Musings and Meandering

As I’m preparing for this trip-these last few weeks have been filled with nerves and anxiousness, Bangkok food tour research, Southeast Asia Youtube videos,  and spraying down my backpack and clothes with bug repellent, but also lots and lots of friend and fun times and trying some new spots around town.  I’ve been trying to make a point to be more social, get out more, and see as many friends as possible before I leave, and I’ve definitely been taking advantage of my nights and weekends off from work.  But sometimes that can get me into trouble…let’s just say I have FOMO (Fear of Missing Out).  That is of course when I’m not binge watching Gossip Girl on Netflix.  Don’t Judge..I have a real problem. Anyway Keep reading..

A couple weeks ago I celebrated my friends Kristin and Casey’s Wedding, which was also like high school reunion for me.img_8238I often times don’t realize how unique it is to still be such great friends with my friends from high school, and even though I don’t see them as often as I would like, we have the absolute best time together.  I always leave feeling  nostalgic and really lucky to have them in my life.  This wedding was a blast, and Matt Destino-I STILL think you’re one of the funniest people I know. 🙂img_8240 The following day I boarded a plan to Atlanta for a work trip.  This was a work hard, play hard kind of weekend, and honestly one of the best work/coworker bonding experiences I’ve had with a company.   We started with lunch at Lure, ‘Rose all day’ at  Henry’s Midtown Tavern,  and after some working and set up for our show, a company  dinner reception at Tap: A Gastropub.

Can someone please explain this whole ‘No alcohol served before 12:30pm” in the south?  That just didn’t work with this group.  However, the Smoked Salmon plate at Lure made up for the lack of mimosas  It was served with with  roasted root vegetables, frisee, crispy poached egg, and mint yogurt. A very unique combination of  flavors and textures-bitter, crunchy, salty, and creamy, but absolutely delicious.  It was one time I did not regret the meal I chose.  

Dinner was followed by drinks back at our hotel, The W Midtown, because we’re fancy like that. My drink of choice…Martini-a touch dirty.

Some of us stayed an extra night after our show and dined at Empire State South, which I thought was really delicious and service-fantastic.  We enjoyed many courses, and many bottles of wine.  If you have a chance to dine here-I highly recommend the “In Jars” which consisted of ricotta w/ pepper relish, smoked catfish mousse, pimento cheese & bacon marmalade, baba ganoush, pickles.  All the food was outstanding, but I can’t stop thinking about those spreads.

After more cocktails back at the hotel (are you sensing a trend here?), we ended the weekend with a bang and headed back to DC the following day.   It was such a fun weekend of bonding with coworkers and vendors, and honestly a trip I will never forget for many reasons.  It was the first time word got out at work about my upcoming trip, the first time I felt like I was coming ‘back’ out of my shell, and the first time in a really long time I felt really really happy again.

The following weekend I got together with friends for  lunch at Junction Bistro in my neighborhood.  I was pleasantly surprised with the menu at Junction, and happy to finally see a casual breakfast/lunch spot that serves as both a coffee shop and restaurant serving simple food with a gourmet twist .  Del Ray has been booming with new restaurants and coffee shops, and I’m not angry about it!

I went with an outstanding vegan soup of the day, chicken sandwich, and you guessed it…a glass of Rose.  Everything was really tasty-fresh and not too heavy, but also comforting and flavorful.  The chicken sandwich was a  juicy chicken breast on crispy whole wheat with pesto mayo, crispy fried onion, bacon, and arugula for some freshness.  Yum!Later that week we had an impromptu work/new friend lunch at the new Halal Guys in Springfield.  Nothing super special here, but I’m absolutely hooked on their combo platter with white sauce and signature hot sauce.   It’s the absolute comfort food.  But lunch was even better because it was enjoyed with one of my fave colleagues and my new BFF 😉  who have both been so much fun to get to know and hang out with.   I sometimes wonder why people come in my life at certain times, but none the less-I’m always happy they did.I finally reconnected with a good friend of mine over cocktails and small plates at Magnolia’s on King.  We sat at the bar in the lounge, which I really enjoyed, and Nick, the bartender, made me  a believer in cocktails again.  He made mine personalized for me-perfectly tart and exactly the flavors I was looking for.  I loved the roasted vegetables and bacon wrapped dates as a small bite to share as we were catching up.This past weekend, which was absolutely gorgeous by the way,  I caught up with my friend Billy at Brickside in Bethesda.  I always forget how fun Bethesda can be, and this particular place had big open garage windows, a fun atmosphere, and a pretty interesting and appetizing looking bar food menu.

Then I made my way to Guapo’s for one final farewell dinner with my two best Highschool friends.  Guapo’s became a tradition for us-They do have the best fajitas after all.  fullsizerender-1We always get a pitcher of frozen margarita, 2 fajitas to share, guacamole, and dessert with Mexican Coffee, which is coffee with tequila.  Don’t knock it until you try it.  And every time, EVERY TIME we prank each other by telling the server that is in one of our birthdays-such a scene.These girls mean the absolute world to me and we have been through some major ups and downs over the years, but they have stood by my side every step of the way, and I am so thankful to have them in my life.They surprised me with a Lotus Flower necklace, which is supposed to symbolize new beginnings. The Lotus Flower is a clean beautiful flower that blooms out of dirty murky water.  The symbol  represents divine beauty and purity, while the unfolding of its leaves represents the expanding of the soul and spiritual awakening.  This means more to me now than ever, and just made me think about all the reasons I decided to make this huge change in my life.fullsizerender-7Now back in DC, this past weekend was finished off with a beautiful morning run to the Capitol, brunch at a Mexican place in Eastern Market-but let’s face, it..nothing beats Guapo’s, and drinks and dinner at Ambar with friends.  If you haven’t been to Ambar yet-you need to go.  I really enjoy the atmosphere of this multi level restaurant.  It’s a lounge vibe yet still comfortable, trendy, and rustic all at the same time.  The Balkan themed small plates are fresh and flavorful, the fried bread is incredible with the spreads.  The wine list is pretty good too.  

fullsizerender-2It’s really been a wild couple of weeks, and I am having so much fun-which makes it harder to leave.  I am finally feeling like I have some life back in me, and I’m not sure if it’s this upcoming trip or realizing that I am surrounded by such great people.  Probably a combination of both.  But either way…I’m just happy being me again.  I guess it’s true what they say- you really do have to get lost before you are found.

~Lauren

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