Hiking along waterfalls and fall foliage on Shenandoah’s Rose River Loop Trail
Enjoying a relaxing cabin fall getaway in the mountains of Shenandoah National Park
After our Pups in the Park baseball game adventure, Quinn could not wait to get out of there. Sean and I weren’t quite ready to go home, so we ventured in the Navy Yards area by the stadium.
This new development in DC is really nice. There is a boardwalk running along the water and a pretty park lined with trees that have long flowy branches. I feel like I should be sipping a mint julep underneath this tree…
There are also a range of fun new restaurants here. We did a little research ahead of time and found a dog-friendly restaurant called Due South that had an outdoor patio and good food reviews.
Due South serves Southern-style comfort food, so we were excited to eat some down home stuff like pimento cheese and grits and fried chicken.
Here’s what we ordered.
We started with the jalapeno squash hush puppies. These were so good… I don’t think I’ve had hush puppies in about 20 years and the last time was from Captain D’s during Lent or something.
We also ordered the bacon burger with pimento cheese and onion rings and a side of crispy fries. The fries came with a special sauce that combined practically every condiment in your fridge including ketchup, mustard, relish, mayonnaise, horseradish, capers, Tabasco, Worchestershire, etc. It was really good and you should try to make this at home.
Finally, wanting to be somewhat healthy, we felt it was important to order a salad. This one was sort of Mexican inspired. It had kale, pumpkin seeds, Cotija cheese, carrots, and avocado. Actually, it was really delicious, and I don’t think it was healthy at all. We’ve made a few versions of this at home since this meal.
To reward Quinn for his good behavior at the restaurant, we gave him lots of fries under the table.
We don’t venture into this part of DC very often as it’s quite far away from where we live. But this was a very nice outing for the family. If you find yourself at Pups in the Park sometime and you’re looking for a dog-friendly restaurant nearby, try out Due South.
A few times a year, Nationals Stadium in DC hosts a baseball event called Pups in the Park. Basically, it’s a bring your dog to the game kind of event. There’s Quinn wearing his special Nationals bandana, special ordered just for the occasion.
We’d been trying to do this with Quinn for a while, but it’s hugely popular and sells out fast. Thankfully, we managed to get tickets and got to experience the game with our pooch and all the other dog-loving crazies out there. Yes, it was pandemonium.
This turned out to be so much fun. Dogs just lend such a different vibe to things, no? I thought we’d be relegated to the very top cheap seats, but we had a whole canine section in the stands to ourselves. Yes, we had to buy a seat for Quinn.
This was great for people and dog watching. There were dogs everywhere of every breed and size. You can imagine all the variety, right? Look closely below– there’s a little dog wearing an Uncle Sam outfit.
You can also imagine all the funny stuff going on… people taking selfies with their dogs, puppies sitting in laps watching the game, doggies eating cotton candy, throwing up popcorn, whining and trying to play …
I think owning a dog is a great connector. We realized we’re just like all the other dog lovers out there.
Even though Sean and I had a blast, Quinn unfortunately hated this event. He didn’t want to sit in his seat or interact with any of his new doggy friends. All he wanted to do was eat pretzel with nacho cheese sauce and then cower underneath the seat.
Of course, Quinn was our favorite dog there, but I did fall in love with this little pup wearing his special jersey.
Early Autumn is such a great time in the DC area. The weather is still warm, the late afternoon sunlight is pretty, and the streets are festive. It’s really fun to head into the city after work for a happy hour and dinner.
On one recent Friday, we met up in Dupont Circle. We’d been wanting to try OKI Bowl, a ramen restaurant featuring inspiration from Thai, Korean, and Japanese flavors. Since we love all three of those cuisines, we knew we couldn’t go wrong. On a side note, since we’ve been back to the States, we’ve only had ramen once.
First though, we started with a drink at the Irish Whisky Public House to remind ourselves of Ireland (yes, Ireland is still in our minds) Sean had a Smithwicks as usual, and I went for the Hard Cider sangria.
This place has a open big patio in front and we were lucky to get a seat out there. It’s got tons of atmosphere and so much more fun to watch everyone walk by on the street than being cooped up inside.
After unwinding a bit from the work week here and feeling famished, we headed over to OKI Bowl.
This place has a fun interior and don’t even get me started on the bathroom. (The walls are completely covered in mechanical parts and blinking lights).
Honestly, we sort of felt like we were back in Japan, what with Hello Kitty girl and Orion beer and all…
For starters, we ordered the gyoza which had distinctive thai flavors. They were different from what I’m accustomed to in Japan, but we enjoyed them nonetheless.
We both ordered ramen for our main course. Sean got the Thai coconut milk version which sort of tasted like Tom Yum soup. I went for traditional with miso pork broth.
Overall, this place felt like a Japanese izakaya and my ramen was a pretty good approximation of what I remember from ramen in Okinawa. We’re so happy we found a place that we can go to for our Japanese fix in the States.
This past Sunday, Sean and I attended a really special event in Alexandria, Virginia.
It was the Arcadia Farm dinner fundraiser for Veteran farmers.
We couldn’t have asked for a more beautiful day and setting! For several hours, we dined al fresco at long tables on the lawn. Much of the food was grown and raised on the farm; some of it was donated by local restaurants and bakeries. Several local chefs freely gave their time to prepare the delicious meals.
Sean and I were some of the first people to arrive (not surprising, we’re always way early). We were welcomed at the entrance with our choice of two types of drinks. I never caught what they were exactly, but one had rum and the other champagne. Of course, we tried one of each.
Drinks in hand, we strolled around the farm, eating a few nice appetizers that were passed on trays to guests including salmon on zuchinni fritters, bacon wrapped dates, and these shrimp with goat cheese on cucumbers.
Soon, it was time for dinner and the Governor of Virginia, Terry McCauluffe, said a few words about this special program supporting Veteran farmers.
Ready for dinner, we took our seats at the long table and found ourselves next to the most interesting people. We actually had so much in common with everyone around us, since we all had some kind of military connection and some experience living and working overseas.
Now, on to the most important part. The food!
Our meal had 6 different courses, and I can’t even remember everything because it came out so fast and by then, the wine was free flowing into our glasses.
The food was presented family style on beautiful platters, and I managed to get a few shots.
Not pictured are a Thai squid salad, sweet potato porridge, and the trio (yes, there were 3 of them) of desserts! The sweets included chocolate zucchini cake, apple pie, and peach pie.
As the sun went down, the staff brought out candles, and we dined with flickering lights all around us. It was the perfect evening and perfect way to round out the end of summer (sad face here)
Every year, we make a pilgrimage all the way to Baltimore.
This Shrimp Bread from Amicci’s in Little Italy.
The concept is really simple. Take a round loaf of bread, slather it with garlic and butter and toast until crunchy, pour a creamy shrimp scampi sauce all over it. Eat!
Our friend Tom introduced us to this decadent dish a few years back and it’s become one of our favorites on this side of the country. They have outdoor seating too, so Quinn was able to come along.
In addition to the shrimp bread, we always go for green and something new each time. This year, it was the antipasto platter, featuring cheeses and a selection of tasty charcuterie.
After stuffing ourselves into a carb coma, we walked around the Fell’s Point area of Baltimore, admiring all the local scenes. With its vape shops, tattoo parlors, and colorful characters, Fell’s Point somewhat reminds me of Ocean Beach, San Diego, my old stomping ground.
I really wish I had gotten a picture of the drunken bachelorette party of 10 lumbering by in one of those Beer Cycles all singing “Say my name, say my name” by Destiny’s Child.
This part of town is extremely dog-friendly as you can see. Kooper has his own tavern named after him.
All the bars and cafes lining this street had water bowls outside for the pooches and welcoming chairs for owners to sit in while people watching.
Thanks shrimp bread and Baltimore. You never disappoint.