Day 15: Rubbish, Raindrops, & Restaurants

My D.C. Book Pile

Dear Reader:

Friday was housekeeping day (because Monday was a holiday), and because thunder storms and rain were predicted, we spent the day at home. I lazed about it bed in the morning, drinking my coffee, reading, and writing my daily blog post.

After finishing the writing, I sweated for an hour on the elliptical while watching a Charlie Rose episode on the local PBS station about the debt ceiling negotiations. Since coming to D.C. I’ve been trying to stay more up-to-date on the news by scanning the Washington Post online. I’m usually interrupted by one thing or another after only reading one or two articles, so I have a long way to go. People here are news/political junkies. I’m afraid if I ever do manage to get into a conversation with anyone here in my building, I’ll come across as an ignorant rube. New goal: Read the POST and watch at least one news program every day. At least on the elliptical machine I can accomplish two things at once.

After my workout, I cleaned the apartment. Rather than driving to the town dump as I would at home, simply I put the trash down a chute in a tiny room just beyond the elevator. I assume it lands in a compactor. I also took the elevator down to the recycling bay and put the cardboard boxes and empty water bottles (no returnables here) in their respective bins. I’m happy that this kind of recycling is encouraged in the city, but a deposit on bottles would probably stimulate even more recycling of plastic and glass.

Thinking we might try to go out into the city Friday night, I clicked onto the Post page again to see if there was anything of interest going on inside somewhere. The free jazz concert over at the Smithsonian Sculpture Garden was out of the question–outside the sliding glass doors to our balcony the sky was dark and heavy with rain clouds. I couldn’t even see the sharp spires of the United States Air Force Memorial which usually look like three legs of a giant spider about to crawl over the top of the apartment building in front of it.

In the entertainment section of the online paper, I came across a review of Larry’s Ice Cream, a shop as well-known for its owner, “the Scoop Nazi” (remember the soup guy in SEINFELD?), as it is for the quality and variety of its ice cream. We will definitely hunt down this shop in the future, but by then the rain was falling in earnest. Hubby, the Teen, and I ended up making a meal at home (chicken, rice, stir-fried veggies) and watching Leonardo DiCaprio in SHUTTER ISLAND on Netflix.

While searching up info on Larry’s Ice Cream, I stumbled across a cute blog about living and eating in D.C. Check out Two DC: A New Couple Exploring A New City on Blogspot. The blog focuses on restaurants, and I’m beginning to understand that eating well is a popular hobby around here. Hubby says, “Well, I guess we fit right in!” It’s true. We’ve always enjoyed going out to eat.

Our favorite restaurant in D.C. so far has been The Austin Grill which served up some excellent Tex-Mex over in Penn Square. Hubby ordered an Original Austin Burger which he said was the best burger he’s had yet here in the city. I went with the Chalupa Taco Salad with chicken. It was served in a fried tortilla bowl, the ingredients were indeed fresh-tasting, and it went down well with a classic margarita, cold and made with real lime–not a mix. The food was good, the server was really friendly, and we loved sitting outside at the cafe table as people young and old walked through the neighborhood on a sultry summer evening.

(I was appalled to watch a well-groomed, blond family of six sitting at a table in front of us where everyone except the dad–mom, teenage and preteen daughters and a boy of about eight–tapped away on their cell phones/hand-held microcomputers throughout their entire meal while Dad sucked down four or five frozen margaritas. Is this really what we’ve become, America?)

The next week we tried out the Sine Irish Pub in our neighborhood square. Hubby had a burger (sensing a theme? I need to ask him if he’s trying to ascertain the best burger in the metropolitan area), and I thoroughly enjoyed the Reuben Sandwich.

This week we sampled a couple dishes at Champps, a sports bar & grill next door to Sine. (See previous post). Relaxed and happy after a good meal and a couple of drinks, we made a plan to try every restaurant along the perimeter of the square before the end of the summer. I’d also like to find some more out-of-the-way eateries, unique places owned by local restauranteurs rather than chains or franchises. I heard about one locally-owned coffee shop somewhere in Arlington that has focused on reducing energy use. Must find out more about that one.

As much as we enjoy eating our way around metropolitan D.C., we enjoyed simply hanging out at home watching a movie on Friday night. The weather promises to be nicer on Saturday, and we’re heading out of the city to visit friends in West Virginia, about an hour and a half southwest of here in Charles Town, just up the road from Harper’s Ferry. It will be fantastic to see this couple we knew from Portsmouth a few years ago. I’m anxious to see some suburban communities outside the city, to find out what it’s like to commute in on a train every day, to check out a typical West Virginia town.

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