Thursday, April 28, 2011

Ketchup - Restaurant Review

Ketchup on Urbanspoon

I'm in National Harbor for the CEC (Council for Exceptional Children) national conference. I just had dinner with a friend (Aunt Piddy's daughter, Christy) at Ketchup. When I got back to the hotel room, I googled it and found some of the most horrible reviews I've ever read, which I found interesting because I had a delightful dinner experience.

I forgot to bring my camera on this trip, so I have no pictures unfortunately. Too bad, too, because the Seafood Risotto was picture perfect. And tasted great! Succulent sea scallops, large cooked-perfectly prawns, fresh lobster...mmm. The risotto was great. My friend had lobster macaroni and cheese. She didn't say anything about it, so I suspect it wasn't great. We also had the 'threesome': 3 kinds of fries (sweet potato, parmesan dusted, and spicy) served with 6 kinds of homemade ketchup, hence the name of the restaurant. The ketchups were ranch (fry sauce to you Utah people), chipotle, root beer, wasabi, honey, and something else that I can't remember. The fries were uninspiring, which makes sense because they'd want to highlight the ketchups. But the sweet potato fries had a cinnamon sugar dusting. That's just wrong.

The highlight of the evening, running even with my seafood risotto, was Chantel, our server. She was fabulous. I am disheartened by the lack of customer service these days, but she has restored my faith. We ate dinner the night before at McCloone's Pier House, which had excellent food, but the server was bad AND rude. Double whammy. I messed with him right back. Don't be coppin' a nasty attitude with me, Mr. I'm-too-good-to-serve-your-food-you-tourist-with-money-to-tip. I can count on two hand the times I've tipped below 20% (I'm a former bartender and waitress) and this was one of them. Shame on him.

All in all, let me say that a visit to either McCloone's or Ketchup is worth it. And frankly, I'll be trying to convince Rhett to come back here with me and BonnieBlue for a long weekend. Fun time.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Cool weight tracker

My friend, Mama Pea, is starting a weight loss journey too, so I have a cyber/real friend going through the same trials and tribulations I am. She found this cool tracker that I copped. It's at

I'll update weekly as my own public posting, a strategy that should hold me accountable. I've done WW before, and I found the weekly weigh-ins and group meetings relatively helpful, but towards the end of a few years of that, not so much. Now I've joined WW online, so the "public" aspect doesn't exist. I'm hoping this will help. I've got to try something because I've been on WW online for 4 weeks now and after losing a couple of pounds, am back up to my starting weight. Sigh.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Book Reviews

I listen to a lot of audiobooks because my commute is 45 min each way (though I don't go to that workplace every day).

I'm currently listening to Stephen Colbert's I Am America and You Can, Too! Kinda' funny, especially if you like his show, but I've determined that he's best taken in small doses (when I first met Rhett, one of his friends told me that about him). The cover wasn't kidding when it read, "Shouted at you by the author." He cusses more than I'm comfortable with in audiobooks, though. I don't mind the language issue in text; it doesn't seem to stay with me like it does when I hear it. For some reason, I think there is something uglier about the f-bomb dropped auditorially versus reading it in text.

There are 2 chapters that are particular funny to me. One is the religion chapter. He "reviews" many religions and the LDS church got a pretty long treatment. He also has a chapter on higher ed that cracked me up.

The book I listened to before that was Paula Poundstone's, There's Nothing in This Book I Meant to Say. I don't know if she meant to (hence the title), but she ended up writing an incredibly poignant memoir that kept me laughing the entire way through. She has adopted 3 kids that she fostered (and fostered more), and one has CP. She ends up at the beginning talking a lot about the drunk driving episode that landed her in a lot of trouble, including getting her kids taken away. I in no way condone the drinking and driving, especially with kids in the car, but if those 3 kids were her biological children, there is no way they would have been taken away from her. One more sad instance of the adoptive relationship being second rate to the bio one. Anyway, she never brought that issue up, I did. My final word: She's good. She's funny. She needs to write more. She has a diary on her cat's website/blog that I've been reading a bit of since I listened to her book and there is an entry about preschool graduation that is a hoot.

I needed a couple of funny books because the one I listened to before that was Homo Politicus: The Journey Through Potomac Land, by "journalist" Dana Milbank. Oh man. This was bad. B. A. D. I'm a nut for political books and if they are even half way decent, I'll endure to the end. I took this one back to the library at the halfway mark. Ugh. This guy claimed to be an "insider" but I think all he did was troll all the newspapers in Washington, including Roll Call, which he cites frequently, and synopsized every scandal from the Al Gore loss to the 2nd to last year of Bush's 8 year run. I know it's not the author's fault, but the narrator, who I would think got paid big bucks, pronounced John Boehner's name "boner" and erred on quite a few other pronunciations throughout. It certainly didn't do much for the author's credibility that the narrator didn't bother to find out how to say all the names right.

But if that were the only problem, no problem. But it was bad writing. And he's a journalist! He used a metaphor of "the indigenous man"  and didn't do it well and overdid it at that. I mean, come on, referring to Washington, DC as "Potomac Land" all the way through? Awful. Just awful.

I'm going (driving) to Washington DC next week for a special ed conference, so I just went to the library and got 3 more audiobooks. I'll let you know how they are after I finish. Ta for now!