White Ale, New Sneakers – doesn’t take much to make me happy

What was the highlight of my weekend?  Besides our Valentine’s Day dinner, of course…

 

Samuel Adams White Ale

Samuel Adams White Ale Label[photo credit]

Pretty much anyone who knows me, knows that Sam Adams White Ale is my favorite beer.  It used to be Sam Adam’s spring seasonal.  In college, Jane and I used to stock up on like it was going out of style.  Well, then in January 2010, it did go out of style.  Sam Adams announced that they were replacing White Ale with Noble Pills as the spring seasonal.

Now, don’t get me wrong,  I like Noble Pills.  I really wanted to hate it for taking over my beloved White Ale.  But I couldn’t.  It was too good.

Sam Adams claims that it is available in November-December in a variety pack, but I’ve never been able to find it.  While in Harris Teeter over the weekend, I walked past the Sam Adams “American Classics” variety pack and something caught my eye.  Could it be??  Oh yes it was!  My beloved White Ale!  I grabbed the variety pack and ran across the grocery store, looked at Ben and said, “Is it ridiculous to buy a 12-pack for two beers?”  After assuring me that the other 10 beers would not go to waste, I happily dropped the variety pack into the cart.  Now, I’m going to have to ration those two beers….

 

New Running Gear

I got really lucky with my old running sneakers.  In late Fall 2009, Ben and I were starting to head back to the gym.  My previous workout sneakers were on their way out when I found a pair of Nike’s on clearance at DSW.  Not knowing much about the sneakers, except that they were cute, I bought them.  They were like $30, and I was just looking for something to use as a general gym/workout sneaker.

When I got into running, I heard the worst thing you can do is just grab whatever sneaker is on clearance and go with it.  Oops, that’s exactly what I had done.  I Googled my shoes and it turns out, they are fantastic running sneakers.  Like made for running sneakers.  Awesome.  I just went with it.

But now, my bargain bin sneakers are getting worn out.  My feet have started to hurt while running and I can feel the ground more than before.  I don’t know exactly how many miles I’ve put on them, but after a year and a half, I’m thinking they are getting worn out.

So on Sunday, Ben and I went out for a little running gear shopping spree.  I purchased these babies:

Acics GT2150 Raspberry[photo credit]

The Asics GT2150.  I got them in the raspberry/lightening (as seen above).  They are great for stability (which I need) and have a lot of cushion (which I like).  I was pretty sure I wanted Asics, but I went in with an open mind.  I tried on numerous pairs, and these seemed to fit pretty well.  I did have to go a full size larger than my normal shoes.  I haven’t run in them yet, but I’m very excited. Plus…they are pretty.  And they match my new long sleeve running shirt.

 

Yay for beer and running gear!

 

The weekend of the Groupon…

Happy Sunday!  I hope everyone is enjoying the Sunday football game.  Ben and I are sitting watching the Bears/Packers game.  I think I’m rooting for the Packers, cause then at least my Eagles lost to the team that went on to the Super Bowl.

On Thursday, Ben and I realized that we had two LivingSocial coupons for The Madhatter that expired in early February.  We decided to use one Thursday night.  We ordered some of their happy hour specials (I stuck with Bud Light, whereas Ben enjoyed some Bud Light and some Jack and Diets).  We also ordered a TON of food:

  • goat cheese pizzette
  • fried calamari
  • Madhatter Classic – burger with applewood-smoked bacon and cheddar (me)
  • Ribeye Steak Sandwich- Caramelized onion, melted provolone, pesto aioli,
    and horseradish mayo (Ben)

The calamari was only so-so.  It came out kinda cold and a bit tough.  I’ve had it there before, and it was fantastic, so I’m going to just chalk it up on one bad dish.  My burger was really good, and Ben enjoyed his sandwich as well.

On Friday, Ben’s mom flew into town.  We had dinner at Kora – a great restaurant in Crystal City.  We each got a flight of wine (Riesling, Merlot and Chardonnay) and we all split the prosciutto and shrimp pizza and the BBQ short-ribs pizza.  Two VERY different flavors, but both were fantastic.

Saturday, we woke up and used a Groupon to go to the Newseum.  I’ve been before, but Ben and his mom had never been.  Being in PR, I’m really fascinated in how they show (1) how the media has changed through the years and (2) how media has portrayed various events in history.  I think they have a really well done video about media and 9-11.

Piece of the Berlin Wall from Newseum DCBerlin Wall at the Newseum


US Capitol from Newseum DC

U.S. Capitol from the Newseum deck

We then hopped in a cab and headed BACK to the Madhatter to use LivingSocial deal number two.  We watched the Duke game while enjoying dinner.  Again, we got the fried calamari (much better this time).  I got the same burger again – very good. We had the same waiter from Thursday, which was nice.  I wish I knew his name so I could give him a shout out, because he was great.

After dinner, Mrs. B and I walked from Dupont to Georgetown to use yet ANOTHER Groupon.  Last year, Ben bought his mom and I a massage from M3.  The Groupon was for a Swedish or a Sports massage.  We both went with the Swedish.  I would definitely recommend M3 to anyone looking for an affordable massage in D.C.

The spa is on the second and third level of a townhouse right on M street.  You go one flight of stairs and check in at a very calming, clean-looking lobby.  They offer water and tea to customers, and have lots of space to sit and wait.  They also sell some skincare products.  It wasn’t a brand I recognized.  My masseuse came and picked me up from the waiting area and took me to a small room on the third floor.  He brought out a Tupperware container that I could keep my clothes in, which I liked.  Overall, he did a great job with the massage.  At points, I thought he could have used a bit more lotion, but  think that’s just because I like to drown my skin in lotion.  When I asked for more pressure, he adjusted appropriately and went out of his way to make sure I was relaxed and enjoying my experience.

M3 Massage roomphoto credit

In case you’re curious, M3 generally charges $80 for an hour massage.  I think that’s a pretty good price, especially here in D.C.  I usually think an hour massage will be at least $100.

This morning, we woke up, had breakfast, and sat and chatted for a bit about wedding stuff.  The three of us then headed to the gym.  Today’s run wasn’t terrible when you look at time and distance.  However, it felt really tough.  Its crazy how much of running in mental.  When I’m having a great day, my runs tend to feel better than days when I’m frustrated.

But all in all, two and a half miles in 25 minutes isn’t bad (and that includes a two-minute warm-up and a two-minute cool down).  I then did 5-10 minutes of yoga and one set of arm weights.  We came back, showered, and sent Mrs. B on her way back to South Carolina.

So we had quite a busy weekend.  But when as was said and done, we used six Groupons/LivingSocial deals.  We were actually supposed to use a 7th today for lunch, but we ran out of time.

YAY for Groupons!

Weekend Update

This weekend, Ben’s brother and his wife we in town.  I hadn’t seen each other in a really long time, so it was great to just hang out.

They arrived Friday night, and we enjoyed some fancy beer, snacks and exchanged Christmas presents.  I got a cheese baking dish.  Additionally, they got us the Kodak Playsport video camera.  Its super small, about the size of a cell phone, and it has EXCELLENT quality.  We took a quick video and was about to put it on our 60 inch tv and the quality looked fantastic.  It also can record in HD.  And the best part – its waterproof!  They bought it so we can take it on our honeymoon and capture the whole trip!  Thanks Will & Debbie!!!

Kodak Playsport Camera

Saturday, we woke up and I made french toast casserole.  The recipe is below.  We then went and gave them the tour, showing the various monuments and hot spots around town.  We also showed them the collection of where we have lived during our time in D.C.  We had lunch at Good Stuff, which has quickly become our go-to place to take out of towners during the D.C. tour.  Afterwards, we hung out a bit before heading to Maggie’s improv show.  She did a great job – the girl is a natural at improv!  We came home, ordered wings and watched SNL before going to bed.

Now, I’m waiting for Ben to get home from a run so we can go to CCSP to watch the Eagles game with some friends.

French Toast Casserole

based on Planet Green recipe

  • Butter for greasing the pan
  • 1 loaf Challah bread
  • 3 cups skim milk (the recipe says only 2 cups is necessary if you aren’t letting it sit overnight, but I was)
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tbspn splenda (or regular sugar – I used splenda because we were out of sugar)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 3 tbsp liquer of your choice (optional – I didn’t add, but that was because we didn’t have anything on hand)
  • 1/4 cup raisins or almonds (optional – I didn’t add, again because I didn’t have any on hand)
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 – 2 tbsp butter
  1. Generously grease a 9×13-inch baking dish with butter.
  2. Rip bread apart and arrange bread in two tightly-packed layers in the pan.  If you use raisins or almonds, you can add these to the bread mixture.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk milk, eggs, sugar, salt, vanilla and liqueur (if you are using) until well combined.  Pour mixture over bread and sprinkle with cinnamon. Wrap tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate.
  4. Bake at 425 for 30 minutes, or until puffed and golden.
  5. Serve!

I don’t have any pictures, unfortunately, but it was really good.  I had some of the leftovers today for lunch, and it reheated quite well.

New Year’s Eve Weekend

Did everyone have a good New Year’s Eve? 

Ben and I decided to head out to Richmond for the holiday.  We didn’t get to spend Christmas or Thanksgiving together, so we decided this could be our holiday time.  Plus, it was kinda a special anniversary for us.  We found a great deal at the Omni Richmond and off we went!

We arrived mid-afternoon on Friday and hung out in our room a bit.  We exchanged our Christmas presents (I got a beautiful red electric tea kettle and Ben got Toy Story 3).  At 6:15 6:45, the hotel brought us a bottle of champaign and four chocolate covered strawberries.  I gotta say – the strawberries were fantastic!  Perhaps the best part of the hotel. 

Around 8 we headed out to the Capital Alehouse.  It’s a great restaurant/brew house that serves TONS of beer on draught and has a very large microbrewerly selection.  Ben started with an Avery Maharaja and I tried a Delirium Noel.  The Delirium was very good – a great winter brew.  The bar had a cool strip of ice that went down its length to help keep your beverage cold. 

Capital Alehouse - beer taps

Delirium Noel

We had 10:15 dinner reservations at Julip’s, a great southern place in town.  Dinner was fantastic!  We started with the shrimp and grits.  It was made with white cheddar, grilled andouille sausage and a lobster stock emulsion.  It was a fancy restaurant version of what Ben’s mom makes.  Then Ben ordered the osso bucco and I had the mac and cheese with spinach and butternut squash.  For dessert we ordered bananas foster, which they make tableside.  Our waiter seemed a bit fake, but he did a decent job.  All in all, it was a great experience.  The portions were huge – both of us brought leftovers home. 

I had made the late reservation with hopes that we would be at the restaurant for midnight, but we had paid the bill by 11:37, so we walked very quickly to a little plaza right next to our hotel to celebrate the new year.

Saturday, we woke up and walked around Richmond for a bit.  Nothing was open, due to the holiday, so we just walked around and took in the sights.  At night, we headed back to the Alehouse.  The night before we purchased tickets for a vintage beer tasting.  Included in the tasting was:

  • 2009 Vintage Harvest Ale
  • 2008 Vintage Harvest Lagavulin Whiskey Cask Aged
  • 2007 Vintage Harvest Port Cask Aged
  • 2006 Vintage Harvest Calvados Cask Aged
  • 2005 Vintage Harvest Sherry Cask Aged

My favorite was the Lagavulin Whiskey Cask Aged.  Obvi it was Ben’s as well.  We split a bavarian pretzel and each ordered a salad to accompany the tasting.  Again, everything was fantastic and very reasonably priced.  After the tasting, we went back to the hotel and just hung out and relaxed for the evening. 

Despite some hiccups in the weekend, we had a great time.  We had a blast and it was a fantastic way to ring in the new year!

How did you ring in the new year?