It’s been over a month since Anuj and I officially said goodbye to the apartment that held so many memories for us over the past two years in Chicago to start our new chapter of our lives. As anyone knows who has done long distance, we’re still getting used to the new pace of our relationship. But, one of the benefits is that we get a new city to explore together. While he’s been a bit too busy with school to really dig in to daytime activities in DC, my first trip to visit him gave us an excuse to discover all of what his new home has to offer. Our weekend in DC was a mix of catching up over great meals, meeting many of his new business school friends, and figuring out what locals love in the nation’s capital.
We started the weekend off right – attending a business school rager at Le Citron run by the Latin American Business Club. Put me in a room with Latin American dance music and I’m happy camper. Pair that with getting attention for being the new social rep’s girlfriend and it became a night for the books. Pardon the poor picture quality here.
Friday was a workday for Anuj and I, but it was not without a quick tour of Georgetown and a lobster roll from Luke’s Lobster. I’m a sucker for a great lobster roll, and while it definitely wasn’t cheap, the lobster was incredibly fresh and satisfied my constant craving for the delicacy. I also swooned over the east coast, cape code-like décor!
Happy Hour on the Potomac
It was 90 degrees and incredibly humid all weekend. Wearing a maxi dress and a full face of makeup was definitely not a great decision. When we headed to grab drinks at one of the many restaurant establishment that line the Potomac, I became a bit perturbed that we could not find a spot in the shade. After trying three restaurants, the sun had finally set enough that more shady spots were available. Beers in hand, we were able to enjoy a beautiful pre-dinner drink catching up on the river.
I’m the one in the relationship that researches where to eat and what to do when we hit somewhere new. Between facebook recommendations, yelping and scouring some DC food blogs, we put our bets on Rasika, a modern Indian restaurant. People don’t typically recommend Indian food as ‘the place to go’, but Rasika did not disappoint. Between the innovative take on a samosa, the creative drinks using a mix of Indian spices and the almost as good as Anuj’s mom’s curry, we walked out happy, sweaty, and full.
Food Truck Fest – Lemongrass
Now I don’t know if that’s what it was actually called, but on our Saturday middway walk from Anuj’s Rosslyn apartment to the Potomac, we so conveniently ran into DC’s own lineup of food trucks. With many options to choose from, we landed on lemongrass, a Vietnamese food truck. Can you tell I’m getting excited for my trip to Southeast Asia? We went for the Vietnamese tacos which ultimately were just banh mi wrapped in a tortilla. Absolutely delicious.
Potomac Stand Up Paddle
I had my heart set on stand up paddle after we had passed it on our way to Georgetown’s campus the day before. A paddle-virgin, I couldn’t wait to try out a new water sport. As we approached the dock after finding our way through the winding staircases and wooden bridges and getting distracted by the Francis Scott Key park, I told Anuj I was a little scared. “You’re scared? Words I never thought I’d hear you say.” Scared probably wasn’t the right word, rather excited and unsure of what it would be like. As I reminisce of our hour absorbing the beauty of the Potomac by floating through the river, I can say that this is an activity I will definitely be doing again.
I am a market and festival lover and find that these are always the best ways to meet natives, get a taste of the culture and find some real local eats. When friends began to recommend Eastern Market as a must do while in DC, I knew that it would be right up my alley. However, after a packed day of pool, standup paddle, and lots of eating, Anuj and I got there a little late. The outdoor market was pretty much closed, so we just did a quick walk through of the indoor area. While I was a little disappointed that we were unable to get the full Eastern Market experience, we did end up devouring the best empanada of my life. I can’t wait to explore Eastern Market again on my return trip in November!
I clearly tried to pack too much into the day. After Eastern Market we headed over to stroll through the Botanic Gardens. I might just be a garden snob after frequenting our own Botanic Gardens that happens to be in the town where I grew up, but these guys just didn’t do it for me. Next time I want to hit the conservatory – maybe that’s where all the flower power is.
We love oysters, so when I did a quick scan to see where we should head after our dinner plans changed, Hank’s quickly caught my eye. At this point, we were pretty exhausted from our jam-packed Saturday, so relaxing with a dozen half shells and a bottle of champagne was just what the doctor ordered. We got to try six different kinds – 3 from East Coast and 3 from West Coast – and were thoroughly impressed. I’m no oyster connoisseur, but a place that serves goldfish as the amuse-bouche? Right on the money.
At this point in the night, we had spend a few hours with Anuj’s friends and I was ready to go watch some live music and eat at the famous Ben’s Chili Bowl. Well, exhaustion truly set in and while we were waiting for the band to start again at Vegas Lounge, whose crowd reminded me exactly of Kingston Mine’s in Chicago, I decided we needed to skip this and head straight for the snacks. Unfortunately, Ben’s was too busy for my patience at that time of night, so we’ll need to head back to both of these on the next trip.
I truly believe that Pho has healing powers. After a weekend of eating, drinking and dancing, we woke up on Sunday with 30 minutes to spare before I had to head to the airport if I wanted to make my flight. I don’t know if it’s the spicy, the broth, or something in the meat, but it magically makes you feel better. For the first time, Anuj ordered better than me – the flank steak and the meatballs are the way to go. This place is a staple for Anuj and his business school buddies and I can see why. It was by far the best Vietnamese soup I’ve ever had.
Have you been to Washington, DC? What do you recommend that I eat, drink or do when I’m there for a month in November?
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