(Check out Brona's sandals. They are so cool.)
I have lived near Washington, D.C. since 1982 and have never walked around Capitol Hill much less eaten at the myriad restaurants in this area. Steeped in history going back as far as 1791, we learned that Pierre L'Enfant had a vision for the development of the nation's capitol that would open up the city's neighborhoods by designing a series of circles with spokes emanating from them. The neighborhoods would then appear larger and would connect together. The nation's Capitol rises prominently above the area as the most important landmark. The Eastern Market lies in the heart of Capitol Hill neighborhood and serves as an eclectic international food market.
We met at 5:30PM outside of our hotel to take a bus to the Eastern Market metro station where we would meet our tour guides for the evening. The attendees of Eat, Write, Retreat food blogger's conference had already enjoyed a 3 course lunch at McCormick & Schmicks earlier in the day, and an afternoon of cooking classes at CulinAerie.
Chris explains how Pierre L'Enfant had a vision to design a city that brought people together. Capitol Hill has a rich and colorful history. Divided by parks, street emanate like spokes of a wheel giving neighborhoods a more connected and open feeling.
Tree lined streets grace many Washington, D.C. neighborhoods. Elm trees once lined many streets. Over years of urbanization and dutch elm disease, many elms have been lost. There are organizations such as Casey Trees that work to preserve trees of this city and replace those that have been lost.
Photo credit: Val Harrison
Purple alliums, hosta and coreopsis (tickseed) bloom in this intimate garden in Capitol Hill.
Gardens are in full glory in April and May in the Mid-Atlantic states. Many gardens around Capitol Hill just give you glimpses of small front spaces. I used to visit properties here on Capitol Hill back in the 90's and had opportunity to work in the secret gardens that lie in the back of many of these restored houses. Garden tours offer visitors a way to see these private gardens once a year around Washington, D.C., Maryland and Virginia.
Our first food stop was the Capitol Hill Tandoor & Grill. We were treated to a tasting dinner that started with mulligatawny soup followed by chicken jalfrezi and basmati rice. The meal was a traditional indian dish that was spicy.
Nicely restored homes line the streets. Our guide told us about the historical markers found on some homes. Notice the marker above the top of the window. Much of the architecture is from the Federal period.
This is the home of the Marine Commander. It has undergone renovations over the years. Behind this residence are the Marine Barracks. They cover several blocks.
Christopher was our tour guide. Our second food stop was at the Kenny's BBQ, home to the only soul food in Capitol Hill. We enjoyed traditional fare of pulled pork barbeque, yams, cornbread and the best collard greens I have ever tasted. Thanks Kenny!
Darkness was falling upon us as we left Kenny's BBQ. Notice the faded Coca Cola relief on the side of this building. Our final stop was for Salvadorean food at Las Placitas. We were served a platter of marinated grilled beef, pupusas, plantains, fried yucca, refried beans, and margaritas.
The primary difference in Mexican and Salvadorean cuisine is the lack of salsas. Salvadorean food may have salsas, but they would be served on the side and not with the meat. This allows you to appreciate the flavors of the grilled meats.
and for dessert: sopapilla with strawberries and whipped cream. What's not to love.
Uncle! I am done!
Seek new adventures. Take time to visit places you have never been even if you have lived in a place for years as I have. I have been in Virginia since 1982 and had never been to this part of D.C. It was delightful to learn about the rich history of just one of our nation's neighborhoods.