7.16.2008

There's only one reason to live in D.C....

According to worldtravels.com the D.C. climate is, "Highly seasonal with extreme variations between summer and winter." They helpfully added that the weather, "Has been known to be unpredictable too."

Style on the hot (unless it's really rainy and cold) streets range from J Crew, to Vineyard Vines, to Patagonia, to Lands End (but that last one is only popular for totes).

Buffeted by schizo non-native market forces and government salary expense accounts, restaurants attempt to toe the line between Applebees-like "homestyle" gluey entrees, for the transplanted midwestern palate, and completely inadequate Thai, Ethopian or Indian, for the people who want to pretend they love new cultures but really can't tell the difference. (Not one place could stay in business selling decent salt bagels?)

The admittedly large selection of museums tend toward displays meant to attract people who wish they were the kind of people who frequent the museum on weekends, but who really only like artists they've heard of before.

The natives hate the transplants. And the transplants dimly try not to be too offensive, but can't seem to help doing things like STOPPING in the middle of the metro during rush hour, apparently to ponder something which had better be damned important because it could have caused a death fourteen people behind them in the crush.

We're all here, though, hair in ponytails because of the humidity, biking through aggressively incompetent traffic and pretending the supposedly modern retreads at the Kennedy center are cutting edge opera (They very well could be, I couldn't tell the difference, I just have... suspicions...)

Why did we leave the buy-in-bulk comforts of the midwest, the glamourous weather of California, and the cozy warmth of the New England prep school where we were raised by people paid to tolerate our whims?

For bragging purposes, of course.

We're a community of more-literate-than-most and never-say-die competitors yearning to breathe more rarified air than the next guy. We let senators sexually harass us in the streets for the photo op, attempt to show off our "relevancy" by fighting over minute political points which everyone involved in the debate learned of from the same newspaper article, and crush into unimaginative events where we pay $8 for koolaid and vodka so we can later begin a story with, "That night at the Serbian Embassy..."

The natives know only a jerk or someone with an agenda would put up with a place like this. And we know it too, every time we retell the story of seeing some random CNN talking head on the train, or pay $8.50 for a sandwich on Capitol Hill. Then we shrug away the moment of clarity and call home to brag, again, that our jogging route takes us THIS close to the church J.F.K. once attended.

39 comments:

  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  2. AnonymousJuly 16, 2008

    Anyone who thinks Washington DC has a bad climate has never lived in a truly bad climate.

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  3. AnonymousJuly 16, 2008

    Go the f*ck back to the midwest and take the rest of the flip flop wearing, huge sunglasses, cell phone yapping annoying white girls with you.

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  4. AnonymousJuly 16, 2008

    Hey now, Ethiopian is one food genre that's pretty good here. Authentic Italian? That's beyond us.

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  5. ColumbiaHeightsResidentJuly 16, 2008

    OK, that does it. Liz, I gave you a good run, but WIHDC is leaving my RSS reader today. There's too little time to waste on this stuff.

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  6. AnonymousJuly 16, 2008

    ugh. bring back rusty!

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  7. Rusty, I've decided in lieu of MBSR, I should take over this blog, at least I'd bring the profanity and hate back...

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  8. buddy loveJuly 16, 2008

    I'm convinced.

    You're not like me.

    You don't speak for a LARGE contingent of DC residents. And you're not even trying to act like you are.

    In fact, I think you secretly LOVE DC.

    You're posting in the wrong blog.

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  9. Ok, no spam allowed either.

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  10. AnonymousJuly 16, 2008

    Liz... you seem to want to point out the absurdity of DC douchbaggery while continuing to participate in it yourself. That audience isn't here yet. I think the readers of this blog are used to someone who at least TRIES not to BE a douche. But you're coming off pretty douchetastic. An introductory post would maybe help us understand where you're coming from. Think about it! Good luck!

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  11. "Inadequate Ethiopian and Indian"

    Ummm, huh?

    You do know that there are more Ethiopians in DC than anywere else in the world (except, uh, Ethiopia)?

    Are you saying that every single Ethiopian restaurant in town is inadequate?

    How about Heritage India on Wisconsin Ave?

    There is PLENTY to complain about regarding DC's culinary scene (lame street food, lackluster Italian, no good chinese food in "Chinatown" etc), but that aint it.

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  12. There is some good-ass Ethiopian food in this town. Just stay away from the places on 18th street, and, when in doubt, go to Dukem.

    I'm not gonna mention my favorite place, because it's still possible to get a table there on a weekend without waiting for 40 minutes.

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  13. Sigh. I don't trust people who talk about "Those Douches." You both wound up at the same bar (over and over and over) yet the OTHER guy is the one who's a douche because he doesn't really appreciate what the bar MEANS? That's kind of douchey.

    And almost anyone in D.C. who wants to complain that everyone else is a transplant who doesn't really know the city, that it's everyone ELSE who hogs too much sidewalk space and talks too loudly and wears bad clothes, is totally kidding themselves. We're all some variation of an over-achieving douche or we wouldn't be here.

    I'm not letting the natives off, here, either. There are like, 12 people in this city who actually grew up in the neighborhoods of the city, and 10 of them can't afford to go to Marvin. The rest of the pretend natives went to boarding school in Maryland or spent three years here in high school because of a parent's job.

    Get over yourself. It's not everyone else who's the problem. If you can see a douche, it's because you are one. If you can't recognize that, you're not getting better.

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  14. Oh, but I do think that anyone who regularly frequented Sparky's on 14th has the right to complain.

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  15. AnonymousJuly 16, 2008

    Please give me back the two minutes of my life that I have wasted reading this post.

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  16. "Are you saying that every single Ethiopian restaurant in town is inadequate?"

    Yeah. I'm saying that after a completely scientific study of every single currently open-for-business restaurant, I was able to determine with 3.5% probability of error that all Ethiopian food sold within 4.2 miles of the city center (as determined by the most up-to-date surveyance model) is complete crap.

    Or, I'm just noting that I've gone out for Ethiopian several times at a variety of places, and all but once the food was horribly prepared (and it's hard to mess up seared meat and peppers) and even though it clearly sucked, every other table I could overhear was all, "Isn't this great - we're eating with our fingers! DC has a wonderful ethnic restaurant scene."

    Also, it's totally something I'd pull if I owned a restaurant. "Ah yes, this is not cheap cuts of meat boiled last night by the bus boy and reheated today - it's AUTHENTIC to my HOME."

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  17. AnonymousJuly 16, 2008

    Liz, you're doing OK.

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  18. Liz,

    You're a douche.

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  19. AnonymousJuly 16, 2008

    you are terrible at this, liz.

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  20. hehe Liz, don't let the naysayers get you down, I think you're doing an alright job...although I thought your comments to this post were way more entertaining than the post itself!

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  21. AnonymousJuly 16, 2008

    Holy shit liz, you are fucking horrible.

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  22. AnonymousJuly 16, 2008

    "Thai, Ethopian or Indian, for the people who want to pretend they love new cultures but really can't tell the difference."

    I had no idea that Thai and Indian cultures were "new".
    Thanks for the revelation.
    I don't know what a Ethopian is, so that may actually be a new culture.

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  23. AnonymousJuly 16, 2008

    Liz-
    I didn't think it was possible but this blog makes perfect sense now.
    JamesF was a d@mn fine hater.
    He left us Rusty who was a douche that made us miss JamesF.
    Then Rusty left, and he left us haters with you, who are so bad that you will make us miss Rusty.
    This is awful.
    Just awful.
    Please let this blog die with you.
    If there is someone worse than you I do not want to know about it.
    Thanks.

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  24. AnonymousJuly 16, 2008

    I love it when a transplant is on the metro and you can tell that they are truly annoyed about the DC public school students being too loud and obnoxious towards other riders but the transplant is too scared to say anything about it out of the fear of getting their ass kicked or even shot.

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  25. AnonymousJuly 16, 2008

    How diverse was the high school you attended back home in the midwest?

    How would your parents feel if you were to bring the son of a Pakistani cab driver back home with you for Thanksgiving?

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  26. HahahahahahahahahahaJuly 16, 2008

    "Liz,

    You're a douche."


    Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha








    Pwned!

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  27. transplantJuly 16, 2008

    Interesting. I've never had Ethiopian food. But neither have most of them, either.

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  28. TRANSPLANTJuly 16, 2008

    Liz,

    There is no doubt that you are a talented writer. But come on. This last post is at least a LITTLE on subject, but we need some hating, here. Your posts have no relevance. I'm not going to call you names and tell you that we hate you (that would be mean), but there is not hatred toward DC, MD, or VA in your posts! WE NEED HATE!

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  29. Liz, I definitely think it's too early to judge you on your blog (we'll give you time to find your writing groove; don't try so hard!), but I'm just not with you on this ethnic restaurant complaint.

    How much exploring of these cuisines have you actually done, and what basis of comparison do you have? As someone who has spent 4 years here and 6 years in NYC, I'll give you that our selection is far more limited than Manhattan, but there are gems of just about any type of cuisine (save maybe NY style pizza, red sauce Italian, and Polish). Are you comparing these places to what you can find in their native countries? I can't imagine you had it better in the Midwest (I'm from Ohio; I can speak from experience).

    Have you been to Dukem? Bangkok 54? Thai Square? Etete? Bombay Club? Rasika? Not everyone's tastes are the same, but I'm suspicious of the palate that hasn't been able to find a single place to their taste after thoroughly exploring all the city's (and surrounding areas') neighborhoods. Seriously, I'm all about the hate, but it has to be backed up.

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  30. AnonymousJuly 16, 2008

    Hey Missy why dont you do all of us Native New Yorkers and Native Washingtonians a favor and go back to Ohio.

    Your weak attempts at being ethnic and urban are lame.

    When you do go back DO NOT ever tell people back home that at one time you were a New Yorker or a Washingtonian because you and I both know that this is simply not the case.

    People from the midwest will do anything to boost their cred back home.

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  31. james--

    Speaking of "lame street food," believe it or not, I'm currently working on a feature-length article about this very subject and it is ridiculous the politics behind why street vending in DC is the way it is. There is some shady shit involved that you'd never expect. Anyway, when it gets published I'll link to it on my own blog (SELF-PROMOTION!). Anyway, it goes way, way beyond, "I don't like hotdogs."

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  32. AnonymousJuly 16, 2008

    WTF is with the "we" all the time. As in DC is a community full of people that have some sort of common thread. There is no sense of community at all. What basically binds most of you is that you are pretentious dbags who couldn't make it in a real metropolitan area so you work at places that don't actually produce or accomplish anything just so you can navel gaze.

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  33. I think everyone should cut Liz a little slack. The first post was awesome, the last two a little lacking, but let a woman hit her stride before you start going nuts!

    That being said, I've had some awesome Ethiopian. Maybe you need to try the vegi platters.

    Also, I'd suggest hanging out less in Georgetown and Hill bars. Not that I know you hang out in those places, but once I stopped hanging out there, I stopped meeting douche-y "DC" types and started meeting really cool, intelligent people. People who knew what the hell I was talking about when I mentioned the Bataan Death March, Fragonard, or the Miller-Urey experiments. Not because the people at home are rubes, but because they were perfectly happy letting their educations end when college did.

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  34. AnonymousJuly 17, 2008

    While you are certainly qualified to hate D.C., this post proves you're not qualified to say why. So poorly reasoned.

    Bless your heart...it appears you just don't have anything interesting to say.

    This is my last trip to this site.

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  35. >Why did we leave the buy-in-bulk comforts of the midwest, the glamourous weather of California, and the cozy warmth of the New England prep school where we were raised by people paid to tolerate our whims?

    For bragging purposes, of course. <

    Love this writing. And you are absolutely correct.

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  36. Why would anyone try to impress someone by calling themselves a Washingtonian? That would be similar to bragging that you had gonorrhea. At least you can cure the latter. As for the food, there are certainly a few places that stand out that profess to serve Ethiopian cuisine. I think Liz may have been alluding to the general lack of appreciation and understanding Washingtonians have for food (or, for that matter, other aspects of culture).

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  37. Salt bagels!! I really want one.

    The climate isn't bad here, a little on the humid side, but seriously, compare to the fierce heat in the midwest and the crazy new england winters and it is fine here.

    Ethiopian IS really good here. I've never had good Italian down here.

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  38. Different take: anyone eaten at the Eritrean restaurant on 18th and U? I was going to eat there for a post-run meal but it was closed last time I was there. It was a Sunday, FWIW.

    Haven't had Ethiopian food lately but I enjoyed it when I did. I freely admit that I don't get past Old Town very much when I go out and about, which ain't often.

    There's only one reason to live in DC........you could make the argument that a lot of people live here because there aren't any jobs in most of the rest of the US at the moment. And don't really want to be here as a by-product. I wonder if that contributes to a lot of the grumbling you hear everywhere.

    Myself, I'm content for now. There are plenty of places I'd prefer to be if all things job / living costs check out okay, but I'm not gonna complain too much. The weather sucks IMHO (too humid in the summer, just barely warm enough in winter that snowsports options are practically nil) but I'll deal with it.

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  39. "Speaking of "lame street food," believe it or not, I'm currently working on a feature-length article about this very subject and it is ridiculous the politics behind why street vending in DC is the way it is. There is some shady shit involved that you'd never expect. Anyway, when it gets published I'll link to it on my own blog (SELF-PROMOTION!). Anyway, it goes way, way beyond, "I don't like hotdogs.""

    Note to myself: check Marissa's blog daily. Seriously. I want to read this because I normally love street food. On another serious note, about the only thing to like about K Street is Carlos' burritos on 16th and K. I hope he's still there.

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