Although last month’s trip to DC ended on a sour note, every moment up until the break-in made this trip one for the books! As a reminder, Orvis won an Instagram contest through Preferred Hotels for a two night stay at The Jefferson – which we decided to take in December. We love telling people that Orvis won the contest, but we’ve noticed that it can sometimes be the source of some strange looks, especially among people who aren’t as weirdly obsessed with their pets as we are. In reality, a photo of Orvis was selected as one of eight photos of pets living what Preferred Hotels called “the preferred life,” but let’s get this straight – we definitely wouldn’t have won if Orvis weren’t so devastatingly handsome, right?
Orvis’s looks aside, we knew that our quick weekend in DC wouldn’t be one of our typical city getaways, filled with lots of meals out or time spent browsing museums and shops. Accompanied by Orvis for the weekend, we planned on partaking in more dog-related fun – walks around the city, spending lots of time outside, ordering room service in lieu of dining out as much, etc. We’re no strangers to taking Orvis along with us on trips, but those are usually to places with more trails and green spaces like Vermont. Besides a weekend in Boston, this was only his second trip to a larger city, but experiencing DC alongside him was one of the reasons the trip was such a memorable one for us. He made so many friends on our walks and had a number of fans at the hotel. One of my all-time favorite travel memories is now the night we ate room service at The Jefferson and fed him bits of bacon and french fries from our plates. The weather in DC that weekend was bone-chillingly cold, but traveling with him forced us to embrace the frosty weather and led to us having most of the monuments and sights to ourselves.
Here’s our short list of recommended spots from various neighborhoods in and around DC – each one worth a visit if you’re planning a future trip. If you have any DC must visits, we’d love to hear about them in the comments at the end of the post – these suggestions are always helpful to us and to readers planning future trips.
Dog-friendly to the extreme, The Jefferson welcomed a pup of Orvis’s size with open arms and an extra large dog bed in our room. He received plenty of smiles and attention from the staff, and loved exploring the Mall and going on long walks up and down Embassy Row, both just a few blocks away. Read more about our stay at The Jefferson here.
A late lunch at 2 Amys was our first stop when we pulled into town. Having visited this neighborhood Neopolitan pizza spot in NW DC back in 2011, we knew that we were in for a treat. This time around, we asked our waitress what to order to accompany our Margherita pizza, and her recommendations for the Suppli a Telefono (risotto balls) and Polpettine al Forno (meatballs) were spot on.
Grabbing breakfast before our walk through the charming Capitol Hill neighborhood was our first order of business on what was our only full day in DC, so we set out for District Donuts as early as our vacation brains allowed. Upon the suggestion of a helpful employee, we split three donuts – the Brown Butter, the Salted Dulce de Leche, and the highly-touted Vanilla Creme Brûlée. While we appreciated that the Vanilla Creme Brûlée wasn’t as overly sweet as we’d anticipated, and in general being longtime fans of anything salted caramel, our favorite was actually the Brown Butter, with its cinnamon sugar coating and brown butter icing.
While Michael’s cappuccino and my cup of tea from this Capitol Hill coffee shop-by morning, tasting menu restaurant-by night, perfectly warmed us up for our chilly walk, the real reason we fell hard for Pineapples & Pearls was the design of the space. Its varied tile patterns and sleek walnut cabinets, accented by touches of gold and bright pink, captivated us while we waited for our drinks.
With Orvis in tow on this trip, we planned on only eating one dinner out while we were in DC, and thankfully Estadio, a Spanish tapas restaurant in Logan Circle, was located close enough to The Jefferson that we felt comfortable leaving Orvis by himself while we grabbed a quick bite to eat. This worked out perfectly, and we ended up enjoying a wonderful meal at Estadio. I’m still dreaming about the first and last parts of our meals (my citrus & elderflower G&T and the churros served with a hot chocolate sauce), but everything we ordered in between (the open-faced jamon serrano + manchego, the croquetas, the seared scallops, the pork belly bocadillo, and more) was full of fantastic flavor. While we have Spanish-inspired restaurants and tapas places back home, we left the restaurant that night wishing that Portland had something a bit more like Estadio.
Though we now unfortunately associate our final meal of the trip at this Mt. Vernon Square cafe with the break-in, we really enjoyed our cozy, delicious breakfast there up until that point. We’d personally recommend any of the biscuits at A Baked Joint, either made into a sandwich, like the NC Country Ham, or simply enjoyed plain. And while it’s worth taking your time and eating inside the chic, open space, please do not park on nearby 4th Street – we were told by multiple locals that cars get broken into all the time on the street.
Photos by Meredith Perdue for Map & Menu.