One of our very own 4E bloggers has jetted off to the land of love, lights and (most importantly) wine. Her experiences abroad have been challenging and tiresome, but she has managed to push through to blog about her experiences.
Reader Discretion Advised: Article may contain references to pastries, cheese and lack of homework.
The words “summer” and “classes” shouldn’t go together; summer is best spent tanning, not studying. But since I chose to study abroad in Tours & Paris this summer, I’ve taken some time out of wine tasting, chateaux visiting, walking along the Seine, and (I guess) class to compile a list of the worst parts about taking summer classes abroad (in my experience, France).
Classes. A few hours of classes in French everyday can be pretty tiring, but the worst classes are the wine tastings. Especially when bread and cheese are included.
Field Trips. Remember those things? Soooo middle school. Really, half a day at Versailles? A tour of The French National Assembly? Meeting the French Minister of Foreign Affairs? The worst.
The People. Meeting new people is always hard, but meeting people then having to spend six weeks in France with them is just the worst. Does anyone really want to walk along the Seine, laughing in the rain?
The National Pride. France, why did you have to host the Euro Cup this year? Everyone getting super hyped about soccer football? Where is the national pride for the Olympics trials?
And finally, the food. In France, you can have….
A different cheese every day of the year.
And don’t even get me started on the bread.
Ugh, summer classes are the worst… But in all seriousness, there’s no better way to learn about a culture than by studying abroad. Whether you want to take courses over the summer or the school year, I cannot stress enough to you that one MUST study abroad. No matter where you choose to plant yourself for 6 weeks to 5 months, learn and embrace all that your ~host~ country has to offer!
Hump Day Chomp is a new weekly posting that intends, perhaps unsuccessfully, to make your Hump day a bit less humpy. We’ve found restaurants that are (mostly) cheap, rarely visited by our Georgetown amigos and, above all, pretty freaking good to get you through the week.
Few culinary experiences can stimulate as much excitement as those enjoyed at our very own Leo’s. Some nights that begin with the highly anticipated dinging of the omelet bell, however, end in a deeply unsatisfying cheese-to-egg ratio, or, more horrifyingly, a lack of cheese altogether. After having despondently consumed a block of egg sprinkled with the occasional diced pepper or two, we can’t help but wonder what happened to the tomato and feta that we blatantly checked off on the omelet slip. Doesn’t writing “Thank You!!!” surrounded by hearts count for anything these days?
If you find yourself feeling like your aggressive politeness, excessive heart drawings and subtle winks at the gentleman with the frying pan have gone egregiously unnoticed one too many times, fear not. This week’s Hump Day Chomp hopes to take you off campus and into a venue where you can have your omelet and eat it too – and it will have tomato and feta if you ask for it.
The Diner in Adam’s Morgan is the perfect spot for weekend brunch. Situated on the neighborhood’s main strip along 18th Street, the restaurant is a quick walk from the bus stops that transport to and from Dupont. The Diner boasts a cozy, Sunday morning ambiance, with countertop seating and classic ketchup bottles, diner coffee mugs and bottles of syrup set at wooden tables. The one drawback is that you will inevitably face the age-old, paralyzing debate over whether to go with breakfast, brunch or lunch. The menu has everything from Western omelets to bread pudding French toast, from steak and eggs to chili cheeseburgers, and BLTs to grilled salmon. Not to mention, there’s a whole section of “Eye Openers” featuring mimosas, Bloody Marys and “adult spiked milkshakes.”
If you’re looking to explore a new slice of the District with friends over breakfast or lunch, head to The Diner and check out the other restaurants and shops along the main drag in Adams Morgan. Tryst, a cute coffeehouse and cafe and The Diner’s sister restaurant, is located just a few doors down (featuring Instagrammable latté art). Unless, you know, you’re really into the always unpredictable game of Russian Roulette that is the omelet-making process at Leo’s (which one will be denied cheese in this batch?).
Here’s hoping you use this hump day as an excuse to treat yourself. You are better than a feta-less omelet.
Many Georgetown students were probably attentively listening to President Obama’s State of the Union address tonight, but here at 4E, we’re counting down the minutes to something that is far more important than any silly speeches: the White House’s virtual “Big Block of Cheese Day.”
“West Wing” fans, you probably just let out a chuckle. But for those of you who aren’t ’00s television aficionados, here’s what you need to know about “Big Block of Cheese Day” (which is tomorrow) and how it will affect you.
What is “Big Block of Cheese Day” and where did it come from?
On Feb. 22, 1837, President Andrew Jackson opened the White House doors to the public for the first ever “Big Block of Cheese Day.” He had recently received a 1,400 pound, 2-foot by 4-foot block of cheese from a farmer in upstate New York, and though Jackson had quite the “kitchen cabinet” (history pun, ha), he couldn’t eat all that cheddar himself. So he invited the public to carve some for themselves while chatting about current issues with White House staffers and cabinet members.
A little over 150 years later, the next “Big Block of Cheese Days” were held by fictional “West Wing” President Jed Bartlet. The television White House invite occurred in two episodes of the famous political drama, which aired from 1999 to 2006. (FYI: President Bartlet’s daughter, Zoey Bartlet, was a Georgetown grad. Hoya Saxa, Zoey!) See the “West Wing” clip below to catch up to speed:
That sounds gouda. But what is tomorrow’s “Big Block of Cheese Day” and why is it virtual?
On Jan. 24, the White House announced that “with a nod to history (and maybe the TV show the West Wing),” it would be holding its first-ever virtual “Big Block of Cheese Day.” In other words, the actual cheddar is gone, but the invitation to interact with White House officials is not. All day on Jan. 29, officials will be taking real-time questions from the public via Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, Instagram and Google+ Hangout. Concerned about the economy? Foreign policy? The Affordable Care Act? Now is the time to ask the big cheeses themselves. (If you’d like to participate, be sure to use the hashtag #AsktheWH.)
As part of its “Big Block of Cheese Day” promotion, the White House even teamed up with “West Wing” cast members Bradley Whitford and Josh Malina in this “cheesy” video:
Now I’m craving cheese. What do I do?
Go to Wisey’s. And while you’re walking there, think about what questions you’re going to ask the White House tomorrow.
I’m not kidding about the title. Believe it or not, there are numerous ways to spice up your food at Leo’s to create a fun, delicious and enjoyable meal. But like all great endeavors, it takes some effort and training. So let me be your guide, mentor, guru, Leo’s spirit animal, if you will, and let me show you the ins and outs of making a yummy combination at Leo’s. Have your pens and notepads ready, and in the meantime, pull up a seat at the finest dining establishment on the waterfront, sit back and relax. You’re about to be amazed:
A new approach to Leo’s chili Let’s face it. Leo’s usually has some form of chili at least once a week.
Option 1 For a delicious twist, add a fair amount of rice (upstairs, Home section). Then, add a heaping scoop of chili (upstairs, Soups) onto the bed of rice. Now let’s take things to the next level. Head over to the taco station (upstairs) to crumble up some nachos on top of your creation. Finally, head to the downstairs sandwich and salad area and place a slice or two of cheese onto the nacho, chili, rice mixture. Pop the creation in the microwave for about 20-30 seconds and melt the cheese over your meal. Voila! You’ve just made chili for big kids.
Option 2 Fries + chili = chili fries.
Option 3 Get some spaghetti and put chili on top for an interesting and delicious meat sauce!
Chicken a la 4E This is my all-time favorite creation to make at Leo’s. (Disclaimer: This works best with chicken fingers on Chicken Finger Thursday, but if you want this bad boy on a weekday, head over to the sandwich and salad area downstairs and grab some grilled chicken instead.) First, take a visit over to the Diner (downstairs) on Thursday and grab a basket of those oh-so-glorious strips. Break the chicken fingers apart into bite-sized pieces and gander over to the sandwich and salad area nearby. Grab two slices of your favorite bread — rolls and whole wheat work well for this one — and add two slices of provolone cheese to one slice. After that, add lots of delicious (and nutritious) leafy spinach onto the provolone. Next, add your chicken finger chunks onto the bed of spinach, and top them off with sprouts. Drizzle a bit of parmesan-peppercorn (or any of your favorite) dressing on top, and add the final slice of bread. Take the entire sandwich to the panini press and let it toast for 1-2 minutes. When it comes out, your life will be changed. It’s my favorite thing to make at Leo’s and it will be yours, too.
Cheesy garlic bread This one is a game changer, not to mention a fresh addition to any pasta dish. Begin upstairs at the made-to-order pasta station and ask the station worker for a spoonful or two of garlic. (Disclaimer: Whoever is working may give you a strange look as you ask for raw garlic. It’s okay. Just keep calm, carry on and keep reading 4E for more delicious food tips.) Then, head downstairs to the sandwich and salad area and grab some of your favorite bread — this works really well with rolls. Spread a copious amount of butter (downstairs, sandwich and salad area, opposite side) onto the roll and then spread on the bits of garlic that you received from upstairs. Later, add on one or two pieces of your favorite cheese — I’m a provolone fan, if you couldn’t tell — to the garlic-butter bread. Finally, head over to the panini press and toast the bread for 1-2 minutes, until the cheese melts. Be sure to toast the bread with the butter sides facing inward for a softer, tastier center!
A better Leo’spizza This can be done with both made-to-order pizzas (which are preferable) or the large slices that are available for taking. If you ever want to personalize your pizza, grab some of your favorite ingredients — i.e., spinach, feta cheese, extra tomatoes — from their respective areas. If getting a made-to-order pizza, take your special ingredients over on a plate to the workers at the pizza station (downstairs) and ask them to add it into your pizza pie. If you’re stretched for time, grab a pre-made slice and add the ingredients yourself. Microwave the slice for 20-30 seconds (but not too much more, to prevent the pizza from losing its crispness). It’s a fresh and easy way to jazz up a simple slice.
WokChicken Finger Thursday In all honesty, I can’t believe I’m sharing this gift with you because it is one of the most precious and closely guarded things I hold in my heart. But here it is, readers, you’re welcome. Grab some chicken fingers on Chicken Finger Thursday and rip them into chunks. Meander over to the Wok station and hand the workers your Chicken. Then … THEY WILL MAKE YOU GENERAL TSO’S CHICKEN. OR ORANGE CHICKEN. OR CHICKEN #5, AS MY FAVORITE WOK WORKER CALLS IT. (Sorry, not sorry for the aggressive capitalization.) It is glorious, and the fun doesn’t stop there. The wok workers will essentially saute anything your heart desires, as long as you bring it to them. Have a plate of pasta that you want to toss with chicken? They will do it. Want to have some beef with a medley of vegetables? They will pan sear it. They are hardworking, they are heavenly and they are the greatest-kept secret in Leo’s.
Now what are you waiting for, Hoyas? It’s a Thursday and endless opportunities await! Run over to “O’Donovan’s on the Waterfront” and enjoy one of these fun creations before the year is over! (Or before the vegan section is moved again.)