We ate brunch at Ted’s Bulletin twice during our visit to Washington DC. We weren’t willing to stray to try another restaurant when we had enjoyed our food and visit to Ted’s so much. I always enjoy a creatively laid out menu and their old-timey newspaper drew me right in.
And did you know? You can dance half an hour on just two slices of bread? Ah, those old advertisements sure know how to draw you in.
One of the delightful things that Ted’s is known for are their (seasonal) homemade pop-tarts. Homemade pop-tarts. I know. We sampled four out of the six current options and were not disappointed. Let me take you on a photo journey of our choices.
Chocolate nutella pop-tart.
Blueberry cheesecake pop-tart.
Brown sugar cinnamon pop-tart.
Toasted coconut pop-tart.
Sure the other food was good, too – but the pop-tarts were the thing that stole the show at each of our brunches. The flavours rotate depending on the season. I can only imagine how good the autumnal ones are. I definitely recommend a visit if you’re visiting DC; be forewarned it will be packed! Put your name in and go for a walk or grab a coffee while you drool in anticipation.
Not all pizzas are created equal. Cooked in wood-burning ovens. Crusts shaped into hearts on a whim. The cheese, oh goodness, the freshness of the cheese.
The singular version is cannolo, but who is ever ordering just one? Eating fresh cannoli will rekindle any love affair you have previously had with ricotta cheese.
Brioche with Gelato
I know, I know. Gelato is delicious, you say. I agree. But you know what is even more amazing? Gelato smooshed inside buttery eggy layers of freshly baked brioche. It is the ice cream sandwich of your dreams.
Cappuccino / Coffee
Coffee is cheaper than water so dive in. (I’m wary of ordering cappuccinos in Toronto because they are often poorly made lattes in disguise.) Not the case in Italy; I didn’t have one sub-par cappuccino.
The Library of Congress is amazing. Of course, as an entity it is United States’ national library, the research library of Congress, and the oldest federal cultural institution in the United States. It is one of the two largest libraries in the world (by shelf space and number of books). And it doesn’t just include printed works but audio as well! Take a list on the National Jukebox and explore the old recordings.
I had no idea the building would be as gorgeous as it is. Even if you’re a library hater (seriously?! I don’t think this is the blog for you) – I would recommend a visit. It’s (mostly) physically located in three buildings on Capitol Hill which are connected by underground passageways so that you only need to pass through security once in a single visit.
The Thomas Jefferson building is stunning and filled with sculptures, murals and inspirational quotes about books, reading, and knowledge. You’re able to look down into the Reading Room from up above and if you have a LoC library card, you can go in (!) as well as request materials. Only high-ranking officials are allowed to remove reading materials from the reading rooms.
I could have spent days here. Next time, with my LoC library card in hand, maybe I will. They have an entire room devoted entirely to family trees and genealogy, which I think could be a fascinating project. Applying and receiving a library card is a relatively basic procedure (20-30 minutes) and is hands down, the happiest I’ve ever looked on an ID card.
There’s a familiarity to seeing iconic buildings and memorials that feels so comfortable. These places have always been a part of the political landscape represented in pop culture. When we visited the Lincoln Memorial, I was overtaken with emotion. The immensity of the classic Greek architecture towers around you. There are 36 columns, one for each of the 36 states in the Union at the time of Lincoln’s assassination.
The statue of Lincoln himself is much larger than I had realized. If the statue Lincoln was to stand, he would be 28 feet tall. The interior has inscriptions from Lincoln’s second inaugural address and his Gettysburg Address.
It is for us the living rather to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced.
Big Sur is beautiful. We’ve been before but it was brief and we were exhausted from travel. This time we were looking forward to exploring, taking in the green scenery and breathing easy a bit more.
California State Parks in general are a lot of fun. If we lived in California and had a car natch, I think an annual day pass would be a lot of fun for exploration. Maybe that’s just ‘Vacation Me’ talking.
We went for a hike and while some of the signs pointed us in the same general direction, eventually there was a fork in the road where we had to choose. In the end we decided to hike to both. Not wanting to overpack, I was wearing non-hiking-appropriate footwear (Vans) but was careful in picking my path when extra tread might have been more helpful.
The air was dry and it was warm by the time we wound back around to Valley View. The tree cover provided shade for most of the hike until we emerged to a long range view of the dense forests. As always, I’m a sucker for macros and textures. Curly moss and bark of two different trees. Shoes covered in dry summer dust, we came back to the site where our cute yellow tent was set up to play some cards until dinner time.
I heard about Jade Cove Beach while combing Yelp reviews for our trip to California. Being coastal adventurers appealed to me, so I added it to the list of things we might check out during our drive up &/or down the California coast in October 2012.
It is likely you will miss the shoulder turn-out that is nearest Jade Cove Beach. We did, but managed to pull off 1/2 mile up the road & trek back by foot to the trail head.
Ooh, look down there. At first you will find yourself on a meandering trail along the top of a bluff. & then you will find yourself doing switchbacks and the trail gets steep. & then…then, you find a rope that some kind benefactor has tied so you can have the fake confidence as you rappel down the side.
Yes. You heard me: rappel.
Once you’re down there, there are a bunch of tide pools to climb to and explore.
My favorite seaweed finds.
Below is me on the climb back up, hoping that this rope is tied as secure as I want it to be. Real shoes definitely recommended. It isn’t the place for a lot of loose accessories or bags.
There’s no official ‘Coastal Adventurer’ badge handed out once you reach the top again, but there might as well be! What a remote little find on the California coast.
Crystal Cove is one of my favorite places to visit in California because like so many state parks and beaches, there are a ton of different nooks and crannies to explore.
The weather on this trip was grey and overcast, perfect for a misty walk.
The cliffs have amazing textures and colors caused by the erosion of the waves.
If I hadn’t taken pictures of this, I wouldn’t have believed we saw it washed up on shore. Look at those teeth! I think it was an eel before it met its bloated and untimely demise.
And if you’re feeling adventurous enough, you can go explore potential tide-pools. The tide was a little too high this time around.
A trip to California most definitely means a trip to In-N-Out. In this case, four trips. We covered a lot of ground & when in doubt for a place to eat, we sought out the nearest location for a inexpensive meal. I’ve mentioned it before: In-N-Out is pretty great. I like secret codes. I like fresh ingredients. I like consistency.
October 13th: Sure, our eyes are always bigger than our stomachs on our first trip. SO GOOD. The lady at the table next to us couldn’t contain herself (I also don’t think she had ever seen them ‘animal style’ – with the sauce, sauteed onions, & cheese). She finally asked, “Are you two really going to eat all that?” & I grinned and said “Yes.. it’s delicious.” She gave a disapproving stare. Later she proceeded to steal fries from her teenage daughter’s tray. What a weird world we live in.
October 16th: Taken halfway through eating because I realize In-N-Out is fun to document.
October 19th: You can tell as the trip progressed, we’ve really honed our orders to exactly what we want. We often share fries which is why one is ‘animal style’ & one isn’t.
October 21st: Our last visit was on the day before we flew back to Toronto. Our last kick at the can was a straight forward one. When in doubt, our beverage of choice is a Neapolitan milkshake or a Dr. Pepper.
On our drive up the coast, we stopped by to explore Santa Monica Pier & have a picnic lunch. There is a carousel from the 1920′s, an aquarium, arcade, trapeze school & tourist shops.
A highlight was seeing two Zoltar fortune telling machines standing guard outside the arcade. (“I wish I were big.” & yes, I got a fortune…and was very careful to not make any erroneous wishes during the process.
I grew up sandwiched between a cluster of suburban beach towns. San Clemente is one of those towns. It is known for nice climate, Spanish colonial architecture (nothing like a good ol adobe roof tile) & being the “Western White House” for a post-resignation Richard Nixon in the process of writing his memoirs.