Friday, September 11, 2009

Review of the Russia House

I'm frankly amazed at myself that I have never done a proper review of the Russia House.

Housed in an old DC building with a lot of character, the restaurant spans several dark, red, moody floors. It is where you take someone when you want your romantic dinner to turn naughty.

Being a Russian restaurant, they have loads of vodka. The best thing to do is get a vodka tasting. They'll bring out an iced tray of shots in whichever flavors you choose. I love the chocolate vodka.

The food is excellent, much to my surprise. My experience with borscht growing up was not a positive one, but theirs was delicious. The duck salad was excellent as well.

Happily, I live within site of the Russia House. Unhappily, I can't afford to eat there too often. That's mostly because eating there means consuming copious amounts of vodka. I don't know though. I think I might be due for a visit.

Russia House, 1800 Connecticut Ave NW, Washington, DC

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Review of Le Pain Quotidien

Dupont Circle finally has its very own Le Pain Quotidien.

Part of a worldwide chain, this bakery/restaurant manages to feel like it isn't a worldwide chain. They have a good selection of breads and pastries, very tasty lattes, and a decent menu.

Dupont Circle doesn't have that many breakfast places nearby, so I wasn't exactly sad to hear I had another option. I love Afterwords and all, but the food just isn't that great and the lines can be long.

Chris and I were famished when we arrived, so we over ordered a bit. We shared a perfectly cooked Paris Ham & Gruyère omelet. We also shared a super sweet Belgian sugar waffle and two other pastries. Oh, and then there was the bowl of fresh berries. I really couldn't complain about any of it, although I won't say anything knocked my socks off. Also, we blew about $50 before we knew what hit us.

Le Pain Quotidien, 2001 P Street NW, Washington, DC

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Ramp it Up Exhibit at the NMAI

The National Museum of the American Indian in DC has an interesting exhibit right now on Native American skateboard culture.

The exhibit starts with surfing (an indigenous Hawaiian invention). It shows how surfing's land-based cousin gained in popularity and how influential skate culture is in native communities.

Different native skaters are highlighted, but the most interesting part for me were the skateboards. The artwork is really cool and I totally want to order some for my wall.

Check it out. It runs through October.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

The Great Nationwide Kiss In

I thought the Great Nationwide Kiss-In was a pretty cute idea.

A same sex couple had been harassed after kissing outside a Mormon church. Protesters started going to the church to kiss in protest. That little idea germinated until someone decided we should have a big kiss-in around the country.

It could have been great. Thousands of people gathering to make-out in public was a clear message. And the more we see same sex people kissing, the less of a big deal it will be.

Although thousands signed up on Facebook, including about 800 for Washington DC, this was the sad little group that actually showed up. What's that, maybe twenty people?

Monday, September 7, 2009

Review of Capt. John's Crab House

Captain John's is in tiny Cobb Island in Southern Maryland. It's the kind of place where they lay paper out on the table and your neighbor might be a family of bikers.

We feasted at Captain Johns. I mean we really didn't hold back. One order of king crab legs was so enormous we actually had to take some home with us. They were amazing, succulent, buttery, and a must if you are in the area.

It was my first experience with soft shell crab and, I must say, I wasn't a huge fan. The meaty part inside was o.k., but the goop and the, eh.

We also ordered fritters, which I had not had since I was a kid. They were just as dense, sweet, and doughy as I remembered. The corn side was a huge disappointment. They came to the table with a soggy mess that could have come out of a can and we had passed a dozen farm stands selling corn on our way there. Sad.

I'd still go back though, just for those crab legs. Holy crap were they good.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Solomons Island, Maryland

We were only on Solomon's Island for a skip. We stopped at the Annmarie Sculpture Garden and then headed to the town center.

The town center is tiny, just a few old houses converted into beachy stores. At the end of the strip, and around a little bend, sat the Tiki Bar.

This was the view from our bar stools at the Tiki Bar. It reminded me a lot of Fort Lauderdale, back when it was a little seedier and filled with bikers and blue collar types.

Everyone was drinking Coors and shooting the shit. I ordered a cocktail made with fresh squeezed orange juice, but I can't remember the name of it. After our drinks we wandered through a few of the stores and took off. I can see how this might be a relaxing spot for a weekend, if all you want to do is lay around and boat.

Not much going on though.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Annmarie Garden on Solomons Island

We almost didn't stop at the Annemarie Garden. I'm so glad we did. It turned out to be one of the highlights of our trip.

Annmarie Garden is affiliated with the Smithsonian, specifically the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden. If you have ever been to the sculpture garden here in DC, you have an idea of what Annmarie Garden is like.

Except Annmarie is even better. There is a wooded area that is filled with sculptures. There is a whole walkway filled with just sculptures of women. There are modern pieces and quirky faces in unexpected places. Some of the trees have paintings.

There is also a beautiful gallery inside. It is filled with really interesting pieces. My favorite was a mosaic butterfly. I also loved the giant, elegant rabbit in a reclining pose that looked like it should have been at the entrance to temple.

There were crazy fish and disco balls and horse heads and even some roadkill. (In case you haven't figured it out, they were exploring the animal kingdom in their exhibit.)

They don't stop there though. The museum is very interactive. There are activities dispersed all over the place. When we arrived, we were drawn to a picnic table outside set up with paints. Visitors were asked to paint a gourd with the theme of "home is where the ____ is." The gourds are going to be used for an art exhibit. The ones that are done are currently displayed in the sculpture forest in some crazy baskets.

They also have a school where they teach everything from painting to ceramics to jewelry making. Oh, and did I mention the very cool gift shop? If I lived around there, I would be at that place all the time.