Friday, February 29, 2008

Replenish and Restock!

What does a girl do when a long awaited new commission comes in? She wishes to shop, eat well and tend to a little self-polishing, of course; despite the pragmatism gained by adapting to a here-and-there income. Every sensibility in me says: Hold on to that money, girl! You have no idea what’s coming and it’s not like you haven’t already gone several months on a tight regimen of a limited comforts anyway, right? What’s a little longer?...whispers the wise, humble me inside me. But the level to which I had to fight the urge to head to Georgetown today to pick out a new pair of tights (etc.) was so strong that it likened to the time I went without eating for ten days (for charity, not poverty’s sake). My mind was strong then, too, and I felt like ten days could stretch to twelve or thirteen, but my body had an agenda of it’s own. From the moment I ate my first bite of pho, it began to horde every calorie in preparation for another surprise attack. Now, like then, an underling sense of self-preservation (I think?) asks, pleads, begs me to horde! Build up stock, replenish supplies, regain good footing and get ready for the next dip, the next phase of privation! As a wise and jobless friend eloquently put it: In our profession, without fixed incomes, there is no money sometimes but loads at others and we live both as paupers and kings (and queens, TYVM).

I’m only now getting my metabolism back to normal after six months, which means this other hording instinct could take a while to get straight. Until then, I have a few sales to go to.

Georgetown Cupcake Siesta

After a chocolate break at the Cocoa Gallery with two very lovely Jobless Girls (one just ending a job, the other beginning tomorrow), I made the effort to return to Georgetown to do two things I had no time to finish yesterday: Get a deal at a two-for-one dress sale (today was the last day!) and see what was going on with this cupcake place I saw while walking down west M St. See, on my way to Leopold’s Kafe yesterday afternoon for a cappuccino (nice, nothing exciting, but I think I’ll try the Austrian coffee next time), I saw a crazy line out the door of a little shop on Potomac Street across from Dean and Deluca. By the time I returned after the coffee, a sign on the door said they were closed and sold out. Of cupcakes. Georgetown Cupcakes.

I’m not a person who really ‘gets’ cupcakes—I’m more a crème brule and gelato fan where deserts are concerned—but nothing sparks curiosity in me like a line outside a small and stylish boutique. By the time I reached the front door this afternoon (after getting two fab dresses!), the chocolate cupcakes were gone and a few in the line turned away. But thanks to my previous chocolate fill, I was prepared to enjoy one each of the few Red Velvet and Lemon Blossom cupcakes remaining.

Here’s what was going through my mind… What is it about cupcakes? I think back to my childhood cupcake—you know, the kind bought in the supermarket with that so-wrong inch-thick confectioners sugar icing and yucky rainbow sprinkles—and I wince. I now live next to Cake Love and go often, but ...wait in line for cupcakes? Chocolate I'll wait in line for—Chocolate gives you endorphins, endorphins make you happy. That I get. Why cupcakes? What's in it for me besides sugar and calories? Is it that we enjoy the chance to lavish ourselves, and a beautiful cake dressed with citrus glaze and gourmet sprinkles—and individually sized, just for us—speaks to a deep, psychological craving? Are we dying to live out the child and Marie Antoinette buried deep down within us all? Does “happiness in the palm of your hand” really a cupcake make?

The girls at Georgetown Cupcake think so, as well as everyone who keeps wiping the place out. At 5p.m, the dears were scurrying to bake another batch of chocolate cakes, which they promised would be ready an hour later, though a sign on the door showed they’d already closed once that afternoon to restock. Since the shop first opened it’s doors on Valentines Day, the cupcake output has grown daily but not quite as fast as the number of fans.

So I tried the cupcakes. Okay, I get it.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Funny How the Days Go By

Today, I made appointments and plans for Friday, confirmed times and locations, and said to people, "Okay, see you tomorrow!"

Of course, today is Wednesday and it took until about 1pm to figure it out. How silly! But maybe you can understand what my life is like. I would say that it is in fact more difficult to keep my activities and my hectic schedule in order than the average office person who can rely on someone else to reference the time of day or day of the week. In other words, you have activities that take place around you that can give you helpful markers. I, on the other hand, have only garbage pick-up days to rely on, and I haven't taken the garbage out in weeks (thanks, BF!). All I'm saying is a jobless person must work pretty damn hard to keep all this straight.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Metro Mobbing

I went to Cork for drinks last Friday and went out for sushi with the BF on Saturday night. I was excited for both, went to both spots early to beat the crowds, but only to remember that it was the weekend and Friday and Saturday nights are cursed. Both spots were so packed, I nearly swore to order delivery every weekend from now on forever. My friend and I nearly lost heals pushing our way out of Cork on Friday when the standing crowd flooded in at 7:30, and on Saturday, when my craving for sushi was almost hormonal, the wait at Sushi Taro was longer than the time it would take to fillet my own fish. Instead of walking to Taro we ended up driving to Cleavland Park. We drove to Cleavland Park! By Saturday, I was demanding to know, "Who are these people packing into my places?" (By 'my' places, I mean bars and restaurants so close to home on 16th and U that I can safely stumble home at the end of the night. I've also declared them mine.) Nearly every car outside Taro had Virginia or Maryland plates. I was hot with madness on two levels: as an environmentalist and as a person who pays harsh DC taxes. You know where I'm going with this... Not that I have anything against Virginians or Marylanders--many of them are my friends--but do all of them have to pack into the handful of decent places in my hood every weekend? I don't go to their places, after all. No doubt out-of-towners are so sick of hearing this, and of course it's all been said before, and I'm not even sure I blame them alone, I somewhat extend this to other districters that flood into Dupont. But why only prime nights? This weekend was a final straw in my own personal score book of metro mobbing. For years, similar mobbings have plagued Saint Ex, Bar Pilar, and 16th & U. Now my sushi place and the only respectable wine bar? I went so far as to demand (to no one in particular, but tell me what you think of it) that from now on, doormen should also check IDs for proof of local addresses before entering. Ha! Or they should at least allow them in first, perhaps even to reserved seats, and lavish them with treats. But this brings me back to the larger problem that I've always disliked about DC--that without enough options in more neighborhoods in the city (and with Georgetown and Capital Hill remaining inconvenient), we will all continue flocking to the one or two places in my hood that rule.

Thursday, February 21, 2008


I was making chile rellenos today when I was struck by a horrifying suspicion. More and more lately, I’ve been staying at home rather than spending the entire day at coffee shops, working on my laptop, writing or researching my current projects (I love coffee, you know, but it adds up). So I’ve started making breakfast, then fixing something for lunch, and then thinking what to make for dinner for my cute little boyfriend and myself. Then, of course, I need to clean the cooking area, which expands to the living room, outward… you get the idea. So I'm starting to feel I may be turning into somewhat of a possible interpretation of what one would call a… well… housewife. Horrors! I’m not married, I’m not even what you would call the nurturing-type, so I have no idea how or when this ridiculous suspicion popped into my head; but now that I think about it, it seems pretty likely and terrifying. Of course, domesticity is not a pastime limited to housewives… but this is what it leads to for sweet girls like me, people, and it’s the rightful fear of any young independent woman!

Being between projects that pay (that is always the trick of freelancing), I have less to contribute to things like
rent payments, and therefore more time in the day that can seem unproductive, strictly monetarily speaking. That leads to guilt that persuades me to consider my subsidy to the “household” which leads me to cook, clean and fluff. Here’s what’s most foreboding: It’s satisfying. I have closure at the end of the day because I create things with my hands—my secret pleasure—and I have impending goals to make my own bread, paint chairs and pick out end tables.

A few women in Great Britain are calling the apparent new generation of work-at-home housewives the “Generation Nigella.” The tag is being bestowed upon the woman who now replaces the feminist work-horse of the nineties for the modern gal who wants everything; wants a fabulous career but also wants to be at home taking care of babies, being domestic, or even making a career of being domestic, like Martha Stewart. Critics argue this to be neither achievable nor practical and a sign of a generation of women who don’t know what they want. We, in our ambitious post-feminist age, have confused ourselves with too much to do.

In any case, my mom is a great cook and finished grad school after I left for college, so today I’m daring to make tamales and other foods I've never made before as a tribute to her kick-ass, do what you want, I’ll-be-bringing-in-good-dough-next-week sort of way. That's the plan for today, anyhow.

Photos: Lunar Eclipse

In case you missed the lunar eclipse last night, I froze my ass off so you could have a look.

If I hadn't been reminded about this on my way home from a movie, I swear, I would have cared less. But then I saw it and thought of all the things I might have considered doing that are best done during a lunar eclipse... I'm sure there's some rare, exotic herbal remedy I should have prepared... and isn't my sign in the right house or something? Also, what does this mean for magicians, the Virgo-Pisces axis, and the elections?

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Photo Of The Day--Mayorga Macchiato

I could do this everyday, you know. More on coffee to come.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Oh Right, It's That Holiday Again. Better Get Some Chocolate at ACKC.

I have a boyfriend, so I'm not exactly one of those typical people (singles) who hate Valentine's Day because it reminds me of being alone or those other people who become completely ridiculous about hearts and red bows and cheap lingerie. Scratch that--I'm exactly the second half of that last sentence.

Simply put, I'm just one of those types who would rather do everything that this holiday wants me to do--go to dinner, buy lots of loot, cards, flowers, chocolates--some OTHER day. So instead, my boyfriend and I will get a good bottle of champagne (this is my one exception, since I LOVE champagne), I'll go to the gym, and then we'll sit a home and shuck oysters and watch a movie.

However, as I finally made it into the Cocoa Gallery (ACKC) on 14th Street last week--and back several times since then (I live in the neighborhood, okay?)--I remembered the one damn good thing this holiday brings--specialty food items.

Photo from the Washington City Paper, see their ACKC article here.

The Juliet hot chocolate is a chocolate lovers heaven and a foodies fascinating experience. All of the hot chocolate here is made with real cocoa shavings, not powders, and the Juliet--a Valentine's Day special-- is infused with a hint of rose water, topped with whipped cream and garnished with a rose petal. I just had the most interesting white wine from Germany the other day at one of the daily tastings at Vidalia, which had a flowery infusion in addition to a somewhat dry and clean finish, and I liked it, loved it really, and it didn't
make me gag as if I had just walked into a cloud of cheap perfume. So I was feeling good that this Juliet was not going to let me down.

It didn't. It was creamy, a great blend of dark chocolate and what must have been whole milk, with the most subtle, unpretentious hint of rose, more like a scent in the air than a flavor in your mouth, though maybe a tad over-garnished with the whipped cream. My chocolate tolerance is well above the average nonprofessional, yet I had some trouble drinking the whole mug. No matter... I'll be going back for at least one more if they carry it throughout the week.

The place was packed on Tuesday with eager shoppers hoping to surprise their loved ones with designer truffles (the lavendar pistachio is fantastic, and I'm eager to go back and try several of the others that fill three full cases towards the back) and kitschy little chocolate Valentine's items--Chocolate Voodoo dolls, body frosting, chocolate shower bar.

ACKC also sells Vosges chocolate bars, which I love and only used to buy when in Soho. The Black Pearl Bar with wasabi and ginger is my favorite, though the Oaxaca bar is a spicy classic--chili and chocolate were meant to be together.

My friend bought the chocolate pasta packaged and available on one of the many display tables, which he plans to cover in mole sauce in the hopes of making a serious impression on a potential Valentine.

The atmosphere is a bit loud, in color an in noise--without rugs, couches or curtains to dull some of the echo happening, it can feel like the lobby of a hotel or a wine tasting room-- not exactly the coziness I want with my hot chocolate.

When the holiday's over, I'll go back to ACKC for the Audrey hot chocolate--a nice, tight blend of dark chocolate and the slightest bit of milk, full of body and just a tad sweet without being bitter. It's an espresso personified in a hot chocolate, if you get my drift.

Although, the Audrey is still a second (a FAR second) to my favorite form of chocolate in the world--the extremely rich and devilish dark, dark chocolate gelato at Dolcezza.

Can You Believe This Cat Got the Shaft by the Washingtonian Pet Issue?

I really don't know what kind of show those Washingtonians are runnin', but look at how freaking CUTE this cat is? Cute enough to make it past some of the howlers that made the finals in the recent Washingtonian Cutest Pet Contest, that's for sure... especially the honorable mentions! No doubt another high-level Washington conspiracy....

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Film Screening: Oscar Nominated Foreigns at National Geographic

There's nothing like attending another Oscar party and looking like a boob when you loose your bet in every category, and your friends think that you must be a hermit, good for nothing, and sad. Maybe if you watch some of the nominated films this year, you could show your face again after that silly little vote you made for Little Miss Sunshine last year.

National Geographic is here to help you with the foreign films, at least. NG will screen each of the Oscar Nominated Foreign Language Films beginning tonight through Sunday.

Just think... by Monday, you could impress girls with foreign film aplomb... impress your friends who power through their Netflix queues... I mean, some of these films haven't even been released in the U.S. yet!

Tickets are an affordable $7 dollars. Visit the All Roads Film Project site for more details. And pray the tickets aren't completely gone, slacker.

Thursday, February 14 at 7:30 p.m. The Counterfeiters
Friday, February 15, at 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, February 16, at 7:30 p.m.
Sunday, February 17, at 2 p.m.
Sunday, February 17, at 5 p.m. Katyn

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Hello, I'm Addicted to Facebook

In the past two months, with the slightest bit 'o extra time available in my--ahem--flexible schedule, I have steadily been sucked into the vacuous black hole of time and space that is Facebook. My attachment is deep and true, and insatiable. Flixster, Super pokes, and Wall Postings have replaced any real human interactions I could be having... yeah, well, and thank god for that! But has my dependence gone too far? Do I need an intervention?

Here are twelve questions all Facebook junkies should answer to get wise on whether you, as do I, suffer from this completely ridiculous problem.


1. Have you ever decided to stop [Facebooking] for a week or so, but only lasted for a couple of days?
2. Do you wish people would mind their own business about your [Facebooking]-- stop telling you what to do?
3. Have you ever switched from one kind of [Status Update] to another in the hope that this would keep you from [seeming boring]?
4. Have you had to have an eye-opener [of Facebook] upon awakening during the past year?
5. Do you envy people who can [Vampire Bite] without getting into trouble?
6. Have you had problems connected with [Super Poking] during the past year?
7. Has your [Wall Posting] caused trouble at home?
8. Do you ever try to get "extra" [Pokes] at a party because you do not get enough?
9. Do you tell yourself you can stop [Facebooking] any time you want to, even though you keep [Movie Trivia Challenging] when you don't mean to?
10. Have you missed days of work or school because of [Facebooking]?
11. Do you have [Wall Post] "blackouts"?
12. Have you ever felt that your life would be better if you did not [Facebook]?

Speaking of networking site issues, did you miss out on International Delete Your MySpace Account Day?

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Super Tuesday

This election sure does have some fine multimedia. See the newest Barack Obama video created by supporters.