Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeverybody loves Costco! And possibly fondue.

This was a nice, pleasant weekend, in which I tried to cram as much errands as possible, while bonding fiercly with Son. So, I took him to Costco. One thing that struck me (pleasantly so) was the sheer amount of cars with diplomatic decals there. I recognized the cars of several Nordic countries (ever so thrifty, those Danes!), as well as some East and South Asian minivans filled with happy shoppers. Not surprisingly, I did not see a Greek diplomat shopping at Costco. Son was hugely entertained eating various samples, which constituted his lunch during my shopping spree--between three samples of soup, one salmon, two crackers with Brie, one M&M-encrusted granola bar sample, a dried peach, and a load of strawberries, I thought I provided a much needed nutritional meal for my child. No?

This weekend we also went out for a nice dinner with two other couples from the Diplomat's class. We chose a fondue place, and I freely admit that I had never been to one in the past, thus I was somewhat excited about the experience. In fact, I was so excited that I even put in my contacts (I do that only on special occasions). The place was really nice and cozy and we were just settling in nicely when the rather large and intimidating server showed up. She asked whether we had been there before, and when we all said NO, she started excitedly to yell "Virgins, yey, virgins!" to the rest of the people in the restaurant. We got some funny looks. Then she prattled out the way the menu works (which no one understood), told us to order everything on the menu, and scolded the Diplomat for holding the menu on the wrong page. Then she took the drink orders, after asking me specifically how I wanted my martini. I answered "vodka martini, straight up, no more than 2 olives," to which she quipped--"you don’t want a salad with your drink, huh?" Totally baffled (I had never heard of anyone having a salad for the sake of a martini), I retorted politely-"Oh, not yet." She gave me a hateful look and disappeared, which is also when it dawned upon me that she meant that I did not want MANY olives in the drink. Shortly thereafter, another server came and gave me a martini without ANY olives in it and with an offended expression asked me whether I wanted any. A tad exasperated, I asked for two. A minute later, the original waitress, visibly irritated and carrying back the unfortunate drink with 2 olives in it, came back and told me that the bartender would like me to be MORE specific about my olive choices in the future.

Our menu options included a pre-fix menu, which seemed to include an impossible amount of fish and meat and pasta on it. Our trusted waitress cheerfully assured us that it is a bit of everything and not to worry. Then she asked us to choose two types of broth (we were completely unsure why) and disappeared. The cheese and salads showed up shortly, and we all spent an hour happily dunking bread and apples in the bubbling cauldrons of melting cheese on the table, mentally calculating the calories per bite (well, ok, I was). Then our beloved food leader reappeared and proceeded to present each one of us with a nice plate filled with raw meats of all kinds. Turns out, we were about to cook our own food. So, here is the thing--next time someone tells me that I am about to spend $145 in order to cook my own food MORSEL BY MORSEL (since we each had only two pitchforks onto which we cooked our pieces of meat in the communal pot/cauldron of broth), I will suggest that they sit next to me and cook the meat for me. Thankfully, the company was great and fabulous time was had by all. Next time, we decided to go camping and cook our own meat there instead.

DC is experiencing some lovely warm weather, and Son has spent considerable amount of time outside this weekend. On Sunday, I decided to be nice to the Diplomat and let him play tennis, while Son and I headed to the park next to the tennis courts. As I was passing by the picnic area, I saw a large group of people, eating, talking and playing volleyball. Something in the diction of their speech, which I could not hear exactly, made me pause and inch in their direction. Lo and behold, it was an entire horde of Bulgarians! Turns out, it was a weekly outing for the kids and parents of the Saturday Bulgarian School in Washington, DC. I had a lovely time chatting with a bunch of them while Son was rediscovering his Bulgarian roots by staring down fiercely a nice little Bulgarian boy who wanted to play with him. I hope to reconnect with the group again!


  1. You're very good spirited considering the treatment they gave you there. I would have ask for the manager if somebody messes up with my vodka martini, lol! Just two olives, two thumbs up with that, just perfect! But you're right though, cooking meat while camping sounds more fun indeed!

  2. I wish there is a Saturday Tamilian School as well. That way my grandson can can catch up with his Grandpa's branch, if not roots.
    Whole episode including the outing at costco made an interesting reading.

  3. Yeah, we love Costco too but it's just so far it takes forever to get there. Plus it's always so crowded, it's not fun. They recently opened a BJs in Falls Church and we were thinking about switching but after we went there the other day, we're not so sure. It's just not as cool as Costco.

    It's neat that you got to chat with some Bulgarians. I don't know very many but I know there are a bunch. It's a shame there's no Bulgarian store. In St. Petersburg, FL, where we lived before moving to D.C., we had a Bulgarian store and it was awesome. I could get lyutenica, lukanka, sudjuk, banica, sirene (of course) all kinds of snacks, preserves and spices. I really miss it!

  4. @ Daniela--yeah, I really miss cheese and not having a store with BG goods is just not fun! As for BJs, they do sell things in smaller quantities, so perhaps that's its appeal? Since we are in Ballston, Costco is just a stone throw away!
    @VM--exactly my point--no messing with a martini. Alas, I have way too many bad martini stories; someone even metioned that I need a side bar with bad martini stories! I can;t wait to have martinis prepared for me in Dhaka...a learning experience, for sure!
    @ Cheenu--who knows, maybe they do have them! It requires a bit of research by the Diplomat, I suppose.

  5. Where did you go for fondue? Was it the Melting Pot which is nearby in Ballston? I never tried it in the year that I lived there even though I could see it from my window.