Farewell, and Why Seven Is Now My Lucky Number

I think I need to consult a numerologist. There's something about me, D.C. and the number 7. The numerical patterning revealed itself one afternoon last week while I was strolling through downtown, meditating on my relationship with this town and the things I will undoubtedly miss.

I moved here 14 years ago, in July 1994, a month shy of turning 28. The next two-plus years would be about the pursuit of love with a man who loved the bottle more and my constant struggle to pay the bills as an ESL instructor, which led to a variety of part-time jobs and ultimately, a path to a culinary career. (As I've previously written in this space, there are no coincidences.)

In the fall of 1996, I got my cooking-school wish and headed north to New York (the man shacked up with his bottle and someone else to take care of him). After post-graduation kitchen apprenticeships in Philadelphia, I returned to Washington with the intention of using my newly acquired cooking skills but instead landed a job with a media company called The Washington Post that was publishing news articles on something computer-y called the Internet. That was July, 1997. (In fact, my first day on the job was July 7, the day following the triple murder at a Georgetown Starbucks). (Note: And her editor's birthday is July 7. Downright freaky, I say.)

Eleven years later, I am leaving the Beltway once again, on this thirty-first and final day of July. I suppose the final chapter of this story couldn't be any other way.

As part of last week's walking meditation to 14th and G Streets NW, where I met a dear friend and yoga teacher, I did some time travel, reminiscing on that first summer here, hopelessly in love with a man who loved to walk (off the booze, perhaps). In the early days of our relationship, he was my walking guide, introducing me to a city beyond the gates of the White House, a city that would inform my career, broaden my culinary horizons and inspire me to do the kind of work I do today.

Because this thing called the Internet has truly redefined the way we get our news and information, you and I can keep talking and teaching each other -- not only as I motor across the country -- but even as I get settled in a very different kind of Washington. Virtual wonders aside, I am physically exiting the area, and I realize there are things I have come to love (and will miss) about Washington that no computer (well at least this year) can dish up for me, no matter how many times I wiggle my nose.

It's unclear when next I'll be in town to visit, but you can bet I'll be making the rounds to some of the places below, in no particular order:

Lebanese Taverna Market: Where do I start? The healing lemonade, the addictive garlic sauce, the arnabeet (fried cauliflower with tahini sauce) and the extremely reliable, fail-safe catering arm only skim the surface.

Bangkok 54 -- both the restaurant and its adjoining market, where I regularly shopped for southeast Asian vittles and always learn something new.

My post-yoga ritual of a salty oat cookie and mug of chai at Teaism.

Speaking of yoga, for more than six years, I have been cultivating my practice because of the nurturing community at Tranquil Space, when it was located in a church on 16th Street NW. Without yoga, I might have left a post-9/11 D.C. much sooner. Because of yoga, I have met some of the most amazing women.

The tandoori lamb chops, the dal makhani, the palaak chat and the extraordinary service at Rasika.

Watching the development of Liberty Tavern, the bar/seasonally-focused restaurant run by my old pal Stephen Fedorchak, whom I've known since that first year when he tended bar at Kramerbooks & Afterwords (where I would eventually work in the kitchen plating desserts).

The easy-going vibe and always spot-on Thai home cooking at Rabieng, queuing up for Peruvian rotisserie chicken from El Pollo Rico and the comfort of the made-to-order naan, grilled halal meats and curried chickpeas at Ravi Kabob (305 N. Glebe Rd., Arlington, Va.).

Listening to straight-ahead jazz while drinking a cup of Route 66 at Misha's in Old Town (that reminds me, I need to pick up a bag of beans before hitting the road).

Speaking of jazz (and justice), WPFW has been my local radio station since the beginning, and although I can listen online from Seattle, I will miss being in the car listening to Von Martin ("Caribbeana") on Saturday nights and Guy Middleton ("Guy's Groove") on Sunday afternoons.

This list is getting long, but I'll end it with Galaxy Hut, a little hole-in-the-wall bar in Clarendon where my life would change forever over a beer with my pal Liz Kelly and a funny-looking guy who would become my husband, the man with a very mighty appetite.

By Kim ODonnel |  July 31, 2008; 9:40 AM ET Kitchen Musings
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We'll miss you around here, but I'm thankfull that you'll still be here virtually. Good luck and good travels. I look foward to reading your blog posts from the road.

Posted by: DC Cubefarm | July 31, 2008 11:00 AM

thanks Kim and safe travels!

Posted by: SSMD | July 31, 2008 11:00 AM

Speaking of most amazing women...

Kim, thank you for everything. Happy trails to the PNW, have a "hella good" time on the road, and I look forward to continuing the online luv & learning via the WaPo, Culinate, Real Simple, etc.

Posted by: Centre of Nowhere | July 31, 2008 11:13 AM

Head up, drop your shoulders, breathe. . .

Have a wonderful trip.

Posted by: dbG | July 31, 2008 12:46 PM

Kim, safe travels! We are going to miss you but I envy your new corner of the country - it's a beautiful place to live. I'm SO GLAD you will continue with the Post chats and blogging.

Posted by: biscotti girl | July 31, 2008 1:14 PM

I'll miss the local musings, Kim. Happy landings.

Posted by: alex | July 31, 2008 2:48 PM

Kim -

Looking forward to your posts from the road; have a great trip.

See you in Seattle! You just missed this year's Seafood Fest, but come visit us in Ballard sometime after you get here.

Posted by: Fellow Seattleite | July 31, 2008 2:51 PM

I signed on to your blog only recently, but read it faithfully thereafter. Thank you, and good eating!

Posted by: Beer vegetarian | July 31, 2008 4:06 PM

kim, i can't believe you're leaving these parts! you,ve been such a humble teacher to me over the years. even though i've only known you virtually, i liked knowing you were here in the same environs. i so look forward to your musings on life in the pacific northwest! thanks for so much!

Posted by: sean | July 31, 2008 7:04 PM

Safe travels, happy arrivals and joyful new discoveries to you, Kim. Thanks for all you have shared. We look forward to hearing new perspectives!

Posted by: Anonymous | July 31, 2008 11:20 PM

Whew! You scared me there for a minute. So glad you're still going to be with us.

Happy and safe travels. I bet you're gonna have some great fun.

Posted by: Arielle | August 1, 2008 9:24 AM

I'll miss knowing you're here, even though we've never met - you've been a great inspiration to me, but I wish you all the best in your new part of the world and will be looking forward to all your new stories. Good luck(y # 7)!

Posted by: Elizabeth | August 1, 2008 11:54 AM

I live in Houston; my sister lives in DC. I read the Washington Post and that's how I found Kim. I'll miss seeing her here.

Posted by: Paula | August 1, 2008 1:04 PM

Have a great weekend in DC and NOVA. You have great memories of DC. I was born in DC, but do not live there, now. I read the WASH POST via internet, & found you that way.According to your blog, seems like you had a boyfriend that liked alcohol more than you. Been there & done that also. I know you will miss your Mother, family & friend. NEW BEGINNINGS for you and MR MA in Washington State. Enjoy your Across America Adventure & Drive Safe, Kim aka LUCKY 7

Posted by: East Coast | August 1, 2008 3:17 PM

The other Washington enthusiastically awaits your arrival! We'll try to find a few good things for you to write about and share with the fabulous readers from DC and beyond. As a former DC resident, I too still miss Lebanese Taverna and my Tranquil Space. No replacement but we'll explore the Wild West and see what comes up! Safe travels, Lucky 7.

Posted by: sleepless in seattle | August 3, 2008 2:00 PM

I moved from Seattle at the beginning of the year, and I'm jealous of the culinary adventures you'll have there. My favorites included Chocolati and Diva for coffee, Smokin' Pete's for BBQ, and all the great Korean food in Shoreline...Enjoy!

Posted by: seattle2DC | August 4, 2008 4:04 PM

I don't even live in Washington and I'm sad that you're moving! I wish you safe travels and much happiness in your new home.

Posted by: Central Mass | August 5, 2008 10:41 AM

Thanks for the compliment. Take care and listen on line! Peace.

Posted by: Guy's Groove | August 7, 2008 2:45 AM

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