things I would like for Christmas

I know why some people are so hard to shop for for Christmas/Festivus/whatever.  I don’t know about you, but I feel bad asking for anything even remotely expensive.  So, I usually end up with a bunch of giftcards and the like, which ruins the surprise of Christmas, but also means I don’t have to spend December 26th returning a lot of ugly crap.   With that in mind, here is my Christmas list:

1. Think Like a Chef, by Tom Colicchio: Because I am a Top Chef nerd, and have a teensy crush on Tom.  Also, either Bacardi and the Long Fight for Cuba, by Tom Gjelten or Bananas!: How the United Fruit Company Shaped the World, by Peter Chapman.

2. A gift certificate from Artisanal Cheese.

3. A new 13-inch 2GHz Macbook.  It’s a Macbook!  It’s environmentally friendly!

4. A case of Del Monte No Salt French Style Green Beans.  One of my favorite things in the world to do is eat these with a fork, straight out of the can, standing over the sink.  I can’t explain it, but it’s delicious.

5. Kerastase shampoo and conditioner.  I cannot justify paying more than $20 (combined) on shampoo and conditioner.  And frankly, I have a hard time justifying that.

6. A bottle or two of this.

7. New bag.  Mine is a bit too well loved falling apart. It’s only a matter of time before the bottom completely falls out, the lining has completely torn away and my pocket is broken.  I have a hard time giving it up though-  it was a birthday gift my senior year of college from my friends/fake sorority members (don’t ask), and I’ve stuffed my entire life in it since then.

8.  A pizza stone

9. Santa has still not seen fit to bring me a 5-quart Kitchenaid stand mixer, so until he does, I will continue doing slice and bake cookies.  (Santa- I would prefer clementine or lemongrass, but if you’d like to use my Costco card and go for Empire Red, I’m okay with that.)

10. Gift certificate to Kramers (preferably) or Amazon/Borders/Barnes and Noble so I can buy my first book club book.

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.

Target and lactose-free grocery shopping


Accompanied by Francesco and VT, I went to Target yesterday.

Oh. my. god.

It’s all I hoped it would be, and so much more. Two floors of brightly colored, affordable stuff. AND there’s even a cart escalator, like the one at the Target in Rockville. While it was crowded last night, I don’t think it was any more so than your average Sunday-in-the-suburbs Target.

Since I was with the guys, I avoided meandering through the clothes/underwear section, and stuck mainly to housewares, food, and furniture. I think I’m going to have to go back though, possibly tonight, in order to fully take in the glory that is the new Columbia Heights Target. Francesco lives on 11th street, and as we walked over from his place, he requested that we walk over to 14th, then walk up the hill so we could see it slowly appear. I happily obliged, having used this method on my walk over to his place.

Who knew one of my favorite movies had a straight to DVD sequel?!

Because we are cheap, and were starving, we decided to have dinner at Target. That is when disaster struck. Up until this point, the store had been well-staffed, with perfectly acceptable checkout lines and the like. We noticed the pileup at the Pizza Hut as soon as we walked over- pissed off grey haired women and families with lots of small, screaming children. Apparently, Target/Pizza Hut had underestimated the demand for a $2 medium drink and chicken tenders combo, and the wait for chicken tenders was loooooong. Seeing as that’s what I had planned for dinner (seriously, it was $2…how can you pass that up) I switched to the more expensive personal pan pepperoni pizza for $3.59
and added nachos and a medium drink (another $2). I believe my total came to about $6.15, and I had the most expensive dinner out of the three of us.

Spot the problem.

After our initial Target foray, VT and I went to Giant to go grocery shopping. He has recently been ordered off all dairy for a few weeks in an attempt to discover whether or not he’s lactose intolerant. (Please note, the correct term is lactose intolerant. “Lactard,” hilarious though it may be, is a mean and hurtful word, particularly when applied towards someone hailing from a state with such a long and storied history with cheese and ice cream.) VT is also a fan of ready-made food, and after watching me make terrible faces and roll my eyes when he picked up some Shake and Bake and noodles in a packet, he looked at me and said “You know, why don’t you just leave and stop judging me so I can do my shopping.”

Oops.

I redeemed myself by finding potato and onion pierogies, and some butternut squash soup. I also made him buy lactose-free milk, which he didn’t want to do- my reasoning was that there is no possible way it’s worse than his current fix- soy milk. The dairy aisle led to one of the most alarming things I’ve ever seen in a grocery store:


That’s right. Shrimp in a can. gross. Almost as gross as cheeseburger in a can. Almost

In short:
Target=good
“lactard”= funny, but bad
shrimp in a can= sick.

TARGETtargetTARGETtargetTARGETtarget

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.