Thursday, December 30, 2010

Christmas 2010

We had nice weather long enough to take a family picture.

We spent Christmas vacation in Nashville with Kathryn's family. Major highlights: (1) a White Christmas, (2) outstanding Christmas dinner, and (3) teaching our little niece to fist bump (she prefers when you blow it up).

Kathryn and her mom making Christmas dinner - Hungarian goulash and galuska.

Kathryn wanted to make sure we documented the White Christmas.

Look at that sweet face...

The little gal loves books.

It's hard to get a candid photo of a toddler on the move.

The girls went out for manicures and pedicures (minus the tiny one).

Eating pig feet in a Nashville style "meat and three."

The final stop of the trip...

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas

We wanted to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and to say thank you for visiting our blog. It's been a great first year in DC, and we really look forward to an even better 2011!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Getting Out - Farmers' Markets

It's obviously root vegetable season.

DuPont Circle FRESHFARM Market

No matter where we live, there is always at least one resource we completely under use. There are places right under our noses that we always seem to forget about until it's too late. The best example in our current neighborhood is the collection of nearby farmers' markets. Fortunately, we stumbled into the DuPont Circle one while taking care of Christmas shopping last weekend.

The market offers a great selection of fresh fruits and vegetables, but the vendors also include a bakery, a charcuterie, and a couple of cheesemakers. We picked up a small batch of groceries for the short week before heading home for the holidays. Hopefully, we'll remember to head to the farmers' market more often from now on.

Kathryn doing a bit of shopping.

Roasted carrots and Brussels sprouts (another new favorite food).

Leftover steak sandwiches with roasted beets and goat cheese.

I've nearly perfected collard greens (here with pancetta, onions, and sriracha), and Kathryn contributed her famous sausages-wrapped-in-biscuits.

My very favorite Christmas tradition - fruit cake. It's only for me and senior citizens at this point I think.

We also picked up the perfect snack - a loaf of hearty bread, fresh pumpkin butter, and apple cider (not pictured).

Eating Out - Vietnamese

Nothing warms your belly on a cold day like a giant bowl of Pho.

Minh's Vietnamese Restaurant (Vietnamese)

Every so often, we have a Saturday where we don't want to do anything. Even picking out a movie (or basketball game) can seem like a chore when you're having a day like that. Well, we had one of those last weekend, and needless to say - neither of us felt like cooking. What we did feel like was Vietnamese food, so we scraped ourselves off the living room furniture and ventured to Arlington.

  • I always beat up on Arlington, especially Clarendon. It's the kind of neighbor where everything feels like a college bar, even the Whole Foods. Still, we didn't feel like driving, and Minh's had some decent reviews. We thought it would be worth and shot, and we definitely left happy.
  • Kathryn was the one who suggested Vietnamese based on a craving for summer rolls, and Minh's did not disappoint. In fact, they were some of the best we've ever had. The rice paper was soft and fresh, and the ingredients seemed well balanced.
  • Kathryn stuck with the classic spring roll and pork virmicelli, but I opted for the beef pho (pronounce "fuh" as in fuhgettaboutit). Pho is the perfect cold weather food. It's giant bowl of broth swimming with bean sprouts, basil, noodles, and beef. For good measure, I always add a bit of jalapeƱo and sriracha sauce to bring the heat. It may not be the best pho I've ever had, but it was the most fulfilling. I left feeling warm, well fed, and even sleepier (if that's even possible).
  • In sum, Minh's is in line with the best Vietnamese food we've had in this city, but the only thing missing is the "adventure" you get from Eden Center.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Getting Out - National Christmas Tree

This girl is freezing...

Some how we managed to miss the National Christmas Tree last year, so one evening this week we took a nice brisk walk to check it out. Here's everything you need to know:
  • The tree itself is the centerpiece of the presentation, but it's far from the coolest part. We both really liked the surrounding small trees - one for each state (or territory!). There were also tons of model train sets around the base of the tree.
  • The National Christmas Tree has a small stage featuring live music every evening. The most entertaining portion of the children's choir we heard was the time between songs. The kids didn't realized they were miked, and they had lots of opinions to share. Kathryn particularly enjoyed the little girl complaining of "hyperthermia."

The National Christmas Tree.

Kathryn hunting for the Tennessee tree.

Some of the model trains and state trees (notice the awesome view of the White House in background).

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Rehoboth Beach Seashore Half Marathon

Enjoying a little quality time at the after party.

This weekend we completed our first half marathon in (a personal record) 2:43. Kathryn wants me to point out that she finished a complete two seconds before me (even though we promised to finish together). The race featured some nice scenery including marshes, downtown Rehoboth Beach, and (of course) the Atlantic ocean.

We've spent a lot of time training for the race, and it was a great thing to experience together.

Getting ready in the morning.

Start time 0700h, sunrise 0708h.

About a mile in, we stopped for a few seconds for the picture. There's a small, elite group of runners who stop to take pictures along the race.

About 8 miles in, taking care of all the necessary procedures.

About 10 miles in at the beautiful salt marshes. Two important things about this picture: (1) how Dawson's Creek does that look? and (2) wearing all black makes you look lightning fast...

Cheering on some of the other finishers. The temperatures during the race were between 36 - 38 degrees, so the blanket was helpful.

Waiting in line...

...for this little bit of awesome --- post-race massages.

The hardware!

Road Trip - Rehoboth Beach, DE

It's easiest to find a spot on the beach when it's really, really cold out.

This weekend we spent two nights in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware. Admittedly, this isn't peak beach going weather, but it was still a great getaway. Rehoboth is just a few hours drive from DC, which seems remarkably close for a couple of Midwesterners.

We managed to grab some fresh seafood, walk the boardwalk, and checked out a bunch of little shops. On the way home we stopped by the outlet mall and smelled a bunch of chicken farms, but mostly smelled chicken farms.

We just missed the big guy and weren't able to put in our gift requests.

I pretty much ate seafood all weekend. First up - lobster roll.

I still wanted to "get in."

This is right before I was nearly attacked by seagulls... a second time. My defense strategy during the first attack - feed the seagulls, and they'll probably go away.

Notice how there are no seagulls when you don't have food.

Delaware really does have some beautiful beaches.

Rehoboth has tons of raw bars, and we wanted to try our first raw oysters. I really liked them, and Kathryn really liked the hot sauce (but not the oysters). Neither one of us got sick.... yet.

Eating In - Arganica (3)

This time our seasonal surprise food -- apple butter!

Another box full of awesome food. Another week of fun cooking and tasty meals. Thought we would share some pictures.

Oven roasted sweet potato fries to go with our veggie burgers.

Gnocchi with roasted cherry tomatoes and shallots.

Herb roasted chicken with spaghetti squash.

Japanese style collard greens with pot roast.

Curry roasted cauliflower with swordfish steaks.

I even got up really early on a week day morning to make omelets with yellow peppers and red onion.

Broiled cabbage, onions, and carrots with sausage.

Bonus: It's finally warm enough for an evening fire!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

After our big meal.

Today we celebrated Thanksgiving in style! We started the day with the Trot for Hunger 5K in West Potomac Park. The first thing to be thankful for - we both set new PRs, finishing in 31:44. Later, we dined on traditional Thanksgiving favorites with a Belgian twist at BRABO in Old Town Alexandria. Both the food and the atmosphere at BRABO were outstanding.

The "Traditional Turkey Dinner" with sweet potato puree, cranberry relish, chestnut dressing, giblet gravy, and Brussels sprouts.

Kathryn about to enjoy the roasted beet salad with arugula, pistachios, and goat cheese.

At the starting line, trying to stay warm.

Happy Thanksgiving from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial!