Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Washington D.C. #2 Oct. 1-5, 2014; The adventures of Tito and Tita.

Hey everyone! I hope you enjoyed my last post on Atlanta.

This post will be about Washington D.C. and some of the other things you can do there. We have been to D.C. before, but this time Eyen's Mom and Dad came with us! I call them Tito and Tita because in Tagalog it means "Uncle" and "Aunt", and it is a sign of respect. 

This trip to D.C. was actually more fun than our previous visit! We did so many things during this trip. The places we ate were great, and since we knew how to get around D.C., it made it so much easier.

We arrived in Washington D.C. on Wednesday October 1, and we immediately had to make our way to the Capitol building for our tour. Eyen and I did this last time, but we wanted Tito to experience it since he loves history.

 Here is Tito and Tita with the Statue of Freedom inside the capitol. This is a replica of what is outside on top of the Capitol building.

 This is the Old Supreme Court. This is where the Dred-Scott decision was made!

In these photos we are just doing some exploring of the building!
 This is Tito with the very center of the building. Underneath this spot is where George Washington and his wife Martha is supposed to be buried (the tomb), but they are buried at his estate in Mount Vernon. This point is actually the center of Washington D.C.

 Listening to the tour guide.

Some selfies during the tour. :)

 This is looking up into the rotunda. The large statue is on top of this area on the outside of the building.

 Enjoying the view.

 Each state is able to donate 2 statues for the Capitol building. The only requirements are that the person is dead and the statue is made of marble or bronze. Tito and Tita are posing with Sam Houston, a statue donated from Texas. I am posing with Uriah M. Rose, a prominent lawyer from Arkansas.

 We were listening for the whisper spot in this room. During this trip, we were actually able to hear it!

We continued to explore the Capitol building. It was all very interesting.

 Posing in the Old Senate Chamber! I love the fixture above the chair! 

 Posing with the statue from Wyoming. Tito loves history, but more specifically, he loves Native American history!

 This is one of my favorite statues in the building (probably because it stands out from the rest). I love the gold.

Posing with Sakakawea from North Dakota. I actually never knew this was the spelling to her name.

 Resting before we move on to another place.

 The thing I love about D.C. is that it's so clean and pretty. Almost anywhere you go you can take a nice picture.

Us posing with the Capitol building in the background.

 Tito and Tita's turn!

 We were actually able to set a timer and get a photo of all of us in front of the capitol!

 This is the Library of Congress.

 After our tour of the Capitol, we made our way over to another part of town for dinner. For those who don't know, Tita is a chef and LOVES good food, so for this trip, we let her decide all the places she wanted to try! 

 1. "JALEO" (ha-lay-oh)
This restaurant is owned by famous chef Jose Andres (find him on the Food Network). This specific restaurant is a tapas style place. That means the dishes are small portions that everyone shares. Usually each person will order 2 or 3 dishes.

 Some selfies before dinner. <3

If you can't tell, we love taking photos at dinner time. We believe it's a time to come together and enjoy each others company! We love to eat!

This was Tita's order. It is called the "Bikini de jamon, queso Manchego y trufas". It is a pressed sandwich with Spanish ham, Manchego cheese and truffles. It was SO GOOD! Nothing I can say will give this sandwich justice.
 Tita and I having a toast with our drinks!
 I ordered the "Sangria de vino tinto" or red wine sangria. Tita ordered the "Andalusian Coctail"  which consists of apple brandy, licor 43, orgeat, and citrus. Both were great!

 Tito's first drink was a pale ale beer.

 Of course we are going to take selfies with our food and drinks. :)

 This is my order. It is called "Vieiras con pinones y Pedro Ximenez" which are seared scallops with pine nuts and Pedro Ximenez vinegar. Another hit! Fantastic dish!

 This is was Eyen chose. It's called "Salpicon de cangrejo" which is jumbo lump crab meat with cucumbers, peppers, tomatoes, cauliflower and brandy sauce. And once again, another HIT! All the tapas we ordered were great. BEYOND GREAT!
 For our main dish, we ordered "Paella de pollo y setas silvestres" which is a traditional paella of chicken and chef selected mushrooms. It was a very nice paella (pie-aye-ya), but honestly Tita's is better. Maybe I'm just biased. hehe

 Tito's second drink is called "Highland Games" It consists of Scotch, Cocchi Americano, Pedro Ximenez, and citrus. It was one of the strongest drinks I've tasted.

So cute!

 This is some of the decor in the restaurant. It was very interesting, to say the least! Even the bathroom made me laugh...

 This picture is kind of freaky... Kids hanging in a web. haha
 This is the bathroom stall. I felt very self conscious while using the restroom. LOL

 The Foosball table is actually a table you dine on. I wish we would've sat there! 

Some buildings outside. It was just starting to get dark, so the lighting is very pretty!

 We passed this place on the way to dinner, so of course we had to have dessert here! It is called "Red Velvet".  We had red velvet, cafe hazelnut, and peanut butter and jelly! They were fantastic!

Here is the outside of the cupcake place.

 Walking around selfies.

 Tita posing with Jaleo! We are all really happy that we decided to eat here. It was a great place.

Subway photos.

Once we got back to our side of town, we decided to check out the Whole Foods near our hotel. It was AMAZING! We have Whole Foods in Houston (and it's nice), but this was different! This one has different places you can eat like a seafood bar and different BBQs... We had just eaten, so we didn't try it right away, but we do have a dinner here! You will hear more about it later.

After Whole Foods, we headed back to the hotel to rest up for tomorrows festivities!

The  next day, we woke up and headed to breakfast at "Lincoln's Waffle House" which is right next door to Ford's Theatre. It was a traditional American breakfast. It was good, but it wasn't spectacular or memorable. It was something that you could easily make at home. BUT they were friendly and it is fairly priced, so it was alright!

 Eyen's hot chocolate.
 Food pics!

Family pics!

 This is Eyen's breakfast. She ordered the waffle (of course, since we're in a waffle house) and the salmon cake. The waffle was decent. The salmon cake was very fishy.
 Our server. He was very efficient.

 I ordered ham and eggs with french toast. I was so hungry I didn't get a pic of the french toast. :P
 Tito ordered the corned beef hash. That is his favorite. He really liked this one. He said that this is the first time he didn't have to eat it with any sauce like ketchup. I would say that's a win!

Tita had the blueberry pancakes! The blueberries tasted fresh, but the actual pancake was mediocre.

My candid photo of Eyen.

Some signs posted outside of the Waffle House.

After breakfast, we crossed the street to go to Ford's Theatre. For those who do not know or may have forgotten, this is where President Abraham Lincoln was shot. Tours are every half hour with only some giving entrance to the museum and theater. We decided to wait another half hour to be able to see the inside of the theater. We decided to explore the area!

This is the tower of books. All the books are about Abraham Lincoln. (except the fake, filler books). You can find this across the street inside the house where Abe Lincoln died. It's located next to the gift shop.

I liked this sign. "Where Lincoln's Legacy Lives"

Some photos before we head inside.

This is where we are entering the museum. One good thing about D.C. is that most of the museums are free of charge, like this one.

The building of the Capitol.
Some of these photos are kind of dark, but I still wanted to include them.

This is how tall Abe Lincoln actually was!

This is the ACTUAL gun that killed President Abraham Lincoln. John Wilkes Booth dropped it after he shot the President and fled the scene. The little ball you see on the bottom right photo, is a replica bullet that was used to shoot him.

Here are some better photos of the Lincoln statue.

These photos are taken inside of the theater. You can see the Presidential box above.

We were actually able to peek our heads inside of the Presidential box where he was shot.

Just a few photos with the box before we left.

Funny story... While we were here with this big bust of Abraham Lincoln, there was a family looking at it also; a dad, mom, and little girl (probably around 5 years old). The dad told the little girl "You know, that is the actual size of his head. You know that right?" The little girl looking embarrassed said "I know..." and walked away. LOL!

After visiting the Ford's Theatre, we walked across the street to the house where Lincoln died. If you save your ticket from the museum, you have free entrance to this place as well.

This room is kind of like a living room. They have it set up like it was during that time.

Here is the actual room where Lincoln died. It isn't the same bed (that one is displayed in Illinois), but this is the room!

I have a thing about old chests... I guess it reminds me of treasure.

Here are some more photos I took of the tower of books.

Abraham Lincoln and Spider-man.. AWESOME.

Posing outside of the house!

After visiting Ford's Theatre and the area around there, we made our way to the Smithsonian National Museum of  the American Indian. As I mentioned before, Tito is very interested in Native American History, so you can imagine his excitement!

Subway pic.
This is the building from the outside.

A few decorations at the entrance of the museum.

We walked around and explored the lower level. We saw a few art pieces and some cool totem poles. They also have an area where you can buy goods made by the Native Americans. You can actually watch them makes things like jewelry and clothes.

We gave Tito the liberty to walk around on his own and look at everything he wanted without a time limit. We didn't want to rush, and we wanted to make sure he saw everything he wanted to see. I snapped a few pics of some art pieces I saw. I thought they were interesting.

I thought this horse was really cute.

Inside the museum they actually have a restaurant named "Mitsitam" that serves American Indian food. It is set up with different areas you can order from. The different areas correspond to the different areas where the American Indians lived.

We ordered the some beef nachos with cheese from "Meso America". It was very good!

A close-up.

Tita and Tito ordered a burger from the "Great Plains". BUT it wasn't just any burger. The meat is a mixture of duck and bison! It was actually pretty good. If you aren't as adventurous, there are other things you can order.

For dessert, we decided to try Alfa Jores. It's like a dulce de leche (caramel) sandwich. It was so good! Very worth it!

A photo outside of the cafe.

Near the exit, there are these really cool masks. Their expressions looked so real! I loved it. I made sure I snapped some photos of a few.

This is the fountain outside of the museum. It was pretty!

Some totem poles outside of the museum. 

After the museum, we decided to walk around the National Mall for a while. We wanted them to see the Smithsonian Castle. Tita also wanted to visit the mummy display at the National Museum of Natural History.

A garden we spotted while exploring. It was too cute not to stop and take some pics here!

The Smithsonian Castle is the building furthest away.

I thought these pics were really cool. I love how you can see the building in the background.

Some photos from the National Mall. That is the Capitol building in the background

The Washington Monument.

The Smithsonian Castle!

The National Museum of Natural History! Yes, it is HUGE!

Tita with an elephant. :)

Tita and Tito checking out the mummy exhibits. It was very cool! The last time Eyen and I visited here, we actually didn't get a chance to see this part!

The mummies in the exhibit are REAL! They aren't pharaohs, but it is still so cool. You can actually see the difference in class by how a person was wrapped. 

A mummified bull! Egyptians mummified animals as well as humans.

Our ancestors. hahaha

I found the skeleton of a tarsier! If you have followed my blog, you'll remember I visited this endangered species in the Philippines last summer!

Tito and Tita going back to their roots...

This is a piece of petrified wood. It it millions of years old. It looks like rock now!

We came across this tree on while walking to the National Archives. It is so cool! It's silver and made of metal. I love it!
This is the National Archives Museum! I wanted to visit here because if you visit the research side of the building, you can access the archives and research your family. I have always been curious about my roots. I actually discovered that my dad's side of the family came to America from England in the 1600's. COOL!

After visiting the Archives, we noticed this little French bakery across the street named "Paul". We decided to try it out! It turned out to be VERY good!

This is a salmon and spinach epinard. It is like a crispy bread. It was good!
This is a salami navette with pickles. It was good, except the bread was hard, and I mean so hard you couldn't chew it.

 I ordered a regular cappuccino and Tito ordered a mochapuccino! Both were great. Tito also ordered a chocolate eclair and OMG I cannot explain how good it was! THE BEST I have EVER had!

 The whole shabang!

 We also decided to try the macarons. We had one vanilla and one chocolate. WOW! They were soft on the inside and just a little bit of crunch on the outside. Simply PERFECT!

We really enjoyed this merienda (snack)! Sometimes the most unplanned food stops are the best!

After "Paul", we noticed some type of market happening a block away. We decided to stop by and see what it was about. It turned out to be a Farmer's Market! Everyone was offering free samples and having a good time!

 Here is something AWESOME that happened! Remember Jaleo? (Jose Andres' restaurant we ate at the first day.) Well, THIS is Jose Andres, the famous chef from the Food Network! He is actually the one who organized this Farmer's Market! He was so surprised but happy to meet a fan of his! This is definitely one of the highlights of our trip!

So happy to have visited!

Next, we decided to visit the monuments near the National Mall. First stop, the Lincoln Memorial!

We decided to rest for a bit on the steps of the memorial. It is such a pretty view especially this time of day!

Having some fun with the camera and the Washington Monument.

 Family photos!

It's so pretty right before dark!

Decided to visit the Korean War Veteran's Memorial. We visited last time, but since my Dad served in this war, I thought it would be nice to visit again.

All the countries that contributed to the war are listed. We found the Philippines!

After the Korean War Memorial, we decided to walk to the World War II Memorial. We didn't get a chance to visit here the last time we came to D.C., so I'm happy to be able to come this time!

Each state has their own pillar and wreath. Of course, I had to find Arkansas. I didn't want to stand close to it. There were SPIDERS all over it. Like, really big nasty freaky spiders. YUCK!

It's a really pretty memorial!

The Philippines!

Tita and Tito having fun!

I'm actually really glad we came at night. It's so pretty with all of the lights.

The Washington Monument.

D.C. is so pretty at night.

Once we finished at the memorials and monuments, we decided to have dinner at none other than the awesome Whole Foods we saw the day before! It was well worth it!

 Here we have fried and fresh oysters ! They was delicious. And the sauces were great, too!

 Here is fried calamari! Some of the best we have had.

 As you can see, it's a bar type setting. They do offer beer and wine as well.

 Their menu is not too extensive, but they offer a nice variety.

 We ordered the salmon. It was cooked perfectly, and the sauce it was served with compliments it perfectly. And the potatoes were great! I loved everything about it! It paired great with my wine, which by the way, they didn't even charge us for since they were about to close!

The next morning, we decided to have breakfast near our hotel at a place called "Silver Diner". It had good reviews and is known for "farm to table". It was true! It was a very good place to eat, and the service was SPECTACULAR!

 The cute little jukebox at every table. You can pick a song for a quarter!

 Breakfast selfies.
 Eyen ordered the salmon sliders. They are served with a wasabi ginger sauce. WOW! i can't even explain the phenomenon going on here.

 Tita ordered the caramel french toast. It had the potential to be so much better, if only there was more caramel.

Tito ordered the bison huevos rancheros. This is one of their brunch specialties. We definitely know why now! He really enjoyed it!

 After breakfast, we headed over to the White House. We actually got approved to tour inside of the White House! We were so excited! Unfortunately, you aren't allowed to take cameras inside, so you'll only be able to see pics of us outside. While we were there, we actually were able to see the President. We watched him get into the helicopter and leave the White House. SO COOL!

 It's hard to see, but I'm touching the White House. hehe.

 We made sure to take lots of photos. Who knows if we will ever be able to see it up this close again!


After the White House, we visited the White House gift shop. It was neat! If you spend over a certain amount of money, you get to take free pictures with their props! Here are ours...

After our White House adventures, we decided to take a short trip to a place we were all super excited to visit... Mount Vernon! Some probably do not know, but this is the estate of George Washington. This is where he lived and where he is buried. 

We decided to eat lunch at the Inn located on the grounds. It was a decent lunch, but the service was really slow.

 Their menu had a nice selection for a decent price.

Family pics before lunch!

As you can see, the decorations look like what you would see during that time period!

Of course I had to try the root beer. It is made right there in Mount Vernon! It was very good!

Tito had Martha's rum. It was strong!

Eyen and I ordered the bacon wrapped meatloaf. I thought this was a very creative idea. Everything was good, however the sauce was basically just marinara.

Tito and Tita ordered the mahi mahi burger with garlic Parmesan truffle fries!

We also ordered the skillet cornbread. It was very good. 

The food was just enough to keep us happy for our little adventure around George Washington's estate! 

The statues above are of George, Martha, and their 2 grandkids. George Washington didn't have any children of his own. Martha was previously married with children, but her husband passed away.

The stained glass window is beautiful!

The estate!

It was so beautiful here. I'm so glad we decided to come.

If you buy the tickets to come inside the gates, you actually get to tour INSIDE of the mansion as well! You aren't allowed to take any photos of the inside of the house, but I can say it was amazing! You can see George Washington's decorating skills as well as where he passed away. It was so cool to imagine him being there!

This is the slaves quarters. It's not where the household slaves stay, but if the Washington's had company and the company's slaves accompanied them, this is where those slaves stayed.
The backyard! It overlooks the Potomac river!

This is the kitchen.

The photo on the right is where they store their meats.

The house is so pretty!

We made sure to take plenty of photos! But don't we always?

I love her jacket!

George's riding chair! (first name basis)

He even had vehicles!

His stables. He had many horses. His main horse's name was Magnolia. This is Tita's name. :)

If you love nature, I would suggest making the trip here! It is so worth it!

You have free range to explore his whole estate. It's 5 miles in width. We probably walked a good 3 miles. We even got to see his tomb. A very neat thing to see.

This is the Slave Memorial. When Washington died, he freed his slaves. That is a big deal.

Nature walk!

We walked down to the wharf. It was pretty! It smelled kind of bad, but pretty nonetheless. We didn't arrive until later in the day, so the boat rides were already done for the day.

Of course we needed to take some photos. It was too pretty not to!

This was where Washington kept his animals.

I made some new friends.

This is the 16 sided stable! It is where Washington harvested his wheat. It was cool to see! (This is a rebuilt stable.)
Slaves would lay the wheat on the ground of the stable above. Horses would then trot on the stalks until the seeds would fall through the cracks into the bottom of the stable. Then they were collected and taken where they could be made into flour!

The view from afar.

This is a typical slave house.

A normal family of 6-8 people would live here.

Waiting for the shuttle to take us back to the main part of the estate.

Once we made it back, we decided to visit the museum that's on the grounds. It was very informational. 

The trip to Mount Vernon was great. It was probably our favorite part of the trip. I would suggest visiting here if you every get the chance!

For dinner, we decided to try this place called "Noodles & Company". It's just a small place in Virginia, but turned out to be very good! The inside reminded us of Pei Wei, but they don't serve just 1 type of noodles. They have all different kinds!

 This is the Japanese Pan Noodles. It's caramelized udon noodles in a sweet soy sauce with broccoli, carrots, shiitake mushrooms, Asian bean sprouts, and black sesame seeds!

 This is a balsamic vinegar infused pizza with onions and other veggies. VERY GOOD!
 This was their featured dish called Thai Hot Pot. It is their signature curry broth, cabbage, sprouts, peppers, shiitake mushrooms, pulled chicken and pork, and lime wedges. It is served with a side of Asian flatbread. This was Eyen's favorite!
 This is the Bangkok Curry. It's sweet coconut curry, broccoli, carrots, red bell pepper, onion, and mushrooms served with cabbage. This was my favorite dish!

 The whole set up! It was an unexpectedly great dinner!

For dessert, we tried the tres leches! It was a nice take on the traditional Hispanic dessert. 

 The next day, we prepare for the whole reason for our trip.. Sneaker-con! 

 Here's the venue. As you can see, it's big. This is during setup. That's why it isn't too busy yet.

 Our table. <3

 Some of our setup process. As you can see, it takes a while!

 I'm hiding.

 More of the vendors setting up. There are lots of tables! You can't even see the whole room from this pic.

 Tito and Tita with the table! They love helping us at the shows.

 This is once the show started. It shows from one end of the room to the other. As you can see, it gets packed!

 Our trip to D.C. was a blast! We loved every place that we went! And almost all the food was a hit! I actually really like the city. I would love to go back again. There are tons of more places we could visit. 

Our next trip will be Chicago round 2! New food adventures and more places to see!

Stay tuned! <3