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Sweet Baby Jesus (it’s a beer)

13 Jan

I believe I said, “They made this beer, they tasted it, then they named it because they were like ‘SWEET BABY JESUS, this tastes good.'”

I do my best drinking when I’m playing a rock show, it seems. DCers, if you find yourselves at the Rock & Roll Hotel in NE DC anytime soon, you HAVE to pick up a bottle of Sweet Baby Jesus, a “chocolate peanut butter porter” (I am not making this up). It’s $6. If you happen to be playing there, it’s covered by your drink tickets. If you happened to see me playing there last Friday night, you probably heard my interstitial rave about this beer while the guitarist was spending three minutes tuning. I may or may not have audio proof of this to post in the coming days.

It’s well-reviewed on Beer Advocate, even. How often do you get that? Those guys are total dicks.

DuClaw Sweet Baby Jesus Chocolate Peanut Butter Porter
Deliciousness: *****
Social Anxiety Soothing: ** (You can probably only have one or two of these at a time)
Table Dancing Probability: 10% (More of a relaxing hangout beer than a wildly raucous one)


Sometimes, social anxiety soothing is necessary.

20 Dec Hello! I'm on the left! The Washington Monument is to the right, not pictured.

Last night, We Were Pirates played a show at the W Hotel’s POV Lounge. It was a different kind of show than usual, in a different (classy! except for when people get stabbed I guess) venue, and I don’t really get nervous about shows, but I was pretty anxious last night before we went on. Then some more friends arrived and I realized I needed a drink. I wasn’t really drinking because we wanted to be sure to have a stellar performance, but it was at this point that I also realized that needing a drink does not: a) automatically make you an alcoholic, or b) always have to end in sloppy drunkenness.

So (I did that thing where you start a sentence with “So,” which is apparently all over social media and such) I sidled up to the bar with my friends and tried to figure out what to drink. My drink special choices were $5.50 Miller Genuine Drafts (not a bad beer – I’ll always have a soft spot for it because it’s the first beer I drank at a college party where I was like, “Oh, wait, I have stepped over a line. Beer is not awful. I could actually decide to drink this and enjoy it.”) and $8 “Cherry Manhattans” which… yeah. I had a sip of someone’s and it was like those chocolate cherries filled with medicinal liqueur. Although someone else bought me one after the show and it strangely was not as foul. And then I realized we had a band tab, and I could get whatever I wanted for free, so I asked the magic words:

“What do you have for scotch?”

That, my friends, is when at the end of a long list of sundries, I parroted, “Yes. Lagavulin.” Because I know some people who like that stuff. I also know myself well enough to know that I needed two rocks in it. And upon my first sip or two, all anxiety vanished, and then we played a ridiculously good show. I took occasional sips between songs, which was amazing and not like chugging beer or guzzling a Jack and ginger with a straw, which is what I’m ashamed to admit I usually do between songs. Repeat mantra: Needing a drink does not always have to end in sloppy drunkenness. Drinking is okay. Sometimes it’s more than okay; it’s necessary. And I am totally okay with that.

Deliciousness: **** (add or subtract one star depending on whether you, you know, actually LIKE scotch)
Social Anxiety Soothing: *****
Table Dancing Probability: 50% (Depends on the venue. At the POV Lounge, the people watching is so good, there’s no need for you to actually dance. And no, I don’t mean there were fancy famous people there like we’ve all been led to believe. I mean there were lots of drunk people sloppily making out and bumping and grinding on the dance floor and climbing onto the windowsills and making silly poses with the Washington Monument. So you just leave the table dancing to that crowd, why don’tcha.)

It’s not always just about booze. It’s about foodz, tooz.

14 Jul

Isn’t this pretty self-explanatory?

So it’s Bastille Day tomorrow. In like a few minutes, to be exact. And I didn’t know if I was going to be able to get French food and copious wine tomorrow, so, you know, I thought that I should seek that shit out tonight.This led to my hubs and I having our #1 fight conversation, “Where should we have dinner?” Or, more specifically, “Where the fuck can we find a decent French restaurant around these parts?” Because really, if you don’t want to go downtown to Bistrot du Coin or even Bistro Francais in brotown (open ’til 4am!) or someplace fancier and less traditional like Brasserie Beck or Marcel’s or wherever, you’ve got to look at what’s available in Arlington, Alexandria, Falls Church, and Fairfax County, and pick something that doesn’t suck.

The problem is, I’m not so sure there IS a place that doesn’t suck. Past experiences include:

  • Le Gaulois, Old Town Alexandria. The best restaurant ever, now CLOSED. There shall be no equal.
  • Bistrot Lafayette, Old Town Alexandria. Awesome when I went there with my dad in like 2003. Not awesome when hubs and I went there last year (funky mussels).
  • Le Côte d’Or, Arlington/East Falls Church. Traditional, great location, and quality is fine but $$$, full of old people who get angry when anyone under the age of 50 walks in, and just not the kind of place we look forward to going to frequently for whatever reason.
  • Chez Andree, Arlandria. Traditional, okay quality, and I used to go here with my dad, but… I don’t know. Maybe I’m really not looking for a place THIS traditional

And sadly, folks, that’s about it. There are literally no other French restaurants in Arlington (I’m not counting gastropubs with mostly Belgian fare, etc. like Lyon Hall… it just doesn’t FEEL the same as what we’re looking for) or Falls Church. There are a handful in Old Town but they seem to be pretty expensive and we frankly don’t go there a lot if we’re not headed to a sure thing. I *almost* settled on a place in northern Old Town for tonight but decided it was maybe a little fancier than we were looking for. For chrissakes, I’m wearing a t-shirt.

So we were torn between trying out Cafe Renaissance in Vienna, which has high marks in the online rating world but seemed a bit fancy/stuffy, and a new place in McLean called Bistro Vivant that seemed more like what we were looking for and was also highly rated, if for only having been around for two months or so. And besides, Cafe Renaissance had pasta and some other weird stuff on the menu that I really wasn’t expecting. So, Bistro Vivant it was!

Bad sign #1: Menus still marked as “coming soon” on their website. And you had to load PDFs just to read those words, rather than them just replacing the links with “coming soon” text.

Bad sign #2: This place is in a strip mall and took over a barbecue joint that hubs had been to before. He enjoyed the barbecue.

Good sign #1: Takes reservations on OpenTable. God, I love OpenTable.

Good sign #2: Charming bistro atmosphere.

Good sign #3: Sea urchin on the Daily Specials menu.

I’m getting really tired now, because it was an incredibly heavy meal, so let me just be uncharacteristically brief and say that I came here to complain about spending over $100 on our first (and mayyyybe our last? we’re not sure yet) meal here. The steak tartare was good and a HUGE portion but a bit gristly. The fries were so-so. Jesse’s risotto with porcini mushrooms and sea urchin (how could you NOT get that?) was tasty but the butter kept pooling in the bottom of the bowl. He was pretty convinced there was over a stick of butter in his entree alone. Our server was nice and knowledgeable and si si charmant and all those important things, though the service was a bit slow.

But the wine. My friends, the wine is why I’m so pissed.

We were going to order a half carafe of the pinot noir. At $15, it seemed very reasonable. Our charming, knowledgeable server promptly informed us that it would not nearly be enough, as it was about 1.5 glasses (the glasses were priced at $10). The full carafe was twice the price exactly at $30. We were brought full-sized wine glasses, and then the carafe came out. It was the size of a smallish water glass.

Now, I was really hungry before this meal, and I dove into the wine, so that’s why my eyelids are all heavy now and I have actually felt the way that one expects to feel after drinking a very small 1.5 glasses of wine, which is to say relatively pleasant but certainly not buzzed. But even the pleasant feelings wore off as we drove home and I started to analyze the quality of everything we had and how much we paid for it and I started to get really mad. And that’s when I found out that my normally very even-tempered husband was mad as hell too. We could’ve gone to Lebanese Taverna and had a full bottle of wine and some to bring home with us and totally gorged ourselves, albeit on Lebanese and not French fare, but that was the second runner-up for me earlier this evening while we were trying to decide where to go, and FIRST WORLD PROBLEMS blah blah blah but THAT’S HOW I FEEL! (credit: Mike Birbiglia’s wife)

But now that NyQuil commercial is on, the one that’s not for NyQuil but for ZzzQuil, and I feel better because I can’t believe Hibernol finally exists. Maybe next time I should just grab some ZzzQuil and hope to have dreams about eating a delicious French meal for a two-digit price tag.

Happy Bastille Day, y’all.

Non-Booze Therapy: Alot of Advice (apologies to Hyperbole and a Half)

1 Nov

Because some people might not be so into booze as therapy (what? whyyyy???), we figured we’d offer an alternative in the form of an advice column.

Artist's rendering of Alotsky Ovechkin.Credit: Hyperbole and a Half. Not pictured: Alot of hockey gear; Alot of missing teeth.

Now it’s time to meet your advice columnist, Alotsky Ovechkin!

Q. Dear Alotsky Ovechkin,

I am missing alot of my front teeth, and sometimes people–especially girls–find it hard to look at me. You’re missing some front teeth, but you’ve got girls all over you. What’s your secret?

–Amateur Hockey Leaguer

A. Dear AHL,

Alot not know why for to share feelings with. Alot just want to be left alone.

However, Alot offer advice because Alot like hockey. Alot hairy, so good in cold. Alot also have cousin, Alexander Ovechkin.

Alot suggest hockey player for to focus on beauty inside. Alot think teeth not barrier to fulfilling relationship. Alot find many pretty girl with ugly mind.

–A. Ovechkin

Need Alot of Advice? Just post a comment in response to this article and we’ll make this a recurring feature!

Magic Hat Numero Nerrrrrf

26 Oct

Oh, Love Potion Magic Hat #9. You are an excellent movie beer. I first saw tasted you at my mother’s house DC9 Nightclub in 1993 2004, I believe. My favorite thing about you is Sandra Bullock’s fake mustache your refreshing apricot flavor, which I actually just REALLY noticed for the first time very recently after the movie unexpectedly came on an obscure cable channel at a late hour drinking a bottle of Yuengling first, then drinking this delicious elixir immediately after.

Okay, but seriously, enough of that nonsense. I knew this beer was good, and I knew it had some apricot “notes” or whatever I’m supposed to say here, but I never really noticed until drinking it right after drinking Yuengling. Don’t get me wrong; I love Yuengling. I love it because it is cheap and available and offered to band members presenting drink tickets at the bar at DC9 and many other fine establishments that have live music. At DC9, however, Magic Hat #9 is $5.50 per bottle, which puts you fitty cent over the allowed spending limit for drink tickets. Can’t you just turn in a drink ticket and fitty cent and be good to go, you might be asking? No, no you cannot. That is AGAINST THE RULES. So what you do is you drink two Yuenglings because you get two drink tickets (or in my case you drink one Yuengling because you are not actually playing in any bands that night but you were given a drink ticket by a pregnant lady in one of the bands that is actually playing) and then you switch to Magic Hat #9 and are instantly refreshed. So then you drink two of those.

And then you switch to whiskey. And then you dance. You dance a lot. You jump up and down for at least one entire song, which is a lot of jumping. You twist and turn and mosh (because it’s 1994) and headbang (because it’s 1993) and skank (because it’s 1995), but you do not breakdance. You leave that to Erik Estrada (for real, this guy is having a baby with the pregnant lady in the band, and before lawyers find this and sue me for defaming him or whatever, it’s A DIFFERENT ERIK ESTRADA), because for him, it is 1986. And that was a good year for The Real Erik Estrada. I think. I dunno. I was six. I did watch CHiPS (is that how it’s spelled? I could ask the internet but I don’t want to), but I have no way of knowing if it was actually on at the time or just syndicated.

Deliciousness: *****
Social Anxiety Soothing: ** (***** when followed up with Bushmills)
Table Dancing Probability: 0% (not enough tables)
Floor Dancing Probability: 88% (and then you are struck by lightning and transported back to the future)

I think I posted about it before, maybe
But if not you can Google the address
It’s on 9th just south of U St NW
It was closed for a while but it’s been open again for months
There was some controversy
If you don’t know about it, you should read about it
Also when you go there you should eat Ethiopian food first at Etete, which is basically next door
And maybe get your hairs cut at Salon Revive, which is where I get my hairs cut
Okay, when did this become free verse?

I swear this blog actually has two authors

30 Aug

…but you wouldn’t know it based on my inactivity, now would you?

Boozers and boozybabes, I’ve finally come out of the woodwork, and I’m here this afternoon to talk to you about Ace Pear Cider. Stop it, I can already see that look on your face. This ain’t no Woodchuck. Yes, it’s sweet, not like one of those French “cidres” I had the pleasure of enjoying a few weeks ago, which I also recommend.

Ace Pear Cider Tap

Useta be like this...

Anyway, Ace Pear Cider. It is a beverage. It is alcoholic (barely, I think). And it is available at Galaxy Hut in Arlington, although only in bottles. See, I started going to Galaxy Hut when I was 19, and I would have to drink brand X ginger ale or root beer from a can. But once I turned 21, I was delighted to discover they had Ace Pear Cider on tap. I’d already crossed the threshold into liking the taste of [most] beer, but I liked the taste of this better. Then I went several years without having it at all, as they’d gotten rid of it at the Hut, and I wasn’t spending as much time at the Hut, and then one night I came back to the Hut, and they had it in bottles. Then I forgot this, came back to the Hut last night, and relearned it.

It tastes like pear juice. You know you love it. And it’s a great accompaniment to jaunty indie rock. Therefore, I would recommend going to the Hut on a Sunday or Monday night, listening to some jaunty indie rock, and drinking some of this. Or anything you want, really. They also have a lot of great selections on tap, including a crazy 11% alcohol bourbon stout that I made the mistake of ordering a pitcher of one of the last times I was there. I couldn’t drink more than 4 oz. of the stuff. And that is why I drink ACE PEAR CIDER, friends.


Ace Pear Cider Bottle

Now it's like that.

Deliciousness: ****
Social Anxiety Soothing: * (well, it depends on how many you’ve had… probably need at least 4 to achieve *** status)
Table Dancing Probability: 0% (because there’s no room, or reason, to dance on the tables at Galaxy Hut)

(for that is how it is written on the sign!)
2711 Wilson Blvd.

Enjoy your Ace Pear Cider with some original artwork by Ben Claassen hanging on the walls:

And perhaps some music provided by Greenland: