Hey there! Hope you had a fantastic weekend! It felt like a super long weekend for me... but that's because mine was 3-days long. As you know, I was quite the traveler over the past four days. First, I visited M in Philadelphia, and then I joined my friends from medical school for AMA Lobby Day in Washington DC. Lobby Day was such a wonderful learning experience. We learned about several issues affecting our lives as medical students and future caregivers, and then discussed these concerns with members of Congress. I'm not the best public speaker (I get really nervous and my Russian accent kicks in!), but I think I actually go the hang of it over the last few days!
Here is a pictureful recap of the many scrumptious eats & treats from the trip!
I got to Phlly right around lunchtime on Saturday, and there was a rumbly in my tumbly! M whipped up a phenomenal and huge bowl of salad for me! Mixed greens, broccoli, tomatoes, carrots, cheese, and to-die-for cured & preserved black olives (I probably ate like 20 of those...). M loved the Chocolate Banana Almond Butter Cakelettes/Muffins I baked for him the night before. His favorite part = the almond butter filling! Next time, I will add a bit more of the almond butter, since the cakelette is twice the size of the muffins Christina made with her original recipe.
To celebrate Valentine's Day a little early, we decided to make dinner together... I've been dying to try pappardelle pasta, and we stumbled across Lemon Pepper Pappardella at Trader Joe's, which I took as a sign that we had to make it! Sauteed shrimp, made in garlic butter sauce with onions and fresh tomatoes... We were in food heaven! While watching the movie 50/50 (which I highly recommend - it's definitely one of my favorites after watching it just once!), we shared Ben & Jerry's Cherry Garcia ice cream (What a treat! it. was. incredible.)
I had to wake up at 5:30am on Sunday to catch the bus to DC. Not my favorite thing to do on a Sunday morning, but you do, what you gotta do! Thankfully, breakfast and a huge cup of coffee made it aaaaall much better!
What this beautiful bowl of mixed cereals doesn't show you is the spoonful of this peanut butter hiding under the giant pile of blueberries. This jar may have been M's roomate's, but no one has to know that! Shhh! I found it in the fridge, and it was actually solid, and SO GOOD! Like peanut butter chips with peanut chunk and banana flavor. I need to find this ASAP!
Nearly 6 hours later, I reunited with my friends in DC and we paid a very-much-so-awaited visit to Busboys & Poets restaurant. Of the 12 of us there, not a single one was not pleased with his/her meal. The food was fantastic, the atmosphere so cozy, the vibe was simply great.
Art by local artists was displayed on every wall (how cool are these female/male bathroom signs?!), funky jazz-y music was all around. There was even a small bookstore. The atmosphere was perfect for lounging, eating, socializing, and reading. We so didn't want to leave.
I was amazed by the amount of vegetarian and vegan options on the menu, all of which were far from boring. Unable to decide, my vegetarian-partner-in-crime, M (gosh, why do all of my friends have the same first initial?!) and I decided to order and share the Avocado and Tempeh paninis. Now that's what I call the best of both worlds! The paninis were huge, so I decided transfer the components of the Tempeh Panini into the Avocado Panini - the combination of all the flavors rocked my taste buds! And yes, the capuccino was just as perfect as it looked in its adorable mug. I honestly think that the mug makes a world of a difference when sipping on hot coffee or tea. It adds an element of coziness that can't be replaced.
Several meetings and group discussions later, it was dinner time at last! Not sure what part of DC the cab took us to, but our destination was an Ethiopian restaurant Meskerem. M and I devoured this vegetarian dish made with all sorts of lentil, pea, potato, and spinach dishes. I love eating with injera - no need for utensils, and this sourdough-like "crepe" is so light and delicious!
Though all 12 of us were stuffed after Meskerem, our sweet tooth (teeth??) kicked in, and all we had to do was cross the street to find ourselves at Tryst Coffeehouse. This picture does not do it justice... We ordered... three different cakes, two of which were cheesecakes, incredible loose leaf teas (with animal crackers on top, haha!), and chocolate waffles topped with nutella and strawberries that made us all go wow.
The next day we woke up at 6:30am to this serene view...
And after continental breakfast and more conference meetings, we went to conquer the city, one Congressman at a time! The day was sunny but chilly. All of our meetings were great success - I really enjoyed bringing forward our concerns, and it felt great to be heard and our efforts appreciated.
After Sunday's feasts, my body was craving for something green and crispy... a ginormous salad from the Senate's cafeteria!! Let's not talk about the fact that this salad cost me $12... it was worth it... And thanks to this salad, I discovered my new love for pears in my salad! To be recreated at home :)
Many meetings and miles later, we found our tired feet at the Firehook Bakery & Coffee House. What a perfect and energizing afternoon treat! (Thank you, sugar and chocolate!) What you don't know is that these cookies are the size of your face... And every. single. bite. was totally worth it. By favorite was this chocolate espresso cookie. I'm a crunchy cookie type of girl, and this was a hybrid of gooey brownie encrusted by a meringue shell. wow. I bought several to bring home for my family for Valentine's Day. :)
And thus our trip came to an end. Five hours later (at midnight), we were back home, exhausted yet so inspired by what we've accomplished and by how much fun we all had. I hope to visit DC soon! There is still so much more to explore!
Have you ever been in Washington DC? What are your favorite spots?