DC Trip Report - Mostly Food!

Old Aug 13th, 2013, 07:26 PM
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DC Trip Report - Mostly Food!

A trip report on the few days we spent last week visiting our son in DC. We were there to spend time with him rather than a major sightseeing trip so I will cover our hotel and the restaurants. Unless you want me to fill you in on my family goings on too!

Thank all of you who gave me suggestions on DC restaurants. We ate at several that were recommended and also ate at some good places that my son has discovered.
We stayed at the Renaissance DuPont Circle on New Hampshire because we stay at Marriott properties since my husband is a rewards member. The hotel is just short of a mile from DuPont Circle and we got a great rate probably due to government being shut down making business slower than usual. The place was very nice, looks like it has been recently refurbished. The rooms are pretty small as well as the bathrooms but it was fine for the two of us. The AC worked great which was a relief during the heat wave accompanied by thunder storms. We asked for a king which meant they moved us from a street view room to a room that looked out onto the roof of a building but it was very quiet. We enjoyed the coffee from Illys which is connected to the lobby. We didn’t eat in the hotel but we had drinks in the lounge several times and I think almost every server was brand new and had never served drinks before. We decided to sit at the bar one night to avoid the server issue and it was the poor guys first night and he was hired as a server but the bartender went into labor so they grabbed him and he and the manager were making drinks! They were all very apologetic and nice but it made me wonder why all the servers were new.

We had several very good lunches. My son suggested we go to Amsterdam Falafel shop which is on 18th in the Adams Morgan area. It is a little hole in the wall with limited seating. You order at a crowded counter and wait for them to call out your order. You can then “garnish your sandwich with some 21 sauces and toppings, wide array of sauces, salads and pickles that encompass both traditional Middle Eastern and Dutch influences, with cream sauce and garlic flavors. We offer a selection of dressings for your fries as well, including traditional Dutch mayo, homemade peanut 'saus', malt vinegar, Old Bay seasoning and ketchup.” I had a small and skipped the fries but it was so good I could probably have finished a large! The only drawback was trying t find a place we could all sit together. http://www.falafelshop.com/

We picked James Hobans for lunch another day based on it being convenient to DuPont Circle near my son’s office. The reviews on Yelp were not great and it was nearly empty but we thought it was a good place for a sandwich with very good service. I laugh at Yelp reviews, someone complained that it was not a celiac, gluten free friendly place. No kidding, it’s an Irish Pub.
http://www.jameshobansdc.com/

The other great lunch was at Nando’s Peri-Peri , the home of Portuguese flame-grilled PERi-PERi Chicken . I was thinking it would be like all of the Mexican chicken places we have near us in Southern California but the menu was different, the spices and sides set it apart. I was not very hungry so I just had tastes of everyone else’s dish! The place was pretty healthy, my son’s side of mashed peas with parsley, mint and chili was very different.
http://www.nandosperiperi.com/

The first night we ate at Pizza Paradiso. After a short wait we split two 12” pizzas.The Bottarga, which had Paradiso Tomato, Minced Garlic, Parsley, Parmesan, Egg*, and Bottarga(the roe pouch of tuna) and an Atomica,- Paradiso Tomato, Salami, Kalamata Olives, Hot Pepper Flakes, Mozzarella. Both were very tasty but I wouldn’t say it was the best pizza I have ever eaten. I do like the thin crispy crust. DH liked the beer menu!


There is a huge Ethiopian community in DC, I think 75% of the cab drivers are Ethiopian. My husband tried Dukem on a previous trip and raved about it and I got recommendations here so we headed there on another night. We just asked the waitress to suggest something for the four of us and we got a large platter of various beef, chicken, lamb and vegetables all served on the bread that is like a spongy tortilla, with more of the same on the side that you use to scoop up bites of food, utensil free! I don’t know what we had exactly but it was delicious! Lots of lentils and great sauces with different spices. I need to find an Ethiopian place near home. I enjoy sweet white wine so I tried the Ethiopian honey wine and if you like a Riesling you may want to give it a try.
http://dukemrestaurant.com/


We took a happy hour harbor cruise (pretty boring, but I may be letting the tiff DH and I had on the way there color my opinion!) and wound up wanting dinner afterwards so we decided to just find something close to the cruise location. This was a bit of a mistake given all of the choices available but I deferred to DH and his insistence he needed food immediately. We wound up in a kind of sketchy area by the wharf. The place that looked the best was Jenny’s Asian Fusion. It was actually pretty good and we had a great waiter who was like the energizer bunny, he made sure our glasses were full and plates were taken away!

The best meal by far was at Mourayo. Thanks to all of you who mentioned this place! We were going to try Rasika which is across from the hotel but the one night we wanted to go it became impossible when Obama showed up for his birthday dinner! The next night it was booked up and I kept insisting my Fodor friends would not steer us wrong that we neede to try Mourayo. We went because of the seafood but only one of us wound up ordering it because of other tempting items. We had several appetizers and I ordered the Salata Gaea Fresh beet salad w/ apples walnuts, and yogurt which was enough for two people.For my main course I had Pythagoras “Theorema”
Pork loin medallions w/ figs, almonds, manouri cheese and honey sauce which I could have licked off the plate when I finished. Everyone agreed it was an excellent meal.
http://mourayous.com/

The next morning we had our final meal, an Eritrean breakfast, at a place my son and fiancé frequent called Keren. It is another basically Ethiopian place, more of a coffee shop type of place. It was very inexpensive and we got a ton of food. We had the Fuul, a mashed fava bean, yogurt and jalapeno combo with eggs. Served with a couple of fresh rolls to dip with. One of us had the Egg W/ Silsi which was a meat dish in a sauce which had chunks of the bread mushed in the sauce. It was so much that I couldn’t finish. I guess we were Fuul, haha.
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Old Aug 13th, 2013, 09:30 PM
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I'm glad you enjoyed Mourayo! Although I usually order fish there, I've had that pork dish -- it is scrumptious, isn't it?

Thanks for reporting on your experiences.
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Old Aug 14th, 2013, 07:42 AM
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Thanks for the reviews! I'll have to try Mourayo out sometime
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Old Aug 14th, 2013, 08:14 AM
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OMG, we'll be in DC regularly now that my DS and DIL will be living there. That pork dish sounds awesome - can't wait to try it.
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Old Aug 14th, 2013, 09:21 AM
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I'm always slightly disappointed when I leave DC~there are so many restuarants I didn't have time to try, and it seems I add more things to my See And Do list than I cross off.

Thanks for the report, SeeHag!
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Old Aug 14th, 2013, 11:57 AM
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Loved reading your trip feedback, SeeHag, thank you!

Mourayo is on my next stop list for a nice dinner. Appreciate hearing abut Keren -- will check that place out. Sounds as if your son has a great eye and palate for food!
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Old Aug 15th, 2013, 03:33 PM
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I made reservations at Mourayo's for our trip in October. I am very excited. Thanks for the report!
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Old Aug 15th, 2013, 05:52 PM
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willowjane, I hope you enjoy it as much as we did!
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Old Aug 16th, 2013, 02:17 PM
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It sounds like a wonderful time, SeeHag. Adams-Morgan is my old neighborhood, and Amsterdam is owned by a friend, with backing by several other friends. He had this "brilliant" idea, based on a place he had gone to in Amsterdam. I think a lot of people thought it wouldn't make it, but it has been at least 10 years.

Glad you liked Mourayo, which is owned by the woman who owns La Tomate at Connecticut and R, one of my regular places the last few years I lived in DC.

Now I'm jonesin' for Ethiopian food -- not to mention a trip to DC. Thanks for a great report.
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Old Aug 16th, 2013, 02:43 PM
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bookmarking - I usually go about 2 x a year with my husband for his work. Yummy! Thanks for reviewing the hotel - we are pretty locked into Marriotts with dh being a Platinum reward member - so I love when I can read about Marriott properties!
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Old Sep 29th, 2013, 10:44 AM
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James Hoban's was close to our hotel and we sat at the bar next to this man that was a professor of civil war history at the American University. Wow, he gave us a history lesson and pointed out so many things to look at in the area. I thought the food was good but loved the vibe. I have heard that the food at the Indian Smithsonian is the best.
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Old Sep 30th, 2013, 05:44 PM
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Same here, Momdd............I tag along with my mom, and we stay at Marriott properties, too.
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Old Sep 30th, 2013, 07:15 PM
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Glad that a few people got something out of my report! I always feel so inadequate!
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Old Oct 1st, 2013, 07:23 AM
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SeeHag, I think it is great that you will be going more. There is so much to see and so much is free. My Uncle was stationed at the pentagon when I was in my early teens so we went to DC often. We stood in the Capitol a week before JFK was there in his coffin. I kept saying we were just there as I watched everything on tv. I wish more people would take their kids there instead of Disney. The Zoo is free and around Christmas they have Zoo lights. Very pretty. Sad today for all those many workers without a job.
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Old Oct 1st, 2013, 04:13 PM
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Unfortunately he was only in DC on a four month project which just ended and he is now back living in South Korea. Not such an easy trip!
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Old Oct 20th, 2013, 05:13 PM
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Glad you enjoyed your trip! Nando's is South African, however, which is why is wasn't similar to Mexican. Rasika is the best Indian I've ever had. I hope you get a chance to go next time you're out here!
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