Sometimes when I sit and think about the American lifestyle I get pretty depressed. I wake up, go to work, sit in cubical, drive home, make dinner, do the dishes, pack my lunch, watch TV, go to bed. Or some variation there of. And if I’m lucky-then I’ll fit the gym in there somewhere. And I’m sure if you’re a parent with kids, it’s 10 times worse.
It feels like Groundhog Day, every day. This is the reason it is important to find a job you love, people you love spending time with, and cherish any and every moment you have that allows you to step out of this routine-even for just a little bit.Lately, I’ve been trying to find my balance now that I’m back in the 9-5 working world, living with my parents, and searching for that happiness I once had abroad. It’s not that I’m not happy. I’m generally a happy person, but this sort of routine lifestyle, dealing with looking for a job that I’m passionate about, maintaining friendships, and dealing with the ups and downs of a new relationship can sometimes wear on me. I’m digesting all the memories that flood my brain every day of my backpacking trip, analyzing ways of how I can be a better friend, how I could have been a better girlfriend, how I want to travel again, squash thoughts of how I want to run away, and then realizing that I’m not getting any younger and I’m way behind on life. It’s daunting and these thoughts definitely get me down. Deep down I know I have a great life, but I’m also human and this is how I feel from time to time.
I have to find ways to keep my spirits up and dining out or even just going out with friends is a way for me to relax, laugh, and feel good again. Running and yoga does this too, but this is a food blog after all, not a work out blog.I get excited when I have plans to go out. I dress up a little bit. I check out the menu beforehand. It’s probably a similar feeling to someone who’s into fashion buying a new pair of shoes. But even though I love tasting new dishes and chef’s inspirations, it’s not always about the food for me. It’s about the company and time with friends and family. I went out to dinner with a former colleague and a friend of hers at Garrison in Eastern Market a couple weeks ago, and it was the perfect example of how the company really makes the evening special.
Here is the problem…if I hadn’t taken pictures of the food that night, I may not have even remembered what we ordered. Not that the food wasn’t good…it was! But more so because we were completely and totally enwrapped in conversation. It never stopped. We talked about just about everything, laughed, ordered a bottle of delicious Rose and just kept on eating and chatting until we closed the place down. These certain experiences are memorable for me and always make me to feel happy again.
We started with cocktails and bubbles. And most definitely one of the best cocktails I’ve ever had. Basil and lemon are such a fresh combination. All of us starving- we wanted to order one of everything. Having decided against the tasting menu, we just started naming off dishes we wanted, and as it turns out…we were all on the same page. Scallop Tartare with Avocado, Citrus, and Crispy GingerFennel Salad with Citrus, Pistachios, Arugula, and Chili’sGrilled Ramp & Spring Onion with Fresh Ricotta, Peas, and RadishesPan Seared Cauliflower with Virginia Peanuts, Black Quinoa, and Sweet OnionRabbit Pappardelle made with Emmer Wheat, Fennel, Coriander, Porcini, and OlivesRed Wine Braised Bison Short Ribs with Fingerling Potatoes, Smoked Bacon, Onions, and Mushrooms. Easily one of my least favorite dishes of the night.Salt Roasted Gilfeather Turnip with Apple Cider, Hazelnuts, Tarragon. This dish was probably the most memorable of the evening for me and one of my favorites.Smoked Black Cod with Spring Peas, Preserved Lemon, Creme Fraiche, Caviar, House-made sprouted Rye Bread. A crowd pleaser and one we all agreed was outstanding.We eventually transitioned to the Domaine du Pegau ‘Pink Pegau’ Rose. A Rose I hadn’t tried before, but was recommended by the sommelier, and a fantastic recommendation at that. Full of body, very dry, and a great complement to our dishes.
And even though I was too full to eat anything else, we ordered dessert. Pear Strudel with Caramel Custard, and Vanilla Ice Cream. I did taste the custard and it was delicious.I thought all the dishes were good. I definitely had my favorites and not so favorites. I could go through each dish and tell you what I enjoyed or what could be better. But at the end of the day..none of that mattered. What mattered was the memorable evening I had with and old friend and a new friend.
It’s not always the food or the place, but the company. Meeting a friend of a friend, having a delicious meal, sipping on a gorgeous Rose and one of the best cocktails I’ve ever had, in a warm and inviting environment. Was this one of the best restaurants I’ve been to in DC? Absolutely not, but it was definitely a night I will remember.