Friday, July 06, 2007

July 4th in Our Nation's Capital

Tuesday, July 3rd 2007:

hello, hello again.

Getting some nice family face time lately. The family came down to visit us during the July 4th holiday for some good ol' patriotic sightseeing. It'll be Brian's first time seeing the monuments and memorials.

Dinner at Mon Ami Gabi, where we have some Onion Soup Au Gratin and Gazpacho Soup, Thyme-Seared Salmon with orzo, spinach, and lemon butter, Steak au Poivre with brandy peppercorn sauce, Crab Cake with vegetable remoulade roast pepper alioli and homemade chips, and Grilled Salmon Salad with orange, grapefruit, and citrus dressing. While the food was delicious, the service could use some work, at least at the table we were at.

Instead of getting dessert there, we walked around the corner to Gifford's - homemade ice cream - the equivalent of Boston's JP Licks but without all the crazy flavors and the best oreos 'n cream ever.

Elmer opted for a pretzel cone to go along with chocolate ice cream, a combination that kinda works but the cone just wasn't holding up to the heaping ice cream. Acting in our usual 10-year old ways, we made quite the spectacle outside the shop. The ice cream scoopers probably thought we were ridiculous...and rightly so.

at least he didn't get any on my hellogoodbye tee

Wednesday, July 4th 2007:

around 12noon - Off we go to the National Mall. The train is littered with red, white and blue, with Brian leading the way (well, not really, but his shirt is pretty cool for the holiday).

Throngs of people line Constitution Avenue as a parade is in progress, so we head for less denser areas, picking up some mangoes along the way.

12:44pm - At the Treasury on the 1600 block of Pennsylvania Avenue:

One of a couple staples at the back of the White House that day:

There's at least one every day.

12:47pm - Photos at the back of the White House:

Once we got to the mall section, there were security checks along the perimeter due to the high volume of people visiting the area that day.

1:50pm - The great Lincoln Memorial, with the Gettysburg Address on the left:

We grab some hot dogs and drinks at a nearby stand before heading to the Korean War Memorial - 2:44pm

Tired, anyone?

Off we go to the FDR Memorial, which is a relatively long trek from the other monuments, which is why I probably haven't had a chance to see it until now. In the background are the Jefferson Memorial and Washington Memorial, respectively - 2:55pm

Not much of a high-heel wearer, I switched to my flat flip flops which didn't feel quite as comfortable at first, but my feet eventually enjoyed the decreased pressure.

3:07pm - The FDR Memorial was rather impressive, much larger than the others, with several fountains, sections, quotes, and statues, including a visitor center, where we could experience some relief from the heat in an air-conditioned building. If only we could only dunk ourselves in the fountains...

The umbrellas came in very handy from the scorching sun...

although it looks like not everyone needed it.

3:45pm - Off we go to the Jefferson Memorial:

4:00pm - we sit for a long time, reading some of the words of Jefferson and enjoying being out of the sun. Having seen this monument several times already, mom actually stays behind, taking refuge in the trees nearby.

The sun loses its intensity as the clouds roll in as we walk back towards the metro station. Many people are finding their spots on the lawn and various areas for the show and fireworks later at night, with the speakers warning them of approaching thunderstorms and to take cover.

4:56pm - We didn't make it to the actual Washington monument since we were pretty tired.

Here is a map outlining in pink our 5+ hour travels that day:

Back in Bethesda and pretty much starving, we had planned to go to Tommy Joe's for some cheap but delicious prime rib, but unfortunately the restaurant was closed for the holiday. So we made our way to Houston's which is just a short walk from our place. We had to wait a bit in the front area before actually getting a table, where we enjoyed some Chicago-style spinach dip in the interim.

Because we couldn't eat at the other restaurant with our minds set on steak, five of us get the prime rib, while Brian opts for the salmon.

We toast to our anniversary with some Robert Alexander Shiraz that's a bit drier than we're all used to.

We share a Warm Five Nut Brownie and an Apple Walnut Cobbler to end dinner.

Back at our apartment with tired legs and dirty feet, we watch the fireworks on both our tv and outside our balcony, where there are fireworks going off on the horizon. We think that they are one and the same, but eventually we agree that our line of sight is not in the right direction of the mall.

Thursday, July 5th 2007:

Brian heads off to work as we head off to Friendship Heights and Chevy Chase to peruse the high-class stores: Barney's, Jimmy Choo's, Saks Fifth, Neiman Marcus. Elmer and Hoong-San do their "pad" checks in the department stores to make sure everything is up to par with their standards. At Neiman's, Hoong-San had to take photos of the Zegna section due to the dismal display, when a salesperson approached her, and Hoong-San immediately told her what's up so she'd back down.

The beautiful decor above and around the escalators in Neiman:

We then rushed down to the National Gallery of Art, where we unfortunately just missed a Matisse cut-out exhibit.

Off to the Main Building, and Manet's The Railway, a painting I wrote about in art history class in college.

We then drive up to Baltimore to meet up with Brian at the famous Obryki's for some good ol' Maryland crabs. For being a popular place, it definitely was in a not so touristy neighborhood as we drive around, doubting our directions until we find it. We tried saving a spot for Brian, who got a bit lost on the way, but he ended up parking further away and had to walk through the sketchy neighborhood.

To start, I get a cup of New England Clam Chowder (a must anywhere I go if it's offered), and order the Linguine Chesapeake - jumbo lump crab meat and fresh seafood in a garlic cream sauce over linguine - which turns out delicious, but a little much on top of everything else. Mom orders a Philly cheesesteak (hmm...a rather interesting choice), Dad a Filet of Fish sandwich (?), Elmer & Hoong-San share a Crab Marinara. Brian opts out of another dish. Even with all this food, our actual main dish consists of hard-shelled crabs, steamed with a "magical blend of seasonings" - rather hot and spicy so that your lips burned a bit while eating.

Our waitress seemed like she was rather miserable, but by the end she lightened up a little bit.

It was quite a messy feast that required leftovers, especially of our non-crab dishes, which came in the middle of our crab-cleaning.

We didn't get any dessert having filled ourselves with crab craziness, and then we drove in opposite directions to our respective homes.

It's definitely been a fun couple days with the family!!

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