I pricelined a hotel because of my spontaneous decision to leave in 4 days.....I got a 4 star hotel for $92 a night only 5 short blocks from the white house - St Gregory Suites..... www.stgregoryhotelwdc.com. I left Reagan airport and a 10 minute cab ride later I was there.
Its not a hotel that is super fancy but its above average and I will say - the staff was really REALLY friendly and helpful. And what a steal of a deal.
I left the hotel on foot to find the White House....I was going to see if Obama needed me for anything- restaurant or wine recommendation?! He wasnt around....but the National Christmas tree was - From WISCONSIN! A 30ft beautiful tree that had some tacky decorations on- but from afar at night, all lit up, looks beautiful. Every state had a small 6 ft tree with ornaments made from a chosen school. It was nice....Wiscos was from Sturgeon Bay. I thought our ornaments were the best ;)
The architecture, history, big buildings and amount of stone and glass in that city is really crazy. The city felt good - Very different from NYC's hustle and bustle and mobs of people. Lots of Suits - which is easy on the eyes anyway.
After a quick change I went to dinner at Zaytinya - www.zaytinya.com - one of JOse Andres many restaurants. Its a Turkish/Lebanese/Greek fusion restaurant. I really like all his concepts (he likes to small plates on everything - always great flavors that explode in your mouth)
I ate - A LOT.
Seared Scallops with a yogurt dill sauce
butternut squash dolmades - rice, fennel, pine nuts, roasted butternut squash, tomoatos all wrapped up in a grape leaf (tight). What a great sweet, savory, crunchy dish....
brussel sprouts afelia - roasted brussel sprouts, coriander, barberries (almost taste like tart sun dried tomatoes, and tossed in light garlic yogurt *my favorite dish of the entire night!
beet salata - Roasted beets, shaved fennel, watercress, and spiced walnuts
keftedes kapama - lamb meatballs made with allspice and roasted tomatoes
WHAT a DELICIOUS meal - off to the Verizon Center for ANDRE BOCELLI!
HE. WAS. SPECTACULAR!
I had over the top seat.....5th row.
His voice was soothing, classic, powerful and he is sweetly handsome.
Saturday was HISTORY day - Went to the ww2 memorial, korean and vietnam memorial, lincoln memorial - All so sad-Freedom is NOT free. Humbling.
Then off to National Monument and then to Smithsonian #1- AMerican History. I actually never knew there was 8-12 Smithsonians - I thought there was just 1?! I hit 3. ANd they are HUGE. It could take a week at least to go through them all. I also went to the Natural History and Air and Space.
I saw things like the Hope Diamond, the Wright brothers Airplane, Julia Childs Kitchen, every animal known to man- stuffed. Real Dinosaurs, gems, plants, butterflies, Astronaut suits and nasa instruments, the first xrays, etc etc etc. So interesting. And overwhelming. The Capital Building stood proud when I came out to darkness.
Off to Firefly to have dinner www.firefly-dc.com I had a pretty memorable half bottle of wine that night - Elizabeth Spencer Cabernet Sauvignon....it was pricey but worth it. It seemed to melt into my tongue and then never wash away when i swallowed. It just sat there and said "i am now a part of you". It was soo delicious. Also there was very little made and you could tell it was of high quality....I will make that a stop on my next trip to Napa for sure. www.elizabethspencerwines.com
Sunday was a day of lazy morning, shopping (got some great steals and deals at some local shops and a cool holiday market) and then off to Brunch at another Jose Andres restaurant - Jaleo. I went to Jaleo in Las Vegas this past year and loved it BUT I was in a funk when I was there so I wanted to go back and get those bad memories out of me. www.jaleo.com
I had some cava (spanish bubbly) - then a warm green been salad with apricots, apples and serrano ham...it produced a delicious sauce on the bottom of the plate.....my favorite thing that meal for sure.
One of his namesake dishes is Canary Island wrinked baby potatoes - I watched him live making this dish at Aspen Food and Wine a couple of years ago. They are so tasty - you dip them in a parsley pesto!
Seared Sweet and Smoky piquillo peppers stuffed with goat cheese - YUM!
Lastly, HOmeade grilled pork sausage with sauteed white beans - the beans were super crunchy on the outside and gummy on the inside - really great texture. Loved this dish too. You could taste the fennel seads in the pork.
Off to the airport - quick flight home and BAM- a surprising and spontaneous weekend away filled with great food, live music, history and relaxation.
I recommend taking your kids there - its inexpensive and they will learn so much - you too. And btw - all the Smithsonians and memorials are FREE! no charge to get in!