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Wednesday, July 30, 2014

My Sauna, er, Summer Vacation

This summer's trip was to Washington DC.     We built the trip around a Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds concert, which meant we were crazy enough to go venturing into the craziest humidity zone known to man.   (Ok, that's the entire South, and I did live in Florida for a summer, and I really did know better ahead of time.)

We flew into Reagan for the first time, which was exciting because it's right on the Metro.    So naturally, we managed to get picked up and dropped off by car, after being excited about the public transport options.    We arrived on Tuesday, just in time to stop for dinner at the Quarry House Tavern in Silver Springs, which still has the best burgers.    

Our first full day was Wednesday, which turned out to be the humidity-pocalypse.    Like it really felt like walking into a wall upon exiting any air conditioning.   No, really felt like walking into a wall.   Our initial plan had been to wander around Georgetown.   One walk to the metro stop about five blocks away, and our plans quickly changed to Smithsonian!    We hit the Air and Space Museum, and went to the Planetarium!   (Narrated by Neil DeGrasse Tyson!).    There were hordes of screaming children, and we didn't care!

Next door to Air and Space is the American Indian Museum, and C had mentioned that their dining hall was worth visiting, so we went there for lunch.    The Mitsitam cafe features native style cuisine from several regions in America, and while a touch pricy, was really good.    Definitely a different experience in Smithsonian dining.      After lunch, we stopped by the Hirshhorn Museum, which is, well, a little weird.    It's all modern art and installations - not really our cup of tea.     At that point, the humidity got the best of us, and we headed back to a pre-concert nap.    (This was the day we discovered the joys of Uber.   I want Uber in Portland.)

Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds was a great show.     Very hard to explain if you've never heard of him.    It was also the most devoted fan base I've ever seen (and I've seen the Cure).  Like watching the front of the house felt almost like an anthropological study of something.   All in all, a great night.

The next day was much nicer, weather wise.    We hit the National Art Gallery in the morning, and did lunch at the food trucks at L'Enfant Plaza.    I had a great banh mi from What the Pho?    Our trip to the Hirshhorn paid off here - it's about a block away from L'Enfant, and has tables in the shade, with a breeze coming from the courtyard fountain.   I may never go inside again, but those tables are our new ace in the hole for food truck lunch.    We had macarons at Paul on our way out to C's place, where we met with the BF's cousins, who were coincidently in town, and had food and drinks at the Looking Glass.

The next day, we finally wandered around Georgetown.    There will be a separate picture post of that, but for food, we stopped at Moby Dick's House of Kebab, because there isn't much kebab up in Maine, and it's called Moby Dick's House of Kebab!    It's a fast foodish sort of place, probably a little on the plain side, but good.    For some reason, we had a macaron theme to this trip, and were forced to stop at Macaroon Bee, which was next door to the place on Wisconsin Ave where we had some afternoon iced coffee.    Their passion fruit macarons were awesome.    Actually, they were all awesome (better than Paul, though that's to be expected).     Dinner that night, with C and the cousins, was at the Heights in Columbia Heights, another place we'd been to before, and enjoyed again.

Saturday, we had a little time to kill before the big event, which lead to the discovery of my favorite light fixture ever.

This was at Taylor Gourmet, a great, fast sandwich shop.    Exactly what we needed at that point, as we were saving room for the main event that evening.

The main event was Cantler's Riverside Inn in Annapolis.    It's actually across the river from Annapolis proper, in a residential area, on a creek.    It's the kind of place were you first line up to park, and then have to line up to get into the restaurant.     You then order a bunch of crabs, they dump them on the paper table-clothed picnic table in front of you, hand you a mallet, and you go.

One Claw Down

The aftermath

It was freaking fantastic.    I was covered in Old Bay and crab juice by the end, and crabs are so much work I'll never feel the need to do it again, but if you go to Maryland and eat seafood, you need to find a place like this, and go once in your life.    It's awesome.    We finished the evening with a wander around Annapolis and ice cream.    It was an incredible day.

Sunday was for winding down.   We had a great brunch at the Coupe, watched C play some soccer, and had a pot pie from Dangerously Delicious Pies.   We were on the plan at 10:00 that night, and taxied into Portland just shy of midnight.     All in all, it was a great vacation.

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