As I circled the Monument about 10 minutes before the ticket kiosk opened, I decided to queue to pick up a ticket for later. I then had to race back to the hotel—via a delicious Ethiopian pourover from Peregrine Espresso—to shower, change and head back down to the Monument for 10.15. It's worth going up the Monument if it's a nice day: you get great views of the city from 550 feet up (it was the world's tallest building for five years until the Eiffel Tower made its debut) and the guides are friendly and informative. Also, it's free! You can book tickets online if you don't want to queue.
Afterwards, I walked east along the Mall to Newseum, which, as you might guess, is a museum dedicated to news and journalism. I am a press officer so of course I was interested and I felt that the $23 admission charge was justified. As well as more serious exhibits, including a wall of front pages from the world's newspapers after 9/11, there are some interactive voting features (about new media, for example) and you even get the chance to role-play being an anchor. Naturally, I couldn't resist. Even if you don't want to pay the admission charge, they put dozens of newspaper front pages out front each day, which is worth a look.
My plan was to go to Good Stuff Eatery, a Capitol Hill purveyor of premium burgers, for lunch and then to check out Eastern Market, but alas: the former isn't open on Sundays. I frog-marched myself through the market—an arts, crafts and food market that is particularly bustling at the weekends—buying a rose gold necklace, before hopping onto the Metro to Foggy Bottom (tee hee), where I could walk to Georgetown for lunch and retail therapy.
Most of Georgetown's shops line M Street and its cross streets. It was really tough not to go into J. Crew and Lululemon, but it was 2.30 and I really needed to eat something. Luckily, there is a branch of Good Stuff on M Street. Good Stuff is a bit like a smaller scale version of Five Guys. The Capitol Hill branch is even said to be a favourite of Barack Obama's, which explains why there is a burger named after him. As I don't like roquefort, I ordered the Smokehouse instead (bacon, Vermont cheddar, fried onion rings and chipotle BBQ sauce) and some hand-cut fries. Good Stuff even has a 'dip' bar where you can select interesting and sometimes odd condiments for your fries: I opted for more chipotle over, say, mango.
On this trip, I was worried about the different weather patterns in DC and California, but DC alone was variable enough yesterday. On my morning run, it was so cold my lungs hurt, but by the afternoon, I was exercising my right to bare arms. It was very pleasant to wander the red-brick streets of Georgetown, making a few cheeky purchases and enjoying the sights: 1) JF and Jackie K's former residence on N Street, 2) those famous steps from The Exorcist and 3) sunset over the Potomac.
After the sun had set, I made my way back east. Just outside the White House, however, cars and pedestrians were halted for about 15 minutes. Eventually a procession of siren-blaring motorbikes and cars came through. I assume Barack was late for his supper. And so was I! I had a delicious lobster roll and a quirky Cupp'a Jo Jo cocktail (gin, curacao, coffee liqueur, celery and orange) at Hank's Oyster Bar, a small DC chain that is well worth visiting if you have a hankering for seafood.
By this point, my feet were aching, but there was one last stop on my tour: Red Light, a cocktail and dessert bar whose name reflects the, er, edgy history of the neighbourhood. There are a couple of these establishments in London, including Basement Sate, and they are definitely to be encouraged. Better still, it was still happy hour at Red Light, so my cocktail was only $7 and my pudding (caramel panna cotta with chocolate sauce and bacon-peanut butter crisp) was $9. The waitress arrived with my cocktail (the Peep Show: gin, Pimm's, lemon and ginger beer) and a blow torch, which I assumed was for the pudding, but then, out of nowhere, she set fire to an unassuming sprig of rosemary in my drink. Good theatre as well as good flavours, and they were playing some quality choons while Charlie Chaplin played on the big TV screens. A fun way to finish the day.