Friday was a great day to be in D.C. after the SCOTUS ruling on gay marriage! Perfect for a day trip around D.C. to see the sights and enjoy the celebratory atmosphere.
My friend, who also happens to be visiting her sister here, and I Yelped for “best cheap eats” around Dupont and decided on a Greek deli. We stumbled upon a make-your-own gyro place called “Grk” approximately where the map indicated where the other Greek restaurant was, so we went in and got gyros/yeeros (they were spelled “yeeros” on the menu to emphasize the proper pronunciation). Grk’s gyros were very meat-centric, which is different from what my friend and I were used to back at school. The Greek place we always go to, Greek Lady, piles on the lettuce and tomatoes and sprinkles in some french fries along with the meat. However, Grk’s meat was juicy and their tzatziki sauce was flavorful, so there was nothing missing from these gyros. After leaving Grk, we continued walking down the street in the same direction and a few doors down was the actual Greek deli we had Yelped. It had a huge line out the door, and our gyros had been quite satisfying, so perhaps it wasn’t such a bad thing we missed out. It was still kind of embarrassing, though, that even with the help of an app, we failed to find the actual restaurant.
At Farragut Square, where there was a Food Truck Friday event going on, and the entire square smelled like Mediterranean heaven. Unfortunately, we were still full from lunch, so we just got some frozen custard from Dickey’s Frozen Custard. My sugar cone was adorned with a cute plastic splash zone protector which, I believe, was meant to catch any melted ice cream. I’m not sure if I should be happy about our society’s advancements in food technology or if I should be insulted by their lack of faith in my ability to execute licking the melting ice cream at the proper rate.
Eventually, we found ourselves by the White House and obviously had to sit down and bask in the vicinity of where important things happen.
The next morning, my sister, her boyfriend, and I brunched at a dim sum restaurant called China Garden. (Arrested Development, anyone?) Their dim sum overall was pretty good. Notably, they had these pork dumplings that I’ve never had at another dim sum restaurant which were pleasantly stuffed with a lot of tasty pork. Furthermore, the egg tarts were surprisingly good: flaky crusts and good custard. Egg tart quality is pretty important in my book. Next time I’ll check out how their sesame seed balls are.
We got there around 11:10, and although they open at 11:30 on Saturdays, they let us in and we were immediately bombarded with all the cart-pushing waiters. Because we and another group were the only two occupied tables, the carts were literally lined up for us. It was pretty awesome.
The restaurant filled up quickly; by the time we were done, which was probably around 11:50, it looked completely full.
The egg tarts and pork dumplings are not pictured above. We also got pork short ribs after this photo was taken.
In preparation for another Sunday hike, my sister and I decided to make some Nutella oatmeal bars. She has a whole box of the Quaker instant oatmeal packets, but neither she nor her boyfriend have been eating the flavored ones because of all the sugar in them. I figured why not just sift out the sugar from the dry oatmeal?
We used a mini strainer ladle (an essential hot pot tool) to filter out the sugar and cinnamon from enough oatmeal packets to make 2 cups of mostly plain rolled oats. The final recipe was something like
- 2 cups rolled oats
- 1/2 cup + 1 tbsp Nutella
- 2 tbsp freshly ground coffee beans
- 1 tbsp chia seeds
- 1/4 cup of milk
- 1/4 tsp of baking soda
- 1/2 tsp of vanilla extract
Because this baking excursion was completely on a whim, these were very experimental measurements. Baked at 350° F for about 30-35 minutes, the bars came out pretty well.
We could’ve put less coffee grounds and more Nutella in, as they only taste faintly of Nutella and are a little drier than we wanted. They are a good oatmeal bar consistency but we were going for something even chewier. While the edge pieces are crunchier, the consistency of the middle pieces actually reminds me of these Kashi Oatmeal Dark Chocolate cookies we just bought. They’re not very sweet because Nutella was the only sugar source, but they’re certainly not bland, either, because the coffee beans give them a robust, darker flavor. If you like dark chocolate or coffee, or you want a crunchy way to ingest caffeine, you’d probably like these.
Before traveling to Virginia’s Sky Meadows State Park for our Sunday hike, we stopped by The Italian Store and got some Milano sandwiches for lunch and had ice cream from Toby’s Homemade Ice Cream & Coffee next door. The ice cream had a minimal amount of the dreaded frozen texture where it’s somewhat gritty rather than creamy because of the tiny ice crystals. Not my ideal mouthfeel, but at $2.65 for an abundantly portioned “small,” this was a great deal. Note: the chocolate brownie flavor had very few brownie pieces in it.
The hiking trail was absolutely beautiful. The trail was much more cut out and not nearly as overgrown as the trail my sister and I hiked last Sunday, so it was a significantly easier hike. The scenery changed often enough to keep us on our toes (pun not initially intended but kept after realization), varying from a pretty steep and rocky ascent to wide paths cut through meadows.
The weather was great, staying cool in the 70s, a drastic difference from the gross 90 degree weather of the last hike. We decided our sweatiness was mild enough for us to grace a movie theater with our presence. Hopefully no one was violently offended by our musk.
For Sunday dinner, we met up with my sister’s boyfriend’s sister and mom and had Ethiopian food from Das Ethiopian. This was a unique experience; you eat your food with your hands by taking pieces of injera (a moist, spongy flatbread that tastes somewhat like sourdough) and scooping up different meat and vegetable mixtures. Everyone shares by scooping from the same large plate in the middle, and it becomes a communal mess of delicious flavors.
Our waitress brought the large plate, which already had a sheet of injera on the bottom and was framed by the chicken and beef sampler and the vegetable sampler. She poured the beef short ribs (Godn tibs) into the center and artistically surrounded it with the shrimp tibs and the beef awaze fitfit. It was a gorgeous platter and really fun to eat. Both the waitress and the host came to tell us how the last pieces of the bottom layer of injera was the best part of the entire meal because it had been soaking up all the flavors the entire time. My sister’s boyfriend’s sister pointed out that it was also the last part of the meal, so to get to that point was already a feat.
And thus concludes my trip to Washington, DC and its surrounding areas. After updating my photos app on my phone, it has this new feature where it creates stories of your photos, and it created a whole “story” of my visit to Virginia, highlighting the different places I’ve been by using data it stored from my GPS and displaying these locations alongside the pictures I’ve taken. Aka it’s super creepy but also pretty interesting!