Incredib-Al weekend

Double Al fun this past weekend. Jill had been dealing with the movers most of Friday, and they weren’t done but they were exhausted. Plus we had plans, so they left and so did we – they still have about 10% of our stuff, including my formal clothes (this is important to the recap).

We headed straight to the Warner Theatre, got there with 10 minutes to spare before Weird Al took the stage. I’d seen his last tour, but Jill hadn’t seen him since the “Poodle Hat” tour at Kings Dominion. He was great, lots of costume changes as usual and some new videos. The new songs fit in nicely, and I especially enjoyed hearing “You Make Me” and “Good Old Days”. I should have guessed that the polka medley started with “Poker Face”, though.


Since we hadn’t had time for dinner first, we tried across the street at Chef Geoff’s, but the kitchen had just closed. I remembered that Co Co Sala was open late, so we walked over there and went in. They didn’t have any tables outside, which was unfortunate as the DJ inside had it cranked pretty loud (both of us wore earplugs most of the time).

Luckily the food was good – we shared everything. We had a savory, then a sweet course. First we had the arugula salad (with a nice coffee vinaigrette), bacon mac & cheese, and an artichoke tart (our favorite, you could really taste the artichoke). We finished with a “3 course dessert experience”, the middle of which was three different chocolate dishes, small but very good.

Saturday morning the movers had said they could return, but did not (I had a feeling, but was up early just in case). Jill slept in and I started unpacking the kitchen, then we left around noon. We stopped at the Men’s Wearhouse in Potomac Yards so I could buy a suit, then we headed over to Old Town Alexandria.

We stopped at Rustico for lunch and split a spinach salad and the meatball smoked mozzarella pizza, both excellent. I sampled a number of beers, the best being Bitter and Twisted, which was neither, rather sweet and smooth. We stopped by some antique consignment shops, picked up my suit (needed the legs cuffed), then back to Old Town.

We were staying the night at the Hotel Monaco (the trip was my Christmas gift from Jill), and I’d had so little sleep I took a nap right away, sleeping until Jill woke me up at 5:30. She’d gotten a little shopping done, but it was time for dinner.

She’d carefully picked the hotel location, as it was right next to Restaurant Eve. For our second visit we again did the Tasting Room, opting again for the five course meal. For the first course I had the foie gras and Jill had the tuna, paired with the Eidos de Padrinan 2007. Second was the halibut paired with Kamptaler Terrassen 2009 for her, and the ricotta tortellini for me. I’d avoided the lobster I loved last time as it had peas and carrots with it, and of course the tortellini had peas in it. I managed to avoid most of them (and ate Jill’s tomatoes while she ate my peas).

The antelope I had for the third course was my favorite, good texture and flavor. Jill often orders squab, this time paired with Bien Nacido Vineyard 2005. For the cheese course, she had the Everona Piedmont, very nice paired with the Cade Sauvignon Blanc 2008, while I had the Tête de Moine, good but very rich (I didn’t finish). My finale was a deconstructed cheesecake, while Jill had praline doughnuts paired with the Sullin Red Malvasia 2009.


A very good night but not over yet – we had made late reservations at the sister speakeasy PX. We read in the hotel room until it was time, then walked over. I’d had a couple cocktails with dinner, and we had a couple more here, relaxing in the lounge area next to the bar.

The next morning we woke with time to spare, so read on the veranda until it was time to go. We drove down to Vermilion and parked, went inside and were seated mere seconds before Dad arrived. Dad and Jill both had the Corned Beef pork hash, while I was unable to resist the strawberry pancakes with rhubarb-maple syrup, everything was delicious, and it was good to catch up with Dad.

After brunch we did a little more shopping, then stopped by the credit union as Jill was not yet a member, and started the car loan process. We stopped at the Vienna Inn on the way back, split a Reuben and each had a chili dog. Neither of us wanted to face unpacking, so we went out on the deck and read, and later took Illa into the water for the first time – he likes it just fine. I made alfredo sauce to go with some premade ravioli for dinner, then picked Mom up from Dulles, as she was getting back from her big Mediterranean cruise. We didn’t get a chance to talk much since it was late, but we’re getting together next week for a big family dinner.

Moving in, etc.

Saturday was a hot one, so obviously a good time to move. We packed up everything from Mom’s, then Jill made a run (I’d already brought a load over the night before). We packed for two final loads, then headed over and brought everything inside. The only furniture we had was two camp chairs, so we moved them around to wherever we wanted to sit.

We had a couple possible concerts, but weren’t motivated to do much. But we did require sustenance, and decided on the nearby Lakeside Asia Cafe. It was a wise choice – we shared the sauteed green beans, then i had the shredded beef with peppers and Jill had the pork with garlic sauce. It was really good, our new favorite Chinese place.

Sunday was also hot, so another good day to be outside. We were woken up by the sun (no curtains in the bedroom) and got breakfast at Einstein’s (bagel for Jill, panini for me). We went over to our storage unit and managed to find the cable boxes, some kitchen stuff, and a table and chairs (the latter I had to balance most precariously to get).

In the afternoon we thought we’d visit a waterbed store in Springfield (I love ’em, but want Jill to try them out). Unfortunately Google Maps failed us, as the store there had moved to Woodbridge and wasn’t even open on Sundays. At least we got a nice lunch out of it at El Paso (chimichanga and enchiladas) and stopped at a library booksale. Later on Jill hit Target and I hit Safeway, then we had pasta for dinner.

Monday Jill was off and had over a flooring guy for estimates and maids for cleaning. She had really dug into her new project of stripping the wallpaper from the main floor bathroom. I made breaded chicken and broccoli, then moved the curtains from the dining room to the bedroom, then we watched some Dr. Who.

Today I turned my Indian leftovers into huevos rancheros while I waited for the FiOS installer. He was fairly early in his window, and did a great job. He ran the Ethernet drop into the basement without drilling, gave us a new wireless router and two new remote controls. He was not able to get a cable drop into the craftroom, but we should be able to run it under the carpet.

We’ve still got a lot of work ahead of us, but then we can always look outside at the view to keep us going.


Three weeks at Mom’s, Herndon Festival, moving in today

I feel good that the third time I moved back to Mom’s it was only for three weeks. It really hasn’t been too bad, plus she’s been on a cruise for the last week. I think Illa was getting tired of not being the only dog – before I took Tati to the kennel on Thursday, he had snarled at her a couple times, though they still were playing well.

Last weekend was the Herndon Festival, and weird to not be walking there at least once. Friday night I got there with enough time to eat a couple tacos from the Tortilla Factory before settling in top watch Davy Knowles and Back Door Slam. He was pretty good, but I left before the end as a downpour was on the way. Saturday I showed up a little after 12 as I did not want to miss my favorite new discovery, eXIT CLoV.

I stayed to watch Justin Trawick, then got a corn dog and sat with Janice until Stuart came back. He and I ducked into O’Sullivan’s, a new Irish bar. We had some 16 year old Irish Whiskey, then I saw their onion rings were called “The Rings Of Kerry” so was forced to get those (with a pint of Kilkenny ale). We ,ade it back to the fest just in time to see my other new discovery, Middle Distance Runner.

Jill had worked that day and headed to the festival, shopping first, but caught some of their set. Next up was Gabe Dixon, who played with a multi-instrumentalist, and drew a nice crowd; Find My Way was one of my faves. Jill wanted Hard Times chili for dinner (don’t have it that often since the Herndon location closed) and I tried empanadas from Don Churro Cafe, I really liked them. Finally we got to see the great Marshall Crenshaw again, who pulled an Eagles move by opening with “Someday, Someway”. He was really good with the band – we saw him solo acoustic before, and it doesn’t compare.

Sunday we relaxed, which was a good idea as the week has been crazy. We thought we might close on the new house on Monday, then Wednesday, and it finally happened on Thursday. We ended up leaving some money on the table, but it would have taken at least four days and a third appraisal to fix that, so we took it. We decided to stay at Mom’s until today as we didn’t really want ot move after work, plus we won’t have phone, cable or internet access until Tuesday (and then we finally get FiOS again).

We cooked last on Monday, trying to not bring food with us. Wednesday we got tacos from Tippy’s Taco House, Thursday I got a personal pizza from Pizza Hut (the one we used to walk to) and last night had takeout from Minerva. The Chilly Bajji was over breaded jalapenos, but the Lamb Pasanda was better. Jill enjoyed her samosas and butter chicken, and they make a good garlic naan. We thought about going to see Rusted Root at Celebrate Fairfax, but stayed home and watched Burn Notice and Paul Tompkins instead. And now we leave Mom’s and move in.

Catching up and the 9:30 Club 30th Anniversary Concert

Where does the time go? Over a week since my past blog update – I guess short updates on Facebook are taking place of these, but it’s nice to have a chronicle of what’s going on (and in a space that I control).

We moved to Mom’s on the 22nd after finally finishing off packing that day (and going to a rainy outdoor show with Todd Wright and Cheap Trick). The buyers are now living in our place under a pre-settlement occupancy agreement until they can buy the place sometime next month, and we’ll hopefully be closing on the new house next week.

The rest of last weekend we settled in at Mom’s, then a busy week at work plus the much longer commute made for a slog. One bright spot was Michael Franti & Spearhead for our first Wolf Trap show this season. Opening band The Wailers weren’t bad when they broke out the Marley, but Franti brings a ferocious energy to his frontman duties, and I don’t think I’ve ever seen that many people on their feet at Wolf Trap. Too bad we left early for the sake of sleep and beating a nasty storm.

This past weekend was a 3 day one and very welcome. Saturday and Sunday I never left the house except to walk the dogs, got to catch on TV via streaming and newspapers. On Memorial Day we went to a cookout at the Larsen’s which was a lot of fun, then came back through DC to the 9:30 Club and went to their 30th Anniversary Concert.

We got there a little late (missed Don Dixon and Marti Jones), but managed to see some of Tommy Keene (classic power pop). We’d gravitated to our normal spot on the stage right side of the balcony, and after the set ended noticed that amps, drums and a second chair were set up right in front of us. After a brief pause, The Evens (featuring Ian MacKaye of Fugazi and Minor Threat) played a short but intense set before Justin Jones played a set on the main stage.


Henry Rollins was supposed to be hosting and had been delayed by his flight, and finally arrive in time to introduce Bob Mould. He was by himself, playing some Hüsker Dü and Sugar classics, then Ted Leo came up (also solo) and played some of his own newer songs and older songs by Lungfish and Chisel (also him).

We thought that we’d wait through all the other bands before the “special guests” appeared, but next Henry addressed the big rumor – Dave Grohl was there and was taking the stage next. He played a nice version of “Everlong” and then invited on his former bandmates in Scream as they did one of their songs and two Bad Brains covers.


Lots of fun, but we weren’t done yet as ska faves The Pietasters were on and played a quick four song set including the classic Maggie Mae, then they were gone and so were we (missed Clutch and Trouble Funk, but that’s ok).