Saturday, October 18, 2008

I Can Eat Anything I Want Today

That's what I have been telling myself ever since I started training for a half-marathon, back in early July. Twice a week I would put in reasonable distances, 5 miles or so. Never were those distances so grueling that I couldn't stay within the Weight Watchers points system. But, on Saturdays, at an ungodly early hour, my team and I would head out for a minimum of 7 miles, often more than 10. And each time, I would come home in need of coffee and lots of protein. Then, as the day wore on, I would eat both lunch and dinner with a laissez-faire attitude of "These calories don't count...I just ran X miles."

On the day of my half-marathon, my immediate post-race meal was a Philips' crabcake sandwich. Mmmm....yummy Baltimore goodness. Goodness that lasted about 5 seconds as I scarfed it down. Later that night, I enjoyed appetizers, salad, entrees, AND dessert with coffee at Big Bowl, part of the "Lettuce Entertain You" chain that is synonymous with large portions.

See, the problem comes in with the fact that these finely-tuned machines we call our bodies need fuel to run. When we operate at full capacity, we need more fuel, meaning we are hungrier, thirstier, need more electrolytes, you name it. When we take in the additional fuel to keep operating, this builds muscle. It take a whole lot of running to solely tone and not build muscle. In fact, for the first 8 weeks of my training or so, I actually continued to gain weight because I was building so much muscle (not to mention the fact that my butt may have stuck out further - yikes!). Now, that's not to say that my body is not in a lot better shape than when I started. It is. But, I guess that I never considered that getting to this point would mean I wouldn't lose massive amounts of weight. I mean, come on, I've put in hundreds of miles of training. Seriously, at least 5 pounds? No?

So, my love of food has placed my in a quandry. While I've always been able to enjoy everything I like and keep, adding the element of serious exercise (beyond just the recreational) seems to throw off the formula. A veritable foodies' dilemma has faced and continues to face me (still in training, just no longer for a half-marathon) - enjoyment or fuel. Can't a girl have both?

Monday, October 13, 2008

It's Our Anniversary


So, my husband and I are celebrating four blissful years this winter. I'm planning ahead and looking to pick a great spot. We've had some near-perfect dining experiences over our past years, including the tasting room at Restaurant Eve and the Inn at Little Washington, four star winners on Tom Seitsema's annual dining guide (out this weekend). Given that things have worked so far, I'm looking to apply the same formula....this year's options include CityZen, 2941, and Komi. Each has attributes. CityZen's menu looks fantastic and chef Eric Zielbold has gained lots of critical acclaim. 2941 is French and looks to be fantastically romantic. Johnny Monis' Komi is a popular special occasion dining destination. Hmmm, which to choose...I'm making tentative reservations (well in advance, mind you; I'll certainly cancel in a timely manner) and seeking any and all advice in the meantime. Let me know your thoughts and preferences.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Word on the Street

Living in the metro area,it so often happens that we yuppies rarely venture off course to explore areas not immediately accessible by Metro or via a cheap taxi fare. (With ratings such as this, one might wonder why we ever would). When we do venture outside of our "zone", however, we are often rewarded. Just a short drive from the Ballston-Rosslyn corridor, Lee Highway (Route 29) offers a plethora of reliable and distinctive dining options. In fact, this family friendly area provides a nice escape option for my husband and I on regular occasions.

Italian Store, Metro 29 Diner (in fact, I just enjoyed half of last night's heaping open-faced sandwich for lunch today), Artisan Confections, as well as Sushi Zen, Taqueria el Poblano, and Pie Tanza, all in the Lee-Harrison Shopping Center are all great options. Feel free to name others, I may have missed one...Cowboy Cafe is also good, though more of a bar than a restaurant. Still on my list are Portabello and Thirsty Bernie's (though I have to question this Washingtonian piece citing its location as Clarendon)...cannot wait to add more favorites.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Jackson, Welcome to My Inner Circle

Ok, this is no longer breaking news, but I think it's worth mentioning that Jackson has now opened in the ever-expanding Reston Town Center. I'm quite happy to welcome the newest member of the Great American Restaurant chain that so consistently serves up quality fare. Perhaps not every dining experience is innovative, but these locales rate amongst my inner circle faves. Now, let's just hope that Jackson doesn't lose focus with this seafood/comfort food/sushi concept. I'll be sure to add on post on my thoughts as soon as I take a trip to the burbs.

Friday, October 3, 2008

ho-hum

I don't know if it's just me, but trying new restaurants in the area has been less than fulfilling for me recently. My reaction has been a general sense of "ehhh". In the last month or so, I have tried DC Coast, Acadiana, Majestic (ok, that was not just ehhh, it was bad), Art & Soul, even the Atlantic City location of Gallagher's Steakhouse, the venerable New York institution. Granted, none of these places charge the type of prices for which customers can expect absolute excellence, but these are restaurants that enjoy certain reputations. Truly, however, they do not seem to measure up. Over and over, the sense I continue to feel is that I am failing to be wowed.
(Oh, and as for Atlantic city, my first and quite possibly only visit to the Jersey shore...not returning to that boardwalk any time soon; saltwater taffy is sooooo no worth it.)
Instead, I yurn for my inner circle of familiar favorites, and yes, at times, even chain dining. For me, the comfort invoked in knowing what to expect can be just as inspiring as the perceived innovation of a particular chef. I find that I want to return to places like Metro 29 Diner, Nam-Viet, Coastal Flats and Sweetwater Tavern of the Great American Restaurant Chain, Five Guys, Cosi, El Pollo Rico, yes I even went to Applebee's recently to order off of the Weight Watchers menu ....is this nostalgia, it is apathy? Who knows? What I do know is, that for the immediate future, I am just not up for more culinary adventures that turn into disappointments. Look for me at one of my regular spots.