Let it be said, first of all – that I am a 7th generation Washingtonian. That’s right. As rare as it is, seven generations of my family, including me, were born in Washington, D.C. I sort of ruined it by having my son in another state, but I digress…
Anyway, I left in 2009 and I don’t return home often. In fact, this was the first trip in a long time where I got to visit some local restaurants (instead of crashing with my parents) and the first time that I ever visited the wharf. Wild, right?
You’ll find, as a recurring theme, here, that all of our travels include some combination of food, drink (especially beer and whiskey), and yoga. Now, I enjoyed a little too much of two of those to make it to the yoga portion on this trip, but suffice it to say that D.C. has no shortage of any of them. In fact, although the city is very small (only about 68 square miles), the diversity in the selection of restaurants rivals that of Chicago, where I live now.
What you should know about the city is that anything you want to do, you can find, there. Hotels can be a little pricey, depending on the season and location. I recommend flying into Reagan National Airport and taking a cab into the city (you really do not need a car, here). You’ll also want to be closest to Northwest, D.C. because that is where the zoo, museums, and most of the other tourist attractions are. The tricky part is that hotels in that area can be a bit pricey, ranging from $175-350/night, depending on the exact location and the season. We stayed in an AirBnB in the same area and ended up paying about $490 for three nights, which is really good for D.C. I highly recommend that.
Although this was a very quick trip, I can tell you that I enjoyed the handful of places we visited and we’ll definitely return at least annually to show you more. Of note:
- Stan’s – I was warned that this place served the heaviest drinks ever and that numerous friends had “died” (read: blissfully forgotten how they arrived), but I actually managed to survive this one. What I can tell you is that their wings are amazing and that it gets crowded toward happy hour time. We arrived around 3 p.m. on a Friday and by the time we left around 7 p.m., people were waiting for probably an hour for a table. But amazing wings. We’ll be back.
- Occidental Grill & Seafood – This was quite a switch from the ambiance of Stan’s, which is much more casual. I walked in, here, and felt like I had to make sure not to get anything dirty. However, I believe we had the crab rolls and the charcuterie board, and everything was delicious. But what you’ll really notice, if you’re a nerd like me, are the paintings of all the notable politicians and others around the restaurant…which makes sense for a restaurant of that location that has been open since 1906.
- HalfSmoke – Alright, this is hard for me. I left D.C. in 2009 and returning ten years later to find Florida Avenue looking like Georgetown was quite jarring. But I felt quite at home as soon as I walked into half smoke. The restaurant is perfectly designed for being able to eat and talk comfortably with your friends, or for sitting at the bar to drink and share a million laughs if you’re there for alcohol. Either way, the food, drinks, and servers were amazing. I’ll return every time I’m home.
- Matchbox – This is where you want to go for brunch. That’s it. That could be the end of the post, right there. I was so busy eating, I forgot to take pictures of any of the food. What stands out in my mind are the biscuits and jalapeno jelly, as well as the brunch pizza. And of course, the mimosas. We were also at a really cool table overlooking the rest of the restaurant that felt like it was floating over everything. Stunning. We’ll definitely return.
So, tell me – have you been to my city? What are your favorite things to do there?