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Celebrating a January Birthday in April

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Jessica’s 39th birthday was in January, and we had a whole 3 day out of town trip scheduled. We were going to the Washington DC area and spend some time eating and museum going and wandering.  Jessica had it all planned out and we’d made all our hotel/restaurant/museum reservations.  And then I developed bad cartilage problems in one knee.   There was no way I could go on the trip (I couldn’t even get upstairs in our house without a LOT of help) and they wouldn’t go without me, so we had to postpone.  We ended up rescheduling for the end of April.  April 26th, 27th, and 28th to be precise. 


Wednesday, April 26th

The crabhouses on the Eastern Shore were beginning to open up and serving blue crab – our favorites – so, we stopped by Captain John’s Crab House & Marina in Newberg MD.  Jessica had the cream of crab soup:


Which she liked a lot, but I found it overly rich and creamy.  I think it would have benefitted from a good dose of some raunchy crab stock.  We shared shrimp, crab, and hush puppies:






Both the shrimp and the crab were very good.  There were a couple of the crabs that were very slightly muddy, but overall, they were very sweet and “crabby”.  They were also LOADED with meat. When we’d eaten all we could eat of a dozen crabs we picked the remaining ones and the meat just barely fit into a 16 oz. plastic container.  I couldn’t resist getting a piece of the coconut Smith Island cake to go:


The official dessert of the state of Maryland, it was delectable and the perfect snack when we got to our hotel in College Park MD. 


This was our view when we exited the restaurant:


It was hard to climb into the car and drive back into the traffic that awaited us! 


Thursday, April 27th

Jessica ferreted out a lovely French bakery in Georgetown - Boulangerie Christophe.  Lovely people who were so excited about the food they were serving (haven’t seen a lot of that in the last few years and it was refreshing), gorgeous breads and pastries and French HAM (which doesn’t get nearly the love that Italian and Spanish ham does but is fantastic).  Some atmosphere photos:










We almost bought one of these, but Mr. Kim decided on one of these for breakfast:


It was excellent – perfect crusty baguette, that ham, Brie, and cornichon. 


Jessica had the croque monsieur:


You can’t see it in this photo, but there was more of the ham!


I had the ham (😁) and cheese crepe with a sunny side up egg:


With a lovely and perfectly dressed little salad.  As you can see, all three of us are appreciative of the pig!  We couldn’t resist a couple of extras:


A croissant, a mini pain au chocolat, and a pain au raisins.  All very, very good.  Looking back at the Yelp photos, we wished we’d gotten some of the gorgeous little pastries! 


We spent the next 5-ish hours at the Spy Museum.  That place is a incredibly full of tiny little bits and pieces and things to read and watch and experience.  It is only 2 floors plus a lobby and gift shop, but it feels MUCH larger.  It would benefit from a café and being able to take a break halfway through, but there is nothing served or for sale to eat or drink on site and, as a matter of fact, you can’t leave and come back later.  They are really missing a possible revenue source!  Mr. Kim and I and our 63 year old bodies just weren’t up to standing that long and we were honestly thrilled to get back into the car and drive into Wheaton MD to have a dim sum lunch/dinner at our favorite place – Hollywood East. 


Dim sum and assorted goodies.  And egg roll for old times’ sake:



Shu mai:



Bacon rolls stuffed with minced shrimp:



Chicken and ginger dumplings:



Crab claw ball:


Not sure what the claw is about since the entire thing seems to be minced, spiced shrimp.


Pan fried pork dumplings:



Steamed duck and vegetable dumplings – this was the best picture I got - my camera dumped the picture of the whole ones:



Triple flavor noodle crêpes (sesame, sweet, soy, hoisin). This was the only one we didn’t much care for – it was just too much gelatinous noodle and not enough anything else:



Baked roast pork croissant – these are one of our top two favorites:



Golden Baked Pork Bao:




Could have been fuller, but the filling is delicious.  Our other top two.  Again – us with the pig! 


And finally – dessert:


Deep fried sesame balls with sweet lotus paste


Friday, April 28th – Our last full day.  We started off getting bagels near the University of MD campus at a bagel place that was in the first floor of a large hotel.  Mr. Kim’s and Jessica’s were just cream cheese on bagels and were fine since the bagels were ok.  Mine was bacon, egg and cheese omelet-style and looked fantastic:


But it was seriously overcooked.  I ended up throwing out the “omelet” part and just eating what I could of the bagel. 


Our first stop was the Smithsonian Hirshhorn Museum of Modern Art to see the incredible immersive art of Yayoi Kusama.  Examples:








This was so much fun to walk through and experience. 


From there we went to one of my old favorites, the Smithsonian Museum of American History (what used to be called History & Technology). When I was a kid, my mom used to take me to work with her on my days off school and I’d take a cab from her office to the Mall and pick a museum to spend the morning in.  Then we’d meet for a “Ladies Who Lunch” date and I’d go back to her office to call my best friend in NC and talk for hours for free! 


Jessica chose the Old Ebbitt Grill for her postponed birthday dinner.  This place has been in business in one guise or another since 1856 and has always been a political hangout.  They’ve always been known for their raw bar, crabcakes, and burgers along with house made pasta, steaks, sandwiches – and all surprisingly well prepared.  They have something very near and dear to my heart and a real memory stirrer.  Since 1970 the Old Ebbitt has been owned by another District institution, Clyde’s of Georgetown.  When I was in high school and college it was a given that if my friends and I went to Georgetown, we went to Clyde’s for cheeseburgers and their wonderful, unique chili.  When Clyde’s took over the Old Ebbitt, they began serving their chili there.  I knew before I left our house in Richmond what I was having for this meal:






And crab cake.  Both were fantastic.  The chili is slightly sweet, and the gentle heat comes right at the back of the throat. The beans are small chili beans, like they use in Cincinnati rather than large pinto or kidney beans. 


They have a nice, free bread service:



Jessica had a Prosecco to celebrate her birthday and Mr. Kim had a spicy Bloody:



Jessica started with the gooey, hot crab and artichoke dip:



And then dived in with oysters:


This was a taste of everything they had on the board that day:


She decided on a dozen of assorted everything but the very largest ones:



Mr. Kim started with the oysters Rock:


Lovely version – not overdone with Parm and they use a spinach/watercress mixture for the greens.


His main was the Steak frites:




A NY strip with watercress and a shallot-Dijon cream sauce.  The top picture is his and the close up is mine.  Not sure why the color values are so different. 


Only one dessert between the three of us:


Salted caramel bread pudding with vanilla ice cream and salted caramel.


Mr. Kim had a BBQ judging to do Saturday and Sunday, the 29th and 30th in Williamsburg and Jessica and I had my niece’s first birthday party to attend on Saturday in Northern VA, so he left to go home and we stayed one more night.  We tried to do some moonlight monument touring, but it was raining and it is so hard now to get close to them in a car that we really didn’t see much but the Lincoln and the Jefferson in the distance. 


On our way back to the hotel, Jessica and I stopped at the College Park Diner.  It was just down the street from our hotel, and I’d been eyeing it since we got there.  Jessica inexplicably dislikes diners so I was sure we wouldn’t be going there.  But we were starving and had no luck finding somewhere to eat/park in the District, so we ended up there.  I had the full breakfast and it was great:







Saturday, April 29th Back Home

Jessica and I attended the birthday party and spent time with the family. On the way home we stopped in Fredericksburg and got some frozen custard at Carl’s – open since 1947:




It was a great trip, and I was ready to hibernate for a while when we got home. 

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That looks like an amazing 3 day trip! Hit after hit after hit! It makes me want to add a couple of days in Washington when I finally travel to the USA again.

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Posted (edited)

Thanks for the report about the boulangerie. I went right by there a couple of weeks ago but it didn't even register! Foo. I even had a snippet of conversation with my Airbnb hosts (he's a retired -- for now -- restaurateur) about the lack of excellent bakeries in DC save for Bread Furst.


Edited by Alex
to fix a typo (log)
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Great to see a trip report from my old home turf. Wheaton, Langley Park, College Park, and downtown Silver Spring were all within bicycle range when I was in grade school.


Cracking crabs within view of the docks is about as good as it gets, and those Old Ebbitt Grill crab cakes look divine! Also, I have always had a weak spot for crab and artichoke dip. Plus oysters - yum! Y'all were doing seafood right.


We used to get dim sum in Wheaton, but I am sure the place closed long ago.  Also,  sign me up for salted caramel bread pudding.


I agree with you that the Spy Museum packs a lot into its space.  There is also the National Cryptologic Museum at Fort Meade, if you like that sort of thing.


Thanks for the trip report!

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3 hours ago, FauxPas said:

I now have a huge frozen custard craving.  😄

Dear God. There is a frozen custard place in Jonesboro. Two outposts. I hav lived, unfortunately, within 4-5 blocks of each.


They make a sundae called the “Ozark turtle.” Vanilla custard, hot fudge and hot caramel sauces, toasted pecan halves, and maraschino cherries. I always feel so decadent, and swear off…for a couple of weeks.

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Don't ask. Eat it.


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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, kayb said:

Dear God. There is a frozen custard place in Jonesboro. Two outposts. I hav lived, unfortunately, within 4-5 blocks of each.


They make a sundae called the “Ozark turtle.” Vanilla custard, hot fudge and hot caramel sauces, toasted pecan halves, and maraschino cherries. I always feel so decadent, and swear off…for a couple of weeks.

I have never had frozen custard, I've never seen it for sale in these parts. I'll have to remedy that somehow. You had me a Ozark Turtle. My husband has given me a box of Turtles every Christmas since we met - that's a lot of turtles and I relished every one.

Edited by MaryIsobel (log)
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