Saturday, February 20, 2010

i'll even(tide) go to virginia sometimes

We had arranged to meet friends at Liberty Tavern, and upon arriving promptly at 5:30, there was not a spot in the bar to be found, or a table to be had for dinner. We had intended to have drinks for a while, linger, and eventually eat, and so we wandered down the few paces to Eventide's lounge, which was essentially empty (several people at the bar, no one at the lounge tables). By 5:45 when our friends showed up, we had our pick of tables, and were informed that even on Saturday, happy hour was in effect until 7.

We took a booth and settled in for a comfortable, cozy evening during which we didn't have to shout to make ourselves heard, and paid no more than $5 for a drink all night. Among us, we ordered the Butternut Squash Risotto Fritters with arugula salad, balsamic vinaigrette ($10), the Fried Chicken and Waffles, buttermilk fried chicken breast, herbed pecan waffles, maple butter, maple-chicken jus ($17), the Soft Pretzels, housemade peach mustard, deviled Virginia ham ($8), the Pasta Bolognese, spinach pasta sheets, herbed ricotta cheese, pork and beef Bolognese, Parmesan bread crumbs ($15), and the Bison Barbecue Sliders (3) with Napa cabbage slaw and fries ($12). The last was my dish, and the pulled bison barbecue was exactly what I needed for my first real food after a week of being too sick to eat anything fun: not too sweet and perfectly tender, with a creamy/tangy slaw, and lovely, crispy fries (the ketchup was unnecessary to me). I have to admit I'm a bun remover -- I tend to eat sandwiches open face or with half a bun because I prefer a higher filling-to-bread ratio, particularly if I have fries on the side, but I didn't mind have to use a fork on the extra meat. My companions raved over the bolognese, which was presented as a lasagna in a personal casserole dish, and the deviled ham that came with the pretzels; also receiving two thumbs up were the chicken and waffles, comprising a huge, mostly-deboned breast with juicy meat beneath a crisp coating, and waffles that had no score on the sogginess scale, with the maple-chicken jus presented in, essentially, a shot glass on the side for personal decision-making on "to douse or not to douse."

I admit that I'm entirely too District-centric in my dining, and I'd been looking for a chance to get to either Eventide or Liberty Tavern for a while. Seeing friends we hadn't had the chance to visit for a while (and who happen to live at Courthouse) was an easy excuse, to be sure, but I would come back to Eventide lounge on a whim. I'd love to try the upstairs restaurant, but for a casual night out -- even on a Saturday! -- with friends, this completely hit the spot.

Friday, February 19, 2010

flu the coop

Between the massive amounts of snow that Mother Nature decided to dump on DC* and then the flu that took me out, I've barely been out of my house for the past two weeks. And I am going completely and utterly stir-crazy.

The problem is that when I do venture out, I wind up feeling sicker than before, prolonging the misery. Ever had one of those low-grade fevers that wipes you out, gives you a headache and body aches, and makes you feel vaguely subhuman? Yeah, that's me in a nutshell ("Look! I'm in a nutshell!") right there.

Put it this way: During this week of the flu, I haven't even felt like cooking. I know, right? The four horsemen must be on their way.

Luckily, I've had things like the greatest new blog on the Internet to keep me company. It's not quite the same as, you know, leading a normal life, but it's at least kept me from carving notches in the wall to track my imprisonment.

*I am actually not at all upset about the snow. I sort of consider it all the snow I've been missing since we moved from Maine -- it just came all at once. The problem is that this region has no system and no infrastructure for dealing with the snow, and even a massive sudden warm-up is just going to lead to flooded intersections and transit issues instead of street-clearing. Oh well. At least I own cute wellies.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Olympic post

Skiing Commentator: "She told me she likes it rough and bumpy."
Mr. M: "That's what she said."
Me: "Heh. Seriously,"
Mr. M: "No, really. That's what she said."

This post brought to you by the awesomest detention slip ever.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

when life gives you lemons ... zest 'em

It's been one of those weeks (oh, dear, it's only Wednesday) that is thisclose to getting you to throw in the towel and say, Screw it, I'm moving back to Lyon et personne ne puisse me faire changer d'avis.

In any case, I completely gave up on cooking tonight after having maybe three hours of sleep in the past four days, and decided to get a burger from Zest. I really just wanted a nicely char-grilled piece of meat (no jokes, y'all) with some fries and maybe a bit of greens to allow me to pretend there was a vegetable involved.

And Zest delivered. (Not literally.) Their website doesn't note that the default is a cheeseburger, but the cheddar melted onto the patty was inoffensive -- tasty enough to not have been Kraft, not too strident to detract from the meat. The burger itself was close to medium -- since I was getting take-out, I asked for medium-rare knowing it would dry a bit on the trek home -- and I happen to enjoy raw red onion thinly sliced with my burgers, so that went right onto my bun too.

The burger itself was tasty although not agressively seasoned -- yes, I still prefer the non-mini Matchbox burger up the street -- but it had a far better char on the outside, while remaining moist and not overcooked in the center, than I find at most casual burger joints within the bounds of the District. Too many thick burger patties, to retain their medium-rare/medium status, end up looking as though they weren't seared or grilled at all on the exterior; this had a great balance of char to tender interior (but was definitely cooked through -- no too-cool center here).

The fries were really far too limp ( one say anything about that either) but I've seen them there in person before and they were anything but, so I'm completely chalking that up to travel. Their flavor was excellent, and if I'd been any more patient I'd have crisped them up in the toaster oven before wolfing them down.

I need to sleep for about twenty hours to become a functional adult again, but it's unlikely that will happen. At least I had sustenance that I would more than order again -- at $9.50 before tax and tip, this is a takeout burger I will probably rely on.