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Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Things 146, 147, 148 and 20 Revisited

Well, it seems that it took ten weeks before I abandoned one of my new years resolution to blog more regularly.  But, it was in part because I was busy completing a different resolution that I didn't tell you about at the time (in case of utter failure).  And that resolution was to complete the Cherry Blossom Ten Miler.  Which I did.  

So, without further ado, a brief roundup of the Things I've been up to in my absence.

Thing 146: Run the Cherry Blossom Ten Miler

I've never been a runner in my life, so what possessed me to sign up for my very first race and have it be not just a 5k, or heck, even a 10k, but ten miles?  Apparently, I don't like to do anything half-assed.

So I started training in December, building up to three miles as a comfortable base distance.  Then I joined a running group that trains for this specific race.  We met on Saturday mornings going ever-further distances: three miles, then four, then six, then (I can't believe it still) eight, until I'd built up to 9.75 the week before the big race.  Eight miles really seems like a lot when you look at map to see that you've run from Foggy Bottom to Lincoln Park and back.  

Race Day was beautiful.  The weather was a warm, breezy 70 degrees, the sun was out and everyone was in great spirits.  The people cheering along the route helped to keep my spirits up as I ran from the Washington Monument, across the Memorial Bridge and back, down to the Kennedy Center, around the Tidal Basin, around Haines Point and back to the Memorial.  And I beat my goal time of two hours by a whopping eleven minutes!  Coming in at 1:48:59, I completed my first ten miler.

Thing 147: Founding Farmers

This restaurant has been buzzing since it opened, and I'm surprised it took me so long to make it over there, seeing as how their philosophy is very much in tune with mine. 
At Founding Farmers we believe that everyone benefits by knowing more about the source of the food they eat. We understand the journey of our products from seed to harvest, and from Farm-to-Table. Owned by a collective of American family farmers, Founding Farmers exists to promote the products and services of family farms, ranches, and fisheries.
Plus, the have a bacon-bourbon cocktail.  Bacon! And bourbon! In a cocktail!  

I went for a work lunch, and my guest and I had a really great experience.  I had heard mixed things about the service, but one time I was there our service was impeccable.  In fact, our waiter walked us through choices on the menu, specialty cocktails and why they were so special, and even shared a laugh with us about biodynamic wines.  And he read my mind when he asked if I was ready for the carrot cake I hadn't ordered yet but was so totally ready for.

The food was great, too.  I had a harvest salad with fresh spinach, hard-boiled eggs, blue cheese, thick cut cubes of bacon and caramelized onions.  My guest had fried chicken and waffles, which I stole a bite of in order to vouch that the fried chicken was juicy and crispy and all those things fried chicken really ought to be.  And the carrot cake was exactly what I wanted, with not-too-sweet cream cheese frosting and these ridiculously good candied pecans.

My bacon bourbon cocktail?  The biggest disappointment.  Perfect in theory, but in practice, you get a glass of cold, spicy bourbon and a hot bacon lollipop on the side, and consuming it in a way that makes sense is impossible.  Either you dunk the lolly, in which case the bacon gets cold and the fat congeals, or you drink and nibble, drink and nibble, which is simply too high maintenance for a cocktail.  
This place is not cheap, so save it for a special occasion.  But that said, I did have a good experience here.

Hey, remember when I saw The Heavens are Hung in Black and it was terrible?  Well, my recent experience at the Shakespeare Theatre was the exact opposite of that.

My friend Sam took me to see Ion, "the Greek tragedy with a happy ending", in the newly built theater in Chinatown.  The play has been updated in language and look, and I have to admit, I just loved the whole production.  The Greek chorus was recast to be a half-dozen modern-day tourists who attended to a royal power couple.  Apollo's temple was a tourist attraction, attended to by Ion, a boy born to Creusa after she was raped by Apollo.  (The back story recap was done with puppets and was both playful and effective).  Mistaken identities and hilarious hijinks ensued, but instead of a stage littered with dead bodies, this play ends in singing and uplift.  

Not every part of the update was a home run, but enough of it was, and it was playful and fun enough to keep everyone engaged and smiling.  

Thing 20, Revisited: Cherry Blossom Picnic

We inaugurated picnic season under the blossoms again this year, with an abundance of dips, deviled eggs, box wine, cookies and a gingerbread bundt cake.  Do not be dissuaded by the crowds, this yearly tradition is not to be missed.

If you do have a favorite picnic place, please leave it for me in the comments.  I want to fit in as many 'nics as possible before the humidity sets in. 


caroline said...

Last weekend I had a lovely picnic at Gravelly Point in Arlington. Though there were a lot of people with the same idea, it didn't feel crowded and we were able to find parking (it's always a plus if you don't have to carry the picnic basket very far).

Once it gets warmer there will be Friday night jazz concerts in the Sculpture Garden, where nearly everyone brings a picnic. It's such a nice way to end the work week.

I just got a nice picnic basket so I will be doing a lot of picnics this season, and will let you know if I find any more good spots!

CandiBelle said...

I dont know if your a fan of the tv show BONES but as of season 5 that is the newest place for the 2 main characters to go eat (Bones and Booth). Just a little trivia. Im glad you went, gave a Miami girl a chance to see inside a place in her favorite show.