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Trip Report DC Trip Report - Mostly Food!

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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.

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.

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.

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.

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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