Monday, February 18, 2013

Museum Fatigue

Oh man, it's been a busy week. We got our assignment, John got sworn in, John's Mom and her friend were in town visiting, we have some awesome friends who are always up for going out, and DC has a million amazing things to do 365 days a year. So when John said he'd rather stay home today to catch up on laundry, grocery shopping and errands, I have to say I was all for it. Plus it's 30F outside (like every other day here) and I'm tired of under-dressing and freezing my butt off every time I go out. I thought Bend was cold, but with the humidity and wind here, DANG! Somebody please tell me, are my lips purple right now?

Our visitors were little energizer bunnies. I thought I had museum stamena, but these ladies really knew how to put in full days at the museums and other sites in DC. Going from 10am to 5pm closing time and then enjoying a meal with John once he got out of class. I might need a couple days off from museums this week to recover. We kept on reminding ourselves, "we can't see it all..." but we still tried. and even after all that gaper-time I could easily go back to all these museums and spend 3 more days in each of them, and probably still not see it all...

Museums and sites we checked off:
Smithsonian Museum of Natural History
Smithsonian US Botanic Garden
US Capitol Building
Library of Congress
Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian
Old Post Office Building and Clock Tower
The Newseum
The Kennedy Center

All of it was awesome. We saw an Orchids of Latin America exhibition, walked along a catwalk in a giant greenhouse full of jungle, toured the Capitol Building, got all excited to read a Dan Brown novel in the Library of Congress, learned how to play the American Indian game Snowsnake, rode a glass elevator up to the top of the clock tower of the old post office building for the best view in DC since the Washington Monument is closed for repairs, saw gangster guns, the Unibomber cabin and Waco artifacts from the FBI evidence lockers and cried a few tears at the Berlin Wall and 9/11 exhibits at the Newseum, and we saw a free choir performance at the Kennedy Center. Highlights of the week of course were spending some quality time with his Mom and her friend, seeing his sister and her family who drove down for Flag Day, and witnessing John take the oath of office to serve our country.

My partners in crime, I mean tourism, for the week

The first Smithsonian building on the Mall, the Smithsonian Castle

Orchids of Latin America

Giant greenhouse full of jungle

Family portrait on the National Mall

Running up the steps of the Natural History Museum to see some dinosaur fossils, cavemen and crazy taxidermy

 Triceratops fossil

The Old Post Office Pavilion 

View of DC from the top of the clock tower

A lineup of front pages from across the US and around the world in front of the Newseum

A few big chunks of the Berlin Wall at the Newseum

The crumpled antennae from the top of the Twin Towers in front of front page articles from Sept 11

A map of the world showing how "free" the press is in each country. Guatemala is looking "partly free".

John and his classmates taking the oath of office at the Department of State headquarters, so proud of you hubby!!!

Warning: Food Porn Ahead

We went to Jaleo, a Spanish tapas restaurant for a post swearing in celebratory meal and made it just in time for their $20 prix fixe 4-course lunch menu. It was heaven. I will definitely be going back there someday. Chef Jose Andreas is a well-known Spanish chef with restaurants across the US and themes as varied as tapas to Mexican food to food trucks to high end molecular gastronomy. Finally, I found Patatas Bravas stateside that are as good as (well, almost as good as) the Bravas Mags and I indulged in when we were in Barcelona a couple years ago: perfectly crispy fried, sweet hot and spicy with paprika, and covered in sultry rich garlic alioli.

Ensalada rusa: The ultimate Spanish tapa, a salad of potatoes imported conserved tuna and mayonnaise

Ensalada de remolacha con cítricos y queso Valdeón: Red beet salad with Valdeón cheese and citrus

Patatas Bravas: A Jaleo favorite with spicy tomato sauce and alioli

Salmón con pisto manchego: Seared salmon over traditional sautéed vegetables

Flan al estilo tradicional de mamá Marisa con espuma de crema Catalana: A classic Spanish custard with 'espuma' of Catalan cream and oranges

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