Mari Vanna- A DC Restaurant GEM!

When a few friends of mine suggested that we venture to Mari Vanna this past Saturday for dinner, I was a little bit apprehensive, to say the least. Call me not cultured, but when I think of an amazing meal, Russian cuisine is not the first thing that comes to mind (no offense!). However, I was SORELY mistaken. If you have yet to attend this eatery right off of Dupont at 1149 Connecticut, you are selling yourself short. With spots in London, Moscow, LA, NY and now DC, these Russian style tapas range from lamb chops to beef stroganoff to traditional Russian borsch. With the quaint ambiance of your Nana's (or, in this case, babushka's) basement complimented by an accordion player strolling the restaurant (who I tried to give a $1 bill to, but I guess this is not Camelot's), don't nix the idea of Russian food for the night- this place is amazing!


Inauguration Fabulousness!

Obama inauguration
Unlike last inauguration, I wasn't able to attend one of the beautiful balls, but went to the ceremony during the day and watched the ball coverage from my couch in Alexandria with a class of Pinot Grigio  in hand. However, I am beyond proud that Barack Obama was elected for a second term. He is the only politician that inspires me and truly makes me want to better myself. Based on that, here are some of the highlights that I will never forget about the second inauguration of the 44th President:

  • Beyonce's OUTSTANDING coverage of the National Anthem. Sometimes R&B singers of her like improvise a bit too much, but she killed it (and looked beautiful while she sang). 
  • Michelle's absolutely gorgeous, new haircut. Even though boyfriends usually hate bangs, I have a feeling that they're going to be making a much stronger appearance in the next couple of months. 
  • The homeless men trying to sell by shirts of Obama's face on Jay-Z's body, with the caption "Allow me to re-introduce myself...". Totally priceless, and had I not walked from Washington Circle, probably would not have seen these gems. 
  • The buyouts at Jaleo and Rosa Mexicano. Never have I seen these Latino restaurants draw in such a Thomas Pink-wearing crowd. #inaugurationprobz
  • Seeing Common walking in the city and Instagramming photos with random pedestrians. Pretty funny stuff, but then again, Common is down with the common folk... 
  • Barack's absolutely amazing, moving speech (that went in and out through the horrible speakers that the city of DC provided for listeners on the mall. Don't worry, I caught it on YouTube after).
Whether you were one of the staffers I knew who were front and center (and I am entirely jealous of) or  watching it from your couch, it was another successful inauguration and definitely one that I won't forget!


I Don't like Blondes...

Nor do I particularly care for The Bachelor. However, SEAN LOWE, ladies?!??! If you haven't seen him yet, it doesn't matter WHAT your type is; his Southern charm and ab-tastic ways will definitely have you tuning into ABC (even though you usually consider it to be the most white trash network on modern cable). Having been heart broken by slutty  Emily Maynard (or the former Bachelorette for those of you who do not pick up the Newspaper), Sean was recruited to be the next Bachelor and there couldn't have been a better option! Now, why Sean, you ask?

  1. He doesn't have a gross Redneck-y accent, but still the Southern charm. 
  2. He looks like he could be on the cover of an Abercrombie bag- in a good way!
  3. He doesn't make all of the girls make out with him. 
  4. He doesn't discriminate; Sean has white, black, Asian, and Latina contestants available in his pool of bachelorettes. 
  5. He has good teeth (and there are FEW guys out there who have good teeth)
  6. He's featured Washingtonienne Leslie Murphy on the show; thanks for reppin' us DC girls Sean!
  7. He gets to have hot girls all over him; GOOD FOR YOU, SEAN! ;)
  8. He probably only wears a shirt 10% of the time. I wish I could walk around in a mansion scantily clothed all day- what a life!
If you have yet to tune in, you MUST see Mr. Lowe. Plus it's on Monday night; unless you're going to Industry Night somewhere, there's absolutely no excuse to not turn into Sean Lowe's charm from 8-10. 


I'm Still Exhausted from my New Year's Eve @ Shadow Room

Donned in a Selena-inspired (I'm her #1 fan) dress that I got on sale for $30 at Arden B at Providence Place Mall, I was ready to ring in 2013 with a bang. And after contemplating various New Years party spots in the city, I decided to make way to my boyfriend's personal old faithful, Shadow Room, and could not have had a better time.
My $75 ticket got me total open bar, which made me completely apprehensive at first; usually any open bar party consists of watered down drinks, sweaty prepsters who care barely stand up, and little to no access of the bar itself. However, Shadow Room did it right; they were mega-staffed, made the bar easy to approach, and didn't over book the party in such a way that I actually felt like I was at a private event. Furthermore, this venue which previously had a generic and mediocre club feel recently got a makeover, with red and black detailing that now looks like a chic blend of Dirty Bar and OYA.
After a night of Veuve, grinding the night away on the dance floor, and kissing my boo at midnight, I will most definitely be a regular at Shadow Room. One of the best New Years parties I've been to yet, this previously D-List club rang in the new year with an A+ makeover an event that will definitely make it a strong competitor on the DC club scene in 2013!


...I'm baaaaaack!

Well, the Mayans were wrong. While I thought that I'd have to accomplish everything in 2012 that was humanly possible before some type of polar shift or solar flare went down, the moral of the story is that not everything that you read on the internet is true, and that even if something is on the History Channel, it doesn't mean that it's gospel.

2012, nevertheless, was a huge year in the world of tacky-ness and guidos. Snooki had a baby. Miss Rhode Island, Olivia Culpo (who WENT TO MY HIGH SCHOOL!!) became Miss USA, and then went onto be Miss Universe this past December. And while Betsy Johnson sadly went out of business, shoe designer Jeffrey Campbell made the Lady Gaga inspired 'nightwalker' pumps accessible to peons like me in his very own line that came out for Nordstrom and Neiman Marcus.

But perhaps 2012 was even a more grandoise year for DC. While I may have moved over the bridge to...bear with me, you can say it...Alexandria, I've still been in celebratory spirits about all of the District's happenings. Some highlights? The Redskins became the NFC champions (I hate sports, but even I'll admit that it's pretty damn cool). Beautiful, Vegas-style lounges like Capitalle and Heist (R.I.P. Fly) successfully emerged throughout the city and brought with their debuts beautiful, Vegas-style crowds. But MOST importantly, the brazen, the beautiful, and the BOMB-ASS Barack Obama was reelected president, and Washingtonians at various election night parties throughout the city cheered with joy. Enough said.

In any case, I look forward to a year of ranting, raving, and writing, and doing it unapologetically in the most tacky of ways possible. Here's to an amazing 2013!


White House Holiday Recipes!

With the first of December on the horizon, I'm sure all of you are anticipating some great Christmas, Hannukah, and Kwanza (how is that even celebrated?) parties, complete with delicious cocktails, great recipes, and Holiday sweaters that are so ugly they rock. However, I'm sure like me, a lot of you love to dine exquisitely but are unsure of how to create some holiday culinary masterpieces of your own. Take Michelle Obama's word for it; these White House Holiday recipes will be sure to have your party guests buzzing (even if the domestic life isn't typically your thing):

Smoked Salmon With Peppercorn Crust and Tarragon Mustard
Appetizer -- Serves 8
1 side of fresh salmon, filleted
kosher salt

Tarragon Mustard Sauce:
    2 oz. Dijon mustard
    6 oz. lowfat sour cream
    1 bunch fresh tarragon, chopped;
    *mix all ingredients, season to taste, let stand to blend flavors
Pepper Melange:
    1 Tbs. each rough, cracked peppercorns using black, white, pink and szechuan peppers
Outside charcoal grill with lid
Double handful of wood chips, soaked in water
Light charcoal in outside grill. Allow to burn down to glowing coals while preparing salmon. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Lightly season both sides of filet with kosher salt. Using cracked peppercorns, coat both sides of salmon pressing pepper into filet well. In a large non-stick pan, heat a little vegetable oil and sear filet on both sides for about 2 minutes each. (Cut filet in half if necessary.) Place salmon on wire rack of grill. Into a small, aluminum foil lined pan, place 3 to 4 hot coals. Place some of the soaked wood chips on top of hot coals to create smoke. Place this pan inside grill on wire rack with fish. Close grill. When smoke subsides, repeat smoking process. After second time, remove salmon to baking dish and place into 325 degree oven for 7 to 10 minutes until just flaky. Remove from heat and cool. Cut into bite sized squares and serve on platter with sauce on the side.

Butternut Squash Salsa
Good with Chorizo Cornbread Stuffing and as an accompaniment with turkey or chicken. Makes 1 cup.
1 tsp. olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 c. butternut squash, diced
1/2 c. carrots, diced
1/4 c. fresh tomatoes
1 Tbs. rice wine vinegar
1 Tbs. olive oil
1 tsp. ground cumin
1/4 tsp. jalepeno chile, diced
1-2 Tbs. chopped cilantro
lime juice and sugar to taste
Heat 1 teaspoon olive oil in small pan and saute garlic until soft but not brown. Add squash and carrots. Cover and steam until just tender. Cool and add tomatoes. In a small bowl, mix rice wine vinegar, olive oil, cumin, jalepeno chile and cilantro. Add a little lime juice and a pinch of sugar to taste. Pour mixture over cooled vegetables and toss to mix. Serve at room tempreature. Best made ahead so flavors can blend. Store any leftovers covered in refrigerator.

Chorizo Cornbread Stuffing
Makes 4 Servings
2 tsp. olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 c. butternut squash, diced
1/4 c. carrots, diced
1/4 c. sundried tomatoes, diced
1/4 c. Chorizo sausage, cooked, drained, and crumbled 
2 tsp. ground cumin
2 Tbs. white bread crumbs
1/2 c. stale cornbread, crumbled
1 egg, beaten
1-2 oz. turkey or chicken stock
Salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Heat olive oil in pan. Saute garlic until soft. Add squash and carrots, sauteing until tender. Add cumin, salt and pepper. Add tomatoes and warm but do not overcook. Set aside to cool. Combine cornbread, bread crumbs and Chorizo in a bowl. Add vegetable mixture and, using two forks, toss together. Add egg. Toss to mix. Add small amounts of stock, tossing mixture to achieve stuffing consistency. Bake in covered dish in 350 degree oven for 30 minutes. Optional preparation: Spread stuffing onto turkey scallopini and roll up, tucking edge under roll. Roast in 350 degree oven for 25 minutes. Slice and serve.


A Kim Kardashian Khristmas...

Dear Santa,

It's been a year of ups and downs for me. While I needed to use spell check and Lamar Odom (which isn't much help, let's be honest) to make sure that my letter to you was correct, I wanted to be sure that I gave you a list of everything I wanted this year. And, no Santa, no Birkins this year; I already have fifteen of those! This year, I would like:
  1. A year's worth of extensions... you think that those Victoria Secret Angel waves are actually mine?!
  2. One million extra Twitter followers so that I can beat out Paris Hilton's number. You know I'm addicted to Twitter, Santa... #KUWTK, #KKTNY... These acronyms are, like, the next LOL.
  3. This time, no half-assed man. And by half-assed, I mean half black. Breaking up with my Reggie Bush was the biggest mistake of my life. 
  4. More Spanx. Let's be honest; my body type warrants them (did I really just use the word 'warrant!?).
  5. Anything way tight that accentuates my booty, which is all natural and even had it X-rayed on national television to shut up the haters.
  6. Another facelift for my step dad Bruce.
  7. More Botox. Hello, I started at age twenty!
  8. Electrolysis. Let's face it Santa, I am half Armenian, after all. 
I've been very good, aside from divorcing after 72 days and not giving back my million dollar engagement ring OR gifts....


Kimmie K