Cherry Blossoms (Sakura Kanji) a Bloomin’

This weekend I had the chance to enjoy the few remaining cherry blossom trees (translated sakura kanji in Japanese) while visiting friends in D.C.

On Friday night, my friends took me to the Capital City Brewing Company on 1100 New York Avenue Northwest (http://www.capcitybrew.com), D.C.’s first “brewpub” since 1992 which offers signature brews including Amber Waves (haha, get it?!),  Capital Kolsch, Pale Rider and Prohibition Porter. The idea is that dedicated brewers use fresh yeast and select malts to create and brew ales, lagers and pilsners and as they are able to closely oversee the brewing process, the result is a fresh beer brought to your table a few hours after completion. I opted for the Capital Kolsch, a 2002 Gold Medal Winner at the American Beer Festival and a German ale with 10% wheat malt which was quite hearty. My friend chose the seasonal Cherry Blossom Ale – interesting:

Cherry Blossom Ale at Capital City Brewing Company

Capital Kolsch at Capital City Brewing Company

For my meal I selected the black bean burger which comes with an avocado aioli on the side and topped off the evening with a HUGE strawberry shortcake:

On Saturday, we dragged ourselves out of bed for the 2010 Cherry Blossom Festival Parade (http://www.nationalcherryblossomfestival.org) along Constitution Avenue featuring the typical – marching bands, floats and balloons – as well as some local media including the hosts of WJLA-TV and News Channel 8 and a handful of B and C-list celebs including Justin Guarini, Deborah Cox and Miss American Caressa Cameron.

Miss America Caressa Cameron

Justin Guarini

Following the early morning, we were starving for lunch, so we popped into Fado’s Irish Pub on 808 7th Street Northwest (http://www.fadoirishpub.com) for some good ol’ pub food. True to my egg loving brunch pattern, I chose the eggs benedict served with rashers (the Irish term for bacon). My friends enjoyed the corned beef sandwich, blue cheese salad and RLT (that’s rashers-lettuce-tomato).

After goofing around and taking some pictures with the Obama Family, Johnny Depp, Madonna, Brangelina and Babe Ruth at Madame Tussauds Wax Museum at 1025 F Street Northwest (http://www.madametussauds.com), we headed to Pennsylvania Avenue to check out the 50th Annual Sakura Matsuri Japanese Fesitval (http://www.sakuramatsuri.org) put on by the Japanese-America Society of Washington D.C. Although crowded, this was certainly worth exploring for the Japanese wares, food and drink. I tried a carbonated melon soda called Ramune and stocked up on some Matcha Lattes (tip: all you have to do is heat up some milk or soy milk and mix these packets in – a delightful treat!) While I didn’t wait in the long lines for the noodles and other Japanese fare, it looked and smelled great. We also ventured to the McDonald’s sponsor booth for some free (and cute!) reusable Japanese-inspired tote bags and to spin the “McWheel” for a chance to win toys, surprises and McD’s gift cards – fun stuff.

After being sufficiently worn out from an early morning and long walking day, we opted for an early dinner at Mai Thai at 6 King Street in Old Town in Alexandria, VA (http://www.maithai.us) which is nestled right on the waterfront by the Potomac. I chose the Pra Ram Long Song (chicken with peanut sauce over a bed of steamed spinach) and a lychee martini.

Following some much needed sleep from the long day, we decided to sleep in and go for a late morning brunch at Whitlow’s on Wilson at 2854 North Wilson Blvd (http://www.whitlows.com) in Arlington, VA which seemed to be a popular choice following the 10 mile Cherry Blossom run. This place offers a $15.95 brunch with choices like mussels, popcorn shrimp, homemade mac and cheese, crab legs, an omelette station, fresh fruits and salads among other delights, so was perfect for sufficiently indulging before my long bus ride back to NYC.

Whitlow's on Wilson

Quick tidbit for the culinary adventurers: Cherry blossoms and leaves are edible. In Japan the blossoms are flavored with salt and umezu which is used for bringing out the flavor in different Japanese sweets served with tea such as red bean paste and mochi. They’re also used in hot water called sakurayu and drank at festive events like weddings in place of green tea. Note: As the leaves contain coumarin, it is not recommend to eat them in large amounts. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cherry_blossom)

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One Response to “Cherry Blossoms (Sakura Kanji) a Bloomin’”

  1. Micah | Coffee Machine Says:

    Thank you for all the great posts! This one is explicit. I look forward to reading more interesting topics.

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