City Series: Washington, D.C.
What does a Californian do on a first trip to Washington, D.C., with only 48 hours in town? That's the question I had to answer this past week when I flew to our nation's capital for a brief business trip. I arrived Wednesday and flew out Friday afternoon. Most of my visit was spent working, but I had free time Wednesday/Thursday evening and Friday afternoon.
During the course of my stay, I visited Capitol Hill, the Washington Monument, the National Museum of American History, the White House (from afar) and even saw the presidential motorcade pass by. Obviously, I'll have many more new sites to visit on my next trip to D.C.
Two places I plan on revisiting: Ted's Bulletin and Harold Black.
Imagine a place where you can slip into a booth, gorge yourself on a generous heaping of comfort food, sip on boozy milkshakes and watch classic movies. That place, my friends, is Ted's Bulletin (which I've since nicknamed #lifegoals). Ted's serves hearty breakfast, lunch and dinner fare in a classic diner setting. Whenever I go to a new place, I like to try the specialties or best-sellers. Hence, I had to have Ted's Famous Grilled Cheese & Tomato Soup Super Deluxe combo. For $15.89, I got a delectable grilled cheese sandwich stuffed with creamy mac 'n cheese and tender short rib. Yes, it was as sublime as it sounds. Throw in a Peppermint Junior adult milkshake with peppermint schnapps ($10.99) and you have the perfect evening out. Did I mention that Casablanca was playing in the background? Like I said, #lifegoals. Ted's is also famous for its homemade pop tarts. I didn't get to try this on my first visit because I was so stuffed, but when I found myself in the neighborhood again the following night, I stopped in and got a blueberry cheesecake pop tart to go. Ted's has five locations in the D.C. area (I went to the Capitol Hill one), so make sure to swing by the next time you're in town.
Pro tip: According to the hostess, Ted's does not accept reservations and the wait time on weekends can be more than an hour. Her advice was to call an an hour and a half before you plan to arrive so you can get your name on the waiting list.
For some evening fun with speakeasy flare, head to Harold Black for light bites and specialty cocktails. I tried this place Thursday night with some coworkers who know their way around D.C. Keeping with the Prohibition-era spirit, HB is hidden in plain sight. Once you find the front door (tip below), expect to go up a dark staircase and down a narrow hallway, before you reach a candle-lit ledge with a sign that says, "Please knock for service." Do so on the wooden sliding door to your left and someone will come out to greet you. If you have don't have a reservation, which we didn't, you may have to wait a bit for a table. The nice thing is that if you leave your name and number on the waiting list, you can walk around the neighborhood or sit at another bar while you wait to be called back. It's worth the wait. Once seated, consider ordering the cocktail tasting flight. It's $40 for five cocktail samples. It's bartender's choice, so you don't actually get to choose your cocktails, but our server/bartender did an excellent job coming up with a variety of tasty libations. It's super dark in there and you aren't allowed to use the flash on your phone, so I didn't take any pictures inside. Until you go there yourself, you'll just have to take my word for it that HB is cool personified.
Pro tip: Look for Acqua Al 2 Italian restaurant and you'll find the inconspicuous, unmarked door to HB to the left of the Acqua Al 2 entrance. There are a couple of park benches in front of it.
So there you have it. Ted's Bulletin and Harold Black. Two great places worth a revisit. What are your favorite D.C. hot spots? Comment below.