Monday, January 16, 2012

My New Tattoo

I've been thinking about getting a second tattoo for a long time (see number 53 on the 101 Goals list), it just took me awhile to figure out what I wanted to get. Just so you know, it hurts much more to get a tattoo on the ankle than it does to get one on your back.

Since today was a holiday, I finally pulled the trigger and went to Marlowe Ink in Fairfax on the recommendation of a friend. I had a little pencil sketch when I went in and the artist took it and fancied it up a bit for me.

The symbolism of the tattoo is what makes it special. The two sides of the heart are different sizes. The taller side represents a mother and the shorter side is a child. The one star on the top is for my Mom. The two stars on the bottom are for the two miscarriages I had last year. 2011 was a hard year for me, but my hope is that this tattoo will be a reminder of all that I went through and a symbol of going forward.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Three Course Bacon Dinner

Have I mentioned before how much I love D.C. Restaurant Week? I'm pretty sure I have. Tonight we went to dinner at Restaurant 3 in Clarendon. A quick explanation of Restaurant Week - you get a three-course lunch for $20.12 or dinner for $35.12 (the cents change with the year). It gives us the chance to eat at some very nice restaurants that we would otherwise never go to. I picked this restaurant because I looked a their menu and over half of the options, including dessert, involve bacon.

Appetizers: I ordered the Low Country Mussels, which were steamed in beer with leeks and bacon. I don't know why I avoided mussels for the longest time, because they are delicious and these were no exception. The broth was very flavorful with the smokey bacon and tang of the beer. Jim had the Fried Green Tomatoes, with goat cheese and a green tomato relish. This was his first time trying fried green tomatoes and these were very good. The crust was nice and crisp and the goat cheese made a nice contrast.

Entrees: Continuing my bacon themed dinner, I ordered the BBQ Shrimp and Grits. I've found that in Northern Virginia grits are a hit or miss proposition. These were done well, not sticky and not too thin, with the nice addition of asiago cheese. The shrimp were nicely flavored and the whole dish was topped with house cured bacon, caramelized shallots, tomatoes and BBQ sauce. I thought the sauce was a little strange at first, but the sweetness was a nice counterpoint. Jim had the Duck Breast, which was served on a sweet potato and duck hash (divine) with a pomegranate glaze. I've only had duck breast once before this, but I thought it was good, but the skin could have been crisper.

And, finally, Dessert: To round out my bacon dinner, I ordered the Bacon Studded Waffle with Maple Bacon Ice Cream and caramel sauce. I think that I am not a fan of bacon in dessert. Although the waffle was crisp on the outside and fluffy on the inside, I couldn't taste the bacon in it. I could taste it in the ice cream, but not the maple. Over all, I'd say it was just so-so. The other dessert was Chocolate Bread Pudding with a white chocolate sauce, which was also just so-so. It was moist and dense, but nothing outstanding.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Wait, the Bellagio, the Mirage...These are Terry Benedict's places.

Ok, I promised you Las Vegas day two.

On Tuesday morning, we decided to walk around and see some of the casinos and Sara had a bunch of gaming vouchers that she needed to cash. We headed off to the Bellagio, but the thing you have to know about Vegas is that although the casinos looks like they are all right next to each other, they are all a block or two big and you can't walk there without walking though other casinos or shopping malls or both. The point being that it took a long time to walk there, but we really wanted to go for two reasons. One, the ceiling in the lobby of the Bellagio there is a glass flower garden by the artist Dale Chihuly. The second reason is that we saw on HGTV that the largest Christmas tree on the Strip was in the conservatory.

Once we made it back to the hotel, we had lunch and then got ready for massages. This was almost the best part of the whole trip. I found a groupon deal for the spa in our hotel, Oleksandra, so I snatched it up. The spa was absolutely beautiful and very relaxing. Jim and I had a couples massage and it was his first massage. I was kind of surprised that he wanted to go, but he really enjoyed it.

Then it was on to see Cirque du Soleil at the MGM Grand. We saw the show KA, and it was by far the coolest thing I've ever seen. I can't even begin to describe it, but it was great and if you ever get the chance to see a Cirque show, please do.

After the show, we took the monorail back to Harrahs and got off there to walk the rest of the way back. We stopped at the Mirage to see the volcano show. Then we were back to TI for some more video poker. We were hoping to see the pirate show, but they don't do the last show in the winter and we didn't know it, so we missed out. Next time.

Since no trip to Vegas is complete without some Elvises, I'll end with this.