Saturday, July 2, 2011

One night in DC

This week I went to a meeting in Chantilly, Virginia, in our office near Dulles Airport. Given the full two days' travel time and a two-day meeting, we didn't have much time for sightseeing. However, my coworker (Jennifer, from Vancouver BC) and I were able to fit in a late afternoon/early evening jaunt into the city. Another coworker/friend, Ellen (who recently moved to DC) dropped us off downtown and then met us later for dinner.

I first visited DC in 1981, when my family took a phenomenal 6-week trip across the country. And the second time was after my graduation from PLU in 1986, when my friend and I spent time in Boston and then Washington DC, and then we drove my aunt and uncle's car across the country for them. So it had been a while!

The day before had been exceptionally humid, so we lucked out on the weather. It was hot but not unbearable.

Honest Abe

Lincoln Memorial
Abe's view

Reflecting pool under renovation

Jennifer at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial
Vietnam Vets Memorial
The amazing new WWI Veterans Memorial

Each of the pillars stands for a different state

Looking up on one end of the memorial

At WWII Memorial--my new favorite
Jefferson Memorial from afar

The WH from afar
A big prehistoric whale skeleton!
I was desperately hoping to be able to duck into the American History Museum, my favorite of all the wonderful Smithsonian museums. However, for some reason, the only museum open the evening we were there was the Natural History Museum, so we wandered in there for a bit. Jennifer was a good museum companion, because she too loves museum gift shops! We were looking for souvenirs for our kids. Mike would have found our scanning to be appalling...he's one of those museum goers (like my mom) who likes to look at and read everything.

Giant squid
Took this for Kiearn, who did a project on the red fox in second grade

Cute little baby wallaby in its pouch

With some dinosaur skull
The gorgeous Smithsonian castle
Capitol (where all the bickering goes on!)

Chinatown gate
 After our sightseeing, we took the Metro to Chinatown (which is hardly a Chinatown) and met Ellen for dinner. As we were wandering around looking for a place to eat, we were peering into the window at a menu for a restaurant called Zengo. It's described as a hip Latin-Asian restaurant, just type type of place I like. Two couples were coming out of the restaurant, and they told us that we must go in. They are regulars and live in Washington DC--said they'd never had a bad meal there. They recommended that we share a bunch of small plates, which we did.

We had Japanese beer, followed by the Angry Zengo roll, Vegetariano, and Volcano. Then we shared shrimp-shiitake potstickers, charred tuna wonton tacos, Thai shrimp lettuce wraps, tuna tataki salad, and chicken give 'n take chicken salad. It was fantastic!! Although the Washington foursome told us that it is the only restaurant on the block that is not a chain, we found out that Zengo does in fact have some other branches--in New York and Denver. The good news about that is that our corporate headquarters are in Denver, so perhaps we can return for more yummy food!
Me and Jennifer at dinner
With Ellen--it was so much fun to catch up with her!
Ellen shared her observations about life in Washington DC and the way people tend to be different there--much more direct and less concerned about niceties. I think that would be hard for me to put up with!
In our tourist hats (I gave mine to Mike when I got home)
I came home on Thursday evening, and I was happy to be home. The jaunt into DC made me want to take the kids next time.

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