Top 10 Things To Do in Washington, D.C.

1. Walk through Arlington National Cemetery

 http://www.arlingtoncemetery.mil/
Where? Arlington, Virginia
Why go? To call over 600 acres of tombs an overwhelming experience would be a disrespectful understatement. I wasn’t at all prepared for the enormity of it, or the impact seeing all of those tombs would have on me. It wasn’t easy to walk through, but I felt it was a necessary walk, not just for me but for everyone; in order to continue to justify war and hatred and taking of lives, I think everyone should take a walk through here
How long will you need? We spent around 2 hours here.
Cost? Free.
Read more:
– Arlington National Cemetery

 

2. Eat and shop your way through the Eastern Market

http://easternmarket-dc.org/
Where? 225 7th St SE, Washington, DC
Why go? The market itself left a lot to be desired on the day we visited, with very few stalls open, but the food section was pumping! Places like Market Lunch were full of people, and sitting at the big communal table with locals and my giant plate of pancakes was a brilliant way to start a day of exploring!
How long will you need? With the market not offering a lot, we were there for about an hour to enjoy some serious breaky and people watching.
Cost? My “short stack” of blueberry buckwheat pancakes with toasted pecans cost around USD$5.00. I use the term “short stack” very loosely, because the serving was so big I couldn’t finish it, even with husband’s help.
Read more:
– Eat here: Market Lunch at the Eastern Market

 

3. Take time to reflect at the Holocaust Museum

 https://www.ushmm.org/
Where? 100 Raoul Wallenberg Pl SW, Washington, DC
Why go? I’ve had a strong sense of horror, curiosity, intrigue and admiration for the victim’s of Hitler’s war of terror ever since reading Anne Frank’s Diary and Elie Wiesel’s “Night” in high school. The more I read from survivors, the more it digs into my soul, so I felt a strong pull to visit the Holocaust Museum. I moved through in in quiet reverence, took only one photo (above) in order to remember it, and left in silent tears. Again, if we are living in an age where our leaders condemn war, this is something that must be experienced, regardless of how painful that is.
How long will you need? We were in there for around 2 hours.
Cost? Free.

 

4. Indulge your inner bookworm at the Library of Congress

 https://www.loc.gov/
Where? 101 Independence Ave SE, Washington, DC
Why go? This is an experience for both book and architecture lovers. The building will leave you speechless if you take the time to look at the little details, and the collection of books is mind-blowing.
How long will you need? We were there for an hour or so – I could have stayed all day!
Cost? Free! How wonderful is this city of free education?!
Read more:
From my travel journal: Washington, D.C., 2015

 

5. Make yourself at home at Ben’s Chili Bowl

 http://benschilibowl.com/
Where? 1213 U St NW, Washington, DC
Why go? The dogs were fantastic, more of a sausage than a frank, absolutely delicious. The chili was great too, a little bit of a kick, heaps of flavour, and plenty of it. What was even better was the gentleman pictured above in the bottom left corner; he came over to our table to say hi, welcome to Ben’s, and asked how the meal was; not only did he stay for a chat and a photo, he introduced us to the lovely lady in the photo top right, one of the owners and family members of Ben. The food was good, but the people were better!
How long will you need? We weren’t planning to stay long, but ended up there for just under an hour, chatting to our new friends 🙂
Cost? USD$5.95 for the classic jumbo chili dog.
Read more:
– Eat here: Ben’s Chili Bowl, Washington, D.C., USA

 

6. Wonder through Georgetown

Why go? After the intensity of the museums and monuments, it’s kinda nice to just get away and take a stroll and look at the beautiful buildings that reside in Georgetown…
How long will you need? We were wondering around for an hour or two.
Cost? Free.

 

7. Take a quiet timeout at the Reflecting Pool

http://www.nationalmall.org/explore-national-mall/monuments-memorials/lincoln-memorial-reflecting-pool
Where? National Mall
Why go? The day we visited was cold and rainy, and I was getting a bit overwhelmed by it all. By the time we reached the reflecting pool, I needed to pause, and there couldn’t be a more beautiful spot in the city to do that. Watching the ripples across the water and the reflection of the trees above, it was the perfect place to stop and consider how far we’d come by that point in our trip. And when I finally looked up, I found I wasn’t the only one taking a time out 🙂
How long will you need? I took about half an hour (under my umbrella!).
Cost? Free!

 

8. Let your inner dorky child run wild at the National Air & Space Museum

https://airandspace.si.edu/visit
Where? 600 Independence Ave SW, Washington, DC
Why go? I’m actually a bit of an aviation and space nerd, so when husband suggested a stop in at this museum, I was stoked! There is SO much to see in here, and quite a few interactive stations – perfect for when it’s really raining and you need a break. Or for when your kids are starting to drive you up the wall and you to distract them!
How long will you need? At least a few hours.
Cost? Free! How great is that?!

 

9. People watch at Washington Harbor

https://www.thewashingtonharbour.com/
Where? 3000 & 3050 K Street NW, Washington, DC
Why go? This was sunset on the harbor after a long and emotionally taxing afternoon in Arlington. There weren’t many people out, being the middle of winter; a few joggers and dog walkers, and us. We sat down, watched a few planes soar overhead, and let the experiences of the day wash over us.
How long will you need? An hour or two, depending on how much is going on.
Cost? Another freebie!

 

10. Get into the greatest food combo the city has to offer, fried chicken and donuts

Where? My personal favourites were Astro Doughnuts & Fried Chicken (1308 G Street NW, Washington, DC) and GBD Fried Chicken & Doughnuts (which is sadly now closed).
Why go? Fried dough. Fried chicken. I had no idea it as a thing to throw them together. Now I don’t know why it took me so long to discover it! Astro’s chicken was so tender and juicy on the inside and ridiculously crispy inside, and their doughnuts were some of the best I’ve had.
How long will you need? How fast can you eat?!
Cost? Doughnuts cost around USD$3.00 each, and the big 8 piece chicken box will set you back around USD$20.00 (Tip – we didn’t get through the 8 pieces. The services are WAY bigger than those you get in Australia!)
Read more:
– Eat here: Astro Doughnuts & Fried Chicken, Washington, D.C., USA
Eat here: GBD Fried Chicken & Doughnuts, Washington, D.C. (donuts)

Eat here: Sookie La La, Melbourne V.2

Sookie La La
593 High St, Northcote
http://www.sookielaladiner.com.au/

It’s hard to believe it was September 2015 when I first visited and blogged about this place… since then, it’s become our favourite Sunday breakfast nook and feels like a second home 🙂

Almost 18 months since that first visit, nothing about Sookie La La is slipping. The service is wonderful, prompt, and most importantly, welcoming and friendly. The booths are perfect – your own private little breakfast nooks. And the standard of the food is still top notch – it’s simple, homely, comforting food that makes you feel like you’re in a favourite aunt’s home.

Husband’s new favourite thing in the world is their fried chicken on waffles. You can probably see why. But tasting it is another story – the waffles are soft and fluffy, and the chicken is perfectly white and tender on the inside, with the perfect crunch on the outside. We’ve eaten a bit of fried chicken, but Sookie La La’s is both of our favourite.

I went with the reuben sandwich, the towering king of bread and corned beef and sauerkraut and pickles and cheese and Russian dressing. This is a proper sandwich. For breakfast or lunch, it’s just magic.

After a long week, when we roll up to their glass front door on a Sunday morning and slide into one of the beautiful wooden booths, it really feels like home. We both seem to sigh in relief as we sit down to a hot pot of strong tea for me and a chocolatey coffee for the husband, always brought over by the ever-smiling lady of the house, and we know that no matter what we order, it’s going to be delicious. We’ve spent many hours planning our #👫WorldTour there. Talking about our weeks at work. Mulling over problems that need solving. Discussing our plans for the future and remembering all of the good and bad from the past. We eventually look out at the street through the shuttered windows with the Sunday morning light streaming in, and reluctantly slide out of our booth to get on with the day. Always knowing we’ll be back soon 🙂

Sookie La La Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

My favourite New Orleans eats

Our New Orleans themed Christmas tree is up again this year. One if my lovely work colleagues has just come back from New Orleans, regaling me with tales of snow white beignets and bowls of gumbo. AND one of my best friends has just let me know that she’ll be making her way to that same magical city in a few months. I promised her a highlights reel of food to eat, so Jess, this post is for you!
1. Central Grocery
The food: a quarter of a muffuletta
The memory: our first feed in New Orleans was at Central Grocery, a beautiful, old deli that brought me right back to the days of visiting old Italian delis with Nonna. No frills, no fuss, no nonsense, just a damn good sandwich. We ordered half a muffuletta, but a quarter between us would have sufficed; they’re the size of hubcaps!
2. Cafe du Monde
The food: beignets!!!
The memory: this place is open 24/7, so you be damn sure we took advantage of that. They were afternoon tea the day we arrived. They were delivered in a paper bag by my husband who snuck out early one morning so he could get them back in time for me to wake up to and enjoy breakfast in bed. They were a midnight snack the night before we flew out, that last bag of beignets I’d have for God only knows how long (I even have a photo of me clutching that bag like the crown jewels). They’re the taste of New Orleans. Just don’t wear black when you eat them…

3. Coop’s Place
The food: fried chicken and gumbo
The memory: the strongest memory was feeling so at home in Coop’s. It wasn’t because I regularly hang out in dive bar-like restaurants, or because I eat lots of fried chicken at home. It was just a fun, relaxed place where no one gave a crap that you were a tourist. Just sit down, shut up, order and eat! And eat we did!
IMG_6142
4. Domilise’s
The food: fried shrimp po-boy (the roast beef was pretty good, too)
The memory: it was a long walk (via donuts, which I would do all over again) and more than worth it. Domilise’s is a city stalwart and for damn good reason. Their po-boys are some of the best in New Orleans, and so is the establishment – it felt just like sitting in your favourite aunt’s kitchen, being well looked after 🙂

5. The Joint
The food: combo platter with brisket, pulled pork & ribs
The memory: another long walk from the French Quarter through some questionable back streets at dusk. May not have been the smartest idea to go on foot, but the food was totally worth it! Sitting out in the courtyard at The Joint with music pumping, drinks flowing, and good times rolling, it was a real good night in New Orleans!
IMG_6253
6. Johnny’s Po-Boys
The food: surf & turf po-boy
The memory: we’d seen on a few “what are the best po-boys in New Orleans?” Google searches that Johnny’s were the best option within the French Quarter. We squished in, on two counter seats, and demolished an incredible surf and turf po-boy, on perfectly soft bread, smothered in gravy…

Eat here: Coop’s Place, New Orleans

Coop’s Place
1109 Decatur St, New Orleans
http://www.coopsplace.net/

You know how some places are just referred to as a city institution? This is one of them. We asked a few locals where they’d recommend for a good feed on our way to a gig on Frenchman Street, and every response was “COOP’S PLACE! YOU GOTTA EAT THERE!” OK!

So we roll up to this dicey, dive bar looking place on Decatur St. It’s early (around 5:30pm) and already completely packed to the rafters and noisy as hell. There’s nanna sitting in the corner with her cocktail, and a dude in bike leathers on the next table. This is obviously the place to be; remember, first glances can be deceiving!

We settled into a corner table, placed a drink order with the no-nonsense guy who gave us menus in return, and got studying. We decided to go with the classics:

– fried crawfish (top left)
– gumbo (bottom)
– fried chicken (top right)
–  rabbit jambalaya (bottom of the big white plate)
– and slaw

2015/01/img_6142.jpg

Holy wow.. Coop’s Place doles out some SERIOUSLY good food, and it’s absolutely no wonder every man and his dog pointed us in that direction!! The gumbo was magic, such intense flavours that were all perfect in that little bowl. The crawfish were amazing, despite not quite being in season yet – buttery, white meat with the perfect coating; the exact same can be said for the chicken, actually. Tender meat, perfectly seasoned and golden crunchy coating. The rabbit jambalaya was a little on the dry side for me, but mixed in with a little slaw, and it was gold again.

On a night where I was feeling a bit flat and unwell, this was THE perfect table full of comfort food. Not only that, Coop’s Place itself was like walking into a crazy family dinner; a lot of people, obviously locals, knew each other and were having a great time. Even we couldn’t help being drawn into it, laughing along when the table next to us erupted at God only knows what, singing along with another table when song we knew started to play over the speakers. I tell you, if a night at Coop’s Place doesn’t get you in a great mood, not much else will! So when you go to New Orleans and people tell you to eat at Coop’s Place, don’t be put off by your first look at it – walk right on it without hesitation, make yourself comfortable, and enjoy some gumbo and crawfish!!

 

Coop's Place on Urbanspoon

Eat here: GBD Fried Chicken & Doughnuts, Washington, D.C.

GBD Fried Chicken & Doughnuts
1323 Connecticut Ave NW, Washington, DC
http://www.gbdchickendoughnuts.com

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Ohh donuts… I love you! You may make me fat and put me on a sugar high which really hurts to come crashing out of, but that’s ok, I still love you!

These donuts were particularly good after a cold, rainy, miserable day in Washington DC. We went to GBD, part donuttery, part bar, party fried chicken heaven. We just wanted some donuts and a hot coffee for husband, and a hot tea for me. Two out of three ain’t bad, I guess…

Coffee they had, no worries. Donuts, too. Tea was an issue. I battled hard in America trying to get a good, hot cup of tea. Most places didn’t do it. Why, I really don’t know – boiled water with a tea bag plonked in it really isn’t that difficult. But, as we found out, plenty of places offered sweetened iced tea. This was one of those places. The face the lady behind the counter pulled when I asked for tea with soy milk was absolutely priceless – she turned around, collected a plastic cup and filled it with ice – “ummm Jess… I don’t think you’re getting hot tea…” AAAHAHAHAHA she was going to give me a cup of COLD, iced tea with SOY MILK!!! Fantastic!! We’ll just grab some donuts to go then and make the hot drinks ourselves back at the hotel. At that stage, it was something like Jess – 0, hot tea shutdowns – 27.

So we grabbed a Nutella crunch (top) and a hot vanilla glaze. What these guys lacked in hot tea making abilities, they MORE than made up for in donut skills. The Nutella one was smothered in the good stuff, with heaps of crushed and toasted hazelnuts on top. If anything, it was maybe too sweet – it tasted like they’d mixed more sugar into the Nutella! But it was delicious!

The hot vanilla glaze was the hands down favourite, though – we literally waited around for five minutes while the donut was freshly fried for us in store, and then freshly glazed. It was nestled in a little cardboard box, swimming in hot glaze goodness. They wrapped it up in foil to keep it warm, and we luckily didn’t have far to walk. It was still nice and warm and dripping in gooey glaze when we got back, and it was perfect. Not disgustingly sweet, great vanilla flavour, and the donut itself was fantastic. We’d had an OD situation with some fried chicken earlier that day at Astro Doughnuts and Fried Chicken, so we sadly couldn’t double up again without being insanely unwell, but I’d love to try the chicken out if I’m ever back in DC – we saw some coming out and it looked beautiful! Anyone else tried the chicken here??

 

GBD Fried Chicken and Doughnuts on Urbanspoon