Food is (a seventeen mile hike through Washington- Part 1.)

Day two (and part one) of my Washington Adventure. A week after it happened. Some of it will be vague. Most of it is still tangled to my optic nerves.

Columbia Heights Coffee, 3416 11th Street, Northwest, Washington, DC
Meridian Pint, 3400 11th Street Northwest, Washington, DC
The Farmer’s Market, 14th Street and Park Road NW, Washington, DC
Chinatown Coffee Company, 475 H Street, NW Washington, DC
Dolcezza Gelato Dupont, 1704 Connecticut Avenue, NW Washington, DC
Filter Coffeehouse & Coffee Bar, 1726 20th Street  NW Washington, DC

We’re starting off in the morning around 9 AM after our 3 AM bedtime following some party time down at the Red Palace and Haydee’s. 

A morning stroll through Columbia Heights was a hell of a drag up until we reached Columbia Heights Coffee. Simple, Cheap, muddy iced coffee that screamed heaven as it tickled my taste buds. I really appreciate it when an iced coffee feels more like a syrum than some watered down WD-40. 

We were planning to meet up with some of my guy’s friends for a morning brunch down at the Meridian Pint, just a few steps away, but because we were a half hour early, we decided to take a morning stroll to the Farmer’s Market down on 14th Street and Park Road. 

I’m smacking my tongue against the roof of my mouth and organic ceviche as I watch some dance instructor lead a pack of locals in an intense salsa routine. All I can really remember was how sharp the lime in the ceviche was. I had forgotten to brush my teeth that morning, so the idea of welcoming my beer-coffee breath and stained gums with some raw fish and lime was more than appealing- It was savage. 

We worked out way back towards Meridian Pint, passing by the local bakery known as ‘Sticky Fingers’; we planned to go there after a light brunch at the pint. 

We met up with his friends, one of them working as a comedian in the area and the other working as a mechanical engineer for the NASA base near Greenbelt. It was epic as hell and I felt that my quantum mechanics course at school was finally paid off as I was able to carry on a conversation with a real-life NASA mechanic. 

I refuse to believe he dumbed-down the conversation for me. 

The food was fine. I rocked a pulled-pork sandwich topped with coleslaw served with a side of sweet potatoes. For some reason or another, I imagine that any restaurant serving Pulled Pork on their menu has gotta know how to serve it in the best way possible. Sadly, the pork was dry and didn’t taste like much. I found myself slamming down on the sweet potato wedges that really didn’t do much else for me. 

It was a waste and I left with a brick for a stomach and a desire to walk it all off. 

We passed Sticky Fingers and passed the market and worked our way down towards U Street. My guy showed me the art center he worked at when he was an undergrad and showed me one of the best views of the Washington Monument I’d ever seen. It was a park he said was called the ‘Malcolm X Memorial Park’ but on Google Maps is labelled as the ‘James Buchanan Memorial’ or ‘Joan of Arc’.

I don’t know what to believe anymore. 

The park was about 7 streets long and no more than an avenue wide- it ran down the slope of one of the mountains with trees hugging the sides of the perimeter leaving a huge open space in the middle- all the way through- revealing the Washington Monument in all of its glory.

So, we walk about two miles to the nearest Metro Station and eventually end up in Chinatown. 

“It’s a wanna-be Times Square,” my guys explains to me. 

I’m a little bit tired from that brick of a meal from earlier on, so we take a little trip over to Chinatown Coffee Co. for a little pick me up. 

The coffeeshop sports Black Cat espresso and polished cement floors and walls- it’s like being inside the sexiest cinderblock known to mankind. 

The espresso is thick and muddy and perfect. One sip and I’m tripping like a boy in the candy store overstocked with Take 5’s. 

We flush it down with some sparkling water and depart for the Air and Space museum, where we compare and contrast how attractive the German fighter jet suits are in comparison to the American flight gear. ‘The germans make everything tighter.’ We watch a planetarium presentation about the stars. It’s narrated by Whoopi Goldberg and the children behind us keep muttering in spanish. The little shits. 

After the cosmic horror that existentially sent us right past the gift store (I really wanted to get astronaut ice cream, but forgot), we went to the Hirschhorn museum right next door.

The building itself is a giant modern-art donut. Four floors that go around in one great giant circle. There was a playful exhibit that experimented with fractions of light and nylon strings. One room suggested we lay down on bedbug-infested mattresses and look at pictures of women smoking. 

We cut across the national mall and hit up the American Art Museum, where my guy introduced me to the most incredible instillation I’ve ever seen. 

It’s called the ‘Electronic Superhighway: Continental U.S., Alaska, Hawaii’ and it was created by Nam June Paik in 1995, 11 years before he died in Miami Beach. 

The instillation itself is at least 40 feet long and a little over 10 feet tall. Colorful, glowing neon outlines every single state of the Continental U.S., suggesting just how big and colorful and intimidating the country was when June Paik first moved to the country. Within each of the outlined states, television monitors, stacked in columns and rows, display distorted images from film and television that seem to represent every state’s personality- for example; the televisions stacked just behind the neon outline of Kansas continuously vomit images of road trips across great fields and Dorothy and Toto. 

As a whole, the entire instillation is incredibly intimidating, and suggests (to me), that we’re just a country hooked up to a trademarked plethora of Methamphetamine. 

So we leave and we bike our way up to DuPont circle. 

Washington D.C. has a very unique bike-share system that allows anybody to rent a bike for a 1/2 hour fee. For the most part, all the bikes are one-speed. Without helmets, this proves to be absolutely terrifying as you’re biking uphill with cars zipping right behind you, honking their asses off like you’re at all able to control how much of a dipshit you actually are. I felt like an Enemy of the State for being such a mindless jackass and even considering to do such a thing. 

We get to Dupont and we stop in for some gelato at the place my guy used to work at. 

It’s called Dolcezza and it is incredible. It’s gelato made out of natural ingredients and flavor pairings you only thought were possible with more savory food. Personal favorite had to be the cilantro and lime gelato. It felt and tasted like Mexico has hopping around inside my mouth telling me to cool off. I rocked a small cup of virginia peanut butter gelato and another gelato made up of some french chocolate- heaven help me I’ve forgotten the name of the chocolate, but together the two flavors made me forget about the years of smuggling Reese’s pieces into my bedroom. 

Preparing for our dinner in a few hours, we thought it would be best to sneak in another cup of espresso and then take a short 6-mile walk down towards the capital. 

We went to some hole-in-the-wall called ‘Filter Coffee and Espresso’ and the color scheme reeked of Halloween. The espresso was bitter and nowhere near comparable to the Chinatown Coffee Co. from earlier before. They’ll just have to suck it up. 

Having already consumed (probably) 4,000 calories and burnt off at least 75% of them, we headed on down to what was perhaps one of the greatest dining experiences of my life.

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