Sunday, February 5, 2017

Three Beautiful Things 02/04/17: Strolling Eastern Market, Capitol Hill Books, Pork Hot Pot at EatBar

1. The skies emptied of clouds. The temperature stayed just above freezing, a perfect day for walking. So, I shoehorned myself into the Sube and descended into the capital of America. I glided into my favorite parking garage at Union Station and headed east into Capitol Hill. The strolled down quiet back streets lined with row houses and made my way to Eastern Market. Outside the market building, vendors lined 7th Street SE with tables and stalls, selling jewelry, purses, T-shirts, hats, caps, candles, paintings, shawls, pottery, soap, antiques, ceramics, and other marketable merchandise. None of it interests me. Ha! But, I enjoyed walking in the crowd and listening to all the rhythms and sounds of voices and watching people enjoy looking at all these items. I enjoyed the inside of the market much more because I like looking at refrigerated cases of chicken wings, cuts of beef beef, whole rock fish, raw oysters and scores of other meat and fish products and I enjoy looking at baked goods and produce and cheese displays. I gawked at the blackboard menu at Market Lunch and made a mental note to bring cash next time and dreamed of crab cake or of one day coming early on another Saturday or Sunday for a stack of Market Lunch's famous weekend only Bluebuck pancakes -- that is, blueberry buckwheat.

2.  I think I'd heard of Capitol Hill Books before. It's a stone's throw from Eastern Market and as a part of today's over 9000 step walking tour, I dropped in. Bookshelves bow.  Piles of used books and first editions extend from floor to ceiling. It's a very tight squeeze trying to move from one section of this tiny store to another and I didn't even go upstairs to look at fiction or poetry or plunge into the basement to look at other books. Chet Baker played over the sound system. I was one of about a dozen or so people slow dancing around the shop. "Excuse me." "Thank you." "Oh..excuse me, please." "Thanks." Ha! I wasn't really interested in buying any books, although if I'd seen an irresistible cookbook, I might have picked one up. I'll go back, but if I do, I think I'll try to have specific books in mind to look for. I found browsing this bookstore to be overwhelming.

3. I crossed Pennsylvania Ave. and made my way past the Eastern Market Metro Station and headed south on 8th St. SE, thinking I'd like to grab a bite to eat and a beer at Ted's Bulletin along Barrack's Row.   No way. For people who wanted to eat, they were handing out those cell phone looking devices they use at Olive Garden that light up when your table is ready. So, I slipped into a quiet joint called EatBar. I ordered a snifter of an Imperial IPA I'd never heard of, a beer brewed in Astoria, Queens at Singlecut Brewing. It's called Softly Spoken Magic Spells and, I must admit, it enchanted me. I softly gasped with pleasure when I drew my first drink and slowly relished this hoppy delight.  I ordered something I've never eaten before for lunch. It was called a pork hot pot and featured two tigelle (my server later brought me a third), which I cut in half and opened up, like a pita. Inside I stuffed one of the silver dollar-sized medallions of medium rare pork tenderloin and a spoonful of giardiniera and dipped it into a bowl of Italian jus. It was a chewy, briney, soupy delight. I love ordering food that either I've never heard of or that I cannot imagine making at home and this lunch fit both criteria.

I humped it back to the Sube and since DC Brau was on my route to the Diazes, I stopped in, savored a couple of pours of On the Wings of Armageddon, put in my earbuds, and listened to tunes by Warren Zevon and Harry Nilsson, followed by a great selection of Spirit, The Allman Brothers, Vanilla Fudge, Cream, Santana and others that popped up on my Spirit station on Pandora.

What a great day.

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