Inauguration lit DC up! Rice, myself, and our partners headed into the cold to watch our new President take the oath. I know the post is a little late, but better late than never, right?
We started our day, bright and surly, getting up at 5ish am. We braved the traffic jam to the parking structure and were on the Metro by 6:30 (not too shabby). You can tell by the looks on our faces that we were actually pleased with ourselves.
There was a little craziness on the Metro once we got to L’Enfant Plaza.
We lost Rice and her partner sometime during the madness. It was ok, because they were WAAAAAAY up at the front with the fancy ticket holders. Me and my partner were WAAAAAAY in the middle with the common folk. One thing we had going for us that Rice did not was the food.
I approve of 7:00 am pulled pork and BBQ brisket. The heat lamps were mostly for the cooks. While it was pretty frigid out, the food was flying so fast that it didn’t even get cool before you got it.
It didn’t stop there. They were frying up a storm too! I have no idea what they were making, but it smelled sooooo good! I’m pleased to say, it looked like they were doing such good business that they changed the fryers regularly (or at least poured new oil in frequently).
Everyone was in a great mood. We got our eats and headed over to the hot chocolate stand. It really wasn’t worth taking a picture of Swiss Miss in a cup, so here’s another of the grilling guys. As you can see, there is no more food in front of the cashier.
After we got our BBQ it was a long wait until things got going. The sun was still peeking over the Smithsonian. Thanks to Rice, we had hand and foot warmers. And boy were they needed!
There was a big jumbotron right in front of us, so really, we could see all the things that Rice could see (maybe even more!). People started to get excited when the inauguration began.
People went really crazy when Obama came on. Most of my shots of the jumbotron were pretty stupid, I mean, it’s a photo of a photo. But, I have to say, I was pretty excited about this one. Plus, there were other idiots taking photos of it too.
Once the Inaug was over, we thought it would be as smooth getting home as it was in the morning. And why not? In Chicago, my home city, they move a million people after the 4th of July fireworks and Taste of Chicago, right? Wrong. Here is the path we took to get on a Metro, complete with jumping barricades and crawling under fences.
For context, the blue line is our path in the morning, from Metro, to the grilling station, to where we ended up standing (2 blocks underneath the A on Washington). The red line marks our path back to the metro. We went from the mall, up to 12th street and Constitution, back down to the Mall, up to 14th and Constitution, back to 12th, underneath the mall, up on the 12th street on-ramp near L’Enfant Plaza. This is where my partner and I had to jump barricades and hop fences, as evidenced here:
This actually was the fastest path, as there was a sea of people heading to the closed L’Enfant Plaza Metro. We then walked on E st SW, up to Federal Center SW Metro (which was so mobbed it wasn’t worth it), cutting over on D then Washington Ave, then to Capitol South Metro, which was also mobbed, then down Penn Ave to Eastern Market (which was relatively empty, it’s on 7th SE, for those counting blocks). This is when we realized that hopping on the orange or blue line wouldn’t really help us. We were parked on the green line and would have to right back into the city. So we headed north all the way around the Capitol to Union Station Metro, which was also mobbed. At this point, we were getting hungry again. We walked to H and 5th St NW to our favorite Chinese restaurant in the city: Chinatown Express.
Chinatown Express has the most amazing noodles I have ever tasted. Take that Italian eateries! These melt in your mouth. There is a guy in the very front window, facing the street, that stands and makes noodles and dumplings all day long. If I wasn’t getting married, I might court this guy. Behold:
These are the greatest tasting things ever. Their pot stickers and steamed pork and leek dumplings are out of this world. I always – ALWAYS – order their fried seafood noodles. My fiance took me for my birthday and said I could order anything on the menu – even market priced items. What did I order? $9.99 noodles.
Anyway, we were so hungry, we forgot to take pictures of our own food. So, here is a photo of some yummy looking duck from the window. Below you can see duck by itself and with some what I think is squid, but I’m not sure.
I also snuck photos of other people’s food. They’re eating the famous noodles, both in soup and fried.
Next we have another soup – I have no idea what – and their General Tso’s Chicken. We really enjoy their GT’s Chicken, fully knowing it’s not “authentic” Chinese. Whatever. If it’s yummy, it’s yummy.
You will know Chinatown Express not only from the dumpling/noodle man, but also from the things hanging in the window. We’ve had the duck. It’s salty, but pretty fabulous.
As a warning, Chinatown express doesn’t really have the greatest ambiance. The bathrooms are kinda dirty. But, you can see the area by the dumpling/noodle man as you walk in. So you know that’s clean. To give you a better idea, Zagat’s gives Chinatown Express a 20 for food, 5 for decor, and a 14 for service. It’s a dive, but man… is it good!
We eventually made it back home by 7pm. I haven’t been that exhausted in ages. We were in bed by 10 (which is a feat for us, as we’re usually up past midnight on a work night). The experience was totally worth it. It was exciting, heart-warming, and yummy! That said, we won’t be doing it again.
Here’s one last shot of the dumpling man and his magical hands.