Awesome DC-based deliciousness alert! I first ran across Nomad Dumplings during a record fair at Right Proper Brewing in Brookland – they were so good that I got two orders! Handmade with whole foods, Nomad’s line of precooked dumplings can be steamed, pan-fried, or even microwaved. Even better? Two of the flavors, Hunan Hottie and Xi’an Warrior, are vegan! My personal favorite is the Hunan Hottie (I’m partial to the spiciness), but the Xi’an Warrior is a close second. I picked these up at Old City Market just off of H Street, but I hear they’re expanding into Whole Foods, so I’d expect to start seeing them all over. You can check the website for more locations.
Just for Giggles
Just a few blocks east of Union Station sits the DC Craft Beer Cellar, one of a growing number of stores across the country run by “beer geeks” and dedicated to… well, the craft. DC’s lovely, museum-like store is curated by said geeks, who can help you find just what you’re looking for, and probably about 15 fantastic things that weren’t looking for and never knew you definitely needed.
A literal case in point – the 6-pack carrier that houses each month’s beer of the month club selections:
For $20 a month the experts at the Cellar put together 6 beers (or 12 for $40, if you’re feeling extra Sampler-y), usually revolving around a monthly theme. Along with the selection comes a monthly rundown and description of each brew, because this is DC and nerdiness and drinking goes hand-in-hand.
So far we’ve enjoyed a box dedicated to sours, sessions, Oktoberfest, and porters and stouts.
The design nerd in me would like to point out that while the beers are certainly awesome, one of the things I look forward to is actually the labels… I mean, how cool is this one?
If you’re in DC, definitely go check out the Cellar and pick up something you haven’t tried before (or check their website to see if a store is near you). Backyard BBQ pro tip: they can order kegs!
Emily St. John Mandel is also the author of Station Eleven, which was so good I wanted to make everyone read it just so I could talk to people about it without spoiling anything. I’ve been meaning to read more of her work ever since.
Last Night in Montreal is a short novel with a mysterious woman who can’t stop running and dead languages that describe the indescribable. Honestly… I’m nerding out over the language stuff, mostly, so that might need to factor into my next to-read 🙂
Ugh why did I get on this train so late?! History AND science fiction? Questions of fate, destiny, and free will? Kick-ass female characters? NBC WHY DID YOU CANCEL THIS?
This is one of THE best, most motivating, vegan podcasts I’ve listened to (and I’ve been listening to A LOT). Sometimes my vegan transition has felt a little… overwhelming. Hearing that “progress over perfection” is ok, and learning about the varying stories that brought people to veganism (her guests are awesome!), is so inspiring.
I had what was probably the best doughnut I’ve ever had in my life the other day. It was vegan. No! Wait! I’m not crazy, hear me out…
I really love plants. I go through times where I don’t eat meat for awhile. In fact I haven’t had any since Christmas and I’m thinking about making the change more permanent.
But if you had told me a week ago that I’d have a savory “everything bagel” doughnut filled with cream cheese, and it would be the best doughnut I’ve ever had, and that it was VEGAN… well, I would have called you a dang liar. Actually, I would probably have said something slightly nicer than “liar”, but I would seriously have questiond your sanity.
My favorite juice/smoothie place, South Block, has been taunting the area with a sign saying “Vegan Doughnut Pop Up Coming Soon” for a few days. I was super curious, so when the day finally came, I tried one. Ok, actually, I tried two. Guys. They’re amazing.
B. Doughnut is a local doughnut shop with locations across the DC area. So far, they’re only offering vegan versions of their doughnuts at South Block locations – but I hope they’ll be expanding. Because… wow. Full disclosure: I’m not a sugar hound most days, so doughnuts aren’t my usual jam (unintentional jelly-filled joke). But, I do enjoy one occasionally, so I gave the coconut flavor a shot because I haven’t really run across anything coconut that I didn’t like. It was so good I tried the everything bagel one as well.
I regret nothing.
Not being a huge doughnut person it’s hard for me to describe/compare – but these things melt in your mouth. And the savory version especially, was out of this world. The dough + savory topping combination reminded me of langos, a Hungarian fried bread that I fell in love with in Budapest.
Sure, these aren’t the healthiest options for breakfast, but I don’t think it’s healthy to never indulge, either. Life’s too short not to have something fried every now and again 🙂 As an added bonus, I can treat myself to one of these without having to worry about the nasty consequences of having dairy (I love it, but it does not love me…).
The Clarendon South Block location assured me that they would be stocking them for the foreseeable future, so you can get your fix there if you want to give it a shot. The other Virginia South Block locations will be selling them as well, check with your location for more info!
When I got an email about “Asana and Architecture”, a monthly yoga class held at the National Building Museum, I couldn’t resist. Washington, D.C. routinely scores as one of America’s fittest cities – we like our workouts. It’s also a city that is teeming with museums. And full of nerds like me that wouldn’t mind combining the two.
Beth A. Wolfe, the instructor behind kitten yoga and goat yoga, led us through an energizing all-levels class in the light-drenched great hall of the museum. There were plenty of modifications for both beginner and expert yogis, and the only pose I had to worry about was savasana. Because I had a hard time keeping my eyes closed. Because look at this place!
If you’re in the DC area, or plan to visit soon, you’re in luck! The aptly-named “Asana and Architecture” is a monthly shindig and it includes a tour of the museum! Check out the building museum’s calendar for more info.
If you’ve been looking to brush up on a language you’ve probably heard of or downloaded the app Duolingo. It’s a great way to brush up on the basics of a language, and the gamification of the process (points/levels/timers) makes it a lot more fun than flashcards.
But that’s not all the fun there is to be had. Some of the translations are pretty entertaining. I’m not sure if it’s an algorithm or a programmer with a goofy sense of humor – but there are definitely some sentences I would not recommend using in real life. For example:
The uber honest:
This had to be on purpose, right? Even the grumpy old man character is on point.
Uh, why are you asking?
The SUPER creepy:
Witnesses to WHAT?! Are you and the “do you live alone” guy in this together?!
Presented without comment:
You know that awesome feeling you get when you put your hand into the pocket of a coat you haven’t worn in awhile and you pull out a dollar? This is like that, but with photos, and 1000x better.
I was rooting around some photos that were backed up on my computer and found some photos from Ireland 2015 that I thought were lost! This includes some amazing drives like Slea Head, the Dingle Penninsula, and the Ring of Kerry, as well as…
This cute little photo was shot at a sheep farm in County Galway, a lovely place called Joyce County Sheepdogs. This family-run farm breeds sheepdogs and also provides an amazing herding demonstration with their dogs and herd of sheep. Joe, a third generation sheep farmer and owner of Joyce County, is inspiring to watch and his bond/communication with his dog is unlike anything I’ve ever seen.
Get ready for lots of Ireland posts y’all – hope you enjoyed this quick taste of things to come!
Or, at least, almost reading – it just came out and I’m saving it for my vacation. I absolutely loved Weir’s The Martian, and am hoping for the same combination of sarcastic humor and “oh **** are they going to make it?!” tension.
Have I mentioned I play D&D? I’m a half-elf sorceress that is permanently blue because of a spell gone awry. Shut up, this blog is called The Sampler, you know what you were getting into.
Oh hey, I finally started listening to audiobooks. I am woefully behind the time in this regard, but I couldn’t help listening to the onslaught of amazing podcasts that we’ve been so lucky to get the past few years.
This was really enjoyable and I found it super relatable. Not in an “I’m also a hilarious and likable mega-star” way, obviously, but in an “I recognize that particular brand of anxiety” kind of way.
Given the choice, the audiobook is totally the way to go – Kendrick actually reads it herself, and her timing really adds something to the hilarity of it all.
The whole place is sleek, atmospheric, and modern. Perhaps that’s part of the reason it doesn’t feel like a large venue despite being able to pack in 6,000 attendees.
Along a portion of waterfront in Southwest DC, a major redevelopment undertaking has been transforming the area for the past few years. When I first moved to DC Arena Stage and it’s stage productions were the only reason I ventured to the area of Southwest. Now, the area is full of soon-to-be-opened shops, restaurants, and new residential buildings.
What I was most excited about, however, was the opening of The Anthem, the newest venue that is part of the DC area’s I.M.P. concert promotion company. I.M.P. is one of the last independent concert companies in the country, and everything I read about their newest undertaking made it sound like it was shaping up to be one of the most thoughtfully-designed and interesting venues in the country.
Full disclosure, I had not been to a lot of concerts in my life until the past year or so. Unless we’re counting classical music, which, isn’t exactly what we’re talking about here. It’s not that I don’t love music – but concerts can be expensive, keeping up on who was touring wasn’t a habit I was in, and my musical tastes are pretty varied. It doesn’t help that I both listen to a mishmash of everything, and terrible about actually keeping track of which artist is playing in the background.
But hey – we have Spotify now. It’s a far cry from listening to the radio and trying to time it just right so that I could record my new favorite song onto a cassette tape. I can make lists and organize everything – and Spotify literally tells me who is coming to DC based on my preferences. It’s bad for my wallet, but has been great for getting tickets 🙂
Once The Anthem began to sell tickets I snapped up tickets for Kaleo and Zedd. Like I said… varied tastes. Kaleo was two weeks ago, Zedd this weekend, so I’ve had plenty of time to scope out the place and let me tell you – it’s fantastic. Both concerts had very different vibes – folk/rock/blues vs EDM – and the venue served them both well.Reviews were describing the space as both capable of holding a huge crowd, but also retain an intimate feeling. I’m not sure how this was accomplished, but The Anthem did not disappoint. I don’t think there’s a bad place in the house to enjoy the music. Plus, the venue itself is just plain… pretty. The whole place is sleek, atmospheric, and modern. Perhaps that’s part of the reason it doesn’t feel like a large venue despite being able to pack in 6,000 attendees.
The venue is separated into two ticket types – General Admission and “Super Excellent Seats”. I was in General Admission for both, but after seeing the Super Excellent Seats as well, I wouldn’t mind paying the extra cash for those seats for concerts that I absolutely, positively, have to see all of the stage. The kind of pompous name aside, the Super Excellent Seats are actually a great concept. They are on balcony levels around the room, all with a great view. The big sell for me, however, is that you need to show up with your ID for these seats, because only the original purchaser can use the tickets. Scalping/resales are definitely a big issue for a lot of performances, and it’s nice to know that as a fan, I get a first shot at these seats.
Overall, I’m really looking forward to my next concert at The Anthem!
Did you know that art is the 4th largest segment of the world’s black market? I’ve heard the stories of the impressive multi-million dollar thefts from high-profile museums, but what I didn’t realize is how prevalent theft is at all levels of the art world. Looters have been selling off the cultural heritage of others for a profit since Ancient Egypt – and that hasn’t changed in modern years. This may be non-fiction, but it sometimes reads like a movie. Plus, Margaret Atwood is on the cover recommending it, so… you know it’s good.
Will and Grace, for obvious reasons. Get thee to Hulu, catch up, and let’s watch some reunion TV.
Is the Mona Lisa on display at the Louvre a fake? Did the CIA funnel money into abstract expressionism in order to help win the Cold War? These and many more questions are just a few of the weird and intriguing questions that Artcurious tackles in a one hour podcast. I’m on a bit of an art history kick lately, so finding this gem was great for when I’m in the mood to learn something interesting and, admittedly, pretty nerdy.