Washington D.C.: Eating our Nation’s Capital


When I go on vacation somewhere I’ve never been, my goal is to get a true feel for the place and the people who make it up. This is not usually achievable in 4 days, but I do the best I can, and that’s why I spend less time at museums and monuments than I do walking around neighborhoods, ducking into little shops, and of course EATING FOOD. Luckily on my first trip to DC I had a great friend and excellent guide to help me hit all the spots.

Old Bay seasoning

Besides putting Old Bay seasoning on everything (fries, pickles, hummus), I learned that DC is known for it’s Ethiopian food due to the large East African population, and I experienced some of the best and most authentic at a little place called Chercher tucked away on 9th St. below street level. The handful of tables and bright paint make the interior cozy and unassuming, which says nothing of the spectacular food. I wish I had a picture of the vegetable combo we ordered (7 types of curried lentils, yellow split peas, savory greens, pickled cabbage, shredded beets…!), but we devoured it too quickly with the perfectly soft and spongy injera. Add a crisp Ethiopian beer, and you’ve got yourself a meal.

But you’re here for pictures, right? That’s this part.

Besides Ethiopian, I ate a lot of seafood (hey, I was on the East Coast!), and particularly loved the oysters I had. Hank’s in Capitol Hill was a great spot for a mid-afternoon oyster snack and Eat the Rich has a nice late-night special that’s perfect after a show at DC9.

And what trip to DC would be complete without a stop at Hot’N’Juicy Crawfish? I joined the likes of Flo Rida and countless others of more or less notoriety who have decided it’s a good idea to eat shrimp, crawfish, potatoes, and corn out of a bag with their hands. No regrets. Beyond that there was dim sum, plenty of coffee, a stop at Baked and Wired for sweets to munch on by the canals in Georgetown, rooftop drinks, and dancing at Wonderland Ballroom in Columbia Heights. OH YEAH and vegan soul food at Woodlands Vegan Bistro. Their fried ‘chicken’ is magic. Like, actual wizardry. So good.

Welp, that pretty much sums it up! If I’d had more time I would have liked to stop at the Smithsonian Museum of the American Indian for the history and for the famed cafe. At Mitsitam, they endeavor to recreate indigenous recipes of native North American people using traditional ingredients and methods. Sounds rad.

Now let’s see if we can’t shake off this snow once and for all back here in Chicago.