Weekend in the District of Columbia

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Nancypalooza
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2009/01/08 19:06:42 (permalink)

Weekend in the District of Columbia

Just a quick couple places from last weekend in the lovely District of Columbia, which is getting ready for its close-up.  We went to visit some good friends, hang out, giggle, and take in a museum or two.  I’m not the quantity king that Buffetbuster is but I can usually eke out three squares a day—whether they’re worth talking about or not is another story. 


I had some great advice from Scorereader (thanks man!)—I asked him for one place and he gave me about fifteen. So between his recommendations and my friends’ we settled on Busboys and Poets on 14th Street. The sign:  
 

And the lovely dining room:  
 
There were four of us so you get four breakfasts.  I chose the mehkleke (I can’t find it on their menu online and I’m quite likely misspelling it).  They described it as ‘Iraqi corned beef’ and it’s pretty much ground beef stewed with tomatoes, onions and bits of potato, so that’s pretty accurate, served with two poached eggs on top.  I had that sucker down before the ladies I was dining with had politely gotten to the middle of their plates.  It was super tasty good—not like the corned beef you’re used to, more like a stew, but excellent.
 
 
And alternately, buckwheat pancakes:  
 
and French toast:  
 
and straight-up bacon and eggs:  
 
There was honestly nothing to complain about.  The service was attentive and charming, they were serving toast made from excellent multi-grain bread, the coffee was great—my friend had a little foam heart in her latte.  Busboys and Poets is a restaurant attached to a good old-fashioned commie bookstore.  I love a good commie bookstore, and I love it even more when they want to feed you excellent food.  
We went on to the Eastern Market, and I had gotten several strong recommendations to try the Market Lunch.  The Eastern Market is in temporary digs because of a fire, and you could see the line for Market Lunch going in.  I was still very full and didn’t get in line.  I did see a terrific-looking monster burger being enjoyed by another diner.  Other fun sights at the Eastern market included this fine fellow:  
 
and I don’t know where they got these gorgeous tomatoes in January but I wanted some:  
 
and for Cliff, some pies:  
 
We then went on to the US Botanical Garden, on the Mall near the Capitol.  This is not a terribly large collection, surprisingly comprehensive, but they do have a cute atrium featuring a small-scale recreation of the mall.  The tiny Washington Monument with reflecting pool:  
 
I think there’s actually a lion sitting in President Lincoln’s seat:  
 
And somehow when I saw this plant I thought of our community of Roadfood posters:  
 
and the people in the new forum bugs and questions section have some inspiration from Thomas Jefferson:
 



Let’s see, other places to mention.  I didn’t take my camera to the District location of the Lebanese Taverna but that was some excellent food. Delicious hummus starter—I became entranced the whole evening watching the guy behind the counter put the oval pitas on the baking sheet or whatever was taking them into the oven, and they’re served piping hot to the point of blistering your fingers in a wire basket.  I had a butterflied broiled chicken that was served over crispy home fried potatoes with a wonderful salad; my companions had a mixed grill of beef and lamb, chicken shawarma, and this eggplant-chickpea-warm yogurt-pomegranate seed thing that I didn’t get to try but my friend assured me was terrific.  They serve a garlic puree with some of their dishes—let me tell you, that is some deliciously pungent stuff.  It’s like Mediterranean wasabi—you don’t get the taste out of your head very easily. Not that you want to.  
We also had a quick sandwich at a place called the Caboose Café in Alexandria—roast beef and grilled cheese, and a slice of lemon pound cake.  Excellent food and cheerful service, and the place is as cute as can be.  The lemon pound cake was presumably to go but it didn’t make it out the front door.

post edited by Nancypalooza - 2009/01/08 20:26:37
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51 Replies Related Threads

    wanderingjew
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    Re:Weekend in the District of Columbia 2009/01/08 19:22:23 (permalink)
    Nancypalooza

    I'm glad you got to make it to the Eastern Market. I was there last August and I'm surprised to see they're still in that temporary tent.

    I went to Market Lunch, but didn't think that the crab cake I had was anything special, although the fresh cut fries that came with it were good.

    So, I guess you didn't try the pig's head?
    #2
    Nancypalooza
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    Re:Weekend in the District of Columbia 2009/01/08 20:20:11 (permalink)
    You know the problem with a pig's head is probably where to start.  Not to mention the glass in front of it.  :)  I wish I had a ruminant's stomach the way some of you guys seem to so I can have Second Breakfast and Elevensies, and I just can't do it.
    #3
    buffetbuster
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    Re:Weekend in the District of Columbia 2009/01/08 20:28:19 (permalink)
    Nancy-
    Absolutely gorgeous photos!  You must have a terrific camera.  And thanks for thinking of me with the pie photo.  Maybe I missed it, but what is the mini Washington Monument and Lincoln memorial made out of?

    Iraqi corned beef, huh? 

    #4
    ChiTownDiner
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    Re:Weekend in the District of Columbia 2009/01/08 20:41:07 (permalink)
    Nancy -

    Great finds and descriptions...Busboys and Poets looks so warm and comforable...sorta like going out and eating at home all at once! 

    BTW - Love the Jefferson quote - so appropriate! 
    #5
    billyboy
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    Re:Weekend in the District of Columbia 2009/01/08 21:50:26 (permalink)
    Nancy- great, great report!  Love the pics and the descriptions.  That Iraqi corned beef sounds delicious. Busboys and Poets sounds like my kind of place.
    #6
    ann peeples
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    Re:Weekend in the District of Columbia 2009/01/08 22:15:13 (permalink)
    Nancy-loved the pics and the allusions to......hmmmmm.
    #7
    ellen4641
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    Re:Weekend in the District of Columbia 2009/01/08 22:48:57 (permalink)
    Great pics and narrative, Nancy!
    I won't be taking home that pigs head, but your "broiled butterflied chicken, over home fries" sounded real good!

    #8
    mar52
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    Re:Weekend in the District of Columbia 2009/01/08 23:29:13 (permalink)
    Great photos but I have trouble with head shots.  (wink)


    #9
    Ahi Mpls.
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    Re:Weekend in the District of Columbia 2009/01/09 09:14:32 (permalink)

    YAY!!! now I'll have a visual the next time I read  about poor Frankie carrying home christmas dinner in " Angela's ashes" 
    #10
    joerogo
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    Re:Weekend in the District of Columbia 2009/01/09 09:25:54 (permalink)
    Nancy, Great photo tour.

    Don't you just love looking in a meat case and having something looking back at you?
     
    And why would that plant remind you of us?
    #11
    Nancypalooza
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    Re:Weekend in the District of Columbia 2009/01/09 09:34:17 (permalink)
    Oh, I'm always giving the posters here crap about being cranky old men.  Old man cactus . . what do you think I'm talking about there Joe?  :)

    Cliff, that is just the $175 Canon that Consumer Reports perennially recommends.  I finally wised up about somebody's suggestion here, actually, and I try to make sure I'm using as much natural light as possible, so we sat by the window at Busboys & Poets, etc.  In fact a lot of times when I don't have pictures--like the Taverna--I don't take it out when I think that I have a bad shot at getting good pictures.  But thank you.  It is due to absolutely no skill on my part.  As for the stuff on the monuments, I never saw a sign that explained what they were made of; it's something natural-ish but it looked too uniform to be bark.  I'm thinking it's some kind of florist's tape.  I actually have more of the buildings in my flickr set if you're interested: http://flickr.com/photos/nancypalooza/sets/72157612213290429/

    annie I also have more pictures of Plants with Filthy Names.  Because I am twelve. :)
    #12
    Nancypalooza
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    Re:Weekend in the District of Columbia 2009/01/09 09:36:55 (permalink)
    Oh, and I keep forgetting to add this; one morning we had breakfast at a Le Pain Quotidien, which I believe Michael Stern wrote about a few months back.  It's a small high-end chain and they really emphasize the baked goods.  We had a basket of assorted slices of bread, and they have these pots of various butters and jams on the tables.  They have this apricot preserve stuff that you would kill for.  I know you're thinking, apricot.  It is the stuff, man.  I slathered it all over a pain au chocolat and stuffed myself.  And now I find that I can't order it online and I am really sad.  I'm gonna have to wait until the next time I'm in LA to get some.
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    joerogo
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    Re:Weekend in the District of Columbia 2009/01/09 09:39:46 (permalink)
    Nancypalooza

    Oh, I'm always giving the posters here crap about being cranky old men.  Old man cactus . . what do you think I'm talking about there Joe?  :)

    Cliff, that is just the $175 Canon that Consumer Reports perennially recommends.  I finally wised up about somebody's suggestion here, actually, and I try to make sure I'm using as much natural light as possible, so we sat by the window at Busboys & Poets, etc.  In fact a lot of times when I don't have pictures--like the Taverna--I don't take it out when I think that I have a bad shot at getting good pictures.  But thank you.  It is due to absolutely no skill on my part.  As for the stuff on the monuments, I never saw a sign that explained what they were made of; it's something natural-ish but it looked too uniform to be bark.  I'm thinking it's some kind of florist's tape.  I actually have more of the buildings in my flickr set if you're interested: http://flickr.com/photos/nancypalooza/sets/72157612213290429/

    annie I also have more pictures of Plants with Filthy Names.  Because I am twelve. :)

     
    Yeah, those old guys are a Prickly bunch".

    #14
    Ivyhouse
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    Re:Weekend in the District of Columbia 2009/01/09 09:46:17 (permalink)
    Nancy --

    Great photos!  You went to one of my favorites -- Lebanese Taverna.  Everything I have tried is wonderful  -- the last time I was there (this past Monday - Bethesda) I got the baba ghannouge, a kafta kabob sandwich, and a date & nut filled pastry called mamoul (I think).  Always fresh, always delicious and yes, the pita is made right there -- mine was still hot when I got it.
     
    Next time I am in the District will have to try Busboys and Poets -- looks very nice.
    #15
    buffetbuster
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    Re:Weekend in the District of Columbia 2009/01/09 09:54:11 (permalink)
    I did check out the rest of the photos and they look just as good.  You are a natural photographer!  Thanks for letting me see them.

    Oh, and we are all twelve!
    #16
    Mrs.Crunch
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    Re:Weekend in the District of Columbia 2009/01/11 10:45:13 (permalink)
    Nancypalooza,
    WOW!! Fantastic Job!! I have never been to D.C.....
    You are a breakfast girl just like me!

    post edited by Mrs.Crunch - 2009/01/11 10:46:39
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    Nancypalooza
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    Re:Weekend in the District of Columbia 2009/01/11 16:42:35 (permalink)
    Thanks Mrs. C and everybody else for the nice words; I do like my breakfast.  :)
    #18
    FriedClamFanatic
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    Re:Weekend in the District of Columbia 2009/01/11 16:58:29 (permalink)
    Great shots, Nancy! And a wonderful report.

    A few years back, my wife and I took our daughter to the National Zoo a cple of days before Christmas - we had to be in DC for other business.  It was fascinating! No crowds, of course, and because it was cold, the animals were all moving around a bit. They were all interested in watching us as much as we were in watching them
    #19
    John A
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    Re:Weekend in the District of Columbia 2009/01/11 17:22:07 (permalink)
    Outstanding report and pictures. Easy for me to rate it five stars, too bad there is not a plus. What model Canon is that?
    #20
    HDtravlr1
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    Re:Weekend in the District of Columbia 2009/01/11 21:28:14 (permalink)
    Great trip report and very timely for me as I am going to DC in a couple of weeks.

    Thanks
    #21
    Nancypalooza
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    Re:Weekend in the District of Columbia 2009/01/11 21:38:48 (permalink)
    John A

    What model Canon is that?



    Thanks John--that is a Canon PowerShot A560.  I don't know if Photobucket also does this, but Flickr will tell you the kind of camera that was used for a picture--it's on the picture's individual page.  (Yes I had to go look--I don't ever remember.)  It's about a year old and the models change about that frequently so they may be onto the next iteration of it now.

    FCF I also love the National Zoo, except for the orangutan and gorilla exhibits.  I always have problems with those; they look too much like people for me to feel okay standing there goggling at them.

    HD I love DC because you can just never do the same things twice and so much of it is free.  I mean, not really because our taxes are paying for it, but it's nice that you can just walk into your country's best museums.
     
    #22
    Tony Bad
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    Re:Weekend in the District of Columbia 2009/01/11 22:11:58 (permalink)
    Nancypalooza

    FCF I also love the National Zoo, except for the orangutan and gorilla exhibits.  I always have problems with those; they look too much like people for me to feel okay standing there goggling at them.


    You mean like this?



    They were really doing a lot of work at the zoo when I was there in October 2008. The "Asia" trail is complete, and based on that, it is going to be magnificent when it is all done!


    oh...and to add...great pictures and report. You certainly found some interesting places!
     

    post edited by Tony Bad - 2009/01/11 22:16:23
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    wanderingjew
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    Re:Weekend in the District of Columbia 2009/01/11 22:57:29 (permalink)
    Nancypalooza

    FCF I also love the National Zoo, except for the orangutan and gorilla exhibits.  I always have problems with those; they look too much like people for me to feel okay standing there goggling at them.


    Compared to "some folks" I won't mention,  I think you just offended the orangutans and gorillas.


    #24
    leethebard
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    Re:Weekend in the District of Columbia 2009/01/12 03:24:06 (permalink)
    Nancy,enjoyed your pictures...interesting and very artistic...even the pig's head!
    #25
    mr chips
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    Re:Weekend in the District of Columbia 2009/01/12 04:34:52 (permalink)
    Loved the photos and reading of your adventures.
    #26
    MiamiDon
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    Re:Weekend in the District of Columbia 2009/01/12 07:07:36 (permalink)
    Lovely pictures and report, Nancy.  Did you folks dine while sitting on a sofa at Busboys and Poets?
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    John A
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    Re:Weekend in the District of Columbia 2009/01/12 07:24:36 (permalink)
    Thanks John--that is a Canon PowerShot A560. I don't know if Photobucket also does this, but Flickr will tell you the kind of camera that was used for a picture--it's on the picture's individual page. (Yes I had to go look--I don't ever remember.

     
    Thanks Nancy, I use an old A570. I'm not able to find  how you can see what kind of camera is used???
    #28
    Nancypalooza
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    Re:Weekend in the District of Columbia 2009/01/12 08:44:31 (permalink)
    Ivy I loved the Taverna; the menu was so huge it looks like you could go there for years and never get the same thing twice.  I was also mesmerized by the giant lamb and chicken roastie-cylinders in the kitchen. 

    Don we did not sit on a sofa at B&P; I tend to make a royal mess trying to eat an actual meal like that but I did notice a little family nearby who were using the sofa to kind of keep the kid contained, you know?  Very helpful for that sort of thing.
     
    John I can't get a screen capture saved as a .jpeg but you have to click on the individual picture to be on the page where you'd see comments, etc. and it's on the right toward the bottom, near where it tells you whether it's public or private.  Tells you when it was taken too, and where if they've mapped it.

    WJ I was there back in 99 or so and one of the orangutans was trying to cover up with this bit of fabric they had in their display and sleep and I just felt like I was invading their personal space.  Didn't like it.
    #29
    John A
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    Re:Weekend in the District of Columbia 2009/01/12 12:45:46 (permalink)
    Aha, TY.
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