Friday, March 24, 2017

Three Beautiful Things 03/23/17: Finally Got Goin', Concrete and Recovery, With Mary at Hank's Oyster Bar

1. I lollygagged for much of the day, checking in from time to time on the negotiations underway in the House of Representatives and with members of the Trump Administration, wondering if the AHCA would come to a vote today, as planned. I finally left our apartment home in the afternoon to get some groceries so I could fix the Deke some dinner. I had plans to eat on Capitol Hill tonight with Mary and, knowing the Deke would be exhausted after work, wanted to save her the trouble of having to fix her own dinner. I fixed one of our favorite standbys, black beans and rice.

2. Mary was down from NYC to attend a conference in D. C.  and she and I made a plan to meet at 6:00 near the Shake Shack and Starbucks in Union Station. I was a little bit late getting on the road to meet her, but then I got seriously delayed by something I've never experienced at Union Station. The Union Station parking garage has two entrances, on on Mass. Ave. and the other on H Street. I find the Mass. Ave. a little easier to get to and when I drove to it today it was barricaded by concrete barriers.  Now I had to figure out how to get over to N. Capitol Street, turn east on H Street, and see if that entry was open.  I drove to F Street, slight disoriented, and took a chance on a right hand turn on 2nd and it worked out because soon, Mass. Ave. appeared in my windshield.  Ah! Now I knew exactly what to do and eventually the barrier-less H Street entrance welcomed me, once I got out of the taxi lane (no problem, btw) and I snagged a first-rate parking spot on Level 1. At a red light, I'd been able to cryptically text Mary I'd run into a parking problem, so please be patient (!), and so when I was a half an hour late to meet her, she knew I was all right.   I was especially excited to see Mary again and I was also pumped up that I overcame the parking challenge those (mysterious) concrete barriers confronted me with.

3.  Mary enjoys seafood and so I thought it would be fun to stroll a bit in the Capitol Hill neighborhood and make our way to Hank's Oyster Bar.  I wanted to show her more of the neighborhood than we really could do -- I had hoped to show her the Capitol Hill Bookstore and Eastern Market, for example -- but the walk was gorgeous as the sun set behind the Capitol Dome and the Washington Monument and we got some good views of both.

Hank's Oyster Bar was alive with chatter and a lively string of young people at the bar. We were seated at the window and before long Mary and I dove into an order of a dozen oysters on the half shell from six different locations, including British Columbia, Washington State, and Maine. Julie has written enthusiastically about drinking whiskey while eating oysters, so I ordered a Brooklyn Sixpoint Res to sip on before our oysters arrived and a George Dickel Rye to drink while slurping the oysters. It was a good move. I loved how the brown sugary burn of Dickel was soothed by the sea water buttery creaminess of the oysters. Mary and I talked and talked about movies -- I particularly enjoyed her dream to one day host (or attend) a Karen Black Film Festival and it was fun talking about Karen Black movies from the 1970s and 80s. I think I saw the entirety of Come Back to Five and Dime Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean flash before my eyes.

We took our time eating the oysters and once they were cleared away we both dove into sweet, slightly crunchy crabcakes and Mary ordered a very tasty cauliflower side. I ordered an amber/red ale from Maine Brewing called Zoe to accompany my crabcake and Mary and I continued our conversation about movies -- we were both overwhelmed by I Am Not Your Negro and Mary helped me increase my list of movies to see.  Our check arrived with a complimentary dish of broken pieces of bittersweet chocolate, a perfect way to cap the dinner.

We took an Uber back to Union Station and I offered to give Mary a ride to her hotel on Woodley Road where her conference was being held. I thought I got some fairly erratic directions from the Google Maps voice instructing me how to drive from the Union Station Parking Garage to the Marriott Wardman Park, but I learned a lot during the circuitous trip. Ha! I successfully negotiated both Scott Circle and Dupont Circle --at night! a first! -- and, eventually, dropped Mary off and buzzed north on Connecticut Ave. to the Beltway and easily found my way home.

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