A peek into our weekend trip to Washington DC from October 30-31.
We drove in to meet college friends and enjoyed seeing the Virginia suburbs and the city of Ballston, VA (neighborhood of Arlington county).
Ballston is a common place for many DC workers to live (Metro accessible) and it’s filled with many high-rise apartment complexes and lots of shopping and dining options. Alex and I forgot we stayed in this very city when we came to visit DC a few years ago; the Hilton here is nice.
pic from http://edequity.org/
Ballston has some really wonderful restaurants and we were able to brunch at Ballston Rustico which is a huge gastropub (good for parties) which has a nice brunch spread. We enjoyed some of their house-made donut holes to start (powdered sugar covered with chocolate fudge and mixed berry compote dip). I had the Rustico burger without the meat which was tasty but not above average and I was frankly a bit disappointed in their vegetarian options (only other options were carrot cake French toast and mushroom/spinach scramble). I also had the truffle Parmesan fries (obviously) and they were wonderful, definitely recommend. Seems like their pizza would be a good option as well, they have an option of a chickpea crust which looks very intriguing. Ultimately, an enjoyable dining experience with friends and they were kind enough to split the check several ways for our large party.
Next, based on the recommendation of some local friends, we headed to the Smithsonian’s Renwick gallery “Decorate art and craft” museum). I was so glad we went because it ended up being the most interesting collection of American art, mostly modern in style using a variety of mediums. Having been to DC multiple times and only really explored the Mall area, we had missed this gem of a small museum on the side. Entry is free and I particularly enjoyed their large net installation in their grand ballroom area. I found all the art interesting and the entire museum is small, making the experience easy to digest. It was the perfect way to spend an hour or so and lay down to enjoy some art ;).
Alex, me, CSK, and L. Enjoying some ceiling installation art on our backs.
I spy a Betsy.
Next, we went on a foodie adventure to try the cookie and ice-cream store “Captain Cookie and the Milk Man”. We ended up passing on the cookies (the Nutella flavor sounded so good) but had a scoop of the chocolate ice-cream which was rich and a good afternoon snack. Because we always have room for more food and second lunches, we made our way over to the Chinatown area for our Barmini reservations. We knew that the food there wasn’t the highlight so we “pre-ate” at a chain called “Hip City Veg”. The interior was clean and bright and we had the most amazing vegan sandwich called the “Philly cheese steak”. It was everything we could have hoped for as it was filled with meaty mushrooms and rich “cheese”. This was almost the culinary highlight of the day! Highly recommend this vegetarian friendly chain (apparently there is also a location in Philly?).
Onto the show stopper…Barmini by Jose Andres.
My BIL made reservations many weeks in advance and the bar is strict about making sure you do not stay past the allotted 2 hours since this is a hot ticket in town! We were seated at the 6 seater window seat (which in my opinion looks to be the best seat in the house).
The service, atmosphere, and drinks are impeccable and this was a very special experience. You feel as if you are in a space-aged bar with many drinks coming out with liquid nitrogen fog pouring out. The aesthetic is bright, hopping, and a bit sterile. The bar itself is not huge so it feels like a super secret/intimate find. The cocktail menu is extensive with many pages of options. Since Alex and I like similar flavors we ended up both getting the “Pain Killer” tropical drink which was potent, sweet, and fruity. Perfect. I followed that with two mocktails (they are really good at these here, one with a cucumber lime flavor and the other with a complex raspberry spin).
The waiters here are a walking encyclopedia of cocktail knowledge and recommendations, so don’t hesitate to ask them anything. My BIL ordered some pretty impressive drinks, as seen below!
Everyone enjoyed their cocktails and the experience was very memorable. Before we knew it we were winding down and our 2 hours were up. Hope to visit again soon.
Alex and I hit up the always pleasing Founding Farmers restaurant near Foggy Bottom for a very late dinner at 8:15pm. Only we would find a way to squeeze so many meals in a day! We enjoyed their famous deviled eggs and their house salad was delicious with champagne vinaigrette. Needless to say we were stuffed by the end of this evening.
We enjoyed our night’s stay at Park Hyatt (so luxurious and only affordable since we had a free night of points to redeem) which is set in quiet corner of DC that is easily walk-able to many things. We loved all the common space and the luxe bath area.
Alex enjoying our “little” living room.
The next morning, we were just a few blocks away from Georgetown and an area where the Marine Corps marathon was going on. We chanced upon running part of the course next to them and the energy and cheer were infectious, prompting a good pace for us! A run by the river was the perfect way to start our Sunday morning.
Post run we had a delicious brunch with J and A in Capitol Hill at the restaurant Lavagna. We didn’t think we could love DC more but the Capitol Hill neighborhood is quaint and gorgeous with fall colors everywhere. Lavagna was one of my favorite brunches in a while with the most amazing Benedict Florentine I’ve had! Service was fun (all servers dressed up in costume since it was Halloween), friendly, and the food and company were perfect. Alex and I walked around the neighborhood for the next hour and perused the farmer’s market and local bakeries with many goodies to bring back to Baltimore.
This was the perfect end to our weekend get-away to DC.