Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Getting Out - Earth Day

?uestlove of the Roots

The Climate Rally

This Sunday we ventured out to the National Mall to join the 200,000 folk celebrating Earth Day. This year's fete was the Climate Rally for "comprehensive climate change legislation." That's DC speak for "sweet free concert." We were supposed to have thunderstorms all day, but fortunately the rain held off. The event was pretty fun except for some long winded speakers like James Cameron and some congressmen. We left when John Legend came on and didn't have the endurance to stay for Sting (which means we missed "Message in a Bottle").


  • The Roots served as the house band as a number of artists came out and performed a hit song or two - Mavis Staples "I'll Take you There," Bob Weir (of the Grateful Dead) "Dancin in the Streets", Robert Randolph "Purple Haze", Booker T. "Green Onions"....
  • The best song was the Roots with Booker T. and Joss Stone covering "Crazy" by Gnarls Barkley.
  • We saw Jesse Jackson speak in front of the capital. Pure Americana (and lots of rhyming too).
  • I was bummed to find out that James Cameron is not the guy who made "Almost Famous" (that's Cameron Crowe). In related news, we saw lots of nerds in Avatar face paint.
  • Ran into Maria Menounos, MC of the Real World reunion episodes and sometimes Today Show host. Too intimidated to talk to her. Probably just would have asked about the RW/RR Challenge Fresh Meat II anyway.

This is how many plastic shopping bags the typical family uses a year.

Kathryn at the NASA tent.

I didn't realize how my head was titled. Kind of look like a gay spaceman.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Eating In - Balcony Furniture

With these little balcony chairs, I like to pretend like I'm a giant.

When I first made a mental sketch of this blog, I envisioned a bunch of different themed topics about going out on the town, traveling around the area, having friends visit, and such. I thought it would be really fun to write about the restaurants we frequent and the fun foods we make at home. That's why I wanted two series: Eating Out and Eating In. I've totally slacked off on that last one. So here you go, the inaugural Eating In post.

Kathryn and I once again made our way to IKEA last weekend to pick up some furniture, this time for the patio. We now have a nice table, four chairs, and a potted plant. This week was the first time we were able to eat outside and enjoy the nice weather (and the sound of sirens).

Oh and if you're wondering, that's pan seared tilapia with white wine, shallots, and capers and fresh green beans steamed in chicken stock. Just a regular weeknight meal. That's how we do. Oh and a mixed salad with creamy Italian dressing because hey, I'm still a Midwesterner.

Eating Out - Brazilian

Excited about two kinds of beans? or just drunk?

Grill from Ipanema (Brazilian)

Kathryn loves caipirinhas (a drink made from Brazilian booze, limes, and lots of sugar), so we decided to head to a bar/restaurant known for serving up the best. Grill from Ipanema in Adam's Morgan also has to be one of the all time top five cheesiest names for a restaurant. It was the perfect evening to sit outside and people watch. That is, until it started to rain on our walk to the restaurant. We decided to quickly adjust our plans, grab a taxi, and sit inside.

  • This was our first experience with Brazilian (or should I say Brasilian?) food. The food was pretty good, but the drinks.... the drinks were ridiculous. Kathryn had a caipirinha and a caipirisima. I had two maracujinhas. It's a passion fruit cocktail with sugar and cachaca. It was the girliest thing on the menu, so of course, I had to have it.
  • We started the meal off with Brazilian croquettes with spicy sauce. Big fan!
  • The item I was most interested was the feijao tropeiro - a mix of red beans, yuca flour, bacon, egg, onion, parsley, and scallions. Awesome right? Well, if you like the taste of a half way prepared box of Zatarain's.
  • The rest of the food was generally OK but forgettable. We both liked the beans and rice, but I'm not sure it's enough to bring us back.

I didn't take many pictures, but Saturday night was our first United home game of the season. (We were in NYC during the season opener.) We ended up losing 2-0 to the Chicago Fire, and it was absolutely freezing.

But the pregame festivities did include a pretty sweet free show in the parking lot. One of my old high school favorites... DC's own.... THE PIETASTERS!

Kathryn wouldn't let me skank.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Eating Out - Peruvian Chicken

Kathryn and $11 worth of food. That's right $11.

El Pollo Rico (Peruvian Chicken)

So this is a place we've been about a half a dozen times, but I've finally gotten around to writing about it. I know I've probably said this before about other places, but this may very well be my favorite DC dining experience (although it's in Arlington I guess). If you come visit us (and you eat chicken), I'm going to try to make you go there. It's a must!

  • This place sells rotisserie chicken, fries, and cole slaw. That's it. Period.
  • The chicken is rubbed down in some kind of secret spice blend and served with two sauces: a creamy mayo based sauce and what can only be described as jalapeƱo relish. (Note my Bourdainian word choice)
  • For both of us to get a quarter chicken (white for me, dark for Kathryn) with both sides and a drink, it's $11. That's about the cheapest food you can get in DC.
  • Like most cheap places that are really, really good. They draw a diverse bunch of diners ranging from wealthy political types to working class immigrants.
  • If you come on a weekend afternoon, expect long lines, no open tables, and no parking spaces.
  • Did I mention that this place is amazing?

Road Trip - Philadelphia Invasion

The gang departing from RFK.

Alright, this is technically a road trip, but it doesn't really count for two reasons. (1) We went up to Philly and back in the same day, and (2) Kathryn couldn't go because she had to work. Any way, here's the story...

Kathryn and I have DC United season tickets. That is to say, I have season tickets that Kathryn let me get, and she's willing to go to a bunch of games. This last weekend, I won four free tickets to the inaugural United vs. Philly Union game, which included transport in the team branded van. I roped two friends from Purdue (plus a significant other) to coming along. DC lost the game 3-2, but it was still a fun time. Here are a couple of high lights.

We tailgated at the bar across from the stadium with the Union supporters group Sons of Ben (SoB's). They were actually a pretty nice bunch, for Philadelphia that is. These people booed Santa Claus remember.

Here we are at the bar rocking the "Philly Invasion" scarfs United gave us.

This was a stare down with a Philly fan after we both had several beers. I thought we looked tough at the time, but now I think it looks like he's about to kiss me.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Road Trip - New York City

Double decker tour bus!

The last couple weeks in the district have been marked by the ever increasing volume of tourists. What's the best way to get away from tourists? Go to the biggest tourist destination on the east coast during the first holiday weekend of the year! This past weekend I exercised my first flex day off and took an additional earned time off so Kathryn and I could spend four nights in beautiful New York City. My sister was in town with her husband and their three boys for family vacation.

Here's what we did:
  • Took the cheap bus from DC to New York. Complete mess for about 3 hours and then a real charm.
  • Ate a big slice of New York pizza at Famiglia Pizza, two nights in a row.
  • Ate a big meal of Italian food at Carmine's, two nights in a row.
  • Didn't coordinate meal plans with my sister and her family.
  • Walked about 8 miles around the city looking at stuff.
  • Saw the Broadway production of the musical Chicago.
  • Did the typical double decker bus tour. Highly recommended. Admittedly cheesy.
  • Went to the Immigration Museum at Ellis Island, the highlight of the trip.
Here's some pictures in no particular order, literally.

This is a really great picture of the Brooklyn Bridge and a decent photo of how weird Europeans dress.

Walking around Central Park.

Kathryn's one requirement of the trip. The girl loves fine chocolates.

Kathryn actually spotted this one. We're huge Law and Order fans.

We discovered this weekend that we actually prefer DC to New York. Here's one of the reason why.

Finally, if you've ever needed a reason to visit New York City. If only I had a time machine to go back and tell 7th grade Todd that Green Day would some day have a Broadway musical. I don't know how he would take it.