sprite writes
broodings from the burrow

July 24, 2021


feast fit for an emperor
posted by soe 1:26 am

I decided at some past Olympics that it seemed only fitting to celebrate Opening and Closing Ceremonies with a nod to the host nation.

With this year’s Olympics being held in Tokyo, that means Japanese, and D.C. did not leave me hanging. About eight blocks away from the Burrow is Hana Market, a tiny Japanese grocery (and one-time tourism agency). After work let out, I wandered over to pick up snacks to eat during tonight’s broadcast. While I have been to Hana before, it’s either been to pick up a specific ingredient or to buy a mochi to snack on. This time I took a less strategic approach and just picked up things that looked interesting.

I came home with a bag of supplies, including:

Japanese Snacks

Peach caramel corn pops, seasoned seaweed, coffee-flavored black sesame candy (I missed the fact that they were coffee), matcha Kit Kats, chocolate stumps, roasted bean snacks, and chestnut mochi served as appetizers.

Tasty Mango Cream Soda

Mango creamy soda, which contains 0% juice, but does contain milk. I’d buy it again.

We paused in our corner-store delights to have some actual dinner, picked up from the nearby Japanese restaurant, Sakana, that we’d never been to. Rudi ordered a roll and a sushi bento. While I considered an entree, I’ve rarely been to a Japanese restaurant that offered an entire section of vegetarian sushi/maki, and that won out in the end:

Veggie Sushi

The roll at the top is tempura vegetables. The one on the right is ume shiso, or pickled plum. The one at the bottom left is kanpyo, or dried gourd. All three were delicious.

And then for dessert, Rudi and I split these two red bean paste mochis, a favorite of mine.

Red Bean Paste Mochis for Dessert

That’s a pretty good feast, wouldn’t you say?

Category: arts,dc life,sports. There is/are 1 Comment.

May 26, 2021


back at the ballpark
posted by soe 1:49 am

Back at the Ballpark!

“It’s a beautiful night for some baseball. Washington Nationals, play ball!”

Category: dc life,sports. There is/are 2 Comments.

April 12, 2021


a lot is riding on volleyball
posted by soe 1:34 am

Volleyball is set to resume next week. Outside of seeing my parents and my friends, these games have been what I’ve missed most. I’ve played in various leagues and on various teams for nearly a decade down here, and going from what had been a twice-a-week schedule to not playing at all for over a year has been bad for me, both physically and mentally.

The group I’ll be playing with is most of the team that we played with last year. One teammate returned to Germany and another has (at least temporarily) relocated to Florida, but the rest of us are back. We play well together and I think we like each other, and our vibe is competitive but not at the expense of being supportive and having fun. I have played on and against teams that have lacked some or all of those values, and I’d rather give volleyball up than to play on them again. (I can stomach playing on non-competitive teams if the players support each other and enjoy playing, but it does get discouraging to keep losing. Those teams tend to shed players as the weeks go by, and then you end up losing because you can’t bring enough people to play in the final weeks.)

I’m putting a lot of pressure on volleyball to force me out of the apartment during daylight hours, to give me a reason to look forward to a day that isn’t Friday, and to get me out of my head so much. It’s possible it’s too much to ask of a rec league sport and eight teammates. But maybe it’s precisely the right ask. We won’t know until we meet at the net next week.

Category: sports. There is/are 1 Comment.

February 24, 2021


heading outdoors . . . i think
posted by soe 1:47 am

I’ve decided that this spring I might be willing and ready to play outdoor volleyball again, in part for the mental health benefits it offers. I’ve emailed my former teammates to see if any of them are interested, and I’m keeping my fingers crossed that some of them might be available.

A couple of my teammates played outdoors last fall, and the report I heard after the first couple weeks was that the league was was relatively good about mask wearing and social distancing from other teams and on the sidelines. Volleyball is one of those sports where there you do end up in close proximity to your teammates and some competitors, and some contact with teammates can happen as you’re chasing after a ball and trying not to knock each other down. So it’s not without risk. But it’s also not basketball, where it can’t be played without automatically coming into contact with everyone else on the court. And being outdoors definitely helps lower the risks of spreading disease.

How are you thinking about risk management as we move into year #2 of COVID? Will you continue to stay home and isolated? Were you never paying attention to those recommendations to begin with?

Category: dc life,sports. There is/are 1 Comment.

November 30, 2020


coffeeneuring 2020: ride #7
posted by soe 1:13 am

Ghostline

Ghostline
2340 Wisconsin Ave., N.W.
Saturday, Nov. 21, evening
Conditions: Lovely

For my final Coffeeneuring ride of 2020, I headed back through Georgetown, but this time veered north, aiming for Glover Park and a new dining hall spot that had opened earlier this fall, Ghostline.

Their concept is that they have food from several different chefs and you can order it in one spot. Sort of like a food court, but classier and with high-quality food.

But en route I made a surprise stop — at a hot chocolate stand.

Coffeeneuring

The boy running the stand had built it himself with entrepreneurial plans to run it three seasons, with lemonade, apple cider, and hot chocolate rotating out as the weather and supply dictated. He showed me with pride how he’d made the sign out of paper, so he could switch out what he was advertising. When I asked him what his schedule was, he told me that the day before he’d been waiting at the door when his mom (the sous chef in charge of making the cocoa) arrived home, but that today it had been a little later because he’d been forced to take a nap.

At $2 a cup and with the ability to have both marshmallows and whipped cream added to your drink for free, it would be hard to beat the economics of this stand, which was located on a corner lot by a bike lane.

After finishing my cup, I waved goodbye, wished him and his mom luck, and rode on.

Ghostline

Ghostline is across from the old Whole Foods and the baseball field in a row of other restaurants and small storefronts. There was a bike rack to lock up to, but I could see that getting crowded on a summer evening.

Ghostline

I was able to walk in and quickly place an order. I opted for a cup of tea and a vegan poptart, the latter of which is made by the people who ran Red Velvet Cupcake and Bakers and Baristas downtown, which I took across the street to the ball field. I sat at a picnic table and chatted with Rudi for a bit on the phone while I carefully avoided dripping raspberry jam down my front. So sweet, but also very good.

Coffeeneuring 2020: Ride #7

I briefly contemplated a stop at the grocery store a block away before deciding I was too tired and that I just wanted to go home. So I took myself the back way past the vice president’s house and pedaled home for the night, content with my season of Coffeeneuring rides.

Total miles: 4.35 miles

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November 23, 2020


coffeeneuring 2020: ride #6
posted by soe 1:20 am

Ride #6 of the 2020 Coffeeneuring season was to the coffee place with the best name, which is saying something since I’ve already visited a place called The Roasted Boon.

Harpeth Swill

Harpeth Swill
1801 Wyoming Ave., N.W.
Saturday, Nov. 14, late afternoon
Conditions: Pleasant

Harpeth Swill has two locations in D.C. now. I went to the original location in Adams Morgan, which is also, I believe, where Sweet Science got its start.

Harpeth is the Tennessee river near where the founder grew up, which could potentially make the name slightly less interesting. But I argue that for a Southernesque coffee outfit, heavily invested in the Mason jar aesthetic, it still works. They are a cold-brew shop, which means they have put their fireplace and their counters to good use, as you can see in the shot above.

This year has just been a challenge for my getting out of the house early enough to do rides properly, so this was, once again, eked out just before closing time. (To be fair, everyone is also closing earlier this year, so it’s not entirely on me.)

I locked up to a street sign, because there were no bike racks on this section of block, but it is just across the street from a Cabi station, should you want to arrive via a borrowed ride.

Coffeeneuring 2020: Ride #6

I opted for a chai tea and a Whisked pretzel cowboy cookie, which I consumed on their patio in a rocking chair while reading. (They were technically closed by this point and this was the only furniture left.) It was probably closer to the sidewalk than I would have preferred, so I kept pulling my mask back on, but it worked for the half hour I was sitting there.

Mileage: 3.35 miles

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