Sunday, February 20, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day!

Happy Valentine's Day! Just a week late...seems to be the trend these days. I had a fabulous day off today, but last week was full of several long days in a row at work.

Richard and I celebrated Valentine's a few days early, with a trip to Monocacy Crossing in Frederick, MD. Since I drive into DC every day, sometimes it's nice to go in the other direction from the city. The Monocacy Crossing was definitely fine dining for Frederick, but we did bring the average age of diners there by more than a few years.

bacon wrapped filet pieces- delicious

Richard enjoying his braised lamb and sweet potatoes

red velvet raspberry cake for dessert

My sweet husband went to the grocery store late Sunday night when I decided to make Mississippi Mud for the office and helped me cut it into hearts.

messy Mississippi Mud hearts

Then for our Valentine's dinner, we enjoyed homemade pizzas the the beautiful table Richard set and watched the Bachelor and his ladies explore Anguilla, our honeymoon destination. We loved seeing them visit many of the places we did, and Brad and Shawntel sat at the same table we did at the Bankie Banxx's Dunes Preserve. So fun!

festive table

BBQ chicken and pepperoni pizzas

A perfect first married Valentine's Day!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

south (carolina) in the city

The next best thing to going home to visit South Carolina is having South Carolina come to visit me. So I was THRILLED when four of my best girl friends from Law School decided to take a trip to DC the weekend before my birthday. Jill's birthday is right after mine and Jess's was in December, so we celebrated all three! Sadly, right before they came we got a ton of snow and lost power- and heat- at our house for several days. We had planned to stay at the Fairfax right on Embassy Row for Friday night anyway, so fortunately that part worked out perfectly.

We started our weekend with a fabulous lunch with our favorite news anchor, Craig Melvin, at Firefly, a restaurant I've been wanting to try for some time. It was ok, but I think their dinner may be better than their lunch. And their lunch may be better if you don't go right before the kitchen is trying to close.

We then checked into the Fairfax, enjoyed some delectable Sweet Reba's treats (if you need any fabulous baked goods in Columbia, she's your girl!), and just l relaxed and chatted away. Oh, how I have missed talking the day away with these girls! When we were in law school, we would gather around Jess's long dining room table to "study" and our conversation took me right back to those times. I have been through so much with those sweet girls, and I miss them something fierce.
Jess in our pretty room at the Fairfax

We finally got ourselves ready and headed out to Birch and Barley, one of DC's 100 best restaurants, according to the Washingtonian magazine. Before we were seated, we went upstairs to ChurchKey, the bar above Birch and Barley. It's a really cool bar with over 500 artisanal beers and a fun ambiance. After a drink at ChurchKey, we were seated at Birch and Barley. The service was incredible, as was the food. I would highly recommend going! We sampled a fig and prosciutto flatbread, truffle mac and cheese, a ricotta cavatelli pasta, a bratwurst burger, and a smorgasbord of sorbets when the waitstaff heard we were celebrating birthdays- with candles and everything!

We were absolutely stuffed by the fabulous Birch and Barley food, but I wanted to take the girls to CoCo Sala, DC's only chocolate lounge. Unfortunately CoCo Sala had extended their Restaurant Week menu and only had two one-course desserts in there, instead of their normal, themed three-course dessert course offerings. But chocolate is still chocolate, and our (2nd...or 3rd if you count the Sweet Reba's from earlier in the day) dessert was wonderful and very artfully displayed.

Coco Sala desserts

We spent most of Saturday shopping at Tyson's Corner and came away with lots of prizes. I also spent a great deal of time on the phone with my husband trying to figure out how to get our furnace replaced, which tragically did not survive the snowstorm and ensuing power loss. Thankfully our landlord was responsible for the expense, but it's apparently hard to get furnaces fixed on the weekend.

We headed back to Bethesda after our shopping adventure and went to one of my favorite Mexican establishments, Uncle Julio's, for a fun dinner. Our bartender friend took the photo below and gifted us with many margarita/sangria swirl samples. Yum! Rebecca's good friend Haley joined us, and we had a great time.

Uncle Julio's of Bethesda

cute little snow bunnies

After our dinner, we headed to another hotel to spend the night, since our house was registering a chilly 42 degrees. I was so disappointed not to host my friends in our house, especially since I spent many years in Columbia without a guest room! I love the little home Richard and I've made and wanted to my dear friends to enjoy it too. But at least they got a quick tour!

outside our house in Kensington

The hardest part of the weekend was having to say goodbye to these precious ladies, but I hope to see them again soon! And having them visit made turning 30 much more palatable. Carolina girls really are the best in the world!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

displaced persons

I have been anxious to update the blog with thoughts on the tons of snow we experienced almost two weeks ago, our ensuing power and heat loss, a bright spot in the visit of three best friends, then several more nights away from our house, turning the thirty and thoughts on that, but weekends just seem to never contain enough hours, especially when you are trying to catch up from living out of a suitcase. So until I get a little more time, I wanted to share a quick picture of the big 3-0! What's a birthday without a trip to a favorite Mexican restaurant? Thanks, husband, for a wonderful celebratory night.