Sunday, 14 July 2013

Power Lunch at the Old Ebbitt Grill

Lots of tourists and police milling around in front of the White House
A trip to Washington isn't complete without a trip to the White House. Unfortunately because of budget cuts, tourists aren't allowed in anymore, but we got the obligatory photo in front.

One of the bars at the Old Ebbitt Grill
The White House looks much smaller than you think, and if you look closely, there are snipers on the roof. They are there because you can see the tripods they have ready to place weapons on them for a clear shot. According to our chatty taxi driver, the snipers show up when US President Barack Obama is about to leave or come in.

There's lots of auxiliary police cars and security staff on hand around the area, though everyone there just wants a photo. Across the street is a lone protester who has lived in her tent there, protesting everyday for many years. She is calling for the end of nuclear weapons, but even though curious tourists visit her and see what she's protesting about, it doesn't seem like any of the presidents have listened to her.

The signature crab cakes on a bed of corn and tomato
Down at the end of the street is one of the more famous DC restaurants -- the Old Ebbitt Grill. It's an institution as it was established in 1856 by William E. Ebbitt who bought a boarding house. Since then has been the dining establishment of choice for presidents, senators and members of the house.

Once you walk in, it's very old school, with dark wood wall panelling, brass railings along the bar, red, white and blue-striped fabric draped around the dining area that is sectioned off for private conversation. The booth next to us seemed to be filled with lobbyists so we were in good company.

The hearty Reuben sandwich with pickles and fruit
The food is hearty American fare -- hamburgers, pasta, sandwiches, grilled fish and of course steak. One of the signature dishes is the crab cake which the waiter warned was a large portion and while they looked deceptively small, they were quite hearty, filled with meaty crab meat on a bed of corn and tomatoes.

We also had the Reuben, an extremely large rye bread sandwich filled with corned beef and sauerkraut, with pickles and fresh fruit on the side, the Italian sausage linguine and a trio of large shrimp tacos. We even got refills on our lemonade and coffee so by the end of the American-sized lunch, we were too full to even entertain dessert.

Service was great -- many tourists come here, and so the waiters are patient and are pleased to explain the history of the place. Hope to come back again and hang out in this power-broking restaurant.

An outside shot of the powerhouse dining establishment
Old Ebbitt Grill
675 15th Street NW
Washington DC
(202) 347 4800

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