Archive for November, 2013

My random goal in October was to explore Washington, D.C. How did I do? You decide.

October Goal: Visit 12 new places in Washington, D.C.

Total: 20 new places

Result: Success! (Actually, I decide)

Analysis: The government shutdown between October 1-16 made this quest a tad difficult at first, but I still invaded most of the places I had on my ‘to go’ list. They ranged from music venues to restaurants to libraries to breweries and more. Let’s dig deep.

Music venues (3)

  • The Hamilton Live – A friend’s band was one of the openers. A nice space to enjoy a show.
  • Kennedy Center Millennium Stage – Every evening at 6pm they do a free performance. Now I’ve finally been to one.
  • Lincoln Theatre – Recently re-opened, I went to see Neko Case on Halloween night. She dressed up as a pirate or something like it.

Restaurants/bars (8)

  • Ninella – A fine, cozy Italian restaurant in the heart of eastern Capital Hill (next to Lincoln Park).
  • Crios Modern Mexican – They offered a special event dedicated to pumpkin beers. Obviously, I went.
  • Mari Vanna – This Russian restaurant looks like your grandmother’s living room, with doilies, bric-a-brac, curtains and chandeliers (of bottles). Have the pumpkin soup. Invite your grandmother.
  • Black Whiskey – A bar on 14th St NW with a monthly 80’s dance party. The Angel will treat you right!
  • Red Rocks Neopolitan Bistro – Now the largest restaurant in the Atlas District (H St NE), overtaking the Biergarten Haus, this has a nice set-up and a roof deck with a bar. The pizza was decent, but I’m more enamored with the place. They have 1/2 price pizza on Tuesdays…could be convinced to go…
  • Mama Chuy DC – Damn good tacos! Damn good. Get the carnitas tacos. Trust me.
  • Neopol Savory Smokery (at Union Market) – Smoked Salmon BLT. Yes and thank you!
  • &pizza (on U St NW) – The second location of this excellent pizza place (the first one is on H St NE) that they make and bake right in front of you.

Food trucks (3)

  • DC Quesadilla and Wraps – No surprises, I had a quesadilla. Not bad.
  • El Fuego – Peruvian food done right. Must go back.
  • Chitti Chitti Grill – Bang. Bang. Tacos and subs.

Breweries/Beerfests (3)

  • Atlas Works Brewery – The 4th and newest production brewery to open in D.C. (after DC Brau, 3 Stars and Chocolate City). They still only have a small number of beers (three when I went, but they’ve since added a fourth), but they have a solid tasting room set-up and I like the art they’ve designed, especially the scorpion logo for their NSFW (Double Black IPA).
  • Bluejacket Brewery – After much anticipation and hype, this well-appointed new brewery and restaurant (called the The Arsenal) \opened near the Nationals Park. I went the second night. 25 beers on draft (that they make on-site or collaborate to make)! It’s a worthy entry to the D.C. beer scene.
  • Snalleygaster Beerfest 2013 (at Union Market parking lot) – A beastly beer jamboree, you pay for entry, a mug and 25 beer/food tickets. Once you ran out of tickets, you better have been prepared to buy more because 200 different beers don’t drink themselves! The main drawback was no all you can drink for a set price…full beers and tasters ranged from $3-$9 each, so it got expensive quick! Seriously, what else are you going to spend your money on?

Other (3)

  • Library of Congress Reading Room – This was #1 on my list when I thought of this random goal. The shut down almost thwarted me, but I prevailed and snuck in to ‘do research’. You actually have to acquire a Library of Congress – Reader ID to enter. And then meander through a maze of hallways and elevators just to find the ‘researcher’ entrance.
  • Folgers Shakespeare Library – Learn about Shakespeare. Did. Watch a play. Didn’t.
  • Banneker Tennis Courts – The lights went out before I could mount my comeback! I ended up losing an unfinished match, 6-4, 4-6, 3-5. And I was leading 40-15 in the game.

Baltimore and Billy Goat Bonus!

These don’t count, because they are not in D.C., but they were still new places for me in October.

  • Heavy Seas Alehouse (Baltimore, MD) – Beer in Baltimore. Okay!
  • The Sound Garden (Baltimore, MD) – Baltimore’s best music store!
  • Billy Goat Trail (Great Falls, MD) – A fine place to hike and get a view of nature on a crisp Autumn day. Check out some photos.
I say now, damn good tacos at Mama Chuy!

I say now, damn good tacos at Mama Chuy!

Library of Congress Reading Room - No photos allowed

Library of Congress Reading Room – No photos allowed

Snalleygaster beer to mouth delivery mechanism

Snalleygaster beer to mouth delivery mechanism

I'm official

I’m official

That's DC

That’s DC

Stay open!

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This world can be truly random. Witness.

My, what a purdy view you have there!

My, what a purdy view you have there!

I don't always drink pumpkin beers, but when I do, I don't mess around.

I don’t always drink pumpkin beers, but when I do, I don’t mess around.

Could it be ESPN's next 30 for 30 film? UW goes 9-1 in flag football!

Could it be ESPN’s next 30 for 30 film? UW goes 9-1 in flag football!

'I can't swim.' 'Are you crazy? The fall will probably kill you.'

‘I can’t swim.’ ‘Are you crazy? The fall will probably kill you.’

That's a fancy sign for just one shut-down. Expecting more?

That’s a fancy sign for just one shut-down. Expecting more?


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Billy Goats Gruff

When you take a Monday off from work in the Fall, you can do anything. Sleep in. Take long walks on the sidewalk with your dog. Binge watch a TV show. Explore the city. Read. Write. Clean your apartment or house. Jump out of an airplane. Volunteer at a local charity. Cook something nice. Plan a trip. Reflect. Buy new clothes. Go for a run. Relax at a local coffee shop.

Infinite possibilities. Infinite permentations.

Not really.

Hiking is the right choice.

Head over to Great Falls, Maryland and take on the Billy Goat Trail (Sections A and B) and a bit of the C&O Canal Towpath.

Billy Goat Trail

Billy Goat Trail

C&O Canal Towpath

C&O Canal Towpath

Potomac River

Potomac River

Rocky path ahead

Rocky path ahead

Yes, that is the trail

Yes, that is the trail

Again, yes, that is the trail

Again, yes, that is the trail

On Bear Island

From the beach

River 1

Red leaves

River 2

River 3

C&O Canal Towpath again

Stay colorful.

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Once in awhile I work for you.

When presented with a microwavable meal, I fear I’ll mess it up. So I follow the cooking instructions on the box with great care, never deviating from its detailed, yet non-condescending, path.

I want you to also have that experience. Here is a foolproof guide that will lead you down the most successful of all paths, where the destination is to drink pumpkin beer.

I know it can get tricky. It may seem overwhelming. Never fear, with this guide you will drink the beer!

You are welcome!

Step 1: Purchase pumpkin beer


Step 2: Acquire beer appropriate glassware



Step 3: Open beer bottle


Step 4: Pour contents of beer bottle into glassware


Step 5: Admire your work


Step 6: Put glassware to your lips and imbibe

(For legal reasons, photo removed)

Step 7: Repeat steps 3-6 as needed


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