Saturday in the City

Today we’re heading into DC for the day before spending all day Sunday painting our apartment.  First up is brunch at Kramerbooks with my friend James, who I will be meeting for the first time.  Brunch looks pricey – come to think of it, we need to start blogging about brunches – but it includes drinks! and snacks! and we like both of those things.

This afternoon we’re going to go on at least one of the free walking tours organized by Cultural Tourism DC.  I’m leaning towards the tours in either Capitol Hill or Georgetown, and then maybe wrapping up with the Washington Waterfront tour.

I haven’t been into the District since moving here two weeks ago, so I’m very excited.  The high today is 77, and it was sunny and beautiful out when we took our coffee on our balcony a little while ago.  It’s going to be a perfect day.


soba soba soba

I feel like I should inform you, our beloved readers, that it took trips to FIVE grocery stores before we found soba.  To recap, we visited (in this order):

  1. Trader Joe’s
  2. OOD STAR (aka Food Star, the amazing IGA stand-in)
  3. Asian Market (now known as Mercado Latino)
  4. Shoppers (which we visited post-Dogfish Head Alehouse)
  5.  Whole Foods (ta da!)


I’m taking a temporary hiatus.

SB and I have started a blog to track our adventures in our new city. The template is pretty ugly right now, but the content should hopefully be entertaining. Add to your reader of choice to keep updated on our adventures and the things we deem post-worthy.

Missing you all greatly.

Where are the hipsters?

Coming from Champaign, the sight of hipsters on bicycles is a familiar one.  Fixed-gears, cuffed up jeans, and hilariously modded bikes could be seen on any given afternoon spent in the downtown area.  SB and I fit right in with his fixed gear and my yellowbike, a hefty Kabuki road bike from the 70’s.  I had a ten minute or less commute door-to-door.  It was glorious.

One of the things that I’ve found curious since moving out here is the lack of regular people on bikes – much less hipsters.  Nearly everyone I’ve seen here who rides here seems to do it in full riding gear – preferably in a jersey and bike shorts that match the jersey and bike shorts of their friends.  There have been, of course, the token dudes who ride shitty mountain bikes on the sidewalk or RIGHT DOWN THE MIDDLE OF THE ROAD, but for the most part, the people that ride seem to be serious cyclists, not commuters or broke kids who like to get around as cheaply as possible.

This observation is, of course, based on the 10 days that I’ve spent here.  I took my bike out for my first ride yesterday – I stuck to the flat parts, cos I’m a wuss and not used to giant hills – and only saw maybe 1-2 other regular dudes on bikes.  Very weird.  Very weird indeed.

Up all night? Not so much.

Last night SB and I decided that we didn’t feel like sitting around the apartment, so we picked up a puzzle at Target and decided to head out for a cup of coffee, a bite of dessert, and some quality puzzle time.  We made our way to Murky – only to discover (to our great dismay) that it closes at 9pm.  9pm!  What the heck is that?

Not easily swayed from our goal of puzzles and caffeine, we drove to The Java Shack – also closed!  I perused their website just now and discovered that they actually close at 8pm.  8pm!  Where are hipsters with homework supposed to go hang out, feed their caffeine habits, and obsessively pace around like the Kopi Pacing Guy?

Next stop was the Brooklyn Bagel Bakery in the Courthouse area – I’ve been eyeing this place for morning working potential, and so hoped that maybe, just maybe  they’d be open.  No dice (5pm).

We considered The Galaxy Hut, but decided that beer + small tables + low light + puzzle = disaster.  Instead, we drove back home-ish, making a last-ditch effort in Shirlington Village.  That Bear Place closed at 10pm, so it was out, but Busboys & Poets was still open – til midnight, hooray! – so we camped out at a low table, ate some cheesecake, and put together about 30% of the puzzle before calling it a night.

Lessons learned: we’re not in a college town anymore, and evenings are clearly for drinking, not caffeinating.

Oot and aboot

Our daily routine – at least until I start my new job – involves me driving SB to the Ballston Metro stop every morning, and picking him up from said Metro stop in the evening. On our drive to the Metro early last week we noticed a boot on the median when we went under an overpass. There’s nothing special about this boot – it’s just your garden variety brown ankle-height hiking-type boot. We’ve commented on it every morning, and been startled every night that it was still there.

Friday afternoon we noticed that the boot was gone.

None of this is exceptionally newsworthy – it was just a funny thing that we noticed during my first week here. I wanted to go back and take pictures of the boot to add to my Photo a Day project, but I wasn’t fast enough. See ya later, boot!

A damned fine cup of coffee

I’m currently working from home in order to finish up some projects for my Midwest employer before I start my new fancee library job. Because isolation plus homesickness is a precise recipe for depression, I’ve been trying to spend at least half a day in coffeeshops or otherwise out in public. On Monday, I went to Bear Rock Cafe in Shirlington – I was in the area anyway, and I needed a sandwich, so… It was totally adequate, though the servers seem to be easily confused by any deviation from the menu. They have wireless, but I ended up on their neighbor‘s network.

On Tuesday, I decided to find the coffeeshop that we drove by Sunday night while en route to the Galaxy Hut. After a fortuitous wrong turn, I ended up right behind Murky Coffee, which reminds me a great deal of Caffe Paradiso, my beloved coffee and homework spot in Urbana. The coffee was great, and absoutely my only complaint was the lack of real food, though they do seem to have plenty of breakfast-y baked goods.

On Wednesday, I found my way to Rappahannock, which was generally unimpressive and just like a very generic Aroma. The signs encouraging folks to “Meet your neighbor by sharing your table” were charming, but the barista’s total confusion at my order of apple cider (which was on the menu) pretty much convinced me that I don’t need to go back.

SB’s a devotee of Jazzman Cafe, but that’s a little far afield for me, and I’ll leave the discussion of it to him. I, after all, have a big cup of coffee, Spoon, and a bunch of hipsters to hang out with.

Bed and Breakfasts That Don’t Suck

Shane and I are talking about going away for the weekend, and I spent some time tonight trying to figure out the closest destination where we could go see the ocean. I suspect we’ll settle for Chesapeake Bay and go to Annapolis, but we’re definitely thinking about a sweet weekend away in Chincoteague in the spring. We’ll be staying here if I have anything to say about it.

Looking at bed and breakfasts online, though, led to the following conversation:

me: When we’re retired and living a life of leisure on our librarian earnings, can we open a bed and breakfast that doesn’t suck?

SB: Definitely.

me: You know, one that isn’t all foofy and stuff?