Saturday, May 28, 2011

Look Out Weekend Cuz Here I Come -- to a pool near you

After such an eventful couple of weeks, I am so grateful for a weekend to chillax – and a 3-day weekend at that. The highlight of which, amongst outdoor movies at my friends’ backyard and the Rolling Thunder motorcycle ride along the Mall, is the commencement of pool season.

Pool season is a whole new concept for me, in which swimming pools in the area (perhaps the East Coast in general) open between Memorial Day weekend and Labor Day weekend. Growing up on the West Coast, this was never a big deal. We always had the beach and which was a destination year-round. In Southern California, pools are open year-round and Northern California upward, pools are a rare luxury as are days warm enough to use them.

In DC, pools are a necessity. It’s May and friendly reminders that I live in a converted swamp are already starting to creep. The air-conditioning has been turned on (and it’s working this year!), I think I’ve found a good hair cream to control the way my hair apparently frizzes in the humidity, and I’ve been granted access to a pool in one of those gated communities in the suburbs. Opening day is today, and I cannot wait!

Before I take a dive, below are some highlights from the past couple of weeks, as a preview of a few more thoughtful posts I hope to write out over the weekend if my fingers don’t get too wrinkly:
  • Winning a blind wine-tasting party with my friends’ garagiste wine. OK, it’s a pretty exceptional and award-winning garage wine called Northwest Totem Cellars, but more heartfelt because I helped crush and bottle the wine. As the winner, I received a bottle of all the other contenders, and the honor to host the next party. Feel free to drop me a line if you'd like an invitation.
  • National Archivist David Ferriero & Chef
    Jose Andres discuss the new What's
    Cooking, Uncle Sam?
  • Attending a reception announcing the upcoming, What’s Cooking, Uncle Sam? exhibit at the National Archives, which will look at the history of the influence food has had on the country, and the influence the country has had on food.
  • Strolling and munching throughout the Smithsonian National Zoo at their annual Zoofari event, possibly one of the most exceptional and dizzying fundraisers I’ve ever been to, where it seemed a couple of hundred of DC’s restaurants and drink purveyors offered tastes of some of their finest bites and sips.
  • And if I didn’t get enough to eat at Zoofari, the very next day I got to work behind the scenes for the inaugural Eat, Write, Retreat, a conference for food writers/photographers/bloggers. I was lucky enough to get to work behind the scenes and get an interesting perspective on this unique type of conference that offered lots of hands-on workshops, tours, and lots and lots of eats. Oh, and received an extraodinary abundance of culinary schwag! I still have yet to pore over everything.
    My most favorite dip ever,
    taramasolata (aka Greek caviar)
  • If only it could have stopped there. After a day of “rest” at the office, I got to celebrate the first anniversary of Agora Restaurant with a truly phenomenal Greek/Turkish dinner. They even had my favorite dip, taramosolata, aka Greek caviar, which rivaled Kokkari’s in San Francisco. (This reminds me, I may have to plan a lunch while I’m there next month.) They also offered Turkish coffee after dinner and those that were willing to stay got to see me relive an old childhood talent.
  • The next evening, I got to join a hundred or so of Washington’s LGBT community’s most influential at the exclusive Cosmos Club where a party was held to welcome The Advocate’s new DC Bureau Chief, Andrew Harmon. Names and faces were a virtual who’s who of DC’s power-gays and supporters, including Health & Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, but the highlight for me was meeting NPR’s White House Correspondent (and sometimes Pink Martini guest singer), Ari Shapiro. I now understand the big crush Oprah feels for her designer Nate Berkus. I just couldn’t stop gushing over the guy. As for dining, the appetizers and wine were certainly plentiful, but I just couldn’t focus on them.
    With one of my celebrity crushes, Ari Shapiro.
    In case you're wondering, he's married -- to another man.
  • As if this weren’t enough, the following evening was spent at Medium Rare, a new kind of steakhouse with a new kind of prix fixe menu of salad and steak for $19.95. There is no choice, with the exception of how your steak is to be cooked, and despite the restaurant’s name, you don’t have to order it medium rare (although, optimally, you may want to). There is one kind of salad, with a subtle Dijon vinaigrette, and the steak comes with fries (no, I didn’t ask for them to be well done) and there is one kind of sauce – and you want it. You once you taste it, you will want to bathe in that sauce. It is that good and I am salivating from just the memory of it.
Is it no wonder why I am feeling quite intimidated to put on my bathing suit for the first time since Christmas? However, after spending a long hot and humid day visiting the expansive Mount Vernon Estate (yes, the one from the history books), there’s not much else I’d like to do than splash in a pool.

Tutoring technology over time at Mount Vernon.

1 comment:

Michael Walker said...

I ABSOLUTELY LOVE your blog, Daphne, and want to be as smart and creative as you! Also, never heard of the restaurant, Medium Rare, and simply must go there soon! Isn't Washington, DC the most fabulous place to be?


Michael Walker (aka Dreamwalker aka Awakened Man)