On the Web & In the D

Thought I'd share with you some of the notable things I found on the web this week.  Have a good weekend!
Funny article about Coldplay.  

Tom Waits's new album came out this week and I'm liking what I hear.

Just for fun, here is my favorite Tom Waits song.
Have you guys heard of this amazing job campaign
Did someone say Huevos Rancheros?  Can't wait to try them at this new Detroit Restaurant.   
Happy Hour is making a comeback with the opening of the new Buhl Bar on Congress and Griswold.  
Can't wait to check out this new art gallery in the D.  The best part:  it features Banksy!    
My Mom would be happy to hear that her favorite restaurant in the D has new owners and is re-opening soon.  Trying to keep the tradition alive.  
And have a Happy Halloween!


The Pinterest Challenge: Fall Edition

The Pinterest Challenge is a project thought of by Katie Bower, the bff of my favorite blogger, Sherry at Young House Love.  It is a way to stop "pinning" and start "doing."  The idea:
  1. Pick something off of your Pinterest board that you'd like to try and do it!  (New hair style, new recipe, a craft, a DIY home improvement, whatever). 
  2. You have until Wednesday to complete your project. (You're supposed to get a week to complete, but I'm delayed by a day.  Oops). 
  3. On Wednesday, share your completed project on your blog or on your facebook.  (Make sure that you reference the source of the Pinterest Challenge--Bower's and/or Sherry's blog).
  4. On Wednesday, you can "link up" on either of those blogs and share your project w/ hundreds of people.
I am pretty sure my project will be to paint our nightstand yellow!  Here's my Pinterest pinspiration:

Will you participate?  What will your project be?


Nationals Park...and Lifehouse?

I really didn't have any expectations for our Nationals Park experience.  In fact, on the way there I was bummed that, "this isn't really a baseball town."  I would later eat those words as I left thinking quite the opposite.

Nationals Park was great.  They had some good food options, including Ben's Chili Bowl, but as you know, we had just eaten at the street location, so we skipped that.  There was a Shake Shack, which is supposed to have great burgers and shakes.  Al had a black & white shake, which was SO DELICIOUS.  Probably the best shake ever.  I had my umpteenth order of fries for the trip.  But they were the same Parmesan fries I had at Citi Field and I just couldn't pass them up.

The park was very open and airy and clean...much like the rest of the city.  And the staff was very friendly.  People offered to take our photo without asking, and Al made friends with Jim, the usher in our section.  Jim recommended the shake, so after that we knew he was legit.  

They had these cool TVs in every section so you didn't miss a thing.

And what a great night for a game it was!  The weather was absolutely perfect, we liked our seats, we were very relaxed and we ended up seeing one of the best games of the trip.  Tom Milone was pitching in his first major league appearance for the Nationals.  But it wasn't his great start on the mound that was the talk of the park, it was when he crushed a three-run home run in the 2nd inning on the first pitch he's ever seen in the major leagues.

Home run.  Pitcher.  First MLB at-bat.  First pitch.  Pure excitement.  The energy of the crowd after that moment lingered for the rest of the game and exploded when Ryan Zimmerman had a walk off hit to end the game.  There was no doubt that this was a baseball town.  

The 9th inning came too soon, and we were not at all ready to leave.  Lucky for us there was a free concert after the game!  That's where Lifehouse comes in. 

Alessandro totally enjoying him some Lifehouse!

This guy was scary.  But he and I own the same tank top.  Pictured here.

Scary guy played an electric guitar performance of the National Anthem before the game and it was really good. 

As non-Lifehouse fans, we actually really enjoyed the concert.  The left-over crowd rocked out to their big hit, "Hanging by a Moment" like it was 1999...or actually 2001.  It was good times.  And we liked some of the songs off of the new album.  One in particular is this one:  

And you know how it is that once you hear something or become aware of something you start seeing/hearing it all over the place?  When we got home we heard Lifehouse in every single store we stepped foot in whereas before we wouldn't have been able to "name that band" if someone paid us.  At Bed Bath and Beyond, we both stopped in our tracks and said, "Did you hear that?"  "Everytime I see your face my heart takes off on a high speed chase.  It's Lifehouse."  At Ikea, we were in different sections of the store when we heard it but we both came together and said, "Did you just hear Lifehouse?"  Sorry.  Our Lifehouse experience was really interesting to us.  Anyway...

After the concert...as we were still loitering, an usher from the park came up and gave us a game ball.  Possibly as a sign to say, "What more do you people want.  Shoo!" 

Love that smile.  Could he be any cuter?  (Yes, like now when he's napping on my lap while I write this). 

Jim suggested that we take the subway back to our hotel and promised us it would be easy and cheap.  We had wanted to take the metro while we were in D.C. just for the experience, but before Jim's suggestion we were fully prepared to take a cab as the lazy-give-our-traveling-minds-a-break way out after a long night...and trip.  Since he was right on about the shake, we heeded his suggestion and we were glad we did.  The subway system in D.C., unlike in NY, was super clean, very handicap friendly, easy to use and only smelled like urine in one elevator...not all of them.   

After getting slightly lost during our walk from the subway to our hotel, and more than slightly annoyed with each other, we called it a night in preparation for our next day's commute to Pittsburgh. 

Up Next:   The worst Greek restaurant ever and PNC Park


Ben's Chili Bowl, a Place for Love

Six days into our BSRT fell on September 2nd...Alessandro's 29th Birthday!  Bright and early that morning, I sneaked out of our room and headed down to the lobby to see what kind of birthday surprises I could find.  Fifteen minutes later, I woke Alessandro up to give him a birthday card shaped like a crab, a Baltimore magnet and a Starbucks vanilla latte.  Wow is he spoiled. *sarcasm*

After our caffeine fix, we left Lord Baltimore (thank goodness!), and head to D.C. to get Al's birthday festivities going.

But first we made a quick stop in Virginia to visit the Arlington National Cemetery.  We watched the changing of the guards, which was a very cool ceremony.  You can find tons of videos of it online...here's one of them.  And here are some very interesting facts about the tomb and the guards if you're curious. 

Once we got to D.C., we stayed at the Washington Mariott, which we liked a lot.  Definite step up from Lord Baltimore.  For Al's birthday, we planned on a night on the town and a nice dinner.  We headed to pre-dinner drinks at an Irish Pub called James Hoban's, and enjoyed $4 glasses of wine courtesy of happy hour.

As explained here, this is my new wine pose face because Alessandro only takes pics of me if I show "a little character." 

Then we headed to dinner at a french restaurant in Dupont Circle called Bistro Du Coin.

Alessandro's a big fan of Bordeaux, so we had a bottle of Les Arromans, which we both enjoyed.  As an appetizer, Alessandro started off with pâté, which was a cold chunk of meat pictured below.  A bit disturbing.  He didn't mind it. 

For dinner, he had rabbit stew. 

I had the beef tenderloin with french fries and béarnaise sauce.  I hated my steak and the sauce was just okay. 

Al really wasn't impressed by his meal either.  But at least the dessert was good.  Al had brioche with custard, orange flavor and creme Anglaise. 

And I had rum pound cake with bananas, pineapple and raisins. 

After dinner, we enjoyed the perfect summer evening weather with a stroll back to our hotel.  The good wine, great company, thrill of our vacation, thoughts of times that were yet to be, spending 24/7 with each other for the past 6 days with many to go, and loving each other in a way we can't explain, culminated in Alessandro feeling like this: 

He is so deserving of all the best birthdays in the world, and I hope each one can be all the more special than the last.  

The next day, which was our last day in D.C., we visited all of the monuments, including seeing the brand new MLK memorial, which was very cool.

And Alessandro posed with Franklin D. Roosevelt.

And we found Alessandro's dad's cousin, Bruno Martin, on the Vietnam War Memorial.

We then headed to the famous Ben's Chili Bowl for a late lunch.  After about a half an hour in line, we were finally able to enjoy the signature chilli half smokes.

And in mockery of Detroit's shamed former Mayor, Alessandro sent me a text while I was standing in line that said, "I'm at ben's chili bowl missing my boo," which almost made me pee my pants.  He must not have known that our former Mayor actually referred to it as "Benz" chilli bowl during his infamous text message scandal:

After Ben's, we hopped in a cab and headed to Nationals Park for the main event! 

Up Next:  Our visit to Nationals Park...and Lifehouse?


How to Eat Steamed Blue Crab

As I mentioned here, eating steamed blue crab was high on our list of things to do in Baltimore while on our Baseball Stadium Road Trip (BSRT).  (I don't technically eat seafood, so I was more excited for Alessandro to have the experience).

We ate at Obrycki's, which is in Baltimore's Fells Point.  On the front of the menu was this fun adage: 
A crab provides little food, so he is not easy to eat.  But the little he does offer is but the best food under the sky.  To eat the crab you must work, which makes you appreciate him more.  He is the blessing, the remembrance.  And no man or woman ate enough.
True dat.  Getting the meat out of the crab took a little bit of elbow grease...and a hammer, a knife, and a patient waitress who gave us step-by-step instructions (while manhandling our crab and shoving a piece in my mouth by the way; did I mention the experience isn't for everyone?).

Here's our not-so-professional instructional video on how to get to that precious crab meat:

And a brief video on the easier to reach crab leg meat:

Enjoy you some crab! 

Up Next:  Washington D.C.