Recap: Overnight in NYC

Happy spring 🙂

I just got back from a whirlwind overnight trip to NYC (Saturday morning bus to Sunday evening bus). It was a really great trip. We had amazing walking-around weather, we kept our energy up by eating small normal-sized, frequent meals, and we tried to have a variety of experiences while not driving ourselves crazy trying to “do everything.” Here’s a recap of my favorite things we did:

Butcher’s Daughter – This was our little afternoon snack break heaven. Organic, raw, fresh…this place offered all the healthy and delicious food adjectives. We got incredible fancy juice blends and an egg sandwich with their signature vegan cashew cheese. I immediately started wondering if I could recreate it.

The Butcher's Daughter - yummy sandwich

The Butcher’s Daughter – yummy sandwich

Brooklyn Bagels – Touted as best bagels (given the quality of bagels in the city I’m sure its a close call to call these best, but we felt it was deserved). We got a lox bagel sandwich with dill cream cheese and an everything bagel with cream cheese to split. The bagels were huge, fluffy, crispy, and all that we were hoping for.

Brooklyn Bagels - BAGELS

Brooklyn Bagels – BAGELS

Dirt Candy – A vegetarian restaurant! One that treats vegetables with TLC! We had to try. Super tiny and popular, we dined like pros and snuck into the restaurant before the reservations trickled in (tip: show up at 5:30 or a little earlier). We loved each dish, especially the mushroom one which had mushroom pate and roasted portobellos, and the jalapeno hush puppies with maple butter. So glad I’m not vegan just for that butter. Man. Delicious. Not to mention it felt like I was being pampered the whole time.

Dirt Candy - our meal

Dirt Candy – our meal

Artists & Fleas – we stumbled across this walking in Williamsburg, but loved the vintage clothes and beautiful jewelry. The people watching was great, too (NYC really is full of beautiful people).

The High Line – more heaven. I thought I knew what to expect but I was pleasantly surprised by the amount of sunshine, benches, and happy people. Super relaxing up there, and a good way to go from Chelsea to midtown with a view (tip: stop off at Chelsea Market for a snack).

Arlington Darling | Brooklyn Roasting Company

Brooklyn Roasting Company – decaf mocha

Brooklyn Bridge – this is an iconic tourist attraction, so it was crowded, but totally worth it for the views and as a way to experience the great neighborhoods on either side. Stop by Brooklyn Roasting Company for a coffee (this coffee neophyte ordered a decaf mocha which I thoroughly enjoyed and was also approved by N, coffee expert) before your walk over from Brooklyn.

We did so much more, but I could write for days! Message me for more trip deets if you’re interested. I’ll give you the inside scoop :).

Arlington Darling | Brooklyn Bridge

Brooklyn Bridge

Oh, and if anyone out there has advice for how to approach a stranger who is out walking his cat in Williamsburg and you want to pet it, let us know. We were a little baffled by that one.


Equal Pay Day 2014

Quick post! Today is Equal Pay Day! Celebrate with the American Association of University Women with an (un)happy hour at its national headquarters. Some DC businesses are also offering a 23% discount to represent the 77 cents-on-the-dollar wage gap (yes, a much-maligned statistic, which doesn’t mean we shouldn’t care about the gap or pretend that there isn’t one).

Enjoy the specials and help AAUW and the National Committee on Pay Equity (NCPE) continue the conversation about equal pay.

Three Blondes Make a Quorum, or, The Time We Found Religion at Happy Hour

Back in November (wow it has been a WHILE. Happy new year, everyone!), the blondes went to Bar Charley for happy hour. It’s been on our must-go list since it opened in the fall, plus we were looking for a fun place to entertain G’s friend from out of town. Although C was missing due to work travel (boo), we had 3 blondes out of the 4 – that’s a quorum, right?

Long story short, we LOVED Bar Charley. A few important highlights:

· Monday is all-night happy hour. Many places in DC do a deal like this on Mondays or Tuesdays (personally, I never understood this concept – I’m an equal opportunity happy-hour-er and all days of the week are acceptable to me, but if bars want to subsidize my Monday or Tuesday drinking that’s fine by me). Also, happy hour specials were available at the tables! That’s rare – usually you’ll find the specials are only available in the bar area.

· Happy hour specials include $5 mixed drinks on tap. We tried both offerings and they were amazing – nice and strong and not overly sweet (the Mai Tai in particular was fantastic).

· On Mondays, happy hour specials include half-priced sandwiches.** Yay! We tried the regular burger and the tuna burger. G and N debated the possibility that the regular burger was the best they’d ever had. I can’t vouch for that, but I will say that the tuna burger was very delicious and unique. I’ve had a salmon burger before, but this was my first time eating a tuna burger. It was made from ahi tuna and came with seaweed slaw, which made me think of sushi. Mmmm. I would definitely get it again. Plus, all the burgers came with salt and vinegar potato chips – homemade, paper-thin, and with just a hint of vinegar. They were perfection – and I’m not a big potato chip person.

· The server was very nice and they kept the water glasses full. Plus, there was a great and laid-back vibe in the entire place. Basically it was the perfect laid-back happy hour for a crowd – food options, drink options, seating options, and good service.

· And last but not least, last night marked the second time that we took the seat of an owner. At Bar Charley, we eyed the front corner window booth and waited until the owner finished up his (or her? Couldn’t see) drink and then snatched up the booth for ourselves. Recall that at a previous restaurant club, Mike Isabella offered C and I his barstool. The 4 blondes, man…we apparently scare the crap out of restaurant owners?

Oh, and I guess I should explain the “time we found religion” title. As we neared the end of the second round of drinks, we started discussing the influence of religion in our upbringings. G and I went to Catholic school growing up, and admittedly it had a big influence on us. One thing led to another, and at one point after finishing our food I recited a Hail Mary for N. G restrained from chiming in because, well, then it might have gotten a little creepy. I don’t know if it was the alcohol or the prayers, but we all had a spiritual experience at Bar Charley – we’re converts and we’ll be back.

Review: Kapnos

Happy Halloween! I have my candy corn earrings on today to celebrate :). I hope your Halloween is full of yummy candy and is safe and happy, whatever your plans are. Alas, I do not have a Halloween-themed post for you (I draw the line of holiday enthusiasm at the themed earrings apparently).

Those of you who are star-struck among will find my recent trip to Kapnos amusing. Everyone who isn’t star-struck, you should keep reading anyway for mouth-watering treatises on greek food.

My girl bros and I, in our quest to go to new and exciting restaurants around DC, wanted to try out Mike Isabella’s newest restaurant. C and I arrived early, so we approached the host and were told that we couldn’t be seated until blondie #3 and blondie #4 (naturally, that is not what the host actually called N and G but since we are all blonde that is how I have decided to refer to us throughout this post, roll with it) arrived even though we had made a reservation.

So I was miffed, because let’s be honest, sometimes I just enjoy being miffed. The restaurant was completely empty with servers standing around, so there wasn’t a strong rationale for not seating us. Also the bar was more crowded and the host didn’t suggest that we grab a drink there while we wait – he just kind of stood there. So, I was miffed and stomped off to the bar to glare angrily at the bartender, complaining to C all the while. As I stomped, a man in a chef’s uniform stood up from the bar and graciously said, “well I’ve been saving this seat just for you!” and grabs his beer and walks away. It was Mike Isabella!!

I was excited to see him mostly because 1) it is legit when celebrity chefs actually frequent and work in their restaurants, 2) maybe he heard what I was saying and will take my feedback to heart, and 3) because it was just kind of cool.

Anyway. The rest of the evening passed uneventfully and deliciously! The other 2 blondies arrived and we settled down to logistics. What to order off of this huge menu? How to handle the tapas-style with 2 pescetarians, 1 fish-averse, and 1 omnivore? How to taste as many things as possible without emptying our wallets?

Arlington Darling | Review: Kapnos

We eventually decided on ordering the following dishes (check out the menu for descriptions):

  • Tyrokafteri, Revithosalata, and Melitzanosalata spreads with flatbreads
  • Fava
  • Greek fries
  • Charred brussels
  • Seared diver scallops
  • Potato garlic phyllo pie
  • Spanakopita phyllo pie

The spreads were our favorite. Naturally. The greek fries were also a hit, although I was not as enthused as everyone else (see previous allusion to enjoying being miffed, perhaps). The phyllo pies were rated unanimously as awesome – with the potato and garlic edging out as a slight favorite. The rest of the dishes were good and fresh, but did not rock our world. In fact, for the price point and selection of dishes our final verdict was that we might prefer other tapas-style restaurants (e.g., Zaytinya).

Oh also! I forgot to mention that the happy hour specials were decent (and they offer prosecco, rose, and white wine on tap) and you can get the selection of three spreads for only $12, so it’s worth going back just for that.

October Recap – Pottery, Happy Hours, and Music

Hey there! It’s a Sunday night here in Arlington, which is the perfect time to reflect on this weekend and the past few weeks. It’s been a whirlwind. Here we goooo!

  • Last week, M and I painted pottery at All Fired Up in Cleveland Park. My handiwork is shown below. If you haven’t been to All Fired Up, check it out! For some reason I’m always inspired to go in the fall. The studio is cozy, never too crowded, and they let you BYOB any night of the week and just hang out.

Arlington Darling | my pottery teardrop bowl

  • When we went to pick up the pottery the following week, oh but what a coincidence…Pulpo was having its half-price wine night a few doors down! Not only is this an amazing deal that lasts all night, but their regular happy hour isn’t a bad deal either. The small plates are, well, small, but delicious – and the bartender on shift on Wednesdays is a total sweetheart (case in point: he poured M an extra half a glass of beer because he noticed that I still had wine left and thought M should have something to drink while he waited for “the lil’ lady” to finish. Cuteness).
  • The next night, I tried Duke’s Grocery with N. They have a small and adorable converted rowhouse in Dupont with craft beers and craft sandwiches described on chalkboard menus. N got the bahn mi and reported that it was delicious, and I got the snapper tacos which were perfectly proportioned and perfectly cooked. Mostly, I enjoyed the casual vibe (they didn’t bat an eye that we were loaded down with bags and I had obviously just come from running). They have lunch, too – but no takeout apparently.
  • Thennn (tired, yet?) the next night I enjoyed happy hour with an old friend from college at an old standby, Ping Pong Dim Sum. Ya’ll know all about this place since I’ve written about it before, but the new twist which I had to share is that they’ve updated their specialty cocktail menu to include a chocolate & tobacco old fashioned (picture below) and a honeysuckle margarita. Yum.Arlington Darling | chocolate and tobacco old-fashioned

Okay, I know I’m throwing a lot at you, so hang in there, it’ll be worth it I promise – and I’m almost done!

  • The next adventure was breakfast at Buffalo & Bergen in Union Market. Although this place promises amazing drinks, I’ve only ever had the bagels. I’m extremely passionate about good bagels (coughbornandraisedinNewJerseyobvicough) and these are just OK, but they really hit the spot when you’ve just biked a few miles and are hungry in the morning and need fuel to tackle the rest of the market. I like their everything bagel with cream cheese – classic. And next time I vow to sample B&B’s knishes and report back.
  • And last but not least, M and I caught a show at Hill Country BBQ on Saturday night. The 19th Street Band was playing, and we had a blast watching them! They did mostly country music covers, but the singing and instrument-playing was top notch. The place was packed! Plus, it was free. Definitely going to visit Hill Country for music again soon.

Whew :). Hope you enjoyed the recap and will forgive me for my prolonged absence. More to come soon on bunny rabbits, lavender farms, cooking, and brewing beer in the country – in other words, fall adventures continue!