Tuesday, April 14, 2015

36 Hours in DC: Day 2

Despite our strenuous day of biking and our late bedtime, we managed to wake up at 7AM on Sunday morning.
Not wanting to waste the day, we got up and got ready (instead of lingering in bed like little lazy monsters) and headed out the door. Again, everything we did on Sunday had zero admission fees. Thanks, DC and the Smithsonian Institution!

We walked our bikes up a huge hill in order to enjoy this park. It was really too bad that we didn't get to see it in a more lush and green form, but it was still beautiful and enjoyable. It seemed to be a popular spot for dogs too.
I'm sure this fountain is amazing in the summer.
SMITHSONIAN NATIONAL ZOO
After the park, we biked over to the zoo where we saw some cutie little animals.
The two black spots in the tree are baby bear cubs! They were so roly-poly and cute.
We also managed to barely see the eagle.
BISTRO CACAO
I don't know how H found this place, but it was the perfect spot for brunch.
It's the coziest little restaurant with an eclectic bohemian style and the quaintest alcove-like seating arrangements.
The Easter brunch menu was full of amazing dishes.
We started out by cheers-ing with tangy orange mimosas. The cocktail was so fresh and citrus-y, I'm positive they used fresh squeezed orange juice.
To start, we were given a basket of bread and pastries. There was a nut and berry loaf, regular croissants, chocolate croissants, and a round roll.
To accompany the carb basket, we were served little tubs of poppy seed butter, Nutella, and fresh jam.
For the appetizer, both H and I went for the scallop with white bean ragout and mushrooms. The scallop was perfectly cooked so that it was tender but with an excellent sear, and the white bean ragout was delicious. It had golden raisins and a sweet and lightly acidic sauce.
H ordered the eggs benedict for her main and she generously let me have a taste. The poached eggs were adorable and immaculately cooked, the hollandaise was creamy and lemony, the ham was crisp, the caviar was salty, and the english muffins were perfectly toasted.
For my main, I went for the pan-seared duck breast. Though I wish the skin had been a little crisper, it was still amazing and delicious. The duck itself was really tender and bathed in a slightly sweet jus. The haricots-verts were cooked just the way I like them - still snappy - and the potatoes were coated in a fragrant olive oil.
For dessert, we shared the mango mousse cake and the black forrest cake. The portions were incredibly generous and the cakes were beautifully plated. The chocolate cake was rich without being too heavy and it was great. However, the mango mousse cake was the favorite. It was really bright and citrusy and light.
TIDAL BASIN & CHERRY BLOSSOM FESTIVAL
After lunch, we biked down to the tidal basin to try and see some blooming cherry blossoms. Unfortunately, there wasn't a whole lot happening with the trees down here. The buds were plentiful but the cold spell had delayed the blooming.
However, the lack of blooms didn't stop the hoards of people crowding the Festival tents.
JEFFERSON MEMORIAL
We actually avoided the crowds and biked our way around the basin, waving hello to the Jefferson Memorial as we pedaled.
DC WAR MEMORIAL
So by the DC War Memorial is where we were first able to spot some actual blooms. You could totally tell that people had been picking them off because the branches within arm's reach were all bare while the tops were still rather lush.
The blooms were still super pretty and I'm glad we got to enjoy the pink ones. Nothing against the white ones, but pink is just so gorgeous.
CAPITOL HILL
While we were biking up Capitol Hill for the second time, we noticed this blooming tree across the street from the Capitol Building. This tree was just on its way to being lush and bloomy, but we took advantage of its half-bloomed state and had a selfie session.
EASTERN MARKET
Our final activity of the trip was a visit to Eastern Market. There's a flea market portion (where we each bought some vintage maps) and a food area where they sell farmer's market produce and prepared foods.
It reminded me a lot of the Williamsburg Flea Market, with its mix of eclectic pieces and delicious foods.
This little donut stand was the cutest and I was in love with the little automatic donut fryer.
We got a half dozen fresh-from-the-fryer to share and they were incredibly light with a crisp exterior. Super delicious.
After that, we headed back to the hotel where I gathered my belongings and we said our goodbyes. I hopped in an Uber back to Union Station, boarded my Amtrak train, and napped my way back to Newark.
H and I want to bike our way through more cities. I can't wait for our next trip!

xoxo.

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