I could sum up my nine hours in Washington D.C. with one photo:
But you probably need more explanation than that.
First, some back story. A month before our trip, Tristan alerted his friends to the Louisa County Ag Fair happening in his charming home town of Louisa, Virginia. You may recall our inaugural trip last year; now it has become a yearly tradition that gives us New Yorkers an excuse to get out of the city and hang out on Tristan's family's farm, surrounded by nature's loving bosom (trees, bugs, sheep, cats, corn fields, fresh air, a night sky devoid of light pollution, etc.) and Tristan's loving family (father David, mother Kris, lil' brother Fletcher) who always welcomes Tristan's friends with open arms despite the chaos we bring to their quaint home. It doesn't take much convincing to get people down there.
Alas, in the end just four of us could join him for the ride: Colin, Veronica, Olivia, and me. Which worked out for the best since 1) we're awesome, and 2) that's the maximum number of people who could fit into Olivia's car. Colin, Veronica, Tristan, and I took the Bolt Bus to Washington D.C., where the D.C.-based Olivia could pick us up and drive us down to Louisa, about two hours out of the city. But we had some time to kill time in D.C. before Olivia was free.
And then the heavens parted and God said, "Even though you don't believe in me, I'm gonna do something nice for you. Heathen." And that he did: by giving me the gift of Karen Chow. Who is this Karen Chow, you ask? She's like, awesome. She's like me but 5000% smarter and cooler. She might be the reincarnation of a really cute bunny with a huge brain...and...neurotransmitters made of...cotton candy. I'd know because she's been one of my best friends for 13 years. In her golden presence, my brain goes all gooey with inhibition, which is probably why I have so much fun around her—it's like being drunk.
Oh yeah, wait, I'm not done. Luck/God was on my side because it just so happened that Karen had already planned to take that Thursday off, unbeknownst to her that I, along with my merry band of friends, would attack her like a pack of drunk leeches, at least 50% of which were wearing Keyboard Cat shirts (that is, Tristan and me), and want to dump our stuff in her apartment and make her act as tour guide for the day! SHE WAS SOOOOO LUCKY! I mean...WE WERE SOOOOO LUCKY.
And so we did. With Manatee Puppet in tow. (That's it's name. It's a proper noun.) By "in tow" I mean "mostly on Karen's hand, making it all sweaty." Except when we perched Manatee Puppet on a bicycle.
First stop was Matchbox, which Karen chose based on their sliders and proximity to her apartment. But it turns out it's a pizza place too. Pizza and burgers for lunch? Yup.
The non-burger lovers (Tristan and Colin) ordered the veggie pizza topped with cremini mushrooms, Spanish onion, roasted poblano peppers, roasted garlic, mozzarella, fresh herbs, and fingerling potato crisps.
Us ladies went for the four cheese white topped with roasted garlic, ricotta, buffalo mozzarella, pecorino toscano, pecorino romano, besides sliders.
But before I get to the sliders, let's talk about this pizza. (If Adam is reading this, it will soon become obvious that I couldn't muster up much to say about the pizza, but I'll try to come up with something more for Slice.) It's. Um. You can't tell from looking at it but it tasted like the crust was soaked in butter. Otherwise it didn't have much flavor. Or a very appealing texture. And despite there being four cheeses on our pizza, it didn't taste all that cheesy. It was somewhat odd. I'm not sure what else to say about it, THE END.
The sliders (we ordered a plate of six) with pickles and gouda in toasted brioche buns fared better, partially because they were topped with a honking huge pile of crispy, salted fried onions, and you know what they say about fried stuff: a big pile of it on top of something else will probably make the other thing taste better. Not because it imparts any flavor on the non-fried substance, but because the deep fryer grants it tractor beam-like powers pointing towards your mouth.
The sliders were better than the pizzas. Although far from oozing fatty goodness, the patty was moist enough considering how bite-sized it was. And, like the pizza crusts, the starch component of the sliders were buttered or slicked in some sort of fat. Unlike in the pizza crusts, this was a plus. You wouldn't go out of your way for these burgers, but they're not bad. I wish they had come on potato rolls though.
We had to wait about 30 minutes to get a table at lunch time on a Thursday. Considering how huge the restaurant is, that's some good business. While the atmosphere is pleasant, I wouldn't say it's worth the wait, unless the rest of the menu is pretty awesome.
And, on a random note, that being my first time in Chinatown, or whatever semblance of Chinatown Washington D.C. tried to create, my reaction is: WTF? All stores in the area are required to have Chinese signs—Starbucks, Legal Sea Foods, Dunkin Donuts, and the like—to preserve the Chinatown feeling. Because, as everyone knows, Chinatown is supposed to feel like an outdoor mall with awkward Chinese characters plastered all over the place, catering to the local dominant Chinese population that isn't there. It's funny and strange at the same time.
It's Wandering Around Time
Before we could eat again, we had to give our stomachs a rest. And thus Wandering Around Time commenced.
We escaped the humidity and heat by browsing the National Building Museum for a bit. Appropriately, it's a quite beautiful building. Alas, I was unable to define the beauty in terms more elegant than, "Those columns are like...giant...fat sticks," so thank god for the magic of photography.
There was also this sculpture. What Tristan and Colin found out by climbing on it is that metal get really hot when sitting in the sun's rays for prolonged periods of time, and that when really hot surfaces come in contact with human skin, pain ensues.
There was also this flaming skull license plate. The baby seat in the back told us, "At least one kid in this world is gonna grow up awesome."
We moved on to the National Museum of Natural History where we looked at cute fishies.
Goddamn ugly, shriveled-up giant squid.
Clear things in jars.
Coral (making Manatee Puppet hungry).
AND MANATEES. FLOATING. MANATEES. LIKE IN REAL LIFE...I mean, not like real life. Not even close. But a girl can dream.
Then science time was over. To make way for...
NATIONAL MALL CAVORTING TIME!!!
Ain't no better way to give props to our nation's capitol by giving your bestie a low five while you're both wearing matching shirts depicting a mash-up of Internet memes.
Manatee Puppet took a lil' breather as us humans continued acting stupid.
Our cavorting ended with a sweaty walk towards the Washington Monument. To be followed by MORE FOOD. Coming in Part II.