Recap of our DC trip

11 Jan

I know it has been about a month since my last post but what a busy month it’s been! With Christmas, New Year’s, Alex’s birthday, and the birth of our friends’ first child I just haven’t found the time to sit down and write. But the new year brings new beginnings and I hope to bring a lot of exciting stuff to the blog this year.

To start off the new year, here is the much anticipated recap of our holiday DC trip!


During the 4 hour drive, we were dreaming about our pit stop in Falls Church and the first meal we would have there.  Alex had found this restaurant online called Mark’s Duck House that was open late and had an interesting menu so we made the executive decision to dine there before we even left Pittsburgh.  But as we pulled into the parking lot for Mark’s, we saw a sign for Peruvian chicken and just could not pass it up. So, yes, we stopped in and had a plate of chicken with fries then walked two doors down and ate at Mark’s Duck House.   What a way to start off the vacation!


Mark’s  definitely looked like your traditional Chinese restaurant fully equipped with hanging roasted duck, fish tanks in the back of the room, and big round tables with lazy susans.  While the decor may have been very standard, the food was really outstanding.  The roasted duck (which is served at room temperature to ensure the skin remains crispy) with egg noodles was amazing.  So simple but everything was prepared just right.


Alex ordered the salted pepper fried tofu and he loved his dish as well. Typically when you order fried tofu, its made from firm tofu which gives the dish a nice crispy texture. It’s rare that you find crispy soft tofu but Mark’s does it just right. The crispy batter was salty and spicy and the inside just melted in your mouth kinda like cheese. After our two dinners, we ventured down to the Dogfish Head Bar for a nightcap before calling it a night.


We spent the next morning at this shopping plaza called Eden Center, aka the Mecca of all things Asian in the DC area (I actually think that it has more Asian restaurants than DC’s China town, or what a bar friend called China “block”). Alex was super excited to get some Asian pastries, which are his new obsession. He looked like a kid in a candy shop walking around trying to decide what to eat first. He decided on a fried sesame ball and a flaky pork “dumpling”.


Then we stopped at our favorite Vietnamese restaurant, Hai Doung. I ordered a small bowl of pho soup with brisket and meatballs. It’s a bit different from what I typically order, which is a LARGE bowl of pho with beef eye round, flank, brisket, tendon, tripe and meatballs…but I was looking for something lighter this time since it was our second breakfast of the day. Alex ordered rice soup with coagulated pork blood, tongue and heart. It was not exactly my cup of tea but Alex really enjoyed it and wanted to make sure that it made it into the blog, so here you go babe 🙂

Later that evening, we went to Churchkey for drinks and some pub food. This is where Alex discovered his new favorite beer which is DC Brau Brewing Company’s The Corruption (IPA, of course). For snacks we ordered Disco Fries. Fresh cut fries with sausage gravy and Grafton Village cheddar cheese. We also ordered a Brat burger. A bratwurst patty served with beer-braise sauerkraut and Emmentaler cheese. Alex LOVED this burger and raved about it for the remainder of the trip.


Later that evening, we decided to go out for a second dinner at Pizza Paradiso which was a recommendation from our neighbors. The wait for a table was a bit long but it gave us just enough time to enjoy a beer at the bar. We ordered an Insalata Alici to start off our meal. Mixed Greens, Marinated Anchovies, Ligurian Olives, Cherry Tomato, Red Onion, Balsamic Vinegar and Olive Oil. Despite my advice, Alex decided to order TWO pizzas. But I ended up thanking him for it later because both were really delicious. We ordered the Paradiso with pepperoni (pictured) and the Genovese. The Paradiso was simply made with diced tomatoes and fresh mozzarella. High quality ingredients make a big difference. You don’t need fancy sauces or toppings to make a pizza awesome (although a little pepperoni never hurt). The Genovese had pesto sauce, potatoes and Parmesan. I know what you’re thinking….potatoes? I was put off by it at first also but it turned out to be really good.


Alex and I discovered an interesting little crepe restaurant by our hotel that made banana and almond flour crepes drizzled with honey. They are amazing and I found myself craving them multiple times during our trip.

After forcing Alex into an all day shopping trip to Georgetown, he decided to take little break at a Persian restaurant called Moby Dick House of Kabob. We split a Kabob-E Kubideh sandwich, which was made with ground sirloin. The sandwich was served with a side of spicy sauce which kind of reminded me of a creamy tomatillo salsa.


And finally…the main event. The moment we have all been waiting for. Or at least the moment that Alex had been waiting for. A visit to the beloved Ben’s Chili Bowl. After waiting in line for what seemed like an hour, and fighting for a seat at a clean table, we finally got to enjoy a famous chili half-smoke. Was it worth the wait? Alex says yes!




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