Wednesday, September 2, 2020

Given to the amenities of dining out in Washington (107Cong.Rec.)

This year, for my birthday I facilitated an online class for 6 hours, including 2 spent in live video chat. I'm pretty sure I ate out after the workday concluded, but I remember the beer more (Zoom fatigue is real, y'all). Much like everything this year, this was a great contrast to my birthday dinner last year. In 2019, a friend I was happy to be reunited with in DC met me at Morris American Bar for a swanky cocktail (top left). I requested ethnic food for the main meal because I was still reveling in the many cultures within the Beltway, and my friend delivered with Asian tapas at Momofuku (top right). But the real icing on the cake, to confuse a metaphor, was my dessert: ice cream from Milk Bar next door, complete with a token candle (bottom). 
Not long after my birthday last year, I spent a weekend at Rehoboth Beach with another friend I was happy to be reunited with in DC. Even then, the beach wasn't that crowded (left), but I still wouldn't have been willing to replicate the trip this year, given the COVID numbers on the Delaware shore this summer. Which means, unfortunately, that I wasn't able to have another helping of avocado toast with crab at Egg, right down the street from the hotel where we stayed, Ocean Glass Inn (right).
This year, I'm not missing the the long-weekend trips to the beach as much as the short-walk jaunts to markets in my and other DMV neighborhoods. Down by the Navy Yard intermittently last summer was a food festival called Smorgasburg, with vendors offering a diverse spread of street-food snacks. Looking for something different, I munched on okonomiyaki, an unusual Japanese pancake, and collared green spring rolls, an East Asian/Southern-fried fusion with mumbo sauce (left). As I feel daylight hours dwindling now, I remember how last year, as summer turned to fall, I made it to one last market, at Waterfront Station, before sundown on my way home from work (right). 
At this time last year, I was getting ready for a half-marathon in Brooklyn in November. I used my training runs at the time as an excuse to reward myself with beer. One of my long runs was to the Port City beer garden in Alexandria's -now-more-developed Waterfront Park (left). My last long run before the race was to Novemberfest at Rustico in Alexandria. I celebrated the end of my training with samples of some unusual and high-ABV beers:
After I actually placed in the Brooklyn race, I decided to continue by beer-motivating tactics in preparing for the Rock 'n' Roll Half-Marathon in DC, which was originally slated for March 2020 before it was rescheduled to November 2020 then pushed back again to March 2021. One day from work, I did a mid-range run to Audacious Alewerks in Falls Church before catching the Metro home (right). 
Even when I wasn't training, I managed to intersect beer and exercise. As part of DC's annual Beer Week, I did a fun run from Right Proper in Brookland (top left) to Red Bear in NOMA (top right). The event this year runs for two weeks, Sept. 13-26; sadly, I will miss the festivities. Last year, I attended the kickoff party at Bluejacket (bottom left), where I was given a free Solidarity 2019 IPA because an extra was poured accidentally. As I drank it with my hush puppies, I felt great solidarity with that kind bartender (bottom right). 
After riding my bike to Oktoberfest at Port City, I decided to skip any further beer-related physical exertion that day and watched the stein-hoisting competition from the sidelines instead (top). I exerted myself just a little bit at a lambic event at Anxo. Although I went to try some of their Belgian beers, I ended up catching cider from their casks (middle). At another fermented-apple mecca, Capital Cider House (bottom left), I did absolutely nothing but 4-ounce curls with a flight of their first-class offerings (bottom right). 
I am quite beholden to beer and inclined toward cider, but I am willing to give other alcohol a try, which is why I attended the quarterly whisky-laced dinner at Catoctin Creek Distillery last December (left). Still, the group I went with enjoyed a pre-dinner drink at Adroit Theory, which specializes in creative fruity goses and strong dark beers. I had the B/A/Y/S imperial stout variant, whose cocoa nibs and maple syrup got me in a yuletide mood. To top it off, when I got home that night, I listened to Christmas carolers croon for my neighbors (right). And so I wonder: What will the holidays be like this year? Will Santa bring me the ability to unrestrictedly eat and drink out in the new year? Hopefully I've been a good enough girl. Hopefully all of us have. 

Thursday, May 21, 2020

Events in DC and back home (153Cong.Rec.3467)

Okay, this is going to be hard. In this downtime, blogging is beckoning. But the few posts I was working on all involved the fun known as "leaving my house." Initially, I thought I should wait until this is all over before I did a recap, but by that time, these thoughts might be sorely out of date. Besides, maybe this walk down recent memory lane will be cathartic, if a little bit masochistic.

I was looking forward to returning to DC from abroad for many reasons, but a primary one was easy access to many events. Events that I could learn about without using Google Translate, events that I could buy tickets for without my credit card being declined, events that I could go to without staying up way past my bedtime because they started an hour late. Like concerts. What better way to drench myself in U.S. culture than a cover band devoted to yacht rock, Boat House Row (left)? An event, at The Hamilton Live, where I didn't care about standing out as a tacky American, even though I didn't wear a leather vest (right). 
Also, events that indulged by inner groupie for people I know. Like grooving to The Porch Lights, when my friend, the lead singer, let me play much, much more cowbell (left). Like watching Forest Treas, when I swelled with pride for a former student, who was director of the conceptual play about the DC sniper (right).
And events that made me a fangirl of people I would like to know. Like walking 15 minutes from my house to the Capitol Hill Arts Workshop to watch the Taffety Punk Riot Grrrls' all-female production of Othello (top). Like hopping the Metro to the Kennedy Center to see so much funny: Tituss Burgess's musical revue with special guest Jane Krakowski (bottom left), Heidi Schreck's one-woman show What the Constitution Means to Me, and a Riot! comedy celebration for International Women's Day (bottom right). 
Plus, events that reunited me with people I hadn't seen for a while. Like at trip with friends to Wolf Trap Center for the Performing Arts, which was planned well before I landed back in the States (top left). After a picnic outside the amphitheater, we enjoyed our excellent seats for viewing Swan Lake with Misty Copeland (top right). Like another trip to the center, when we opted for lawn seats, so we could only see Wait Wait ... Don't Tell Me host Peter Sagal's actual face on the big screen (bottom). 
Which brings me to events that made me geek out over seeing some idols, especially those from radio shows. Like a tour of the NPR building (top left). Somehow, I managed to resist stealing a souvenir (top right); I mean, it was just lying right there! However, I did not manage to be subtle as we exited the recording booth (bottom) and saw Melissa Block sitting at her desk; there was some heavy pointing involved.
Then, events that paid homage to departed heroes. I tend to avoid the Smithsonians because of the crowds (oh, cruel irony). So this past summer, I happily slid into the Baseball Americana exhibit at the Library of Congress, where you could act like a slugger in the spotlight (top left). But I couldn't resist finding a spot among the museums on the Mall, when gatherings of 10 times 10s were still allowed, to watch the Apollo 50: Go For the Moon show on the anniversary of Apollo 11 launch (top right). In order to watch an earlier pioneer of the skies, I headed to the National Geographic Museum for a recording of the Overheard podcast about The Search for Amelia Earhart (bottom).
Sometimes, events that fueled my own sense of adventure. Despite the healthy array of art museums in Kyiv, I had neglected my interest in such works for too long, so I took advantage of a free-entrance community day at the National Museum of Women in the Arts (top), where I lingered a long while amid the photographs of the anti-selfie series STEFDIES. In another version of women in the arts, I attended my first Drag Bingo, at Red Bear Brewing (bottom left), where a few artists demonstrated their, um, techniques up close and personal on the tables (bottom right). 
On occasion, events that contributed to my personal causes. I manned the registration table for the Constitutional (N) Votes for Women walking tour near Eastern Market before I participated myself in a series of tastings to celebrate the anniversary of women's right to vote (top left). The most relevant offering was a flight of wines by female vintners at DCanter, but the most tasty was the "Something Like an Old Fashion" cocktail at the Harold Black speakeasy (top right). Earlier this year, I signed up to be a volunteer with the Humane Rescue Alliance (bottom left). After training, my first official duty was handling a dog for an adoption booth at a local pet store, where I helped find Mitri a new home (bottom right).
But finally, events that relaxed and rewarded me at the same time -- and for free even! This upcoming summer, I definitely will be missing all the open-air movies, like Films at the Stone, a series at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial that included The Hate U Give (top left). The only better outside group activity might be free sessions of Yoga on the Waterfront, offered by Yoga Factory in the District Wharf (top right). And if the current situation is protracted, it will be be most unfortunate for us and ArtRave DC (bottom left), a festival in the graffiti-festooned Dupont Underground (bottom right). But then again, it just might be the events that think outside of the box that get us through this year and beyond.

Monday, January 20, 2020

They run in Brooklyn 12 mile (22Cong.Rec.)

I haven't been posting much lately because I am back in DC, so I am not jetting off to a nearby country every long weekend. However, I do want to take advantage of my domestic posting to travel within the United States, so I agreed to my friend's invitation for a weekend trip to Brooklyn -- even though it meant running a half-marathon. We drove up on a Friday night after work, but the race wasn't until Sunday, so we had some time for sight-seeing. On Saturday morning, we did a shakeout run from our place in Bedford-Stuyvesant to the Brooklyn Bridge (left). We had planned to run to the Manhattan side and back, but the path was too full of selfie-takers for that (right).
We ascended from the span into the Dumbo neighborhood (top left), where we started a walking tour of beautiful Brooklyn Heights buildings (top right). It was a lovely day to wander the tree-lined streets, a peaceful juxtaposition to the high-rises of Wall Street (bottom left). The highlights for me were the house where Truman Capote wrote In Cold Blood and the greenway of Brooklyn Bridge Park, which provides amazing views of downtown (bottom right).
With the run and walk, our muscles were sufficiently stretched, but we had to do the same for our bellies with some pre-race carb-loading. We headed to Henry Public in Cobble Hill, decorated as an old-timey saloon, for a late brunch (top left). I opted for eggs benedict over Johnnycake, accompanied by a beer; unfortunately, they didn't have any coffee stouts on taps, so I went with a hydrating hazy IPA (top right). The night we arrived, we followed our AirBnB host's recommendation to try the famous Southern-style chicken sandwich at Peaches HotHouse (bottom left). After the race, I felt I had a good excuse to overeat again, but I simply could not finish my full plate of the Senegalese specialty mafe at Joloff (bottom right).
When I told people I was running a half-marathon in Brooklyn, they it was THE Brooklyn half-marathon. But it wasn't. This was the much more low-key NYCRUNS Half-Marathon, which is four loops around Prospect Park. I thought I wouldn't like the repetitiveness, but the weather and runners were so agreeable that I had a smile on my face at the end (left). In fact, the course apparently was suitable for me, as I ended up taking second place in my age/gender category, as did the bestie that talked me into doing the run (right). Thank you, RC!