Sunday, August 31, 2008

An All Sports Weekend

On Saturday, Jim and I attended our first D.C. United game (that's soccer). The team plays at RFK stadium, which remains a dump. We weren't really sure what kind of crowd would be attending the game, but everyone we sat near was really nice, enjoying themselves without being too rowdy. We played the New York Red Bulls and the game ended in a tie at 0 to 0.

Even better, as we were on our way to the soccer match, we struck up a conversation with some folks in Braves gear, who were on their way to the baseball game. These folks offered us free tickets to Sunday's game. Good tickets, on the third baseline near the foul pole. These seats were awesome and the new ballpark is very nice. Great sight lines, tons of concession stands (local restaurants and the availability of a veggie burger are a huge improvement over RFK alone) and lots of bathrooms. We could not have asked for a better day for baseball - the weather was just gorgerous. I remembered the sunscreen and only got a little pink. And I was able to get a new pressed penny. Sadly, the Braves lost the game, but that is the only thing that would have made it a better day.

Friday, August 22, 2008

An Exciting Evening in my Neighborhood

So, as we were coming home last night at around 9:30 p.m., this is the scene we were greeted with directly across the street from my apartment.

If you want to see news coverage of the story, you can look at NBC or ABC. Also, there is video at FOX.

I just wish that I had gone back out with the camera for some pictures.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Restaurant Week - Part Two

Sorry it took so long for the review - I know you are all dying to know what we thought of Jackson 20.

First, Jackson 20 is the restaurant in the newly reopened Hotel Monaco (formerly the Holiday Inn) in Old Town Alexandria. And it helps if you remember that this is a hotel restaurant. That said, the restaurant itself is pretty, with dark wood and a black on gray flocked wallpaper. It is also a little on the noisy side. There is a large bronze pig right when you come inside and the napkin rings are pigs, too.

For restaurant week, Jackson 20 was offering a limited menu, which I don't like right off the bat. I much prefer a place that will let you select anything off the menu for your entree. I will say that they have a very nice list of bottles of wine for $20, a great deal if you want to share or want more than one glass with your meal.

When we sat down, we were brought a bread basket that had teeny tiny parker house rolls in it and the best corn muffins I've had in awhile. Both were served with honey butter.

For the starter, Jim order the Waldorf salad, which was dressed with an oniony dressing that was a nice complement to the grapes. I had the crab fritters, which were the best part of the whole meal.

For the entree, I ordered the salmon and green and yellow beans. The salmon was cooked just a hair over the done line, but not quite to dry. The spice mixture on top gave it a nice crispy touch. Jim ordered the pork belly and collards. This is the second time I had collards this week and these were good, as well. It might have something to do with the big chunks of bacon in them or the au jus from the pork belly (never met a pig I didn't like). Jim wished there was more actual meat on the belly and said that his meal wasn't very filling - my baby is a growing boy.

For dessert, we had the nougetine, which was a white chocolate mousse with nuts in it and a caramel sauce. It was lighter than I thougt it would be when the server described it. Jim had the other dessert, a peach cobbler with bourbon ice cream. Yes, bourbon ice cream and you could really taste it and when it melted into the cobbler it was yum.

Overall, we won't go back. The menu was a little overpriced for what it was, but it was nice to try something new.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Restaurant Week - Part One

Today, one of my co-workers and I went to lunch for Restaurant Week. We went to one of my very favorite restaurants, D.C. Coast. As always, I wasn't disappointed.

For my appetizer, I had the warm balsamic shrimp with wilted spinach, roasted peppers and a garlic toast point. It was three fairly large, tail on shrimp in a lovely balsamic reduction on a pile of wilted spinach.

I had the pecan crusted Idaho trout for the entree, since I love trout and you really don't see it on menus very often anymore. It came with sweet corn pudding, Benton bacon collard greens and a toasted pecan sauce. The corn puddling was very light - almost like a souffle. I don't generally like collards, but these were barely steamed and crisp, with a nice smoky flavor from the bacon.

Dessert was a tough choice, but I finally settled on the key lime cheesecake. This wasn't the traditional cheesecake you might expect. There was no crust, rather it looked like it was unmolded onto the plate from a little ramekin. It was served with a little cookie.

In case you were curious, my co-worker had the mixed greens salad, the pan seared scallops with morel mushroom ravioli (very rich) and the almond creme brulee (which was also yummy).

Friday, August 1, 2008

Jeopardy! Update

Today was the day of my follow-up audition for Jeopardy! I had an appointment for 9:00 this morning at a hotel in downtown Washington, the first of two sessions they were doing today.

Let me tell you, they are really using the online test to weed out the people that have no business being on Jeopardy! The first time I auditioned, I took the written test with about 80 people. After they scored it, they sent 70 of them home and kept about 10 of us to play the mock game.

When I arrived today, there were only 19 of us. We all filled out the audition sheet, had a Polaroid taken, took another 50 question/50 category test and played a mock game and did a little "getting to know you" interview. For the mock game, they give you a real buzzer and let each group go through about a dozen questions to get a sense of how you would be on t.v. I went in the first group of three, which was exciting. I had a big smile in my picture, was assertive when I answered questions, and I was able to ring in first several times, so I think I made a good impression.

All 19 0f us made it into the contestant pool, so I could get a call anytime in the next 18 months to come out to L.A. to tape the show. They try to give you at least three weeks notice; if I hear from Maggie, the contestant wrangler, I'll let you all know.