Thursday

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Millbrook alumni happy hour. (Millbrook was my boarding/high school, and I love it very much and try to attend as many events as possible in both NYC and DC). We met at the Old Ebbitt Grill, a lovely, historic old bar (est. 1856) for bloody mary’s. I ordered mine spicy and wasn’t disappointed. Also ordered the artichoke and crab dip with toasty baguette slices to transport said hot delicious dip from its ceramic bowl to my open face.

And then, readers, my alumni buddies and I went over to Galileo III for a late supper where we had some very good wines (I double fisted the red and white, ever the classy drinker) to supplement our prix fixe meal: I chose the seared scallops over black and yellow polenta (which was the best I had EVER had, I even liked the polenta more than the scallops, which I prefer raw anyway) followed by the squid ink tagliatelle in lobster cream sauce with sizable lobbie chunks. Dessert was a banana-y yummy thing (too happily drunk and well-fooded to know exactly the details of this course at the time), accompanied by champagne. The waitstaff brought us two amuse bouches: the first was tuna tartar over israeli couscous, and the second was creamy polenta (or was it rice?) topped with shaved cheese of some sort. I was barely listening to the description, I was drooling so much. During dessert the chef came out to greet us. What a warm atmosphere! Another alumna picked up the tab… a true gentleman.

Then over to Shelly’s for a cigar before bed (yeah right- I had one puff and was thoroughly disgusting… I didn’t even inhale).

…It was an unusual evening, in that I was completely spoiled.

Friday

After a ten hour work day I picked up the boyfriend (Will/Wilson) in Rosslyn (Arlington, VA) where his Vamoose got in and we went to Piola for some seriously good Neapolitan style pizza: I artichokes/heart of palm and he Hawaiian, each usually between 12-14 dollars, but on Friday and Saturday nights they have an after 10 pm special that involves one pizza (of ANY kind- which means you could get an expensive $16 one!) and one beer for $12. That is a pretty spectacular deal. If somebody offered you one pizza for $16 or one of the same pizza (same size!) AND a beer for $12, I mean come on… you can’t lose.

Saturday

Will and I saw Harry Potter 7.1 in Pentagon City, VA (and it was better than all the other lousy movies, in my opinion) and chased it with some Thai across the street. They don’t have a lunch menu, which bothered me- I’m not used to paying $12 for a vegetarian stir fry, but I think we were paying for the atmosphere because the decor was lovely.

Then we went to Trader Joe’s for a little dinner shopping. Usually we like to visit whatever local farmers market is brewing that day; during his last visit we bought and stir fried dandelion greens with lambcetta (you heard me). However, having seen the matinee of HP7.1, we had missed the noon o’clock closing time of the market and settled for TJ’s.

For supper we heated up some appetizers (TJ’s’ Lemongrass Chicken Stix… very yummy but doesn’t come with a sauce so add your own sweet chili sauce or fish sauce) and cooked: I cooked butternut squash ravioli in a butter-sage sauce, and Will pan-fried some asparagus in butter and lemon juice as a side. We washed it down with my FAVORITE white wine, 2009 Overlake Chardonnay, which is buttery and creamy with some serious hints of vanilla, oak, and green apple. It was $6/bottle but a limited item so I bought about 7 bottles last month. For dessert we heated up some TJ’s chocolate lava cakes and watched It’s Always Sunny.

Sunday

Met Millbrook roommate Sarah Podmaniczky (“Pod”) and her boyfriend Bill for brunch at a FABULOUS new place in Arlington near the Clarendon metro called Eventide. We started off with coffees (I did not, as I am terrifying after caffeine consumption in any form at any time of day) and yummy spicy bloody mary’s (which I did have!). I had the shrimp Parmesan grits (oh-em-gee, were they good!!!), Pod had the sausage & egg grilled flatbread, Wilson the french toast a la mode, and Bill the chicken biscuits. I had a taste of Pod and Bill’s, and theirs was first rate too. I really really recommend this place over all the others I visited this weekend- the waitstaff was calm and kind, the atmosphere was unrushed and pleasant, and the food was soulful and stellar. Please, Northern Virginia residents, book a brunch here!

After hugging/high-fiving Pod and Bill, Wilson and I drove into DC to check out the Newseum. As cousins Will and Harry King once reviewed, “it was more like the museum of bad news.” I agree, though I genuinely like morbid stuff (Concentration camps, Holocaust museums, the Killing Fields in Cambodia… I love it all) so I really liked two exhibits in particular: the 9/11 exhibit on floor 4, and the Pulitzer Prize winning photos on the ground floor.

The 9/11 exhibit was interesting because it had 4 really cool things: the crooked metal tower on top of one of the towers, a minute-by-hour break down of what happened that day at exactly what time, a wall of front pages from all over the United States AND the world from 9/12, and best of all the looping collection of interviews and footage from the reporters, pedestrians, and other survivors from that building/neighborhood that day. To see those towers shuddering down to the ground is quite amazing.

Other cool exhibits: the color-coded map of which countries have freedom of the press, partial freedom, and no freedom of the press (Scandinavia has the most freedom of the press), and I think somewhere in western Africa has the least. The Berlin wall exhibit was okay.

Other than that?…. eh. “4D” movie was lame. The $20 entrance fee was VERY lame, and had I paid a mere $10 (or even $0?) my opinion would probably be kinder. The Elvis exhibit was probably cool to those of you who care about him but I didn’t, so…

The day ended with a nice little sit (I doodled like a pro) at Starbucks as we waited for Will’s Vamoose to arrive to take him back to New York. When he left I returned home to my leftover ravioli and unfinished 2009 Overlake.

Anyway it was the first weekend in a long time that I got out and did new things in DC. Usually I’m such a damn workaholic that I barely get the chance to try new places to report on. Also, I plan on moving north soon, so enjoy the DC recommendations while they last.