Monday, November 23, 2009

DC Recap Friday through Monday

I received my camera as a Christmas present last year from Johnny. I opened it Christmas Eve, and then early Christmas morning we jetted off to visit relatives. I've never really looked through the manual or figured out any of the settings, so I had planned to pack the manual and read it during the 11 hour drive to Washington D.C.

Unfortunately, I forgot it. Which, as it turned out, was especially bad because I royally messed something up, shortly after taking our lunch pics you'll see below. I think it might have been the ISO, which affects lighting, but there were also different numbers with the letter f, which I know means an aperature change. Suffice to say, unless we were outside in perfect sunlight, my pictures were crap the entire trip. I gave up photographing most meals because it was really depressing and frustrating to see a beautiful plate on the LCD screen translate to a blurry black blob once I pushed the shutter button. So - I apologize in advance for a) the lack of photos and b) the quality of photos.

We left mid morning Friday, November 13 after dropping the pets off at the boarder. For this leg of the trip I packed lunch, trying to avoid as much fast food as possible. We ate our tuna fish sandwiches, kiwi, and Edible Arrangements at a service plaza once we got hungry. The Edible Arrangements came from a complimentary coupon I received through Facebook. This 6 piece box retails for $15 and I was able to receive it, just by giving them my name, address, and email information, no doubt for marketing, but it's a small price to pay. The bananas were a bit weird, and overall the chocolate was a pretty thick coating. They're also ridiculously expensive and don't really look like bouquets in my opinion, but this little box was quite nice and would be a good hostess present.

We arrived at our hotel late Friday and I was pretty mesmorized. The Omni Shoreham Hotel opened in 1930 and is the only AAA 4 Diamond hotel in Washington, D.C. It has hosted all of the Presidential Inaguration Balls since FDR and has been the site of a lot of famous entertainment venues and was in the movie Pelican Brief. Let's just say there is no way we'd ever be staying there under real circumstances, except it was a business trip paid for by Johnny's company!

Our room had a king sized bed, beautiful tile bathroom, walk in closet with robes, a desk, plasma TV, and comfy reading chaise lounge.

I quickly foodied the place up!

Saturday Johnny and I ate lunch together at Medaterra, which surprisingly does not have a website. (It's almost 2010, people!!) Described as Mediterranean-American cuisine with an Egyptian flare, Johnny had a grilled chicken wrap with a tahini dressing and I had a mahi mahi sandwich.

Saturday's dinner we ate with Johnny's work best friend Goran, who you'll be seeing a lot of in recaps, because we ate most of our meals together. Dinner was at a charming French restaurant, Petits Plats, just a short walk from the hotel, as were most of the restaurants we ate at all week. Johnny had a steak with garlic mashed potatoes and vegetables, Goran had veal cheeks that he said were the best cheeks he had ever eaten, and I had scallops (Johnny photoshopped the pic so you could actually see it!).

Friday, Saturday, and Sunday was pretty swarmed by school groups. I saw a bunch of various sports teams, newspaper staff, and other groups. It was a madhouse to even get down the sidewalk, and most restaurants were accomodating groups of 30+, making our waits long. Knowing how quick Medaterra was the previous day, we decided to eat there again with Goran for Sunday's lunch. Johnny got a chicken pizza, Goran got a falafel sandwich, and I got a lamb pizza. We ate outside, so this picture is actually a nice one! The pizza was on this freshly grilled flat bread with a little bit of char. It had a spicy sauce, marinated lamb, and goat cheese. It was maybe 10" across, but I couldn't finish it all.

That night we had dinner at my cousin Paula's house, who lives nearby. My dad was visiting on his way back from NY, so we were able to see him, too. My mom was flying into D.C. from a recent trip that night, but we missed her by a few hours! My dad grilled some steak and chicken, and whipped up some homemade garlic mashed potatoes. Paula made a delicious zucchini and yellow squash dish. She sliced them thin with a mandolin, layered them in a casserole dish, sprinkled with herbs, layered with mozzarella cheese, dabbed a little butter and baked until everything was tender. We were so busy talking I didn't get any pics of the food, but here's us!

When we went outside to say bye, my dad showed us this massive cheese he got from a specialty store! It was the size of a basketball!!

Monday's lunch was at Murphy's Irish Pub. Johnny had a burger, but declared it the best burger he'd ever eaten, so I forgave him. Goran had fish and chips, and I had my first official reuben, but I wasn't that impressed, it was pretty dry. Goran and I had authentic cottage fries with our meals, which I found exciting because I've seen them so many times on Food TV, but never had them before!

Dinner that night was at Afghan Grill, which was one of my favorite meals of the entire trip. I'd never had Afghan food before, but dove right in, expecting to be surprised. Goran and I split the Afghan salad for an appetizer, which was amazing. If I could have, I would have licked the plate.

Johnny's main dish was Lamb Sabzi Chalao, a stewed spinach dish with lamb and this rice that was different than any rice I'd ever seen. The grains were thin, long slivers. Goran had the lamb kabob, and I tried a dish called Mantoo, steamed beef dumplings topped with garlic yogurt and vegetable sauce. I washed everything down with an iced tea, but it was a Turkish tea! Almost spicy, but very crisp and light - like nothing I've ever had!

For dessert we split Firnee, a custard with crushed pistachios on top. The dessert I originally ordered was sold out, so they gave us a free Baklava, too. The firnee, as silly as it seems, tasted EXACTLY like suntan lotion, but at the same time it was delicious! The baklava was a depart from the Mediterranean versions I've always had, sticky and drowned with honey. This was a light pastry, minus the honey. We enjoyed both desserts thoroughly, and polished them off, despite being stuffed to the brim.

Come back in a few days for Tuesday through Thursday's recap!


Lele said...

I loooooooooove Afghan food and from the DC area but have never tried that place! I am there for sure!

Michelle said...

Oh my gosh Christina CONGRATULATION’s on being selected and featured Taste of home!! OH MY GOD I can’t wait for my issue!!! This is really exciting for me too and I’m so happy for you! 
Your trip to DC is already sounding like so much fun I wish I could go! My aunt lives in Fairfax Virginia and we’re in DC all the time. I love that city!!! It’s also super cute that you got there and instantly foodied up the hotel room! Hahaha that’s a great touch dear. Thanks for sharing!!!

Anonymous said...

I did not know DC had such amazing food! I must have been living with my head in the sand! I MUST check out that Afghan Grill sometime...

And tee hee hee! I can totally relate to how you foodied the place up immediately! :-)
Where is the Trader Joe's roasted plantain chips? ;-)

Christina said...

The Afghan place was family owned, too. It was cute. The dad and son took turns waiting our table. And the little grandkids (around 9 and 6 maybe?) would take turns bussing the tables.

Sophia I ate my last bag before the trip! haha Otherwise they probably would have been gone on the car trip and not made it to the room. Mmm!