We had our first and only full day in DC today! First time in the whole week, we ran. We ran from our hotel to National Mall and back, totaling 7 miles.
It was 6am and we totally beat the crowd.
Running was the best way to tour this morning. We ran by White House, WWII Memorial, Reflection Pool, Washington Monument, Lincoln Memorial, and Korean Memorial. This gave us the rest of the day to tour the inside of buildings and museums.
Lincoln Memorial had no crowd at 6:30am! Here is an awkward self-timer selfie. We circled back to this area in 15 mins and tour groups were arriving already.
We got back to hotel after running exactly 7 miles. Pit stop at Au Bon Pain for breakfast.
After washing up, we came back on Metro back to National Mall. The Capitol looks magnificent close up. It blows SF city hall out of the water. It is the US Capitol after all.
We had a reservation for 1:30pm to tour the Capitol but the time conflicted with the White House tour time we got.
There is a tunnel that connects the Capitol to the Library of Congress. Inside of the Library looks like something you would see in old time Europe. Such a beauty.
Historic books on display
A couple was doing a wedding photo shoot! So pretty.
Next, Air and Space museum. Nothing here caught my attention really. I heard the Air and Space museum in Virginia is much better.
For lunch, we went a mile away to Nando peri peri chicken. It was SO good! We need this chain in SF!
Good spices and sauces to complement the moist chicken.
During lunch I found out that I am not allowed to bring my purse inside White House. So we went back to hotel to drop off my purse and went to White House to tour INSIDE!
We went through a few layers of security. Then we got inside just past East Wing. Many photographs of recent First Ladies were displayed in this room.
This display shows china sets used at State Dinner Services by various presidents.
Obama’s set. Good color!
The rooms we toured today are still being used for events.
It was such a cool experience to set foot in there and see it up close!
I highly recommend this tour. You just need to book it 2 months in advance through your Congressman.
We came back to hotel after the museum and it was already 4pm.
Later, we went out to dinner with husband’s friend who lives in DC. Nice bar bites at a British pub called The Alibi. My first time trying Scotch Egg and it’s good!
Beef Wellington with filet mignon was my fav.
Random sign 🙂
We hung out til 9ish which is pretty late for us 🙂
We checked out of our air bnb at 8am and said goodbye to Brooklyn. We went to the BoltBus stop in Manhattan for our 9:30am ride and spent half hour before boarding looking for restroom in the rain 😑
The bus ride was decent yet uneventful. It was comfortable enough and took exactly 4 hours to get to D.C. today.
I love how clean DC metro station and trains are!
We had a late lunch at a fast/casual Korean fusion place near our hotel. It’s called SeoulSpice.
Last time I was in DC was 13 years ago. The only thing I remembered about DuPont Circle was its super tall escalators at the metro. I was glad to see today that it’s still the same as I remember it to be!
Then it started to rain so we decided to have dinner at Clyde’s.
The restaurant has an old-time feel to it. The food was delicious.
After dinner, we went to Sprinkles cupcake shop a few blocks down and shared two cupcakes.
Then we called a Lyft to go back to our hotel. Our driver was a really nice man and gave us a tour of D.C. while driving through the historic buildings and monuments.
Today was our last full day here in Big Apple. We’re still working on the dozen bagels from Zucker 😉
I tried going for a run this early AM but it was sprinkling and chilly and I started shivering so I turned around after 3 minutes. No point in running on vacation if I can’t enjoy the run. I will run when I CAN enjoy it.
Later in the morning, we walked over to the murals in Bushwick neighborhood (Thank you for the suggestion!!) since we are staying nearby!
Amazing outdoor gallery!
We stopped by one of several hip(ster) cafes.
I just wanted to use their bathroom… but we came out of the cafe with some delicious pastries! At AP Cafe:
Then we said our goodbyes to Diana and the gang. They went back to Chicago today.
DH and I set off on our own to the ferry terminal to visit the Statue of Liberty.
It’s never easy pushing through the tourist crowds at world famous sites like this one. We had to test our patience more than a few times in lines and with annoying people without common decency.
We had a reservation to go up all the way to the statue’s Crown. (I strangely felt touched to see the statue up close again. I was an immigrant after all ;))
The coolest part of this experience was the narrow spiral staircase that got narrower as we reached to the top. I felt slightly claustrophobic while climbing because it was so narrow and dark.
View from bottom.
The crown itself was pretty small. It can probably fit 6 standing people. There was not much to see but to look down by the window.
We spent not more than a few minutes there and came back down.
The view from the Pedestal was almost the same as ground level. I think most visitors were just like us, they just wanted to see and touch the statue up close.
On a random note, do you remember how hard it was to take pics of tall towers before the selfie mode was invented? 😉 Now it’s a breeze.
I ❤️ NY!
We went back to Manhattan after that. We walked by Charging Bull at Wall Street. Can you even see the bull in the crowd?!
NYSE…. where the bell rings at 6:30am PST every weekday.
We went back to Katz’s for lunch today! Yesterday after eating half a pastrami sandwich from there (and still hungry), I couldn’t stop thinking about it for 10 blocks. We had to go back for more 🙂 and this time we each got a sandwich!
Whole sandwich was a lot for one person though. We managed to polish off the plates. I felt so stuffed afterwards.
It’s 4pm when we finished our late lunch so it was almost like dinner. I had Crack Pie when we got home and DH had fried chicken (whyyy, howwww…??). And that was the end of our hurrah in NY… for now.
Now, we will enjoy the rest of our stay in this $1.2 mil Brooklyn apartment! (Not exaggerating about 1.2 mil)
Off to D.C. tomorrow!
Our journey through Manhattan continued on our Day 3.
We got a dozen of bagels with lox and shmear from Zucker the day before. So we had that for breakfast. We might have gotten too many bagels for 4 adults, a toddler, and an infant 😉
Beautiful green scenery in middle of a busy city. I would’ve loved to run here today but we are staying far from Central Park on this trip. I love NY running culture… a lot more runners than SF and it just seems like a united and welcoming community.
After walking in Central Park for some hours, we got hungry and subwayed to the famed Katz’s. The lunch crowd:
Their pastrami was melt-in-mouth juicy!
I only wished we ordered more!
On the same block, there’s Russ & Daughter (a famous bagel shop) and they also sell candies fruits.
Today’s weather was so beautiful. We enjoyed walking for hours. After Russ, we walked about half hour up East Village to Momofuku Milk Bar. Their softserve was really awesome (I had cereal milk and birthday cake flavors swirled together)
Thanks for the pic, Diana 😉
Papaya King’s hotdog (I didnt have any)
Walked through Little Italy
Shared a cannolo (singular for cannoli but who knew?)
It was past 5:15pm and we walked all day since 9:30am. It was time to pick up dinner and relax back at our apt.
We yelped a halal cart close by in Soho and got our food to go. The original Halal Guys would’ve tempted us if it weren’t for all their franchised locations all around the US now. This cart was as good as the original Halal Guys!
I got chicken and lamb over rice and I loved it.
There’ve been so much walking past 3 days. Time to rest my feet!
Our second day’s itinerary was a visit to Manhattan. So this included taking the subway with the little ones. We (or was it just me) didn’t know that subway system here is not stroller- and handicap-friendly. Most stations had no elevators or escalators. So the adventure.
We got to Chelsea Market by 10am.
It’s quiet at 10 (people started pouring in after 11)
It’s a food market so we snacked our way through the vendors.
Lobster bisque… oh so rich.
Pies from Tuck Shop. One pie with Guinness steak and another with chicken green curry. Both were very good.
A place called “Very Fresh Noodle” that serves very fresh handpulled noodles.
It’s one long piece of noodle in the bowl!
Walked and walked and walked….
The weather was so icky. My shoes were soaked the whole time.
Thanks to the shower, Time Square was not crowded!
We came across Wafels and Dings by Bryant Park so we had to get some Belgium waffles with spekaloo spreads. I love them!!
Bryant Park was lush and green.
Next stop was NY public library.
It was such a zoo inside with so many tourists (like us) taking pics, how are these people even studying or reading? Visitors were not allowed to enter the reading area but were allowed to stand by the door to take pics (like how I took those pictures)
Marble columns on first and second floors
A quick visit to Grand Central Terminal
And a visit to Grand Central Market
And we subwayed back to Brooklyn to our apt and got some Mediterranean food to go from a neighborhood takeout place.
When I was in my 20’s, I always thought that if I were to move away from the Bay Area, it would be to New York City. Now that I’m older, I can’t say the same anymore. But I still love the big apple. I’m on my 5th visit to the city for vacation. My last visit was over 5-6 years ago.
In my previous visits, I’ve stayed in Queens, Manhattan’s Chinatown, and Upper West Side (twice). This visit, I’m staying in Brooklyn for the first time. And it’s bringing me lots of new sights and experiences.
We are staying in one of the streets by Broadway which has a train track right on top for miles.
The neighborhood scared me a little to be honest. It looks rough. After a red-eye flight from San Francisco, we were really tired. And our air bnb’s check-in time was not until 3pm. Luckily, our host let us drop off the bags early while she cleaned the place.
Our first stop was Equilibria cafe in Williamsburg. (First cafe we found with a lot of seats.)
O M G. I am familiar with the hipster culture in San Francisco but Brooklyn’s Williamsburg takes Hipsters to a whole new level. Everyone dresses alike in certain ways…. really quirky to my fashion-conservative eyes. I obviously couldn’t take pics of strangers but I took mental notes.
We spent over 2 hours at the cafe, tried to wake ourselves up from the lack of sleep from our red-eyed flight. We each had 2 cups of coffee and stuffed our face with copious amount of pastries to hold us over til late lunch later.
There was even a french bull dog residing in the cafe.
I love that the cafe offers adult coloring books and color pencils. So hip?!?
Their outdoor space looked like the stuff from a junkyard put together but they made it work.
I was starving by then but honestly I think the pizzas were really, really, really good. The crusts were charred to just the right amount and it was thin without being soggy in the center.
After pizzas, we went to Brooklyn Bridge to walk.
It was late in the day and lots of people were out.
The whole gang… with two little ones in the big stroller.
For dinner we got take-outs from Little Mo for Korean-Vietnamese fusion food. We ordered 8 buns, 3 rice bowls, pho, and wings.
And we all went to bed early. Brooklyn has shown a lot of characters so far.
We enjoyed the sunny San Diego for a long weekend a few weekends ago. It was such a nice break from a streak of heavy rains in the Bay Area that seemed to last forever.
We used our frequent flyer miles to fly free for this trip! Thank you, United!
We did a little bit of (mostly window) shopping at Fashion Valley Mall.
It was the Lunar New Year’s Day!
We yelped some taco places and ended up here as our first meal: El Zarape
We had some time to kill before checking into hotel so we checked out Ocean Beach and the pier. There was a small yoga fair happening…
For dinner, we found this carribean restaurant called Embargo Grill and checked it out. It was so delicious and the pisco sours I had was strong!
Then we stopped by Hammond’s Ice Cream for a little sampler of scones. They were so small and not enough to be shared.
So we drove to a nearby mall to look for more treats! (Somebody wanted DQ… ahem)
Both malls we went to were outdoor and they’re both nice and airy. Considering how nice San Diego weather is year round, I can see why the malls are outdoor.
Next morning, I went on a semi long run from our hotel to Balboa Park. V went running on his own and we ran into each other at the park. (This happens a lot back home too.) The pic below was taken with a self-timer on my phone 😄
After the run and washing up, we went out for brunch at another taco place: Oscar’s. We both agreed the food here was even better than the previous day.
We figured we should squeeze in a little sightseeing on this trip (having been to the zoo and Seaworld years ago and didn’t want to go again) so we decided to check out La Jolla Cove.
We didn’t know what to expect to see at La Jolla, but we were both so wowed by many sea lions there.
They were napping so close to the parking lot! They didn’t give a damn about people watching them.
Later in the day, we went to V’s cousin’s wedding at a church.
The reason why we went on a somewhat impromptu trip to San Diego: to witness their marriage!
It was a short and sweet dessert reception. It was over by about 4pm.
We went out to dinner later for some drinks and BBQ at Woodranch.
Next morning, on our last day, I went out for a short 3-mile run around the hotel and this was the view from the parking lot! (I miss Hawaii!)
Later, we checked out of hotel and drove to Del Mar about 20 minutes north of San Diego to meet up with my cousin and her husband. It was a warm day and we hadn’t seen this much sun in a while so we soaked it all in. There was a yoga class in session at the beach!
Our brunch at Jake’s was very good.
Their take on SF’s ciopinno.
Then we headed back to the airport to go home. Airport has a Phil’s BBQ location and we didn’t know it’s such a well known place down in SD. Their original location has over 10,000 reviews on yelp and 4.5 stars!
That’s all for a 3-day trip!
It’s already February… I will do a 2017 resolution update very soon 🙂
My husband V and I went to Seattle over the MLK holiday weekend just for two nights. We had some points with Southwest that paid for most of our airfares.
Since the trip was 2 weeks ago, I’m just going to post some highlights.
It was our second time in Seattle but our first time going there together. Our goal of the weekend was to relax and eat as much as possible! That can easily be done on any trip 🙂
Our cute air bnb apartment close by Pike’s Place.
Piroshky Piroshky… warm and buttery.
Beechers‘ Mac and cheese. I thought it was not bad…. but $11 for a small cup where you have to eat by a counter (most ppl had to stand and eat on street) was a highway robbery.
Pike’s Place looked as cute as ever and more fun with many people walking around.
And we got more food to-go to eat at our air bnb.
Next morning, we got up and early to walk to Pike’s Place.
First stop was the famous The Crumpet Shop. This place gets packed later in the day and usually sells out of crumpets by the late afternoon. We went there at 8am and had the place all to ourselves!
Then… of course we had to stop by the world’s very first Starbucks location.
I ordered a chai latte and they made me a regular latte. It’s okay, I forgave them.
We walked to Space Needle.
Then we took uber to another part of town, Fremont. I wanted to see this troll but expected it to be much larger than this.
Food highlight of the trip: this Caribbean meal at Paseo Carribean. Scallops over rice plate and a big fat sandwich.
We really wanted to try Pike Place’s chowder but we didn’t want to wait in line nor we wanted to eat standing up at a corner. So we opted for a restaurant in Bell Town to chow down and the food was good! The place was called Local 360 and they serve locally sourced food.
On our last day, we had to go to Seattle’s most famous donut shop: Top Pot, for breakfast. Might I say, it was 6am. What can you say, we are morning people 🙂
It was the shortest trip we had even taken together but it was still really nice to have this change of scenery!
This is our last full day in Barcelona!
It’s raining hard in the morning so we scratched our plan to run. I got a simple cheese and tomato on baguette for breakfast and it was the best sandwich I had on this trip!
I’ve been enjoying those simple sandwiches here with either cheese, jamon (Spanish prosciutto) or both. So simple and salty but delicious!
We had done all the sightseeing we wanted to do in Barcelona. So today we decided to go out of town for a day trip.
Then waited for the big gondola ride (Funicular) to take us to the top of the mountain.
It’s a rainy foggy day and it’s a little more chilly than Barcelona out here. The leaves were bright yellow! So pretty. It was already a little foggy on the mountain as you can see.
The gondola ride fits 30 people at a time.
It was the most scenic gondola ride I’ve ever been on. SOO magical.
An hour train ride was already worth it with this view.
And the basilica:
Candles in different colors were lit. Such a peaceful, serene sight.
As you can see in my pictures, Barcelona doesn’t appear to be as touristy as other big cities like Paris. Maybe it’s their off peak season?
Since it’s our last day here, our eating plan was to eat all the tapas we will miss. We went back to the tapa counter on our first day here to order our favorite tripe entree.
Beer for the Mr. and cava for the Mrs.
This place served us amazing food again. We also ordered mussels and an octopus plate with lots of bread to soak up all that sauce and olive oil!
La Bouqueria has a few tapa counters. We could still eat more so we went to another tapa counter called Pinotxo Bar to order a few snack items.
The place was made famous by Rick Steves in one of his old pbs episodes. He ordered chickpeas. So everyone at the counter was also eating chickpeas.
The chickpea dish was indeed pretty good and I would love to make it at home. When I said that to V, the server heard us and told us how to make it 🙂 I’m not sure it will taste like it when we make it at home, but basically he said to cook chickpeas in olive oil with garlic, tomato, onion, sea salt, parsley, chimmichurri sauce (I believe it contains beef) and a splash of balsamic vinegar. The chickpeas were softer than canned beans. I will need to use my Instant Pot and make this dish at home SOON!
Then I picked up some fancy Mediterranean salt flakes as souvenirs.
This was coconut milk with pineapple.
Lettuce? Pretty big.
Walking around the Gothic Quarter and El Born district was one of our favorite things to do on this trip and we have already spent countless hours doing that. It’s just very relaxing and interesting to people-watch and shop at European stores we’ve never been to or heard of.
For dinner, our last chance at tapas, we walked around for a while until we decided on one that appealed to us the most. And we were so satisfied by what they had to offer. Bueno!
Our flight was at noon. We started the day with a 4-mile run then went to Pans for breakfast. One last visit! Who knows when we will be back in Barcelona again.
They burnt my croissant sandwich and I had to exchange it for a fresh one. Here is a burnt croissant and a fresh one I got in exchange. Hmm.
So sad that honeymoon has come to an end but also very excited to go back home to start the new chapter of our lives together! There will be many more adventures in our future.