So how've you been?? No really, I feel like it's been ages since I wrote a proper post (although I hope you did enjoy my Broadway tips). I've been busy, I've been lazy, I've been plain neglectful. But I'm back! And ready to unload not just any post but a travel post!
This Easter weekend I visited my friends Lisa and Meghan who live in the DC area. We all met while studying abroad in Siena, Italy and have stayed in touch throughout the years. They're two amazing gals. I've traipsed around Paris with these two and the last time we spent Easter together was in 2009 when we spent the day in Pompeii and then feasted on Neapolitan pizza and Sri Lankan food for Easter dinner. I love traveling with them because we travel "by sense" meaning there's no itinerary, no real plan, just relaxed fun and always amazing food. But you should know by now that's a given with me.
Friday evening started with dinner near Meghan's place in Arlington, VA at a really nice bistro, Lyon Hall. They have some excellent wine and even after we could eat no more, we ordered the crème brûlée for dessert. It was marvelous. At night, we went down toward Georgetown, which is so adorable, and danced til we could no more... well more like til Meghan and I could dance no more cause Lisa will dance you under/over/around a table.
Saturday was 'DC tourist day for Margaret.' The last time I was in DC was my 8th grade field trip and honestly all I remember about that trip was sneaking off to dip my toes in the Washington Monument reflection pool while yelling 'Jennnyyy!' à la Forest Gump. I was due for a second impression.
Our day started with lunch at one of José Andrés' restaurants, Jaleo, which specializes in Spanish tapas. The interior is incredibly trendy and just plain cool. The drink list is shown to you via iPad and the staff was incredibly knowledgable about the menu. The only gripe I have with tapas is that the portions are so darn small but Jaleo definitely packs flavor into every bite. We first ordered a cheese platter because we were starving. My favorite was the Caña de cabra (the middle one) which is a soft, sweet goat cheese.
Then we moved onto the tapas: bacon wrapped dates, asparagus with romesco sauce, sautéed spinach with apples, pinenuts & raisins and garlic shrimp. Of course, all of these had incredibly complicated Spanish titles which I attempted to pronounce until having to resort to lots of pointing at menu items. Regardless, these were the best tapas I've ever had! Everything was very fresh and flavorful and the atmosphere was fun. If I lived closer I would definitely be going to Jaleo Happy Hour for $4 drinks and tapas. Anyone in the DC area, please go for me on a regular basis. Report back with your favorites.
The rest of the day was spent doing really touristy things. Secretly, I love being a tourist. It gives me an excuse to walk around aimlessly and ogle at beautiful sites, which I probably should be doing on a daily basis. If it weren't for the visors and fanny packs, I honestly wouldn't mind becoming a professional Japanese tourist.
After lunch, we (aimlessly) walked around the National Mall, stopping by the National Gallery of Art and going to the World War II Memorial. I was hoping to catch a glimpse of some of the cherry blossoms in bloom but they were long gone due to the freakishly warm winter this year. The weather that day was absolutely perfect though. An ideal sunny spring day so I couldn't hold too much of a grudge against global warming.f
After all that walking, we all decided we were due for 'snack time.' One of my coworkers went to college in DC and had recommended that I go to Good Stuff Eatery during my trip. It's a burger joint owned by Top Chef alum Spike Mendelsohn. If you go, make sure to get the Spike Village fries which are sprinkled with thyme, rosemary and sea salt as well as the Toasted Marshmallow milkshake (it really does taste like toasted marshmallow!). The burgers are also delicious (I had the Michelle Melt, named after Michelle Obama) although I don't think any of us enjoyed ours half as much as the two guys sitting next to us. There were so many 'Mmmm this burger is SO GOOD' and 'Ughhh I love Obama... the burger' coming from their table that it fringed on the disturbing. They were either extremely hungover or incredibly lonely. But then again, I just called this meal our 'snack time.'
After our delicious snack/early dinner, I went to Lisa's aunt and uncle's house out in Clifton, VA. Clifton is a tiny, tiny town but the surrounding area is absolutely gorgeous. It kinda reminded me of Tennessee with all the trees and woods and openness. Such a refreshing departure from New York. That evening, I also helped play Easter bunny for Lisa's 7 year-old cousin by hiding chocolate eggs all around the house.
On Easter morning, Lisa prepared some delicious homemade yeast waffles topped with strawberries and powdered sugar. They were delicious!!! I was so tempted to take a picture of them but I could hear Lisa's voice saying 'Haha really?! You're taking a picture of this too?' so I didn't. But now I regret it so much! Cause they were so good!
Lesson: Never listen to what you think your friends might say
I'll just have to have her make them for me again the next time I visit. That'll show her. So Lisa, I'll be visiting again soon. Say, next week?
Thanks to both of you for being such great hostesses!
Lyon Hall 3100 N. Washington Boulevard, Arlington, VA (703) 741.7636
Jaleo 480 7th Street NW, Washington DC (202) 628.7949
National Gallery of Art 4th Constitution Avenue NW, Washington DC (202) 737.4215
Good Stuff Eatery 303 Pennsylvania Ave SE, Washington DC (202) 543.8222