Tuesday, April 23, 2013

DC Part Three.

On the third day of my Washington DC journey, I slept in and took my time getting ready, reveling in the fact that I still had two more days to kill.  Since our evening before had been quite mellow and enjoyable, I was well rested and ready to make more new discoveries out-and-about the area.

I started off due west from our hotel, crossing the Rock Creek Parkway and into what looked like the idyllic suburban family neighborhood, filled with parks, puppies and children playing t-ball in the sunshine.  People were definitely taking advantage of the beautiful Sunday weather, out in droves it seemed, and curiously all walking the same direction as I was.  Mind you, I never quite plan out my adventures, I just pick a direction and go.  I figure in a city like DC, you're bound to run into something interesting, no matter which way the wind blows you.  Little did I know I was headed straight into the upper-crust heart of Georgetown...
This home was for sale. I was tempted.
The Old Stone House.
Myself and four other people were photographing this gorgeous tree at the same time.

This is the kind of community that makes me giddy.  Where house after house looks as though it has been constructed just to make people smile.  With it's brick red sidewalks, wrought-iron street lamps, white shuddered windows warmly lit from inside by antique chandeliers and the ivy covered front stoops, this place, this wonderfully historic place, is absolutely enchanting.  The deeper you delve into the streets, the more elaborate and endearing the homes become-- each with their own character, their own story, lovingly looked after by their lucky tenants.  It was like I had walked into a storybook full of pop-up houses, bathed in Spring's finest array of blooms.  Every house was decorated for the season, some with simple wreaths made of daffodils or hydrangea, others with full garlands of intertwined tulips or classic Americana bunting.  A dazzling display of proud American architectural heritage, dating all the way back to the late 1700's, dressed in it's finest warm weather attire.
Martin's Tavern.

Town Hall.
The Daily Grill, G-town.

Once through the thick of the residential neighborhood, I found myself on the main shopping drag of retail-therapy Georgetown.  A street clamoring with Sunday brunchers, waiting outside restaurants like Martin's Tavern, Cafe Bonaparte, Town Hall and The Daily Grill.  Amidst the hundreds of jam-packed restaurants lining the tiny streets, I ended up enjoying a small brunch meal at The Daily Grill, one of two outposts in DC, the other being over on 18th street closer to downtown.  I sat at the bar, was serviced quickly and in a warm fashion, and ordered their Crab Cake BLT, topped with Crispy Bacon, Arugula, Tomato and Remoulade Sauce.  The sandwich was tasty-- the bacon was cooked to perfection and the crab was incredibly fresh.  My experience was pretty run-of-the-mill, but I'd consider this restaurant a dependable local joint, serving up classic American favorites.

I had developed a pretty intense craving for something sweet, since it had become sweltering at this point, so I made my way back to air-conditioning by way of Thomas Sweet.  Some of the best all natural, yummy, frosty treats in town.  Thomas Sweet has been around since the year of my birth, and are serving up everything from frozen yogurt, chocolates, ice cream and baked goodies.  I, of course, ordered their Mint Chip ice cream, which to the confusion of some, is downy white.  Finishing up my ice cream, I then decided it was nap time-- a retreat back to the comfort of my hotel was in order.

A cute little flat on the way back to our hotel.

The remainder of the early afternoon was blur of drowsiness and sugar-induced delirium.  I was grateful to be able to have a place to relax after walking a total of 5.4 miles, all before 3pm, in hopes of reserving my energy for evening festivities.

The hubbs was released from conference and ended up back at the hotel by about 5:30, antsy and in need of an adult beverage.  We whittled away our time before dinner, chatting with the crew at Urbana, sipping champagne and Fernet, laughing and generally enjoying the company of our new friends.


At 6:30 that night we met up with some of the hubbs coworkers at the uber-trendy Churchkey.  With an emphasis on all things beer and a massive collection of 555 different labels, mostly all handcrafted, Churchkey's Beer Director Greg Engert and Chef Kyle Bailey have encapsulated the quirky brew culture with a refined, yet funky twist on barroom chic.  We enjoyed our short time spent here, especially while munching on their crispy tater tots and chatting with the humorously sarcastic bartender. The beer list is impressive and worth checking out, but be aware, the crowds at Churchkey get huge, and you will most certainly have to wait for a table if you can't squeeze in at the bar upstairs, so plan ahead.

By the time we left Churchkey, we were desperate for an actual meal.  Life is not all about liquid and bar snacks, and our tummies were growling like angry bears.  We figure it's always best to head back in the direction you came after a busy night, and thankfully we did or we wouldn't have run across the fabulous Boqueria.  A fantastic tapas bar and restaurant, located right on the outskirts of Dupont Circle, easy walking distance from our hotel.

"Boqueria restaurants were inspired by the best tapas bars in Barcelona. Bars such as Xampanyet, Vinya del Senor, Ciudad Condal and others where one can go at any time of night for a beer, glass of wine, and perhaps the best fast food known to man are institutions in a city known for its devotion to epicurean delights."
The hubbs and I were thrilled to find this gem, as we adore Spanish food and wine.  It was a comforting escape amidst streets full of unfamiliar restaurants on a night when we just wanted to sit down, order a ton of food and chat about our busy days.  A huge, well-light dining room with a marketplace feel, smiling faces in every direction, and the food... Oh, the food!!  Endless lists of tapas scrawled on various chalkboards above our heads-- decisions, decisions.  I became so overwhelmed that I gave in and let both the waiter and hubbs pick out a "few" dishes.  Here's the good stuff:

Pan con Tomate... Grilled bread rubbed with tomato, garlic and olive oil.
Tortilla Española... Traditional Spanish omelet of eggs, confit potatoes and Spanish onions.
Pimientos de Padrón... Blistered Shishito peppers, coarse sea salt.
Salteado de Setas... Sautéed wild mushrooms, Manchego cheese, thyme.
Patatas Bravas... Crispy potatoes, salsa brava, roasted garlic aioli.
Tabla de Quesos... Manchego, Caña de Cabra, Idiazábal, served with olives and pan con tomate.
Lomo Ibérico... Dry cured, acorn-fed pork loin.

Now all of these dishes were outstanding, but I think the one that brought tears to both our eyes was the Patatas Bravas.  These potatoes rivaled even ones we've eaten in Spain.  Their crisp exterior, warm squishy center, spicy salsa and finger-licking-good garlic aioli was much too hard to resist.  I also thought the tomato bread was delicious, served on a light ciabatta.  The Spanish omelet was probably our second favorite, disappearing rather quickly once it was served.  We loved this restaurant to pieces and would highly recommend stopping in for a visit.  With such a convivial atmosphere, this tapas restaurant, great for couples, groups or just sitting by yourself at the bar, is well-worth trying out.

Clearly enjoying the trip!  Stay tuned for my next post as I visit three out of four of Jose Andres restaurants in DC... Jaleo, Oyamel & Zaytinya.

Be well,




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