So, after my leisurely weekend at the bay, I headed towards our nation’s capital to visit my lovely cousins. The hubby met me and we had a fantastic trip that included…
These hosts (Lanna and Tim, super hosts!):
These adorable boys (+Lanna):
Sights like these: And quite a bit of food and drink.
Now, let me be clear. This trip was most certainly about seeing family. But, being the foodies we are and being hosted by foodies, the trip quickly became about food. Like, about food A LOT. Our planning e-mails and texts revolved around links and messages exclaiming, “this was in Food & Wine…must go!” and “I heard about this place on NPR” or “Southern Living mentioned this restaurant…”
As you can see, it was pretty pathetic. Well, pathetically awesome.
We were welcomed off our evening flight with an immediate trip to Hank’s Oyster Bar.
Hank’s has a superb fresh menu that chef Jamie Leed delivers fantastically. Hank’s blackboard menu changes daily, so we ordered a dozen oysters of the day from it. Our waiter wonderfully recommended a sampler that gave us each a tasting of three different oysters. We followed up with small plates of roasted cauliflower, fried oysters, crab cakes, avocado & romaine salad, and their signature fries. Everything was delicious. The cocktail menu feature enough gin drinks to make my head spin (and enough variety for the non-gin drinkers like 85% of the world). The boys enjoyed Manhattans and the Shine & Circumstance, and I’d give anything to remember which gin drink I ordered!
A trip to the newly opened Union Market was our first stop the following day.
With plentiful vendors, we enjoyed Greek treats, empanadas, and cupcakes. The market was busy, but not overly crowded, and the cheerful artisans made it a happy place to be. I loved that this market included a few shops, as well. Salt & Sundry featured linens, coffee table books, Rifle Paper Co. and more! I was quickly wishing I brought an extra empty suitcase for some shopping.
This display featured every one of my favorite Middle Eastern treats! So tasty and so special….
Grant enjoyed a pretty amazing Oreo cakeball (I can vouch for this, as I ate the other one!)
That evening, we got dressed up for date night and headed to the historic Bombay Club. Here we are, all fancy schmancy:
The Bombay Club, near the White House, has been the dining choice for former presidents Clinton and George H. W. Bush, President Nelson Mandela, and a host of other world leaders and celebrities. The old Club setting is a relaxed elegance that makes it perfect for a special dinner.
Literally everything on the menu sounded tasty and – with six hungry stomachs – we started with an array of appetizers. From Crispy Spinach Arugula Chat to Chicken Tikka to Kebabs, we tried a bit of it all. For dinner, the men each chose a thali dish, which arrives with an array of delicious meats, sauces, and naan for dipping. Service was outstanding, the pianist made for perfect background music, and the wine list complimented the Indian food flawlessly.
After dinner, our four hosts directed us towards The Hay-Adams for a nightcap. The Hay-Adams is a historic part of DC, sitting on the site were former homes of friends John Hay (personal secretary of Lincoln) and Henry Adams (of John Adams and John Quincy Adams family fame) stood. Nowadays, each newly elected President resides in the top floor suite of The Hay-Adams during the inauguration period!
Their bar, Off The Record, situated right across from the White House on 16th Street NW, was swanky and felt exclusive, but comfortable. Their signature Pimm’s Cup was the best I’ve ever had, and the favorite of the entire table!
Our third day called for doughnuts. Astro doughnuts, to be exact. And fried chicken!
A Food & Wine article on Astro Doughnuts & Fried Chicken sparked our interest. Pastry Chef Jason Gehring does such creative, whimsical things with these doughnuts…and I don’t even care much for doughnuts! The options were so brilliantly absurd that we ordered an entire dozen of doughnuts to share among the group for breakfast. We each had bites of Salted Caramel, Pistachio, PB & J, Crème Brûlée, and Maple Bacon, among other delicious ones.
While all really fantastic, my favorite was the jelly-filled and peanut butter iced specialty. Oh boy. That was something special.
We grabbed a couple fried chicken sandwiches for a later lunch on our Potomac boat cruise.
That’s Lanna beautifully displaying a bit of the large fried chicken sandwich…that was actually two savory doughnuts hugging a piece of free range fried chicken. We had no idea a doughnut was part of the sandwich. Our minds were blown. And our pants’ buttons.
A stop to DC’s Eastern Market for breakfast the following day meant another market full of cheerful vendors with delicious treats.
Our cousins frequent here often enough that they’re chummy with the cheese lady, who graciously loaded us up with many samples. We took in the sights and smells of the fresh flowers and produce as we made our way down the aisles.
To round out our “culinary tour”, we ended with lunch at DGS Delicatessen, which is a modern take on Jewish deli.
But with dishes like reubens, it’s definitely not kosher! We all enjoyed unbelievable sandwiches (my bagel and lox on the right was killer) and shared their fries (with za’atar and roasted garlic yogurt), along with potato latkes and a pickle plate. The cocktail menu featured many tasty options, but I went for a gin and rosé (everyone’s SO SURPRISED I know) and loved it.
DC has such gorgeous sights – which we did enjoy too! – but after multiple trips there doing the typical “tourist” thing, it’s so nice to have a grown-up trip that revolves around fellowship with friends, great food and drink, and some late-night card games of spades:)
In the DC area soon? Hit up one of these great eateries…or all of them!