Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Craig & Patrick Visit DC

Last weekend, Craig and Patrick flew down to DC to visit. They arrived on Friday evening, and after a looong drive from BWI airport (welcome to DC traffic), we got back to our house. We ate out at Logan Tavern, which has a neighborhood pub feel and great American food - wings, burgers, etc. Then we headed out for a pub crawl to show them our neighborhood. We stopped by Churchkey to show-off our new fancy-beer bar. We walked down 14th Street, stopping in Bar Pilar, which has a great laid-back atmosphere, even on a busy Friday night. We wandered down U Street and on to 18th Street, where we stopped at Duplex. Eventually we circled back around to our house - with some live jazz at 18th Street Lounge on the way. It was a nice long walk and a great way for them to get a sense of the neighborhoods near us.

We also made a post-midnight stop at one of Jeff's and my favorite little food spots - Yum's II. It's a tiny Chinese place a block from our house with not chairs or tables and bullet proof glass. The Chinese food really is pretty good, and it also serves philly cheesesteaks, mozerella sticks, and all sorts of other American food - I'd never really tried the American food, but Patrick got mozerella sticks and they were surprisingly good. In fact, Yum's was packed when we got there - it was the only time I've had to wait in line, but the lo mein and crab rangoons were worth it.

On Saturday, we continued our walking tour of the city. We made our way around the White House to the national mall.

We saw the Washington Monument and then walked around the tidal basin - seeing the Jefferson Memorial and FDR Memorial - both of which I'd never visited before.

After that, we grabbed a cab to the Capitol and ate lunch on the run as we hurried to make the start of our Capitol tour.

It was the first time I've gone on a tour of the Capitol building since my family visited DC in 1997, so everything was pretty new to me. The little video at the beginning of the tour was actually pretty good - it goes over the history of legislation in the U.S. - but is much more interesting than it sounds (and it mentions the NASA Act!). The Senate was in session, so we decided to be really good citizens and check out the action from the gallery. Though the chamber wasn't very full, senators from Maryland, Minnesota, and Massachusetts were all there debating health care - so we felt well-represented. We also saw John McCain speak, which was neat.

Once we'd had enough of the health-care debate, we decided to walk home along Pennsylvania Avenue. We stopped at the W Hotel to enjoy the view of the city from their roof-top bar, and then continued on to the apartment. Dinner was at Lauriol Plaza - which has amazing Mexican food - and it was even better than I remembered. In a food coma from our fajitas, we only lasted through one beer at Bar Pilar before we (yawning) decided we'd rather sit at home in our PJs. So we introduced Craig and Patrick to "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia" before falling asleep.

Sunday, the last day Craig & Patrick were in town, we headed to the Holocaust Museum - another DC tourist destination I've never visited. The museum is really interesting and well set-up, taking you on a path through that details, chronologically, the build-up to the holocaust, the actual policies and carrying out of the plan, and the post-war events. Since I'd never visited, I had lots to read, so it took us almost three hours to see the whole thing.

From the museum, we went for a late lunch at Ella's Woodfired Pizza in Penn Quarter - which has incredible pizza - I think we finished it in about 10 minutes, since we were so hungry at this point. For there it was a quick walk home to grab some gelato, pack, and watch a couple episodes of "It's Always Sunny" before heading to the airport.

It was a really fun weekend - I think Craig and Patrick got a good sense of the city and saw the things they really wanted to see, and I got to see quite a few things that are new to me, too. And there was lots of good food. But we also got plenty of exercise - I mapped out the walks we did over the weekend and it totaled to about 13 miles of walking.

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