Saturday, March 18, 2006


Several of our friends pitched in and gave us a hefty gift certificate to CityZen as a wedding gift. Last night, Bump and I got a babysitter and made use of it before it expired.

A babysitter. For free. (dance of joy)

Bump and I are very, very lucky on the babysitting front. A colleague of mine who loves children is always willing to babysit if her schedule allows, and two of Bump's pool buddies offer to babysit from time to time. For free. (dance of joy) What's more, Nana V and Doc are getting an apartment in the DC area for the next year, so we'll even have a local grandma. Hooray! (dance of joy) And of course there's always Aunt Bob and Peter if we have a last-minute thing.

So, CityZen. Oh My GOD. Wait, let me rephrase that: Ha ha! I got to go to CityZen and you didn't. Ha ha.

(dance of joy)

The food was amazing. I did the five-course tasting option while Bump did the three-course menu. The dishes were tiny with complex and delicate flavors. The warm little garlicy-buttery rolls had a sprinkling of salt. The staff brought out extra caramelized powdered sugar popovers because I said I liked them.

Bump and I would have gotten out of there for less than $100 if I hadn't ordered the flight of ports to go with the cheese course. Yes, there was a cheese course. (yay!) And yes, I got a flight of ports because I'm a brat and we were in a fancy restaurant and three ports distracted me from wanting to shove my face into the cheese trolley like some form of feral swine.

So, fancy schmancy very expensive dinner at a bargain price (dance of joy) because we have friends who rock.

After dinner, Bump and I decided to take advantage of our babysitter (for free - dance of joy) and have a drink at the bar instead of going directly home. Bump's running commentary provided endless amusement for me, so instead of describing how lovely the food was at this world-class restaurant, I'm going to spend the majority of this post on the after-dinner drink portion of the evening. Sorry, I'm not a restaurant reviewer.

So, the hotel bar at the Mandarin is as nice as one would expect. During the day, I imagine the views from the bar are of the Jefferson Memorial and the Tidal Basin. At night, all you see is the traffic on the 14th Street Bridge. There's a painting in the lobby, from which the bar gets its name. Bump: What's with the monkeys?

There was a band - called a "jazz trio" in the hotel propoganda. They weren't bad, actually. I wondered if this would be considered a good gig for a musician. Bump: It probably pays well, but I imagine this isn't what these guys dreamed about doing someday. At least it's not the bar at an airport Sheraton or something.

The "jazz trio" spent most of the night playing 80s music. During "The Lady in Red," one of the two smoking guys at the table behind us started singing along. I found this both horrific and hysterically funny. Bump: I think there may have been alcohol involved.

I ordered a glass of champagne (a $14 glass of champagne. Why is it that my cheap Dutch ass bristles at paying $15 for a cheap bottle of champagne to drink at home, but last night I actually thought $14 was a pretty good deal? Maybe it was the nice chairs.) The waitress came by and gave me such a full glass that only surface tension kept it all in the flute. Go, meniscus. Bump: That's a generous pour.

The staff came by with little nibbles - olives, those little rice thingies, and green crunchy things that looked like edamame funyuns. They kinda tasted like edamame funyuns, too. I don't think the little rice thingies were actually rice thingies, because they tasted like peanuts. This surprised me, and apparently the surprise registered on my face when I ate it. Bump: I don't care how you describe those, I'm not trying one.

He did actually try one, and agreed they tasted like peanuts.

Then Bump went to get the car, and I stole a hotel pen.

When we got home, Lumpyhead seemed genuinely happy to see us, and the babysitter said he had been very good. The babysitter that we got, you know, for free. (dance of joy)


Sarah, Goon Squad Sarah said...

Mmmmmmm. Cheese course.

Dutch said...

I love to see your dutchness come out in posts. ah, yes, the cost of a fancy dinner sure does seem less when the babysitter is free.

And I hear you about the champagne. I hear you.

Devra said...

When I was at the Mandarin, like you I was able to recognize olives, but the rest? Who knows!

We kept joking about George Carlin's routine about "MeatCake".