Monday, December 29, 2008

Froyo Fandom Makes Me Famous

My friend & former coworker Debra made a trip to the District this week, meeting me this afternoon for lunch at my favorite pizza joint, Pizzeria Paradiso, where we split a gigantron Pizza Genovese, which is something of a carb extravaganza, topped with pesto, potatoes & parmesan. Yikes, I know!

And as we left, we were full beyond satisfaction -- but not too full to pass up a request from the owner of Tangysweet, Dupont's most excellent frozen yogurt establishment. A reporter from Fios, the Verizon TV network, was looking for froyo fans to interview for a news spot, & we happened to be in the right place at the right time!

Debra & I happily spouted off about all the gabillion reasons we adore Tangysweet, admitting that we visited more than three times a week for the first month or so that they were in business. When asked to describe Tangysweet froyo to someone who'd never had it, Debra came up with a long, involved & accurate answer; when she was done, I chimed in, "Ice cream that I don't feel bad about." For our enthusiasm, we were gifted free froyo, & I enthusiastically zeroed in on the new pomegranate topping option.

My life is a movie, I swear, even when it's at its least eventful.

Suburban Sweetheart Does Philadelphia

On Saturday I texted a friend who was in Philadelphia for the holidays, "I'm bored. Come back!" She promptly responded, "Come here! Take the bus tomorrow."

So I did.

In an uncharacteristic show of spontaneity, I paid $15.75 for a one-way ticket on Chinatown-Bus.com, a sketchy little operation run out of a small, crowded office on Eye Street. The employees are brusque & unfriendly, as can be expected for $15.75. I fell asleep on the coldest, sketchiest bus ever while trying to avoid talking to the Indian dude sitting next to me who asked me to explain the concept of "prom queen" to him. True story. (And for the record, he was very, very nice & unsketchy & even gave me a small bag of Lays potato chips to satiate my hunger - but I was ridiculously tired & just wanted to sleep.)


So your imagination doesn't have to work overtime, here's a shot of the pristine, clean, safe busstop:



It took just under three hours to arrive at the Philly Chinatown, though, where my friend picked me up & we headed to Jones, a modern diner-type place, where I gorged myself on grilled cheese, tomato soup & amazing potato pancakes (yes, again). And then we took an uber-speedy walking tour of Philly, where I saw such glories as this epic fire hydrant placement fail:




Oh yeah, & the Liberty Bell, behind glass late at night:



On Sunday, Rachel introduced me to Fill A Bagel (get it? Phila bagel?) & to chicken cheesesteaks, & then we drove back to D.C. with her little brother in tow, listening to Best of 2008 countdowns all the while. Stuck in traffic somewhere mid-Delaware, we were pretty jazzed to pass this woman, who clearly didn't feel as though she needed two feet or any semblance of proper posture to get the driving job done:

Friday, December 26, 2008

I'm the Next Top Chef. You Heard it Here First.

As I've mentioned before, my small apartment is kitchenless. The folks over at my realty company have labeled it a "bachelor studio," which I suppose they think makes it sound jazzy & fun. This is, I regret to tell you, not really the case - it's essentially a dorm room, with all the not-so-comfortable comforts of one except that I'm roommate-free & don't have to use a communal shower.

My kitchen-free lifestyle has led, as you can imagine, to much dining out on my part. I'm on a personal mission to find the best chicken kaprow in the tri-state region, so I chow on a lot of Thai, & the folks at the new Submarina in Dupont Circle practically know me by name because I buy their chili three times a week for lunch. Healthy? Doubtful. Cheap? Hardly. But until now, save for making sandwiches every meal of every day, I didn't have tons of options.

And Wednesday, my mom arrived in the District, bearing Chanukah gifts. The loot? A washbasin, a portable range burner, a pot, a pan & a bunch of plates & cutlery. MY MOM IS THE COOLEST, I know. So today we rearranged half my apartment to fit this stuff in, & we promptly whipped up a batch of vegetarian chili that was ahhhmazaing, if I may say so myself. My pseudo-kitchen look like this:


"Where's your microwave, Kate?" I hear you asking. Ahh, my friend, good question. It used to be on that little counter block where the burner is now. But because that's the only spot of counter I have, it's been relocated... here:


Yeah, my microwave is in my closet. What of it? And don't even ask where I drain my pasta. I don't have a kitchen sink & I don't wanna get noodles caught in the bathroom sink, so... well, you can imagine where that leaves me to do my draining! Needless to say, it's probably a safe bet to assume that even with my newfound kitchen wares, I won't be doing much entertaining.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Say it Like You Meme It

How rad am I? Social networking hotshot @micah (this sentence serves as an ego-feeder, as if he needs it) has tagged me in a meme called 7 Things You Wish You Didn't Know About Me. To be fair, I think there's plenty you already know about me that you never necessarily wanted to know, but if you're still reading, you're probably not opposed to learning more. While I won't get as personal as Micah, who felt inclined to tell all his readers that his testicles aren't evenly sized, I'm happy to play along; each of the following facts relates somehow to the topics of my last seven blog posts.
  1. My Heart (& Liver?) is in Ohio – I’m from a smallish city north of Akron, Ohio. I went to college both in Athens, Ohio, & Kent, Ohio. I miss & love Ohio – but I struggle every day with whether I can see myself ever living in Ohio again.

  2. I'm an Open Book – I wear somewhere between a size 14 & a size 12, somewhere between an XL & an L. I would love to lose some weight, but I haven’t made the effort I ought to.

  3. American Express is a Scrooge – I’ve had to have my debit card replaced four times this year alone, & I’ve had it replaced around Christmastime for the past three years.

  4. Livin’ the Latke Life – I cannot cook. Anything. I mean, I microwave a mean bowl of mac & cheese, but I even screw up oatmeal. My omelets are scrambled eggs. I don’t have a kitchen in my apartment, & it’s probably for the best.

  5. DIY Bartending… with a Twist! – My favorite alcoholic drinks are cheap beer & nice champagne -- & nothing in between, really. I love both Miller Lite & prosecco & basically dislike all liquor.

  6. Latkes & Vodkas – My dad, who died when I was 10, was (secularly) Christian, so we celebrated Christmas until then & a bit beyond (because I was attached to it!). I was raised Jewish but didn’t become particularly active in Jewish culture until I moved to D.C. & started working for the Tribe.

  7. The Day I Didn’t Meet Yet Another Politician – I knew zero about politics until I moved to DC. I’m still not sure whether I really like politics, & I can never keep up. My memory for celeb gossip is much sharper than my memory for political goings-on, but I’m trying. For now.
And now, I tag: Sarah at Was It For This, Lynsey at The New McGuinness, Chaviva at Kvetching Editor, Jaime at Barks Blog & Caiti at The Crazy Life of a Navy Wife. And I realize that's only five, not seven, but I make my own rules.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

My Heart (& Liver?) is in Ohio

I realize this post isn't in keeping with my typical DC-related M.O., but bear with me because it's totally worth it. Promises.

Earlier this week, I received a Chanukah card from my grandmother, along with $50 and a Got Milk? ad featuring Trisha Yearwood (I collect them, OK?). I read through the card quite happily - until I reached the last line. Can you read it?


Yes, it says exactly what you think it does: "Have fun over the holidays - stay sober!" And although I tried more than once to interpret my grandma's handwriting in other ways ("Stay solar?" Hmm, nope), the final conclusion is that it does, in fact, advise me not to imbibe over the Chanukah season.

Now, it's possible that my grandmother, who's fairly Web-savvy, checks out SuburbanSweetheart.com & has been reading all about my adventures at such soirees as last week's Latkes & Vodkas. It is more likely, however, that my favorite septuagenarian is instead recalling the Miller Lite she saw me drink over Thanksgiving weekend & interpreting it to mean that I am a regular & forceful abuser of my liver.

The best part is this: My mother arrived in the District yesterday from Ohio, unpacking a myriad of complimentary sundry groceries into my pathetically understocked refrigerator/pantry. She bought me Cheerios, hot chocolate, applesauce, Lean Pockets, yogurt, pasta... and two small bottles of Sutter Home.


But even better than that? When I called her on it, she revealed that these are not, in fact, for me. Her response? "I thought I might want a little drink." As though we don't have liquor & wine stores in D.C.?! Also, please bear in mind that each of these bottles is no taller than the length of my palm. Needless to say, in light of the Chanukah card, this made me laugh hysterically.

Who needs the advice now, Grandma?!?!

Monday, December 22, 2008

I'm an Open Book

I recently read a Craisglist Missed Connection from a guy in search of a young lady he'd spotted reading J.D. Salinger's Franny & Zooey on the red line. And while Franny & Zooey is easily one of my all-time favorite novels, I can't say that my current read is one I'd be proud to be caught poring over on the Metro -- & it's definitely not one that's going to garner me any positive attention, Craigslist or otherwise!

A peek into my purse reveals the following:



I tried to surreptitiously read this today in the Dupont Circle Metro station while sitting next to a girl reading something wise-sounding called "At Death's Widow." Unfortunately, my book has the title printed at the top of every even-numbered page, so even if I shield the cover, Nosy Nancies peeking over my shoulder can still see what I'm reading.

How embarrassing. I think I'll read this one in my apartment alone from now on.

American Express is a Scrooge

There ought to be some way for credit card companies to contact a cardholder in the event that some kind individual finds her American Express card on a sidewalk in Woodley Park & wants to return it before the holidays. Instead, the kindly folks over at AMEX just invalidate the card & contact the cardholder afterward to tell him or her that a new one's on the way in five to seven days -- which means it won't arrive for awhile, given holiday closings for Christmas Eve & Christmas Day. (And yeah, I'm speaking from personal experience - lost my debit card on Christmas Eve & didn't get it back til after the new year, circa 2006-2007).

Here I am trying to be all pay-it-forwardly, thanking the do-gooder gods for my November wallet return by some Good Samaritan, but the scrooges at AMEX won't let me cash in my karma points. Maybe one of the benefits of American Express Membership Rewards should be access to your card when some nice neighbor wants to give it back to you. Blargh.

Before you suggest it, yes, I've tried -- and this woman is basically unGoogleable.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Livin' the Latke Life

I realize I've blogged about latkes a LOTTT lately, but what can I say? I've had latkes five times in the past seven days. Tuesday was Latkes & Vodkas; Wednesday was my office's Chanukah party (at which I was gifted 5 lbs. of hideous stationary in a White Elephant exchange) and Thursday was my friend Joanna's Christmukkah shindig.

And tonight? Tonight was Chef Spike's Latke Mania at a local synagogue, where Spike Mendelsohn, a former contestant on Bravo's "Top Chef" (which is only my
favorite show), taught an audience of a couple hundred how to make everyone's favorite Chanukah treats.
http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2349/2418756298_33c2a121fc_o.jpg

Joining Spike in the makeshift kitchen - on the bima, no less! - was his mom, which was cute & uber-Jewish, although she talked muuuch more than he did. Together, they showed us how to make regular (but gourmet!) latkes & applesauce plus sweet potato & zucchini latkes (um, separately, not together, because that would be sick). The first bummer? I don't have a kitchen in my teensy-weensy studio apartment, so I won't be whipping up a batch of my own potato pancakes anytime soon.


But the biggest bummer was that at night's end, the only latke that ended up in my stomach was a little half-dollar-sized shenanigan that just served to tease my palette -- even cold, it was a delight, & the homemade applesauce was swoon-worthy. The fried rice I consumed later in the evening came in at a very sad second place compared to what could've been, had the Latke Mania folks allowed each audience member more than a mere half a latke. Very, very disappointing.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

DIY Bartending... with a Twist!

My boss & his brother hosted an awards dinner this week, & one of the special guests requested that we have Absolut with a twist of lemon for him when he arrived. One of my coworkers (my boss' assistant) was in a bit of a frenzy about the term "twist of lemon" - what it meant, what it entailed, how it was prepared & whether or not she was likely to screw it up.

To make sure she was doing it right, she grabbed me & we headed to a local restaurant, Urbana (remember my birthday dinner with the porn star?), to ask the bartenders there for a little bit of their expert guidance. The result? The hostess & bartender teamed up to not only explain to us what a "twist of lemon" means but to actually create two of them for us & our Absolut-drinking guest. How's that for hospitality?

Nuts to you -- & to me!

This post is coming a bit late, but as Chanukah begins tomorrow, I suppose it's just in time. Recently, a nice lad over at Oh! Nuts, a New York-based nuts & candy company, contacted me to ask if he could send along some free Chanukah goodies for me to review on my site. I, of course, said yes, because who turns away free stuff? Especially free food?

I told him he could surprise me, that I wasn't particularly picky about my free treats, so he sent along two boxes of gelt (bittersweet & milk chocolate), a bag of blue & white Jordan almonds and a bag of mint chocolate lentils.

Let's start with the lentils, because their name is probably confusing you as much as it bewildered me. "Chocolate-covered lentils?" I thought to myself, "Well, that's new!" In fact, the lentils were actually just lentil shaped, little M&M-sized buggers with slightly misleading names. They're crunchier than M&M's and less chocolatey (which is good news for me because I'm not a massive chocolate fan) & the mint taste is light & unexpected. They're something you'd find in a bowl at a party -- a bowl you'd park yourself next to so you could sneak candy out of it as often as possible.
If we're being honest, the truth is that I spilled about half the bag of these on the floor of my cubicle, but I picked them up & ate 'em anyway because I couldn't stand to waste any.

Next up: Jordan almonds! At age 15, my first job was woking in an Italian bakery, where I often stole the occasional Jordan almond out of the jar on the counter. I haven't had them since them, so I was darn glad to find them in my mailbox. A couple people in my office didn't like these because they said they were too crunchy, but I think if you knew what you were getting into (i.e. knew that Jordan almonds are always crunchy!) then they were a delight. I polished this bag off with a couple coworkers -- good for staving off the midday snacking blues!

The gelt was, well, exactly as gelt ought to be. Not one to snack on straight chocolate, I took these to my office's Chanukah soiree, where they were promptly gobbled up by every other Jew in the place.

Long story short? I'm nuts for Oh! Nuts. If you want more info, check out my friend Chavi's blog, where she reviewed candied cashews & almonds last month. And in a shameless act of promotion, I encourage you to get on over to Oh! Nuts for all your Chanukah, Christmas and secular snacking needs. Happy winter, lovelies!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Latkes & Vodkas

You should know that because I am fairly lame/Semitic/alcoholic, I did not attend Jenna Elfman's previously talked-up Scientology party this Tuesday. A local Jewish PR agency had its annual Latkes & Vodkas party at the same time, & in the end, I had to go with my own and choose the Chosen People's soiree. I also consumed approximately seven of the former & four of the latter Chanukah treats, so I was sufficiently sauced by night's end. Get it? Sauced, as in apple, as in latke toppings... OK, OK, I'm done.

But really, who could pass up a party that put out these invitations?

http://www.rabinowitz-dorf.com/images/latkes/latkesvodkas_08.jpg

http://www.rabinowitz-dorf.com/images/latkes/latkesvodkas_08b.jpg

http://www.rabinowitz-dorf.com/images/latkes/latkesvodkas_08c.jpg

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

The Day I Didn't Meet Yet Another Awesome Politician

A little lost in the basement of the Dirksen Senate Building this past Monday morning, I stopped the only person I saw -- a tall, 40-ish man in a suit who I made sure was not donning a Member pin. "Excuse me," I began, in my friendliest voice & with my most confused-looking face. "Do you know which hallway goes to Russell?"

My would-be directions-giver looked a little unsure, too, but after a bit of apparent mental waffling, he pointed down one of two corridors & answered, "This way, I think. Yep, this way." I thanked him profusely, answering, "You, too" when he told me to have a nice day, & then I set off down the hallway toward aforementioned Russell building.

Only when he'd stepped into the elevator did I realize who my Kind Stranger was (confirmed by a quick Google image search on my iPhone) -- He was, indeed,
Gov. Mark Warner, Democratic Senator-elect of the great Commonwealth of Virginia, for whom I did a day of door-to-door campaigning back in October when I got out the vote for Obama!!!

Umm... HOW DID I NOT NOTICE? WHY DIDN'T I SAY ANYTHING?? I am so mad at myself. This will go down in my personal history book as second only to the day I almost met former Ohio Senator & astronaut extraordinairre John Glenn.

http://msnbcmedia1.msn.com/j/msnbc/Components/Photos/050601/050601_markWarner_hmed_1p.hmedium.jpg

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

It's Beginning to Looks a Lot Like Christmas?

Yesterday evening not one but two homeless men serenaded me with "The Christmas Song." While walking through the Dupont Circle area with two friends, we stopped to give each of them a couple bucks, and each, in turn, began to croon us a carol -- the same carol, as it turns out. You know the one: "Chestnuts roasting on an open fire..."

It's not often that three Jews receive Christmas musical performances while walking to the bar on a Tuesday evening.


Monday, December 8, 2008

Cellular Elitism

Did I forget to mention that I purchased a much-coveted iPhone last week? My friend Sean came along to help me brave through my technological terror at the AT&T store about a block from our office... & I emerged victorious with aforementioned piece of Apple awesomeness.

It's taking me awhile to get used to, but I'm loving it. I am, however, trying VERY hard not to become an Apple asshole, one of those people who's like, "Oh, you want to know some random piece of information? Lucky for you, I have an iPhone! Lemme look that up for you!"

I've heard mutliple people say that D.C. is a BlackBerry town, not an iPhone town. Districters, what do you think? Which do you have? And most importantly, how do you keep from being a pretentious data-phone jerk? And are you jealous of my iPhone yet?

...Oops.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Putting the "Celeb" in "Celebration!"

Does anyone remember when I was chatty with the president of the Church of Scientology last year? Apparently my interfaith schmoozery has paid off in the form of an invitation to Jenna Elfman's Christmas holiday party!



My favorite part about the invite (which I received both via snail mail & email) is that the email version includes the line, "This event satisfies the ethics requirements of the widely attended event provision." While I have absolutely have no idea what this means, I'm glad to know that the Church of Scientology has taken my ethics into consideration. Holiday spirit, indeed.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

What a Gas (Leak)

As I putzed around on the Internet & chatted with a friend tonight, I mentioned to her, "My apartment smells like burning rubber. it's making me nervous."

A few minutes later, I stepped into the hallway & was about bowled over by the smell. A neighbor was knocking on people's doors, telling them the fire department was on their way to investigate a suspected gas leak.

The entire fifth floor (& a few nervous stragglers from elsewhere) spent the next hour or so on the front steps while a gaggle of firefighters checked it out. I met the woman who lived in my apartment for seven years in the '90s; the three hippieish guys who party a lot down the hall (including a very attractive one who just moved out); the homebody woman whom no one had ever seen (apparently she'll show her face in times of crisis, luckily); the new neighbor whose Netflix are often delivered to me...

As it turns out, the fiefighters couldn't find the source of the leak. They ventilated the whole floor to try to get rid of the smell, & they assured us that it was probably an errant spill that's already evaporated. I'll just say that that doesn't make me feel terribly comforted, & I probably won't go to bed until every last drop of that miserable scent leaves my nostrils.

Nothing like a home emergency to meet all your neighbors, huh? Feels like a little community now. A community of people whose throats are burning because they just breathed in a bunch of mysterious gas fumes.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

More Than Red Ribbons

All typical comedy aside, one of the most beautiful things about living in this city is that there's never a shortage of free advocacy-based events to attend. Sure, I skip most of them, but last night I had the pleasure of working an interfaith service & candlelight vigil commemorating the 20th anniversary of World AIDS Day.


(photo courtesy of Adam Gerhardstein)

There's SO much to be said about global HIV/AIDS & everything we ought to be doing to correct (& prevent) some of the problems that are so prevalent both domestically & abroad. I could say it, but Summer over at Wired for Noise has already done it for me, so I direct you her way, or to any of the following sites:
Bottom line? Stop treating sex like it's something to be ashamed of: Get informed. Educate your kids. Use condoms. Get tested. Give money. Donate time. Wherever you are, DO SOMETHING.
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