Preface – About Me
A little about myself. Im a Christ loving, marathon running, wannabe globetrotter, aspiring foodie, and general student of life. I’m a lawyer by training and by trade even though I don’t quite practice in the traditional sense. And on to more relevant things for blog purposes. I’m rich’ cousin and have known him pretty much the day his mom brought him back from the hospital. We spent our childhood adventuring at our granma’s house making tents and forts, fishing Legos, driving couch cushions, playing with paper, collecting sand dollars, and rocking out in our homeband aptly titled “the Swords” among other things. Now as psuedo adults, we’re finally broadening our adventuring. We’re cruise pros, hawaiian turtle seekers, national park explorers, and American historians (I mean Who isn’t after a couple visits to DC 😉
As Rich indicated in a previous recap, we packed in lots of activity in a short trip. As indicated by the schedule below, it was filled with some of my favorite things – food, running, history, coffee, worship, more food, more history, FOOD.
– Fly in & greeted to a late lunch at Ben’s Chili Bowl
– Dinner, Dessert, & Books at Kramers
– Monument Run
– Pre-Brunch/Morning Snack at Julie’s Empanadas
– Brunch at Founding Farmers
– Smithsonian #1: American History Museum
– National Archives
– Smithsonian #2: Air & Space Museum
– Dinner at Birch & Barley
– Lincoln Memorial run
– Capitol Hill Baptist Church
– Brunch Pizza at Match Box
– USMC Memorial (read or watch Flags of our Fathers to learn more)
– Arlington National Cemetery
– Key Bridge to Georgetown
– Dinner at Farmers, Fishers, and Bakers
– Cupcakes from Baked & Wired
– Coffee at Tynan
– SCOTUS & Library of Congress
– Lunch at the Food Trucks
– Smithsonian #3: Natural History Museum
– Fly out
One can’t help being in DC without having a sense of wonderment of American history and culture. When all those Smithsonians are there readily available for access, it just brings that the history buff in me. While this wasn’t my first trip to DC, it’s always a struggle for me to try to narrow down which placed are manageable to visit, and even then, it’s still a speed through each place. That and to balance the desire to explore the ever booming food scene. As Richard alluded to in an earlier post (link) and as seen in schedule above, we devised a pretty ambitious plan.
We decided that the best way and must strategic way to do things was to multitask and prioritize, which meant that morning runs became the “monument runs.” On our first Monument run, we managed to take in most of the sights starting with the White House and everything in between from flaming swords and eagles to MLK Jr and Eleanor Roosevelt. We also had to take some random detours around the DC monument since it was blocked off for the Global Citizen Earth Day concert. (We never made it to the concert. I had hoped to see Usher dancing or strolling around. But sadly no.) Also, the monument run would not be complete without Captain America socks (link to beg scene of capt am 2) nor would it be complete without running up the steps of the Jefferson a Memorial. While the throngs and masses crowd and jab to get their pictures and selfies, honestly, for me, the best part of these memorials are Poetic, inspiring, classic, witty, (and often a bit cheesy) inscriptions blazed and forged out of iconic moments in history. (See pictures). Another cool moment was coming across the WW1 & 2 memorials with a ceremony of vets taking place. It’s hard to imagine just being able to see the world today through that type of real life historical lens. But it’s also ironic to see how as good natured people try be towards vets, we may come off insensitive and demeaning. Otherwise, it was a pretty special site to see since I have a soft spot for veterans, and you the WW vets are definitely dwindling as time goes on.
On another and more important note, all runs with rich, especially on a vacation or new place (ok or just always) always involve some food stop along the way. Naturally, on the way back to the UCDC building, we stopped for empanadas for pre-brunch or I guess perhaps breakfast. While rich was nice and considerate enough to make some brunch reservations, we decided to go to Founding Farmers, a popular brunch spot where we indulged ourselves in banana pancakes, red velvet pancakes, eggs, bacon, chicken apple sausage, and best of all – Peanut Butter, Banana toast with a bit of Chocolate crunch. I think they’re might have been a bit of melted marshmallow in there as well to get the whole smores effect. (See Pictures.) I know that it’s pretty simple combination and that anyone can duplicate it at home, but it was the combination of some of my favorite ingredients (sans the whole marshmallow but it was melted and incorporated in well enough) that was perfectly put together and executed that made it special.
Speaking of special, we also got a special treat for dinner in getting both dinner and a show (yes I used special and dinner 2x in the same sentence) at Birch and Barley’s. The interesting part for me is to get insight on how kitchens are run and how things are prepared. Since Rich has worked in a couple kitchens before, it was funny watching him get excited in pointing out order and hierarchy and reminiscing about quart containers. I definitely watched plenty of delicious flatbreads beings made from the rolling and shaping of the dough to the piling on of fresh ingredients to being wood-fired in the oven. Also, something unique about this place is that they will custom create a menu out of a whole animal. For example, they’ll do whole pigs. The funny part was watching Rich talk to the manager about whether they could do a whole cow – i.e. roughly 1300 pounds of meat. The manager said that if he could get enough people to eat it, they could do it. Sadly, I don’t think that quite manifested, but still a cool idea.
Some other highlights of eating included brunch pizza at MatchBox. Rich has been talking about brunch pizza for ages and as seen from the pictures, they were both mighty delicious. We went with one brunch pizza piled on with what pretty much is a delicious egg scramble and a more traditional chicken, mushroom, tomato pizza. We topped this off with a delicious peanut butter pile with an oreo crust and peanut brittle. If you sense the pattern by now, I love peanut butter. I also love oreos . . . to the point where I’m not allowed to eat them for the most part because I will take down the whole package. It was also at this meal that I learned all about Richard’s plan for world domination. Apparently, he has self-appointed himself King Richard in some world government simulation game for one of his classes.
Other food highlights also included lots of delicious seafood and meats both at Kramers on night 1 and FFB on night 3. The nice thing about the places we went to is that they definitely did not skimp on portion size. I’ve also been into trying out different beers lately so getting beer flights and samples is always a plus. (Also, note that at Birch and Barley’s, while you wait, there’s a separate restaurant/bar upstairs where you can grab some drinks/snacks.)
There are 19 museums plus the National Zoological Park in DC. While I would love to visit them all, that was impossible given the short time we had. In fact, I don’t feel like we even had enough time at the ones we were able to hit. I had been to the Holocaust museum on a previous trip so I could eliminate that. And even though I had been to the Air and Space Museum before, we had to go there for the boys. And aside from the Smithsonians, there were some other important sites to get to.
Some highlights were:
– seeing the original American flag and the Food Exhibit that includes Julia Child’s kitchen display (b/c FOOD!)at the American History Museum
– “Space Everything” (Rich’s words) at the Air and Space Museum
– the original “Founding Fathers” documents at the National archives
– experiencing patriotism at the USMC Memorial and Arlington National Cemetery
– geeking out at the Supreme Court (so close to getting into oral arguments for the morning session)
– basking in the vastness under the dome of the open rotunda and seeing the Gutenberg Bible at the Library of Congress
– walking through the Gems and Geology exhibit and seeing the Hope Diamond the Natural History Museum
All in all, a great fun filled, food stuffing, history learning, culture experiencing trip. And, if you ever get a chance to visit DC and are looking for a church/place to worship, check at Capitol Hill Baptist Church headed by Mark Dever – http://www.capitolhillbaptist.org/.
Signing off with a classic from TJ. Goodnight DC, until next time!