Category Archives: DC

Eating in DC: Union Market

Over the past few months, Mark and I have found ourselves going out of our way for tacos.  Not Mexican tacos, mind you, and certainly not Taco Bell, but Korean Tacos at the newly opened Union Market in DC.

Union Market Sign[1][3][1]

It might be one of the coolest things to happen in DC.  Perhaps I’m partial, because I love small foods, lots of options and a market in general, but check out what is inside:


We haven’t had out of town visitors in a while, but this would be a perfect place to bring them, or to visit with a group.  It’s an affordable option that allows everyone to get their own “favorite” snack.

My favorites: Goshen Juice Bar, TaKorean – three steaks for Mark, 1 chicken, 1 steak for me, Salt and Sundry – an adorable store with the trinkets and gifts you didn’t know existed or that you needed, Peregrine Espresso to go for Mark.

American Girl

Ever since I went to American University I have had a soft spot in my heart for this song by Tom Petty.  It is perfect for today.

Happy America Day to all of you American girls!

P.S. If you need some last minute holiday treat and snack inspiration, check out my Pinterest!

Butterfly Bash 2011

On Friday night (10/14/2011) more than 500 people, 60 organizations and 30 corporations came together at the Andrew W. Mellon auditorium to celebrate Fair Chance and its work supporting more than 50,000 children, youth and young adults at the 5th annual Butterfly Bash.

Fair Chance was founded in 2002 by Amanda Marshall, who spoke at the event saying, “When I started Fair Chance in 2002, my vision was to provide dynamic and passionate nonprofit leaders with critical business skills so they could not only help more children, but be around for years to come to support the families who were counting on them the most. And, it has worked! In less than 10 years, we have supported almost 60 organizations which in turn have positively impacted the lives of over 54,000 children in the communities of greatest need in DC.”

Amanda Marshall, Founder of Fair Chance awarding Katharine Weymouth, Publisher and CEO of the Washington Post and 2011 Butterfly Bash Honorary Chair

Also speaking at the event the Honorary Chair, Katharine Weymouth, Publisher of the Washington Post, and Co-Chairs Julie Maner and Megan Rupp.

The 2011 Butterfly Bash smashed previous years’ fundraising records, bringing in $200,000 including more than $22,000 raised in a live auction at the event. These proceeds allow Fair Chance to support an additional 10 organizations and the thousands of children they serve within the next year. Fair Chance has impacted over 54,000 children and youth living in Wards 5, 6, 7, and 8 and helped transform nearly 60 nonprofit organizations. The organization’s proven Partnership Program, provides more than 300 hours of free coaching and support to small, youth-based nonprofits helping them do what they do better and do more of it.

About the Event…

The Good: The food!  Great catering from Ridgewell’s Catering, particularly fabulous were the caprese skewers.  Also delightful were the take home treats from BLT Steak that were devoured before the valet arrived.

Take Home Treats from BLT Steak: 2011 Butterfly Bash

The Better: The set up of the room encouraged guests to mix, mingle and dance to the fun Jangling Reinhardts, the evening’s band.

The Jangling Reinhardts: 2011 Butterfly Bash

The Fabulous: A crowd that came to celebrate and support a great cause.

Hungry for the Weekend

It is totally feeling like summer in these parts, which is to say, it is hot and in the afternoon it rains and then becomes shockingly humid.  But summer also means the arrival of the cookout, the barbecue, the appointing of the Grill King.

I am missing my family’s Father’s Day celebration, which makes me more than a little sad, but I know I can share a burger and a dog with dad anytime – and for that I am very grateful.

American Gastronomy Map by LucyLovesThis via Etsy

This week’s Hungry for the Weekend features lots of local (to DC) food events, and a good sampling of food humor and inspiration.

If you, like me, are hungry for the weekend please, enjoy these links:

Have a delicious weekend!

Setting the Stage

Normally I think of home decorating and collecting furniture as sort of a piecemeal process; you pick up great pieces when and where you can.  The process is organic as you sort of figure out what works in your space, and what doesn’t.

Or, you can do what I did this weekend and stage an entire house in a matter of hours, with the help of our good old friend, the Internet.  I had the chance to stage to coordinate the staging (furniture/accessories) of a newly remodeled DC row home.
This was a great exercise in design, but it’s also provided some great tips for anyone setting out to make their first home, especially those with a limited budget.  
In the bathroom: have fun!  The entire concept for both bathrooms came from the towels.  Towels (from World Market) are a really affordable way to add personality in a small space.  Then, because I am like this, I matched the wastebasket and soap to the towels – that is clearly not mandatory. 

Here’s a tip: in designing for staging and open houses, or for any high trafficked guest bathroom, skip the soft white floor rug.  I went with gray, it will be more durable underfoot.
In the living room I went with the bold choice of a light colored sofa.  In theory it is safe for a staging house, or a house without kids or pets (like ours, in real life!), but what you forget about is the times when the furniture needs to be moved by movers, and not with your tender loving care from house to house.  No worries, this sofa (also from World Market) is completely slip covered to allow for ease when changing styles, or hiding spills.

In the kitchen allow yourself to make a statement.  For me it was these cute little stacked coffee cups (World Market), that inspired the rest of the color palette and semi-retro aesthetic. 

I had a few challenges: make it affordable, make it fabulous, and make it livable. I am not an interior designer, but I learned a few tricks along the way, that were worth sharing.  

If you’re in home set-up mode here were my favorite places to search and shop: 
  • World Market,  great for accessories and unusual items, textiles, that sofa!
  • Pier 1, great for vases, candles, kitchen kitsch
  • Target, great for lamps, rugs, bedding, affordable accent furniture
  • JCPenney, great sales on large furniture, rugs, dining
  • Wal-Mart, great for lamps, affordable accent furniture, bedding
  • Crate & Barrel, great sales on dishes, table linens
  • Amazon, great for price checking
  • Overstock, great for price checking, rugs

All About the Race

On Saturday night Mark and I went to dinner at Paolo’s (spaghetti dinner, you know) and went to bed at around 11:30pm.  I was definitely nervous, nervous about waking up on time, nervous about how cold it would be in the morning, nervous if I had trained enough, or in the right way.  Nervous!

Sunday morning at 5am came earlier than I anticipated.  But, after a night of much interrupted sleep I was feeling a sense of now or never.  I made my pre-race breakfast, oatmeal and almond butter, and a banana and drank, and drank, and drank (lots of water).

If you’re wondering what to wear if you’re running 10 miles and it is 33 degrees outside, you may follow my lead: long leggings (cotton/spandex), a wicking sports bra, a base layer long sleeve t-shirt, a Marmot zip up jacket, and a headband.  It is cold at 5am, but around mile 3 it really does start to warm up as evidenced by the trail of jackets, gloves, a shirts on the street.

As I have said, this was my first race.  Sometime in the early morning hours as I wandered around the base of the Washington Monument, my nerves dissipated and were replaced with excitement (as well as an urgency to pee – see above about the water).  I felt my muscles warm up and relax, and that sense of fear about not being able to do this thing, this race, turned into excitement as a smile spread across my face.

I didn’t run the best race, I got a cramp, I had to walk for a portion.  But, I finished.  I came running into the finish line as my husband and sister watched and cheered me on and finished in just under 2 hours.  
As I ran faster towards the finish line, I wasn’t thinking anything.  I was just running (I know, very Forrest Gump).  When I crossed I felt everything.  I felt salt on my forehead, the cold chill on sweat soaked clothes, and absolute joy.  I wasn’t tired.  I was proud.

I hope you’ll take some time to make a goal, whatever it is, and train towards it.  That feeling at the end, it’s amazing.

Final Stretch

This weekend I am running the Cherry Blossom Ten Mile Race.  I am clearly not the first person to run this race, and I’ll be running it with thousands of other people, but I am excited about this race.  And by excited I mean pretty nervous.

I am not a runner.  In fact, when I went to the running store two weeks ago to buy new sneakers, I emphatically told the employee, “I am running in the Cherry Blossom Ten Mile, but I’m not a runner or anything”.  And the truth is, I wasn’t a runner.  I didn’t look forward to running the trails near our apartment in Virginia, and I often stood on the side of the track while Mark ran (and fast).  

This past fall, I knew I needed to find a mental and physical challenge to compete with the various other challenges in life.  I needed something to focus on, to aspire to and to complete.

I am generally competitive by nature, but the only person I have been competing with has been me.  Over the course of the last two months, during my training program, I have gone from dreading the 3 miles I needed to run, to saying now, “Oh, it’s just three miles.”

Before I ever started running I told myself that if I ran 5 miles my gift to myself would be the Maniac pumps from Brian Atwood, it is no longer about the shoes.  It is about knowing that I set a goal, I went after it, and in a few days I will do it.  I am not running for time, I am running for me.

I’ll report back on Monday with the results. 
If you need a reason to take on a new challenge, the reason should be because you can, and so you have to.

Have a great weekend. 

First Signs of Spring in DC

I spent the weekend in Florida with family, and I have lots of recipes and photos to share of what is perenially 85 degrees and sunny (my hometown).  

But, before I left I snapped this picture of cherry blossoms along Logan Circle in DC.  The arrival of cherry blossoms, a gift from the Japanese, is the highlight of the year because it is a reminder that even though it is still 40 degrees, that spring will come and it will be lovely.

Wishing you a pink filled, lovely start to your week!

It’s Not About Politics, It’s About Food

Map Highlighting the Access of Food in DC
I live in DC.  I love it here.  In the 7 years that I have lived in the DC Metro Area I have lived in Northwest DC, near American University and Arlington, and now more recently a neighborhood in Ward 5. 

In my old neighborhood I lived 3 blocks from Harris Teeter, a few hundred feet from 3 convenience stores and 1.5 miles from a Whole Foods.  The part of Arlington I lived in has a “walkability” score of 97/100, and where I currently live has a walkability score of 77/100.  77 is still good, but not as good, and the access to food is considerably different.  There are several micro markets, two small groceries, Timor Market and Windows Market and a Harris Teeter and Whole Foods about 1.5 miles away that are reachable by crossing major roads along the way.  

However, the highlight of this neighborhood is the Farmer’s Market.  I walk with friends to the market on the corner of Rhode Island and 1st Street.  We meet our neighbors there, and are delighted with the overwhelming number of puppies and babies that we normally don’t see on the busy Monday – Friday schedules.  But more than the puppies and babies, I get to see fresh baked bread, a diverse variety of cheese that would make the most selective wine bar jealous, and fruits and vegetables that literally make your eyes grow wide.  The Bloomingdale Farmer’s Market, every Sunday  is the only consistent source of fresh and plentiful produce in the “neighborhood”.  
It cannot be underestimated the value that fresh fruit and vegetables provide to people of all ages.  In my experience the Bloomingdale Farmers’ Market, helmed by Robin Shuster, makes the extra effort to highlight sales, and provide recipes and ideas for using all of the different options that show up week to week.  

I have shopped at other Farmer’s Markets before, and of course some people are turned off because they are deemed too expensive.  The vendors that appear every Sunday in Bloomingdale are the same as at the Dupont Market, but luckily the prices are not.  The vegetables that I buy from some vendors total out to be considerably less expensive than the same items I would buy at Trader Joe’s or any other supermarket. 

So, what’s the big deal?  Why all the talk about the Farmer’s Market?  Tonight there is a meeting to discuss continuing the Bloomingdale’s Farmers’ Market.  There is concern about the lack of parking and too much noise.  My concern is about lack of the most succulent and juicy peaches in July, ripened tomatoes in Augusts and apples in September.

If you want to support the Farmer’s Market please join the community Dec 20th at 7pm to discuss the future of the Bloomingdale Farmers` Market as well as parking issues related to local churches and the Big Bear Cafe.
The meeting will be at 7pm at the Metropolitan Wesley AME Zion Church at 1st and North Capitol, NW, and the meeting is open for all to attend. 

Speech, now done.

Enjoying the Bounty

For the past few days my home Internet has been down – which means I haven’t been able to share pictures I have taken, or any new recipes.  I’m overflowing with sweets and savories!

As an appe-teaser, enjoy some of the bounty from our trip to the Bloomingdale Farmer’s Market.

Parsley, Sage and Basil from our Friend’s Backyard Garden
25 Pounds of Sauce Tomatoes – lots of chopping for lots of delicious homemade sauces.
Beets and Radishes that were used for Sunday’s Lunch
Shots of Espresso to end the day

The table is set for a Sunday feast – recipes to follow!