Friday, September 25, 2009

My (current) favorite things

I fully understand that Oprah's favorite things pull a tad more weight than Margit's favorite things, but this will not deter me from putting mine on paper/digitized blog space. Today, I offer you four different "things" in which I enjoy partaking. Perhaps you will, too.

1. Playing cyclocross at Gravelly Point.

This is fun, and it doesn't feel like training so much. It's amazing how good a workout one can get simply jumping on and off your bike. And if you try to chase around a really fast pair of Cat 1 males, this too assists in challenging your cardiovascular system quite nicely. It's easy to get there (just off the Mt. Vernon trail) about 10 minutes from Key Bridge. You'll know when you're there because every 5 minutes or so, you'll be deafened by the Boeing 757s soaring overhead.

2. Riding bikes to various coffee shops around the city.

Ironically, I recently gave up coffee. Kinda. I only drink it on the weekends these days, if that. So I've discovered tea, which is really enjoyable - particularly with a dollop of soy milk. Yes, I said dollop. Now, depending on my mood, I'll select a shop that caters to my immediate needs.

- Tryst (Adams Morgan): I feel lazy, so I don't want to bike far, and primarily downhill if possible. I feel like talking to people I don't know. (

- Baked & Wired (Georgetown): I feel like eating a massively huge, rich, scrumptious cupcake. Done. (

- Big Bear Cafe (Ledroit Park): I'm up for a tasty sandwich, lively atmosphere and excellent tunes. I'm meeting a buddy (SG, perhaps - look, SG, I'm writing a new blog!) and want to act like I'm a hipster for a few hours. (

- Java Green (Dupont): I'm in a vegan kind of a mood. I've also kind of (sort of) given up dairy and heavier meat products (and will only eat grass fed beef, usually...). The meals here are so shockingly delicious, considering everything is derived from some variation on soy. I think. (

- Greenberrys (Arlington): I admit that I rarely actually bike here. But I have to meet up with my employees somewhere, and it's a great spot to foster creativity and conversation (sans sweaty kit). Sometimes said employees even listen to me. (

- Java Shack (Arlington): Any given Sunday, you'll find me and the rest of the Coppi cycling team here discussing the consistency of muffins, and bird watching. Some of us, anyway. If you are not a Coppi, I recommend not going to Java Shack on a Sunday between 11:30 and 1 pm. (Sorry Dale). (

One last little tidbit. I came across this gem in my endless search for places to work that are NOT in my living room: Just visit.

3. Drinking cider and reading books at Kramerbooks & Afterwords Cafe.

This is an excellent way to spend a weeknight evening - if you like hard cider and reading books, that is. Brian and I recently arrived there at around 6:30 and didn't leave until almost 10 - the time just flew by. The food is quite tasty (he had mac & cheese, I had the miso salmon salad...and then we demolished a brownie sunday, woops) and the atmosphere is energetic and refreshing.

4. Going to speak easys.

I really, really, REALLY abhor crowded bars. They ruin a perfectly good evening. My current solution to this problem is to go to bars that are purposefully NOT crowded, and are far more entertaining (given you have the right company in tow). My two best nights out on the town of late (truth be told...I have very few "nights out on the town," but if I do have one...) were both at speak easys.

- PX7s (Alexandria). I should preface this with one quick note - Alexandria is NOT a very happening place from 9 pm on. Which is fine by me, but just be aware you'll feel like you're in a deserted retirement community after dark once you exit the bar. In any case, PX7s. It's a neat little speak easy owned by the proprietors of Restaurant Eve (also high on my list). The bartender, Clinton, is a riot. Very mild mannered and soft spoken - but stick a cocktail shaker in hand, and he lights up the room.

- Gibson (14th & U). I've been to Gibson twice, and on both (very different) occasions, I had a fabulous time. The first was a low-key evening with just a few folks, and I was introduced to the beauty of a really carefully created cocktail. The second was for one of Eric HIlton's very exclusive events - a pig roast in the back yard of Gibson. No, I wasn't invited, but I have friends in high places. The pig and accompaniments were delicious (a masterpiece of one of the chef's from Marvin next door), and the event featured an open bar. An open bar - at Gibson - is truly priceless. Drinks here are definitely not cheap (but worth the money and experience).

Note that you must make a reservation for both places, or they will turn you away at the door. I think they're on to something.

So that is all for my first installment of my current favorite things. More to come on another time (if you haven't seen I Love You, Man, you will think I've made a grammatical error).

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