Friday, April 8, 2011

slice of life

Last Sunday was new faces and spontaneity. And delicious. Hurray for going out for a drive and finding things along the way.



Adorably shy Girl Scouts manned (girled?) the establishment, earnestly if quietly informing me about flavors.

There were adorable Easter cupcakes with bunnies atop…




And nostalgia trip of nostalgia trips, meringues! Homemade meringues! The second I saw these, I knew what I was getting.


No, I have not turned into an egg-white obsessive health nazi since last I posted, but I have a powerful, powerful attachment to homemade meringues. My mother’s mother was both a great lover of having delicious desserts on hand to nibble on whilst sipping tea and listening to her tell us why her recollection of a particular event in family history was more accurate than someone else’s. She also was very virtuous about not wasting food, so she’d make custard or lemon curd or ice cream or something (using egg yolks), then whip up the whites into homemade meringues.

If all you’ve ever tasted is the weird jelly stuff on lemon cream pie or the hard-as-rocks packaged meringues, you are MISSING OUT.

A real homemade meringue has a wonderful airy crunch as you bite through its outside and then just a hint of gooeyness in the middle. Mmm!


We were heading into town to see the cherry blossoms, but as we got on 395 we figured out everyone else on earth had had the same idea. Geographically it was not terribly far but sitting in traffic is bad for morale.

So we parked at Gravelly Point, a little park type thing next to the river and also next to the airport. The views of takeoff and landing are dazzling as this picture… not at all shows.


And we walked over the bridge to the Tidal Basin and the Cherry Blossoms. I saw billions and billions of tourists snapping their fancy Nikons (and a family who I sincerely hope could not read English since otherwise a man was posing… in the water of the FDR Memorial… directly next to the sign that said “Please respect memorial and stay out of the water”. Washington D.C., home of irony.), but I knew that I would not get a good picture.

Cherry blossoms are pretty. Obviously.

My favorite tradition of visiting the cherry blossoms (I say “tradition”: I lived here for eight years, finally saw them at 16, and just now went for the second time) is going to the Maine Avenue Fish Market. It is SUCH A FUN SCENE.

Clever Steve thought to do an aerial shot, which I am now appropriating.


At its most basic, it really is just a market… full of fish. Lots of smelly, glassy eyed, fishy fish!


Being in the Chesapeake Bay area and all, of course there were crabs. Wriggling around!


And you can buy a variety of precooked foods… lots of steaming and frying going on. The stalls were below ground level, so you just reached in and grabbed your food.


The food is delicious and the environment is enjoyably, delightfully, no-frills. If you want cocktail sauce you can feel free to mix your own bottled ketchup, horseradish, and lemon juice.


And the scene! We were there at 5:00 on a Sunday, and there was definitely a hefty crowd (if you go at lunchtime on a Saturday, leaving right after eating breakfast is probably advisable. Maybe you won’t be too ravenously hungry when you have finally reached the front of line to order, then waited eons for them to prepare, lunch). Fortunately our wait was brief. I took the opportunity to people watch. Lots of cute families. Kids blowing bubbles.


There was a girl in the most gloriously trashy jeans I have ever seen- they had many many holes but one was basically her entire front left thigh. I wish I could’ve summoned up the nerve to take her picture! She seemed to have a boy she was trying to impress.

Anyway, I wasn’t all that hungry but surprise surprise, Steve was. Freegan first helped himself to a great deal of saltines…


And then we made our way across the street, up the hill for a picnic, to look out on the city and eat some stellar fried food.

SO AMAZING. The combo: fried jumbo shrimp, fried oysters (!!!!!!!!!! GOD I LOVE FRIED OYSTERS SO MUCH. Steve had never had them before. Mannnnnnnnnn he was missing out), hush puppies (OH GOD I LOVE HUSH PUPPIES TOO!)


It was epically delicious. I ate… more than I intended to. Cause… it was epically delicious.

They were so fried, so skilfully, that Steve just ate his shrimp tails.

But I threw them to our neighbors.

And then they were in love with me.


Steve and I have this nice symbiosis when we dine together. In that I pick at things and leave unfinished bits… and then Steve eats them!

Such was the case with the hush puppies. I just wanted to eat that doughy corny center til I died, so I happy handed over the crispy outside coating to Steve.



We set back for Virginia, but first Steve wanted a picture of the two of us by the cherry blossoms. So he asked another couple if we could swap photog duties.

And then we went over to pose… next to a magnolia tree.

In this picture I cleverly looked at the person taking the picture rather than the actual camera, so I look a little… slow.


(But Steve is handsome!)

And this one’s just a little awk.


But that is life.


Lydia said...


..I am up too late looking up information on the now-not-happening government shutdown and the madness of it all has made me belligerent. My apologies.

Steven Alexander Heathcliff Basil Bert said...

Ileana, your picture of the person reaching through the railing to grab the bag of food could be in National Geographic...AMAZING!

Also, you don't look slow in the first Magnolia picture. On the contrary, you could arguably be the reason why Magnolias bloom.

Thanks for introducing me to the finer things of Maine Ave.