Post-half marathon rehydration at Agora

 

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My second half marathon was, as expected, extremely painful. But it was over before 9am, and after a long bubble bath, quick nap, and two thick slices of my (real) roommate’s homemade sourdough bread, I was ready for Sunday Funday. My friend Lisa was in town from Chicago, and we made plans for a big girls’ brunch at Agora.

Agora is located on 17th street by Dupont, and offers a brunch consisting of Mediterranean mezze plates. They have a bottomless brunch option for $32.99, which includes all-you-can-drink bloodies, mimosas and champagne. After 13 painful miles of running, there was nothing I wanted to do more than get a little buzzed with six of my most wonderful girlfriends. We were seated upstairs, and after taking our drink orders, the server brought out all of the spreads, plus piping hot, fluffy pita bread for us to start with.

I began my rehydration process with a bloody mary, but it was a little too heavy on the Old Bay and slightly more watery than I usually prefer, so I switched to straight champagne after one. Out of the spreads, the hummus was my least favorite (too oily), and the baba ghanouj was my favorite. We ordered two orders of each of the flatbreads next, along with the bacon. The sujuklu pide, with the Turkish sausage and pesto, was good .

For my main dish, I went with the Pastrima eggs benedict, which had cured beef loin instead of the Canadian bacon found in traditional eggs benefit. The eggs were perfectly runny and overall it was a pretty good dish, although I left the english muffins untouched to get more food into my belly. Instead, for my carbs, I inhaled the grilled cheese, which was served with a big bowl of tomato soup. I loved this dish, which was came out crunchy, with a generous spread of Swiss cheese between the slices of sourdough bread (no one wants a poor cheese to bread ratio).

Although the food service was off to a slow start because there was only one waitress for the entire upstairs dining room, there was server who specifically focused just on refilling drinks so we literally never did get to the bottom of our glasses. So my thoughts on the later half of the meal is definitely influenced by alcohol. I took a few bites of Lisa’s dolmades (grape leaves stuffed with rice, pine nuts, tomatoes, parsley) but they were slightly too salty for my taste. Since I figured I needed some form of vegetables, I finished the food portion of brunch with the arugula salad and beet & orange salad. Even though my stomach was definitely hitting its limit, the beet & orange salad was the best dish of the meal so I do not regret trying to squeeze a few more bites of food into my mouth.

We spent the rest of our two hours at Agora drinking champagne and laughing hysterically over the most cringe-worthy stories. It was the perfect way to spend a Sunday afternoon when your body is total pain, but your stomach hurts from laughing so much. I have give shout-out to my group of wonderful female friends. Having a supportive and wonderful group of girlfriends who have similar values to you is the most important thing a woman can find in this fucked up world. The feeling of comfort with my girlfriends who truly want the best for each other makes all the difference. With this group, time always seems to fly impossibly fast and suddenly hours have passed but there was nothing else I would have rather been doing.

In the [edited] words of Jay-Z, “All I need in in this life of sin, is me and my girlfriend[s].”

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Sunday brunch at Etto

On beautiful Sunday morning, I woke up craving carbs. At times like, I cannot believe I actually did paleo twice for a month each time. Anyway, while still laying in bed, I sent a text out to my version of Taylor Swift’s Bad Blood #squad: A (fake roomie), N (from across the street), AC (hilarious badass with a great collection of crop tops). Luckily, they were all down to stuff their faces with me,  and after AC invited her roommate, we decided on Etto. Alright, that’s not totally true. I decided I needed Etto’s pizza, and they were all nice enough to appease me. After a long run, I met up with these beautiful friends on the outside patio of Etto since the sun was out and we wanted to soak in the weather for a bit.

One of the (many) things that I love about Etto is the minimal vibe, for both the decor and the menu. And everything I have ordered off of their straightforward menu has been amazing (although I am partial to the cauliflower and anchovy pizza). For brunch, Etto serves a lot of their smaller plates and pizzas from the dinner menu, in addition to some breakfast options like frittatas and a breakfast pizza. We decided to split the burrata to start, which was brought out quickly and along with their house bread. The burrata here is simple: just incredibly fresh cheese served on a plate with some olive oil. No toppings to distract you from the slight sweet, rich, cream.

For my entree, I definitely wanted to get one of the Neapolitan-style pizzas (made with house-milled flour). I decided to forgo the cauliflower and anchovy pizza this day for their breakfast pizza. When it arrived, I had regrets about going a different path:

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This pizza had all the right things: potatoes (extra carbs!), bacon (protein! sodium!), eggs (extra protein!), cheese (dairy!). The egg was cooked perfectly, and runny enough for me to spread the creamy yolk all over the surface. The softy, chewy crust somehow manages to hold together under the wondrous combination of toppings, and is light enough so that you don’t feel like you are just filling your belly up with breading. This was one of the best pizzas I have had. (Disclaimer: I feel like I make a similar statement every time I eat at Etto). I managed to polish off all but 2 slices, which just meant I would have a great breakfast option the next morning. Word to the wise: Etto pizza tastes fantastic when it’s cold.

After such a fantastic meal, we wanted to sit out on the patio and let our stomachs digest a little so we decided to order a round of drinks. I ordered a bloody mary (only $6!), which turned out to be one of the better bloody marys that I have had. The tomato juice was very thick and slightly salty, just the way I prefer it, and the pickled vegetables were a great garnish. It was the perfect end to a good brunch: my favorite babes soaking in the sun with me, pizza in my tummy, and a fresh cocktail in my hand.

A fake book club meeting at Central

When I realized that things were not working anymore with TBM, I knew it was best not to drag things out and just end it before I started second guessing myself. Unfortunately, he had just left for a week long trip back to California and to Phoenix for the holiday weekend. I tried to text him to call me when he landed, but because of a flight delay and his general inability to get back to me, it took two days for us to actually schedule a phone call. That Sunday morning, we briefly chatted and I explained how I felt that I just had reached the limit of my patience, and felt slightly pathetic after the last few months. He responded with complete silence, and I continued to word vomit for an additional 6 minutes before realizing he really had absolutely nothing to say about it being over. After getting off that awkward phone, I then had to rush to get ready for a “book club” brunch at Central Michel Richard down the street from my apartment. We had decided to read Me Before You by Jojo Moyes this month, but realized a week before our scheduled brunch date that only three people had actually finished the book (confession: I had not even looked the book on Amazon, let alone read a single word out of the novel). So we just said screw it and decided to just meet up for an indulgent meal instead.

I absolutely love Central. I first went to Central on my 21st birthday, where my mother stood up in the middle of the restaurant and snapped approximately 32 pictures of the waiter checking my ID after taking my cocktail order. This is Michel Richard’s bistro, meant to be a casual option to his Citronelle (which closed in July 2012 due to extensive water damange). The food has always been top notch, while the vibe is comfortable and unpretentious. After reading a great review for their brunch menu, I had put it on my list of weekend spots to return to. They have a very fair 3-course prix fixe menu for $27, with bottomless drinks for only $10. I knew that I wanted to be productive the rest of the day, so skipped out on the drinks.

For the first course, I started with the chocolate pancrepes, which were served with a side of chocolate sauce and fresh whipped cream.

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The pancrepes, a love child of pancakes and crepes, tasted exactly like they were supposed to. Slightly crispy yet fluffy, these were absolutely decadent (like all of Michel Richard’s sweets). I liked that the chocolate sauce was not overly sweet he crispy little chocolate balls (of course we laughed anytime someone mentioned “little balls” during that lunch because we are all classy, mature ladies) added some texture. I could feel myself filling up after just this first course. SM ordered the deconstructed caesar salad, which she enjoyed. A few girls ordered the yellow tomato gazpacho with burrata, and approved.

My second course, which I had been looking to ever since I started hearing about the prix fixed brunch options, was the famous chicken and waffles.

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This dish did not disappoint my already extremely high expectations. The boneless chicken was incredibly sweet and moist inside (gonna use that m word whether you like it or not), while the thin coating was light, crispy and just total perfection. The maple foam, unlike syrup did not soak into the waffles and make everything soggy  (great because I morph into a 6 year old throwing a temper tantrum when food gets soggy). Each bite, with the waffle and the buttery mashed potatoes was simply amazing. Everyone’s conversation just faded into a hazy background in my mind as I devoured this.

 

When I finally came up for air, I realized I was totally stuffed. In fact, we were all bursting at the seams after our second courses. Still, we had desserts coming and being strong, independent woman, we were not about to let a few spoonfuls of butter stop us (post-breakup self attitude here).

The creme brulee french toast was the final course for me. This was good, but at this point I was so full that I could not finish it. It had been an extremely decadent, carb-heavy three courses. Usually, I embrace my weekend carbs with loving arms, but I had spent the previous night in the corner of a dance floor housing pita chips and Costco spinach artichoke dip, so my arms were a little tired of hugging carbs by Sunday morning.

 

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The portions are shockingly large, and I was basically waddling by the time we got up. I debated going for a second run, but SM suggested hitting up some stores which sounded like a better way to burn calories (and dollar bills). The brunch is definitely a great deal, and full of deliciously (rich) options. While it is not something my cholesterol could handle on a regular basis, it was the best thing to immediate follow an awkward phone call because it reminded me that butter is always better than boys.

Casa Luca brunch

Now that Larry/TBM was finally done with school, and finished working at the law firm, I was so hopeful that I would see him more than every three weeks (reasonable expectation when you’re dating someone, I believe). We actually hung out twice in one weekend after he turned in his finals, which was completely totally new territory for us. He did not seem fazed by two sleepovers in the span of three nights, which was encouraging to me. The following weekend, he had his parents and his brother’s family in town for the law school graduation, and I assumed that I would not see him. I tried to tell myself that I would not be disappointed if he did not contact me since I knew he had a jam-packed weekend, even though I knew that I would be a little sad to go another week before spending time with him. By Saturday night, after a few sporadic texts between us, I headed out to meet some friends at Bar Pilar. Suddenly, I felt my phone buzz, and looked down to see a text from TBM asking if I wanted to meet up after he left his graduation gala. Of course, I said immediately said yes (zero chill here, guys) but immediately panicked because I had not shaved my legs…….. or other body parts, in preparation of seeing any member of the opposite sex in close proximity. In addition, I was also not wearing ideal undergarments (hellooooo $2 H&M clearance undies with a giant pink bow in the back) for male company. After forcing every single one of my friends in a twenty yard radius to feel my legs, I decided the stubble fell in the “still relatively acceptable” range of body hair and there was really nothing I could do about it at that point (although I did debate for 0.03 seconds if I had enough time to Uber back to my apartment to shave). TBM and his friend from law school arrived shortly afterwards and after a couple of drinks, we hopped over to POV meet up with the rest of his grad school friends for more drinks and dancing. Before I knew it, the lights were coming on and it was time to head home. He invited me over (insert an imaginary fist pump into the air), and I warned him about the state of my legs before grabbing his hand and forcing him to feel the stubble (flirting comes in all shapes and sizes, ladies) on my shins. Despite my odd behavior, he did not rescind his invitation and we headed back to Capitol Hill. The next morning, I woke up exhausted, with a slight headache and hangover. TBM dropped me off at my apartment early before his graduation ceremony, and I decided the best thing to do before my 1pm brunch was immediately head out for a run before the sleep deprivation set in.

After sweating out most of the cheap wine from the previous night, I took a long shower and got ready to meet up with some girlfriends from college for a brunch at Casa Luca. It was a hot afternoon, and I was grateful we picked a place literally two blocks from my apartment. Casa Luca opened in 2013, and is the most “casual” of restaurants run by the fantastic Fabio Trabocchi, chef/owner of Fiola and Fiola Mare. I stopped in when it first opened to have dinner with A (fake roomie), and while I was satisfied with the food, was not impressed enough to return despite it’s location. Recently, I kept hearing rave reviews for Casa Luca’s new brunch offerings, especially when it came to the pastry basket, and put it on my list of brunch spots to try. So when a friend from college sent out a text about organizing a girls’ brunch, it seemed like the perfect opportunity to try Casa Luca.

The five of us arrived around the time of our 1pm reservation, but posted up at the bar after the hostess told us they still had to set the table. I was sweating profusely and starving, but appreciated the cold AC blasting and the comfortable bar stool. Forty minutes later, I was not feeling as appreciative. By this point, the hostess had said “Just 5 more minutes” to us at least four times, and we were getting antsy to fill out growling bellies with some food. The manager was an extremely kind lady, and offered us glasses of prosecco to make up for the long wait. This was a very nice gesture, but at this point, I was so hungry I could not stomach the thought of alcohol. Each sip of bubbly prosecco just reminded me that I needed nourishment as soon as possible. Finally around 1:45pm, they seated us. The sweet manager came around again, and told us she would be sending out a pastry basket immediately. Now that made me feel instantly better, and when it arrived, it did not disappoint one bit.

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The large bowl held fluffy sweet rolls, brioche buns, two muffins, crispy bread sticks, along with delicate tiny jars of fruit jams, local honey and soft, creamy butter. Every single bite was amazing. After loading up on carbs, we were all starting to feel better, and I managed a few sips of prosecco. We perused the brunch menu, which gave you the option of ordering a la carte, or the Casa Luca Signature Brunch (one appetizer, one signature Italian specialty, dessert, plus bottomless beverages) for $32. For everyone who wanted a healthier option, there is also Maria’s Light Brunch, served with a mocktail, for $26. I knew I needed something comforting and filling, so I went with the Steak & Eggs. SM and N followed suit, while SBS ordered the Vegetarian Omelet with Mild Mushrooms and Caroline got Maria’s Light Brunch. To share, we ordered a side of bacon and country style fried potatoes.

I had pretty salivated all over the table by the time our food arrived. I had been up for five hours at this point, which was more hours than the hours of total sleep I had the previous night, and was so ready to finally put some food into my body. The plate of steak and eggs was a beautiful sight, but even more beautiful to eat. The steak was tender and juicy with a lovely outer char. The eggs (I mean, LOOK at those yolks) were perfectly runny, while the thick slices of crusty bread held up well under the hollandaise sauce and juicy roasted tomatoes.

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I had no problem polishing off every morsel of food on this plate. The sides were equally delicious. The bacon was smokey, sweet, and fried to a crisp, just the way I prefer my pork. The mini cast-iron skillet held piping hot, fluffy, crunchy slices of fried potatoes that we dipped into the lemony aioli sauce. Everyone seemed satisfied with the food (although SM and N fawned a little less than me over the steak and eggs), and we were soon all leaning back into our chairs as our food comas started to hit us. Overall, a delicious brunch, although the items are definitely on the pricey side for DC. The vibe in this beautiful restaurant is comfortable and classy, without being too uptight. On a less scorching day, their patio would be a lovely place to sit and make the most of the bottomless drinks deal. However, with a large steak in my belly, I had no more room for anything else looked forward to my recovery nap.

Book club brunch at Boqueria

Things have been going relatively well with Larry aka The Beautiful Man (TBM). There was a rocky period after his law school’s barrister’s ball, where I had a business trip, he started his finals prep and I was convinced he was starting to phase me out because we just could not seem to make time to see each other. During this span of three weeks, we just sporadically texted and I spent way too much trying to convince myself that it did not really matter if he did not want to continue seeing me because whatever, this is totally chill and I really did not even like him that much (all lies, by the way). He finally got his head above water enough to have dinner at DBGB one Saturday at the end of April and as soon as I saw him, I immediately reverted back to a giggling prepubescent tween with a schoolgirl crush. We had a fantastic meal consisting of fried burrata, steak tartare, Atlantic cod, and profiteroles (definitely recommend this dessert), followed by drinks at Poste and Denson. Afterwards, he dropped me off at my place before heading home to finish up some papers and I was left wondering if I had been friend-zoned again because of his quick good-bye peck. I did not see him again for another two weeks, this time for a quick patio dinner at Lupo Verde before he went back to his papers. It was another wonderful date with delicious food (fried artichokes, seared scallops, short ribs, an insane amount of charcuterie and cheese, and some kind of nutella-flavored ice cream dessert served in a giant grandma mug) and hilarious stories. I left this date feeling high from the sunshine, bourbon, carbs, and TBM’s smile (I mean, the man literally has perfect teeth). The problem was that the high from each of our dates only lasts for so long. Then it’s followed up by all of this time in between where I think about wanting more from him but also trying to convince myself that I should not even like him that much. We are in the vague space between casual dating, and something more. And there is nothing that screws with my mind quite like waiting. It creates expectations; it builds up fantasies; it puts me on pause, and it just allows too much down time where my mind goes crazy. And I understand a lot of this space and uncertainty can be attributed to his busy school and work schedule. Well, the build up has finally led to the completion of his program, and I am still trying to not get all of my hopes up that things will be different (failing miserably at this) now that he is not balancing work, school, fellowship and various other life factors that are not as important as me (sleeping, eating, breathing, etc). Well, he finally finished up his finals and papers the second weekend of May, and met up with me to celebrate. After a long night of bar hopping all around U street, I passed out hard in his incredibly comfortable bed (of course the perfect man has a perfect bed), and woke up a few hours later still exhausted, with an impressive hangover. TBM dropped me of at my place around 11am, and I desperately needed some sodium and nourishment to take the edge off of my headache. Luckily, I had brunch plans with my “book club” at Boqueria, an NYC implant located in Dupont. After a quick shower, I walked over to the tapas bar with SBS and N where we waited at the bar for the rest of the group to arrive. I had already started sweating during the walk over to 19th street and all I could think in my pounding head was filling my stomach back up. Of course, when you have a group of 12 females getting together on a sunny Saturday morning, you are definitely not going to start the brunch festivities on time. By the time everyone arrived and the Boqueria staff seated us at a long table in the back, I was in rough shape. As everyone put in their drink order, I turned to the waiter and pleaded for him to bring me a serving of bacon, stat. IMG_2853 This was exactly what I needed to slowly bring me back to the land of the living. The thick, salty slices of bacon are cooked until they as crispy as a chip, which is just the way I like it. After munching away on a few slices, I reverted to a functioning, social human being again and rejoined the conversation. We all decided to go with the bottomless food and drink option for $39, and told the waiter to just bring us out all of the brunch dishes in whatever order he saw fit. We started with the Surtido de Tapas, which actually was one of my favorite dishes. Each board consisted of Jamón Serrano, Spanish omelet, olives, and was served with country bread and aioli. The thick squares of creamy Spanish omelet had large, silky chunks of potatoes in it, perfect for dipping into the delicious, garlicky aioli. After polishing off these boards, I ordered another plate of bacon for the table while the main dishes kept rolling out. One of the highlights of the meal was the Albóndigas (lamb meatballs with tomato sauce and sheep’s milk cheese). I love lamb meatballs because I think lamb gives the dish an earthier flavor, and the fresh herbs sprinkled on top add to this effect. The Soldaditos de Pollo, potato chip crusted chicken breast, also hit the spot for me, and reminded me… in a good way…. of chicken nuggets. The Mejillones con Salsa Verde was also enjoyable, and the mussels tasted very fresh while the garlic and white wine broth was light. At this point, my stomach was starting to fill up, but that did not prevent from flagging down the waiter for another plate of bacon. I had mentioned to him at the beginning of the meal that he should just keep bacon coming, but he must have thought I was kidding. I was not. I wanted a bite of bacon after every dish. IMG_2854By the time the Revuelto de Setas de Temporada came out, I was beginning to reach my limit of savory dishes. This soft, creamy scramble of eggs, wild mushrooms, goat cheese, Idiazábal cheese, basil was so fragrant and delicious but I could only manage about a bite and a half. I wish they had brought this out at the beginning, because we were all starting to fade a little and could not enjoy this simple and lovely dish as much as we wished we could have. Out of all the savory dishes, my least favorite dish was the Cocido de Garbanzos, which was a Garbanzo bean cassoulet with chorizo, pork sausage and pancetta, served in a mini cast-iron skillet. The garbanzo beans tasted a little chalky, and the sparse chorizo and pancetta pieces were overly salty. The other brunch dishes were good, and we appreciated the variety. Finally, we moved onto the desserts. First came the Churros con Chocolate Traditional, which were freshly fried churros served with a deacdently thick, hot chocolate dipping sauce. As soon as I saw the chocolate sauce, I knew what I had to do. I ordered yet another plate of bacon from the waiter and dipped it into the sauce. It tasted like perfection. Basically it tasted like TBM in the form of a dessert. IMG_2855   The kitchen was kind enough to also send out a few orders of the Churros Rellenos, which are churros filled with Nutella. Of course, this is right up my alley, and if I had not woken up beside TBM, I would say that this dish would have been the absolutely highlight of my day. These churros are crispy on the outside, and soft and fluffy on the inside. Each bite was oozing with warm hazelnut spread, and sent me into a near orgasmic coma. IMG_2856 The bottomless option is a really good deal, and I was glad we got to sample all of the dishes which are relatively simple, and well-executed. It is a good spot for big groups, and the servers were responsive and attentive, which is fantastic when you are dealing with a dozen, buzzed, starving females. Overall, it was a fantastic experience and I immediately went home and passed out in a hazy food coma for the next few hours before attempting to do an 8 mile in order to burn off about 1/8th of my meal.

Out of town report: The Monk Room (Newark)

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After Beauty & Essex in NYC, I headed back to Newark with my sister and brother-in-law to their apartment, where I passed out on the air mattress in their living room. The following morning, I woke up to the sound of my brother-in-law coming into the kitchen. I groggily asked him what time it was and was shocked when he replied, “11:30!” Eleven thirty??!!!! I never sleep in the late! It felt absolutely glorious knowing that I had over ten hours of sleep in my system. I guess lugging that giant weekender all over lower Manhattan had really exhausted me. My sister came out a few minutes later and we decided to head to their favorite pizza spot a few blocks away for lunch before I had to go back into the city to meet up with friends.

The Monk Room opened up on the other side of the Prudential Center about a year and a half ago, with a small and concise menu of Italian dishes. My sister and B raved about this place, which I consider a great sign, especially since pizza is not really my sister’s favorite kind of cuisine. I, on the other hand, was totally ready to house another pizza after my restful night of sleep. When we arrived, the bartender informed us that the dining room was not yet open, so we would have to sit at the bar.
The restaurant is brightly lit with the large windows which made up slightly for the lack of outdoor seating. We sat down at the bar and chatted up the bartender while waiting for the kitchen to finish setting up. The friendly bartender was nice enough to bring us out a plate of the restaurant’s mozzarella to sample. The house-made cheese is served with sundried tomatoes and fresh basil, and tastes fresh and creamy.
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For her main dish. my sister decided to get the Bootzin pasta dish, which consisted of fresh orecchiette, tomatoes, fennel sausage, cherry peppers, olives, parmigiano reggiano, basil, and fennel pollen. She approved of the al dente pasta and fragrant toppings. My brother-in-law went with the Meatball Sandwich, which came out on a toasted roll. He also enjoyed this, and said the slightly spicy meatballs, sharp pecorino cheese, and soft bread were a good combination. I knew that I wanted a breakfast pizza (clearly having a pizza less than 18 hours ago had done nothing to quell my pizza cravings), and went with the Carbonara, which was topped with guanciale, parmigiano reggiano, roasted egg, parsley, black pepper, and extra virgin olive oil. The roasted egg was a little overcooked for my taste; I love when the egg on a pizza is slightly running so that I can spread it all over and enjoy the additional creaminess the yolk adds. Despite this, the pizza was a very good, mostly due to the guanciale. Guanciale is probably one of my favorite cured meats (comes from the pig’s jowel), especially when the fat has been rendered and the meat becomes extremely crispy. The strips of smoky pork cheek on this pizza were cooked exactly the way I prefer. The slightly sweet, yeasty thin crust help up well under the toppings and each bite of the pizza was a chewy, savory overload of flavors. Despite filling up after three slices, the combination of the salty guanciale and melted cheese on the charred crust was addictive and I did not stop eating until I had polished off the entire pie. Surprisingly, I did not have any room for dessert, despite the bartender’s insistence that their desserts are not to be missed. By that point, both my sister and I were leaning over in our chairs, trying to adjust our bodies in a way that allowed for faster digestion. When it comes to good pizza, my self control goes out of the window and this pizza definitely fell into that category.

Recovery brunch at Old Ebbitt Grill (and etc)

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Unlike the Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon, the morning of the Cherry Blossom 10 mile race was absolutely beautiful outside. It was the perfect running weather: 50’s, sunny, with no breeze and not a single cloud in the sky. The course was flat and fast, and I ended up running over 30 seconds faster per mile pace than the half marathon. After the finish, I was full of adrenaline and endorphins, and after waiting for everyone else to finish, a group of us headed to Old Ebbitt Grill for a recovery brunch. Old Ebbitt is actually Washington, D.C.’s oldest bar, and is now owned and operated by the Clyde’s Restaurant Group. While I have enjoyed Old Ebbitt’s oyster happy hour, and perhaps have gotten tipsy off a few martinis at the bar (for some reason, all the taxidermy and wooden furniture inside make me feel like sipping on a martini instead of bourbon), I have never been there for brunch.

We got there around 10:30am, and since our reservations were made for 11:30am, we posted up at the bar upstairs to wait. By this point, I was getting relatively hungry so got a Blue Moon (instead of my normal go-to Bloody Mary) to start. We all realized by the time our name was called by the hostess an hour later that drinking on an empty stomach after racing ten miles meant that we were all starting to feel slightly buzzed. We were seated in the back, and our wonderful waiter, George, introduced himself to us. At this point, I felt like I needed some form of nourishment immediately and decided we needed to put in at least an appetizer. George suggested splitting the Breakfast Club, a fried French toast sandwich consisting of bacon, ham, strawberries, maple syrup. I mean, that obviously sounds like heaven in sammy form. We put in two orders of this, and I basically had to remind myself to keep breathing until I finally had food in my mouth (overdramatic much?). The sweet and savory combination of the Breakfast Club was amazing and I immediately felt like a new person as soon as I had some sugar in my blood again.

When it was time for us to put in our entree orders, I turned to George for some help. I was having a difficult time deciding between the Steak Frites, and the Fried Chicken and Waffles.  George recommended the Fried Chicken and Waffles, which I immediately ignored and told him I would be getting the Steak Frites. For some reason, I was feeling incredibly carnivorous, and intensely craving a giant piece of red meat. The Steak Frites came with a watercress salad and garlic French fries. I also requested some sriracha mayo to dip everything in. The steak was tender and definitely hit the spot. The watercress salad made me feel slightly less guilty about housing all of the French fries along with a bowl of spicy mayo (see picture above), and before I knew it my plate was almost completely empty. I looked around at the table and realized that everyone else had cleared their dishes fairly quickly as well. We all agreed that this was a great post-race brunch, with enough options to satisfy a diverse group of people.

With a slight buzz in our heads, and bellies full of food, SM and I decided to make the most of the beautiful weather outside and engage in some outdoor activities. By outdoor activities, I mean “day drinking.” We headed back to our apartments after brunch and I changed (not showered, just changed) into another pair of running shorts and threw on another tee shirt before walking over to the Standard beer garden (like the rest of DC residents, I still refuse to call it “Garden District”). Since it was still early at this point, we managed to find some seats and were joined by KBS and my old co-worker, Johanna. After a few refreshing beers here, we headed over to Barcelona Wine Bar where we grabbed a table on their patio. By this point, I was hungry again (of course), so in addition to some wine, we also put in a few orders for food: patatas bravas, the chorizo with sweet and sour figs (one my favorite tapas here), roasted cauliflower. In addition, the general manager, an incredibly good looking man I wish would break up with his 22 year-old trashy girlfriend so that one of my friends could date him (looking at you SM), sent over a few dishes: the grilled Iberian pork shoulder and the Tuscan kale salad. As usual, the chorizo with sweet and sour figs was delicious. The pork shoulder was incredibly tender and seemed to melt right into my mouth, and the hearty kale salad was the perfect light, spring dish with a citrus dressing and sharp white cheese. The patatas bravas and roasted cauliflower were also solid, but relatively unmemorable (maybe due to my second glass of wine at this point). While I have yet to be wowed by any meal that I have had at Barcelona, I love the ambiance, the staff and the patio here which makes me a repeat customer of this bar.

You would think that by this point, we would have given up on the daydrinking, but the incredible weather, and the high from running sub 7:45min/mile pace for the race was still in my head so after closing out our bill at Barcelona, we hopped on down to Pearl Dive to continue our Sunday Funday. After half of a beer here and a dead phone, I decided it was probably time to call it quits and go charge my phone, as well as give my legs a rest. The next day, I felt like I had been completely run over my a train. But it was one of those glorious Sundays where you are surrounded by friends, food, and sunshine so I would say the painful 30 hours that followed were completely worth it.