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Washington DC Trip Report--Fall Colors, Food, and Turner!

Washington DC Trip Report--Fall Colors, Food, and Turner!

Old Nov 24th, 2007, 06:58 PM
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Washington DC Trip Report--Fall Colors, Food, and Turner!

Trip Report
So here is my trip report from Thanksgiving week. I’m not going to give it chronologically because it’s all sort of blurred together in my mind. Thanks to all those who made suggestions and wrote reports, I had a near-perfect trip.

Airlines
Fly Jetblue!! So much better in-flight, individual TVs, nice leather seats, nice free snacks (unlimited), free headphones, free earplugs and eyeshades for the red-eye flight. Plus the Long Beach airport is so easy to fly out of. Unfortunately they fly to Dulles (IAD) and not DCA (Reagan).

US Airways. I wanted to return from DCA, but next time I will pick another airline or just bite the bullet and return via Jetblue. US Airways is the farthest from the Metro entryway. In Phoenix, seemed like there was a mile-long walk to transfer planes (arrive at B, walk to the far, far end of A). The flight was 100% booked on the Phoenix-LA leg. They didn’t ask passengers leaving at Phoenix to let those with a connection off first. Crappy planes, tiny movie screens, and the only free snack is a tiny bag of pretzels. At least it was nearly on time and I made the connection. UGGH! It took an hour to get from the Hotel to the airport by Metro, too.

Getting around: Not having to rent a car was great! The $22 weekly pass works all day unless you are going outside the zone. You can add “exit fare” if needed, at a kiosk near the exit gate. EG, It was 50 cents for the Metro from West Falls Church to Dupont Circle. Tip: bring something to preserve the shape of your fare card if you get a weekly pass, they’re paper and mine was starting to get too torn up to work properly. There is lots of security around the stations. Directional signs are of course keyed to the name of the last station on the line. Tip: The Gallery Place station has easier “correspondences” than Metro Center for connections from the Red Line.

Hotel: Hotel Palomar on P Street, across from Marriott’s Residence Inn. I loved this location, 2 ½ blocks to the Dupont Circle Metro. The staff was gracious, and allowed an 8AM check in! The Queen rooms face the back parking lot. Windows are sealed and there was no noise intrusion from outside or other rooms. Furnishings seem new, everything was comfortable other than the lack of room between the foot of the bed and the dresser. Other perks: free lobby coffee and tea (including soy milk) until 9 am, free wine/beer/beverage hour 5 to 6 pm with olives and cracker bread, onsite gym with good cardio machines and free apples. L’Occitaine toiletries! There’s a 24 hour business center but the Computer charge is high, go west down the block to the coffee shop and it’s half of that. I never tried the (expensive) on- site restaurant. The plan was to eat there on Thanksgiving, but they decided to close it (with no advance notice like every other restaurant on P Street).

Food. P Street is restaurant row, although the sad part is that if you’re out during the day you miss the less expensive lunchtime menus. I liked Pizzeria Paradisio, on the next block toward Dupont Circle, which takes about 10 minutes to turn out a wood fired pizza to go. (The Siciliano was great). I also liked Teaism, best curried lentil soup ever (seasonal). Others that looked promising were Mark and Orlando’s, Pesce, and Sala Thai across the street. The latter has happy hour specials on their appetizers.

Central DC restaurants that I enjoyed (in order recommended) were:
Taberna del Alaberdero, 18th& I. Happy hour M-F 3 pm to 7pm, half off tapas and sangria in the bar. Beautiful décor and delicious authentic Spanish fare (they are a branch of a Spanish chain). Recommended: Quail (cordoniz).
Zatinya, Metro Gallery Place, at 9th Street & G just across from the Gallery Place Metro exit and the National Portrait Gallery. Recommended: Kofte sandwich, Maroulosalata, pistachio ice cream.
Jaleo, Metro Archives. West side of 7th Street at E St. Walking distance from National Gallery. Recommended: Lamb sandwich Bocatade cordero asado.
Buffet at the National Gallery Garden Café, National Gallery. $18.95. Changes seasonally, I am a buffet-holic and liked everything on the menu, especially the smoked salmon, heirloom beans, roasted beet salad, and roasted apple dessert. Hours 11:30-3pm daily. Service can be patchy.
Le Bon Café, 2nd and Independence. Convenient to Library of Congress and Supreme Court. Metro Capital South. Casual café with good lunch values, I had a ½ chicken panini, roasted cauliflower soup, and a pumpkin gingerbread for around $10. The sun came out and so did the sidewalk tables. I thought this place was really good, it’s only at the bottom of the list because the others were even better.

Favorite Sights and Sites.
For me, the most moving and must-see was the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. Even though it was smaller than I expected, it had a powerful emotional impact, and not just on adults old enough to remember that era.
The most beautiful building space was the courtyard at the National Picture Gallery.
I also liked the exterior of the American Indian Museum, quite a contrast to the rest of the Mall.
Favorite exhibit was of course the JMW Turner exhibit and film at the National Gallery. Don’t miss it even if you don’t normally go for paintings. Also interesting was Identity by Design: Tradition, Change, and Celebration in Native Women's Dresses, at the National Museum of the American Indian.
Biggest surprise: Fall Colors! I really didn’t even think about it, but they seemed to be at their peak. The side streets around the Hotel, and into Embassy row were quite beautiful with fall colors on the street trees, and the “ash grove” near the Korean War memorial was a pure yellow and a contrast to the steely gray statues.
Also amazing: the folk art exhibit at the National Gallery, “The Throne of the Third Heaven of the Nations' Millennium General Assembly”. by a former janitor at the GSA.
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Old Nov 24th, 2007, 07:08 PM
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National "Portrait" Gallery! Somehow I posted before I was done editing.
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Old Nov 24th, 2007, 07:11 PM
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And another correction, the Throne is also at the Natonal Portrait Gallery/American Art Museum.

That brings up a tip, those looking for American Art won't find that much of it at the National Gallery.
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Old Nov 24th, 2007, 10:09 PM
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bookmarking
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Old Nov 30th, 2007, 08:48 AM
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You found US to be furthest from the Metro because you got off at the wrong end of the station. It's closest to the north end.
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Old Nov 30th, 2007, 10:47 AM
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Thanks for the tip, I just followed everyone else.
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Old Dec 1st, 2007, 09:29 PM
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Zatinya is suppose to be really popular.

Hard to get a table?
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Old Dec 3rd, 2007, 12:07 PM
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Zaytinya is very popular. During the week, the bar is packed with business people after work, the tables aren't as busy. On weekends, more people seem to be eating dinner.

Get there early if you plan to go right before a game at the Verizon Center.
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Old Dec 3rd, 2007, 12:16 PM
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I went early at lunch time and got seated at a table right away. It was the Thanksgiving week so very quiet. BTY the lunch special at $10 for a big sandwich and serving of yummy salad was a very good deal.
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Old Dec 3rd, 2007, 01:15 PM
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Glad you had a good trip! I think you did well avoiding eating at Urbana - I finally ate there (work lunch) last week, and was quite underwhelmed with the food. The service was also a little weird. I'll be sticking to the wine bar on future visits.

That is a good tip for visitors on the Metro pass - I have one of the hard plastic SmarTrip cards, but when I inevitably forget it and have to buy a paper card, it always seems to either get too crumpled to work, or more commonly, desensitized by my cell phone or the magnet in my purse or something. It's a pain, because they won't replace them for you at the stations - you have to go to the windows at Metro Center and stand in what is always a very long line to trade it in.

You lucked out on the fall colors - they peaked late this year! Last year my parents visited mid-October, and they were only about a week away from peak.
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Old Dec 4th, 2007, 10:18 PM
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I really enjoyed my trip, and the fall colors just added to it.

Some photos are now available for those interested:

http://picasaweb.google.com/kiwifann...ember2007Album
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Old Dec 5th, 2007, 04:20 AM
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Just returned from DC and was thrilled to see the JMW Turner exhibit (west wing of the National Gallery of Art) as well as Edward Hopper (east wing). Also, the fall colors surpised us, too! What a treat.

Glad you enjoyed a great trip!
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Old Feb 13th, 2008, 03:25 PM
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