Girls Night and Dogwood Coffee

Girls’ nights are the best. The absolute best. I am so lucky that I have wonderful female friends who I can hole up with on a weekend night and do things like paint our toenails:

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And make friendship bracelets:

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Yesss. In other news….

We also ventured to Dogwood Coffee. Dogwood is located in Calhoun Square in Uptown. It’s set up in the lobby area just inside the entrance on Hennepin.

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They have a simple menu of coffee, teas, and specialty drinks:

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And a small seating area with some funky art:

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Dogwood places a lot of importance on building relationships with the people/producers/groups that source their products. They have coffee that comes from Burundi, Guatemala, Costa Rica, Indonesia, and Colombia. Not being coffee drinkers, we got a hot chocolate:

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Dogwood is definitely a cute coffee stop, but it’s pretty pricey for an everyday joe. I got tea here once a few months ago. They brewed it loose leaf – which is probably higher quality – but I would have preferred to just have a tea bag so I could refill the cup with hot water later. I don’t love paying nearly $3 for a cup of tea – especially if I can’t reuse the bag!

While at Dogwood, I learned about the first annual Minneapolis coffee crawl that just began:

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From the poster, I gather that you can purchase a $15 coffee crawl card that will earn you discounts at all participating locations for two weeks. Seems like a neat idea! If I were a frequent coffee drinker I would definitely consider buying one since this seems like a fun community event. Alas, I am not a coffee drinker, so I’ll put my money towards other events. 🙂

Out and About in DC

My DC posts are all a bit delayed as I was too busy with my friends and at the AIPAC conference to write them in real time, but you can enjoy them now….and it’s sort of like I get to enjoy the experiences TWICE!

For my first full day in DC, we got up to have ‘breakfast’ (quotes since it was approximately noon) at the American City Diner. Since the diner was only a few blocks away, we walked there.

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This was a truly traditional American diner – jukebox and everything!

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Our table was on an indoor patio, and we had a view across the street.

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The menu had all the diner essentials: milkshakes, eggs, home fries, french fries, and sandwiches of many colors. I ordered the Eggs Florentine, and it was so good I completely forgot to take a picture before eating it. Oh well!

After brunch, we headed out to explore DC. Stops included:
– the Washington Monument
– the Freer Art Gallery
– the Capitol
– the Sculpture Garden
– the National Gallery of Art

At the Freer, two things stuck out to me. The first was the Peacock Room. In addition to being great simply due to it’s name, the golden paintings of peacocks within were very beautiful:

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The second was ‘Monkeys Grasping for the Moon,’ a sculpture (of sorts) by Xu Bing.

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The monkeys sculpture hangs down from the ceiling, with the word for ‘monkey’ artistically written in 21 languages and strung together, a la monkeys in a barrel. The sculpture runs from the ceiling, down through several museum levels, and finishes just above a pool of water on the lowermost level.

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The pool is meant to represent a lake shimmering with the reflection of the moon. The piece is inspired by a Chinese folktale in which a group of monkeys unite in an attempt to capture the moon. To do so, they link arms and tails to form a chain from the branch of a tree to the moon. When they reach the ‘moon’ though, it is only to discover that it is really just a reflection on the surface of the pool beneath them. The moral of the story is that often times the things we work hardest for are nothing but illusions.

Continuing our art education for the day, we stopped by the National Gallery of Art. We didn’t originally intend to go, but we (meaning me) were drawn in by an advertisement for a photo exhibit called Faking It. The exhibit focused on the manipulation of photos prior to photoshop and other modern technologies. The gallery in its entirety is quite immense though, and we made several detours on our search for the Faking It exhibit. Example A, mobiles in the ‘colored paper’ gallery:

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Will they move if we blow on them??

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After the long day of exploring, we were looking for someone to eat dinner that would be delicious, affordable, and good for accommodating a large group. The answer was found at Indique Heights in the Friendship Heights neighborhood.

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I’m not always a huge fan of Indian food, but I really enjoyed my meal here. Of course, it’s hard to not to enjoy a meal when you are with such great company:

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The service and restaurant atmosphere were both great. There were sauces on the table when we arrived…

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…and the food arrived much quicker than anyone expected. One of the reasons I think I don’t always enjoy Indian food is that the dishes start to get monotonous for me. Luckily, Indique offered a Thalis (combination dish) with small portions of several menu items. I ordered the Vegetarian Thalis, and got a sampling of 4 different vegetarian dishes, lentils, mango rice pudding, and raita. Plus naan and rice. This was too much food to finish, but it was delicious and good for sharing around the table!

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Among the dishes others enjoyed were lamb biryani and chicken tikka makhani:

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Everyone enjoyed their meal, and if I lived in DC I would definitely come back to this restaurant. Since I was taking pictures throughout the meal, Cameron perused my blog to get the scoop.

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Now you’re famous! 🙂

Our Great Capital

I am in Washington DC! I am here for a conference Sunday-Tuesday, but I came early to visit with some of my wonderful friends. Any trip to the airport requires a trip to an airport Starbucks. I got a vanilla spice frappe and a veggie tray.

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The ‘spice’ added a little extra zing to the frappe flavor, but I wasn’t in love with it. Maybe I should have stuck with my usually favorite flavor of CHOCOLATE! I got the veggie tray for a plane snack. Most expensive veggie tray ever. $5 for a few vegetables! They sure make being healthy expensive. 😦 Boarding went smoothly and I arrived in DC just on schedule.

Right away I headed to the metro and waiting for me right there on the red line platform at Gallery Place was my wonderful besty for life:

the happy reunion!

the happy reunion!

We are so excited!! Not long after that, the fun continued at the wonderful apartment of these two great men:

I love my friends! We were all SO EXCITED to be together, so the obvious thing to do was go out for dinner and talk for hours. We went to Jake’s American Grill in the Friendship Heights area.

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Jake’s had a pretty standard American food menu: burgers, sandwiches, fries. Cameron’s sriracha burger was probably the most unique thing on the menu. I ordered the french dip with sweet potato fries:

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The sandwich was okay, and I would assess the restaurant as solidly mediocre. Afterwards, we walked across the street by this very DC-esque bookstore:

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We also needed a stop at CVS to meet the various medical needs of our group:

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I can’t say the metamucil has really kicked in yet….but I will persevere. Here’s my spread of vitamins for the morning:

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I am ready to feel better now!

After our CVS excursion, we went to Comet’s for some ping-pong.

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Comet’s is a pizza restaurant/bar/ping-pong place. This was A LOT of fun. Also, my team won ping-pong. Nbd. 🙂 To finish the night off, I acquired my own plastic DC metro card:

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I’m hardly even a tourist anymore! It is so great to be here with my friends, laughing, catching up, and having an incredible weekend. Stay tuned for more of our adventures!