Smithsonian History and Ethnic Delights in Washington DC

I woke up for my third day in Washington, DC, well-rested. My room at the Embassy Suites Washington D.C. Chevy Chase Pavilion was large and comfortable.

I had come into Washington, DC to spend some time with my niece, Alea, and check out the activities and food in the area. There certainly is an abundance of both in our nation’s capital.

While Alea caught up on some school work in the morning I caught up on some writing, after another delicious breakfast. This Embassy Suite has one of the best complimentary breakfasts I’ve ever seen.

We met up at the Metro station just downstairs from the hotel in the afternoon and headed to downtown, not far from the White House.

Lunch was arranged at the Alfa Pie House, an authentic Greek casual restaurant with more options than I’d ever seen at similar restaurants.

Tina, the manager, greeted us and told us about the Greek pies, salads, and other dishes they had at Alfa. Everything looked delicious.

It was so hard to decide and we definitely ended up with too much as Tina continued to bring additional dishes for us to try.

I mentioned I love spinach pie and she brought a selection to choose from.

All were delicious, as were the cheese pies, an amazing Mediterranean Salad (marinated grilled vegetables with authentic Greek feta cheese crumble, grilled chicken, and a Mediterranean sauce).

She also brought me a dark chocolate filled mocha latte and we ate as much as we could, while watching locals come in to sit at a communal table.

It looked like a scene from My Big Fat Greek Wedding as friends and family sat around this big table, passing dishes of food.

We took a few bites of the best Baklava I’ve ever had before heading outside to see the sites.

We walked around the mall area, and past the Internal Revenue Service Building. The original plan called for taking a Potomac Riverboat Cruise through Washington Harbor.

It was a cool and rainy day in Washington we decided it would be a better day to go to Smithsonian Museums.

We started at the one I remembered most, the National Museum of American History.

Others had the same idea as the line was pretty long, but it moved quickly.

The first thing we saw were all the advertisements for the Dorothy’s Ruby Slippers Kickstarter.

It seemed the Wizard of Oz's Dorothy’s shoes had seen too many years and they were ready to be renovated!

The museum was filled with interactive activities for children, even toddlers. That was one thing I didn’t remember from my last visit when my daughter was still a kid.

We walked by those exhibits to check out some of the others. I was fascinated with History: 70s, where we saw displays on Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Oprah Winfrey, and even a history of Sesame Street.

An exhibit on slavery was interesting, as was the First Lady Exhibit, which had a dress from each first lady and information about each woman. It ranged from the china they picked for their White House term, to what they did accomplished while their husband was in office.

Another exhibit was truly relevant to me -- Food: Transforming the American Table. It examined everything from the inventing of TV Dinners to the influence of Julia Child and her television kitchen.

Also included was information on wine in all 50 states.

From the American History Museum, we headed to the NationalMuseum of Natural History, where there is a lot to see.

We strolled through the American Dinosaurs Exhibit, sections on owls, Geology Gems & Minerals, and Butterflies. I also loved the Elephant Discovery Station.

From the second floor of the Natural History Museum we also could see the building’s unique architecture.

We stayed until the museum closed and then headed to dinner at Ottoman Taverna. The décor here is beautiful and the food unique. It’s noted as Eurasian, but I found a lot of Turkish influence.

Our waiter was very helpful in picking out food and even suggesting a Turkish wine for me. The Massaya Blanc, a blend that includes Obeidi, Clairette, and Sauvignon Blanc, was perfect.

We started with a delicious soft, seeded bread with dips.

For an appetizer, Alea had Karides Güvec, a shrimp stew with saffron & tomato broth, garlic and herbs.

I had something that looked like egg rolls. Sigara boregi, was filled with cheese and herbs, and very good.

For a main course, Alea liked the chicken and I had a Lamb Stew special with Brussel sprouts.

The waiter also brought an eggplant dish in tomato sauce that we really liked.

We finished up with some an oven baked rice pudding, not too sweet or rich, but just right.

We took an Uber from the restaurant, dropping Alea at her dorm before taking me back to the Embassy Suites. It was time to get some rest before my final day in Washington, DC.


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