My cousin, Louie, and I decided to venture around during happy hour. First of all: why were there no good happy hour deals near our hotel? That was absolutely crazy. $6 Bud Lights. That was the deal. A giant "WTF" lingered above our heads. We settled on Occidental Grill & Seafood at the very posh Willard Hotel. We ordered a plate of truffle fries that came with garlic and pesto aioli. There was not enough aioli. These fries were cooked to perfection, and the bits of sauteed garlic did not hurt one bit. Our creme brulee was just alright. It wasn't very fresh and was definitely kept refrigerated all day so it didn't have the texture we were looking for.
Our first evening there, my cousin and I tried out The Hamilton, which was about a block away from our hotel. We had a couple of drinks and felt hungry enough for a dessert. We settled on something called "The Fluffernutter." It was a peanut butter mousse with marshmallow fluff in the center. There was also a graham cracker crust that the whole marvelous thing rested on. Was it delicious? Yes. Was it a bit too much? Of course. But we were on vacation, and that meant being able to indulge.
The next day was all about conquering as many museums as possible. Our favorite was The Hirshorn, an interesting contemporary art museum that was circularly constructed. We were big fans of the Suprasensorial exhibit, which had everything from light and tactile installations. As you can see, we had a lot of fun. For lunch we stopped in at Sei.
Clockwise from top: the ginger yuzu and orange cream cardamom sodas, Korean kalbe tacos, and the bibimbap
After a day of museum exploration everyone's feet hurt and the heat had gotten to us. We spent a good amount of time resting up in the hotel room before deciding to head out for dinner. We decided to go to Ceiba, a Latin restaurant, mainly focusing on South American cuisine. Think Argentinian and Brazilian: meat, and lots of it. The highlights of this dinner were my Moqueca Bahiana, their take on a Bahian seafood stew with lobster, shrimp, mussels, and rice, and Louie's pork "feijoada," which was basically a gigantic hunk of meat in a stew with rice. Does this sound like your type of meal? Well, it should. My stew was brimming everything in the ocean and the saffron in the broth transported me to Brazil.
For brunch the following morning (and on our last day in D.C.) we walked up F street and tried out Le Pain Quotidien. I apologize, but boulangeries are my weakness. You could smell the dough the minute you walk in. The farmhouse-like decor immediately puts you in the mood for something fresh and hearty to start your day. So, naturally, I got eggs. Specifically, their goat cheese and mushroom eggs that came with bread and some greens. Now, the eggs were fantastic, but what I really want to talk about are their organic spreads. I layered their version of Nutella onto a piece of a baguette and topped it off with some berry preserves. The result? Easily the best decision I've made throughout the entire trip. It was like eating candy. Another thing that tasted like candy? My cousin, Christine's mint lemonade. Seriously, where has mint lemonade been in Chicago? I hadn't seen or tasted anything like this since I got to D.C.
We had conquered another tourist attraction, the Newseum, by the time we were about ready to be picked up to go to the airport. Our last stop was to get some gelato. We had been walking around in dead heat all morning and rewarded ourselves with something sweet and cold. We stopped in at Pitango and sampled some of their gelato. While I am always a fan of hazelnut, I wanted to try a different flavor. It was hot and I was in the mood for something refreshing. That's when I saw they had rhubarb flavored gelato. Why the heck not? I've a) never had rhubarb before and b) figured it would be an interesting gelato flavor. It was a success. I paired it with a crema flavored gelato and it was like I was eating a pie. A delicious custard pie. Needless to say I left D.C. with a full stomach and I only wish I could have had one more day to see what other exciting food the district had to offer.