#183 - Old Ebbitt Grill, Washington DC

A few weeks ago I was back home in Maryland visiting family and friends. My friend Kara lives in North Carolina, but occasionally comes to town when she knows I'm going to be there. This was one of those times, and we had a 2-day funtivities excursion.  Our funtivities are a lot more tame now than they were in college...probably a good thing. The first day we did Annapolis, visited Heather in College Park, and went to the Washington Nationals game.  The second day we toured DC, hitting a lot of spots neither of us had been to in a really long time. We went to the Jefferson Memorial, Arlington National Cemetery, the Capital, and the Supreme Court. We got to the Capital too late to do a tour, but they were in session and we saw about 40 black Suburbans with tinted windows, waiting on the senators. I stopped to talk to the cops and they asked if we wanted to go in and watch whatever they were voting on.  I would rather watch paint dry, and they found that really funny. I was serious. I'm not sure if you can ever go into the Supreme Court building, but it was pretty cool. 

We walked EVERYWHERE. Well, we took the metro to Arlington because it's way too far to walk. But other than that, we walked. And it was blazingly hot. Thank goodness we were both smart enough to wear running gear. According to the pedometer on my phone we covered 13 miles. That's an entire half marathon. 

If you've never seen the Changing of the Guard at Arlington Cemetery, you need to go. It's one of the most moving things I've ever seen. It's a very elaborate, exacting ceremony that takes less than 5 minutes, and all the spectators remain standing and completely silent. I was melting during the ceremony, so I can't even imagine how hot they get in full dress.

By the time we toured the cemetary and took the metro back to DC we were starving. I looked on restaurant.com to see if I could find someplace for us to go, but nothing caught our eye. Instead we decided to go to Old Ebbitt Grill.

Old Ebbitt Grill opened in 1856, and is the oldest bar in Washington DC. It's moved locations around DC several times over the years, and is now just a couple blocks from the White House. So it's no surprise to see politicians eating there. The walls are dark paneling, it's white tablecloths at lunch and dinner, and the servers all wear white shirts with suspenders, bow ties, and long white aprons. The decorations are ornate, with large paintings on the walls

Photo courtesy of about.com
We were 100% underdressed for eating here. But, it was a late lunch, and it's the height of tourist season in DC. So we decided not to care. 

First up, lots of water. Then, it was time for a beverage.  To beat the heat, we went light and crisp with prosecco

I'm a big fan of prosecco.  It's not as sweet as champagne, but it has all the bubbles. And it's very refreshing. 

We decided to start with oysters. They change up the oysters daily, and since we were on the East coast we went with the ones from New England and Maine

Ice cold, fresh, and delicious. The vinegar sauce was really good as well.  I've had some that is really overpowering with the vinegar, but this one had a really nice balance.  It was interesting that they put the horseradish directly into the cocktail sauce.  I've never seen that before.  The down side to that is you can easily get way too big a chunk of horseradish.

Kara raved about the burgers, and they use locally raised beef. Who can pass up on that?! We both went with the regular burgers. Kara added American cheese and sauteed mushrooms

I added bleu cheese and sauteed onions, and added sriracha mayo mayo on the side

The burger was awesome.  It was cooked to a perfect medium, and was very tender and juicy. I've never seen sauteed onions on the side before...usually they just put them on the burger. But they give you a whole lot of onions. So maybe that's a good thing. 

I'm a huge french fry snob. I have no qualms asking restaurants (both sit down and fast food) to bring fresh fries when the ones I get aren't up to my standards. I have to say I was quite disappointed with these fries.  They had good flavor, and were the thickness that I like, but they were just lukearm. I'm pretty sure we got at or near the bottom of the batch. I'm not sure why I didn't send them back. Probably because I was starving, and we still had a lot to do in our day. 

Will I go back? Definitely. I love the atmosphere, and the food was really good. Besides, I need to give the french fries another chance.