Lest you are concerned by our many ravings about the wonders of California and rantings about DC weirdness, we want to reassure you that we really do adore DC. It’s an interesting and historic city with tons of cool things to see and do. And if we hadn’t both moved here, we may have never met, despite growing up 20 minutes away from each other. So we’d also like to take a little time each month to talk about something we LOVE about DC that cannot be found in California. First up, crab feeds.
I participated in my first crab feed shortly after I moved to DC. I lived in a group house (typical) with some DC vets and they decided to host one on our patio (that’s what we have instead of yards). I was initially perplexed. The “crab feeds” we have in California involve buying tickets to an event put on by the Lions/Kiwanis/Rotary Club and getting a couple of crab legs, coleslaw and rolls. What my roommates set up looked nothing like this: we had a bushel of crabs from the Waterfront Fish Market, bowls of Old Bay and butter, and a half keg of beer. And newspapers. Plates? Please. Crab claw cracker? Don’t make me laugh. What on earth was going on here?
Freaking magic, that’s what. DC crab feeds are the best. And all you really need are the things mentioned above (though a mallet can come in handy). I will admit that learning how to pull apart the crabs can be a bit of a challenge and the “mustard” leaves a little something to be desired, but it is totally worth it for the glorious Maryland blue crab goodness that’s inside. You don’t even have to do any cooking! Just run down to the Waterfront Market and you can purchase pre-cooked bushels and half bushels, already covered in Old Bay (which is probably deserving of a Well Played post of its own….mmmm Old Bay).
After you devour all of the glorious crab, your hands will be covered in minor cuts, your clothes will smell like the ocean (not in a good way) and it’s entirely possible that you will have gotten crab juice sprayed on your face or Old Bay in your eyes. Trust me, you will not care. Because, mmmmmmmmm crab.
Well played, DC. Well played.
LG and I have lived in DC for four and three years, respectively. That’s a fairly significant chunk of time. Despite that, we are occasionally AMAZED by some of the extremely strange trends and habits that we run into out here. So once a month we have decided to bring you a “WTF DC” post, where we talk about things we have found here inside the Beltway that totally confuse us. Let’s kick it off with critter pants.
There is no question that different parts of the country have their own distinct style. Some things are adorable and some are, well, perplexing – I’m looking at you, Nantucket Reds. DC is a strange hybrid of East Coast and Southern style, so there are many interesting sartorial displays to be found but by FAR the weirdest to us is the critter pant.
Let me explain the standard critter pants:
1) Take a perfectly normal pair of pants.
2) Dye them a bright, obnoxious color.
3) Cover them with any random animal.
4) Throw on a belt with an equally random pattern (no need to match it to the shorts).
5) Add a button up and boat shoes and walk out into the world like what you are wearing is normal.
6) Don’t just stop at pants! Washingtonians feel free to do this with what ever they might want to wear – dresses, shorts, flip flops, belts, ties, sunglasses. THE MADNESS WILL NOT END!
Our friend KC sent us a few examples from his own critter pant collection, to demonstrate for our California readers who have no earthly idea what we are talking about. We love KC and he is a perfect Southern Gentleman but DEAR LORD does he own a lot of critter pants.
The most confusing thing about critter pants is that they seem to be acceptable casual/beach wear. This is where we must take our stand. How is this even remotely acceptable??? Everyone knows that appropriate casual wear is some board shorts, Rainbows and a tank top! Where, oh where, did DC go so wildly astray? I am now on a mission to civilize (or decivilize, as it may be) all our male friends and get them into some appropriate board shorts, even if it’s the last thing I do in this town. Bonus points if I can get them to embrace suns out, guns out.
Of course, even the righteous can occasionally succumb to the Dark Side.
Oh LG. Sigh.
I’m a book worm. There’s really no other way to put it. Fiction, scifi, romance, autobiographical, humor – I’ll read almost anything and I’m always looking for something new to try. I recently stumbled across a Buzzfeed list (I know, I know) that suggested a number of series to read if you were a fan of The Hunger Games trilogy. Since I was mildly obsessed with that series, I decided to give one of them, Divergent, a shot. It was all uphill (or downhill, depending on your perspective) from there. I’ve literally read 10 books that fall in the DYA category in the last month. I have a problem.
The appeal of the books, besides the fact that many of them are simply well written and entertaining stories, is that they present you with an opportunity to picture yourself in these weird alternate realities and ponder how you might handle such a situation. Or think about which sort of society would be the easiest or most difficult for you to live in. A world where the government decides your career and your spouse and forbids artistic pursuits, as in the Matched trilogy? Or one where you are divided into a societal faction based on your strengths according to a test you took at age 16, as in Divergent? I conned LG into reading a few of these along with me and I was pleasantly surprised by how differently we saw some of these fictional worlds and how we thought they could be dealt with. One theme in all the novels was constant though – America totally gets overthrown and taken over by some sort of dictatorial, mysterious group in every single series. Democracy is not impressing these authors. We should probably consider moving back to California soon, as I’m fairly certain that DC is doomed if any of these books ever become reality.
I highly recommend that you give one of the books mentioned here or on the list a shot. They’re easy reading (because let’s be honest, they’re written for 12-16 year olds) and they’ll give you something to think about. Pick one out, grab your handy BC, head to the pool or beach and read away. And then let us know what your favorite alternate world is!
I love being a Californian in DC. But I hate being a Californian who has to travel back and forth between DC and home. It’s a long, annoying flight and I frequently find myself stuck on a red eye with a screaming baby. This makes for a sleep-deprived and cranky Whit.
Luckily, I have LG to take care of me. When I returned to DC after a trip home last weekend, it had been an entire week (gasp!) since I had seen her. I was in dire need of three things: LG-time, food and sleep. And carb-free LG (I love rhyming) was looking to take her new-found love of cauliflower for a ride and make a cauliflower crust pizza.
The recipe for the cauliflower crust, which LG found here, was pretty easy. You will need 2 cups of grated cauliflower, 2 tbsp of parmesan cheese, 1 cup of mozzerella cheese and 1 egg. We doubled all of the ingredients for our batch. We like leftovers.
After you break the cauliflower down into chunks, you will need to grate the florets into smaller crumbles. I was strictly an observer but LG noted that it was extremely easy to grate up. When you’re through, it will resemble chunks of feta cheese. Mmmmm, cheese.
LG measured out 4 cups of cauliflower, put it in some cheesecloth to help it dry out and then microwaved it for 8 minutes to soften it up. Then she added in 4 tbsp of parmesan cheese and 2 cups of mozzarella (if you’re doing one batch use 2 tbsp of parmesan and 1 cup of mozzarella). We may have eyeballed the cheese measurement. A little extra won’t hurt anything.
Then LG stirred in 2 eggs. Finally, for her own twist on the recipe, she added in a few shakes of Italian seasoning. I was an extremely helpful taste-tester and then added a couple more shakes. Then she spread the whole mixture evenly over a pizza pan, sprayed it lightly with some cooking spray and stuck in in the oven.
While the crust cooked, LG whipped up some homemade tomato sauce. I’m not going to lie, I wasn’t totally paying attention here, but I think it involved 3 cans of crushed tomatoes thrown into a Vitamixer, then a can of tomato paste added in, and then it was all stirred together and heated up on the stove.
Once the crust was done baking, we pulled it out of the oven to add on all of our toppings. It was a really nice golden brown and smelled AWESOME. We probably could have eaten it right then and there.
All that was left to do was add the toppings! We dolloped on the tomato sauce, sprinkled on a bunch of cheese, threw on some fresh basil from LG’s new plant, tossed on the turkey pepperoni that we hadn’t already eaten and finally added on some chopped mushrooms.
Once the pizza came out of the oven, we dove right in. This might have been our only mistake. The cauliflower crust needs a little time to cool and harden or it crumbles up a bit too easily. However, a slightly crumbled crust did not stop it from tasting AMAZING. And it was shockingly filling. I’m usually in for at least 3 pieces of pizza but I was good and full after only 2!
It really was an amazingly easy recipe to make and it was exceptionally delicious. I’m not as carb-averse as LG but if all of her recipes taste as good as this one does, she may drag me over to the dark side. And after I got my LG-time and my food, I promptly fell asleep on the couch. Best way ever to recover from a trip home.
LG here! Now that we’ve all fallen in love with cauliflower, let’s have Round II. Cauliflower mash is such a delicious alternative to mashed potatoes. I never thought I could replace mashed potatoes, but boy was I wrong. This recipe is SO easy: a cauliflower, have a packet of cream cheese, butter, and a fork. The fork is for eating the cauliflower mash. I highly recommend using it.
First, wash your cauliflower! Always wash your veggies, and your hands.
Now, boil some water. Once the water is boiling, throw in the cauliflower. Don’t be like me, though–put it in gently. I may have burned myself. After about 10 minutes take out a piece and see if it crumbles easily. If it does, throw everything back in that strainer.
Put the cauliflower back in the pot and get to mashing!
Now, add in the cream cheese. I’d recommend adding it in slowly. It will make everything more consistent. I, however, do not have that kind of patience.
You are so close. Mash and mash and mash some more! Once it has a steady consistency, throw the butter in there. Mash some more while it melts.
Add in whatever you like in your mashed potatoes! Garlic? Absolutely! Salt! Pepper! Graaaaaaaavy!!!
Then get that fork out! It’s so delicious AND it’s a veggie.
Cauliflower is my new miracle veggie. I am not big on sitting down and just eating a vegetable (I prefer candy), so this recipe was perfect for me. I felt as if I was eating a starch, but really I was getting a HUGE serving of veggies. Trick your kids! Trick your friends! Trick yourself! Cauliflower is so versatile, so take it off that antipasto plate and cook it up real good.