Archive | October, 2011

Big Houses, Big Dogs, Big Margaritas: San Antonio

31 Oct

I must start with: I heart Texas.  This was my first time to Texas, but it sure as hell will not be my last.  I even called Matt to tell him I want to move to Texas (although, I may have been in the “heat of the moment,” as some may say, since I say this about most every place – Cabo, Mexico City, San Francisco, NYC, Miami).

Erika and I headed to Texas to visit our great friend, Kat.  She lives in a beautiful house in San Antonio, with a huge dog named Diesel.  Erika and I arrived on a Thursday evening to a wonderful cooked meal and lots of girl talk/catching up.  Friday morning, Erika and Kat indulged me in a “wog,” which is my daily walk/jog.   In the afternoon, the three of us took off to Alfred Angelo, a wedding dress store, and found what will probably be my wedding dress (not seen to the right).  I wish I could show the blog world but I would like to keep that a surprise for my future husband.  Afterward we did what every visitor to Texas must do: we ate TexMex!  Almost as good as the food was my dream margarita: a large frozen margarita with a beer bottle in the glass.

Saturday was a day of adventure.  We went to Enchanted Rock, which is a boulder located about an hour away from San Antonio.  We climbed the rock/boulder and sat and stared out at the Texas flat land.  We then stopped in a small, charming town between Enchanted Rock and San Antonio to explore and grab some grub.  We also partook in beer and wine tasting, which I learned, not to my surprise, that Texas is not really wine country.  When we got home, the ladies and I headed to downtown San Antonio where I got to see the Alamo and experience River Walk, a fake river in downtown San Antonio that has many restaurants, bars, and shops along it.  We ate at what would be a super romantic Italian restaurant had there not been a nightclub across the river that was blaring hip hop/pop music.

Sunday was the day of departure.  It was sad to say goodbye to Kat, Diesel and Texas, but I know I will see them all again soon on my next trip to the Lone Star State…

Zombies on the Run! Silver Spring Zombie Walk 2011!

23 Oct

The Fourth Annual Silver Spring (MD) Zombie Walk took place on Saturday, October 22nd.   Thousands of people showed up to participate in the event either as a zombie, zombie fighter, human sacrifice, or as an onlooker.  There was fog machines, street closures, a zombie parade route, and spooky music.  The event ends each year with a zombie flick at AFI.  This year’s flick was Dead Snow.  The zombie walk is a lot of fun for everyone and is well worth participating in or merely visiting next year!

                                                        

A Friday Night Leisurly Stroll through Nightmare Screamplex

23 Oct

Nightmare Screamplex is said to be the largest and scariest Halloween event in the DC Metro area.  It sure was large – it took us 45 minutes to walk through the place – but I do hope that there is something scarier out there.  The event is creative: you start in a forest, then go through a corn “maze” (there is no real maze, you just follow the path), and then you go through a haunted house.  The forest was a casual walk with the occasional “boo” and rock tripage.  The corn maze was fun to walk through, but the maze part was sorely missed.  And, finally, the haunted house was the best of the three with the different themed rooms that included one high school actor in each room.  The acting in the haunted house was great, but it was not the acting that ended up scaring me.  The only part of the whole complex that scared me was the walk through the black inflation room.  This room plays into any claustrophobia issues you may have.  You have no idea how long the room goes for, you can’t see anything, and you are completely surrounded by an inflated wall.   Thank goodness Matt was behind me holding the walls in front of me or I may have just lost it.

All in all, this is a great place for young kids who get scaried easily, but older kids/young adults may prefer to go elsewhere to be scared.

Taste of Georgetown – October 15, 2011

15 Oct

One word can sum up this festival: crowds!  I almost gave up on this festival when upon arrival I found myself surrounded on all sides by lines.  I never thought I was going to get any food.  Thankfully, there were certain restaurants that were less crowded but that just means I may have missed out on the best food.  At one point I was standing in “line,” which was really just a mass of people, to get to Rugby Cafe, but I found that we were not moving at all.  Eventually I got out of the line to go somewhere else.  Besides the lines, I would say that this festival was pricey.  One taste was $5.  I liked the tasting portions, but for having spent $5, you know that we were getting ripped off ($5 for 1 cannoli is a bit ridiculous).    All in all, it was an experience worth having on a beautiful DC fall day.  Great music, a beautiful location, free water, and the perfect weather really made this festival.

The following is what I tried:
Ristorante Piccolo – Cannoli Siciliano (amazing!)
Chadwicks – pumpkin peach crisp inside a mini pumpkin (amazing concept, really fun to eat)
Bangkok Joes – Pad Thai chicken (could have been better – this was a poor choice on my part)
Degrees Bistro – pulled pork slider (again, could have been better, flavor wasn’t there)
Filomena – beef ravioli (really good, but what isn’t good at Filomena??)


Running of the Brides, Filene’s Basement, Washington, DC – October 14, 2011

14 Oct

A week before Running of the Brides, I was booking an appointment at Kleinfelds when I remembered one of my former colleagues telling me about Running of the Brides.  I decided to check out the website and low and behold they happened to be having an event in DC the next week.  I told Matt and, to my surprise, he was familiar with Running of the Brides and willing to go with me.  We originally thought about going at 7am, but quickly found out from numerous people that the line starts forming the night before and that by 7am there will not be any more dresses on the racks.  We read on the website that dresses start going back on the racks around 11am so we decided to go this route (especially since we are in no hurry to get a dress).

On October 14, 2011, after our morning run and doing a few chores around DC, Matt and I casually walked into Filene’s Basement around 11am.  The chaos was not as bad as we had imagined (although I am sure that a few hours before that it was complete mayhem).  There were those typical Running of the Brides’ brides wearing only a bra and underwear standing around with a group of ladies wearing matching t-shirts.  A lot of hoarding of dresses was still happening, but at this time people were being more open about trading dresses.  Despite there being dresses throughout the store (on the floor, on racks, on top of racks, everywhere), I did not have much hope in finding “my” dress.  By the time we arrived my size looked to be completely gone and most of the dresses were not white.  But, as Matt and I always say “it was a learning experience.”

What I learned from this event is that next time I am arriving earlier and with a large group that can run and grab lots of dresses.  And, additionally, and probably most importantly, I am not a long wedding dress fan.  The short, simple wedding dresses are me.  Matt and I fell in love with the Alred Angelo dress that I am wearing in the picture above.  We did not buy this dress because it was six sizes too big, it had stains, and it was torn due to the madness at the event.  However, hopefully we will find a similar dress at the next Running of the Brides or maybe even Kleinfelds.

Taste of DC – October 8, 2011

8 Oct

Taste of DC was not so much of a “taste” but a whole heap of DC.  The food portions and prices were what you would get at any festival, not a tasting.  For four tickets (or $6) you could have gotten a Ben’s Chili Bowl half smoke.  Or, for one ticket ($1.50), you could get 1 spring roll.  This just did not make sense for what was supposed to be a tasting.  The Taste of DC organizers need to take advice from the Taste of Bethesda organizers and get their food vendors to actually give out tastings, not their whole product, and charge a reasonable price.  I paid more for a half smoke at the festival than I would if I had gone to their actual location!  And, it would have tasted much better! The half smoke I ate at the festival was significantly burnt.  I do have to say though I was pleasantly surprised to see Guapos Restaurant there.  I have to do a shot out to Guapos who satisfied my Mexican food cravings throughout college.

So, as you can tell, the food at the Taste of DC was nothing to write home about.  The music on the other hand was great.  And, in particular, the Big and Rich concert was a concert worth seeing.  My Minnesota country-ness came out at the festival: I sang along to all the songs I knew, I waved my cowgirl hat in the air, and I tried to keep my huge crush of John Rich in tack.  Tickets were extremely reasonable: I paid $13 in advance (it was $15 at the festival) and even if you did not buy tickets, you could clearly see the stage from the sidewalk or festival grounds.

All in all, next year I will keep my eye out for the festival entertainment schedule, but I will eat beforehand.

Representation and No Taxation: Once Upon a Weekend in Delaware

1 Oct

When you think of a ladies weekend, Delaware is probably not the first place you conjure up in your mind.  The normal person may think of Las Vegas, Miami, or New York City.   But with one of the best tennis resorts in the world, cute boardwalk towns, and no sales tax, the small Eastern state of Delaware is a great place to host a bargain ladies weekend.

Despite the dreary late September weather, four of my closest girl friends and I headed to Bethany Beach, Delaware to celebrate a 25th birthday.  We did not have the idle beach weather, but we were able to spend our time in one of the indoor pools, eating out, outlet mall shopping, and just relaxing at home with a bottle (or six) of wine, board games, and the usual lady chatter.   We rented a condo at Sea Colony Resort for the low price of $100/night.  The condo could fit up to 10 persons, thus our small group of five easily spread out among the beds/rooms.  Our drive to the condo after work on Friday was the only miserable point – the normal 2 1/2 hour drive took 5 hours.  But once we made it, we made ourselves a home and stayed up late chatting about lady things.  There were many great facilities for us to enjoy at the resort including indoor and outdoor pools, jacuzzi, tennis courts, the beach, and the gym.  Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to take out my racquets during this trip, but I am surely going to bring Matt, my fiance, along with me next time to take advantage of the 30+ courts.

Outside of the resort and beach, one of my favorite parts of the weekend was outlet mall shopping.  Before heading home on Sunday, the ladies and I went to the outlet mall in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware.  The no sales tax in Delaware was pretty much the only reason we chose this outlet compared to the one in Maryland that is on the drive home.   However, we soon found out that there is also a much better selection at this outlet with three mall areas compared to only one.

The last shot out I would like to give is to Bayleaf Restaurant in Milton, DE.   The Bayleaf’s food portions (HUGE), service (“I really don’t eat at the Bayleaf”), and clientelle (“look at Grandma’s giant orange hoop earrings”), was quite the interesting lunch/dinner spot on our way home.  We wanted “local” and we sure did get “local” at this establishment

Taste of Bethesda – October 1, 2011

1 Oct

Food.  Rain.  Food.  Rain.  Food.  Rain.   That pretty much sums up my experience at the Taste of Bethesda.  What I can say for certain though is that despite the rain, all was a go.  Attitudes and enthusiasm were high, which kept our spirits going.  Many times we considered seeking shelter, but the smell of barbecue, kabobs, Thai, and even matzo ball soup kept my feet moving.  I was able to try quite a bit that by the end of the festival my stomach was satisfied.  And, best of all, we only spent $15/per person (which equated to 12 tickets per person to be used towards samples).   All in all, great date idea for hungry souls like Matt and me.

The following are the restaurants/foods I tried:
Divino Lounge – Argentine sausage (AMAZING) and skirt steak sandwich (good, but does not beat the sausage)
Nest Cafe – pulled pork (I normally don’t like pulled pork but this was AMAZING) and sweet potato fries (really good – crisp and thin – how I like them)
Olazzo – Penne with meatball (the sauce on the pasta was super good – the meatball was a bit spicy)
Georgetown Cupcake -salted carmel cupcake (good)
Spring Mill Bread Company – bread galore! (yummy)
Uptown Deli – Dr. Brown’s black cherry soda (super good)
Kabob Bazaar – Diet Coke (poor choice on Matt’s part – Diet Coke is gross)

Don’t forget:  Taste of Georgetown – October 15, 2011 (http://tasteofgeorgetown.com/)