Travel Diaries Washington DC: Our Nation’s Capital

Georgetown Street Shops
Georgetown Street Shops

Every year my husband and I head to the Washington DC metro area to visit his family. It’s always a nice change of scenery to visit the East Coast. The trees are barren during winter time, colonial style homes and brick facades are the norm. It feels so different from the West Coast, or at least San Francisco. There’s so much history and, being the Nation’s capital, it’s a must visit for any American. One area that I enjoyed visiting is Georgetown. It’s a charming area that has a many trendy shops and restaurants and is also the home of Georgetown University.

A Random Cobblestone Street in Georgetown
A Random Cobblestone Street in Georgetown
 
Georgetown Cupcakes is a staple of Washington DC. We are arrived at 11:00am and there was a line of people waiting outside in the cold. Thankfully the line wasn’t that long since the temperature was freezing! I bought a thick puffer jacket a few years ago specifically for visiting DC. The first time I came, I thought my long fleece hooded jacket would suffice. I was wrong. I’ve learned from my mistake but not even my jacket could keep me warm from the 20° temperature on one particular day. I couldn’t feel my toes at one point. I guess I need to invest in thermal socks. 
After 15 minutes of waiting in the bitter cold, we finally placed our order of a dozen cupcakes. They had special holiday flavors with cute holiday themed names. We ordered a dozen cupcakes of various flavors to share. There was seating at the side of the shop but it was packed with people so we just walked around eating a cupcake.
Interior of Georgetown Cupcake
Interior of Georgetown Cupcake

Interior of Georgetown Cupcake
Yummy Cupcakes
A Dozen Georgetown Cupcakes
A Dozen Georgetown Cupcakes

We took a much needed break from the harsh cold. A highly rated bakery/cafe called Baked & Wired looked promising on Yelp so we stopped to get some tea. They sold cupcakes which looked like they were baked in small flower pots as well as a variety of other baked goods, tea and coffee. At the back of the shop was seating so we grabbed a spot on the couch and just enjoyed sipping our tea.

Baked & Wired Cupcakes
Baked & Wired Cupcakes
Baked & Wired Assorted Baked Goods
Baked & Wired Assorted Baked Goods


 

The Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden is an art museum located next to the National Mall. There was a special exhibition of renowned contemporary artist Ai Weiwei’s installation called “Trace”. It comprises 176 portraits, created using Legos, of activists, prisoners of conscious and advocates of free speech. The project reflects his own experiences in China. Apparently, this installation was also shown at Alcatraz. If only I had known, I would have checked it out. It would have given me a reason to see Alcatraz for the first time.

At the end of the exhibit, a documentary was shown about Ai Weiwei which includes his experiences with law enforcement and his constant advocacy for free speech. I thought it was fascinating and it reminded me of how lucky I was to live in the US.

Picture of Ai Weiwei at the entrance of the exhibition.
Picture of Ai Weiwei at the entrance of the exhibition. 
“The Plain Version of the Animal That Looks Like a Llama
 but Is Really an Alpaca” wall paper.

Up close shows surveillance cameras, hand-cuffs and twitter bird logos.
Ai Weiwei's Trace installation at the Hirshhorn Museum in DC Ai Weiwei's Trace installation at the Hirshhorn Museum in DC
Ai Weiwei's Trace installation at the Hirshhorn Museum in DC Ai Weiwei's Trace installation at the Hirshhorn Museum in DC
Ai Weiwei's Trace installation at the Hirshhorn Museum in DC Ai Weiwei's Trace installation at the Hirshhorn Museum in DC
View of National Mall on the third floor of the Hirshhorn Museum in DC
View of National Mall on the third floor.

Here are a few images of other exhibits and interesting things at the museum:

Hirshhorn Museum Hirshhorn MuseumHirshhorn Museum Hirshhorn Museum
Hirshhorn Museum Hirshhorn Museum
Whenever I visit DC, I always make a stop downtown to Momofuku Milk Bar for the cookies and especially for the cereal milk soft serve topped with corn flakes. I wish David Chang would hurry and open up a Milk Bar in San Francisco so I wouldn’t have to wait until Christmas to get my fill. 
Cereal Milk Soft Serve at Momofuku Milk Bar in DC
Cereal Milk Soft Serve
Next door to Milk Bar is trendy Momofuku, which serves noodles, buns and other Asian offerings. We shared a bowl of pork ramen, a shrimp and a brisket bun. 
Pork Ramen at Momofuku in DC
Pork Ramen
Shrimp Bun at Momofuku in DC Brisket Bun at Momofuku in DC

Bad Saint is a Filipino restaurant located in Columbus Heights. It was rated number 2 restaurant in the US by Bon Appetite Magazine. A yelp review recommended lining up two hours before opening to ensure getting first seating. We arrived a few minutes past 3:30pm and there were already two groups of people waiting by the entrance. We parked the car in front of the restaurant to take turns waiting in line since it was freezing outside. A half an hour before opening, the line stretched to the end of the block. 

Line half an hour before opening at Bad Saint
Line half an hour before opening. 
 
Prefixe Omnivore Menu
When it was opening time, we were prompty seated. The interior is small but nicely decorated with Filipino touches. We were right next to the kitchen so we could see what the chefs were making. Our waitress handed us the pre-fix menu. There was a choice of a omnivore menu or a vegetarian menu as well as a wine pairing. Before any of the dishes came out, we were given a tea cup of ginger tea to start off. The food came out promptly one after the other. It was delicious fusion of Filipino influenced food. My favorite of the night was the fried fish with a side of garlicky sauce and the sweet bibingka at the end. 
Salabat (Ginger Tea) at Bad Saint DC
Salabat (Ginger Tea) 
Kinilaw Na Kabibi (Clam Ceviche) at Bad Saint DC
Kinilaw Na Kabibi (Clam Ceviche)
Ensaladang Treviso (Treviso Salad) at Bad Saint DC
Ensaladang Treviso (Treviso Salad)
Pasta Sa Sarsang Aligue (Pasta in Crab Fat Sauce) at Bad Saint DC
Pasta Sa Sarsang Aligue (Pasta in Crab Fat Sauce)
Mushroom Sisig at Bad Saint DC
Sisig (Sisig!)
Piniritong Isda (Fried Fish) at Bad Saint DC
Piniritong Isda (Fried Fish)
  
Estofadong Dila (Tongue Stew) at Bad Saint DC
Estofadong Dila (Tongue Stew)
Bibingka (Rice Cake) at Bad Saint DC
Bibingka (Rice Cake)
The next day for lunch we went to The Block in Annandale, Virginia. It is a cafeteria style Asian dining establishment in the suburbs of Washington DC. There was a place for Thai, poke, Asian fusion, ice cream, milk tea, snow ice and even a bar. We ordered a few items from the Asian fusion place, Balo and I ordered a bowl of boat noodles since I rarely see that on the menu of a Thai restaurant, let alone one that’s even good. I have to say that I highly enjoyed the food here considering the price and the quality of my meal. 
Cafeteria style dining at The Block in Annandale
Cafeteria style dining at The Block
Balo Kitchen Counter
Balo Kitchen Counter
Pig Frites and Brussell Sprouts from Balo Kitchen
Pig Frites and Brussell Sprouts 
Fried Chicken Tacos and Belly + Rice at Balo Kitchen
Fried Chicken Tacos and Belly + Rice


Thai Boat Noodles at Roots
Thai Boat Noodles at Roots  

Love Virginia on one wall of the interior of The Block 
The last meal of the trip was to Ambar Restaurant in Washington DC for some Balkan Food. Dinner was just $35 for all you can eat small plates. The menu had a wide variety of items but the few that stood out for me was the tartare steak, drunken mussels, brussel sprouts and the bbq pork. The price is such a steal for the quality and variety of food. It was a great way to sample many of the items. I surely need to get my new years diet plan ready for next year with all the food I’ve eaten so far. 
 Ambar Restaurant small plates in Washington DC Ambar Restaurant small plates in Washington DC Ambar Restaurant small plates in Washington DC Ambar Restaurant small plates in Washington DC
Ambar Restaurant small plates in Washington DC Ambar Restaurant small plates in Washington DCAmbar Restaurant small plates in Washington DC Ambar Restaurant small plates in Washington DC
Ambar Restaurant small plates in Washington DC Ambar Restaurant small plates in Washington DC
-Jamie

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