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Ideas for Gallery Place or Mall early lunch w/kids? (tomorrow!)

Hello DC Hounds!

Sorry this is last minute, but maybe someone will come to my rescue. I need a lunch recommendation for tomorrow, either the best tasting cafe/cafeteria in any of the Smithsonian museums (besides Mitsitam) or, preferably, a kid-appropriate (has a high-chair, won't look askance at kids ages almost-two and three-and-a-half) but non-burger non-pizza place in the vicinity of the National Building Museum. Usually I would prefer to eat from a food truck, but I think we will want to stay out of the weather. Lunch needs to conclude by 12:30, and may need to begin as early as 10:30. Any type of food is okay, the more delicious the better. Under $15pp. My kids and I are driving down from Philly and back just to spend a few hours with my mom, who will be in DC from Utah on a very strict schedule.

Thanks for your help! I will check back until I leave in the morning, just in case anyone replies.

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  1. Maybe Teaism? Their food is kind of Asian-inspired and good (not great). I dearly love their salty oat cookies though, and regularly go out of my way for them.

    http://www.teaism.com/Restaurant/Penn...

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    Teaism
    2009 R St NW, Washington, DC 20009

    1. I like Teaism, especially with the koi pond in the basement. You can get out of Hill Country BBQ for just about $15 a person if you stick to a lunch special.

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      Teaism
      2009 R St NW, Washington, DC 20009

      1. How about Merzi? It is a Chipotle-like concept, but with Indian flavors. Just be warned that you don't want to mix everything together necessarily like at Chipotle.

        Comfortable and casual, and certainly within your budget.

        Or, Paul bakery -- yes, go there! Yummy sandwiches on baguette and pastries. It's right at the Archives metro stop.

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

        5 Replies
        1. re: hamster

          Teaism and Paul Bakery are decent choices (although I'm not sure there's much for the kids at Paul, other than sweets). But I'd opt for Jaleo, especially at that time of day, when its still quiet. Lots of stuff there that has kept my kids happy for years.

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          Teaism
          2009 R St NW, Washington, DC 20009

          1. re: Marty L.

            What time does Jaleo open? And is it really going to be less than $15pp at Jaleo?

            At Paul, they have a range of sandwiches: salami (with butter and cornichons, yum), tuna, camembert, smoked salmon, ham and cheese; salads; and a couple warm dishes. I'm a big fan.

            1. re: Marty L.

              Paul has lots of sandwiches. Kids eat sandwiches. It's a french bakery/cafe so this might work.

              1. re: Elyssa

                Does Paul have a seating area? I was in there quickly the other day buying a couple of things and didn't notice one, but that would be good to know.

                1. re: Doh

                  Yes, there is a fair amount of seating which is quite comfortable..maybe 15-20 tables? You seat yourself.

          2. I wouldn't recommend any of the Smithsonian cafeterias besides Mitsitam since they mostly focus on fast food (burgers, chicken fingers etc).

            But there are a bunch of options near the National Building Museum. I agree that Teaism is a good choice. Downstairs there is a koi pond with giant fish that might be fun for the kids. I honestly don't know if they have high chairs (but I'm not sure about that for any of these restaurants because I don't have kids yet).

            Another option would be Nando's Peri Peri chicken. I have really been into their sandwiches lately but you can also get regular chicken, salad etc. They have a non-spicy option if your kids are not into spice. Certainly affordable.

            Jaleo is always nice because it's small plates so you can sample a few different things. I see kids there all the time.

            Finally Hill Country BBQ might be great if you are into BBQ. Certainly family-friendly. Not sure how much this hits your price point but the servings are HUGE. The one order I made could have fed 2 people (of course I ate it all myself but I was slightly disgusting by that fact :) ).

            Have fun! I love the National Building Museum. If the lego exhibit is still there, make sure not to miss it.

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            Teaism
            2009 R St NW, Washington, DC 20009

            1 Reply
            1. re: Elyssa

              The American History Museum (downstairs) has an incredible salad bar (jicama w/ orange slices, and other really interesting, fresh items.)

            2. Thanks for the suggestions, everyone. I have been to Jaleo before, so I wondered if that might work for an early lunch. I couldn't remember if it seemed kid-friendly as far as atmosphere. I knew I could find something there that would please their palates; the menu is so extensive and varied.

              Unfortunately we weren't able to take any of the suggestions. We encountered awful traffic trying to get out of Philly this morning (or rather out of Doylestown, the distant suburb in which we live), so I decided to bag it. We hadn't crossed into Delaware after almost 2.5 hours of driving (and potty breaks) and my mom's time was so limited it just stopped making sense. (If it ever made sense!). I will keep all your suggestions in mind, though, for a future trip this summer. Thanks again for the prompt replies.

              3 Replies
              1. re: venusv

                Doylestown! Is the Cross-Keys Diner still a gem in the rough . . . and does Hound Laura Loewen still cook there? See http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/181369

                1. re: Marty L.

                  Hey Marty, I don't know if you will see this. I was just checking in on this thread again and saw your reply. I have only lived in Doylestown for a couple of months and haven't yet been to the Cross Keys Diner, but I actually read a few threads on it earlier today before seeing your post and it is on my "to try" list. I've been wary of trying to find a good diner (so many to choose from, such huge menus, so much chance for things to go wrong!)...hope this will be it.

                  1. re: venusv

                    I don't want to get too OT, but I can second the Cross-Keys Diner. Not a recent rec, but I took Marty L's suggestion and it is worth seeking out.