By far, one of my favorite places to visit (and have lived in) is Washington DC. Admittedly, you need a sense of humor in dealing with the cost of living and traffic, but being able to walk through American history, and see the sights on a fairly easy to navigate public transportation system, is awesome in my book. Flying in over Pennsylvania, West Virginia and North Carolina breathtaking too, when you have the weather and daylight to enjoy it. This last trip took me back to DC, giving me a chance to explore a section of the National Capital Region (NCR) I had only a little exposure to in the past.
North of Dupont Circle, and south of theSmithsonian National Zoo,is and area I believe is called Adams Morgan. It is a older neighborhood with several embassies, that has a vibrant collections of condos, apartments, pubs, and restaurants. Back in the day when we lived south of the NCR, we would venture into the District for a date night. There are some incredible steak places and bars in this area. Definitely out of our daily price range, but not so bad that we couldn’t splurge from time-to-time and enjoy a great steak dinner (and wine).
Fortunately for me, the company put us up in the Washington Hilton that is nestled in this bustling neighborhood. As I mentioned, the history of the area is one of the things that draws me to this place. Not to be morbid, but in recent historic terms, this Hilton happens to be the same one President Regan, Secretary Brady, Special Agent McCarthy, and Police Officer Delahanty were shot at on March 31, 1981. I didn’t realize it until the car service that picked us up at the airport, dropped us at the entrance near where the shooting occurred. As tired as we were, I instantly recognized the location. Eerie, yet interesting. Anyway…
At first light, with warming temperatures, and no wind, I headed out to check a few prospective eateries. What a beautiful morning! Traveling north of the Hilton, I ended up a few blocks away on 18th Street NW. DC was bristling with folks already coming and going to work on this glorious Wednesday morning. Not to sound too cliche, I found myself walking up on “The DINER.” OK, this just became a no brainer.
Fantastic classic diner atmosphere in an older building. High, ornate ceilings, lots of ambient light beaming in from the storefront windows. Ample seating with a L-shaped lunch bar, tables and booths. If the food tastes as good as it smells, this is gonna be a winner.
Opening the menu, my eyes gravitated immediately to the “Benedict” section. A few inches further down, the Greek Omelet with spinach sounded real good too. Dang–the entire menu looked fantastic, but I kept thinking of oozing egg yoke and hollandaise sauce. They have a Florentine Benedict version with spinach, but I had a hankering for a bit of pork as well. Time to venture off on a hybrid course of action…
With the coffee flowing, I asked the super friendly waitress if I could have the traditional Eggs Benedict with spinach added. She didn’t even hesitate with her, “Sure thing hun, thats the way I like ’em too.” Awesome waitstaff–perfect! So, with the slight modification, and a side of rye on order, we were off to the races.
Several plates went by. One had me for a moment rethinking my choice. I think it was the DINER Hash. It had the eggs on top a mound of corned beef hash, but rather than throwing a wrench into the kitchen (and run the risk of upsetting the cheery waitress), I stayed the course. I wasn’t disappointed.
My plate overfloweth! Two perfectly poached eggs, atop spinach, ham and english muffin. Pushing the capacity of the large plate to the limit, any remaining space was filled with perfectly fried spuds. The side of marble rye would be a challenge, but I was up to the task.
Overall, it was delicious — I ate way too much, but it was perfect!
As I sat back on my stool, I had a few more hours to kill, which was fortunate so I could digest, and maybe even work off this hefty morning indulgence.
Not to far away was a segment of a course I used to run when I was stationed at the Pentagon in the mid-2000s. One of my favorite, the paths took me through a portion of Georgetown, along the Potomac River, around the Tidal Basin, eventually past the Martin Luther King, Jr. and Thomas Jefferson Memorials. I wasn’t sure if I had time to run the full course, but my glutinous-guilt made me try. I got as far as the MLK, Jr Memorial and had to turn around for time. As beautiful a day as it was, it was very easy to lose myself in the run, but keeping my job and showing up on time for the crew van was probably the wise choice. After a quick shower, and a look at the map showing how far I ran, my guilt was quashed. I was ready for a long night of flying.
I really enjoy the DC area. It offers a wonderful opportunity to see first hand many of the things you read about in grade and high school history classes. The international aspects of this city’s inhabitants also brings with it a diversity in foods and flavors available for the pickings. Getting around is easy, and the Metro rail comes up under the National Mall where many epic museums are located.
Even if you fly in to Dulles (which is on the far west side of DC area), I highly recommend the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center, which is an AWESOME annex of the Smithsonian Air & Space Museum. After the U.S. Air Force Museum in Dayton, Ohio, it’s my favorite aviation museum. This annex, in my humble opinion is better than the main facility in DC. It has a great representation of manned (and unmanned) U.S. space exploration to include a shuttle! It also does a great job of exhibiting women in aviation, as well as early pioneers in civil aviation. There’s public transportation from/to Dulles, so it’s possible to weave it into a trip, if you elect to have a long layover in-between flights in/out of Dulles. I’d do it…but I’m a aviation junkie…
Long post, but I hope you enjoyed it. There’s a lot in DC to see and love. Hope you get to see it in person.