We left the D.C. area four months ago and I finally got this post together with some of my favorite places! I will also be sharing a recipe for Çılbır, Turkish Poached Eggs with Yogurt, inspired by our meal at Zaytinya.
In case you missed it, here are my other goodbye posts for Northern Virginia:
- Paletas Heladas de Galleta Oreo (Oreo Popsicles) and Goodbye Woodbridge, Virginia
- Nutella Latte and Goodby Northern Virginia
One of the most visited areas in Washington, D.C. is the National Mall. This long strip of land stretches over a mile from the Washington Monument to the Capitol. It is bordered to the north and south by a collection of museums, including many by the Smithsonian Institution.
When visiting the National Mall on the weekends, we usually parked in the garage under the Ronald Reagan Building and National Trade Center. The price is a bit more on weekdays, so I parked at the Fashion Centre at Pentagon City and took the metro in during the week. There are metro stops nearby (Federal Triangle, Smithsonian, and L’Enfant Plaza).
National Museum of Natural History
Check out my post on the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History here.
National Museum of American History
Check out my post on the Smithsonian National Museum of American History here.
National Museum of African American History and Culture
The Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture opened in September 2016. It is open daily (except December 25th) from 10:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Entry to the museum requires timed entry passes (free). Same day timed entry passes (up to 4) are available at 6:30 am every morning until the run out and walk-ups are only allowed on weekdays after 1 pm. I actually visited the museum in May 2018 during the Walk-Up Wednesdays promotion. In January and February 2019, walk-ups will be available on a first-come, first-served basis every weekday.
I only had about four hours and it wasn’t nearly enough time to see everything. A full day or two is definitely recommended to really be able to focus on the exhibits. The museum has 85,000 square feet of space with nearly 3000 objects on display. Current exhibitions include Slavery and Freedom; Power of Place; Making a Way Out of No Way; More than a Picture; Defending Freedom, Defining Freedom; Double Victory; City of Hope; Cultural Expressions; A Changing America; A Century in the Making; and more.
On the concourse level is the Sweet Home Cafe. The food is served cafeteria-style and broken into the following regions: The Agricultural South, The Creole Coast, The North States, and The Western Range.
National Air and Space Museum
The National Air and Space Museum is actually the most visited museum on the mall. We enjoyed this museum, but went to the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center more since it is larger and often less crowded (also free, but have to pay for parking). Current exhibits include Destination Moon, Time and Navigation, Moving Beyond Earth, America by Air, The Wright Brothers & The Invention of the Aerial Age, Explore the Universe, and more.
Freer and Sackler Galleries
We visited the Freer|Sackler Galleries during their IlluminAsia grand reopening in October 2017. The festival included local food vendors, cooking and art demonstrations, live music and dancing, and creations by local and international artists. This museum first opened to the public in 1923 and was the first art museum on the Smithsonian campus. Exhibits include American Art, Ancient Near Eastern Art, Art Across Asia, Arts of the Islamic World, Chinese Art, Contemporary Art, Japanese Art, Korean Art, South Asian and Himalayan Art, and Southeast Asian Art.
National Museum of the American Indian
Check out my post on the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian here.
Other notable museums in the area include the US Holocaust Memorial Museum, National Archives, National Gallery of Art, and Bureau of Engraving and Printing.
The Washington Monument was closed during our time in DC (for anyone who has seen Spider-Man: Homecoming, Evan is insistent the events in the movie are the reason why) and is set to reopen in Spring 2019 with an updated elevator system.
The Lincoln Memorial is a little over a two mile walk from the United States Capitol. Inspired by the Parthenon, construction was completed and and the dedication took place on May 30, 1922.
The memorial is 190 feet long, 99 feet tall, and the interior is divided into three chambers which contain the seated statue of Lincoln, inscriptions of his Second Inaugural Address and Gettysburg Address, and murals portraying governing principles evident in his life.
Vietnam Veterans Memorial
The Vietnam Veterans Memorial is just a short walk northeast of the Lincoln Memorial and also open 24 hours/day. It includes three parts: the Three Soldiers statue, Vietnam Women’s Memorial, and the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall (which lists chronologically the names of the more than 58,000 Americans who lost their lives or remain missing). The closest metro stops are Foggy Bottom and Federal Triangle (about a mile away).
World War II Memorial
The World War II Memorial can be found at the end of the Reflecting Pool between the Lincoln Memorial and Washington Monument. It was dedicated on May 29, 2004, a month after opening, to honor the 16 million Americans who served, the over 400,000 who died, and those who supported from home.
The Tidal Basin can be found just south of the World War II Memorial as a part of West Potomac Park. Surrounding the basin are the Martin Luther King, Jr Memorial, Jefferson Memorial, FDR Memorial, Floral Library, Japanese Lantern, and John Paul Jones Memorial. The area is especially beautiful (and crowded) in the spring during Cherry Blossom season.
Martin Luther King, Jr Memorial
The Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial opened to the public in 2011 and is officially located at 1964 Independence Avenue SW. His statue is carved into the 30 ft high Stone of Hope along with the words from his “I Have a Dream” speech, “Out of the mountain of despair, a stone of hope.” The 450-foot long Inscription Wall features 14 quotes from his speeches, sermons, and writings. Learn more about the building of the memorial here. Smithsonian is the closest metro stop at a little less than a mile away.
National Portrait Gallery
The National Portrait Gallery is just north of the National Mall at 8th St NW & F St NW. Entry is free and it is open 11:30 AM – 7:00 PM daily (with the exception of December 25th).
Highlights include the portrait of the Former First Lady, Michelle Obama by Artist Amy Sherald in the 20th Century Americans exhibit on the third floor; the official portrait of the 44th President, Barack Obama by Artist Kehinde Wiley in America’s Presidents; Recent Acquisitions; The Four Justices; and American Origins. It was temporarily closed during our visit, but Explore! is an area dedicated to children. Evan was mesmerized by Electronic Superhighway: Continental U.S., Alaska, Hawaii by Nam June Paik.
One of last meals in DC before the move was at Zaytinya. It was also one of the most memorable. Part of José Andrés’ ThinkFoodGroup, this restaurant highlights Turkish, Greek, and Lebanese cuisines with an innovation Mezze menu. We were there for brunch and tried the Peynirli Pide (favorite with the kids- Turkish tomato sauce and halloumi cheese), Çılbır (poached eggs, toast, Greek yogurt, paprika butter, sumac), Htipiti (marinated roasted red peppers, feta, thyme), Brunch Falafel Burger, and Greek Yogurt and Apricots. There is also a location in Frisco, Texas.
National Building Museum
Check out our visit to the National Building Museum here.
Teaism Penn Quarter
We stopped by Teaism one morning before visiting the National Mall. The kids especially loved the koi pond in the downstairs seating area. There are also locations in Dupont Circle and Lafayette Park.
Bakers & Baristas
Bakers & Baristas is just a short walk from the National Portrait Gallery and National Building Museum. It was my first time coming across Melange (a Viennese coffee drink similar to a cappuccino) here in the United States. They also have a delicious Butterkuchen.
Barracks Row, a collection of restaurants and shops along 8th Street SE just south of the Eastern Market, was a favorite spot for us to go for brunch.
I first came across District Doughnuts while at MetroCooking DC. During our visit, we took home the Salted Dulce de Leche, Baklava (my favorite), Brown Butter, Milk Chocolate, Bananas Foster Creme Brûlée, and Blueberry.
Ted’s Bulletin was a particularly fun brunch spot for the kids. We barely missed their massive cinnamon rolls, but did enjoy the homemade tarts.
Lavagna was another great brunch spot. The kids were huge fans of the Mascarpone Pancakes with Honey Nutella and the homemade pasta was wonderful.
H Street Corridor
Finding parking along the H Street Corridor can often be difficult, so we usually parked at Union Station and rode the (free) streetcar to our destination.
The interior of Stable was absolutely gorgeous. It was the perfect place to celebrate my birthday. We tried the Berliner (Swiss doughnuts with strawberry jam), Assorted Breads, Berner Rösti, and Schnitzel Sandwich.
The Fried Chicken Steamed Buns were my favorite at Toki Underground.
Astro Doughnuts & Fried Chicken
We kept going back to Astro Doughnuts & Fried Chicken again and again to try their seasonal offering along with my favorite Creme Brulee doughnut. In addition to the DC location at 1308 G Street NW, they also have a shop in Falls Church, Virginia.
We stopped by Cafe Mozart one afternoon for lunch after a morning of visiting the museums. The storefront at the entry has a few German products that are often difficult to find.
Walter E. Washington Convention Center
Tiger Fork is tucked away in Blagden Alley on 922 N Street (Rear) NW. Featuring Hong Kong cuisine, we particularly enjoyed the Cheung Fun with shrimp and flowering chives, Fried Rice with chicken and Chinese sausage, and Kowloon Buns.
Tabletop is located in the bottom floor of the building at 1608 20th St NW. Here you will find unique and fun finds for house decor, baby and child toys/books, kitchenware, jewelry, and more. I found a couple of activity books/dry erase placemats here that were particularly helpful for our road trip from DC to LA.
Un Je Ne Sais Quoi
Another one of my favorite spots in Dupont Circle is Un Je Ne Sais Quoi. They have a wonderful assortment of French and Belgian pastries to choose from along with coffee and tea. I tried the Merveilleux, a Belgian pastry comprised of two layers of light and airy meringue with a coffee chocolate filling and a coating of chocolate flakes. Other flavors include white chocolate, violet, speculoos, and chocolate.
Baked and Wired
Baked and Wired was home to the best cupcakes we tried in the DC area. We managed to visit when there were only a handful of people, but often walked by to see the cupcake line wrapped down the street.
We were lured into Il Canale with the sample slices offered at the door. They definitely didn’t disappoint. The kids enjoyed a Margherita pizza while I had the Carbonara.
I originally planned on visiting Ladurée while in New York City, but then discovered that we actually have a location in Georgetown. We enjoyed the variety of macarons, though I never tried the tea service.
We stopped by Georgetown Cupcake while some friends were in town visiting and loved the assortment of flavors. In addition to the classics, there are also daily specials and monthly seasonals.
National Zoological Park
Check out my post on the Smithsonian National Zoological Park here.
United States National Arboretum, Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens, and Union Market
Check out my post on the United States National Arboretum, Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens, and Union Market here.
Bôn Matcha is a great little ice cream stand tucked in the corner 20th St NW and I St NW. They feature a 100% all-organic matcha soft serve throughout the year along with a seasonal flavor, a swirl option, and Matcha-flavored drinks.
A Baked Joint
A Baked Joint is the sister store to Baked & Wired. Located at 440 K St NW, it was an easy walk from the convention center for a quick breakfast. We especially loved the lattes and breakfast sandwiches.
This is just a sampling of some of the incredible places DC has to offer. There were so many restaurants, stores, and museums that we never got a chance to visit and definitely hope to move back someday.
Çılbır (Turkish Poached Eggs with Yogurt)
I was inspired to make Çılbır (Turkish Poached Eggs with Yogurt) by our meal at José Andrés’ Zaytinya. Eggs are gently poached and placed on top a bed of garlicky yogurt. The dish is finished off with a drizzle of pepper-infused butter and a sprinkling of fresh mint. Serve immediately with slices of crusty bread or flatbread.
According to Marianna Yerasimos’ 500 Hundred Years of Ottoman Cuisine, this dish was a staple in the palace kitchen of the Ottoman Sultans.
I like to prepare the yogurt first so that it sits at room temperature for a bit before adding the spiced butter. I used a combination of Pul Biber and paprika. If you are unable to locate Pul Biber or Aleppo pepper, you can you all paprika in its place. If you want more heat, use more pepper.
The garlic can be omitted, but I especially love the additional flavor. Fresh dill can be used in place or in addition to the mint. For a variation, try this walnut butter variation from Piper Nigrum.
Çılbır (Turkish Poached Eggs with Yogurt) Recipe
Adapted from Almost Turkish Recipes
Çılbır (Turkish Poached Eggs with Yogurt)
- 1 1/2 cups Turkish or Greek yogurt
- 2 cloves garlic
- 5 cups water
- 2 tablespoons vinegar
- 4 eggs
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 1/2 teaspoons Pul Biber or Aleppo pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika
- Salt to taste
- Fresh mint or dill for serving
- Crusty bread or Pide for serving
- With a mortar and pestle, smash the peeled garlic cloves with a pinch of salt until smooth. Mix the garlic into the yogurt and transfer to individual serving plates.
- Crack each egg into separate, small bowls.
- In a medium pot, combine the water, vinegar, and pinch of salt. Bring to a boil. Once the water is boiling, reduce heat to medium and stir the water in circles to create a vortex. Gently add each egg, one at a time, into the center of the vortex. Cook them in batches if needed. Poach for about 3-4 minutes before removing each egg with a slotted spoon. Place one to two eggs over each plate of garlicky yogurt.
- While the eggs are cooking, melt the butter over medium heat in a small pan. Once it begins to sizzle, stir in the pepper and paprika and remove from heat.
- Drizzle the spiced butter over the eggs and yogurt. Sprinkle with fresh mint and/or dill and a pinch of salt. Serve immediately with slices of crusty bread or Pide.