MDW

Long weekends are a great excuse to get out of the city and the normal routine, and this Memorial Day weekend I was able to knock out some great suburban and urban adventures. To kick it off, Claire, Kelsey and I hit the open road to soak in nature and wine.

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We headed north and landed on Caderock trails right over the Maryland border. It was still a bit too damp for serious hiking, but the earthy vibes went a long way!

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Continuing on, we made a visit to Rocklands for an evening of wine tastings, wood fired pizza, sausage and kraut dogs and live music on the farm. So fun!

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The rosé was delightful and the friendly and rustic ambiance couldn’t be beat.

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Back in the district, I experimented a bit in the kitchen with pickled onions and peanut sauce. Both really helped elevate the ever-evolving homemade fast casual bowl! The onions were set in apple cider vinegar and a bit of salt and sugar. So easy, but so much punch! The sauce was a combination of peanut butter, soy sauce, garlic and lemon juice. A great alternative for the store bought variety.

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And on Monday to celebrate the start of summer some more, I met up with Dan, Annie and Keely on the Southwest Waterfront for a relaxing picnic in Yards Park.

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Cheers!

-EmPan
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Eastern Market

Testing out new workout classes is a surefire way to jazz up my routine, so over the weekend I popped into Pure Barre’s new studio on Capitol Hill for an introductory class. Last summer when I tested out ClassPass I tried several barre classes and they were great! Like pilates only with a few more squats. I was (luckily – since classes are pricey!) not convinced of several moves at this studio, though – like the ones where we were squatting on our tip-toes with a ball between our quads – on repeat. I’ll be glad to go back to my usual gym next Saturday – but always fun to see what else is out there!

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Once I successfully metro’d to the neighborhood, I thoroughly enjoyed a stroll through Eastern Market itself – it had been too long! And there’s nothing like a deliciously simple sandwich on bakery bread from Spring Mill Bread.

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In other weekend highlights – Johanna made a visit! So fun catching up with a fellow East Longmeadow alumna and future Washingtonian! We really enjoyed the local flair at El Centro – every floor of it.

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And lastly, in other photos from this week’s camera roll, I plated a salad with roasted sweet potatoes and chickpeas, grilled chicken, fresh onion and spinach with a side of chive and onion yogurt dip. A winning combo!

Cheers!
-EmPan

Balance Bar

Springtime activities can really be inspired or derailed due to weather patterns. This week’s kitchen experiment sprouted from a day of rainy day blog catchup.

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I’ve been on the lookout for a tangible homemade granola bar recipe and finally stumbled on a promising one in these Oatmeal Raisin Bars. So many homemade snack bars use a whole slew of ingredients that aren’t in my pantry (read: protein powder, dates, almond flour) so when I read that this included oats, flour and brown sugar I was intrigued! The original recipe seems more like a raisin cookie bar so I swapped the cooking oil out for mashed banana and added chocolate chips – because that seemed like a fair compromise. It turned out to be a pretty dense bar perfect for compact energy before a morning run or crushing in-between meal hunger.

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Over the weekend, Sunday’s 75 and sunny weather was perfect for city strolls and dining al fresco. I’d been eyeing the Colada Shop and finally made a visit to the new Cuban coffee, croqueta, and cocktail patio bar hot spot on 14th St. The Veggie Cuban was a delightful handheld with roasted and marinated vegetables and Swiss on fresh bread.

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On running: I’m still on the lookout for a fun summer race to add to my calendar, but in lieu of training calendars I’ve been keeping jaunts to under 6 miles. Had I taken a scenic mid-run photo during Saturday’s leisurely jog it most likely would have been sepia toned – the pollen’s a little outta control these days!

Cheers!

-EmPan

May

This week didn’t really have a theme. I worked, worked out and went out – so I’ll add some highlights here! First up: a mid-day photo from an out-of-office stroll. Fresh air can really help get the creative gears going back at the standing desk.

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In food news, even after a themed dinner at Lauriol Plaza for Cinco de Mayo I had tacos on the brain, so whipped some up with a barbecue twist.

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The barbecue chicken was cooked in the CrockPot, and I made the vinegar-based coleslaw following this recipe. The dressing was a combination of apple cider vinegar, mustard, honey, olive oil and salt and pepper. I threw in some almond slivers for more texture. Even though it was simple, it was pretty good! I see the potential for other cold-salad variations in my future.

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And in the nightlife category, it’s always a pleasant surprise to stumble on live music! Sauf Haus delivered on Saturday with a five piece set. I’ll raise a cider glass to that.

Cheers!

-EmPan

Old Town, New Sites

Tudor Place, the historic house originally owned by a great-granddaughter of Martha Washington, is situated right up the road in Georgetown on 5 1/2 acres of land, and just off the beaten path that I never thought to venture past the gates. Technically, there’s also a fee for entry so the fact that Saturday’s French Market was offering free admittance to the estate helped formulate a visit.

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The gardens are quite delightful! There are so many hidden alcoves and a huge lawn right in the heart of Georgetown. Great for soaking up the pollen and shade on a 90 degree April day.

On Sunday, I met up with Keely, Dan and Annie in Old Town for a scenic supper and stroll. Before dinner I made a quick visit to the Torpedo Factory Art Center. Such a neat space! The compound is home to the nation’s largest collection of working-artists’ open studios under one roof.

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For dinner we met at Virtue Feed & Grain, which after just one visit, I’d highly recommend for anyone visiting Old Town. It’s just out of the way from the main docking area and is designed as if you’re eating in a Pottery Barn. The barbacoa tacos were also very delicious.

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We walked off dinner with a scenic trip around the waterfront.

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In other weekly highlights, I joined a newly formed running group for a leisurely jog and stumbled on some great new outdoor watering holes and rooftops (non-related events).Cheers!

-EmPan