Cherry Blossom Eats and Tips
Heading down weekend of April 5th to see Cherry Blossoms and son
- will have college sons girlfriend in tow with us (who IS a picky eater - we are not)
We will eat about just about anything
she is a Pizza, chicken ,steak kind of eater...........
so in order to keep the peace and no moping
I am hoping for ideas!!!! from you experienced CH's
Any Cherry Blossom viewing tips welcome as well.........our first time there for CB's
Though I am an LA Chowhound, I happen to be in DC for a conference and am thrilled to share my tip with you. Elsewhere on this board I got a great tip on where to eat a special meal in the Tidal Basin area, which as of this writing was at its flowering peak!
This was also my first time visiting the blossoms. The area was quite crowded, and there are public restrooms interspersed throughout the park, though at relatively broad intervals. If you exit the metro near the Washington Monument, at the Smithsonian stop, you can use the restrooms at the park ranger station. (Just footsteps away there were long lines at the porta potties).
Okay, on to the CHOW:
After an invigorating walk around the Tidal Basin I managed to circuitously find my way to Cafe MoZu, located in the Mandarin Oriental Hotel overlooking the Potomac River. No need to go to DuPont Circle or beyond the vicinity; this stop constitutes the consummate Cherry Blossom excursion chow stop. Cafe MoZu is a lovely modern Japanese restaurant offering a special seasonal chef's Cherry Blossom Bento Box. My six compartments contained a lovely cream of asparagus soup with duck confit with sour cherry swirl, tuna and salmon sushi, spicy tuna roll with tempura bits, a white fish (harubon?) with sauteed matchstick peppers, a tasty beef with spinach and fingerling potato rounds, and a green salad with endive. To start they serve rolls with a woodsy tasting light olive oil. For dessert, there was a lovely custard/pudding with cherry swirl and sweet dark chocolate. The dessert plate was decorated with tiny bright blue edible stones of sugar. Oh, and I didn't forget to have a Cosmo made with black cherry juice.
See the attached photos - enjoy!
I agree on the drinks and snacks, my poor Dad after a day down there with little to eat or drink came to our engagement party and after a glass of wine was so dehydrated he got really sick, and it wasn't even hot out. So remember to bring stuff to drink and snack on, but especially to drink.
I don't know where you're coming in from, but a really good pizza place in Rosslyn (and about 4 blocks walk from Rosslyn station) is Piola. Excellent wood-fired pizza and about 100 different kinds. If you decide to do any cherry blossom-sightseeing on Sunday, you can head right in to Rosslyn for dinner after 5:30 and have Piola's no limit pizza special.
Few, will you be driving in from somewhere for the day, or staying nearby? April 5th is a bit late into the blossoms, but you may get lucky. I was there today and I'd say that the blossoms were at 30% overall. They have a way to go, but as we know here....you get ONE, maybe TWO days of heaven, then they're gone.
So, having let you know that, I think that if you plan accordingly, you should get full enjoyment from your vist. Here's my suggestion.
Pack a picnic. Getting there is a pain and once you are there....you are there for a while. Between walking, taking photos, and hopefully spreading a little blanket and eating...you could make a full afternoon of it.
Get a big bag and pack your own. If you need help where to get it...let us know.
That's my insider tip ;-)
And btw...there are more food kiosks than ever. They were selling subs and sandwiches that I saw folks munching on. You could do worse.
So...just that you know...there are far more food stations (not great, but ok) than ever this year, which is a terrific idea in my book.
Bistro D'Oc isn't that far off from the Mall or Metro Center. It's a wonderful french bistro which caters to foodies and non-foodies. You can enjoy french onion soup and pate while the gf would enjoy delicious roasted chicken or hanger steak and frites.
Another more loud and crowded of the genre would be Bistro D' Coin in Dupont Circle.
Matchbox is good for pizza, as is Pizza Paradisio (in Dupont and Georgetown).
Other places that have a wide selection on the menu that can please multiples eaters would be Hudson, Central (up-scale Americana comfort food by Michel Richard), Hank's Oyster Bar, Clyde's, and Sette Osteria (pasta and pizza).
As others have said, parking and driving around the cherry blossom sites is a pain in the A. If you have to drive in, park once and then walk or cab around. The metro will be a nightmare (it sure has been the past few weeks, week days and weekends included). Not sure where you are coming from but if you can leave the car at a suburban metro station and then metro in (it isn't so bad outside of the main tourist areas, but metroing around IN the city is what's crazy) that would relieve the headache of parking and driving around at all. If you don't want to cab around, the metro bus system in the city will take you around very inexpensively, and although most tourists know about and use the metrorail, they don't use the busses. The bus routes & times are on www.wmata.com. Enjoy your visit. And bring an umbrella.
There is a free shuttle running from Haine's Point to the Tidal Basin. Parking there is free.
At any rate, getting back to chow...whether you decide to get a sandwich there, or hit up a restaurant nearby, I highly recommend that you bring snacks and water. It takes a good bit of time getting to and from no matter what you do.
few, I hope you can see those snapshots. They took forever too load (and then I realized the files may have been too large - sorry!).
Another important point - Cafe MoZu has a menu that will please even the finickiest palates - I saw one woman eating mini crab cake burgers with fries it is not strict traditional Japanese food. The ambiance is also very comfortable and "hip" - soft relaxing musique/cool jazz while you gaze at the boats passing on the river.