It’s been over ten years since my last visit to D.C.; a middle school field trip to our nation’s capital and consequently the same trip that impacted my decision to move to New York City nearly ten years later. I’ve since spent very little time, if any, there. Unfortunately, my perception of D.C. has since then been shaped by some of my ultimate guilty pleasures — House of Cards, Scandal, to name a few. And even though I follow along with what happens in mainstream media, there’s little that I know about its culture and lifestyle. So when I stepped off the Amtrak from New York City last week, I couldn’t help but feel the same excitement I did nearly a decade ago, read to explore and (re-)discover.
48 hours. Destination: Washington, D.C. If there’s one thing I learned during this visit, it’s that you’ll miss out in a blink of an eye — from the ephemeral cherry blossoms that line the Tidal Basin to the seasonal offerings of restaurant menus, time is of the essence.
If there’s one thing I learned during this visit, it’s that you’ll miss out in a blink of an eye — from the ephemeral cherry blossoms that line the Tidal Basin to the seasonal offerings of restaurant menus, time is of the essence.
Regardless, I travel with very little haste, and made my first stop to a local spa — trust me, it was long overdue — then followed it with a game of restaurant roulette. We landed on Little Serow, a cozy nook off Dupont Circle and an epic first meal in D.C. The weekly menu was a refreshing departure from the rotating Thai cuisine that floods New York City, and something I never knew I could crave. The newly discovered family-style joint arrived at my palette with dynamic flavors — from salted fish (nam prik makeua) to pork ribs marinated in mekhong whiskey (si krong muu), and tofu (tow hu thouk) to pumpkin (gaeng fak thawng) — and, was devoured before I could pronounce the names. The night ended in a food coma, at our hotel rested above Downtown D.C.
Then as soon as the sun rose over the city, I eagerly made my way over for peak bloom at the Tidal Basin. The sun-soaked day was spent cavorting through pink and white cherry blossom trees (and between crowds). Ultimately, landing at Jessie Taylor’s for fresh seafood.
Ah yes, food. I might have to spare you the details considering how many meals I shamelessly took down, but I can’t go without mentioning my experience at barmini by Jose Andres. Actually, there was a whole list of cocktail bars I meant to visit on our second night there, but the tasting menu at barmini was more than just a tasting, and definitely worth it for any cocktail enthusiast. Bookmark it. The culinary cocktail bar balanced theatrics and flavor and is certainly owed a second visit. From a Nitro Caipirinha and Mojito Spheres to a spin on the classic cocktails (the Carmen Miranda was a personal favorite), this bar managed to seamless merge its culinary expertise into the craft cocktail culture.
I ended up packing a lot into my short trip before heading back to New York for the weekend. I know, this is food heavy, but I promise if you’re ever in this city, you’ll most likely find yourself doing the same!
Leave me a comment below if you have any good suggestions too, would love to know more about your favorite spots xx