Washington DC- Places to Eat

Busboys and Poets

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Busboys and Poets was were we went for my birthday lunch.  We got there are 12:30pm on Monday and it was packed, it looked like it was full of conference people so I’m not sure how busy it is normally. We just went for burgers, and I got a nice Jasmine Green Tea and it was pretty good.  It has a fun arty vibe, and there’s a little bookshop where I bought a feminist book.  It’s that’s kind of place.

Teaism

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Teaism, as the name would suggest, is a tea cafe. They reference The Book of Tea on their website, I wrote a review of it on my craft blog.

The whole ideal of Teaism is a result of this Zen conception of greatness in the smallest incidents of life.
-The Book of Tea

They do also do food but we only went for afternoon tea.  There are three in DC, we went to the Lafayette Park one.   I got a green tea, and had mochi and ice cream as a yummy snack.  I wish we had these kinds of places in the UK so that I could have sampled all the tea on the menu.

Los Cuates

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Los Cuates was one of those places we wandered into in Georgetown when we were quite hungry and I was very in need of a bathroom break.  I think it’s a chain but it was nice.  It was still pretty early and the place was quite quiet.  We got given a free batch of homemade (I assume) tortilla chips rather than free bread.  I got spinach enchiladas which, as you can see, was a huge portion with rice and beans.   At about $11 it was one of best value meals we had.

Ethiopic

Day 7

My first taste of Ethiopian food at Ethiopic didn’t disappoint.  I ordered the strange Ethiopian tea which I can’t remember the name of.  But it tasted herby, and was nice when weaker but a little too much for my delicate palate when it got stronger.  There are a few different veggie options, I can’t remember which one I originally ordered but the waitress suggested the veggie sampler instead.  The sampler was huge, there was Gomen (collard green), Miser Wot (split lentils), Kik Aletcha (yellow split peas), and Dinish Wot (curried potato).  And the odd porous cloth it was served on was actually bread!  You eat with your hands, using the bread to mop up the food.  It’s messy!

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New York- The Lego Store

Day 12

We wandered out on day one in New York in the drizzle to get breakfast at the Argo Tea Cafe in the Flat Iron Building, which I recommend.  And just around the corner was the Lego Store.  It’s not actually that big but it quite fun because of the models they have made out of the Lego.

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Day 13There are a few Loge stores in NYC, this is just the one we visited, I definitely recommend a visit if you have kids or are a big kids.  Lego is pretty expensive these days though, so I settled with a key ring.

 

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New York- The High Line

We spent our 3.5 days in Manhattan entirely South of Central Park.  I found, you can, very quickly, get used the steel and stone jungle that is New York, and sort of forget that grass and nature exists. There are little parks and squares dotted around, but I’m not sure they’re the reason people travel to NYC.  Not to burst your bubble, but it turns out Madison Square Garden is neither square or a garden…some kind of entertainment venue…

Day 31

Anyway, the weather turned much nicer (it jumped from 4 celsius to 18 the next day).  So we, and everyone else in Manhattan, decided to walk The High Line.  The High Line is an old railroad that runs about 20 blocks (1.5miles) that has been turned into a kind of park.  It runs from 34th street to Gansevoort street on the West side.  I would say it’s mostly a raised walkway with plants along it.  It was quite pleasant but at times we were trudging along behind people we couldn’t get around.  It was, however, a much quicker way to move through the streets of New York than on street level!Day 32

Above and below are some views from The High Line.  It’s a little hit or miss with what you see, Manhattan is so built up that at various points you’re just surrounded by sky scrapers.  But there is some interesting street art dotted around. In between the buildings though you do get a few good views along the long straight streets.   It’s a free activity in a city that can get quite pricey.

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New York- Places to Eat

Argo Tea Cafe

It’s a tea place- duh! We went for breakfast here on our first day in New York (I got croissants and straight up green tea).  When we came back to New York to fly home we stopped off for an afternoon drink and I got hot apple cider (in USA cider is non-alcoholic unless specified).  All the drinks can be hot or cold, and they also sell lose leaf tea.

They have some seasonal tea that you can sample as well.  I tried to the iced strawberry green tea which was rather nice.  I wanted to buy a bottle of it but we were heading to the airport and I wouldn’t be able to take it through security.  These are the type of places I wish we had in the UK.

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Argo Tea Cafe                                                                                  Hangawi

Hangawi

I had never eaten Korean food before, and this was a veggie Korean place next door to our hotel.  On entry we were asked to remove our shoes, as that’s Korean style.  The staff were very friendly. We ate at lunchtime and still spent about $60!  I had a jasmine green tea, and I got a tofu soup, with rice cakes.  I was expecting the rice cakes to be the crunchy kind but they were gelatinous white blobs in the soup.  They didn’t taste like much so I’m not complaining. Boyfriend got a spicy,  We also got given some kimchee which is unpleasant fermented cabbage.

Pronto Pizza

We tried Famous Original Ray’s Pizza, but the staff was so rude to boyfriend we left.  So we wandered in the rain for a few blocks and found Pronto Pizza.  It’s another pizza place where you buy by the slice for $3, although the slices are the size of a small house.  Inside it’s not very exciting, the staff were not native Americans, or Italians but they obviously knew how to make pizza.

It’s simple, cheap, and yummy.  It was very good.

Day 3

Pronto Pizza                                                                   Andrew’s Coffee Shop

Andrew’s Coffee Shop

We went here for breakfast on Sunday morning, around 9:30am and there was a queue. I don’t know if that’s just a Sunday thing but I took it as a good sign.

Outside it’s not particularly glamorous and inside the orange/beige decor had been jazzed up with Easter bunnies.  It was only a few minutes before we were seated by a friendly waitress. New York service staff are never gonna be the chatty types especially on a busy day but she was polite and helpful.  I got a green tea, oatmeal, and a croissant.  Boyfriend got an omelette, but in America omelettes come with potatoes and toast.  It tasted good, it wasn’t cheap but didn’t break the bank.

Umi Sushi

Umi Sushi was boyfriend’s find, when I was feeling rough and we needed somewhere to eat nearby.  It was pretty small, more like someones living room (although I think there were more seats in the back).  It’s a sushi place so there weren’t tonnes of veggie options but I got a decent vegetable tempura and green tea (do you see a theme in my drink choices?).  Boyfriend got a fairly huge plate of Sashimi.

Day 22

Umi Sushi

 

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New York- MOMA

One of the things I did not get to do last time in New York was visit the Museum of Modern Art, or MOMA.  I can’t say it was actually very high on my list of places to visit but boyfriend thought it was worth a look so we went.  But MOMA costs $25 each which is a lot!  However, they have a free Friday night offer which, strangely, is sponsored by Uniqlo.  I was hoping that meant we would get given free clothes, but obviously not.

Day 11It was pouring with rain when we arrived and we were pretty soaked and added to the general chaos of the foyer. There were groups of people loitering around inside, presumably sheltering from the rain, and a giant queue.  Thankfully the queue was for the cloak room and we were just handed a free ticket straight away. And, after the customary bag check, we headed upstairs to see the art.

Or rather look at the backs of people’s heads!  It was extremely busy, to the point where we wondered if they were breaking fire safety rules! It definitely undermined my enjoyment of the gallery. It was hot and loud and hard to see things.

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The free Friday night starts at 4pm (until 8pm) and I think you would be pretty pissed off if you paid the $25 at 3:30pm and then the place still got overrun with soggy tourists.

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Packing For USA

We set off for New York tomorrow, it’s gonna be a pretty epic trek to get there.  Leaving home at about 10:30am, to catch a 10:57am train to Leeds, then a nice 30 min wait at the exciting Leeds train station before catching the train to Manchester.  We’ll have about 2.5hrs in Manchester Airport before setting of at 15:45pm.  We land in London, and have about 1.5 hrs before finally getting on the plane to America.  We land at 10:30pm local time, which is 3:30am UK time so about 17hrs after setting off.

Oh working that our has just depressed me!

Anyway, I have the day off today to do some laundry, cleaning, and finish packing.  So I thought I would show you what I’ve packed.  I still have a few essentials missing like toothbrush, phone, keys, etc.

P1040499Obviously, the main suitcase is mainly clothes. That part of America has had some changeable weather recently, and I expect it’ll be nice when we’re there but a bit chilly in New York and a bit rainy in Washington.  There’s also the chance for sunny days, and that we might go to nice places for dinner, so I had to pack a variety of outfit options.  So I’m taking:

  • Bottoms- black jeans, blue jeans, green trousers, blue skirt, black skirt, green shorts
  • Tops- green t-shirt, grey flower top, pink top, star wars top, tie-dye t-shirt, black shirt (and vest to wear underneath)
  • Knitwear- L’amour jumper, pink cardigan, black hoody, dinosaur jumper, coat
  • Sportswear- running top, running leggings, sports socks, sports bra, headband, bikini
  • Also- black and white dress, PJ t-shirt, tights, socks, underwear

As you can see in the photo I’ve taken some of those clothes and put them in a pile next to my suitcase, these are my travel clothes.  I even have my underwear for traveling picked out so I don’t wake up and find there’s nothing clean in my drawer.

In my suitcase I also have my toiletries and hair things, my rain coat, a hat, emergency tea bags, some analogue cameras and film, and a plug adapter.  I’m using my backpack as my carry on luggage, and I have a plastic wallet with my passport, money, and travel insurance in it.  I have three books to pretend to read on the plane, my purse, and two small bags (one for day, one for evening for day-to-day use).  I also have spare underwear, socks, and a t-shirt in case my suitcase gets lost.

And most importantly, I have the birthday card my mum gave me to open on my birthday!

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IT Luggage Suitcase

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suitcase

Last time I went to The Americas, I used my ‘Constellation’ suitcase (which I got from Argos).  This is a pink, hardcase suitcase on wheels, and it turned out to be super super heavy.  My new case is a pink IT Luggage suitcase, which is apparently the lightest in the world. It’s about 2kg empty, and it was very light when I was carrying it home…Or I am very strong.

It’s soft shelled so we’ll see how it holds up.  It’s pretty roomy inside.  I’ve got almost everything I need for a week away and there’s plenty more room for shopping! It’s just a giant open space on one side and 4 pockets on the other.  Two are mesh and two are thin plastic, they don’t look too strong. One of them was already damaged but it looked like it had been sliced accidentally rather than ripping.  Buuuut I couldn’t be bothered to take it all the way back for that.

Anyway, now I’m all packed I really want to…still got a week to wait!

 

 

 

 

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London- Victoria and Albert Museum

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As an early birthday treat mum and I went to London to visit the Victoria and Albert Museum.  It wasn’t my first visit, but there’s tonnes to see.  We took an earlyish train but it was still lunchtime when we arrived.  I opted for a rather nice goats cheese lasagne, the food there is pricey but at least it’s nice.  Across the road at the Natural History Museum the cafe is pretty crap.

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We thought about going to the temporary exhibition which was a history of underwear, but it costs £12 for those tickets, and we found the other fashion galleries instead. It was a through the ages look at fashion.  Mum commented that the ‘modern’ pieces aren’t that impressive.  I agreed but I think it was a little warped.  The older clothes were clearly picked to represent common trends, while the newer ones were ones that would have stood out from the crowd.  I mean there no stretch skinny jeans so it can not be said to truly represent what people are actually wearing today.

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London- Harrods

Whilst in London town we wandered past Harrods.  Last time I was there it was rammed with people and I lasted about 3 minutes before I had to leave.  But it was much quieter this time, and we had a look around the food hall.

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There was yummy looking cheese and chocolates.  And I finally got to the see what a cronut was (half croissant, half doughnut).  I wonder what it’s like to work in Harrods, it must be incredibly busy most of the time.  And mainly with tourists who must be quite annoying, and always taking pictures of cheese…

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But the only thing I bought was some tea!  There were a lot of flavours of regular black tea, but it was really green tea that I was after.  They didn’t have many in tea bag form, and I decided to go for a white tea (with hints of cucumber and watermelon) which was £5 for 20 bags.  Not the cheapest tea ever, but possibly the cheapest thing in Harrods!

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USA Trip Prep

So, our USA trip is fast approaching and I thought I’d fill you in on where I’m with my preparations. Also I can use this to figure out what I still have left to do.  I work shifts so I have sort of more time to get stuff done, but sort of less (it’s what happens when you don’t have regular days off like week ends but you do get the odd week day off to go shopping).

We leave at the end of March and will have an annoying trip from home to Manchester Airport, before we even get on a plane to go to New York.  So we obviously have our tickets by now but we’ll need to check in and I need to get boyfriend to print them at work.  Along with that we need print out our train tickets, to get from New York to San Francisco.

I’m not totally crazy, and I haven’t started packing yet but I will soon start planning my outfits.  I do this with plenty of time so I can make sure everything is washed before I need to pack it.  I used to live in a house share and I couldn’t rely on the washing machine being free so I had to give myself an extra week.  I now have a house (technically it’s boyfriend house but still) and a tumble dryer so that makes life easier.  I do want to buy a new suitcase.  My one is really heavy, it’s pink which is the reason I bought it (!), but a pain to drag around.

I’m going to get some little toiletries, boyfriend tells me not to because I can use the hotel ones, but in Italy the hotels only had shampoo and not conditioner which was annoying.  I need to get my dollars (exchange rate sucks right now), and I’ll need some little snacks for the airport.  But I shouldn’t need to get to much more.

 

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