Crons in the Capital – Day 1

As mentioned in an earlier post, we spent a few days in DC in late August so that Jen could attend some CruiseOne regional training on Friday and Saturday. We actually arrived on Thursday morning so Jen would have a little time to see the sights with us.

With our hotel in Arlington being right on the DC Metro orange line, we got the day started pretty quickly after arriving. This was easily the most packed day for us, since we wanted to be sure Jen got to see as much as she wanted to. She and Bayley had done some initial planning and had a list of things to see on day one, including the National Mall, a few museums, and Chinatown.

The Mall

We got off the metro at the Smithsonian stop and headed for the Washington Monument. It was a bit overcast out and a bit humid, but I don’t think it ever actually rained on us. We didn’t go up the monument, instead choosing to walk the mall towards the WWII memorial, and on to the Lincoln Memorial.

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We then headed over to the Vietnam Memorial to walk the wall and reflect. While it wasn’t super busy here, it was good to see everyone here being respectful, something I won’t be able to say when I get to Arlington National Cemetery in my ‘Day 3’ post.

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After which, it was pretty close to lunch, so we took a stroll a few blocks towards our next destinations, a couple of Smithsonian museums.

The Museums

We started with the Museum of Natural History, and had lunch in their cafeteria (nothing to write home about). After eating, we spent an hour or so walking different areas of the museum before heading over to the Museum of American History for a stroll. While I’m normally not much of a museum guy, it’s nice to have places like this to visit that don’t charge admission when you’re trying to not spend much on vacation.

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After our museum walks, we headed towards the archives with the hope that even thought it was late in the afternoon, we’d still be able to get in. No such luck, we’d just missed the cutoff time for the day. We decided at that point to head for Chinatown before dinner. We were all pretty tired, and it was a bit of a hike, but we made it over there with just enough energy for them to do some quick shopping in a little store in the area.

After a few minutes in Chinatown, we decided to head back to the hotel and clean up before finding somewhere to eat. While in the hotel, we scanned the list of local restaurants the front desk had given us, and came across one that sounded good by the name of Grand Cru Wine Bar & Bistro. Neither of us are wine people, but the menu sounded pretty good. I certainly wasn’t disappointed, as the Filet was pretty tasty, as was the Skull Splitter Scottish ale I had with it

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All in all a pretty successful day, and just the start of our trip. The next two days Bayley and I visited a few of the other touristy sites in the city, and had a blast!

Next up: Day 2!



Good Eats in DC – Scion Restaurant

Last weekend we made a completely unscheduled overnight trip up to DC. Bayley’s two weeks working at Woodward had come to an end, and both of her options for a ride home fell through, so early Saturday afternoon we hopped in the car and headed up to DC to get her. We decided to take our dog Indy with us, so before leaving Jen did a quick search to see if she could find a restaurant in the area that was dog-friendly (the search was literally “dog friendly restaurants in Washington DC“). The first hit in the results took her to BringFido, which led her to Scion Restaurant in the Dupont Circle area. It wasn’t all that close to our hotel, but we liked what we saw on the menu and decided to stop there for dinner as soon as we got to the city, so on the way up I used OpenTable to make a reservation for 7:45pm, noting that we had a dog with us.

When we arrived, parking was a bit of a hassle, but after hunting a bit we finally located a space on the street a few blocks away and walked over to the restaurant. When we got there, I stayed outside with Indy while Jen went to check in. While they had our reservation, the note that I put in OpenTable about having a dog with us apparently didn’t get transmitted to them, and as a result they weren’t quite ready to seat anyone with a dog since the end sections of the patio where they allow dogs weren’t set up. No matter, with a very friendly attitude they jumped right on it and set up the corner that had an awning over it and seated us quickly. Definitely a good start to the evening!

After being seated, we ordered our food and drinks. I decided to try something on draft, and chose the Sun King Wee Mac Scottish-style ale. I’m not a huge beer guy, so I don’t often call out what I drink, but this was one of the best beers I’ve had in quite a while. For my dinner, I ordered the Scion burger (sans onions and pickles) and Jen got the LBJ Mac and Cheese. I should also mention that when they brought our water out, they brought a plastic bowl full of water out for Indy, too, and kept it refilled while we were there. Nice touch!

While waiting on our food, it started raining pretty good, so we ended up switching tables in that same little corner area to avoid water runoff. I think due to water running in on the ground, Indy got a little wet (but not a big deal), but we stayed dry the whole time, even with the downpour it turned in to. Once the food arrived, we dug in. My burger was excellent, as were the garlic fries, which were some of the best garlic fries I’ve had. Jen’s mac and cheese was really good too, although she realized something we already knew from past experiences, that she’s not really a fan of lobster meat. Oops 🙂

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Overall we really liked everything we had, and the service was outstanding the entire time. Our experience that night led us to come back for brunch the next day with Bayley and her boyfriend. Thankfully it wasn’t raining this time, but the food and service were just as good. It was noticeably busier, but they had space for us in the opposite corner of the patio, so even at noon, we were seated right away. While I was tempted to get the Scion burger again, I ended up going with the cinnamon vanilla french toast. In a word: wow. It was absolutely delicious, and one of the only times that I’ve eaten french toast without any syrup. The vanilla drizzle was more than enough to top it, and I enjoyed every bite. Jen got the New Orleans Benedict (See the above ‘brunch’ link for a description), and while she enjoyed most of it, she wasn’t a big fan of the Cajun Hollandaise sauce that was on it. Bayley went with a side of mac and cheese and breakfast potatoes, both of which were delicious, and her boyfriend had the Scion burger.

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As mentioned throughout this post, both meals were absolutely delicious, and the service was outstanding. The Dupont Circle neighborhood that the restaurant is in is pretty cool, even if it was a pain to find parking (all parking garages we found were closed both times). We wish we could have spent more time in the area, but being on a compressed schedule that had us arriving in DC around 8pm Saturday and leaving right after brunch on Sunday, we simply didn’t have any time. Hopefully we’ll get some time to drive back up late in the summer before Bayley goes back to college. If we do, we’ll definitely be stopping at Scion again!

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