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Michigan Football

I have decided to forget about that third Austin posting, mainly because I never got around to composing it! Plus, now I have another trip to blog about!

As I wrote about in July, this weekend was the (annual?) family tailgating event in Ann Arbor, Michigan, where my youngest brother is a junior:

On Friday, after everyone arrived from their respective homes (5 of us flew in, and the rest drove from New York), we met for dinner at the Bennigan’s near our hotel, and then proceeded to my brother’s apartment, where a party was held in our pseudo honor.

On Saturday, it was on to the traditional football fun, starting with tailgating on the golf course! Here is the crew having fun:

And this year, my father got us one of those fun tailgating games:

After the tailgating, everyone but Matt and me headed to the game, including all of the students on campus. Look at this exodus:

While Matt and I didn’t go to the game, the rest of the crew did, and most of them left around the time that Michigan was losing 19-0. However, Michigan ended up winning the game by staging an amazing comeback in the 4th quarter. However, as I mentioned, all of our crew left the game before the 4th quarter, which means they ALL missed THE GREATEST COMEBACK MICHIGAN FOOTBALL HAS EVER MADE AT HOME!! The only person who saw it was my mother, who watched it on television in New York. She and I had a great laugh at their expense!

Overall, it was a fun weekend, and I hope to post some pictures of the party that Patrick threw, if I get any, and see The PWill Show (link is to the right) for more photos and recap from the weekend!

Austin (Part 2 of 2)

Well, my loyal blog readers (all 3 of them) have all commented on how long it has taken me to create the second Austin post. I understand that it has taken a while, and, in fact, has taken much longer than it should. However, I am not sure my loyal readers realize how long it takes to come up with my eloquent commentary, and to select just the right pictures! Oh, okay, who am I kidding, I just haven’t gotten around to it! 🙂

Anyway, as I started to say last week, I spent Labor Day weekend attending a very lovely wedding in a town and state I had not visited before, which at this point in my life rarely happens. Thanks to my family’s many moves, my own moves, and various East Coast highway adventures, it is not often that I visit a new state.

But on Labor Day weekend, I visited Austin, Texas – and it was nothing like I imagined it to be….

I must admit that I, like many people who have never traveled to Texas, imagined that Texas would be rather dry and desert-like. However, I was quite wrong, as does this look arid to you?

And check out this view of the Colorado River, which runs directly south of downtown Austin:

I arrived into Austin on Thursday night, checked into my room at the Austin Motel (please see Austin Post #3) and immediately hit the town.

As I mention above, I was in town for a wedding, which featured Matt’s best friend, John, as the groom and Matt as his best man. And Thursday night was already slated as “Stag Night” for the groomsmen – meaning no girls allowed. Luckily, one of the groomsman brought his fiancee, Ellen (who I previously met in London), with him, so she and I went out on Thursday to Sixth Street to have an anti-Stag night (although we ended up running into all the guys at one point anyway). Nothing too crazy happened on this night, other than discovering just how overpriced beer has become in DC, but I must relay one funny incident involving smokeless tobacco. It is not abnormal to go to a bar in DC and find beer promoters hawking free shirts, beer holders, and beer. However, in Austin, I ran into smokeless tobacco promoters, who were handing out free shirts, beer holders, and FREE SMOKELESS TOBACCO. I thought to myself, wow, I must be in Texas now!!

Thursday night was fun, and Friday was even better. Since about 97% of the wedding guests were from way out-of-town (England, Australia, Brazil, DC), the bride and groom determined that they needed to entertain everyone as much as possible, which was a nice and welcomed gesture. Therefore, on Friday night, I found myself at boat party on Lake Travis, which is the lake featured above. And actually, Lake Travis isn’t so much a traditional lake, but an off-shoot of the Colorado River that was formed from the damming of the river many, many years ago. Anyway, the boat took us on a short ride, and then docked along the shore to allow for swimming, eating, etc. Here are some pictures from the boat:

The boat's slide!

The boat

Matt and Me on the boat

Matt and Me on the boat

Requisite picture of me with a beer!

Requisite picture of me with a beer!

Matt at the back of the boat

Matt at the back of the boat

The boat also had an open deck level, which featured an English flag:

 

Austin, Texas (Part 1)

I will post more about this later, but for now I thought I would share a couple of pictures from last week’s trip to Austin, Texas for a wedding.

The first photo is of Matt and me outside of the reception, which was held right on the shores of the Colorado River. The second photo is from the Oasis Restaurant on Lake Travis, where we had lunch one afternoon. Who knew Austin could be so tropical?!

Last week, I attended a small party at the new National Crime and Punishment Museum, which recently opened in Washington, D.C. My party had the run of the entire museum, which is always a fund experience. And, unlike most museums in D.C., this museum charges quite a hefty admission fee, so I was very excited to be able to see the museum for free and without any of the crowds!

The party started on the ground floor of the museum, which also happens to be the sound stage for “America’s Most Wanted.” Of course, when I was there, the tables and chairs were replaced with tables covered in crab cakes and chocolate covered strawberries!

After Matt and I had our fill of nibbles and wine, we checked out the rest of the museum. Overall, the museum was quite well done, I thought, although Matt and I both discovered a number of typos within the descriptions and signs of the museum’s exhibits. I suppose those are the types of things a new museum has to overcome, right?

I won’t go into too much detail about about the museum’s exhibit, but I will share a couple of elements. First, as one would expect of any good crime and punishment museum, there is a reproduction of a jail cell:

The museum also had a replica of a Harley-Davidson that you could sit on and pretend to ride. The motorcycle even made engine noises and flashed its lights if you stepped on the gas! Here is me on the bike:

Overall, it was a great evening!

Brew at the Zoo

I live very close to the National Zoo in Washington, D.C. and this spring became a proud member of Friends of the National Zoo. One of the major social events of the Zoo year is Brew at the Zoo, which attracts many, many beer vendors and restauranteurs who donate.promote their beer and food to the attendees of Brew at the Zoo.

I somehow missed last year’s Brew at the Zoo, but this year I made sure to attend, and I dragged Matt with me.

One of the highlights is that one of the beer vendors was from Matt Brewing Company, from Utica, New York, and he was promoting Saranac! So I had to get myself a nice sample of Saranac’s Pomegranate Wheat.

Here are some more pictures of Matt and me enjoying Brew at the Zoo:

And do you notice my cute panda shirt? I bought that in China last year, and am quite proud of it! One of the restaurant vendors even remarked on how cute it is!

Restaurant Week

This week was Restaurant Week in D.C., where a number of very good restaurants serve 3-course dinners for prices substantially below their normal level. I love a good bargain, and good food, so on Friday night Matt and I headed to Tosca, which is one of the best restaurants, and arguably the best Italian restaurant, in D.C. to participate in this extravaganza. Matt wore a suit, I worse a dress, and we were all set to go.

As Restaurant Week is quite popular, and this restaurant is quite popular in general, I had to book our reservation 4 weeks in advance. And even then, I was only able to get an 8:30 PM reservation. But this was okay my me, because in my mind no Italian meal should start before 8 PM!

I will spare you the full details of our individual meals. However, I must make mention of my first course, which I found quite clever, and quite delicious. It was carrot pappardelle with a rabbit ragu! Is that not cute? And while some of you may not appreciate tales of eating rabbit, it is probably because you have never tried it.  Because, let me tell you, rabbit is yummy!

Anyway, by the end of the dinner, Matt and I had consumed some cocktails (Kir Royale for me); drank a nice bottle of wine (why waiters always let the man taste the wine, even when the lady requests the wine list and orders the wine is beyond me!); ate some terrific pasta, soup, fish, and pork; and polished off delectable chocolate desserts with olive oil ice cream. All in all it was a great evening out!

A Visit to the Farm

On Saturday afternoon/early evening, I found myself at a farm in Maryland, far from the nearest Metro stop, for a 3 year old’s birthday party.  It was quite the interesting party, as most of the people were several years older than me and all had kids!  I was quite happy to leave the kids behind at the end of the evening, as some of them were quite loud.  Although, the party did provide an opportunity to sample some very good Indian food!

Me at a Farm in Maryland

Matt at the Farm

The other interesting part of the day is that I was able to travel to the end of a Metro line that I take every day! Each day at 5:30 PM or 6 PM, I ride the orange line in the direction of New Carrollton from my office in Virginia to downtown Washington, D.C.  However, I had never actually been to New Carrollton.  But on Saturday, I finally had the opportunity!  And, once I got there, I saw that New Carrollton was just like any other suburban metro stop. Oh well-at least I can say I have been there!

New Carrollton Metro Station

New Carrollton Metro Station