Sunday, August 30, 2009

Restaurant Review: Potenza

Potenza is a fairly new spot that opened mid-April on the corners of 15th and H Streets in Northwest Washington, DC. It's very convenient to where I work so after walking past it a few times I decided to stop by for lunch. Another great feature of Potenza is it's not only a restaurant, but it's flanked with a cafe (grab & go) on one side and a wine shop on the other.

At the end of June they added sidewalk seating which is what I love because one of my favorite past times is sitting outside and observing the sights and sounds of the city and the people walking by.

I arrived there with a co-worker on a Friday for lunch at around 12:15. It was crowded so we ended up having to wait for about 20 minutes to have a seat outside, eventhough I walked outside a few times and there were several empty tables.

We were finally seated at our table outside to enjoy the beautiful weather. The waitress comes over shortly and takes a few moments to familiarize us with the menu. We take a few minutes to look over their 3-course lunch menu, it's $15 for an appetizer, entree, and a cookie bag to eat there or take with) but decide to both just order the Margherita pizza, it was $13. I ordered lemonade to drink and was pleasantly surprised at how good it was. It wasn't too sweet and made with sparkling water, was light and refreshing.

At first I thought the pizza was a little pricey for lunch but then I realized they don't have lunch portions for their pizzas, the only lunch-size portions are a part of the $15 menu I mentioned earlier. When the pizzas came out, we were shocked by the size. If we would've known how big they'd be, we would've shared one. Needless to say, I ate as much as I could and still had over half of it left, enough for dinner and a midnight snack.

Overall, I would highly recommend Potenza.

Location: Lots of parking garages nearby, some street parking, and about 1 block away from McPherson Square Metro .
Atmosphere: Outdoor Seating is always a plus. Has a large bar inside with lots of seating, will have to check out happy hour one day.

Price: Large portions make it easy to share. Dinner ranges from $17-$27 and alcoholic beverages start at $9.00. Very reasonable.


15th & H Street NW.
Washington DC. 20005

Friday, August 28, 2009

Mommy Dearest

I'll begin this post by saying I love my Mother dearly, but I can't deal with being around her for an extended period of time. I'm on Day 8 of her staying with me. I wish she'd told me what her intentions were and how long she'd planned on staying, so I could make other arrangements. Little did I know her intention was to be a squatter at my place until she found a job, guess she forgot to tell me that.

At the beginning of last week my Mother calls me and says she's coming to MD for an interview. Mind you she hasn't worked in nearly a year when she packed up one day and moved back to FL to live with relatives then eventually my Grandmother, but that's another story. I get another phone call on Thursday saying that she's on her way. She doesn't end up showing up at my place until after midnight with a car filled to capacity with her life's possessions. After the initial formalities, my first response was you sure have a lot of luggage. She said she had an interview the next day and needed to crash, so I just figured she'd go on her interview and be gone by Sunday while she awaited the results of the interview. Too bad that was not the case.

While, I have a 2 bedroom condo, I told my Mother for the last month that I was getting a roommate and the new roomie would be moving in on a certain date. Guess she didn't want to, or chose not to, hear that part and kept hinting that she'd live in my extra bedroom. There would be no way in hell that I would let that happen. People think I'm being mean, because they don't understand the history. Like I said before I love my Mother but I just cannot live with her and what I'll call her idiosyncrasies.

Without getting into too much family business, which I rather keep personal, we do not have what I call a traditional Mother & Daughter relationship. As I think back, I haven't spent this many consecutive days with my Mother since I was 9 years old, TWENTY years ago, when my Father was granted custody of me. My Mother has been unstable (mentally) for as long as I can remember. Truthfully, I'm sure I'd be able to better deal with her if she was on some type of medication, but she refuses to accept that she has a problem and lashes out at anyone who mentions that she should seek help. It's gotten to a point that her family members have just gotten used to her excessive calling at all times of the day and night, paranoia and fanatical stories, that any sane person would know doesn't make an ounce of sense. They just say "You know how she is, pray for her." What she needs is more than prayer.

I've been able to deal with her in spurts but I've never had to be around her for this long. I've trying to be nice and supportive but I'm at my wits end. I really don't want to kick my Mom out but for my own sanity, I need for her to go.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

A Little Midweek Humor...Random Thoughts

A friend recently sent me a forward, not sure where she got it from, but the title was Random thoughts from people our age... and it was hilarious. I couldn't include all of the quotes because it would've been too long so I posted my favorites (highlighted some in purple that I really liked). Enjoy!
  • Nothing sucks more than that moment during an argument when you realize you're wrong.
  • I don't understand the purpose of the line, "I don't need to drink to have fun." Great, no one does. But why start a fire with flint and sticks when they've invented the lighter?
  • Is it just me, or are 80% of the people in the "people you may know" feature on Facebook people that I do know, but I deliberately choose not to be friends with?
  • Do you remember when you were a kid, playing Nintendo and it wouldn'twork? You take the cartridge out, blow in it and that would magically fix the problem. Every kid in America did that, but how did we all know how to fix the problem? There was no internet or message boardsor FAQ's. We just figured it out. Today's kids are soft.
  • Sometimes, I'll watch a movie that I watched when I was younger and suddenly realize I had no idea what the f was going on when I first saw it.
  • How the hell are you supposed to fold a fitted sheet?
  • I would rather try to carry 10 plastic grocery bags in each hand than take 2 trips to bring my groceries in.
  • The only time I look forward to a red light is when I’m trying to finish a text.
  • Was learning cursive really necessary?
  • LOL has gone from meaning, "laugh out loud" to "I have nothing else to say"
  • My brother's Municipal League baseball team is named the Stepdads. Seeing as none of the guys on the team are actual stepdads, I inquired about the name. He explained, "Cuz we beat you, and you hate us."Classy, bro.
  • How many times is it appropriate to say "What?" before you just nod and smile because you still didn't hear what they said?
  • I love the sense of camaraderie when an entire line of cars teams up to prevent someone from cutting in at the front. Stay strong, brothers!
  • MapQuest really needs to start their directions on #5. Pretty sure I know how to get out of my neighborhood.
  • Shirts get dirty. Underwear gets dirty. Pants? Pants never get dirty,and you can wear them forever.
  • Whenever I'm Facebook stalking someone and I find out that their profile is public I feel like a kid on Christmas morning who just got the Red Ryder BB gun that I always wanted. 546 pictures? Don't mind if I do!
  • Why is it that during an ice-breaker, when the whole room has to go around and say their name and where they are from, I get so incrediblynervous? Like I know my name, I know where I'm from, this shouldn't be a problem....
  • Can we all just agree to ignore whatever comes after DVDs? I don't want to have to restart my collection.
  • I hate when I just miss a call by the last ring (Hello? Hello? Dammit!), but when I immediately call back, it rings nine times and goes to voicemail. What'd you do after I didn't answer? Drop the phone and run away?
  • I hate leaving my house confident and looking good and then not seeing anyone of importance. What a waste.
  • When I meet a new girl, I'm terrified of mentioning something she hasn't already told me but that I have learned from some light internet stalking.
  • Why is a school zone 20 mph? That seems like the optimal cruising speed for pedophiles...
  • As a driver I hate pedestrians, and as a pedestrian I hate drivers, but no matter what the mode of transportation, I always hate cyclists.
  • Sometimes I'll look down at my watch 3 consecutive times and still not know what time it is.
  • I keep some people's phone numbers in my phone just so I know not to answer when they call.
  • My 4-year old son asked me in the car the other day "Dad what would happen if you ran over a ninja?" How the hell do I respond to that?
  • It really pisses me off when I want to read a story on andthe link takes me to a video instead of text.
  • I wonder if cops ever get pissed off at the fact that everyone they drive behind obeys the speed limit.
  • I disagree with Kay Jewelers. I would bet on any given Friday or Saturday night more kisses begin with Miller Lites than Kay.
  • The other night I ordered takeout, and when I looked in the bag, saw they had included four sets of plastic silverware. In other words,someone at the restaurant packed my order, took a second to think about it, and then estimated that there must be at least four peopleeating to require such a large amount of food. Too bad I was eating bymyself. There's nothing like being made to feel like a fat bastard before dinner.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Things To Do: Carafe Wine Makers

Being the busybody that I am, I've signed on for year number two of helping the March of Dimes with their Annual Signature Chefs event and more specifically serving on the Silent Auction committee.

Recently, I was looking for some unique businesses to approach that were different from the usual like your restaurants, spas, sporting events, hotel stays, etc. I came across what I think is an amazing concept. There's a place in Old Towne Alexandria where you can go make your own wine, bottle it, and custom label it. Being the new wine connoisseur that I am, I immediately called the store to learn more.

So the place is called Carafe Wine Makers, apparently it's a franchise. Who knew? Not only was I excited about the concept, I was surprised to find out the Old Towne Alexandria location is Black-owned and the owner, Lamar Brown, is quite pleasant to look at. If you have five minutes, I'd suggest watching watching the video on the company's website to see Lamar, I mean to see the wine making process.

In addition to being able to bottle your own wine you can purchase from a nice selection of already bottled wines or sit-in for wine tastings. I think having an event at Carafe Wine Makers would make a wonderful and unique girls night, birthday celebration, or any special occasion for that matter. It would definitely be something that people would remember. It's good for couples or groups. The pricing is very reasonable if you have a group. I can't wait to schedule my visit.

For more information see below.

Carafe Wine Makers
111 S Alfred St
Alexandria, VA 22314-3001

Monday, August 17, 2009

Michael Vick -- Don't call it a comeback

By now everyone has heard the latest news on Michael Vick and how he signed with the Philadelphia Eagles. I'm glad that the NFL is going to give him a second chance to make his comeback.

Truthfully, all along I never saw why Michael Vick was sentenced to jail for his "involvement" in illegal dog fighting among other charges. For the life of me, I still don't think it's that serious.

What about all of the athletes and celebrities who've gotten into accidents and wound up killing or severely injuring others? In most cases, they've got off with a slap on the wrist and at the most had to pay a settlement to the family. Vick financed a so-called dog-fighting operation and it causes a huge scandal.

Sure some dogs were injured from the fighting, but how is that any different from bull-fighting in Spain, cockfighting in Mexico, or even dog racing in the US? Those dogs sole purpose is to be a source of entertainment for people to gamble on. Once these dogs have raced for so long or they're injured, they often have to be put down. Yet dog racing is legal.

I can't fathom why a judge would sentence Michael Vick to nearly TWO years in jail plus three years of probation for something so trivial. Yes, I consider it trivial, because clearly I'm not a PETA supporter. Why was he chosen to be made an example of? Was it because he's a talented athlete? Was it because he was at the peak of his career? Not to pull the race card but...maybe it's because he's Black? Who knows, who cares. He has to realize that people are always watching and waiting for him to mess up. Hope he uses his second chance wisely.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Sit Back & Relax

Last weekend I took a trip with 5 of my girlfriends to the mountains, the Blue Ridge Mountains to be exact. We stayed in a luxurious cabin, with an amazing view, in the middle of nowhere. The weekend was very low-key and included massages, a jazz festival, wine tastings and a tour of the winery near where we stayed at The Chateau Morrisette. (I highly recommend this place! If you are willing to drive, it's 300+ miles from DC, but well worth it. Blue Ridge Real Estate offers many option of timeshares you can rent, our package was only $115 per person which included the housing, dinner, massage, & wine tasting/tour)

But anyway, enough of the free promotion. Being away from the fast-pace of the city definitely gave me some time to clear my mind and attempt to sort through some things. When I got there I figured that I'd be without cell phone service, but I hoped for the best. It's funny how you never realize how connected you are until you have no other forms of communication than face-to-face. No calling, no texting, no tweeting, what's a girl to do to entertain herself?

Needless to say, the girls and I did a lot of talking. The conversations mainly revolved around our favorite topic, Men, of course. That always seems to be the topic of discussion these days because as succesful, professional, Black women we have a hard time trying to find and keep a man. We talked about the different men in our lives. We talked about how some of them don't want to be caught and how they have so many options these days, it's hard to find one who's ready to settle down. We talked about how we were tired of the games Men play and us having the play them back in hopes of snagging them. We even talked about how many of our friends and family members have started settling just for the sake of companionship, not because they were actually in love with the person.

The weekend was full of many insightful discussions. I'm glad I had the chance to get away to have some time to say out loud some of the things that have been bothering me surrounded by supportive friends, many who are dealing with similar issues as it relates to relationships and the men in our lives. I definitely still have some issues I'm trying to work through but I'm going to try to take at least one day each month to reflect on my life, my goals, and what the future holds for me. It's a struggle to make time to do nothing but sometimes you just have to sit back and relax.