Monday, October 23, 2006

The Drunk Train

I've boasted before of being on the last train back to Virginia but in fact I was probably a good one or two trains ahead of the last one. But this past Saturday (or very early Sunday morning, depending on how you look at it) I truly was on the last one. I was out with a friend in Adams Morgan that night and while tucked away on a couch at Tryst, I suddenly realized what time it was and that we had to get back to the Metro ASAP lest we be at the mercy of the DC cab driver.

We got to the Dupont Circle station with only four minutes to spare before the next red line train, which would only take me as far as Metro Center. I wasn't even sure if there would be one waiting there to take me back to Crystal City. But as I stepped onto the train and waved goodbye to my friend on the opposite platform, I realized that I had stepped into a different world.

The Drunk TrainNow my time on the Metro is typically spent in either quiet solitude reading or conversing with my friends at a subdued volume level. By contrast, this train had the noise level of a rock concert. Just as many people were standing as were sitting, each yelling to be overhead above the din. Some were even doing shots which got whoops of encouragement and rounds of applause from the other passengers. I could not believe my eyes as I had finally arrived at the place I'd only heard about in legend: The Drunk Train.

Like freedom, The Drunk Train is more of an idea than an actual thing. It almost always inhabits the last train of the night and moves from line to line depending on where the crowd goes. Fortunately, the majority of them were heading towards Virginia and so at Metro Center we all got onto the orange line to continue the debauchery. The thick wall that city dwellers typically erect around themselves during normal hours had been breached by booze making conversation plentiful and enjoyable.

I didn't get back to my apartment until almost 3:30am thanks to delays and transfers but quite honestly I didn't care. I had such a great time just talking to people and getting to know them that I could definitely see myself doing it again. The Drunk Train is something that everybody should do at least once in their lifetime.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Capping off a great week

So this week actually went pretty well. Work was a bit exhausing but the grind was interrupted on Tuesday when my co-worker Georgios suggested we hit Front Page just up the street after work. My friend Reshma had texted me just shortly beforehand curious if I was up for Gazuza, which of course I always am. So after about an hour at Front Page, Georgios and I headed over to Gazuza.

Reshma at GazuzaWe had a great time there although we had somewhat of a strange conversation. Somehow we got on the topic of Freemasons, secret societies and their influence on Washington, D.C. Needless to say, several hours passed seemingly in the blink of an eye and before I knew it, I had to run so I could catch the last Metro back to Virginia. I woke up the next morning tired and bleary-eyed but not at all guilty about partying mid-week.

Georgios at GazuzaFriday started out in Alexandria with my friend Chelcia. We wandered around the King Street area but not for long as it was too cold out for these two recent Floridian transplants. She had to work early the next morning so we made our goodbyes at around 10pm whereupon I raced into the district to meet up with Georgios. He had been saving a parking spot for me near his place, literally fending off other potential parkers with the wild waving of his arms. After getting the parking situation settled, we headed off to McFadden's where we met up with Michael and had an absolute blast.

Saturday began at Rio Grande in Clarendon with Mike (not the same Michael previously mentioned) and his girlfriend Jocelyn. After a few margaritas, we took the Metro into DC to meet up with Greg, Teresa and her friends at Brickskeller. This is the place that has a thousand different types of beer yet that night I was in the mood for some Unibroue. I started off with a Maudite and then tried their Don De Dieu before moving onto some of their other products. I love high-alcohol content beers and Unibroue is especially talented at making them.

We ended Saturday night at Julia's Empenadas at around 1:30am where everybody scarfed down on the warm and tasty puff pastries. It seems that every week here in DC, no matter how planned it may seem at the outset, ends up completely different than how I envisioned. Yet my penchant for meticulous planning seems to not mind the random bar outings and meetups. In fact, it is the randomness that I have come to rely on for my nightlife.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Tanqueray Rangpur

I first started drinking gin about six years ago while at Purdue. My friend Brent introduced me to it and we quickly went through an assortment of brands before finally settling on our top three. These were Bombay Sapphire, Tanqueray and Citadel, all of them excellent gins. Over the years I eventually came to drinking just Bombay Sapphire while occasionally dabbling in other brands such as Tower of London.

But earlier this month it came to my knowledge that Tanqueray was releasing a new variant of their world-famous gin and only in Washington, DC with select areas in Maryland and Delaware. It was a sign from God if I'd ever seen one. So last week on my way home from work, I stopped by the liquor store across the street from my metro stop in the District and picked up a bottle. It was only $22 for a 750ml, comparable to my regular Bombay Sapphire, and as for the taste, well read on.

Gin truly is an acquired taste. Many of my friends have compared it to mouth wash, pine needles or jet fuel, all of them apt descriptions if you're not a fan of the stuff. And even for us connoisseurs, drinking it with tonic is seen as the best way to casually enjoy it. But Tanqueray Rangpur is different. Following the advice of a local blogger, I poured it straight over ice. The taste was much lighter than what I expected. I'd never had a Rangpur lime before but I imagine their complimentary flavors to gin was discovered early on. The whiff of botanicals was there but not nearly as strong as expected. Tastewise it was very smooth yet retained the characteristics of its worldly heritage.

Already my life has been subtly altered by the discovery of this new gin. While hanging out at a bar in Clarendon the other night I caught myself asking for a Tanqueray Rangpur straight up, momentarily forgetting that it was available only in DC until February of next year when it goes into general release. I, for one, will be counting down the days.