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Washington DC: 24 Hours

I survived 60 blissfully drunken nights in Washington, DC the summer before my senior year of college.  During the day, I stumbled to my internship at a lobbying firm and by night… well, who knows where I stumbled.   It was one of the best summers of my life full of memories and laughs.  I can’t say I made any lifelong friends but, as it turns out, I lived only blocks from my future husband.  We frequented the same bars and neighborhood Chipotle – I want to think that’s the true first meeting, both of us reaching for the same smoked Tabasco.   But we probably didn’t share a moment in DC – at least not that we can remember – and it’s probably for the best.  We met 6 ½ years later.  But for our first wedding anniversary we thought what better place to celebrate than our beloved DC.

We took a tour at 3 Stars Brewing Company, a self-proclaimed DIY brewery.  The atmosphere was relaxed, the staff was excited and they have rotating food vendors – the bbq was delicious.  And most importantly, the beers are worth the visit.  They have a good mix of full-bodied, high ABV brews (Ebony & Ivory and Pandemic Imperial Porter) and easy drinking, good flavored session beers.  Our tippling continued at Meridian Pint, The Big Hunt (for memory sake) and 2 Birds, 1 Stone – if you can find it, the cocktails are excellent.

The highlights from our trip definitely were the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden and Komi (yes, we got in!).  Part of the Smithsonian Institution, the Hirshhorn is a free museum found near the National Mall.  Its collection focuses on contemporary and modern art and includes some heavy hitters but I found even the obscure (to me) artists to be engaging.  Each of the three floors plays host to a rotating exhibit.  When we went the features were the ‘DAYS OF ENDLESS TIME’ which presents a sense of timelessness through the use of digital media installations.  This was the first digital media exhibit I’ve really enjoyed and you truly get a feeling of suspended time while viewing.  ‘AT THE HUB OF THINGS: NEW VIEWS OF THE COLLECTION’ was on the 3rd floor and as the title suggests, emphases the impact of the Hirshhorn Museum as a center point for bringing artists and viewers together.  I would’ve paid to see each of these exhibits but what makes the Hirshhorn so wonderful is that great installations are carefully presented at zero cost to you.  If you’re in the DC area and looking for something to do, take a visit.  My pictures are here if you need more inspiration.

And now the food – Komi.  If you’re from the Baltimore-DC-Northern Virginia metropolitan areas and haven’t heard of this culinary spectacle then I take it you aren’t a self-proclaimed foodie like the rest of us.  Actually, I’m not (maybe I wish I was?); my husband got the recommendation from a colleague.  Komi restaurant is a multi-course (14 or so) tasting menu which changes by the month/week/day.  Part of the mystique is not knowing what you will be served; we weren’t given a food menu at any point during the night.  This isn’t supposed to be your run of the mill dining experience.  And the price tag isn’t cheap, either ($135/person + optional $70/person wine pairing); understandably so, it’s a little too steep for some when you have no guarantee what you’ll be eating.  You can, however, easily find reviews on-line which will give you some idea.

If you decide you’re in for this lavish night, plan ahead.  We dined at Komi on November 8th.  I called Komi’s reservation line at 12:10p on October 8th, waited on hold for 40 minutes (no lie) and was offered the 5:30p or the 9:15p seating (read through Komi’s reservation guidelines on their website).  I grabbed the later seating which means we finally left the restaurant after midnight.  Yes, you are dining for 3+ hours but the meal progresses from small, one bite dishes to pasta to a shared meat to a couple desserts.  All of this might seem like a ton of food, and it was a lot, but definitely not too much.  Even your main pasta and meat dishes aren’t huge and meant to be enjoyed in a few bites.  Everything is well conceived and well-spaced – I thought the timing between plates was perfect.

The restaurant is unassuming and intimate, although I was expecting the space to be more modern, which I felt would have better complimented the food and the unpretentious staff.   I can’t share the obligatory food pic, Komi asks that you not take any photos and for the most part we followed the rules (see above blurry pic).  I can tell you we enjoyed every single bite, but was the meal worth the lofty price?  That’s up to you; for us on our first anniversary, yes.   It was an experience which we enjoyed gluttonously.  Our next stop in DC?  Hopefully, Rose’s Luxury.  If you’ve been what’s the secret to getting a table?

Grid Walking Tip: need a brunch spot?  I picked Nage solely because of the Kill It Skillet which I read about on this Thrillist post.  It was as good as advertised.

Let me know what you think!