We started the weekend by getting some breakfast at Mike’s Deli. Delicious and filling.
If you live nearby and have not been to the Eden Center, you are really missing out. It is slightly intimidating to the uninitiated, but with a few simple tips, you can find out what all the fuss is about. I wanted to go to Nhu Lan, which was featured in Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservations, but it was closed. So we went to perhaps the most popular banh mi spot in Eden Center. Song Que is easy to find, as it is outside (the Eden Center has a few mall-like inside areas), and in the main corner under the clock tower. The cashiers generally speak english well, and the sandwiches are numbered. I like the #2 (pork and pork skin). If you get a banh mi, and a bubble tea (all the flavors are good, but I got thai iced tea), you’ve had a great first Eden Center experience.
We went to see a movie at the Angelika, but first stopped at Dolcezza Gelato. We shared some gelato (always particularly good), and I got a gibraltar. If you’re not up on your espresso drinks, a gibraltar is kind of a like a cortado. Essentially, its espresso, hot milk, and no foam. The absence of foam is what differentiates it from a cappuccino. The type of glass in which is is served, its namesake, is what differentiates it form a cortado. Some call it the fools cappuccino, but to me, its just a decent cupa with a hipstery name and following. Not unlike a flat white. At 4.5 oz, its a good size before a movie. We saw the grand budapest hotel, and found it quite enjoyable.
Sunday, the weather was crappy again, canceling my golf plans, and turning this entry into a food-exclusive post. I did nothing this weekend but eat. At least we had some good food. OHOP is about as good as it gets if you want a huge classic breakfast. It doesn’t matter what you order, as long as you get the bacon.by rsiv with no comments yet
I’ve been to Sfizi when the service was not great. Today, the service was awesome. We left over 20%. I’ve always found the food to be very good. Tonight, we got the salsicce alla brace (my go-to), and the gnocchi special. The food was excellent, and the wine (half price for restaurant week), was delicious. I hope that the service continues to be as good as it was tonight, and when I go back, I’ll give y’all an update. As it stands, I definitely recommend Sfizi. Except for the insalata frutti del mare, which is better at Argias, I prefer Sfizi overall. Swing by and give it a try.
by rsiv with no comments yet
Sweetrice is much closer to our place than Pilin Thai, but during restaurant week, the deal at Pilin Thai cannot be beat. Pilin Thai offers a three course meal for two people for $25 (not per person, total). They also have a half price wine list, essentially house wines. I picked a merlot for $12. So, for $37 dollars, we got three courses each and a bottle of very drinkable wine. Pretty awesome deal. This isn’t my favorite Thai restaurant in the area, but the food is good, and if they say it will be spicy, it will be spicy. If you like Thai, its definitely worth checking out.
As an aside, why don’t American restaurants offer house wine? In Greece, Spain, Italy, etc., you can get an affordable and drinkable carafe of wine at almost any restaurant. There must be some logical reason, but it is beyond me.by rsiv with no comments yet
I started a new book about TR. I’m not very far in, but enjoying it thus far. I thought about trying to explain why this book is so manly/badass, but which antidote to pick? I suppose when Teddy was shot, diagnosed himself as fine for the time-being, and gave a speech, saying, “Ladies and gentlemen, I don’t know whether you fully understand that I have just been shot; but it takes more than that to kill a Bull Moose.” Teddy was known to blow through a book a day, so I’ll let y’all know what new books I’m on in two days…
I’m also concurrently reading some Tennyson. If you’re not familiar, he brought us such quotes as:
“Theirs not to reason why, theirs but to do and die.”
“Tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.”
“Who are wise in love, love most, say least.”
“I am a part of all that I have met.”
This weekend I also won friend of the year by helping my buddy CW move out for the 2nd weekend in a row, and then painting his old house with him.
We did get compensated with tacos and beer. The former were from cafe rio, and not half bad.
I also did a 5k. I say, “did”, and not, “ran”, because ran would be inaccurate.
As you can see above, the buds are on the cherry blossom trees. It won’t be long. Also, check out the bathroom break mid-race that runkeeper recorded. Pretty funny. My and my mom’s walking time was 9 minutes worse than last year. Clearly, we were not too worried about our time. My dad, however, tied for third in his age group.
After all was said and done, I rested my body while watching El Clasico.by rsiv with no comments yet
I decided to take advantage of another short break in the winter weather, and get in the first round of spring (the small flowers are proof of spring). The break came on a work day, so I picked a 9 hole course close to the office. Jefferson District Golf is quite convenient to me, so I like to go when I can’t fit in a full round. The course looked pretty good despite being early in the season and overcast. It was fun to get back in the swing of things anyway. As we were nearing the end of the round, all of our phones started going off, and we heard a lot of sirens. Turns out, one of the office buildings our company occupies was on fire. My wife was in the building shown below. Everyone on her floor was fine, but I don’t know anything beyond that. That last pic is from the company’s other office building, via my wife.by rsiv with no comments yet
They finally announced the deals for FCC Restaurant week (March 24-30). Just like last year, it looks like the best deal to be had is at Pilin Thai. I went last year, and the amount of food and wine we got for the price was crazy. I’ll definitely be going back to PT this year. Sfizi has 1/2 wine all week. If you haven’t been to the Eden Center yet, several restaurants are participating, so this is a great excuse. Curry Mantra II is offering 20% off. I love this place, so I’ll definitely take advantage of that. I’ll see y’all out in FCC.by rsiv with no comments yet
The first summer after moving into our new place in Falls Church City, I knew I had a serious problem. I was next to a house that had a swimming pool, many tires and other water catching refuse in the backyard, owned by an elderly gentleman that was not able to maintain it and unwilling to let me help. I tried mosquito dunks and all the poison I could buy at Home Depot, but the mosquitos, particularly the tiger mosquitos, were relentless. A big factor in picking our current residence was the large yard. I was just about unable to use it. All of my guests complained, and even covered in deet, they’d still get bit. After suffering for a summer or two, I found out about Mosquito Squad. I was asked to have a friend’s wedding rehearsal dinner in my back yard, and decided to do a one time spray to see how it went. It worked. The next summer, I went in for the whole summer package. I can’t imagine another summer without it. I couldn’t recommend Mosquito Squad more. I get the normal, standard, package. I do not know if the natural, more eco friendly spray works or not. If you have a mosquito problem, check them out.by rsiv with no comments yet
The wife went out to do some volunteering. I decided to light up the 2012 CA cigar of the year, the Fleur De Las Antillas Toro. I thought it was good, but not CA #1 of the year good. It had these bursts of white pepper I didn’t particularly enjoy, but the first and last third were very agreeable.
I said I’d grill up a T-Bone, so I figured why wait. I didn’t feel like standing out in the snow, so I threw it in the pan. Got a good sear on both sides, left it about rare, and just salted it, and shook a few peppers on it. I also made some creamed spinach with mushrooms, shallots, garlic, and onion. The t-bone was good, but it was no ribeye.by rsiv with no comments yet
I grew up near Westover, so I’ve been going to the original Lost Dog Cafe for a good while. Later, they opened up McLean location, and now one in Merrifield as well. The original is still the closest, so during the most recent of a winter full of snow days, we ordered from Lost Dog. I had the billy’s philly with jalapenos, and we shared the spinach and artichoke dip.
I heard a rumor some of my contemporaries who worked at Lost Dog in High School, College, and after, were the ones that franchised it. Pretty cool if true.
If you head over to the original Lost Dog, be sure to cross the street and check out the Westover Market. I used to go to the grocery store there as a child, and remember reading the bulletin board (pre interwebs). Its still a grocery store, but it now has an amazing beer selection (1000+ bottles), a butcher, and an outdoor beer garden. While you’re in the neighborhood, stop by Ayers.by rsiv with no comments yet
In High School, I took French. I’m not sure why, but I think it had something to do with me thinking French was fancier than Spanish. I very much regret not taking Spanish now. I’ve been to France, once, while on a cruise, and was only in Nice for a day. I’ve been to Montreal about three times, but I could have gotten by without any French. I’ve been to Spain, Mexico, Guatemala, Uruguay, Chile, and Argentina. I studied abroad in the latter two. Living in Northern Virginia, I run into Spanish speakers constantly, and French speakers rarely, if ever. Spanish would have been much more practical. Even so, I was not very interested in learning a language in High School. I did not learn very much, and retained even less.
Before the global residency in my MBA program, I borrowed Rosetta Stone from a friend (and therefore, had limited functionality while using the program). I found it very helpful. With a few months of practice, I was conversational in Spanish. By conversational, I mean I could direct a taxi, order a steak and beer, ask basic directions, find a bathroom, and conduct monetary transactions. My greatest Spanish achievement was obtaining a Chilean National soccer jersey for my friend as a souvenir. I asked around while I was in Chile, and finally was directed to a shopping mall a few metro stops away. I rode the metro, found the mall by asking directions, and finally sporting goods store. I did not see the jersey I wanted, but by being able to say, “red”, and, “shirt” in addition to, “Chile”, they brought one out from the back. Despite tons of other really great memories, my common shopping errand holds a special place. It would not have been possible without Rosetta Stone.
Fast forward to earlier this winter. Some friends and I decided on Montreal for New Years Eve. They have an awesome celebration, and Montreal is a great destination in and of itself. Amazing museums, great restaurants, and a Casa Del Habanos are a few of the highlights. I don’t believe there is a better option than Rosetta Stone for learning a language. However, I did not want to spend more on Rosetta Stone French, than on the trip itself. I friend told me about Duolingo. Duolingo is set up almost exactly like Rosetta Stone. The kicker is that its free. If you’re looking to learn a little of a language before a trip, definitely check it out. Using it for about a month before Montreal, I was able to pick up numbers, common greetings, and how to ask where the bathroom is. Just the bare necessities, but they proved to be useful. I have a new trip scheduled to a Spanish speaking country, and I’m going through Duolingo Spanish from the beginning. I also intend to repeat the relevant parts of Rosetta Stone (shopping, travel, etc.).
This was not a comparison, but for those that may have found this post via google, I’ll say this: For traveling for pleasure, for less than a month, I’d recommend Duolingo. Its great, and its free. For traveling for business, or for over a month, get Rosetta Stone. Its comprehensive, but you’ll have to pay a fair price.
Not matter what you decide to do, do it with style:by rsiv with no comments yet