• Not too long ago, I was in Washington DC when a foot of snow crippled the government.

     

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    They declared a snow emergency, which meant that cabs could charge an extra $15 per ride, causing a 2-mile cab ride to end up at $35.

    Despite snowy obstacles, I arrived up at the Capitol precisely when I was supposed to. There were two police officers, hanging out on the steps of the Capitol building; they laughed when I asked if they were open.

     

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    Therefore, instead I went to Bullfeathers, a place that was once frequented by Teddy Roosevelt. It was wild walking through history, and, as a bonus, they had an all-day snowed in special. It was $5 for bloody Marys and Irish coffees. I was in DC with my special someone and we enjoyed being in a shutdown city.

     

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    (The line at Trader Joe’s the day before the storm)

    At dusk, we had a reservation at an intriguing mansion. We called before we went to see if they were still open. The co-owner that answered said, “We’re always open”… impressive.

     

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    It was a five story Brownstone, boasting 77 secret doors or passages. We were told that if you could find 2 you were a super sleuth; we found eleven. It was agonizing to have to leave when there were so many more secrets to uncover. I was told that there was one secret passage that only revealed itself when you sat down somewhere, and there was another that needed a bookcase to be moved. We did find one behind a bookshelf, but it had a note on it that said ‘please don’t open.’ I asked the co-owner what was in the room, and he said that Homeland security was staying in there. There was a video camera that I thought was a pull cord… they probably have some funny footage of me trying to figure out what it was.

    I kinda wanna go back and try again…

    We traversed the snow-ridden streets that day and the next. I had never experienced a city awash in frozen water before, and there was a certain mystical beauty to us tromping across plush white fluff.

     

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    I have so many years behind me that I forget about new experiences from time to time… the next bit was awesome.

    We trekked through the frozen sidewalks looking for a speakeasy called the Columbia Room. We got the address right, and then ventured into a bar that was, by all accounts, not what we had imagined. It was a bit dingy and seemed too mainstream. What we thought we were going to was an elusive 10 seat bar. It turns out we were in the right place, but a touch early for our appointment. We began making assumptions… until we were escorted to a secret, back room. It was a beautiful bar filled with tinctures and the like.

     

    To start, they gave hot towels to us as a refresher (a welcome offering, coming out of the biting cold)

    We had two bartenders that gave us two cocktails based on New Orleans old school, in honor of Mardi Gras. The first was a variation of a drink called a milk punch

    (mmmm)

    2 ounces cognac

    4 ounces half & half

    1 ounce simple syrup (1:1, sugar:water)

    1/4 ounce vanilla extract

     

    Garnish: freshly grated nutmeg

    Glassware: rocks

    Directions

    Add all ingredients to a cocktail shaker.

    Add ice and shake until chilled.

    Strain into a rocks glass over ice.

    Garnish with freshly grated nutmeg.

     

    The drink was delicious, and I was enamored with the Zen-Japanese-spa-like-atmosphere that exuded from the speakeasy.  The second drink continued with the NOLA theme.  I expected the tried-and-true classic Sazerac, but was instead presented with its more herbaceous and complex “kissing cousin”:

    Cocktail á la Louisiane

    ¾ ounce rye whiskey

    ¾ ounce sweet vermouth

    ¾ ounce Bénédictine

    3-4 dashes Peychaud’s bitters

    3-4 dashes absinthe

    Garnish: Cherry

    Glassware: Martini

    Directions:

    Add all ingredients and ice to cocktail shaker. Cover and shake several times to combine. Stir well and strain into martini glass; garnish with a cherry

    We were given a choice for the third drink. A choice that changed the future of humankind…

    It turns out that the man sitting to the right of me was a robot sent here from a secret society of underground robots. I know right!?! Crazy… so anyway, he was sent in an attempt to infiltrate the humans. He was at this bar trying to fit in, and well it had an aversion to Mescal.

    I asked for a Mescal based drink which when she poured it for me he started screaming “Too smoky! Too smoky!!” He got up from his stool, knocking it over as he was screaming. He dashed right into the wall, snapping his head clean off.

    I swear it wasn’t more than a few moments later that two men wearing those ‘I’m a government secret agent suits’ walked through the door and took the remnants away.