I’ve jumped ship!

As you may or may not have noticed, I took a little break from blogging over the past couple of weeks. First I was busy packing, then moving, and then I was busy cursing my decision to move in the first place. That last one took longer than expected.

Truth is, I work well within the confines of simplicity – and Tumblr is kind of perfect for that very thing. So I’ve decided to simply move wash.the.dog over there indefinitely. It will be all the same stuff for the most part – pictures of my dog and food – the ocassional baby (but absolutely zero pictures of dog/baby food, that’s a promise). I feel extremely inspired by this new platform, and excitement abounds!

I hope you will make the leap with me as I have very much enjoyed your company thus far. A little too much, actually.

[Washburne has way better puppy dog eyes than I do. Who’d have thought??]

“The secret of getting ahead is getting started. The secret of getting started is breaking your complex overwhelming tasks 
into small manageable tasks, and then starting on the first one.”  
- Mark Twain

Catch you on the flip side,

Brit [washthedog.tumblr.com]

Okay so…see you over there??

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Houston According to my iPhone


I volunteered to fill in for our meeting planner at one of our company conferences in Houston this past week. For those of you who are unfamiliar with this half of my job, this means a lot of answering questions (“When is lunch? Where is the bathroom? Do you notify my manager if I leave early?”), checking in on receptions and lunches, sitting at a registration desk, and constantly complaining about the room temperature.

While not always the case, this particular trip involved a lot of alone time. And as one might expect, it got quite lonely. I travel more than a few times a year, but usually with several co-workers, and often to spectacular cities like Las Vegas, Chicago, and Nashville, just to name a few.

Nothing against Houston (I didn’t venture out of my 3 block comfort zone at all, in its defense), but they sure do enjoy themselves some steakhouses.

Anyway, this is my trip, in sporadic Instagram fashion.




You can just tell he missed me, can’t you?

Oh, and in case you were curious:

For all their angus talk, I did nom on a delicious veggie burger while in Texas.

Hope you all had a nice little weekend yourselves.

Although my weekend was cut a bit short due to travel, it turned out rather lovely. But that could be the buttermilk pancakes with blueberry compote my awesome dude made me tonight for dinner talking.

-Brit

Mother’s Day: Eastern Market

Have you ever been to Eastern Market in Washington D.C.? It’s a smorgasbord of jewelry, food, art, tchotchkes, furniture, clothing, and more (it also has it’s very own metro stop). I myself like to go at least once a year, and no matter how hard I fight it, the temperature is always north of 80 degrees every time. I only mention this because every time I go I say to myself, “This would be a lot of fun in say, September.” And then I kind of never go back.

During this particular trip, I:

  • Tasted the most amazing, buttery buffalo mozzarella. Like hands down, the best I’ve ever had. I don’t even have a picture of it – that good.
  • Found a pink hat. Put on a pink hat. Realized I had too much hair (and fashion sense) for said hat.
  • Almost bought pickles out of a barrel.
  • Inhaled a strawberry, banana, and Nutella crepe.
  • reveled at an entire table of antique salt & pepper shakers, but did not buy any.
  • Waited 45 minutes for a metro train. Weekend D.C. Metro is the worst.

A lot of my fun revolves around food. Off the cuff lists always help me come to that realization.

But most importantly, Mama had fun.

And if you were a good little offspring too, you’re tired as all get-out from showing your mama a good day as well.

(click on kid with the aviator sunglasses for slideshow)

-Brit, “my mom once brought a cutting board (with knife), artisanal cheeses, and grapes into a movie theatre so my brother and I wouldn’t eat junk food.”

I bet almost none of you can say that.

Happy Mother’s Day!

If walls could talk…

As I have been hinting making fun of over the last few posts – there is no lack of wall art in San Francisco. Day One I was incredibly snap happy, mentally gloating that I’d walked down the one street in the entire city that the most talented of artists had graced with their talent. “Jackpot!” I thought.

Day Two rolled around and I realized I was an idiot. Worse, a tourist idiot. Paintings, murals, mosaics, quotes, autographs, signatures – The city of San Francisco likes itself some legal graffiti.

Nevertheless, it does add another dimension to the already beautiful city. The following photos are a dwindled collection of my favorites. As in, I might frame one and give it to you for Christmas.

*This is also my very last post about San Francisco. I know, I’m sad too. I still plan to mention talk incessantly at some point about the superior quality of pizza at Flour + Water, as well as the same restaurants’ genius use of savory rosemary herb in one of its desserts (It’s not new but they do it best). Yes yes, I will be touching on that very soon…

This first picture is not technically “art” but cool just the same. We passed it while walking along Haight Street… which means if that wall really could say anything to the Haight – Ashbury community it would probably be something along the lines of, “Get a job.” or “Your dreadlocks smell really weird.” or “Your mom called from Nebraska. She says ‘get a job.'” or “I can see your bong from here.”

Something like that anyway.

The Haight – Ashbury district made us feel “weird.” It was hip and cool and the ideal place to buy a TV remote control bong hybrid (if there ever was a place), but it was touristy. And a little sad. I don’t know that the area still holds the same magic it once did when Jenny Gump was around. Still, totally worth the 14 hundred gazillion mile 2.5 mile (uphill, both ways – only possible in San Francisco) hike to get there, no doubt about that. 

“Walk around, please. Crazy dog lady taking pictures here!”

Hipsters, man.

I prefer a baby foot. But pretty.

“Look, it’s uphill both ways!”

I could go on and on about how much I enjoyed our time in San Francisco, but that would get boring real fast (for you). Instead, I will sum it up with the one thing that became glaringly clear within the first 12 hours of our trip.

Walking around San Francisco makes your butt hurt real bad.

Happy travels, y’all!

Brit

The reality of Dog Eared Books does, in fact, not bite.

What makes a good bookstore? To me, it’s a great ratio of classics to contemporary, fair prices, and a great selection of both new and used books. I also appreciate a comfy seat, I sure do.

There was a bookstore only a few blocks from where we stayed in San Francisco. Thinking it was the tip of the iceberg as far as the city was concerned, we moved on rather quickly. However, after a long and arduous loop around Mission, we ended up right where we started, at what we realized was one the best bookstores ever, Dog Eared Books.

We perused. Beatnik, Travel, Cooking, Vegetarian Cooking, Graphic Novels – looking for nothing in particular.

Steve bought a giant used book about bread (read: “You, and you alone, are carrying that thing all the way home, right?”) and I settled on The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath. The night we arrived in the city we Netflixed (it’s a word now, right?) Reality Bites (Steve had never seen it! What!) and at some point Janeane Garofalo tells Winona she is “all up in the bell jar” or something. It made me realize I had never read it. Also, let’s just revisit the fact that Ethan Hawke and Winona Ryder were the pinacle of awesome in the 90’s. That movie is fantastic. 

I happen to think the perfect bookstore is just big enough to hold the number of books one could realistically see themselves reading within a reasonable amount of time. Much bigger and personally, I am inclined to feel overwhelmed. This is the kind of store you go to when you want to find something interesting – simply just because you feel like it.

In fact, I think Dog Eared Books is exactly the kind of bookstore Troy and Lelaina would hang out in…

❤ 

“Hello, you’ve reached the winter of our discontent. “

Oh, and FYI, Lisa Loeb is 44 years old now. Forty-four. Criminey I’m getting old. Now I have to go listen to that catchy little diddy.

I wonder what will happen if I listen to Lisa Loeb and read Sylvia Plath at the same time. Steve better watch out!

Tartine: Not for the light-hearted baked goods enthusiast.

Did you know that the famous San Francisco-based bakery Tartine only sells bread after 5 pm? And that it sells out in about an hour – almost every single day?

This place, I tell you, is a good enough reason to live. But be warned: Tartine is not for the faintest of decision makers. It is small and rushed, a variable pressure cooker if you will.

Thank the criossant gods we were in the city during the week for that very reason. I hear Tartine is a proper CF on the weekends. The first time we were there (come on, you aren’t that surprised…) we sat down, ate our huckleberry tart, and took in the swarm of crazy around us. The second time around we were smarter, opting to take our treats back to the Bed & Breakfast, make some tea, and eat them on the rooftop overlooking the city.

Rooftop:

Slight disclaimer: I did end up eating the orange glazed cinnamon roll in bed (Picture Schmeagol with the rabbit. There you go.). Crumbs everywhere. I was scolded.

Did you also know that Stevie K. used to bake bread in college? Eight years ago I would have punched him beneath his flour finger printed apron and pulled his shirt over his head from behind, hockey fight style. Now, it makes me 100% positive I want to marry him.

And Tartine gave him just the jumpstart he needed. Although my endless “Baking is so sexy! You should bake more! Make this bread for me and I will love you forever! Here, take my wallet and buy that bread book!” didn’t hurt either, I’m sure.

Needless to say, Tartine’s cookbook was on our doorstep by the time we got home. The boy’s first attempt at a whole wheat loaf will be happening this afternoon. If all goes well, I will be unhinging my jaw on some warm fresh baked peanut butter and jelly sandwiches by sundown.

I very much look forward to eating the boy’s homemade rendition of Tartine’s magical bread in the comfort of my own bed home very soon. I might even share.

Brit

Gracias Madre: great Mexican food that just happens to be vegan

It is human nature to tie sensations to our memories. For example, whenever I smell Tang orange drink I am reminded of the vacation I took with my mom and brother to St. John, Virgin Islands when I was 9 or 10 years old. We drank it all day at the beach in between snorkeling (thus marking my last full-body dip into the sea AKA Giant Shark Tank), and exploring unknown nooks only to find topless lovers hard-core making out. That was a fun one to explain to a 4-year-old, by the way.

“Wrestling. Don’t tell Mom.”

I’ve graduated from shitty powdered fruit drinks, but I’m still a total foodie. When I travel, the first aspect of any culture I want to explore is the food. To me, food is the most exciting adventure.

Coupled with my second favorite hobby, photography, I have a real situation on my hands (Me and half the population with an iPhone, anyway!).

Before our trip to San Francisco, I did my homework. First, I asked my friend Ruby, foodie traveler extraordinaire, for suggestions on where to eat/what to do. Then, with a little help from Google, Yelp!, and a few San Francisco-based blogs, we were on our way.

I expected fantastic pizza (which we had – thrice) and I knew the wine would give the East Coast a run for its money, but Mexican was the unknown treasure of the Mission district. Vegan Mexican was an all out revelation.

Gracias Madre is a little gem in the middle of a seedy neighborhood (technically X’d out on the map by our Inn Keeper – but we live dangerously like that…). It was our second full day in the city, warmer than the day before, and we had our heads a bit more about us. Oh, and we were starving.

I was skeptical about vegan Mexican, I really was. Unlike myself, Steve jumps into food alternatives with both feet and a hungry belly. For this, I envy him greatly. Me, I’m all like “Mexican food needs cheese, man. It just does. Cashew cream? No. I’m not paying for this…” Something like that.

I started with a glass of fresh-squeezed tangerine juice. We ordered guacamole with house-made tortillas (Have I mentioned the boy pretty much hates avocados? I ate um, pretty much all of this.), butternut squash quesadillas with cashew cream, and plantain tacos with black beans.

It’s condiments like cashew cream that really make me nervous – but it really was superb. I feel like me admitting how scared I am of meat and dairy substitutions will help you put more (veggie) stock in my opinions. Does it? It should. Because I could just  about lose my stomach lining over a Tofurky. Some things are just sacred, am I right?

We sat outside under the heat lamp at a picnic table, watching native San Franciscans walk by in fashionable yet comfortable city-wear (jealousy). My favorite aesthetic was the front gate which was iron and made to look like corn stalks. 

There was an amazing wall painting behind Steve (and everywhere else in that damn city) and a really lovely pipe formation behind me. I didn’t care. I was practically comatose. That was some good food, period. I will dream of that meal until 2014 when (fingers crossed) I will return!

Qué guapo!!

Llevo demasiados pañuelos!

I can’t wait to show you pictures of all the pizzas (plural) I ate. I’m practically ruined. As a result of this trip I don’t think I’ll ever love local pizza the same way again.

Speaking of which, I’m looking to open my own pizzeria and need a substantial amount of capital. But that’s another post all together…

Adios, amigos!

– Brit (roll the “r” and it’s Spanish)

Here & There: SF

We have been walking all over the city – like 10 miles a day (huge cinnamon roll from Tartine* – totally worth it).

There were times I wished I had left my 6 pound camera back at the Inn, but looking back I’m glad I brought it along made Steve carry it. Now I will have pictures of all that food I stuffed in my pie hole for the rest of my glorious life.

Anyway, for starters, these are a few non-food related shots I took along the way…

*Oh, and more on Tartine The Magical Bakery of Happiness and Delicious Treats once I get home. And lose some weight. That place is pure evil.

 

In the saddle:

  • Vegan Mexican food (cashew cream, anyone?)
  • Tartine (I need new pants.)
  • What Frederick Needs (or what we just wish it had)
  • San Francisco sure loves their wall art
  • The greatest bookstore ever (which is precisely why we will be lugging a 20 lb. book across the US)
  • Other random ramblings/observations about this wonderful city

I have no idea what day it is (I’m on vacation so I don’t have to, you see) but I hope you enjoyed yours. Straight from my most dependable news source, Facebook, I get the impression MD was about 70 degrees and sunny. Sounds lovely.

We will be sure to bring back the Winter with us tomorrow.

Brit

Mission: Cheese @ Mission Cheese

Today, we mongered. As in cheese mongered.

And spent our lunch hour discussing (moderately tipsy, but very serious) plans of opening up a cheese shop in Frederick.

And a cool bookstore.

And maybe even a Neopolitan pizzeria.

I bet after we go to dinner tonight we will also think Frederick needs a vegetarian Japanese restaurant too.

Whatever we scheme up, today was a blast.

Mission accomplished.

DELFINA-tely

Anticipating how tired we would be upon arriving in San Francisco, I really only had one thing planned: Pizza. Delfina Pizza to be exact. 

Tired and weary, we worked our way four windy (like, Chicago windy!) blocks towards the extremely tiny, yet busy pizzeria.

At the door we were immediately met with a swell of expectant patrons, equally as hungry and cold as we were. There were twice as many people waiting to get in as there were actually sitting down eating. Delfina is small – with seating for maybe 18 people in the entire place.

But we were determined to stick it out. We wrote down our name on the chalkboard waiting list and passed our time as only true tourists can – staring at each and every pie that passed us.

Finally, after twenty minutes, we were invited to sit at the “counter,” the less desirable section of the restaurant. I don’t exactly understand why though– we got a behind the scenes peek into the kitchen while we dined. I can check “watch someone stuff a canolli” off my bucket list now.

Great pizza. Great wine. Great conversation. Great start to the week.