Sunday, September 28, 2014

Boba in DC

Hey everyone! My name is Denys Reyes and I am addicted to boba (also known as bubble tea). Unfortunately, I have yet to find a place that rivals Southern California boba, but half and half does set a high bar so that’s not entirely surprising. However, I have found some boba places you should definitely try (or avoid like the plague) in DC!

Adams Morgan:


I’ve been to Spoon twice and both times I ordered a Thai Tea boba. The first time they blended my drink without asking me and the boba was hard and dry. I decided to give the place another try and this time I was sure to ask that my drink was not blended. Turns out the boba was still gross. I will not return and Spoon was by far the worst Boba place I have been to, ever. It was pretty surprising since the reviews on yelp were mostly positive. However, two other boba enthusiasts(my roommates) agreed that it was awful. There is froyo there, so maybe that is really yummy.

10/10 would not recommend.


I’ve actually never walked in KoGiBow, but I’ve walked outside of it. It's a cute shop (from the outside) and is definitely has the best boba place I’ve had in Adams Morgan. My roommates bought me a Milk Tea Boba that was tasty. They do the blended drink thing that I don't really like, but it isn't half bad.  If you're in Adams Morgan and have an urge for boba, I'd recommend checking KoGiBow.

6/10 would recommend. 

Chinatown/ Gallery Place:


Wok n Roll is very close to the Chinatown/Gallery Place metro, so it's pretty convenient place to stop by quickly. They have a five dollar minimum on credit/debits cards, which is kind of annoying if you just want a $4.50 boba. The boba is pretty good, I went there twice to have Thai Tea Boba and both times I really enjoyed it. It's generally a dine-in/karaoke place so if you want somewhere to buy boba and sit down, choose another place or pay a tip.

7/10 would recommend.

Dupont Circle:


By far the best boba place I've been to thus far. I had a Milk Tea boba and it was delicious! I’m actually not the biggest fan of Milk Tea boba so that’s saying something. It’s not too far from the Dupont Circle metro stop so it is pretty easy to get to. There's also a Teaism near the CMC office and in Chinatown, but the one near CMC closes at 5pm (which is when I get off work) and I haven’t heard great things about the Teaism in Chinatown. The place also has food and other drinks that I’ve heard are pretty great.  

8/10 would recommend.

I've only been in DC for four short weeks, so if you happen to know of any awesome Boba places I've missed, send them my way! 

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Three Strikes and You're Out (I'm at Two)

When I decided to take on the challenge of working in the House, I had no idea what the congressional session looked like. I had no idea that my first day would be the first day back after August recess, and that this session would be the last opportunity to get bills passed through the House before the election frenzy started. I had no idea the President's announcement for supporting anti-ISIL groups in the Middle East would be the day before I started, and that the debate would be fierce throughout session. I had no idea how hard I would be working at the House Democratic Caucus so quickly.

Don't get me wrong, I'm certainly not complaining. I like staying busy, and this past week and a half has been one of the busiest times of my life. However, I'm exhausted. The people in my office work from 8:30 am to 7 pm any given day during the session, all the time being as pristine and productive as possible. I'm fairly certain these people can walk on water and schedule their time incredibly. As an intern, I'm strictly 9 am to 6 pm, thankfully, but I can truly say that I am witnessing some of the most dedication to a cause that I've seen in awhile.

Being thrown in the the beginning of a very important session made my first day terrifying and wonderfully exciting. I was given authority to help with things that normal first-day interns shouldn't, but they needed my help, so they let me join them. It was a wonderful learning experience. But, I certainly made a few mistakes, as is to be expected.

My biggest enemy is the phones. Twice a week for a few hours, I answer the House Dems phone, asking who is calling and transferring them to who they need to talk to. Sounds simple, right? These phones are the quantum physics of phones in that no matter how hard you try to master them, you are bound to fail a couple of times. I have already given out an email that I shouldn't have and overbooked our conference room. In other words, I'm at two strikes. I know they won't kick me out, they're too nice for that, but I still have two, and I will certainly get more. But, with how much I'm learning and how much experience I'm getting, I wouldn't trade the mistakes for anything. Is it weird to say that I'm excited to see what mistakes I'll make next?

Oh and here's some pictures of my first week!

Sunday, September 7, 2014

We’re Not in Claremont Anymore

Group selfie with almost everyone!

Hello everyone! My name is Maresa Carnevale and I am a junior at Claremont McKenna.

I’ve officially been in DC for a whole week now and it has definitely been a whirlwind experience so far. My roommates and I went for an unconventional option and rented our apartment through airbnb, which has had its share of perks and quirks. When we arrived at our apartment on Monday we realized immediately that we did not feel safe in the area and wanted to leave. With lots of help from Dr. Spalding and an 8 hour ongoing conversation with Leo from airbnb customer service we were able to relocate to another apartment the next day. So although our first day was far from ideal everything worked out in the end! We now live in Adams Morgan right by the Smithsonian Zoo, which is super convenient for a baby animal de-stress.

Orientation week has been great for adjusting to living in the city and trying out the Metro for the first time. On Tuesday, the first day of Orientation, we made our first trek over to the CMC office. After an introductory session with Dr. Spalding we sat down for lunch with Professor Wolfson, another one of our professors for the semester.

On Wednesday we focused on journalism, beginning with a presentation by Michael Shear, a CMC alum and White House correspondent for The New York Times. Michael was a very enthusiastic presenter and offered a fascinating insight into the evolving world of the press. After lunch the whole group made it over to the Newseum, where Dr. Spalding managed to get some free tickets. Although much of the subject matter was quite serious, the exhibits offer a captivating look at the history of journalism and the stories that have been by the press.

We began our Thursday with a tour of the Supreme Court and a panel with two law clerks who are working with Justice Scalia. As we were exiting a conference room we even caught a glimpse of Justice Scalia himself, although no one managed to snap a picture! Later on we made our way over to the American Enterprise Institute for lunch with program alum Anna Eames and AEI scholars Karlyn Bowman and Alex Brill, who spoke of the research and think tank side of policy in DC.

On Friday we were able to tour the Capitol with program alum, Alyssa Roberts, before meeting with Mike Franc, the Policy Director for the House Majority Leader. Although we were all exhausted by this point, he managed to hold our interest with his descriptions of work life on Capitol Hill.

Denys, me and Jincy

Overall, Orientation week was a great experience and allowed all of us to get to know the city and glimpse the political scene. The program alumni have been a great resource so far in Washington and it’s great to see so many Claremont connections all the way in the nation’s capital. However, with all of the walking around I really have to advise to invest in some comfortable shoes, your feet will thank you for it!

View from the balcony at the Capitol

My roommates and I have had a great time exploring our neighborhood and making our apartment feel more like a home. Although our cabinets are currently stuffed with food from this week’s Target trips, we are still struggling with the temptation to survive solely on Easy Mac. There are plenty of great restaurants around and we’re all hoping to use this time to improve our cooking skills!

We're almost real adults

Dr. Spalding has encouraged everyone to try to do at least one interesting thing a week in order to see all of the great sights in the city, so my Jincy, Denys and I decided to walk to the Zoo before our first day of work. Walking around the Zoo was a great end to our hectic first week and I can’t think of a better way to end this blog post than with lion cubs and pandas.

Me after orientation week

Until next time!