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Blossom’s In Bloom

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It was time to make our annual trip to D.C. for the blossom festival and it did not disappoint. We took the Bolt Bus as usual and stayed in our hostel that we like. One day we might stay in a hotel, viagra order but the hostel is in a central location and the price is great.

After we unloaded our gear we headed out for a quick drink. We normally don’t go out on the first night, rx we’re usually too tired and want to get an early start. But this year there was only one exhibit that we really wanted to see, so we figured we had a long week, lets get out and have fun. Well fun found us. We stopped at a local bar we go to sometimes and this night they were having a Robyn themed night. After 3 drag performances and a few Absolut drink specials we made our way back to our beds that were waiting for us.

The next day we hopped on bikes and made it to the festival to see the cherry blossoms in full bloom. It was a glorious day. The sun was out and it was nice and warm. We rode and walked around the basin taking in all the amazing trees and colors. We stopped to get some refreshments but the line was long and we had our exhibit to see. So we high tailed it out of there and went to the Hirshhorn Museum. They had a great exhibit on disasters throughout history. We did wonder if the Smithsonian planned such an exhibit of destruction while life was blooming outside it’s very walls.

After the exhibit we went to The Garden Cafe, in the National Gallery of Art. One of our favorite places to sit, relax and enjoy a meal. We strolled around and saw the amazing photography of Garry Winogrand and the Civic Pride: Group Portraits from Amsterdam, that are considered a rarity at that time. We made another wonderful pit stop at one of the atriums before heading out to see more works of art.

 

 

After a little more running around, it was about time to go back to the hostel and freshen up for our evening plans. As usual I didn’t know what they were. Well, they always involve a play or a concert or a musical. This time much to my delight and genuine surprise it was the final show of Neil Finn’s American tour. We were lucky and got some great seats and were treated to some rare songs that he usually doesn’t play.

We tried to eat before the show but we were running a little late. After a few failed attempts I finally secured some chili cheese fries from Ben’s Chili Bowl, but unfortunately I was too late and we were ushered into the theater and our food disposed of. But our saving grace was Oohh’s and Aahh’s Soul Food. Amazing roast chicken and mac n’ cheese. Can’t wait to go back and try more.

Our final day was mostly spent cruising around looking at blossoms. We stopped for a quick libation and headed to our new find. The peninsula across for the main blossom festival. Talk about night and day! The festival is nice and there are many more blossoms to look at, but what we found was just as beautiful. The peninsula is lined with blossoms and even has picnic area’s with tables and BBQ’s. It was a great bike ride and discovery. Next year it’s all about a picnic at the other side of the festival.

We had just a few more small exhibits to see but our hot dog and beer on the mall lawn was our next destination and it did not disappoint. It’s always nice to take a moment, sit and watch everyone enjoying there day, while we enjoy ours. The Portrait Gallery was our last destination, an exhibition on dance in American history from ballet to movies and music. Then it was off to collect our belongings, with a quick stop at Full Kee to get dinner for the long bus ride home. As we sat comfortably in our seats, or as comfortable one can get, we settled into our movie and dinner, already planing next years adventure.

Oktoberfest!!!

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Oktoberfest begins our wilderness camping season.  It’s a short season but hopefully we can get in a few more before the snow falls.  It’s a three day hike across Harriman State Park and ends at Bear Mountain where a polka band, medical steins of beer, decease pierogi’s, dosage bratwurst with sauerkraut and stuffed cabbage await us.   Did I mention people dancing in traditional lederhosen outfits???  Yes that too!!!

We start by taking the train from Hoboken New Jersey and head north to Tuxedo Park, where we get our final supplies or anything we forgot.  Each day is a full day of hiking, so there is no time for dilly dallying.   Our daily goal is to get to a shelter before someone else.  Unfortunately you can’t reserve them. The first day is the most grueling but the shelter has an amazing view of the sunset just up the rock hill, and a fireplace where we cook.  This night we will have caveman ribs and potatoes.  Dry rubbed ribs in foil and thrown straight into the fire along with the rest.  I have also brought along pudding cups for desert as they need no refrigeration.  Of course everything is frozen and thaws as each day progresses –  including the cucumbers I juiced for our after-dinner cocktails.  Jason also had a surprise that made the whole trip and future trips glamorous (well to us it was!).  Hot water bottles! No more cold tent for us!!!

The Second day is one of the longest and takes us through the famed lemon squeezer(you can see why).  It is a very long day with a short stop for lunch.  The shelter that is mid way to our next destination is empty  and even has lovely art work. We chose to go a little further and stop near a creek to get some water and eat there.  We walk along the Long Path and pass through a small portion of the West Point Military School property. We call this passing through enemy lines!   After that comes Hippo Rock, which means we are just moments away from our last resting spot.  A shelter with two fireplaces!  Very deluxe especially when it gets to be night and its cold!  I have had to defend this place so others can’t/wont join us.  I will always fight to have this space to ourselves, it is the best spot and the view is breathtaking.  We will be having chili for dinner, a box of Merlot to drink and more pudding for desert.  Yum!

On the last day we make our final breakfast of eggs and bacon, then it’s time to head off to Oktoberfest! We walk along some famous paths that were used during he revolutionary wars (1777 and 1779) and another part of West Point.  Stop for lunch at Turkey Hill Lake and follow the Popolopen Creek till we make it to Bear Mountain Lodge next to Hessian Lake and Oktoberfest!!!  Once there will will eat, drink, listen to music and enjoy our fellow revelers.  The older couple are there every year and are total hams!  We love them and enjoy their wonderful party spirits.  It is a short visit as we need to catch the last bus back to the city.  But with full bellies and a little light headed from the steins of beer we slowly drift back to our home in Brooklyn Heights satisfied and dreaming of next years adventure.

 

Dry Rub:

Salt

Pepper

Garlic Powder

Dry Basil leaves

Smoked Paprika

Ancho Chile Powder

Cayenne Pepper

 

 

Fishes

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fisheatingfish

 

Jason had a friend over for bbq the other night and we had a small sea food fest.  We started out with mussels.  I steamed them with a semi sweet dark beer we crafted, order added some pickled ginger, a few sweet pickled pearl onions that we canned a couple winters ago and a little pickle juice to cut the sweetness.  They were amazing!  But the real show stopper was the Branzino (striped bass) and Sea Bass that they bought.  Whole fish, gutted and deboned of course.  Well not totally deboned as that is very hard to do.  We salted and peppered the cavity then put whole sprigs of rosemary and lemon slices, wrapped them up in foil and grilled them for about 12 minutes on each side.   The result was a very aromatic, moist, flaky delicious fish.   The perfume of the rosemary was light, and the lemons kept the fish from drying out – and of course the citrus aspect.  Now most people wouldn’t use such an aromatic herb, and usually I wouldn’t either.   It was one of those happy accidents.  We were going to use thyme, but we accidentally bought the wrong herb.  Oops!  We were all glad we did since there was barely any fish left over for lunch the next day.  Of course now I am craving fish with thyme and lemon.  Guess that means another bbq!!

D.C. or Bust

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Jason and I take regular trips to Washington D.C. to see what’s at the Smithsonian and the other museums.   It’s a quick easy getaway from NYC.  We started the weekend as usual.  Both of us scrambling to get to the bus, tadalafil and making it with some time to spare.  When we arrive we either hit our favorite Chinese restaurant or head to the  hostel and call it a night.  This trip we called it a night so we could get a fresh start in the morning.  We always have some agenda when we get there but also leave things open.  This was to be a multi-media art trip. We started with an ipad in the lobby of the hostel and made funny pictures of ourselves, generic then it was to see the newly expanded Julia Child’s exhibit(a must see) that now includes Food: Transforming America’s Table, 1950-2000.  Although it was small they really packed in a lot of information.  We saw the Lichtenstein retrospective, where we accidentally took illegal pictures of his work.  The  Nam June Paik had  great pieces like  TV Buddah and the Electronic Superhighway.  Black Box continued our media weekend with the amazing film Democracia that revolves around a group of traceurs in revolutionary-styled garb performing parkour in the Almudena Cemetery in Madrid. The Ai WeiWei, so prolific and just awe inspiring, broke your heart while keeping you grounded.   The Butterflies + Plants: Partners in Evolution was the most fun.  We were kicked out of the America’s Presidents as it was closing time so we will have to see again.   Barbara Kruger: Belief + Doubt.  I was never much of a fan but this exhibit changed that.  She is one of those artists that must be seen in a large setting to understand what she is saying. It was brilliant.  Shock of the News, was this great exhibit where artists like Picasso, Jasper Johns, Laurie Anderson,  Man Ray, Sarah Charlesworth, among many others, transformed printed news into art by  co-opting, mimicking, defusing, memorializing, and rewriting newspapers.  I love going through and seeing the Neoclassical Decorative Arts of the Late 1700s in the classical wing of the National Gallery.  Where we snapped a picture of that yellow chase lounge and  got a rare viewing of Michelangelo’s David-Apollo.  The Price of Freedom: Americans at War was not my favorite but, the Rosy the riveter and what women could and could not wear(United Victory Colors) was interesting and fun.  If you look closely at the  pictures you can see  the bottle of liquid stockings.  I would argue that this is the first version of a tan in a bottle. Plus the button is hilarious. The Cuban Missile Crisis was fascinating, thankfully JFK was president or we would be screwed.  Changing America: the Emancipation Proclamation 1863, and the March on Washington, 1963, The price of Freedom:Americans at War. One word, Humbling.

We also ate at our favorite places.  The Garden Cafe Americana, always amazing.  It’s probably the best buffet you’ll ever have. Though it’s not part of the Smithsonian itself, it is in the National Gallery of Art .  It closes early like 3pm and can get very crowded so plan ahead and make sure you get a seat.  We didn’t make it this time but love the Bistro d’ OC, a great french bistro.  Sit in the front room or at the front bar or for a more quiet spot go upstairs into the back bar area.  On the recommendation of a friend we tried Annie’s Paramount Steakhouse.  Not technically a steakhouse, in my opinion, but don’t let that stop you.  Our waitress was amazing, it had an easy atmosphere and our Hanger Steak was cooked to perfection.  We will be back.  A more relaxed meal can be found on the Mall itself.  Hot dogs, french fries and beer will do the trick. I mentioned Chinese earlier and no trip would be complete without visiting Full Kee.  The Beef and Cilantro soup is my favorite.  I love reading the specials on the wall, knowing I will probably never eat them.  We have been known to bookend our trip with this late night gem. This time it was on our way out.  It may  not be  the fanciest but the food is always as good as we remembered.