P.S. Jimmy John's is coming to the District!

The throw-back to boarding school days sandwich shop is coming to DC. And not only that but, just around the corner from my office! I snapped this photos as proof that God loves me and wants me to be happy.

ShopHouse of Wonders

I swear I do more than eat. Though lately it's been a cycle of work, eat, run, because the minute I got on that plane for Barbados, my new leaf of wellness turned back over. Thus I have been running my ass off and eating back on just about every day. Balance is coming soon. Maybe.

Anyway, opting out of a Five Dollar Footlong, a co-worker and I trekked up to Dupont Circle to try Chipotle's Asian themed spin-off restaurant, ShopHouse. It's the only one in the country as of now, and just happens to be in D.C. Thank you Steve Wells for allowing us to be your test market, as bizarre of a choice as it may be. Our East Coast attitude and Southern pace must make us the perfect specimen for introducing new food concepts. It's either that or it's known we will spend money on just about anything if someone else is... Regardless, if I fit into both of those categories or not (peanut gallery, please hush.), we did walk a mile in the coldest day of fall thus far to try this much talked about Asian-esque Chipotle style eatery.

One of the bowls
It's basically delicious. And a definite pleasant escape from the usual Lean Cuisine or turkey on wheat. Since there is no nutrition information available yet, I can't speak to its caloric measurement, but the ingredients are said to be organic and fresh. Though, I think a calorie is a calorie. Diners have the option of brown or jasmine rice or noodles, a meat, a veggie, a sauce, a garnish and a topping, all for in the $7 ballpark. I opted for brown rice, half chicken satay/half spicy tofu, half charred corn/half eggplant and green curry sauce and papaya salad on the side. Oh and peanut crumbles on top--YES. My review? The chicken was good, but the tofu was outstanding and the eggplant I was not a fan of, whatever it is cooked in did not delight my taste buds. The papaya salad was also a winner, though I was glad I got it on the side along with the curry sauce, because there was whole lot going on in that bowl.
sammy style

Over all, I give it four out of five stars, knocking one off because the line was out the door (though not surprising) and there wasn't much seating and I really have no idea of the nutrition. There is also the option of getting the ingredients in Vietnamese sandwich style, which I think I will opt for next. I will definitely be back soon.

Oyamel, A Gift From God

The hubs chose Oyamel for his birthday dinner--a Jose Andres establishment a couple of blocks from our apartment. We have been intending on going here for, errr, years (have I really lived in this city long enough to say that?) and seems to barely make it our of a circle of go-to's. For those of you Washingtonians who have dined in this Mexican tapas style restaurant and have a bad thing to say about it, you are either a. on drug or b. had your taste buds burned off. Those of you in the 202 who have not been--go, now, as quickly as you possibly can. Don't think about it, don't go back to your desk, don't even close your browser. Just go and you will thank me later. And don't think I've forgotten the out-of-towners, because for you bridge and tunnelers and general visitors--this is your reason to trek to the nation's capital. Forget all of the history hulabulou, you need not one other excuse than a meal at Oyamel. Just go and you will thank me later.

Death by overindulgence
Seriously, it's that good. Even the damn chips and salsa. How does Jose Andres do it? I'm certain he is part angel, because how else can you explain his Midas touch?

We each ordered two small plates and a taco, with a side of margarita. Mine looked like it belonged on the set of Sex and the City, and froofroo cocktails are usually not on my list of favorite things, but this tasted like diamonds. Or at least how I imagine the liquid form of diamonds would taste. My contribution of choices for our shmorgasboard were: a "Tinga poblana" taco (stew of shredded chicken with potatoes, chorizo,
and chipotle, topped with white onion), "Alb√≥ndigas enchipotladas con queso doble crema" (meatballs in chipotle sauce with crumbled ‘double cream’ cheese and cilantro" and  some amazingly roasted spicy Brussels sprouts.

Choosing between menu items was one of the more difficult decisions I have made in the past year, and I am already thinking about what I will order on our next visit. Dusty gets a Facebook Like for his birthday dinner pick.

Dessert brought to you by yours truly

Birthday Fun-ish

I had planned on wowing ya'll with the spectacular cake pops I made for my hubs to take to work for his birthday. (Yes, like elementary school--who doesn't love birthday treats? Ann Coulter probably doesn't, and I bet Jillian Michaels wouldn't be on board, but anyone else is just a liar. Birthday treats are universally appreciated.) They were going to be so fabulous--I made angel food cake and used cream cheese frosting as the mix and teeny cupcake foils for presentation. The plan was to color part of the almond bark coating orange and embellish with the original white by way of a pastry bag.

Everything was going according to plan, as I began melting the almond bark. Reaching what I considered a perfect consistency, I portioned some off to remain white and added heavy duty baking dye to the bowl, mixed and heated for 15 more seconds...

Now, really, double yew tee eff. What about food coloring would make almond bark turn into glue?! And, tell me why heating it up according the directions, practically turns it back into it store shelf state? There was no warning on the label that the addition of orange food coloring is a recipe for doom. Sigh. No, I that back. ARGHHHH.

The only option left was to drizzle the almond bark from the pastry back and bedazzle with sprinkles, which actually, I begrudgingly really like they way they turned out--behind Dusty's back of course, since I had thrown a mild hissy fit. And, with the intense angel food and cream cheese sugar coma inducing flavor, a little less almond bark was probably for the better. I would share a photo, but I was too angry to take one last night. Imagine that.

In any event here is a link to several cake pop recipes, which only by coincidence is also the first website that Google spits out when searching, "cake pop recipe": http://www.cakepopsrecipe.com/

It turns out, I'm not quite Room Mother potential yet.

Prolonged Honkers take Heed

Admittedly, I am an excessive honker. Behind the wheel, the horn at hand becomes my voice to the world. See a friend on the sidewalk--honk. Someone cuts me odd--honk. The Accord in front of me totes a texting driver--honkhonkhonk. I have even been known to be a passenger honker. Think about that.

Again, I fully realize that I tend to over indulge in horn usage. But friends, I am here to take a stance. There is an epidemic plaguing our streets that begs our complaints and we need to band together and fight against it.

Let me introduce you to my newest cause: prolonged honking. That is right, you who lays on the horn because you are stuck in traffic; and you whose team wins a big game and deems it necessary to honk in ten second intervals; and you who wants that parking spot and makes it known by a steam of honks--your glory days have come to an end. How I will mobilize against this group of vulgar over-extended honkers, and just exactly what I will do to prove the need for has not been decided. Perhaps I will march around a building ringing bells, or I may hold a sign in front of the White House or just maybe I will camp on my rooftop. It's too early to tell. But, I promise you, I will end prolonged honking, so help me God.

#Because there aren't enough real issues in the world.

A Rose By Any Other Name...Is a Sepka!

Mr. and Mrs. Sepka!
After a short sabbatical--no comments, I'm making myself feel less guilty, here--I'm making time in my life yet again to write for myself. And for the re-inaugural post, what better subject matter than my the wedding of the decade? No, that isn't the Kardashian nuptials, I'm talking about my best friend. Rose and Joe are finally Mr. and Mrs. Sepka!

When Joe popped the question last December and Rose began planning a lavish winter Chicago wedding for 2012, the year was sure to be filled with tastings, fittings and perfecting invitation wording. And, for the first half of the year, these musings filled our cross country phone conversations. Along with all of the Durham ladies, I even found myself camping outside of Filene's basement on Michigan Avenue all night long on a freezing cold night in April in search of the perfect gown. The honeymoon was booked and the venue secured, when I received a text message from Rosanne late one July evening. "Please call me ASAP, I have some news." Knowing my short nerves and constant state of panic, Rosy is not one to throw "ASAP" into a message lightly. Of course I was immediately terrified. The conversation went something like this...
JCrew action shot

Rose: "So, we met with the caterer today."
Me: "And, how did it go?"
Rose: "How do you feel about BARBADOS in October?"
Me: "............BAAAAHHHH!"

A destination beach wedding is exactly how I had pictured Rosy becoming a Sepka. So, after very little stress and only a couple of months of detail perfecting, 16 of us boarded planes in D.C. and Chicago and met in Miami to witness the exchange of vows nearly ten years in the making. True to form, Rose pulled off an event wonderfully stress free, intimate and stunning. And, did I mention--in Barbados?!

Dinner time
What I did find out, of course the hard way, is that even in the most relaxed environment on earth, the emotional charge of your best friend's wedding doesn't lessen. When I was getting married myself, to me it seemed like the next natural step in my relationship and in life. However, when it was my best friend walking down that aisle, I was over come with the reality of the new chapter. I was swelling with pride for the woman she had become, the true love she and Joe possess for each other and the memories we have all shared. Needless to say, I was a mess. The bride, however, could have been photoshopped into the wedding from a runway in Paris. It was a bridal glow that rivaled Kate Middleton.
The second dress and cake cutting

In this age where weddings on average cost between $25-30,000, the industry is one worth multi-billions of dollars and the reason for the day can get lost somewhere between crinoline and seating charts, Rosy and Joe kept their exchange of vows the focus. Surrounded by love and sand, we were all reminded the real reason for celebrating.

And just like that, with the waves rolling in, Rosy became a wife, marrying the boy she told in the eighth grade, "This isn't over." And the rest of us? We celebrated with tears and rum punch.

"Here's to the new husband and wife, may you have a wildly adventurous life."