Thursday, December 29, 2011


For the last several years, I have been too poor to take any time off from whatever terrible job I happened to be working, so I would either bring my parents here or journey to the Poconos for less than 24 hours. Both of those scenarios were less than ideal and usually ended in tears. You see, for whatever reason, my family has desperately wanted to but has never been able to institute a successful Christmas tradition. We have tried and tried to develop a special Dilionian brand of Christmas and it has just never stuck. Our hearts were never in it. Or maybe our attention spans are just too short for us to remember what we wanted to canonize. 

This year, I took a different approach. Due to our impending trip to the Lesser Antilles (stay tuned!), we decided that Christmas apart was probably the best solution for everyone. So I offered to sing a few gigs, watch a few friends' pets, and piece together my own strange Christmas trifecta.

Part 1: I'm Dreaming of a Verde Christmas

Though we never need an excuse to prove how fabulous we are, K and AJ and I never pass up an opportunity to be amazing together. After a quick gift exchange which proved that my friends know absolutely everything about me (I got a magnetic spice rack! and a seasonal cookbook that literally says "SAVOR THE BOUNTY" which is now my new catch phrase!), we took our impeccably dressed selves to the newest addition to the Penn Avenue Corridor: Verde
I had visited Verde with KB and Sara during its soft opening. Though we were unable to order any food (wtf) we took full advantage of the margarita list. They were absolutely delicious, the bartenders were fabulous, and we witnessed a tableside guacamole assembly. I was very eager to return. 

We ordered a pitcher of margaritas and the guacamole, because what could be better than dinner AND a show? We followed it up with Pozole, Swordfish Tacos, Chiles Rellenos, and a Pear and Carnitas Tamale that still haunts my dreams to this day.
The food was as fresh and exciting as the company I was keeping.
We then all went back to my house (conveniently two blocks away) to watch Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer with Janna and discuss its potential as an allegory for a young man's coming out story (I'm looking at you, AJ). Rudolph the Red Nosed Gay-ndeer. 

 Part 2: Brucemas

At this point, I'd like to pause and say how touched I am by how many of my wonderful friends invited me into their homes and families to share Christmas morning with them once they found out I was to be here alone. I felt so loved and I appreciate the invitations with my whole heart. So please don't take this the wrong way, but I really wanted to spend Christmas with Bruce Bogtrotter.
I have this... habit? inclination? tragic flaw? of being in love with K's cat. When she goes out of town, I basically move into her apartment to be with him, and God bless her beautiful heart for not finding that as creepy as it probably is. 
Everyone else would probably find my Christmas morning to be completely unremarkable. I slept in a little. I went for a run in the beautiful clear crisp weather. I watched Nightmare Before Christmas. I opened my Christmas stocking. I smothered Bruce with my love. I made myself some of my favorite foods.
Eggs in a Basket with Roasted Red Peppers, Apple Chicken Sausage, and Pears.
Honestly, I don't think I could have been happier. What more does this girl need?
At least one more thing:

Part 3: Silent Night, Manoli Night

I have been told that my adopted family, the Manolis, are people that I am lucky to have in my life. 
True words have never been spoken. They are kind and gracious to me, and I think the world of them.  
Every holiday I spend Chez Manoli is the same: We talk a lot, we cook a lot, we swear a lot, we laugh a lot, and we eat a lot. Thanksgiving, Father's Day, Christmas... it doesn't matter. We know exactly how to celebrate.
Prime Rib, Sugar Glazed Ham, Mashed Potatoes and Stirfried Vegetables
This picture most certainly does not to this meal justice. Also, the rum brownies and bread pudding are (not pictured) were incredible.

I invite you now to Savor the Bounty.

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