March 28, 2007

A day at the Mall

A very pleasant day today. Reasonably cool -- upper 60s with a nice breeze, but quite warm when the sun was out, which was the case for most of the day.

Like yesterday, Evan had a great time in the city. There were so many things for him to look at -- the tall Metro escalators, the smiling passers-by, the fast subway cars whizzing past him on the platform, and a big lawn to play on (otherwise known as The Mall.)

I started off the day with a short run in the beautiful neighborhood around the hotel, headed northwest past the embassies, then left into Dumbarton Oaks Park. What a wonderful place for a run. Only a few steps into the park, as you descend a big hill, you suddenly feel like you're miles from the city. The noise dissipates, and what had been an urban run suddenly turns into a cross-country trail. It made me wish we had anything remotely comparable at home and nostalgic for my two years living in the DC area.

By the time I returned to the hotel, Evan was up from his nap, and we headed to lunch at Five Guys at the National Place Food Court near Metro Center. We'd read about this place on the Internet. Its burgers and fries are rated as some of the best in DC. We don't know about that, but it was very good, and very cheap, and very greasy. This isn't fine dining. But the small cheeseburger -- not particularly small -- was around $3, and the small fries, plenty big enough for Janene and me to split, were about that as well. For about $12 between us, we had a delicious, not very healthy meal.

March 26, 2007

In DC, and very tired

Traveling is so much more tiring than it used to be, in our pre-parent days. Everything takes so much longer. There is so much more stuff. You don't just get in a taxi -- you have to load the trunk with the stroller and all of your bags, then strap in the car seat and make sure it's totally secure before you can go on your way. Airplane flights, subway rides, trips down all requires multiple steps.

The flight to DC was uneventful, but by the time we got to our room at the Westin Embassy Row -- in a beautiful neighborhood two blocks from DuPont Circle, though the hotel badly needs renovating -- we were completely spent.

Evan, however, was ready to go. After a short rest in the hotel, we took a walk to Luigi's, where Evan became the third generation of Kessler to eat there (it was a favorite college hangout for my dad). The food's not bad -- old school, traditional Italian with red checkered tablecloths -- but if that's your reason for going there, you're missing the point. It's just a great, classic Washington spot that's been operating since the 40s, and I try to stop in every time we're in town.

February 07, 2005

Best. Sausages. Ever.

This blog is mostly devoted to travel writing. But in the spirit of sharing, I'll also write about noteworthy restaurants and experiences in Chicago.

I've never been a lover of sausages. Always preferred my meats unencased. But that's before lunching at Hot Doug's (3324 North California, Chicago) this past weekend. If you had told me that I would wait in a line that stretches out the door for the privilege of eating a sausage, I would have assumed you didn't know me very well. The line could have been longer and I still wouldn't have minded. This isn't an ordinary sausage and hot dog stand. Doug, who takes your order and money, cracking jokes all the time, is a trained chef. Hot Doug's has been written up in lots of papers, including the New York Times. It has a Zagat's rating of 24, which is pretty high for a place that uses paper napkins.

And the offerings, besides the traditional hot dog, bratwurst, polish, include the exotic. I particularly enjoyed my lamb sausage with feta cheese and sundried tomato relish, choosing that one over a rabbit sausage with a truffle sauce. The fries are pretty incredible and the reason many people come to Hot Doug's in the first place. On Fridays and Saturdays, they offer fries cooked in duck fat. It may sound strange, but you can't taste the duck fat per se. All I know is that they were incredibly addicting. Hot Doug's is only open for lunch, and it's not near, well, anything. It's definitely worth the trip.