Jul 26, 2010

A Friday Afternoon in the Nation's Capital

A few Fridays ago, Raisin Bread's office moved, which gave him the afternoon off, and since I am currently a lady of leisure, we decided to meet up in the city to explore. 

Our first stop was for lunch at Proof Restaurant. I've been having a hard time finding restaurants that meet my Los Angeles standards, but Proof was a welcome surprise. We both liked everything we ate, but we wouldn't be able to frequent it often because it was a little on the fancy side.

We ordered the chilled cucumber avocado soup to start. It was extremely refreshing with little bits of crab meat hidden in between rich and creamy spoon fulls. Raisin Bread tried to lick the bowl clean, but I was able to stop him. 

Chilled cucumber avocado soup

For my entree, I had the shrimp burger with jalapeno, shaved cucumber, cilantro, and pickled daikon and carrots, and I also added in the sprouts for good measure. The pickled vegetables made this burger. 

Proof Shrimp Burger - $15

Raisin Bread ordered the lamb burger with chickpea fries. We were a little skeptical of the fries, but when we asked the waiter how they were prepared, he said they puree the chickpeas, lay it on a sheet pan to bake, cut them up into fry-shape, and then did something else I can't remember. With so many steps to create a couple of fries, they must have been remarkable. The lamb burger was so juicy that I burned my hand after my bite. Owwie.

Grilled Shenandoah Lamb Burger, harissa aioli, crispy onions, chickpea fries - $14

After lunch, Raisin Bread had to change out of his work clothes, so I suggested we go to the Smithsonian American Art Museum, which was directly across the street, so he could sneak into the restroom with all of the tourists to change. When we entered, we noticed that an exhibition of Norman Rockwell paintings was occurring and decided to stay to view it. The exhibition was entitled "Telling Stories: Norman Rockwell from the Collections of George Lucas and Steven Spielberg." I highly recommend seeing this if you have a chance. It is remarkable that Mr. Lucas and Mr. Spielberg own all of these pieces but even more so that they shared them with the public to experience. We watched a 12 minute film which detailed why each of them collect Rockwells and what they see in the paintings. It was extremely educational.

Our next stop was a visit to the National World War II Memorial. The last time I visited DC as a tourist was in 2002 and this memorial was not yet open. For some reason, I have also had a strange fascination with the history of WWII, so I felt the need to visit this memorial. I always found it strange that there were memorials to the Korean and Vietnam Wars but not to WWII. My sense from the memorial is that it doesn't really convey the spirit of WWII. It's a marble monster with tourists splashing around in the fountain. There isn't the sense of respect or reverence that I would like visitors to feel when thinking about this war.  

National World War II Memorial

The next memorial we visited was the Lincoln Memorial. This has always been one of my favorite memorials because it portrays Abraham Lincoln as I always imagine him: deep-thinking and pensive, knowing that he carried the weight of a nation on his shoulders.

We asked a couple to take our picture. After which, we had to explain that they could see Lincoln for free. They just needed to go up the steps and inside the building that is on pennies.  

Lincoln Memorial

Reflecting Pool and Washington Monument from Lincoln Memorial

I don't know much at all about the Korean War, but this memorial has always struck me as very effective in inspiring utter silence from its visitors. The memorial is powerful in that visitors don't make a peep when walking through it until they have reached the other side. I also find this to be true of the Vietnam Memorial, which we did not visit this day. 

Korean War Memorial

By this point, our feet were sufficiently dead, but we pressed on to the Smithsonian Castle, our final stop for the afternoon, to view "Read My Pins: The Madeleine Albright Collection." Let me tell you, the lady likes her pins. The stories behind each one was by far more interesting to learn than actually seeing the pins.

Proof Restaurant
775 G Street, NW
Washington, DC 20001

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