Our friend Alice was also in town this week, and she spent the day with us on Saturday. We headed in toward the city, stopping in Arlington to eat lunch at Ray's Hell Burger. Ray's has the reputation of serving the best burgers in the DC area (or, quite possibly, anywhere), so I've been excited for a while to try it. The burgers are enormous, first of all, with 10 oz patties. You can order them grilled, encrusted with black pepper, or smothered with chipotle sauce. Toppings range from your standard American cheese, bacon, grilled onion fare to things like foie gras and double cream brie. I ordered a grilled burger with roasted garlic, apple smoked bacon, Swiss & white cheddar cheeses, roasted garlic spread, cognac & sherry sauteed mushrooms & bell peppers, tomato, lettuce, and probably something else I'm forgetting. Dear sweet burger gods was it ever good. And I didn't get hungry again until about 9:30pm (and that was after a whole afternoon of walking around, plus my near-constant ravenous state on account of the breast feeding). A burger for the ages, my friends. I will be going back.
So after stuffing ourselves to the gills, we rolled our way over to Max & Agnes's place and hung out there for a while. Then we all made our way down to the Tidal Basin to check out the famous cherry blossoms. And holy canoli were there a lot of people. I mean, I was expecting a crowd, but this was pretty insane. I'm actually sorry I didn't take pictures of the crowd for documentary purposes. (My usual instinct is to try and shoot around people in order to get as uncluttered a photo as possible, but in this case it would have actually been interesting to show just how many folks were out there.) Anyway. We got down to the water's edge, took a gander at the trees blooming all the way around the basin, and then wove our way back through the crowds to the National Mall, which was fairly empty by comparison. We sat on the grass near the Washington Monument, enjoying the beautiful weather and excellent company. It was really quite lovely. A long walk back through the city rounded out our evening. I'd be hard pressed to conceive of a more enjoyable day. :)
And then it was time for Shannon to head back home. Eleri & I accompanied her into DC to catch her bus, stopping to eat tasty Indian food for lunch at Union Station. Have I mentioned the remarkable food court in the basement of Union Station? (A quick search reveals to me that I have not.) I don't believe I've ever seen the like. In addition to the expected food court fare (Sbarro, Taco Bell, Burger King), there's an impressive array of international cuisine. Sushi, Cajun, Indian, Greek, Mongolian, Jamaican...not to mention burgers (Johnny Rocket's, not just BK) and wraps and pastas and gelato and whatever else I'm forgetting. You could probably have lunch there every day for a year and not eat the same meal twice.
It was really nice to have my cousin visiting! It's especially neat now that we're older and can relate to each other better than we could at, say, 7 and 11. It's fun to swap family stories and get a slightly different perspective on things than you get from your own parents and siblings. I really hope we're able to take her up on her offer to host us in NY sometime soon!
As for the kids, aside from being little snot-machines, they were pretty darned good with all the roaming hither and yon this weekend. Eleri had a few "Gah, I'm hungry and much too tired!" public meltdowns, but Soren behaved really well on the metro and at our other various destinations. He seems to make friends everywhere he goes, the gregarious little fellow. It's pretty amazing.