Saturday, March 24, 2012

24 Hours in DC

I am tagging along on a business trip with my husband before we go off on a mini vacation and only have 24 hours. I do love DC. When I visit New York I feel I should be working to make a billion dollars, or to be the head of a huge conglomerate, or perhaps to be a famous opera singer at the Met. When I’m in DC I would be very happy to get a cup of coffee for someone who works at the White House or the West Wing.

We are at the Hay Adams Hotel.  What a perfect location just on the other side of Lafayette Square from the White House.  So I of course wander through Lafayette Square a bit and absorb some of the power vibes emanating from the White House.   I also love the feeling of knowing there are secret service agents about (probably the older bearded Noah-looking character with ragged shorts and an open old shirt sitting on the park bench staring at me is a perfectly disguised agent or is just another deranged homeless person, but I prefer the undercover agent theory).   There are lots of coming and goings at the White House this afternoon and sure enough, soon they close Lafayette Square and we all must leave.   I find out later that tonight is the state dinner for Great Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron and his wife Samantha.  There will be 300 + guests in attendance including the British actors Huge Bonneville and Elizabeth McGovern of that fabulous British import "Downton Abbey",  billionaire Warren Buffet, and the handsome George Clooney, who gets to sit by Michelle Obama.  Alas, I have not been invited.  I am feeling a bit left out.

But I can pretend I am there as I listen to President Obama’s toast, peruse the agenda and the menu,  and see photos at least of what the ladies are wearing.  I especially love the dress worn by Mrs. Obama’s dress designer - Georgina Chapman.
View from the Hay Adams
The Hays Adams is a small intimate European style hotel.  (Think small lobby, small rooms and small bathrooms.)  Take care to at least book more than a superior room if you stay here.  The price of the rooms is directly correlated to the view - across Lafayette Square to the White House, across 16th Street overlooking St. Joseph’s church, or an interior view looking into an adjoining office building (our view…).  But the rooms are well appointed, service is excellent, and one feels just a bit more connected to the power center of the world.  The top floor of the hotel has a large space for private events but also has an amazing view of the city and especially of the White House – you can clearly see the sniper agents patrolling the roof.  If you stay here make sure to take in this view.

For dinner I haven’t done any research so I take the concierge up on his suggestion for the Taberna Del Alabardero.   The main reason I don’t like to eat by myself is that I can’t sample too much of the cuisine.  (When I am with my husband, dinner is mine and my husband’s is too…).   So I must suffice with a lovely sea bream with creamy mushrooms and a very nice side salad.  It is excellent.  For wine, I start with a glass of Cava – the name for Spanish sparkling wines, and then I have a glass of Becquer 2009 from Rioja - a very nice crisp delicate white from Spain – perfect with the fish.    To have more variety I could have opted for the tapas menu but have avoided any kind of tapas since a major case of food poisoning in Barcelona last year.

Tomorrow – the Martin Luther King Memorial and a few museum stops.

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