DC, Day Two

The last couple of days have ended a little late and a touch blurry, hence the no post. Since today is mostly our last day here (almost, we still have most of saturday) I thought I’d catch you up on the past couple of days

Day Two

Day two started out with a trip to the zoo, which was absolutely fabulous. Not long after we got there we realized that they had a baby panda (adorable!!!!). Little Boa Boa was one of the cutest little things ever! It was hard to get a good look at him since he decided to stay near the back of the exhibit (each exhibit was gigantic), but I did snap a couple good pictures.
Around 1:00pm we were getting a little peckish and thought about getting a snack, around this time Hubby looked at the map and realized that we had only seen about ⅓ of the zoo… and we’d been there for over two hours. The snack turned into lunch, which turned into cluster f*ck. There were four windows, two for po’boys and two for Italian food (pizza and such); however, you can order either one from either window. That wasn’t made clear to anyone until one clever person just ordered a damn pizza and a side of fries at the po’boy window. After that, things went slightly smoother… It still took a half hour for the six people in front of me to order.

After lunch we started down to see the rest of the zoo. Just as a warning for you folks, the hill that takes you down is easy to walk. The walk back sucks. It’s 8/10 of a mile. Up. Hill. And it’s not something that’s barely inclined, it’s a flipping hill. By this time we were pretty tired (read: my feet were hurting and i wasn’t looking forward to walking nearly a mile up hill). After seeing a few of the exhibits, Hubby and I trudged up the hill and started to make our way back towards the metro.

Our next stop was the Library of Congress. This place is an absolute must see if you’re ever in DC. I had seen pictures of the library part, so I wasn’t too convinced that it’d be as fascinating as everyone was saying. I was totally wrong. When you first walk in you see nothing but gorgeous archways, beautiful mosaic floors, and ceilings that are painted with angels.This was not what I was expecting. The beauty of the place made my jaw drop and all I wanted to do for the next few minutes was just stare at the ceiling and take pictures. After that we headed towards Thomas Jefferson’s library. That is a must see exhibit. This man had books on nearly every subject under the sun! From history to surgery to Spanish-English dictionaries and everything in between. It was amazing!

Afterwards we wandered over to the Persian exhibit. I can’t tell you all there is about the Persian exhibit, except that the books there are so beautiful that I wanted to take them home with me. Gold foiling, blue, red, and a myriad of other colors decorated pages of delicate script. It was absolutely gorgeous. Next was the American History exhibit, something I wasn’t too thrilled about. Once again I was blown away. This wasn’t the American history that you learned in school, this was the history of the Americas. There were artifacts from the Mayans, maps from when the Spaniards came to claim the land, and artifacts that made you wonder just how in the hell they did that. Seriously, folks, you must go the the Library of Congress.

Once we finished the Library, it was dinner time. Our choice of restaurants that night was Ben’s Chili Bowl. O.M.F.G. Delicious! The chili there was the perfect consistency for hotdogs and hamburgers, it held just a touch of spice, and was so flavorful. The chili cheese fries are to die for. They’re smothered in just the right amount of chili and cheese to make them messily delicious, but not soo much that it’s just a pain in the ass to eat. If you like chili and you like foods smothered in chili, you definitely have to go to this place.

After dinner we hit up a couple little bars that were near the restaurant. The first stop was Wine Bar 1301. It was a simple little place and we stopped in during Happy Hour. I had a glass of Rare Red, a blended red which was smooth, and Hubby had a glass of The Truth’s Flying Dog. As we were drinking, Hubby told me about this little bar around the corner that specialize in prohibition style drinks. We paid our tab and wandered around the corner and nearly walked by the place. The Gibson isn’t marked with a sign or anything, it just has a black door with their liquor license tacked up discretely in the window (that was the only way Hubby knew where it was). Once you go inside you’re taken to a table and given menus with a few pages of different drinks. This isn’t the place to get a Pina Colada, this is where you get a perfectly made Old Fashioned with an order of their house made olives. Hubby got himself and Old Fashioned and I ordered the Hollywood Addiction (a champagne mixed drink that was divine).

And that was that, folks! At least for day two! Right now Hubby is telling me it’s time to get my butt out of bed so we can start our day. I’ll tell you about our day yesterday later, but for now here are some pictures!

IMG_4593 IMG_4699 IMG_4703 IMG_4710 IMG_4718 IMG_4720

DC, Day One

Day one of our DC trip started out a little soggy… okay, a lot soggy. Our drive from York, PA to DC was nothing but a soggy, flood condition, mess. It was the kind of rain storm that makes you wonder if someone’s been building an ark. Anyways, we did managed to make it into Baltimore to visit a little corner restaurant called L.P. Steamers. This place was absolutely amazing! When you walk in you’re greeted with picnic bench style tables and butcher paper table clothes. The atmosphere is super relaxed and everyone’s happy to see you. Our waiter immediately seated us and told us the best thing on the menu for sea food lovers was the Natti Boht Load, which had a generous helping of clams, oysters, scallops, shrimp, muscles, a lobster tail, and a dozen medium sized blue crab. This might seem like a lot of food to order for two people (and it was), but boy did we devour every little fleck of seafood that was on our table. Though this was the only restaurant that we’ve eaten at during the start of our DC trip, we had already decided that we were going to make the half hour drive from our hotel to return and smash some crab.

Our half hour drive from Baltimore to DC was filled with more rain and puddles of water, and the slight worry that we might be having a repeat of our Florida adventures. Thankfully that didn’t happen and we made it to our hotel with little problem. Once we got to our room (which had a king bed, thank you god), we (i) quickly unpacked our suitcases and began planning just what we really wanted to do while we were here. Today’s itinerary involved dinner at Chadwick’s and a stroll through parts of the National Mall.

Oh, and another part of that itinerary was getting me on a bus and the metro for the first time ever. Yes, folks, today was the first time I’ve ever been on public transportation.. And it was a little nerve wracking. Most of the nerves came from Hubby who decided today would be a good time to give me a crash course in navigation. This meant that I had to find the nearest metro station (and i did after going the wrong way for half a block), and then figure out just how to give from there to Chadwick’s. Surprisingly, I managed it. Not sure how, but I did.

When we got to the restaurant we were immediately greeted and taken upstairs to a second bar, which was totally empty. Not long after we were seated, a great waiter came over and began explaining about the menu and their happy hour special. One of the things on the Happy Hour menu were wings. Hubby, of course, ordered those hot with extra sauce. I ordered their daily special, the chicken enchiladas. When our food came, Hubby was slightly worried since they weren’t extra saucy and they weren’t traditional Buffalo style. After the first bite, though, all concern went out the window and he mowed through that plate of wings like a garbage disposal. When he finally finished nibbling off the last bits of meat from a drumstick, I asked for his rating. Guys, he gave these wings a 9/10! Can you believe that? Obviously Chadwick’s know what they’re doing.

Sadly, my enchiladas didn’t get that high of a scar. Don’t get me wrong, they were delicious.. they just weren’t what I was expecting. The sauce was delicious, the tortillas were soft and perfect, the cheese that coated the top was just the right amount of melted, but the filling… that was where it lost points. This filling had little chunks of potato in it and it just wasn’t a great texture to go with everything else. On the side was some strange black bean rice (it looked terrifying, but it was beyond delicious) and a little salad. Even though I wasn’t a huge fan of the potato chunks, I still managed to clean everything off of my plate. The food was that good.

After dinner we decided to go wander around the outskirts of the National Mall for a little while, which we finally were able to do once we managed to catch the right bus to the right place. We got to see the White House, some memorials for World War One, World War Two, and the Vietnam War. Standing before these monuments was a heavy experience. Tears came to my eyes as I read the placards for each of them. A little while later Hubby and I wandered the area for a little while before making the trek home (which was a bit easier since hubby was navigating this time).

Today was a fun filled, emotionally charged day and I can’t wait for tomorrow to start. We haven’t yet decided just what we will be doing, but we do know that it will be fun! Here are some pictures from today. Hope you enjoy them!

 

LP Steamers 2 LP Steamers 3 LP Steamers 4 LP Steamers1Chadwick's 1 Chadwick's 2 Fountain Vietnam WW1 White House 2 White House 1 WW2

Dear folks, sorry I haven’t written lately

For the past few days I’ve been MIA, and I’m afraid that I have no real excuse as to why. Truthfully, I needed time to decompress. Hubby and I got back from California Sunday evening (after driving over 24 hours straight), come Monday morning I was nothing but a zombie. Tuesday was spent going through the mail, doing laundry, unpacking, and settling in. Wednesday came and I was repacking our suitcases and getting Buddha ready to spend some time at my mom’s house. Thursday arrives and I’m running around like a chicken with her head cut off because I put things off to the last minute, again.

That’s right, folks. We’re off again.

As I’m writing this, we’re driving through upstate New York’s country side watching the sun rise. In a few more hours we’ll be arriving in Wellesley, NY to start the first part of our vacation. What’s the first part, you ask? Why, we’re spending a few days in Thousand Islands. We’re meeting Hubby’s family there and I have to say, I’m super excited. I’ve heard so many great things about the Thousand Islands and I can’t wait to see all the amazing sights. Hubby’s dad and stepmom have been going there for years now, so it’s a treat to finally see the places they’re always talking about.

Come Monday, we’re off again. This time, we’re heading to Washington, DC. Hubby and I have never been and, truthfully, we were inspired by Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservation episode on DC. This trip is an early anniversary gift to ourselves, so I’m looking forward to is. I know I’ve said this in the past, but I promise that I’ll be talking about our adventures in the Thousand Islands and DC and everything in between. I’ll be updating Twitter and Instagram as well.

Thanks for being patient with me, folks. Stay tuned for our exciting adventures and another episode of The Half-Assed Lane.

Manhattan Beach Wrap Up

Right now I’m looking at our suitcases piled up by the front door and I have to say that I’m a little sad to see them there. Hubby and I have been staying in Manhattan Beach for almost two weeks, yet it feels like we arrived just a couple of days ago. Where did the time go? I guess it went into watching beautiful sunsets, eating fabulous food, and wandering around the charming beach side town of Manhattan Beach.

Even though Hubby had a work schedule of 7-3, we still managed to have a great time. We went out to get delicious lunches almost every day (i’ll list the restaurants at the end of this post), and had fabulous meals every night. Even Buddha enjoyed himself. He got to play Watchdog on mom’s balcony and went on long walks every evening, something he normally doesn’t do back home. Right now he’s a little unsure about the suitcases, I think he’s afraid we’ll leave him behind (as if. if anyone’s getting left behind it’s me!). I wish I could tell you about the grand adventures that we had while we were here, but this trip was mostly just about relaxing. We took a few drives into Santa Monica and Los Angeles, but mostly we just hung around Manhattan Beach.

I’ve managed to tell you what we did during most of our trip, which can be found here, here, here, and here. This week I was a little lax about posting, which I’m a little sorry about. I took this time to work more on my book (kinda. i was lazy about that, too) and relaxed, something that I’m bad about doing. If you’ve been following along on my posts you’ve seen that we’ve eaten at some fabulous restaurants. For those of you who haven’t been following along on my posts, I’ll put a list of places to eat if you’re ever in the area. Trust me, these places are totally worth it.

In-N-Out Burger (they’re everywhere in CA)
Izaka-Ya by Katsu-ya (absofriggenlutely the best sushi ever)

1133 Highland Ave
Manhattan Beach, CA 90266

Akatora (great japanese restaurant that also serves great sushi)

302 Rosecrans Ave
Manhattan Beach, CA 90266

FishBar (great place for a quick meal)

3801 Highland Ave
Manhattan Beach, CA 90266

Mangiamo (delicious italian food)

128 Manhattan Beach Boulevard
Manhattan Beach, California, 90266

Rock N Fish (great hangout spot and great food)

120 Manhattan Beach Blvd
Manhattan Beach, CA 90266

The Hangar Inn (great bar food)

1001 N Aviation Blvd.,
Manhattan Beach, CA 90266

Santouku Ramen (a great ramen place inside of a shopping center, it’s soooo good)

3760 S. Centinela Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90066

These aren’t all the restaurants in the area (obviously), but these are the places that I always go to whenever I’m here (except for santouku, that’s new). Until tomorrow, folks!

Manhattan Beach, Day 4 and 5

Sorry I’ve been a little lazy with my posts, but it’s hard to be disciplined with yourself when the ocean keeps whispering “Why work on a post? Just stare at me.” And I do. The ocean’s a real bad influence on my writing career, but at the same time it’s very peaceful to be working on a post or on my book with the sound of waves lapping against the shoreline and seagulls caterwauling to one another. Sorry, the ocean was whispering to me again (damn ocean, how I love you).

Aaaanyway, on to the actual topic of this post. The past couple of days have been filled with fun for Hubby and me. Friday night we went out for a dinner and a movie… and then went to a pizza joint after the movie. We were a little fat that night. The place we ate dinner at was what I would describe as a dive bar, kinda. The Hangar Inn was a clean bar that was filled with character and characters. The waitresses were awesome, they came over whenever you needed something then left you alone. And the food. The food was great! Hubby ordered some Buffalo wings that he gave them a 6/10 over all, but he gave them 2 extra points for being out of the Buffalo area so they ended up being 8/10. All in all, he found them pleasantly surprising. I got their cheese burger, which was juicy and dripping with deliciousness. We would seriously consider going back. If you’re in the mood for a bar that serves great food and has a great atmosphere and you happen to be in the Manhattan Beach area, definitely go visit this place.

After dinner, Hubby and I headed over to the local theater to see Maleficent. My mom had told me that some of her friends had seen it and thought that it was great, plus I’m a sucker for classic fairy tale retellings. I have to admit, Angelina Jolie did a great job playing Maleficent and Elle Fanning was the perfect Aurora for this type of movie. Even Hubby enjoyed the movie and he’s not exactly the kind of guy that goes out of his way to watch fairy tale retellings. If you haven’t seen it, you should really consider going before it’s out of the theaters.

On our way home from the movie, Hubby and I still had a craving for some junk food. Thankfully we were going to pass by this pizza place we had been wanting to try. Beach Pizza is a small little restaurant with about five or six tables, but the service was great (especially for 10:30pm) and the food was pretty damn good. We got a pizza to share (the manhattan, man) and he ordered some wings, which got the same score as Hangar Inn. He felt that the wings were cooked a little crispier, which he liked, but he wasn’t a huge fan of their sauce. They still got that 6/10 + 2 points for being out of Buffalo, though. The pizza was really good. The sauce was flavorful, the crust was a mixture of chewy and thin, and the toppings were fresh. We’ve been snacking on that pizza for the past couple of days and it just gets better. Sadly, the last piece was eaten for breakfast this morning(my waistline is so going to hate me when we get home).

Yesterday wasn’t as filled with culinary adventure, but it was fun. We took Buddha for a walk around Manhattan Beach and Hubby even bought a couple things at Splendid. Later in the day we went over to visit my mom and her friends in The Valley then followed them over to Tony Roma’s. Now, Hubby was expecting the meal to be… good, but I was totally expecting a delicious steak dinner. That was not the case. I’m sorry, Tony Roma’s, but you’re food isn’t as good as I was hoping. Hubby called it a step above Apple Bee’s, and I’m afraid it was. The food had little flavor, my fillet was tough, and I’m pretty sure that the Cabernet demi glaze that I ordered was just ketchup and barbecue sauce. So disappointing… Which was why we decided to hit up a sushi bar after we got back to mom’s apartment.

Akatora is somewhat in walking distance to Mom’s apartment and we actually just stumbled upon it. After we had fed and watered the mutt, Hubby and I decided to go out and just wander around the town until something sounded good. Thankfully the second place we walked by was jam packed and sounded great. Even at 9:00pm Akatora was packed, and I can totally understand why. We got two orders of their Albacore tuna and an eel avocado roll, along with an order of edamame. The tuna literally melted in your mouth and the edamame was salty goodness. The eel avocado roll was also amazing, and it was my first time trying eel. I now have a new favorite for the next time I go to a sushi bar.

Wow, I just realized that this post was 75% about food… Well, Hubby and I are fat kids at heart and the food here is just so amazing. Today will also have some food involved, and maybe even a little handy-man action from Hubby. I’ll do my best to get back to my regular posting schedule tomorrow, but I can make no promises… The ocean is just a little too hypnotic for my weak mind to resist. Until next time!

Manhattan Beach, Day 3

If you’re ever in Los Angelos, the GRAMMY Museum is a great place to visit. Last night we went to see an old family friend, A.J. Croce, speak and play some songs off of his new album. The museum itself was small, but it was definitely not lacking in any way. Each exhibit was filled with  relics from bygone eras and items from newer winners of the prestigious GRAMMY Award. Each floor had an interactive exhibit that allowed you to watch or listen to particular artists, there was even a drum kit set up on the second floor for visitors to play. Anyway, back to the reason we were there. In case you were wondering why the name sounded familiar, A.J. is the late Jim Croce’s son, and boy does he make his father proud with his amazing songs and beautiful piano playing. Seriously, this man is mesmerizing when he is sitting at a piano. When you watch A.J. in a casual setting, like during an interview, he is a quiet man who is super modest about his talents. Once he opens up, however, he starts to explain his creative process.

His newest album, Twelve Tales, is a one of a kind album. Never has there been an album where six different producers have all worked on the same album. This was A.J.’s idea and it turned out to be a beautiful thing. The idea behind this was to take twelve different songs to six different producers, in turn the producers would take those songs and make them into whatever they wanted. There were many instances where A.J. heard a song one way only to have the producer take it in the opposite direction. He was also interested in trying out different styles of producing, since he had produced the last four albums on his own. Obviously this creative endeavor was a success, at least in my opinion. Each song tells its own tale with the music painting a picture of scenery that ranges from a New York subway to a street corner in New Orleans. If you’re a lover of Indie artists, then you really should go check out his work. Trust me, you will not be disappointed.

On a side note, the people watching last night was absolutely amazing. We saw people walking around in outfits that ranged from ballroom dancing down to the Playboy Mansion, and we had absolutely no idea. Finally, when we were halfway through dinner (at wolfgang pucks-amazing food, btw), Hubby decided to look up who was playing at the Staples Center. Turns out there was a reason for all the interesting attire. Lady GaGa was in the house! If she is ever performing in your town, go hang out in front of the theater for the best people watching ever.

Manhattan Beach, Day 1.2

As promised, here is my better post of the day. I guess I should start with the road trip part and then finish with our first day in Manhattan Beach, that seems like the logical thing to do, buuuut our road trip wasn’t filled with amazing adventures or fascinating things. Truth be told, the drive between Santa Fe and Manhattan Beach is filled with a lot of nothing. Beautiful nothing, but still nothing. We left Santa Fe around 1200pm and planned to drive to Kingman, AZ, but obviously that plan went out the window. By the time we got to Kingman it was only 7:00pm and we weren’t ready to stop driving for the day. So, after a quick dinner at Cracker Barrel, we hopped back into the car and headed West. At 1:30am we parked in front of Mom’s apartment and blearily unloaded all of our crap, which thankfully only took a few trips. Not long after unpacking necessary things, all three of us crashed.

When morning came we somehow felt rested after only a few hours of sleep (thanks mr. sandman). Not long after we all showered and made ourselves feel human we began talking about a small day trip to Huntington Beach, which is about 45 minutes away from Manhattan Beach. I know, we had just finished driving 860 miles and we were more than happy to get back into the car and drive a few more. Our main reason for going to Huntington Beach was to visit this knife shop that carried a line of knives that Hubby’s been drooling over. Just what were these knives? Why, they’re Chris Reeve knives. When I saw them I was ready to buy one, even though I don’t carry a knife and would have zero use for one. They’re absolutely stunning. If you haven’t seen or heard of him, go look him up. It’s a visual treat to see his amazing pieces of art.

One we left the store triumphant, we made our way back towards Mom’s apartment and began talking about dinner (food is very important to us, btw). Thankfully, there’s a delicious little bar a few blocks away from Mom’s apartment that serves amazing food. After we dropped Buddha off (yep, he came with), we made our way to the Fishbar, where we ordered amazing food. Hubby got some fried scallops (which looked great), Mom got some Mahi Mahi, and I ordered the most amazing steamed clams with a small side of linguini. Just so you know, I was about two heart beats away from licking my plate, it was that good. I was ready to get another order of clams, but good judgement (aka mom and hubby) stepped in. If you’re ever in Manhattan Beach, please go to the Fishbar and order these steamed clams, they’re seriously the best I’ve ever had.

Aaand that wraps up day one in Manhattan Beach. There will be more to talk about tomorrow, I’m sure. We were a little weary today, but tomorrow we’ll be recharged enough to take MB by storm. Well, Mom and I will be. Hubby, sadly, is working remotely for the next two weeks; so that means he has to stay behind during part of the day. That’s okay, though, we still have the evenings and the weekends to make the most of our time here in MB. I’ll be sure to keep you up to date on any escapades we get into during our stay. See you tomorrow!