Spring Onion had a 4-day MLK weekend so we decided to head to DC. I haven’t visited since I was in my late teens so I was really excited. We may not have had the best eating trip but we had a great time — unseasonably warm weather, lots of fun museum-going, few crowds (compared with NYC), and an awesome townhouse to stay.
Left Boston on an evening flight into DCA. We stopped by an organic grocer in our neighborhood (Eastern Market) and grabbed some snacks and beer.
Started the day with quite decent bagels from Bullfrog Bagels which was in our neighborhood. These were much better than the ones that we had in NYC last month. We all appreciated that these were not Godzilla-sized. We’d prefer a bit more chew, though. Plain all the way for SO; chive cream cheese, tomato, avocado, lettuce for me; house smoked salmon, capers, red onion for B. We both had everything bagels and we both noted the low-adherence of the seeds, which is always sad.
Unfortunate lunch choice was made out of hangry desperation somewhat proximal to the Mall and in the direction of our next destination (the Spy Museum), a place called Tonic which was busy with professional locals, both young and older, which we thought might be a good sign. It wasn’t. Hello, this is 1987 calling, I’d like my seared crusted tuna over greens and taco salad to come home. At least they were innocuous. SO’s mac and cheese bento box was probably the best thing on the table. Service was laughably indifferent.
Dinner was spent at home after doing a TJ’s run.
Breakfast was at home. Lunch was near Ford’s Theater at Pi Pizzeria, a St. Louis import. The crust, to me, was dreadful (it had a weird texture and no flavor to speak of). Toppings were decent, though, and plentiful (cherry peppers, mushrooms, and vegan sausage). SO loved his cheese pizza and that’s the most important thing. Friendly service.
Dinner was in our neighborhood at Kaiju Ramen. Started with delicious Brussels sprouts, which were topped with a showering of Parmesan that put it over the top, in a good way. We can never resist Brussels when we see them on a menu. The kitchen kindly steamed dumplings (rather than pan-frying) and put together a bowl of plain but rich pork/chicken broth with noodles for SO (he loved both). Creamy unctuous umami-ful veggie ramen for me, topped with charred veggies. B had a ramen based on the same broth as SO’s bowl. Those bowls went down quite easily. B had a delightful yuzu-based beer. We both had doubts about it, as neither of us likes sour beers but this was refreshing. I had a Red Kimono cocktail. Awesome service. Weird lighting = bad food photos. And maybe that’s the point!
B went back to Bullfrog for a bacon, egg, and cheese on everything, which he loved and devoured. SO and I ate something for breakfast.
Lunch was on the Wharf, at Hank’s Oyster Bar. We didn’t have high hopes for this place, but it turned out to be fine. Very busy place with a big brunch crowd. I wanted crabcakes so I got the sandwich and it was much better than anything we get in Boston… Lots of crab, very little filler that I could detect. I think it was deep-fried rather than pan-fried, although I’m not sure. B has Baltimore roots so he didn’t get the crabcake and got a fried chicken sandwich instead. Once he took a bite of mine, he regretted his choice although he said his sandwich was good. SO had a hot dog from Shake Shack (which ironically stopped serving shakes because they were so busy and understaffed; every time we get food for SO at any Shake Shack, I feel bad for the staff - they are always swamped). Got him a $$ shake from Ben and Jerry’s next door.
Dinner was at home - we had pasta leftovers from Friday night.
B and SO both got bagels again, plain and BEC. I ate Kaiju leftovers. A happy start to our last day.
We checked out and went over to the Renwick Gallery, which we all loved. There’s not much else to do over there, both in terms of sites or food, but we landed at the Bottom Line, a scruffy out of the way bar that serves food. It reminded us of unpretentious places near the State House in Boston, where are you can imagine legislators, rubbing elbows with folks out drinking, tourists, etc, making deals or what-have-you. Really friendly, barkeep and staff. Simple food but it did the trick. Tuna steak sandwich, bowl of chili, cheese quesadilla.
One last non-food note, after the Renwick we wanted to walk up to the White House so that SO could take a look but everything was closed around the perimeter. Disappointed we walked around a little aimlessly, to kill some time before lunch. And guess who happened to drive by just as we were crossing the White House entrance?
As a 2.5-year old, SO met Barack and Michelle. And now at age 8, he’s waved to Joe. He was very excited to return to school today to tell his classmates.
And that’s a wrap. We are definitely coming back to DC. Off-season, for sure.
Edited to add: