This past weekend Darrell and I went up to DC for a quick getaway. He reconnected with an old friend of his via FaceBook and he’s now married and living in Maryland about 45 or so minutes outside of the city, so it’s the perfect place for an evening out to get reacquainted and for them to introduce their significant others to each other.
The weekend started immediately after work. We started the nearly four hour drive north to Washington, and of course traffic was mad getting out of Hampton Roads (that’s what they call the area I live in). Once we were clear of the Seven Cities, it was pretty smooth sailing. Waze, my GPS app of choice took us in to the city the back way “outsmarting traffic” (that’s their catchphrase) which was a bit confusing at first, but then, we were at our hotel: The Hilton Washington, DC. The Priceline Negotiator got us some stellar rates on this 4-Star hotel. There was a hiccup with the parking situation, but all-in-all, it was a pretty painless check-in process given how rude the lady was that Darrell spoke with when we tried to confirm our reservation over the phone a few days prior and make sure we had a King/Queen bed and not two double beds. I just knew that we would end up in a broom closet in the basement. We ended up with a corner room on the fourth floor. It was actually nice and somewhat spacious given that it was in DuPont. We got there and went for a walk. This is one of the reasons I absolutely love DC:
Saturday morning we slept in a bit, then we were off to Chinatown to go to the International Spy Museum. I had it on good authority that this place was quite interesting and fun. Before that, though, we had to eat breakfast. I had also been told that there was a great Irish pub in the area of the Verizon center that was really good, but I could not for the life of me remember the name of it. I reached out to a co-worker of mine to get the name of said pub, but didn’t hear back in time, so we ate at Fadó. We walked in and it looked very similar to Grogan’s Pub in Busch Gardens, which I assume is what many Irish pubs look like. I ordered a traditional Irish breakfast with hot tea – white (with milk). The waiter brought over a condiment caddy with HP sauce, Coleman’s English mustard, and Heinz malt vinegar and the other usual American suspects. I was floored. This actually was a real Irish pub! My breakfast came and it looked delicious. There was black and white pudding, eggs (sunny side up), ham, bacon, fried potato bread, sautéed mushrooms, and tomatoes. I dipped everything in English mustard, and it all was delicious! I especially enjoyed the puddings (and yes, I know what they are).
On to the International Spy Museum. We went in we found out that they had a self-guided tour, and an Operation Spy adventure tour. The adventure tour sounded too awesome to pass on, so we did a combo pack for around $30 for both. Operation Spy was so much fun! From the second the tour started, we were “on.” There was one girl who gave us the run-down of what was going to happen, and what our mission was that we were going to be going to “Khandar,” this fictional country in the Middle-East (I presume) and our mission was under-cover as tourists (imagine that) to recover a missing nuclear trigger device. Once the mission began, it was pretty much non-stop clue finding and uncovering secrets from there. I was pretty surprised at how neat the whole thing was. We got to hack into a hotel’s surveillance, descramble a voicemail message, break into an office and search for evidence of the device (where I almost got us caught by the bad guys), and we had to jam the security cameras to get in, then go on the run where we had to do a polygraph test just before making our escape! It was a lot of fun, and well worth the extra money! After that, we did the usual tour and learned about trade craft and espionage. I got to crawl through some ventilation to spy on the other museum goers. Again, a lot of fun was to be had by all. Here’s a promo video about Operation Spy:
After we left the Spy Museum, we went back to our hotel and took a disco nap and met up with Darrell’s friend and his husband to go to dinner at Annie’s Paramount Steakhouse in DuPont. Apparently it’s the gayest steakhouse in DC (who knew there was such a thing). I had a chicken and pear salad. It was simply divine, and huge. The service was friendly, and decent, but nothing to write home about, the company was excellent!
After dinner, we went to Ziegfeld's/Secrets. It was a bit of a trek to get there, but luckily we weren’t driving, Darrell’s friend Steven was, and he (and his Garmin) knew where he was going. As we got closer, we turned down a dark alley and we were in this industrial area where I can honestly say that if I was lost I would not have wanted to be there on my own! Next thing I knew, we were there. This warehouse looking place. We went in and it was dead. There might have been a dozen people there, but it was only about ten o’clock, so it was early. We stood around for a few minutes, then decided to go upstairs (apparently there was an upstairs?) and that’s where everyone was hiding. There were at least 50 or more people up there, along with at least 6 completely naked boys dancing. I was not prepared for that. I knew that there would be strippers, but I assumed there would be, you know, stripping, not just bare-ball stark nudity. It was kind of awkward for me, and the “dancers” seemed to be bored stiff – get it! Anyway, at 11:00, the drag show started downstairs (that’s why the name of the place has a slash in it, it’s actually two bars stacked on top of one another: Ziegfeld's is the drag bar, Secret’s is the strip joint). So we ventured downstairs and grabbed a table near the stage and the show began. The queens were beautiful, and the show was amazing. It’s been a long time since I’ve been to a drag show, and I really enjoyed this one! The emcee, Miss Ella Fitzgerald was hilarious and risqué. After the show, we went back upstairs, and I swear, there were no less than 300 people ogling at somewhere near a dozen naked boys shaking their money makers. Soon afterwards, we left and headed back to our hotel. It was very late before I got to sleep Saturday night.
Sunday, we woke up near 9:30, I think, and headed toward home. At the last minute, we decided to stop at Ikea. Neither of us had been there, and had always wanted to go. Wow. They have everything for the home. And I mean everything. We could have spent all day there, but we were exhausted from our outing the day before, so we kind of rushed through the store and got a giant cutting board for the countertop and a couple of candles and, of course some Swedish meatballs!
Our weekend excursion was pretty eventful, and a lot of fun. I hope this encourages you to head to DC and go to the Spy Museum, and hit up your local drag bar and Irish pub!