Saturday, October 28, 2006

Still waiting...

I should be at the shop right now. I should be putting the finishing touches on the Redline. Instead, I'm propped up in bed writing this entry. Still no word from the Pink-man on the freehub body. I've got this awaiting him. From what I hear, it's the BEST.

In other news, I think it's official. I think Wilco has supplanted Built to Spill as my favorite band...for now. In the way that they are each pretty adaptable to different musical styles, they're similar bands. BTS is so versatile. They can bounce between metal, sugar pop, fuzz rock, emo, anthemic classic rock, art rock, alt-country, jam rock, etc. with absolute ease and perfection. Similarly, but not to the same extent, Wilco has floated between styles such as rock-a-billy, country pop, alt-country, art country (I think I just made up that style, as a quick check of's country genre page yields no 'art country' category), folk, rock, etc. I think the versatility I see in each is what impresses me so. Plus, each spits out some friggin' catchy, witty, smart, powerful, sophisticated music.

On the food front, we decided to stick at home last night. It was the right night for it, as it has been raining relentlessly since yesterday at 2PM. It's now 8:30AM on Saturday. I whipped up my famous, and famously simple, veggie lasagna. It's always a crowd pleaser and folks are always shocked to hear that I use cottage cheese in place of ricotta or other Italian-style cheese. The recipe came to me one night when I decided to piece something together with ingredients sitting around the house. In the end, I mixed the cottage cheese with chopped spinach, sauteed mushrooms, onions, and garlic, tomato sauce, and some spices M&D brought back from Italy. I spread the mixture between lasagna noodles. Sprinkled with some pecorino romano, that was it. Simply as hell and, like I said, a huge crowd pleaser. Evan, SVR, and I nearly polished off the whole pan last night. Good eatin'. I forgot to snap some photos. There'll be a next time.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Bebo = Blech-o

As promised, here's the follow-up re: Friday's dinner at Bebo.

I usually try to give places the benefit of the doubt, but this time I can't. To sum up, the dinner was easily the worst dining experience of my life. I think it would be too traumatic to recount the whole thing in minute detail.

We saw our server three times the whole evening. We waited about 25 minutes before he stopped in at our table for the first time. We ordered two glasses of wine. They never showed...even though we asked for them twice. My favorite part of the evening was when the waiter brought the check. He made a specific point of telling us, 'I had the manager take care of all the wine.' SVR and I were both very confused by the comment. 'All the wine' suggests we received part of the wine order. Not true. We got nuthin'. I was polite to the waiter all night, but couldn't help but ask him to clarify his point about excusing the wine from the check. He told us that he gladly had the manager remove the charge. No shit, right? Would it make more sense to leave the charge on the check...even though we never received the product? What a moron. I was sure to let him know that, despite his tone of voice that suggested otherwise, he wasn't doing any favors for us by removing the charge.

The funniest thing about the evening was how the terrible service left SVR and me with nothing else to talk about during dinner. It's not like, when we get great service at a restaurant, we spend the whole meal dwelling on how smoothly everything is going. On the other hand, the grossly inadequate service left us talking about it for the entire time we were at Bebo.

As for the food, it was pretty mediocre. I had chicken that was adequately flavorful...good herbs, good grill char, good citrus. It was pretty disappointing that the dish came with absolutely no accompaniment. SVR's meatballs were tasty, but very cold in places. The sides, some rapini and some sauteed potatoes, were below average. The rapini were way too bitter and had none of the promised garlic or red pepper flakes. The potatoes were a little too greasy and much closer to fried than sauteed.

The whole experience was god-awful, particularly considering how excellent the Osteria always was.

In other news...Granogue!! I went with Evan to watch the racing. It was pretty painful to watch without getting to do. Evan had a strong showing...fourth out of about 70 starters. The course looked like a blast. Lots of off-camber, some great descents, two run-ups that the many of the pros RODE, and an oddly placed barriers section. I set out to TP at 7AM and rode the Surly. The chain was super-loose and I actually threw the chain off the cog and chainring. Bad news. The beefy chain banged up the chainstay pretty nicely. Re-tensioned things at Evan's and we then hit the road.

Drive up was nice. Beautiful fall scenery the whole way and the time flew by. The atmosphere at the race was so perfect. The free beer was flowing as of about 10AM. Folks were generally friendly and it was pretty cool to rub shoulders with the pros. The crowd was sizeable and very enthusiastic. Here are a few shots of Todd Wells, Kabush, Wicks, and a few others at the sign-in tent.

I have a heck of a time formatting photos for this blog, so I'll leave it at that.

The pros were fast and Trebon pulled away for a significant gap and a win.

The drive home was full of traffic. Once back in DC, I hopped on the Surly again and popped into the Park for the ride home. It was amazing in the Park...dusky, quiet, serene, empty, and pleasantly cool.

Once home, it was a quick shower, some cleaning up at the apartment, and then back out to hook up with Drew, Steph, and Evan for some proper 'hall-pass' festivities. In the end, that amounted to a little too much beer, some rude jokes, and not much more. Dinner and drinks were at Fado. Good spot. Even better considering the manager is one of my junior high and high school friend's kid sister. It's always great to see her there and she usually extends a pretty good hook-up to me and the gang. She was generous again last night, so the night out was cheap. Always good. Steph did a car bomb. That was funny.

Today's Sunday. Evan dragged my mildly hung over ass out for a morning ride. Glad to get out there. Of course, the weather forecasters are effin' morons. They were calling for decent weather in the a.m. and rain in the p.m. It spit some drops on me on my way into the Park at 10:15AM. The skies have been bright blue since around 1:30PM. Go figure. I think I would've stayed out on the bike longer if the weather was like this earlier in the day. Oh well.

That's the latest. Blogging should be a little smoother now that we have an Internet connection. Hopefully I'll have some good eats to report on this week. Even better, hopefully the Redline will come together this week and I'll finally get to racin'.

Friday, October 20, 2006


A little week end re-cap.

Had majorly high hopes of finally piecing the Redline together this week. No dice. Hooked up with Pinks this week all ready to get rockin' on the thing. He assured me that everything was in. I was eager to get the thing up and running for Granogue. My thinking was a little too wishful. I had a sneaking suspicion that the Campy to Shimano freehub body got overlooked in all the ordering chaos. My worst fears came true. Pinks looked majorly confused when I asked where that critical part was hiding. Things only got worse from there. Headset went on without a hitch. Pinkey hooked me up with some bling, bling, blingy RED carbon spacers. Then it came time to install the cranks. Earlier in the session I had pulled the 53 and 39 off a set of FSA cranks. In the process of mounting the 42, I handily stabbed myself in the knuckle with a tooth. Other than the cut on my right hand from when I decided to play catch with a spackling knife, I can't say I've ever cut so deep. This week's wound was a mere puncture, but that shit was deep. I could see the fat spilling out. The finger is numb in front of the cut. Nerves severed? Nice. Lots of blood. Anyhow...I've lost focus here. The driveside crank slid right on the ISIS bb. The non-drive side crank, though, created a little complication. Turns out, Rob mis-paired the drive and non-drive cranks he generously donated to the cause. The non-drive crank is an SLK and interfaces with FSA's Mega-EXO bb. Damn. Game over. The build is currently on hold. Racing this weekend is currently on hold. Pisser.

I'm still gonna hit up Granogue with Ellicott. It'll be sweet to watch the pros and see some national champs. If all goes as planned, I'll ride to TP tomorrow morning to get some riding in. Beyond that, I'll have the Surly in Delaware for some more riding. And then I'll probably have to ride home from TP at the end of it all. Should be a great time.

If the Redline debacle was the week's low-light, last night was certainly the highlight. I lucked out in early September when I saw an ad for an October Wilco show in DC. I saw the ad the same day tickets went on sale. SVR and I have a major fondness for the band and I snatched two tickets. They made a pretty sweet b-day gift for SVR...particularly considering I wasn't able to secure tickets to the traveling 'So You Think You Can Dance' live show. Somehow, I think SVR really wanted to see that. Turned out, Mike Jorgensen (keyboardist for Wilco) is a spitting image for one of the SYTYCD players, so all was well. Anyhow, to keep it short and sweet, the concert was gorgeous. The musicianship was spot on, the crowd was decent, our vantage point was great, and the song selection was awesome. Hear the thing at NPR.

And to end the week, tonight we're off to try Roberto Donna's newly opened Bebo Trattoria. It's in the old Oyamel space. Yes, that means a trip to VA. Wish us luck. It's opening night, so I expect some major deficiencies. Maybe ol' Bebo will pleasantly surprise me.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Rush Hour Reefer

After a painfully long hiatus, I'm back to riding. Yesterday was my first weekday afternoon ride in over three weeks...maybe even four. What happened to drivers over the past month? They seemed particularly hazardous and crazed and maniacal and nutty yesterday. Here's an example.

I was on MacArthur Blvd., approaching the stop sign just before Glen Echo Park. Cars were lined up about twenty deep and there was room to pass on the right. I rolled slowly past the line-up and caught a whiff of smoke. It was faint at first and grew increasingly pungent as I rolled further down the line. I eventually rolled past a car with windows up and reeking of pot smoke. Lemme tell you, that made me feel wonderfully safe. As if MacArthur isn't narrow enough and drivers aren't already hazardous enough and the low-lying afternoon sun isn't distracting enough. Now I gotta worry about sharing the congested roads with some schmuck hot-boxin' it on his way home from work. Nuthin' like feeling safe out on the roads!