It’s That Time of Year Again – International Crush Day

4 March 2011

Two years ago some blog friends were hosting a Happy Hour with the theme “It’s Just a Little Crush.” While a business trip kept me away from that particular boozefest, I extrapolated the concept to propose that the date* be declared International Crush Day.

Among the things I wrote at the time:

I endorse, embrace, and enthusiastically support the crush.

In the same way that some would argue that the single cell organism is the purest form of life, I argue that the crush is the purest form of affection.  It is perfect, wholly contained, and needs no augment.  It can exist in a personal vacuum absent acknowledgment or reciprocity.  The Crush can be romantic, professional, artistic, vocational, social, bloggerational, and can even exist within the confines of a healthy relationship.  The crush is perfect.

To have a Crush is to engage whimsy, to embrace possibility, and in the extreme case to wrap oneself in the courage of romance.

So it’s that time again.  I encourage all of you to spend some time next Friday, 11 March, declaring your appreciation to someone you’ve been crushing on.  It doesn’t matter what kind of crush it is, or whether it is based on affection or admiration.  What matters is telling someone that you like the way they make you smile when they enter a room, bend a phrase, play a horn, or curl a lip when having the first sip of coffee.  Whatever it is that makes you tingle, tell someone – across the room, or across the country, embrace the notion.

* yes, I realize that the initial proclamation decreed that ICD was 20 February. However, the trouble with trying to invent a holiday from whole cloth (unless you’re Hallmark) is that you have to remember it, and I forgot /wasn’t really blogging at all much in early February. The good news about inventing a holiday is that you can just change the date since it hasn’t exactly gone viral yet… and oh yeah, it was too close to Valentine’s Day anyway.


Funny thing about the photo montage at the top of the page: before York reprised their “When I eat a Peppermint Patty, I get the sensation…” commercials, they were mainly known to those who came of age in the 70s and early 80s. Back in the mid 90s I was dating a substantively younger woman – the first time I had such a large age gap in that direction. At one point during our courtship, I left a Peppermint Patty in her purse with a note that read “When I think of you, I get the sensation.” She didn’t get it. It was a missed reference too far and I stopped dating her.

and few people who have known me for more than a cup of coffee would be surprised to learn that Eva Cassidy has an emeritus place on my Crush List. The last frame is a picture of her before her last concert at Blues Alley.

p.s. please feel free to re-blog this, tweet about it, Facebook it or whatever other new media thingamabob you wish.  I really love this idea and would be thrilled if it spread.




Culinary Dispatches from the Restaurant Refugee

1 March 2011

Big Bear Cafe is kinda like a movie about something truly novel and meaningful – it doesn’t have to be that good because it’s Important. The Eckington area coffeehouse, that is part bistro and part bar, is important because the neighborhood has been vastly under-served and ignored by restaurants for the better part of four decades. It is an important amenity for her neighbors, and an important signal to the larger community that the revitalization of this neighborhood has really taken root.

But praise the lord and pass the Tanzanian Peaberry coffee, they’re not just important, they’re good. Coffee and Tea are given great attention and care here – rotating offerings of several artisinal blends that are brewed in styles that best show the bean or leaf. The limited menu doesn’t offer anything you would not expect at a small coffeehouse (pastries and panninis, soups and salads.) But they deliver culinary virtue by staying within their small kitchen lane. The food here is satisfying and comforting like Coltrane on a rainy Sunday.

To the other charms, we should add that the space itself is gorgeously understated and somehow evokes both an urban and rustic feel. This place is easily worth the walk/short drive for people in the area; it’s also worth a crosstown drive for anyone who really likes coffee, or believes that independent places really matter or are still important.


Restaurants like Circa* give credence to the oft repeated notion that the only things that matter for a restaurant are location, location, location. Leaving aside the fact that that mantra is offensive to people who dedicate careers to this industry, Circa makes me wonder if it has any substantively meritorious characteristics besides sitting on one of the most trafficked corners in DC.

The layout makes the place feel very crowded even if you’re the first person in the door. I’ve never been in when the lighting wasn’t sunglasses bright, or reading light dark. And they seem not to know the a difference between serving comfort food and having your guests eat like it’s 1999… and yet they’re crowded open to close. Apparently, Lauriol Plaza has some competition.

* link deliberately omitted due to obnoxious music on their website and a host of other sins of suckitude.


Two Quick Closing Thoughts:

Restaurant 3 has the best Adult Happy Hour in North Arlington. It runs until the commuter friendly time of 8pm, their very good selection of draft beers are $3, and signature cocktails are $5. The bar bites are tasty and just heavy handed enough to soak up the booze. I really like this place for a drink or three.

On my first visit to the Carlyle Club a couple of years ago, I was really excited about the old-school supper club with big bands and dancing. By the time my friend and I left, the choice was between talking to a manager about the awful food I really didn’t want to pay for, or paying the check as quickly as possible to make it Restaurant Eve before their kitchen closed. We made it to Eve. I recently gave Carlyle another try; the only things that changed in the intervening period: my ballroom dancing has gotten a little bit rustier, and we bolted for Eve faster.