On our only night in Washington D.C., it didn’t take us long to decide where to go for dinner.
When we did our pre-trip research, there was a place that kept popping up as the must-visit restaurant. So after a day of exploring in the rain, we made a beeline for a true local gem, Ben’s Chili Bowl.Home of the best chili dog in the country and well worth trying.It’s a classic American diner sort of affair – very low-key and nothing fancy about it at all, but if the locals love it so much, there must be a reason for it, and we were very much in the mood to see it for ourselves. We perched on one of the bar stools and sipped on sweet tea (served in cups bigger than my head of course!) while perusing the all-American menu.
Minutes later, the most delicious chili dogs were placed in front of us.And those babies are well worth their reputation: sausage grilled to perfection, moist and with just enough kick from the chili topping… Perfection in a bun! Even better (if that’s even possible) were the chili fries: Crispy fries, cheese sauce and the most balanced chili sauce EVER… so good I almost ordered a second serving!For those of you who are not as dedicated to the cheese fries cause as I am, I’d definitely recommend the chili bowl. Basically the best chili I’ve ever eaten (I’m going to try and make this at home soon!) with loads of fresh toppings on top… Summer comfort food at its very best if you ask me.
Meanwhile on the outside, another summer storm had started and with every drop of rain, more people found shelter into the small diner, which was filling up by the minute with table after table of regulars chatting happily with the lovely waiters and creating the most enjoyable of atmospheres.
I could have happily stayed there forever, but by the time we were finished eating, the storm had calmed down so we sayed our goodbyes and raced to our home for the night to pack and try to catch some sleep before getting up before the sun to fly back to New York in the morning.
On our way back to New York, we made a small pit stop in Washington DC.
The plan was to walk up and down the National Mall, see all the important buildings and maybe pop into a museum or two on the way.
But the weather had decided otherwise and when we arrived downtown, it was raining cats and dogs.
So we did the only sensible thing there is to do in such situations and treated ourselves to one of those fast food feasts America is famous for. Luckily enough, we stumbbled on Shake Shack, which we had been told was a must-visit when in the US. We ducked inside and got our hands on some of the most epic-looking burgers I had seen in quite a while.After reading about it for MONTH, I finally got my hands on Shake Shack’s Shroom burger…While my Mr settled for the Smoke Stack and its layers of cheese and chopped chilies.With cheese fries all round, obviously. Isn’t that what rainy days are for?
Fuelled up and with the storm seeming to have stopped, we came back to our initial exploration plans……only to see them defeated a few minutes after by the return of the rain, so we took shelter in the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum.Holding the largest collection of aircraft and spacecraft in the world, it’s a must-visit for any plane aficionado.
…Which might explain why somebody was a very happy bunny! We strolled through the museum, marvelling at weird flying machines and war planes’ perfect designs alike. The Wright Flyer (which is the ancestor of all planes) is also on display at the museum and well worth taking a look at. I still can’t quite get my head around the fact that this enormous assembly of wood and cloth can actually fly. The same obviously goes for the Mongolfier first hot air balloon, but I might have been to busy admiring the delicate prints to think about it at the time…Having seen pretty much everything the Air & Space museum had to offer, we headed next door to the Natural History museum… where every single tourist in Washington seemed to have decided to meet that day. … which is why we decided to shorten our visit to the diplodocus and jump in a cab to pay one to Albert instead.
Only afterwards did we realise that we could have used the Circulator and save money… ahem…
We raced in the rain to take a quick look at the Lincoln Memorial and the Vietnam War Memorial before we decided to call it a day and head to dinner at one of the city’s institutions.
… but more on that tomorrow! Come hungry!
Cocktails were definitely on the list when in New Orleans. We had a few obligatory Hurricanes, but when we tasted one of those vile grape-flavoured Voodoo-slushie thing, we realised it was time to up our cocktail game.
And that (and my obsession for Pinterest) is how we found the prettiest bar on Earth.
A classy carousel for adults, where you can sit, drink the best cocktails and see the world (or at least the bar) unfold in front of your eyes. It was everything I was longing for.
I could have just stayed there in the doorway staring at this spinning carousel for hours.
Good thing it was rather busy so I get plenty of time to do so! Soon enough, a couple of seats became available and jumped on them!The cocktails are the perfect mix of classic and local. Vieux Carré, Old Fashioned, Sazerac… Taking their roots in old-school, traditional American cocktails, they’re mixed to perfection by the ace bar team. A classy hotel bar without being too stuffy, The Carousel bar was the perfect start to our evening, before we tumbled down to The Preservation Hall for the best of jazz concerts. I don’t have any pictures or videos, but take my word on it and go, go, GO!!
What’s your favourite cocktail bar? Any I should add to my list?
The best days start with sandwiches. Which in New Orleans means a trip to Central Grocery, home of the original Muffuletta. Italian ciabatta, stuffed with layers upon layers of ham, salami, cheese and olive salad.There are a few seats at the back of the store, from where you can eat your Muffuletta while reading messages left by those before you who did the exact same thing.If you look closely enough, I garantee you’ll find something you can relate to!After this, we were stuffed, but this did not stop us from trying the pralines at the French Market… I mean, we have a different stomach for fudge, don’t we? Wandering back into the French Quarter, we spotted a few more pretty houses, and loads of tiny horses!We made a pit-stop at the Presbytere museum, which had a fascinating exibition on hurricanes and other natural disasters. As well as an entire floor dedicated to the Carnival and associated traditions.After hours roaming the museum, we were back on the (very pretty) street and starting to get hungry…Luckily, we made to K Paul’s right in time!If dinner there can be a rather pricy affair, lunch is a lot more casual and affordable. And very filling indeed!
Having had more than our fair share of fried chicken, gumbo and bread pudding, we were in the mood for some more cultural discoveries so headed to the Voodoo museum.Being just a few rooms big, it’s a fairly small affair, but I discovered a completely new world, full of ghosts and spirits. Spooky!
We topped the day off with more wandering around in the lookout for yet more pretty houses/doors/streets…
We might have considered getting some cake, but settled for cocktails in the most beautiful bar EVER instead… but more on this tomorrow!
Happy Bastille Day everyone!
From what I’ve heard, calories from French food don’t count today, so it really is the day to stuff yourself silly with croissants and bread and cheese and all things good and buttery! Continue reading “French Clafoutis Recipe ??”
Happy Bastille Day everyone!
From what I’ve heard, calories from French food don’t count today, so it really is the day to stuff yourself silly with croissants and bread and cheese and all things good and buttery!
I’ve had my fare share of all those things this weekend (early celebrations still count, right?), but I’ve taken advantage of the beautiful cherries that seem to be popping up on every market lately and made a classic French clafoutis to make today a little bit more special…
I mean, I’m already missing out on the Bank holiday and the fireworks, so obviously, I should at least have some cake (and so should you!). 🇫🇷 French clafoutis (serves 6-8 people)
65g self-raising flour
120 mL milk
115g double cream/crème fraîche
1/2 punnet of cherries
1. Preheat your oven at 180°C
2. Mix all the ingredients together in the same order as above.
3. Butter & flour your cake tin (I used a small oven tray)
4. Bake for 30-40 min.
5. Let cool down completely before serving.
What’s your favourite French recipe? Do you celebrate Bastille Day?
We had just arrived in NYC and it was already time for us to pack our bags and head to our next adventure…
Which was all fine by me as we were heading to New Orleans with the firm intention to try all the Creole & Cajun food, drink the best cocktails the city had to offer and listen to the best jazz concerts. Which is pretty much exactly what we did!
We jumped off the plane and onto a bus, and off to Café du Monde we went! Everyone raves about it and I can definitely see why! There isn’t any place better for beignets and café au lait!After dusting the sugar off our clothes, we carried on our way to explore more of the city.Passing by hundred of houses, each as stunning as the next. Stopping by Jackson Square to take a look at St Louis Cathedral…Doesn’t it look like something straight out of a fairytale? The same goes for pretty much every balcony…And the art galleries are not bad either!Having wandered for a little while, we made our way to Bourbon Street, which is the centre of New Orleans’ nightlife. Boozy nightlife, that is. It would just have been rude not to, wouldn’t it?Before staggering (those cocktails are STRONG!) to a night of jazz on Frenchman Street… Not a bad day, New Orleans, not a bad day!