.C. in August is a strange place indeed. A good portion of the locals leave town once Congress goes into recess. I know of at least one individual who got married months ago, but could only find time to take her honeymoon once there were no Representatives to pester about foreign ops supplementals. Those that are left are often occupied with visiting relatives who want to take in the nation's capital before school starts. All in all, it's kind of a drag on the social scene for the small minority of those who like to take their summer vacations in June and July.
I was all prepped tonight to attend the nicely random birthday party of a casual acquaintence's friend's girlfriend (again, it's August in D.C., you take what you can get). But, just as attending completely random house parties and mixers in strange houses and nightclubs are a staple of D.C. social life, so too are flaky, shaky noncommittal evening plans that fall through at the last minute. Too late to make other arrangements, it became clear that I was not going to a stranger's birthday party in Georgetown after all.
But it wasn't too late to go out myself. Spending a Saturday evening confined to the apartment seemed like a wholly depressing idea, so I decided to take myself out for dinner. I consulted my taste buds, and found they were crying out for, of all things, Afghan food.
But alas, unlike NYC, where there were three suitable establishments within walking distance at all times, Afghan cuisine is a bit hard to come by in downtown Washington. The only place I'd ever been to had dismal service and a bad attitude, but at this point my belly would accept nothing else. So I consulted my handy, dusty guidebooks and found that the next best option was in a strange land called Falls Church, Virginia. It wasn't terribly late, and I so wanted some delicious doogh and kabobs, and it was Metro accessible, so off I went to the leafy suburbs of Northern Virginia.
A lengthy Metro ride, a bus trip, and a lovely walk through some shopping centers later, I determined that a post-kebab night in downtown Falls Church wasn't gonna happen. Not exactly jumpin'. The restaurant itself was almost cleverly hidden along the main road behind an unremarkable exterior. But the trip was worth it. Such delicious saffron rice, such delectable scallion dumplings, and doogh, glorious, doogh. I was a happy girl. And I got to immerse myself in a scene wholly different than the lovable yuppie wonks in whose company I usually find myself. This restaurant was frequented by middle-aged Jews holding high-decibel conversations on foriegn policy ("Sure they're destroying Lebanon, but they're all asking for it"), nutrition ("The vegetarian combo is excellent, but I'm not allowed to have all that rice"), parenthood ("Yes, our son is thirty and he's moved back in with us, but he's quite the entrepreneur. He works all day on this website of his about overheard conversations on the Metro, and I'm sure he'll find an investor.") and travel ("My 82-year-old mother and I are taking a cruise to Alaska. It's really the only way to see the place. I don't do well with snow or weather."). It's nice to step outside your comfort zone.
While I don't intend on making a habit of solitary dining experiences, it was nice to be able to have the freedom to go on a mini-odyssey because I was cravin' some basmati. That said, I do wish Congress comes back soon, and brings the social scene back with them.