Ahhh holiday travel. Where two inches of snow translates into 3 days of travel delays.
Yes, my transit back to the good ole USSA was kind of a mess. Overnight in London Heathrow, overnight in ATL, numerous sleep-deprived marches through airports, but eventually, I made it home, to my hilarious dog (pictured) and adoring (or at least, adored) family. By the time I did make it back, there were 2 feet of snow on the ground, giving DC a freakishly rare white Christmas, and me a good excuse not to leave the house.
And you would think after being gone for 6 months I would have a lot of mail. I guess I felt like I was gone a long time and everyone would notice? But as a matter of fact, aside from student loan forms *shudder* all I received was one Christmas card... plus this awesome handmade cookbook-lette from Amey at Vegan Eats and Treats, "Cooking Up a Storm!"
Man was I excited to see that! This booklet is jam-packed with awesome looking recipes for all manner of deliciousness plus cute home-made drawings. It being Christmas, I went straight for the cookies and decided on the choco-cherry-pecan cookies. They took about 15 minutes all told, and they were so unbelievably delicious, especially with a tall glass of soymilk. Even in my sweets-filled household these went fast. Amey, your cookbook rocks! Thanks so much!
A few days after my initial arrival and many cookies later, my fam and I headed over to Peking Gourmet in Falls Church for the traditional Christmas Eve gorge. Peking Gourmet is famous for two reasons. 1.) It was President Bush (Sr.)'s favorite restaurant and there are pics of him splattered all over the place. 2.) The Peking Duck. You would think from these two snippets of info that I would hate the place, but actually I love it. It has a very limited vegetarian menu, but those items on it are phenomenal. I had the gourmet eggplant and my brother got a tofu dish that was equally fab.
I also love munching on the duck accompaniments: rice pancakes, plum sauce, and spring onions. Heaven. But truth be told, more than the food, I love the busy metro atmosphere in this spot, which has been in the Culmore shopping center forever and attracts hundreds of people over the holidays (and I suspect, most weekends.) The crowd out the door is huge on Christmas eve, but its always kind of exciting and we often see people we know. Definitely one of my favorite traditions of the holidays.
My other favorite tradition is the Charlie Brown Christmas Special. I love being in Europe, but the melancholic angst of Charlie Brown is just not something that translates well. After all, how would you translate the following into french: "Of all the Charlie Browns in the world, you're the Charlie-Browniest!"