turkey sandwiches from K Street Bagel.
5. Union Pub’s new menu, even if they don’t have PBR on draft anymore.
6. Finding my favorite beer, Maudite, at the local bodega.
7. Listening to election results on NPR.


Shmee’s out of town, and asked me to guest post.

I should also throw out that I went to my first ever hockey/Caps game with her a few Fridays ago. They played the ‘Canes and lost. However, I discovered that hockey has all the violence of football, but on skates, and with more fights! Excellent.


Keyshawn “Just Give Me the Damn Ball” Johnson reunites with the Tuna in Miami? [Awful Announcing]

Some news on 2008 openings via the Going Out Gurus. Personally, I’m excited for Cork. [Washington Post]

Vanished NC historical sites [North Carolina Miscellany]

Harris Teeter! (and it’s only taken…oh fuck it, I forget how many years) [DCist]

Forbes’ most valuable college basketball teams [North Carolina Miscellany]
– by the way, I-40 is NOT Tobacco Road. Those of us hailing from the old North State know that it is actually 15-501. Duh. Also, please note that while Duke is number 5 on the list, visitors to Durham for games spend more than any other fans.

Oh, and by the way, the Cowboys are still the most valuable sports franchise IN THE WORLD.

headed down south to the land of the pine…

Being a native North Carolinian, there are several things for which I have a deep and undying love:
1) anything that comes from a pig, especially bacon and BBQ
2) college basketball
3) the Carolina Panthers (this is a more recent development. Bill Simmons has a column about divided sports loyalties. I explain mine like so- I grew up a Dallas fan, and they will always be my first love. However, in ’95, Carolina got a team, and I can’t not root for the hometown team.)
4) sweet tea and Cheerwine

With that in mind, I present you with the foll0wing:
1) bacon candy [via Serious Eats]
2) sad, sad news…yet tempered somewhat by this. [via Awful Announcing]
3) insights from both sides on Saturday’s upcoming game
4) perfect pre-Christmas present wrapping cocktail: Bojangles sweet tea + jack daniels + lime.