I’ve been doing a fair amount of travelling for work lately. Luckily I was able to avoid the pitfall of eating shitty food on the road. Here’s what stood out.
When I first landed in Washington (interesting city, by the way) my hotel wasn’t ready so I needed to kill a couple of hours. I was starving and went looking for a bite. I was about to give up and eat a Starbucks snack, but happened upon Graffiato and took a seat at the bar. I was pretty happy with where I’d landed: cool spot, nice staff, excellent music (Led Zeppelin, Tool, Queens of the Stone Age, White Stripes, Nirvana, old Smashing Pumpkins, etc.) on the speakers, and an interesting beer & wine list — I had a Southern Tier IPA and an Anne Amie Amrita Cuvee 2011 Viognier blend from Oregon. I ended up back there the following night; I had the Brooklyn Oktoberfest and Shipyard Pumpkinhead while listening to The Talking Heads, Rolling Stones, The Pixies, and The Proclaimers.
I got to hang out at the POV Lounge for a while, overlooking the White House and Treasury and other Washington sites, and have dinner at The Hamilton. And when I kind of couldn’t take any more interaction at my conference I went down the street to Brasserie Beck to have some excellent beers: I know I had a Van Eecke Cuvée Watou and a double dry hopped Poperings Hommelbier; after that I stopped keeping track.
Finally, after an airport snafu had me waiting in Dulles airport for several hours, I was lucky to come across Vino Volo, a wine bar in terminal B. I had a Tabali 2011 Reserva Viognier from Chile and an Emerson 2009 Willamette Valley Pinot Noir from Oregon, and a Chardonnay that I forgot to write down. Between that, free wifi, excellent food, and a perfect view of the runway, it was a miraculous find.
It’s been seven years since my last visit to England, and unfortunately I didn’t have much time to really enjoy London this time around. However, the company I was visiting had arranged some excellent meals for us…some excellent coffee too, as I was able to have a flat white or three for the first time since our visit to Australia last year, courtesy of Taylor St.
Most impressive was The Hawksmoor, a restaurant with the menu and decor of a classic steakhouse, but with a badass young staff. We ate as a large group, meaning the apps and wine were communal, but the Tamworth belly ribs were the the standout starter. My enormous & rare bone-in sirloin covered in Béarnaise sauce was tremendous, as was the sticky toffee pudding. We all left nearly bursting at the seams…what a great meal.
The next day most of us had lunch at the nearby Jamie’s Italian, but none of us really had much room. Still, I managed to somehow force down some tagliatelle bolognese before heading to Heathrow for my flight home.
All this travel happened in the span of about nine days, so I was pretty wiped when I arrived home late Friday night. I’m just glad I got to try some decent new places and avoid fast food.
Photo by Bill in DC, used under Creative Commons license