Week-end Highlights: Pho, Poutine & Playing Tourist on the Mall

Happy Monday!! How was your first weekend of fall? Friday and Sunday were absolutely beautiful here in Washington. I really wish I had made some outdoorsy plans… or that I had a car so I could be spontaneous and go play outside of the city. But I still found ways to enjoy the beautiful weather.

SUNSET ROSÉ ON THE ROOF

I’d had a busy week and I wanted to go swimming Saturday morning (call it the post Olympics effect, but I’ve been going swimming at Dunbar Aquatic Center three times a week lately) so I took it easy Friday night and just enjoyed some rosé on the roof before watching the series premiere of Designated Survivor with the husband. I found a $8.99 bottle of Coteaux Varois, Mémoires rosé de Provence at my local liquor store and really liked it. I didn’t want to spend a lot of money on a bottle and this was a good value rosé.

Sunset rose on the roof

I love this pineapple wine tumbler I scored at Marshall’s for just $2.99!

I also really liked the first episode of Designated Survivor! The show marks Kiefer Sutherland’s return to television as a low-ranking cabinet official catapulted into the nation’s top job following an act of terrorism that kills all of the U.S. government during the state of the Union. I’m definitely going to watch the next few episodes! Have you seen it? Watched any other good new shows?

FOODIE SATURDAY (OH, AND ART ALL NIGHT TOO)

I was a bit upset Saturday because we were supposed to go to Barrel Oak Winery to celebrate a friend’s birthday but ended up having to excuse ourselves since we couldn’t arrange for transportation to the vineyard (the lesson here is don’t let your husband be in charge of those kinds of arrangement, even if he’s a former classmate of the birthday girl and good friends with her husband.) I was super bummed because I really wanted to get out of the city and would have love to spend the day outdoors, with friends, sipping wine. But I did end up slightly out of the city, in the suburbs, near Morningside, Maryland (where Andrews Air Force Base is) to try my friend Madalene’s family restaurant Pho Viet. I *love* pho and the weather was actually pretty perfect for a warm bowl of Vietnamese noodle soup. It was also super fun to chat with Madalene’s mom, one of the owners of the restaurant, and her sister who was in the kitchen making the soup that day. I actually I’m looking forward to cooler temperatures only so I can have more pho 😉

The #1 pho at Pho Viet in Morningside, MD

The #1 pho with brisket, tendons, meatballs and rare beef

The eating didn’t stop there 😉 Afterwards, my friends Cecile, Aparna and I checked into Le Diplomate for the last Saturday of their summer glaces and sorbets cart. The fromage blanc and strawberry ice cream were SO good but I guess summer is definitely over 😦 And for dinner I finally tried Haikan‘s mapo tofu poutine.

Mapo Tofu Poutine at Haikan in DC

Mapo Tofu Poutine at Haikan in DC

Ice cream from le Diplomate in DC

Ice cream from Le Diplomate

I’d been wanting to try it ever since the restaurant opened. I’m still on the fence about it though. I mean, having spent 4 years in Montreal, I’m always on the lookout for poutine here in DC but I think I’m more of a purist. The tofu just isn’t a good replacement for the cheese curds for me 😉 But still, it was an interesting twist on the dish. And while we were up in North End Shaw, we checked out Art All Night. Every year I tell myself that I’m not going to compare the event to the Nuit Blanche in Paris. But it’s hard not to. Yes, it’s fun to walk around your neighbourhood after hours and discover new businesses. It’s always fun to see Batala play and witness a new mural come up, but the art part of Art All Night just really isn’t there and it’s kind of the same thing year after year… There’s been a bit of controversy about this year’s event which was rebranded from Nuit Blanche | Art All Night to Art All Night: Made in DC but they really need to step it up if they want this to be more of a cultural event and not just a glorified evening block party. Putting a couple of DJs in restaurants and on empty parking lots, with some weak projections on the walls really doesn’t cut it. 

PLAYING TOURISTS ON THE NATIONAL MALL

Sunday was absolutely gorgeous and I reeeeeeally wanted to get out of the city!!! But alas, that wasn’t meant to be. So I did the next best thing I could think of and took a really walk around the National Mall. I’m so lucky that America’s backyard also happens to be mine! Altogether, I walked some 7 miles, stopping to catch some of the music performances at the Freedom Sounds Festival and take pretty pictures of the monuments. I still would have liked to escape the city for a bit, but this wasn’t bad 😉 

Picture Perfect day at the Tidal Basin

Picture Perfect day at the Tidal Basin

What’s your favourite way to escape the city when you simply can’t get out? Let me know in the comments!!

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