I’m coming out (or bursting out of my jeans)

So, I snuck out of the house yesterday. At age 36.

I have to do it every once in a while. It gives me new appreciation for the Ultra Extra Over-Extended Houseguest. I mean, full-time caregivers at least get the occasional night off or unsupervised grocery store run, right? It’s amazing what a little air will do.

I’ve tried to associate my leaving with “getting something in return.” If I go out, I always bring back dinner. (The chance of NOT eating dinner around here is around 86% any other day.) Or a souvenir, if it’s a longer trip. Anything to show that YOU BENEFIT when I unshackle my ankles for an hour.

Last night I went to a Meetup where one of the little villages was hosting a Wine and Art Walk. I located neither wine nor art, so that was quaint. Seriously, where was the wine-glass-decorating booth? Where were ANY vendors other than about a dozen steel-drum players? (And that rock cover band — Van Halen tunes still rock my world.)

One thing I’ve realized with this blog is that I don’t use it effectively anymore. Before I started getting stalked by a psycho nutjob, I used to review the restaurants and other activities that captured my attention. But I didn’t want him to know that I was lying when I pretended to be living (wherever).

My whole life revolved around Rockville, Md., my last two years in the D.C. area. So I reviewed restaurants EVERYWHERE ELSE. It was probably obvious, the omission. But I didn’t care — I didn’t want that crazy fucker showing up at my favorite haunts. (Oh Growlers and Dogfish Head Ale House, how I miss thee. …)

Even now, I’m fairly ambiguous about where I spend my time. Although, that’s mostly because I don’t want to play “Name That Employer.” I rather like being able to snipe at them with only my closest friends in the industry knowing to whom I’m referring.

Anyway, I’m coming out, since it’s Pride Weekend here and all. 🙂

Last night I went to Relish in Northwood Village. Although there was no free wine in the streets as promised, there was free beer … and the sample of Milk Stout by the Left Hand Brewing Company reeled me in.

OMG, can you say “orgasm,” boys and girls? It’s a sweeter Guinness without the double-pouring business. NOM.

I could have had four beers during the (long) wait for my food. And despite one of the items being MISSING from my order after the 35-minute wait to take it to-go (“to go” is synonymous for “doesn’t always ‘come with'”), I was going absolutely apeshit and didn’t bother checking the bag.

But … the Pear and Blue flatbread? To DIE for. The lamb burger with the tzatziki relish? Divine! (There are like eight types of burger, from chorizo to buffalo to lobster, and a couple dozen “relishes” you can choose for them.) The mahi-mahi with chimichurri wasn’t too shabby, either. And the polenta fries with rosemary-garlic salt were lovely.

Believe it or not, it’s hard to find somewhere “cool” to go down here. Everything’s overcrowded and overpriced. EV-ER-Y-THING. I didn’t notice it so much when I had a job, but now that I’m being careful with money again, it’s rather appalling. I mean, I’d rather take guests to the Keys than keep them here.

But this is making me get creative and find wonderful little nooks in the neighborhoods I otherwise just pass through. I mean, like in D.C., I still think the best food I ever got there was at this dive of a Chinese place called Ho King. (Ask me why I was attracted to the name. lol)

Don’t get me wrong — if I went to D.C. today, my ass would be at CoCo Sala tonight. (Or Matchbox. I do love the Penn Quarter area best.) But that was for friend nights, for special occasions, for splurges.

Most of the time, though, it was just me (usually leaving work at an unreasonable hour), so I had to find my favorite cheap places. And I have yet to find a Five Guys that was better than the one by the Northern Virginia Community College.

I miss the peanut shells on the ground there. That place was dirty and tiny and awesome. We have Five Guys in Florida, but they are all so very pristine. If they offer peanuts (and there are about 30 signs warning you about nut allergies), you get a little paper dish for them. Don’t go littering shells on the floors down here, yo. God, I miss NoVa. 🙂

I just got an e-mail from Kimpton Hotels with insanely good D.C. rates. I think it’s time for a pilgrimage back to the mother land. I miss my friends … my urban-tribe family. I hate myself that I didn’t spend enough time with them. Shit, one of them just moved to New York and another is in Charleston. And two more are in Arizona!

Sigh. Anyway, although Relish forgot the Extra-Terrestrial Being from Outer Space’s sea-salt fries, I still love them. They are friendly and sweet and the place has a great vibe. What I loved best was that there was no line to add a tip on the receipt.

The gal in line behind me asked why there was no line for the tip. Which just goes to show HOW FUCKING MUCH MONEY PEOPLE HAVE TO WASTE HERE.

The cashier cheerfully said that they don’t want tips; they would rather you tell your friends how much you loved it there.

And THAT, my friends, is the way it should be. Not like the asshole at the local Chinese dump who almost spit on my receipt when he examined it and realized NO TIP FOR YOU. For what — steaming some vegetables, which took 25 minutes? Please. For that kind of wait, give me a damn Milk Stout and let me people-watch, like I can at Relish. 😉

So anyway, I’m telling my friends — you’ll love Relish. And if you get the Chocolate Bacon S’Mores (just $20 for a two-person serving), let me know how they are so I can treat my next out-of-town guests to that goodness. …

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