Top Five Friday, Washington, D.C. Meals, Food, RebeccaWanderlusting

Top Five Friday #9

Top 5 Washington, D.C. Meals

There are an undeniable amount of fantastic restaurants in Washington, D.C.  When I started planning my trip, I had a huge list of restaurants I wanted to try.  There was such a large range of cuisines and so many well-liked and much talked about places that it was very hard to choose which ones to go to.  If I could afford it and stomach it, I would have had at least eight meals a day.  However, that isn’t a realistic feat for me, so though I know there are many other great restaurants that very well could have made this list, below are my five favorite Washington, D.C. Meals:

  1. Le Diplomate – Scallops Nicoise ($29): This was the first restaurant I visited in DC and it made such a great impression. This upscale French restaurant is gorgeous inside and has dining al fresco as well.  Because this place was a little pricey for my budget, I only ordered an entrée and stuck with water to drink.  They had a very fancy looking wine list though, and had my budget allowed, I would have certainly ordered a glass or two.  They brought out a basket of bread prior to my meal and I counted that as my appetizer; the breads were delicious, especially the cranberry walnut.  The scallops were so damn good, perfectly cooked and very flavorful.  They were served with orzo, tomatoes, onions, peas and pesto.  I could have that meal every night and be so happy.
    Top 5 Washington DC Meals
  2. Ted’s Bulletin – Ted Tart ($3): Let me preface this by saying (again) I do not eat eggs, I don’t like them. So breakfast is always a little bit tricky for me: it’s usually a bunch of side dishes or pancakes.  At Ted’s Bulletin, I ordered hash browns, bacon and a Ted Tart, their homemade version of a poptart.  They had many different flavors (strawberry, brown sugar, lemon something, blueberry cheesecake…) but I chose the salted caramel tart.  It was everything I wanted it to be and more.  I wish I could take a dozen home with me, but I doubt they would have lasted more than an hour in my possession.  The restaurant was really cute and the coffee was decent.  Be prepared to wait for a table if you go on a Sunday morning (unless you go by yourself, like I did!).
    Top 5 Washington DC Meals
  3. Mandu – Mandu Dumplings ($4 for happy hour) & Chap Chae ($15): I read about Mandu in a Buzzfeed article featuring DC’s best cheap eats. I was instantly interested.  They have a happy hour that’s available 7 days a week and has some great deals.  The servers were really great and capable of explaining any of the Korean dishes you might not be so familiar with.  I had dumplings for my appetizer, trying 2 of each dumpling: vegetable, shrimp and beef & pork.  Chap Chae was my entrée and it was very good.  I loved the Korean condiments (kimchee, pickles, bean sprouts…) that came with it.
    Top 5 Washington DC Meals Top 5 Washington DC Meals
  4. Founding Farmers – Strawberries and Cream Waffle ($8) & Pork Sausage ($6): Founding Farmer’s is on a lot of “best of DC” lists so of course I had to try it. It was pretty bustling for a Monday morning, but I was seated right away.  I ordered a latte straight away and was happy when it came in a big, cozy mug.  For breakfast I ordered the strawberries and cream waffle and sausage links.  The waffle was served with a small metal carton of syrup and a large dollop of dense, custard-y cream and fresh strawberries.  The sausage was good as well and balanced out the sweetness of the waffle.  It was a perfect meal and a perfect way to kick off a day of adventuring.
    Top 5 Washington DC Meals
  5. Momofuku Milk Bar – Crack Pie ($5.50): I knew I wanted to go to Momofuku Milk Bar, but arrived there completely by happy accident. It was my last day in DC and it was pouring and very cold, I rushed into what I thought was a cute bakery and didn’t realize until I was fully inside that it was THE cute bakery.  I ordered the Crack Pie, a treat they’re famous for, and stood at the counter to enjoy it with my coffee while I watched the rain.  The Crack Pie was mouth-wateringly good.  It was caramel-y and sweet and rich and was the cure for my rainy day mood.

Top 5 Washington DC Meals

I know there are a ton of other great DC restaurants that I probably missed, which are your favorites?

Washington, D.C. – Part 2

On my second full day in Washington, D.C., I awoke early to start another busy day.  My first stop was Founding Farmers, a farm-to-table restaurant downtown.  I ordered the strawberries and cream waffle with a side of sausage and a latte to round it out.  The food was delicious and fresh and the staff was really friendly.  I ate every little bit of my meal, and it was the perfect amount to give me the energy to walk around for the rest of the day.  I intended to head straight to the U.S. Holocaust Memorial, but I took a slight detour to the Renwick Gallery.  I had passed it the day before and the line was down the block; this time there was no line so of course I couldn’t not go in.  This gallery also had free admission, as it is an extension of The National Gallery.
Renwick Gallery6
Once inside, the woman at the information desk handed me a guide and sent me on my way.  Each of the 9 featured artists had their own separate room for their installation, and I walked through them all in awe.  The installations were beyond gorgeous and each had its own thought-provoking message.  My favorite was “In the Midnight Garden” by Jennifer Angus, which was made mostly of insects a la 7th grade bug collection.
Renwick Gallery5.jpg
I also really loved Janet Echelman’s colorful piece in the main room upstairs which consisted of a colorful net strung up from the ceiling.
Renwick Gallery3
Once I spent a sufficient time admiring each room, I headed out into the sunny day and walked towards the U.S. Holocaust Memorial.

Holocaust Memorial

The Holocaust Memorial was obviously a very emotional experience.  I choked up immediately upon entering the actual museum, and had to run into the bathroom to fix my face.  Everyone walked through the museum in silence.  There were three levels that moved seamlessly in chronological order.  It took about two hours to make it through, and it was heart wrenching, but also informative.  I certainly left with a different perspective and gratitude.  Next, I went to the National Air and Space Museum to see the Amelia Earhart exhibit.  The whole museum is very impressive.

Air and Space Museum
There are airplanes and miscellaneous space ships and equipment everywhere – hanging from the ceiling, coming out of the walls, stretching from floor to ceiling.  Amelia is one of my favorites and I was surprised to see her exhibit was relatively small compared to others.  It was still great though.  I also really liked the Time and Navigation Exhibit, which detailed compasses and GPS technology in all its stages.  I wandered around the museum, peaking at things that caught my interested, like walking through the full sized Space Station and The Wright Brothers exhibit.  Then I moved on to the Library of Congress.  The outside of the Thomas Jefferson Building of the Library is gorgeous, much like most of the other buildings in DC, but the inside is stunning.
Library of Congress, Washington D.C.Library of Congress, Reading Room, Washington D.C.

I viewed the jealousy-inducing reading room from above and checked out Thomas Jefferson’s personal Library, as well as the Civil Rights exhibit right next to it.  I couldn’t get over how beautiful the ceiling and walls were.  I spent most of my time in the library looking up.  By then, my stomach was telling me it was time to move on to We, The Pizza just down the street.  I wanted to go there because it’s owned by Spike Mendelsohn, one of my favorite contestants on Top Chef.  Sadly, he wasn’t there, but I did thoroughly enjoyed my sausage and sweet pepper pizza.  The restaurant was really cute, with the pizzas all lined up in front and a large seating area upstairs.

We The Pizza, Washington, D.C.
From there, I walked the few blocks to Folger’s Shakespeare Library, where I had just missed the last tour of the day.  The section that was open to the public without a tour was interesting, but small.  I’d say it’s worth visiting IF Hosteling International, Washington DC
you do the tour or if you get tickets to see a play in the beautiful theater there.  I took a cab back to the hotel to pick up my luggage and check into the hostel where I was staying that night.  The Hosteling International DC was just a short walk away, and the lovely front desk staff checked me into my private room (shared bathroom).  I noticed that the hostel offered nightly group activities, which I unfortunately had to decline but it did look like a good time!  I took the bus to Georgetown, which was about thirty minutes away.  I was trying to do some off-the-beaten path things in DC, but it seemed that I was stuck firmly on the path.  Oh well, they’re popular for a reason.  I got off the bus at M street and found myself in a very ritzy area.  Shops like Banana Republic, Tory Burch and Lululemon lined the streets.  It reminded me of the Gold Coast back in Chicago.  I Olivia Macaron, Georgetown, Washington DCwaltzed around a bit, stopping into Olivia Macaron to grab a latte and a champagne macaron.  The macaron was delicious and the coffee kept me warm as I continued to wander.  The small macaron shop was kiddie corner from Georgetown Cupcakes, a bakery made famous by TLC.  I didn’t go in.  I worked at a cupcake place in college and haven’t Georgetown Harbor, Waterfront, Washington DC
been able to stomach them since.  The houses in Georgetown were beautiful and I had fun admiring them as I walked.  I wanted to make my way to Washington Harbor so I walked down Wisconsin Street towards the water.  There were some cute stores along the way that I’ve not seen back home, including Redz Trading thrift store and American/Holiday, which had cute clothes, jewelry, and housewares.  As I walked towards the harbor, the sun bean to set and once I arrived at the Potomac River, the sky was a mixture of blue, orange and pink.  There were restaurants and a skating rink at the harbor, but I walked along the river instead of partaking in them.  I had planned on going to Right proper Brewing for Dinner, so I walked along the river and then up through the George Washington University campus to get to the metro.
Washington Harbor, Washington DC
The ride was quick and the brewery was close to the train stop, however, when I arrived I realized it was closed for a private event.  I was pretty bummed because I was looking forward to trying a local brewery, but I moved on anyways.  Shaw’s Tavern was one block away, so that is where I ended up.  The restaurant featured upscale bar food and a lively atmosphere.  I ordered a DC Brau Public Ale and the Shaw’s Burger.

Shaw's Tavern, Washington DC
It turned out to be trivia night there, so I stayed and listened to the questions.  The beer and burger were so perfect and the bar crowd was full of good vibes.  I decided to walk home from there, which was a bit of an unnerving experience.  However, I did arrive safely, albeit very sore and tired from walking all day.  I showered in the public girl’s bathroom, which was clean enough, with thin curtains separating the showers from each other.  When I finally lay down on the bed to read, I realized that it squawked every time I moved even a tiny bit.  This set the tone for the rest of the evening; I didn’t get very much sleep, especially because I very stupidly got to thinking about the movie the Babadook (have you seen it? Don’t watch it, it’s scary).  Anyways, the next morning I opted out of the complimentary hostel continental breakfast and walked over to Astro Doughnuts.
Maple Bacon Doughnut, Astro Doughnuts, Washington DC
It was rainy and cold, but luckily it was a short walk.  I got a maple bacon doughnut and a coffee and sat under the awning to enjoy it.  The doughnut was a perfect combination of sweet and salty.  It was so good.  The rest of the morning was a chain of unsuccessful attempts to see one more thing before leaving.  Everything was closed, not reopening until it was time for me to head to the airport or under construction until 2017 (thanks a lot Trump).  So I wound up at Momfuku Milk Bar for some of their famous crack pie and yet more coffee.  The pie was aptly named and so delicious.  It was sweet and caramel-y and almost too rich to finish, not that I didn’t.

Momofuku Milk Bar, Washington DC
Soon it was time to check out from the hostel and take the blue line to DCA.  It took only 30 minutes to make the trip, only to be delayed for three hours.  By the time we finally boarded, there were only twenty people who waited it out.  On the other side of the flight, I took a different blue line back home, happy to be home but grateful for a fantastic trip.

Flight Home

Thank you, DC, for a wonderful time!

Have you been to Washington, D.C.? Where was your favorite place there?

Top Five Friday #9

Best Meals in Washington, D.C.

There are an undeniable amount of fantastic restaurants in Washington, D.C.  When I started planning my trip, I had a huge list of restaurants I wanted to try.  There was such a large range of cuisines and so many well-liked and much talked about places that it was very hard to choose which ones to go to.  If I could afford it and stomach it, I would have had at least eight meals a day.  However, that isn’t a realistic feat for me, so though I know there are many other great restaurants that very well could have made this list, below are my five favorite restaurants in Washington, D.C.:

  1. Le Diplomate – Scallops Nicoise ($29): This was the first restaurant I visited in DC and it made such a great impression. This upscale French restaurant is gorgeous inside and has dining al fresco as well.  Because this place was a little pricey for my budget, I only ordered an entrée and stuck with water to drink.  They had a very fancy looking wine list though, and had my budget allowed, I would have certainly ordered a glass or two.  They brought out a basket of bread prior to my meal and I counted that as my appetizer; the breads were delicious, especially the cranberry walnut.  The scallops were so damn good, perfectly cooked and very flavorful.  They were served with orzo, tomatoes, onions, peas and pesto.  I could have that meal every night and be so happy.
  2. Ted’s Bulletin – Ted Tart ($3): Let me preface this by saying (again) I do not eat eggs, I don’t like them. So breakfast is always a little bit tricky for me: it’s usually a bunch of side dishes or pancakes.  At Ted’s Bulletin, I ordered hash browns, bacon and a Ted Tart, their homemade version of a poptart.  They had many different flavors (strawberry, brown sugar, lemon something, blueberry cheesecake…) but I chose the salted caramel tart.  It was everything I wanted it to be and more.  I wish I could take a dozen home with me, but I doubt they would have lasted more than an hour in my possession.  The restaurant was really cute and the coffee was decent.  Be prepared to wait for a table if you go on a Sunday morning (unless you go by yourself, like I did!).
    Ted Tart - Ted's Bulletin.jpg
  3. Mandu – Mandu Dumplings ($4 for happy hour) & Chap Chae ($15): I read about Mandu in a Buzzfeed article featuring DC’s best cheap eats. I was instantly interested.  They have a happy hour that’s available 7 days a week and has some great deals.  The servers were really great and capable of explaining any of the Korean dishes you might not be so familiar with.  I had dumplings for my appetizer, trying 2 of each dumpling: vegetable, shrimp and beef & pork.  Chap Chae was my entrée and it was very good.  I loved the Korean condiments (kimchee, pickles, bean sprouts…) that came with it.
  4. Founding Farmers – Strawberries and Cream Waffle ($8) & Pork Sausage ($6): Founding Farmer’s is on a lot of “best of DC” lists so of course I had to try it. It was pretty bustling for a Monday morning, but I was seated right away.  I ordered a latte straight away and was happy when it came in a big, cozy mug.  For breakfast I ordered the strawberries and cream waffle and sausage links.  The waffle was served with a small metal carton of syrup and a large dollop of dense, custard-y cream and fresh strawberries.  The sausage was good as well and balanced out the sweetness of the waffle.  It was a perfect meal and a perfect way to kick off a day of adventuring.
    Strawberries and Cream Waffle 2- Founding Farmers
  5. Momofuku Milk Bar – Crack Pie ($5.50): I knew I wanted to go to Momofuku Milk Bar, but arrived there completely by happy accident. It was my last day in DC and it was pouring and very cold, I rushed into what I thought was a cute bakery and didn’t realize until I was fully inside that it was THE cute bakery.  I ordered the Crack Pie, a treat they’re famous for, and stood at the counter to enjoy it with my coffee while I watched the rain.  The Crack Pie was mouth-wateringly good.  It was caramel-y and sweet and rich and was the cure for my rainy day mood.

Crack Pie - Milk Bar.jpg

I know there are a ton of other great DC restaurants that I probably missed, which are your favorites?

Washington Harbor, Washington DC, US Travel

Washington, D.C. – Part 2

On my second full day in Washington, D.C., I awoke early to start another busy day.  My first stop was Founding Farmers, a farm-to-table restaurant downtown.  I ordered the strawberries and cream waffle with a side of sausage and a latte to round it out.  The food was delicious and fresh and the staff was really friendly.  I ate every little bit of my meal, and it was the perfect amount to give me the energy to walk around for the rest of the day.  I intended to head straight to the U.S. Holocaust Memorial, but I took a slight detour to the Renwick Gallery.  I had passed it the day before and the line was down the block; this time there was no line so of course I couldn’t not go in.  This gallery also had free admission, as it is an extension of The National Gallery.
Renwick Gallery6
Once inside, the woman at the information desk handed me a guide and sent me on my way.  Each of the 9 featured artists had their own separate room for their installation, and I walked through them all in awe.  The installations were beyond gorgeous and each had its own thought-provoking message.  My favorite was “In the Midnight Garden” by Jennifer Angus, which was made mostly of insects a la 7th grade bug collection.
Renwick Gallery5.jpg
I also really loved Janet Echelman’s colorful piece in the main room upstairs which consisted of a colorful net strung up from the ceiling.
Renwick Gallery3
Once I spent a sufficient time admiring each room, I headed out into the sunny day and walked towards the U.S. Holocaust Memorial.


The Holocaust Memorial was obviously a very emotional experience.  I choked up immediately upon entering the actual museum, and had to run into the bathroom to fix my face.  Everyone walked through the museum in silence.  There were three levels that moved seamlessly in chronological order.  It took about two hours to make it through, and it was heart wrenching, but also informative.  I certainly left with a different perspective and gratitude.  Next, I went to the National Air and Space Museum to see the Amelia Earhart exhibit.  The whole museum is very impressive.


There are airplanes and miscellaneous space ships and equipment everywhere – hanging from the ceiling, coming out of the walls, stretching from floor to ceiling.  Amelia is one of my favorites and I was surprised to see her exhibit was relatively small compared to others.  It was still great though.  I also really liked the Time and Navigation Exhibit, which detailed compasses and GPS technology in all its stages.  I wandered around the museum, peaking at things that caught my interested, like walking through the full sized Space Station and The Wright Brothers exhibit.  Then I moved on to the Library of Congress.  The outside of the Thomas Jefferson Building of the Library is gorgeous, much like most of the other buildings in DC, but the inside is stunning.
Library of Congress.jpg

Library of Congress2

I viewed the jealousy-inducing reading room from above and checked out Thomas Jefferson’s personal Library, as well as the Civil Rights exhibit right next to it.  I couldn’t get over how beautiful the ceiling and walls were.  I spent most of my time in the library looking up.  By then, my stomach was telling me it was time to move on to We, The Pizza just down the street.  I wanted to go there because it’s owned by Spike Mendelsohn, one of my favorite contestants on Top Chef.  Sadly, he wasn’t there, but I did thoroughly enjoyed my sausage and sweet pepper pizza.  The restaurant was really cute, with the pizzas all lined up in front and a large seating area upstairs.


From there, I walked the few blocks to Folger’s Shakespeare Library, where I had just missed the last tour of the day.  The section that was open to the public without a tour was interesting, but small.  I’d say it’s worth visiting IF HI Washington DC2.jpgyou do the tour or if you get tickets to see a play in the beautiful theater there.  I took a cab back to the hotel to pick up my luggage and check into the hostel where I was staying that night.  The Hosteling International DC was just a short walk away, and the lovely front desk staff checked me into my private room (shared bathroom).  I noticed that the hostel offered nightly group activities, which I unfortunately had to decline but it did look like a good time!  I took the bus to Georgetown, which was about thirty minutes away.  I was trying to do some off-the-beaten path things in DC, but it seemed that I was stuck firmly on the path.  Oh well, they’re popular for a reason.  I got off the bus at M street and found myself in a very ritzy area.  Shops like Banana Republic, Tory Burch and Lululemon lined the streets.  It
reminded me of the Gold Coast back in Chicago.  I Olivia Macaron.jpgwaltzed around a bit, stopping into Olivia Macaron to grab a latte and a champagne macaron.  The macaron was delicious and the coffee kept me warm as I continued to wander.  The small macaron shop was kiddie corner from Georgetown Cupcakes, a bakery made famous by TLC.  I didn’t go in.  I worked at a cupcake place in college and haven’t Washington Harbor2.jpgbeen able to stomach them since.  The houses in Georgetown were beautiful and I had fun admiring them as I walked.  I wanted to make my way to Washington Harbor so I walked down Wisconsin Street towards the water.  There were some cute stores along the way that I’ve not seen back home, including Redz Trading thrift store and American/Holiday, which had cute clothes, jewelry, and housewares.  As I walked towards the harbor, the sun bean to set and once I arrived at the Potomac River, the sky was a mixture of blue, orange and pink.  There were restaurants and a skating rink at the harbor, but I walked along the river instead of partaking in them.  I had planned on going to Right proper Brewing for Dinner, so I walked along the river and then up through the George Washington University campus to get to the metro.
Washington Harbor
The ride was quick and the brewery was close to the train stop, however, when I arrived I realized it was closed for a private event.  I was pretty bummed because I was looking forward to trying a local brewery, but I moved on anyways.  Shaw’s Tavern was one block away, so that is where I ended up.  The restaurant featured upscale bar food and a lively atmosphere.  I ordered a DC Brau Public Ale and the Shaw’s Burger.


It turned out to be trivia night there, so I stayed and listened to the questions.  The beer and burger were so perfect and the bar crowd was full of good vibes.  I decided to walk home from there, which was a bit of an unnerving experience.  However, I did arrive safely, albeit very sore and tired from walking all day.  I showered in the public girl’s bathroom, which was clean enough, with thin curtains separating the showers from each other.  When I finally lay down on the bed to read, I realized that it squawked every time I moved even a tiny bit.  This set the tone for the rest of the evening; I didn’t get very much sleep, especially because I very stupidly got to thinking about the movie the Babadook (have you seen it? Don’t watch it, it’s scary).  Anyways, the next morning I opted out of the complimentary hostel continental breakfast and walked over to Astro Doughnuts.
Mapple Bacon Doughnut - Astro Doughnuts.jpg
It was rainy and cold, but luckily it was a short walk.  I got a maple bacon doughnut and a coffee and sat under the awning to enjoy it.  The doughnut was a perfect combination of sweet and salty.  It was so good.  The rest of the morning was a chain of unsuccessful attempts to see one more thing before leaving.  Everything was closed, not reopening until it was time for me to head to the airport or under construction until 2017 (thanks a lot Trump).  So I wound up at Momfuku Milk Bar for some of their famous crack pie and yet more coffee.  The pie was aptly named and so delicious.  It was sweet and caramel-y and almost too rich to finish, not that I didn’t.


Soon it was time to check out from the hostel and take the blue line to DCA.  It took only 30 minutes to make the trip, only to be delayed for three hours.  By the time we finally boarded, there were only twenty people who waited it out.  On the other side of the flight, I took a different blue line back home, happy to be home but grateful for a fantastic trip.

Flight Home.jpg

Thank you, DC, for a wonderful time!

Have you been to Washington, D.C.? Where was your favorite place there?

Washington, D.C. – Part 1

I arrived at O’Hare obscenely early as per usual; I’m always early.  I was afraid there would be a long line for security (there wasn’t), so I wound up sitting at a bar near my gate with a mimosa, a full hour before I was due to board.
Airport Mimosa
The plane landed twenty minutes ahead of schedule and it took me forty minutes and two trains (one yellow and one red) to reach Dupont Circle.  I was to walk to my hotel from there.  Unfortunately, I walked to the wrong one.  Who knew there were two Courtyard Marriotts within twenty minutes from each other?  Once I was checked into the correct hotel, I quickly changed out of my plane clothes and headed back out.  The National Geographic Museum was just around the corner from the hotel, so I figured it was a good place to start.  The museums was housed in a large building emblazoned with National Geographic Society above the doors.
National Geographic Building.jpg
The entry fee was $15 and there were three main exhibits.  One was The Photo Ark, which included many photos different species of animals, many of which had been endangered at some point in time.  Another exhibit featured the history and lives of Crocodilians with National Geographic Museumlive reptiles and interactive croc facts.  The last was ocean related and included photography and videos from numerous deep sea exhibitions.  The museum was very visually appealing, but I wish there was a little more to see.  The exhibits were beautiful and informative though, and there was a great gift shop.  From the museum, I walked back over to Dupont Circle to check out Kramerbooks & Café.  They had a great selection and unique layout (plus a lot of travel books which you know I loved!).  I ended up getting an Anthony Bourdain book because I couldn’t help myself.  Though I could have browsed for a few more hours at least, my stomach was telling me it was time for dinner, so I headed down the brown stone lined Q Street towards Le Diplomate.  This French restaurant was everything I wanted it to be.
Washington D.C., Le Deiplomate, French Restaurant
The beautifully lit atmosphere was warm and welcoming.  Despite being decidedly less fancy than the other patrons, I felt 100% at home.  I ordered the Scallops Nicoise and stuck with water to cut costs, their wine list was quite expensive.  A bread basket appeared soon after I placed my order, which I dug right into (the cranberry bread was delicious!).  I happily read “Medium Raw” until my meal arrived and I could no longer concentrate on anything other than the scallops.  They sat atop a bed of orzo, tomatoes, onions and peas, with a pesto sauce underneath.  It was a lemony and salty and the scallops were perfectly cooked.  I loved it so much.  When the waiter came back, I could only nod in blissful silence as he removed my now empty plate from the table.  After I had paid and left, I walked around the area for a while, taking in the pretty houses and cheerful restaurants.
Kramerbooks & Afterwords
Eventually I wandered back to Kramerbooks, this time to try the café.  I ordered a glass of wine and a slice of apple crumble pie, which they served with 2 spoons, making me miss Mike instantly.  The pie was good and I enjoyed it on their covered porch.  Once I was
thoroughly stuffed with pie, I walked back to the hotel.  I was feeling a little melancholy on my first night in this new city, so I Peregrine Coffee Iced Latte.jpgfelt the best way to remedy this was a bubble bath and to make big plans for the next day.  I started early, leaving the hotel at 8:30am and hopped on the blue line towards the Eastern Market.  When I arrived, the market wasn’t quite bustling enough yet, so I grabbed an iced latte from Pelegrine Coffee and walked around the neighborhood.  Fortunately, I ran into the Capitol Hill location of Ted’s Bulletin, a restaurant I really wanted to try.  One may be a loneliest number, but it is certainly a convenient one when trying to be sat at a popular breakfast restaurant on a Sunday Morning.  At my tiny table for one, I ordered coffee, bacon, hash browns and a salted caramel (homemade) pop tart, on the waiter’s recommendation.  The “Ted Tarts” are what drew me to the restaurant in the first place, so I was very excited to try it. The bacon and hash browns were pretty run of the mill, but the ted tart was amazing.  The outside was flakey and delicious and the filling was rich and caramel-y.  It went with the coffee perfectly and I relished every bit.
Teds Tarts - Ted's Bulletin
After I finished, I walked back to the market, which was a little livelier at that point.  I love rummaging, so the flea market portion was exactly what I wanted it to be.  There were knickknacks, art, antiques, clothing, and food stalls both inside and outside.  Inside the market building, there were butchers, fruit stands, bakeries, and fresh flowers.  Locals and tourists alike were doing their grocery shopping and haggling over steaks and dozens of baked goods.


Capitol Hill Books stood next to the market and I was drawn inside by its front window, which was literally stacked with books.  The inside of the shop was no different.  The shelves were chock-full of books, stacked every which way, but somehow still organized.  It was two levels of systematic chaos with nooks for reading and a great used book selection.  I was particularly drawn to their Graham Greene selection, which required patience and a balancing act to get through.


I was only a twenty minute walk from the National Mall and the Smithsonian Museums, so I headed that way.  The first thing I came upon (that was open on a Sunday) was the U.S. Botanical Gardens, so I went in.  One of the best things about D.C. is that all of the Smithsonian Museums and Galleries and all of the Monuments are free.  The Botanical Gardens was no exception.  The gardens were split into categories, my favorites were the orchids and the desert plants.  It really is a gorgeous place to walk around.

US Botanical Gardens.jpg

US Botanical Gardens 4.jpg
As soon as I started to head towards the Mall, it started pouring.  Luckily, I was very near to the National Gallery, which is where I sought shelter from the rain.  What a beautiful place to spend a rainy afternoon!  I’m no art buff, but I thoroughly enjoyed exploring the galleries.  Needless to say, the artwork was breathtaking and the building itself was gorgeous.  I especially loved the Van Gogh paintings, as well as this painting by Hendrik Willem Mesdag:

National Gallery 3.jpg

One of the museum guides pointed me in the direction of sculpture garden, so that is where I headed next.  It was a fun walk through, with a cute café and ice rink at the center.  National Gallery Sculpture Garden.jpgI made my way through, stopping to take in each sculpture.  Once I came to the end, I walked down the street to the Museum of Natural History and the Museum of American History.  One of the benefits of free museum admissions is that you can pick and choose which exhibits you see without feeling like you have to see every single one because you didn’t pay for them.  At the Museum of Natural History, I very much enjoyed the dinosaur exhibit and the “Wilderness Forever” photography exhibit that showed many of the National Parks.  At the American History Museum, many of the exhibits were closed for renovations unfortunately.  However, I did love the First Lady exhibition, which featured fashions and facts about the nation’s great women.  The National Mall is just beyond the Smithsonian Museums, so I kept walking towards the Washington Monument.
Washington Monument.jpg
From the top of the hill where it sits, I took in the city sights, and got my first glimpse of the Lincoln Memorial.  However, by the time I made it over there (it’s a deceptively far walk) I was hungry and getting crabby.  I had been walking for hours at this point, which really is the best way to see a city, but also builds up an appetite.  There were no
restaurants to be seen, so I settled for a hot dog from one of the nearby refreshment stands.  After I stuffed my face, I climbed the marble steps to see Abe.  The upside of travelling to D.C. in the slow season is there aren’t as many tourists, however the downside, for me at least, was that a lot of things were under construction to be ready for the summer.  For example, the reflecting pool was drained, the World War II Monument was under construction, some of the exhibits were roped off, the list goes on.  Luckily, I had seen some of these attractions the first time I was in D.C. in 8th grade, when our teachers dragged us to every single memorial and monument, our disposable cameras in hand.  This time around, I was taking pictures with my iPhone, having strangers get a few shots with me in them.  The Lincoln Memorial was humbling and inspiring.  I walked around the top, taking in the view from all angles.  This was one of the things I really didn’t want to miss, so I’m glad I was able to see Mr. Lincoln.
Lincoln Memorial.jpg
The Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial and FDR Memorial were just a little ways away, so that’s where I headed next.  The MLK Jr. Memorial was simple but moving, including only a statue carved in stone and a single quote on the side: “Out of the mountain of despair, a stone of hope.”
MLK Memorial.jpg
I moved on down the path to the FDR Memorial, which was recommended to me by Rebecca of Curiosity and a Carry On.  It was one of my favorites of the day, being less crowded and peaceful.  There were quotes and statues throughout the memorial, including a statue of Mrs. Eleanor Roosevelt (the only one dedicated to a first lady).  Unfortunately the supposedly beautiful fountains were turned off for the season, but I still very much enjoyed wandering through the memorial.  My favorite FDR quote was: “In these days of difficulty, we Americans everywhere must and shall choose the path of social justice… the path of faith, the path of hope, and the path of love towards our fellow man.”
FDR Memorial.jpg
I walked back to the hotel from there, passing the gorgeous Eisenhower Executive Office Building, as well as the White House.  It is awe-inspiring to walk through this city of such regal architecture.  Everywhere I turned there was a gorgeous building with columns and flags, or a stately statue depicting men on horses or famous generals.  It made each walk an adventure in itself.
Eisenhower Executive Office Building.jpg
Once I got back to the hotel, I showered and rested up for a night out in Adams Morgan, which was described to me as a hip, up and coming area.  My first stop was Smash Records, a punk record store, where I bought Mike a Bad Brains (a famous DC punk band) Album and browsed their small selection of soul records.

Smash Records
From there, I moved over to Idle Time Bookstore.  This dual level used books store has a great selection of used books and gifts and a friendly staff.  I browsed through their shelves for a while before rushing off to catch the happy hour specials at Mandu.  Mandu is a Korean restaurant, and they have happy hour 7 days a week from 4pm-7pm that offers Chap Chae - Mandu.jpghalf priced beer, wine, sojutinis and mandu dumplings.  I ordered an assortment of the dumplings, 2 each of pork, shrimp and vegetable.  They were pan-fried and so scrumptious.  My entrée was chap chae, potato noodles with vegetables and beef.  It came with a mound of something interesting on top, and when I asked the waiter, he confirmed my worst fears: eggs.  I calmly scraped them to the side and dug into the delicious noodle dish, which was served with traditional Korean condiments.  It was a pretty cheap dinner, thanks to the happy hour, so I decided to take myself out to a jazz bar I spotted back in Adams Morgan, called Columbia Station.  At first, the bar was a little empty.  The band, The Peter Edelman Trio, was on a break, but the bartender assured me they’d be playing until 1am.

Columbia Station 3

I ordered a glass of wine, and he poured it up to the brim, which is precisely how I like it.  It was quiet before the band started playing again, and I could hear the chef watching TV in the kitchen.  Eventually though, once the music started, people filed in and the tables filled up.  The Peter Edelman Trio are at Columbia Station weekly and I completely understand how they earned this regular gig.
Columbia Station 2
They were fun and talented and what started out as a drums, saxophone and organ trio slowly morphed into a piano, drums, saxophone, clarinet and bass as the evening went on.  New instruments magically appeared as the bar grew more crowded.  Fast forward three glasses of wine and I’m making new friends at the bar and grooving to the music.  I left there happy and tipsy, walking back down 18th street, jazz riffs echoing in my brain.