Tell us about yourself and what you do for a living?
I’m an elected member on the DC State Board of Education, where I focus my work around advancing literacy for local students. I also help manage my neighborhood farmers market in Georgetown.
How long have you been living in DC?
This is my hometown. I moved back in 2015 after graduate school.
What are your favorite places to go for a cocktail and/or dinner?
DC has great international cuisine. My husband and I like Kafe Leopold for authentic Austrian, Thai X-ing for traditional home-style Thai, and Das for posh Ethiopian. We also like Thip Khao for Laotian, and Lapis for Afghani. Our favorites for American-style foods are Farmers Fishers Bakers on the Georgetown waterfront and Blue Duck Tavern in West End. If the weather is nice, ask to be seated outside in the garden terrace. I also like the back garden at Maketto, sometimes starting my mornings there over coffee and ending my evenings in the same seat over mushroom bao. They serve excellent Cambodian-Taiwanese fusion. I also love to bike up the hill to Mt. Pleasant for a night out at Suns Cinema. It’s a one-screen independent movie theater with a small bar serving eclectic cocktails. Of the new restaurants that opened during the pandemic, my favorites are Imperfecto for their chef’s table and mastiha cocktails, Annabelle for their garden room with cascading ivy, and Apéro for their champagne and caviar.
What cultural attractions are a must see for visitors to DC?
I went to Smithsonian summer camp as a kid, and I continue to love the museums here. The Renwick Gallery and National Portrait Gallery never disappoint me when I’m looking to entertain visitors looking to do a quick tour. Another must-see is the National Museum of African American History and Culture. If you have two more hours, I also wouldn’t miss a chance to tour the Library of Congress. DC’s culture doesn’t only revolve around the federal government. The Hamilton, Howard Theatre, and Blues Alley showcase DC’s jazz.
A friend is coming to DC for the first time… Please describe the perfect weekend.
Start the day at the Lincoln Memorial watching the sunrise over the National Monument. There’s a lot more to see around the Tidal Basin: Jefferson Memorial, Vietnam Veterans Memorial, Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial, National World War II Memorial, etc. If you don’t want to walk, it’s also nice to see these sites from a paddleboat. Head north to see the White House and progress to lunch at the Lafayette, or afternoon tea at the InterContinental Hotel’s Peacock Alley. Take a pause from all the walking with a massage at the Unwind Wellness Center. Ask for Marco at the Georgetown location or Max in Adams Morgan. Celebrate happy hour at Trade or Number Nine, then find a Flower Factory Party (a queer DJ collective) or go out dancing at Town 2.0. Recover the next morning with a croissant from Seylou, right by the “Love” mural in Blagden Alley.
What are the best places to truly enjoy the natural beauty of the area?
The U.S. National Arboretum not only exhibits hundreds of thousands of specimens of local flora, but also offers to transport you to other parts of the U.S. and Asia with the National Grove of State Trees and the National Bonsai and Penjing Museum. I also recommend driving to Great Falls to see dramatic cascading waterfalls. I prefer the Maryland side (vs. the Virginia side) because I like to stop for a meal at the Old Angler’s Inn, which first opened in 1860. Or, take a canal boat through Georgetown on the Chesapeake & Ohio Canal. The canal boat is coming back for the first time after a 10-year hiatus.
What is your favorite time of year in DC and why?
I recommend visiting in the fall. You’ll get to see the city without jostling for space with other tourists. If you’re bookish like me, you might also want to catch the Library of Congress National Book Festival in September. Other great times to visit are during the National Cherry Blossom Festival in the spring, and the Capital Pride Parade in the summer.
What’s one souvenir to bring back for friends or family?
DC flag paraphernalia, which you can find all over the city.