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3 days in DC with 2 kids-how is this plan? (a few holes remain)

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amyamelia Apr 19, 2011 08:08 AM

We're hopping on Amtrak tomorrow and trekking all the way from VT to DC (so excited for the train!). I've been scouring the boards and trying to make a gameplan that keeps it inexpensive but eliminates that awful feeling of knowing we are walking into a tourist trap and about to eat bad food.

One kid is picky, the other eats everything. We like to try new stuff or just well-done familiar food but we are very casual and don't much like fancy places. The picky kid gets by with bread or rice if she doesn't like the food where we're at. We have access to good thai and sushi at home so those aren't as appealing.

One of our kids is on crutches so I'm struggling to keep an eye on the map and minimize distances. We'll use the metro and/or cabs to get around if the metro won't get us close enough.

we're staying at the Hyatt Regency on Capitol Hill (400 NJ Ave NW).

My strategy is to have breakfast foods in the room so we don't have to eat bfast out, and to pack lunch on one or more days to keep the total cost down (and limit time away from attractions). That said, I need a place to buy some cereal, fruit, milk and yogurt, bread etc but all of the stores I've found online (WH, TJs) are at least a mile away. anything closer?
Plan:
Day 1 (thursday): rent bikes at Bike and Roll; tour around the mall and visit monuments. Hoping to score tix to get in for tour of bureau of engraving and printing.
Lunch: either pack a lunch or eat at Mitsitam Cafe or Taylor Gourmet or Cowgirl Creamery. we'll have the bikes so it would be a fine day to do lunch not right on the mall.
Dinner: will go back to hotel after bikes, then options are: Jaleo or Good Stuff (with milkshakes) or
Cava (it looks delish but kinda fancy-anything in the area with more casual mediterranean food (i.e greek deli looks perfect but it doesn't serve dinner and it's way far away from our hotel)??

Day 2 (friday)
museum day: natural history, american history, hirshhorn with sculpture garden,
lunch: pack it unless there is a CH suggestion for a good food truck (is there a kabob truck that's good??) or other place very close to the museums. (?) haven't found much on CH.

dinner: maybe Jaleo/Cava/good stuff (whichever we didn't do the night prior) or pizza--I've seen recs for Vace, pizza paradiso, 2Amys, pupatella--but they are all so far away. Are any of those really easy to get to on the metro (i.e. with minimal crutching distance for the gimpy one)? We would love to find a place to have those smallish pizzas with light toppings and really crispy crust. Either that or would love a rec for inexpensive indian. Rusika looks great but too fancy. Any solid hole-in-the-walls?

Day 3 (saturday)
bfast at room
botanical gardens
Capitol Tour at 11:30
lunch at Eastern Market (buy some good stuff to take away as well)
Air and Space Museum
big snack (from eastern market purchases)
6 pm free performance at Kennedy Center.
late dinner: we'll be at Foggy Bottom metro on the way back--need a few recs for this one. Again, things that appeal are indian, mediterranean, pizza...

Day 4: early to train. Hopefully will have some treats from eastern market still left to eat on the way back to VT. Our stinky cheese will be our easter dinner!

if you've actually read this far, thank you!
Looking forward to feedback and advice.
aa

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Taylor Gourmet
1116 H St NE, Washington, DC 20002

Kennedy Center
2700 F Street NW, Washington, DC 20256

Vace
7601 Airpark Rd Ste A, Gaithersburg, MD 20879

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  1. ktmoomau RE: amyamelia Apr 19, 2011 08:42 AM

    Ok so some suggestions: Unfortunately there is not a close grocery store, but there are some corner markets that stock more things than others.

    Don't worry Cava isn't fancy at all. Most people unless coming from work will be in jeans. And the portions are fairly big for the price. Also in that area is Matchbox which has great pizza, mini burgers, salads and etc. I think you can call ahead to get on the waiting list to reduce wait time as it can get busy. Also there is Seventh Hill Pizza and We the Pizza. And I haven't been to Ted's Bulletin, but I know it is casual.

    There is also Merzi which is fast casual Indian near the museums, but that might be a little too different for the picky eater, but they have emapanadas too. Also for Indian there is a place on the hill, but I never liked it, you might be better off metroing, I know there is Heritage India in Dupont, but I have never been so not sure how good it is. Also there is Naan and Beyond that has a couple different locations.

    Also on the Eastern Market- right near the market is Tortilla Cafe which has take away items and a table inside. Tuncliff's has good normal breakfast, Monmartre has brunch too. Just in case things are hectic.

    Foggy Bottom is another tough location there isn't much in that area.

    Near your hotel is also Taqueria Nacionale and I think there is a sandwich place that roasts their own meats too, but forget the name perhaps Phillips.

    Before the train I normally hit up Au bon Pain in Union Station it is at least consistent.

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    Heritage India
    2400 Wisconsin Ave NW Ste A, Washington, DC 20007

    Seventh Hill Pizza
    327 7th St SE, Washington, DC 20003

    Ted's Bulletin
    505 8th St SE, Washington, DC 20003

    Merzi
    415 7th St NW, Washington, DC, DC 20004

    8 Replies
    1. re: ktmoomau
      k
      katecm RE: ktmoomau Apr 19, 2011 10:11 AM

      I'm with you, KT. I'd recommend Matchbox for pizzas and because I think a platter of mini burgers and onion strings is the best appetizer ever, and I'd replace Cava with Ted's Bulletin. I really like the food at Cava, but it's SO dark, it doesn't strike me as a family place. http://tedsbulletin.com/

      DC3, the new hot dog place, might be fun with kids too: http://www.eatdc3.com/

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      Ted's Bulletin
      505 8th St SE, Washington, DC 20003

      DC3
      423 8th St SE, Washington D.C., DC 20003

      1. re: katecm
        a
        amyamelia RE: katecm Apr 19, 2011 12:57 PM

        Thanks for chiming in-
        Ooh! DC3 does look fun--and we do love our dogs.
        Cava's food sounds great but not sure if I'm into the scene (this just based on their website). Didn't look dark in the photos but also didn't look like a family place...

        Seems like everyone likes Matchbox! I didn't even look into it since it seemed like comments were always followed with cautions about the long wait. But I'll take a look on all these recs. Love onion strings!

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        DC3
        423 8th St SE, Washington D.C., DC 20003

        1. re: amyamelia
          woodleyparkhound RE: amyamelia Apr 19, 2011 06:57 PM

          I've had pizza and sliders at Matchbox and found both to be just OK, no better than that and certainly not worth that sort of wait. I thought the onion strings were exceedingly greasy. (There is a contrary opinion for every restaurant - my advice is to go with majority opinion!) :-)

          1. re: woodleyparkhound
            s
            Steve RE: woodleyparkhound Apr 19, 2011 07:29 PM

            Last time I was at Matchbox, it was a 45 minute wait. The sliders are great (no more than medium rare or don't bother), but I would only wait for them if I have visiting relatives that are otherwise too difficult to please.

            Other than that if I want to eat cheap and well, I go to Nando's (elegant fast food) for the peri-peri chicken (quarter dark, order it maximum spicy), olives, spiced nuts, and the mushy peas. Get the chicken non-spicy for the kids if that's what they'll eat. Unlike Matchbox, you can wait sitting down if there's a line.

      2. re: ktmoomau
        a
        amyamelia RE: ktmoomau Apr 19, 2011 12:46 PM

        Hey KT-thanks for your reply. Corner markets should be fine-just need a box of cheerios, some bananas...
        So, we'll keep matchbox in mind but may try cava. Is the pizza at 7th Hill or We the Pizza very good? We a definitely a thin and crispy crust crowd. Ted's Bulletin looks casual and good but not so cheap-$10 for a burger without any toppings. Merzi looks like a place I would enjoy-will run it by my main man.
        And thanks for the names of places in and around Eastern Market--I inamge it will be hectic on a saturday afternoon!

        I haven't found much near Foggy Bottom other than some higher end places that look really nice but not on a nite we'll be dining with our two tired gremlins. I will look up those places you listed that are near our hotel--may be our saving grace to have that in our back pocket.

        I'm glad to know that ABP is in Union Station. Chocolate croissants will be great on easter morning (that is, before we dig into the stinky cheese)!
        cheers!

        aa

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        Ted's Bulletin
        505 8th St SE, Washington, DC 20003

        Merzi
        415 7th St NW, Washington, DC, DC 20004

        1. re: amyamelia
          h
          hamster RE: amyamelia Apr 19, 2011 07:38 PM

          7th Hill is Neopolitan style, I think. Pizzeria Paradiso as well. We the Pizza is NOT, it's New York style.

          Foggy Bottom is really tough since there is nothing particularly worth eating right there, that's not expensive - I actually would recommend you take a short taxi ride to Pizzeria Paradiso in Georgetown from there.

          Greek Deli is definitely not worth a trip. Actually, after the Kennedy Center, you could alternatively take a quick taxi ride to Maoz on M and 19th (south of Dupont). It's a *very* casual felafel place, very kid friendly. I think the food there is very good. Not a hole in the wall though, it's new and modern.

          I would definitely encourage you to go to Good Stuff Eatery and Taylor Gourmet. Very solid.

          -----
          Greek Deli
          1120 19th St NW Frnt 1, Washington, DC 20036

          Pizzeria Paradiso
          3282 M St NW, Washington, DC 20007

          Taylor Gourmet
          1116 H St NE, Washington, DC 20002

          Good Stuff Eatery
          303 Pennsylvania Ave SE, Washington, DC

          Kennedy Center
          2700 F Street NW, Washington, DC 20256

          1. re: hamster
            m
            mselectra RE: hamster Apr 21, 2011 05:04 PM

            If you do end up needing/wanting to eat near the Foggy Bottom metro, Tonic might be good for you, at least might be worth looking up, in case. You can eat at the cafeteria at the Kennedy Center, not special food, but in a pinch it could work (good view).

        2. re: ktmoomau
          4
          4X4 RE: ktmoomau Apr 20, 2011 05:15 AM

          Yes, Phillips is the sandwich place. They also serve good breakfast sandwiches, bagels and coffee.

        3. s
          Steve RE: amyamelia Apr 19, 2011 09:41 AM

          If you are willing to go out of your way for a great experience, then I recommend Oohhs and Aahhs for soul food. Right across from the U st/ Cardozo metro stop, so easy to get to. Coastal Carolina cookin. Lemon pepper wings, shrimp grilled with peppers and onions (make sure you ask for those), and broiled crabcakes. A complete hole-in-the-wall, but the opposite of fast food - crabcakes take 30 minutes. The care they take with your meal borders on the insane. Only five stools in front of a tiny kitchen, but worth the experience. You're not in Vermont anymore.

          3 Replies
          1. re: Steve
            a
            amyamelia RE: Steve Apr 19, 2011 12:59 PM

            sounds just like Vermont, in some ways! But the soul food would be a different treat. Will look-good to know that it's right near the metro stop. thanks!
            ?what happens if the five stools are filled? Is that really all the seating they have?

            1. re: amyamelia
              agarnett100 RE: amyamelia Apr 19, 2011 01:12 PM

              If soul food is on your wish list you should also consider Levi's Port Cafe

              1. re: amyamelia
                s
                Steve RE: amyamelia Apr 19, 2011 05:06 PM

                There is a dining area upstairs. Most people get carry out.

            2. d
              DCLindsey RE: amyamelia Apr 19, 2011 01:20 PM

              Bookmark Food Truck Fiesta http://foodtruckfiesta.com/ It maps all the food trucks in DC so you can figure out if any are near by.

              If you go to Taylor Gourmet (I assume the one at 5th and L, NW) its in the same building as Safeway, so you can pick up snacks for the afternoon without hauling them around in the morning. The chicken cutlet sandwiches at Taylor are huge - get 2 large ones and you are set for 4 of you! The Pizzeria Paradiso in Dupont Circle is close to the metro so that would be fairly easy for you.

              My only concerns for your plan is Day 2 is going to be long, and Day 3 has you going from Capitol to Eastern Market to Air and Space and then to the Kennedy Center - be willing to take some cabs as I am not sure the kiddo on crutches will make it! And be willing to make adjustments, as museums are draining and I would totally poop out on your day 2, unless you fed me ice cream. :)

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              Pizzeria Paradiso
              3282 M St NW, Washington, DC 20007

              Taylor Gourmet
              Washington, DC, Washington, DC

              Kennedy Center
              2700 F Street NW, Washington, DC 20256

              8 Replies
              1. re: DCLindsey
                k
                katecm RE: DCLindsey Apr 19, 2011 01:31 PM

                Your ice cream comment was totally correct. Bring them to FroZenYo on F Street NW between 10th and 11th. They have about 15 flavors of frozen yogurt, all low fat or fat free. You can help yourself, which means the kids use the machines and can mix and match all they want, then attack the toppings bar, which is full of crushed candies, cookies, cereals, etc. You pay by the pound.

                Not going to lie, my coworkers and I enjoy it as much as kids do. I see one of our SVPs coming in from there almost every day.

                1. re: katecm
                  a
                  amyamelia RE: katecm Apr 19, 2011 02:27 PM

                  I love CH! THis is exactly the kind of advice i need. I wish I could bookmark the foodtruck site but we have stupidphones. :( Will certainly be showing my fearless mate your opine that ice cream will be in order. I've already bought a sleeve of petit ecolier biscuits in attempt to forestall meltdowns, but ice cream is even better. the lovely thing about DC is that if it's not fun, you can just leave without the guilt of having paid big $$$ for an entry fee. My poor girl with the gimpy knee is already so unhappy...so I think we will be cabbing it. p.s. we are totally willing to bag the kennedy center if it's not in the cards. so, not so awful, I hope!

                  1. re: amyamelia
                    m
                    msjess RE: amyamelia Apr 19, 2011 03:10 PM

                    Going to the Kennedy center is a great experience but it can be difficult to get there, especially with a cranky teen on crutches so don't beat yourself up if you can't make it. They have a shuttle that runs every 15 minutes from the foggy bottom station

                    Generally food trucks don't go near the mall anyway (I believe this is because of zoning laws in DC requires that the truck drive around until they see a group forming to buy their food. To circumvent this they will usually broadcast their location on twitter to generate crowds but this means that it caters more to locals than to tourists)

                    1. re: msjess
                      c
                      chicken kabob RE: msjess Apr 19, 2011 05:26 PM

                      MATCHBOX!

                      Founding Farmers in G'Town

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                      Founding Farmers
                      1924 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, Washington, DC 20006

                      1. re: chicken kabob
                        d
                        DCLindsey RE: chicken kabob Apr 20, 2011 06:25 AM

                        Do you mean Farmers and Fishers? which is Georgetown? It is closed for flooding. Founding Farmers is not in Georgetown, and is open.

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                        Founding Farmers
                        1924 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, Washington, DC 20006

                        1. re: DCLindsey
                          c
                          chicken kabob RE: DCLindsey Apr 20, 2011 08:04 PM

                          technically not G'Town, but I have walked there from G'Town on a nice day.

                      2. re: msjess
                        h
                        hamster RE: msjess Apr 19, 2011 07:29 PM

                        The foodtrucks do go to Chinatown and Metro Center, though, which are not far from the north side of the Mall; and they also go to l'Enfant Plaza, off the south side of the Mall. Though with a kid on crutches, it's still a lot of walking.

                        1. re: msjess
                          m
                          mselectra RE: msjess Apr 21, 2011 05:16 PM

                          On the day you're at the Hirschhorn, you wouldn't be far from L'Enfant Plaza, where there are frequently food trucks at lunch time -- they're there for the govt workers, not the tourists. I know I've see Takorean along there fairly often, not too far at all from Air & Space, either -- but I wouldn't go over there unless you knew for sure or are walking to that metro anyway. Another option, if you're a burger kind of family, is Ollie's Trolley (cash only), which is convenient to Natural History.

                          And I think somebody mentioned that Safeway grocery store that sounds like it's not too far from your hotel, I think.

                          Seems like you've done good research already. Hope you have a great time.

                          Oh and one non-food thought -- you'll likely see pedicabs around, which could be tempting and fun on your non-biking days to get between sights, especially what with your daughter on crutches -- fyi I understand (from somebody who works a pedicab part-time) that fares are completely negotiable.

                          -----
                          Ollie's Trolley
                          425 12th St NW, Washington, DC 20004

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