After I’d been living on Capitol Hill a while, I noticed this fun looking new restaurant, Goodstuff Eatery, and was amused by the name….and then I read about it in all the local papers– it is run by a local celeb chef, Spike Mendelsohn [famous from Top Chef, one of my fave reality shows], and made even more famous when Michelle Obama decided to eat there one night with friends. So we took the kids, ordered up some gourmet burgers and super rich milkshakes and had an all-American meal. Yum. Specialties include burgers with applewood bacon and cripsy Vidalia onion, a free-range turkey burger, and handspun shakes with flavors like toasted marshmallow and very berry. Just writing about this is making me think we might have to venture back to our old ‘hood to have another meal there sometime soon….303 Pennsylvania Ave, SE, Washington, DC.
Having lived in Paris for 7 years, I got used to having croissants for breakfast– weekends only, really, as who can eat them every day without gaining a ton of weight? Anyway, that was one of the big things our family missed when we moved to DC — especially my 4-year-old! So I was thrilled to (re)discover Patisserie Poupon, in upper Georgetown. An authentic French bakery — you can have a number of French baked goods, pastries, etc., or go for a little brioche sandwich, a lovely salad nicoise, all chased down by a real espresso. There is even a tiny, quaint terrace tucked in the back, and if one concentrates really hard, you can pretend you are in Paris, all for the price of a croissant and cafe creme.
1645 Wisconsin Ave NW, Washington, DC.
I’d read about trendy kid’s shop Giggle a few times (most notably in Cookie magazine), and finally had the chance to check it out this week. I have to say, it lives up to its expectations of being a well-edited, fun, bright kid’s shop. The boutique stocks all the trendy brands, with a slant towards great design and colors that pop. It’s a great place to outfit a modern nursery or pick up a sure-to-please gift. After all, who can resist something from a shop with a name that brings a grin to your face?
When we moved back to the US, one of the most important things for our 3½-year-old was her new room — what would it look like? In order to keep some consistency (the poor thing had to deal with an international move AND a new baby sister at the same time), I made sure to pack some of her favorite things to decorate her room. Most of our things got shipped by boat (which took forever!), but I packed a few special things to come with us to decorate our new place right away. One of her favorites is her personalized ABC painting, like the one pictured, which was a gift from her grandparents for her 2nd birthday. At the time, I didn’t think it meant that much to her, but when we were getting ready to move, she kept talking about all the images in the painting — apparently, she looked at it every night before she went to bed. Never underestimate the power of decoration, I guess…. We got our painting from the Land of Nod (which ships internationally), and I’ve spotted them here in DC at Dawn Price Baby.
Have you noticed how cupcakes are the trendy dessert of the moment? Bakeries are popping up all over the US and abroad, it seems. I first heard about DC-based Cakelove from a cooking show on tv, and was intrigued by the lawyer-turned-chef Warren Brown– someone who was truly following their bliss to open a bakery. I finally succumbed to the cupcake craze yesterday when I passed by one of Cakelove’s bakeries – I got one for my daughter and her friend, a lovely vanilla cupcake with strawberry frosting. I have to say that it was quite possibly the best cupcake I’ve had. (I had to have a bite in the name of research!) The frosting was real, made with chunks of real strawberries, and not sickly sweet like some frostings. Cakelove now has 7 locations in the DC area, and also does big cakes and other sweet treats. I am looking forward to my daughter’s next playdate to try out another flavor!
The Eastern Market, in DC’s Southeast quadrant, has always been one of my favorite weekend stops, long before I lived in the neighborhood. The market itself is DC’s oldest food market, dating to 1873, housed in an old brick hall. (The hall suffered from a big fire a few years back, and the market is in a temporary shelter across the street, with the old/refurbished shelter set to re-open soon.) Just like a European market, you can come here to visit your neighborhood butcher, the florist, the cheese monger, the produce man, etc. People from all over the city also flock to Market Lunch, for greasy spoon southern-influenced breakfast and lunch. The bluebucks (blueberry buckwheat pancakes) are to die for! But be sure to get there early, as the lines can be lengthy…. Have Dad stand in line while you take the kids to explore all the other merchants nearby in the hall. After lunch? Take a stroll through the flea market next door (Saturday and Sunday only) to check out furniture and other treasures, and walk the whole block of 7th street — tents are set up all along the street with vendors and artisans selling jewelry, paintings, and all sorts of cool things. And be sure to look for the cafe with the bubble-blowing machine outside — that in itself inspires my 4-year-old to walk the 5 blocks to the market!
I adore shopping for my kids—and now that I have two girls, I feel a little less guilty about buying for my older one, knowing that later on the baby might wear it again. But at some point, you have to start getting rid of stuff! I know my girls have things that they have only worn once before outgrowing it… which is why I plan to make a stop at Monkey’s Uncle with a bag full of stuff to consign! The cool owners, aka the “Uncles,” take gently used baby, kid’s, and maternity clothing for consignment in an effort to “reduce, reuse, recycle and rethink” what we already have. They have even outfitted the store in used fixtures, print receipts on recycled paper, and give a percentage of profits to charity, all while outfitting Capitol Hill’s tots in cute duds. Guilt-free shopping for my “monkeys,” at last!
Spring has finally sprung here in DC, and although it is still a bit chilly, buds and blooms are popping up everywhere. To celebrate, we were invited to a First Day of Spring party last month. My daughter insisted on taking a gift (although I explained it wasn’t a birthday party!) to the hostess, and promptly picked one of the neighbor’s daffodils. I was all set to wrap the stem in a wet paper towel and put in in a plastic bag (like I used to do when I was a kid), when inspiration struck—surely, I had something in the recycling bin that could double as a vase? A quick glance and I scored an apple juice box—perfect! I enlarged the hole a bit with a pencil, rinsed it out, then cut a piece of colored paper to wrap around it. My 3½-year-old had a great time decorating the paper with foamy stickers (you could use anything to decorate it—markers, stickers, ribbons), we glued the paper around the box, and voila! A perfectly “green” bud vase, great for giving or just for fun.
Hello to all from the US Capitol City. I’m very excited to be blogging for Babyccino — I’ve been a fan since the beginning of the blog, and continue to enjoy the mix of parenting tips, travel info, shopping finds and recipes. I’m looking forward to sharing my new DC finds and tips as I get settled in my new [old] hometown. As you can imagine, it is an exciting time to be in DC, and you can feel the buzz of new possibilities in the air here. I hope that I can pass that on to you all!