Tag Archives: ciao america

Pho and Cupcakes

18 Jan

Boy oh boy are the temperatures dropping in DC this week! Between the clear skies and the wind chill this morning, it was a freeeezing walk to the bus stop. It sure is a beautiful day, though.

IMG_1897[1]Last night was spent celebrating my roommate’s 25th birthday! We went out for dinner at a Vietnamese place nearby, which serves up delicious bowls of pho and a killer avocado smoothie.

The birthday girl and her avocado smoothie!

The birthday girl and her avocado smoothie!

With the cold temps outside, a big bowl of hot soup sounded like the perfect way to end the day. In Seattle, the pho places around the campus of the University of Washington has choices for different sized bowls, which range from extra small to extra large. The extra large bowls are big enough to bathe a small baby inside, which, after explaining this to my other roommate, he suggested performing baby baptisms in pho bowls. Somehow I don’t see that catching on.

IMG_1878[1]I love adding lime and basil to my bowls of pho so they take on a nice citrus-y flavor. I am convinced that a big bowl of this stuff will cure most ailments.

After dinner, it was back to our house for some funfetti cupcakes, specially requested by the birthday girl. I didn’t use any substitutions or try to ‘healthify’ them – they were just some good, all American, straight-from-the-box cupcakes.

IMG_1880[1]Complete with frosting from a container, of course. The boys seemed to enjoy them.

IMG_1894[1]Sorry for the blur – they were just too speedy for my camera.

By the end of the night, the cupcake count was as follows:

K: 5

Birthday girl: 1

Me: 1 (plus inordinate amounts of frosting)

M: 3

Stef: 3? 4? I lost count, because he kept cutting them in half and filling them with frosting to make “cupcake sandwiches”

Attempted house picture while hopped up on sugar.

Attempted house picture while hopped up on sugar.

It was a lovely celebration and reminded me once again of how awesome the roomies are.

This morning, it was time to get creative in the kitchen. I do my grocery shopping on Friday evenings, which means the morning before I go grocery shopping is usually slim pickins. After preparing my lunch, I scrounged together enough ingredients to make a pretty delicious omelette, with a side of sweet potato and juicy red grapes.

IMG_1895[1]Inside the omelette:

  • 3 eggs
  • Handful of baby spinach
  • Three sliced mushrooms
  • 1 wedge of Laughing Cow Creamy Swiss
  • A few tablespoons of salsa

Good combination of carbs and protein – I’m a fan!

I’m not sure when egg yolks got turned into the bad guy, but I can’t see myself ever tossing them out – I can’t bear to waste any food! I know there’s lots of cholesterol in them, but who ever heard of someone dying because they ate too many eggs? It’s a risk I’m willing to take.

The first part of this weekend is looking pretty low-key, so I’m hoping to get some reading done. I started a book that I picked up at the used bookstore when Stef and I were in Old Town last weekend.

IMG_1898[1]I really like this author, who is Italian (though the book is in English). I read one of his other books, called ‘La Bella Figura’, which is about trying to explain Italian ways of doing things to foreigners. Being a foreigner, but having lived in Italy, I found the book to be totally hilarious in its accuracy. If you have ever lived in Italy, or even visited on vacation, I recommend you read it. In this installment, Severgnini turns the tables and tries to explain the United States from the point of view of an Italian. I am really enjoying it so far and I’m looking forward to reading it on my lunch break today.

Food for Thought: Do you have exciting plans for the long weekend? For fellow DC-ers, are you planning on going to the inauguration?

I am trying to prepare my outfit for Monday, because it’s supposed to be freezing and we’ll be standing out there for hours. Layers, anyone? I’m totally okay with looking like the Michelin Man for a morning if it means I’ll be comfortable.

For your viewing pleasure:

The birthday girl is a huge 90s music/boy band fan like I am (which explains why we get along so well) and she introduced us to the wonder of boy band satire, as presented by a group called 2ge+her (pronounced ‘together’). Their repertoire includes masterpieces like The Hardest Part of Breaking Up (Is Getting Your Stuff Back), with lyrical gems like these:

“You borrow stuff every time I turn my back.
(hey that’s mine!)
I can’t believe I went out with a KLEPTOMANIAC!”

You’re welcome.

Have a wonderful long weekend, everyone!

Adventure in Old Town

15 Jan

For our anniversary, Stef and I wanted to go somewhere we hadn’t visited before. We were originally thinking about going to Mount Vernon and picnicking, but the weather really wasn’t so great for that. Instead, we decided to head over to Old Town Alexandria to do some walking around.

IMG_1845[1]Old Town Alexandria is the eastern/southeastern area of Alexandria on the Potomac river and is one of the last remaining “colonial-style” towns in America and there’s so much history to it! Not only did Robert E. Lee grow up there, there is also a church that used to be attended by him, as well as George Washington (not at the same time, obviously)!


The market square in town is one of the oldest continuously operating markets in the U.S. – it has been in use since 1753. It used to serve as one of the largest slave markets in America, but now it’s home to the Saturday farmer’s market in town.


The town itself is very quaint and has a very colonial feel. Having grown up on the West coast, this was all very new and exciting to me and makes me want to travel to Boston even more than I already did! Near the end of King Street (the main drag), there was a busker who was playing Bach with water glasses! It was incredible – he managed to get such rich tones from the glasses.


Behind him was the stop for the Old Town Trolley – a free bus that goes up towards the King St. metro stop and then back down to the waterfront. We ended up walking all over town, but it was nice that complimentary transportation was available for people who needed it.

IMG_1850[1]We arrived in town around 1:30 and hadn’t eaten lunch yet. Since he knows I turn into a majorly cranky girl when I’m hungry, Stef suggested that we grab some lunch before we started exploring in earnest. The restaurants in Old Town can be on the pricey side so, because we already had fancy dinner plans for the evening, we decided on a pretty simple lunch at a sports tavern called Bugsy’s. The restaurant is owned and operated by former NHL player Bryan Watson and his wife Lindy and the space is definitely set up for prime sports viewing.

I ordered the roasted veggie sandwich on focaccia bread and it came with roasted peppers, onions, mushrooms, Provolone cheese with tarragon mayonnaise. I asked them to hold the mayo because, for whatever reason, I can’t stand the taste/sight/smell of it.

IMG_1849[1]It came with a side of sliced Kalamata olives, which I wasn’t expecting, but I put them inside my sandwich and they added a nice, salty kick to it.

After lunch, we spent the afternoon walking all the way up King Street and then back down to our car. The street is so cute and I couldn’t get enough of the beautiful homes and storefronts.

IMG_1851[1]I was tempted to go into the candy store, but I refrained. I couldn’t stop myself from walking into the used bookstore, however. I ended up picking up Ask Me Why I Hurt, Ciao America, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, and a James Patterson novel – all for $20! I don’t think I have ever left a used bookstore empty handed.

We had a great time walking through town, window shopping (mostly), and enjoying the change of scenery. We didn’t do any of the historical tours, though my inner Civil War buff is dying to see Robert E. Lee’s house, so we’ve saved that for another trip. Apparently, the town has a big parade and celebration in honor of George Washington’s birthday next month, so hopefully we can make it out there for the festivities.

Though we drove to Alexandria (it was a probably a 20-minute drive from DC), the town is Metro accessible, which makes it even more convenient for a fun day trip. It’s amazing how different the vibe is from DC, even though it is only a few miles away.

One of the things Stef and I are hoping to do during our time in DC is take advantage of its proximity to other cities and explore. Washington State (and the whole West coast, really) is so spread out that it is difficult to travel to other cities with ease. Because the East coast is so much more compact, I hope that means that some trips to Philadelphia, New York, and other places are on the horizon.

Speaking of Washington State, I woke up to some very Seattle weather this morning – lots of grey and mist. The weather hasn’t become too cold yet, though I’ve got my new jacket to keep me warm!

Stay dry and have a happy Tuesday, everybody.

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