In an (ongoing) attempt to become better netsec ninjas, Gree and I attended a technical conference in DC last week. The conf was about an open-source security engine called Suricata that Arbor Networks uses. Open-source loosely means free + full access to source code of the product. It’s crazy. All in all, it was a productive trip and I was very inspired and humbled to be in the presence of a bunch of good-hearted, passionate, and really smart people. We had a wine and dine event at the British Embassy the first night and it was really exciting too.

The weather was cool and crisp and it seemed like all of the leaves were a little bit past peak fall, but DC was beautiful nonetheless.

Kramerbooks and Café

Even though it was a whirlwind of a work week, I managed to squeeze in a few walks along the National mall and a breakfast and bookstore date at Kramerbooks and Café with my “Dipster” friend Deepthi. We hadn’t seen each other in four years; I first met her when we were both interns in the summer of 2011 in Seattle.

After the conference ended, we stayed on for one more day and our friend Maria traveled to DC from Baltimore to hang out with us. Maria stayed at my Airbnb while interning at Grady hospital all summer last year and very soon we became thick as thieves. Now she is working at John’s Hopkins performing rat transplants.

We spent a glorious fall day exploring Chinatown, Dupont Circle, and the library of Congress.

When I booked my tickets to DC, I decided to fly in a day earlier (Nov 8) and work remotely from the Library of Congress (You can actually do that!) At the time of booking, something about November the 8th rang a bell but I couldn’t quite put my finger on it. As the date drew closer, I realized it was election day. Without going into details, I can tell you it was some experience spending election day at the political heart of the country. ~.~

Anyhow, pivoting back to THE LIBRARY OF CONGRESS. 

I’m a little too obsessed with books and as an extension – libraries and bookstores. Built 216 years ago, the Library of Congress is de facto the national library of the USA and also the largest library in the world. I dragged Maria and Gree to the library early Saturday morning (they weren’t thrilled, to say the least :P) to apply to be readers. Election day sadly was not to be since you have to be a reader to work at/visit the main reading room. The process to become a reader is not straightforward, to say the least. Once you get it, it’s worth it. The main reading room with its golden ceiling, powerful arches and concentric circles of leather seats is simply extraordinary. The room was designed to pay tribute to the art, value and passing on of knowledge and learning. I had chills walking around the room and I can’t wait to come back and spend an entire day or more here. My reader card is valid for another two years after all:D

Washington DC: Eats

Toki Underground

As a vegetarian, it’s hard to come by a good vegetarian ramen. I thought Toki whipped up an excellent ramen bowl and I slurped up the delicious broth and the toothsome ramen noodles in the blink of an eye. Bonus: Delicious cocktails and a really cool interior. The walls and tables are draped with scenes and characters from Manga comics.

Amsterdam Falafel

I swear by Amsterdam Falafel and if you are going to DC, you’d be crazy not to eat here. Think fried, crunchy falafel and make your own pita. They offer baba ghanoush, pickled turnips, verdant jalapeno sauce and about twenty spicy, garlicky toppings.IMO, they serve the best falafel I have ever had and even meat lovers go nuts for this place. The flavors are really intense and cut right through the alcohol if *cough* *cough* you have been drinking. They are also open way past midnight so it’s perfect for midnight munchies.

Let’s take a closer look.

Now, even closer and all up in your face? Drool.

Khachapuri at Compass Rose

When I read online that Khachapuri was one of the best dishes offered at Compass Rose, my mind conjured images of overpriced Indian street food. Shockingly, Khachapuri is not Indian, even though it sounds very Indian. The dish actually hails from the mountainous country of Georgia and is basically an egg and cheese canoe. The Puri i.e bread is packed with ricotta, feta, and mozzarella, baked, then brought to your table piping hot, topped with a generous dollop of butter and a runny egg. The server then mixes the egg, butter, freshly ground pepper and gooey cheese in circular motions before serving. Good luck trying to not to shamelessly drool while all this is happening, I know I did. Compass rose also serves other street food from around the world and rosé and whiskey concoctions they call ambrosia.

Sundevich

If you are looking for a quick, wholesome and delicious lunch, I highly recommend choosing a sandwich from SUNdeVICH’s globally inspired menu of twenty sandwiches. They are the whole package really, best bang for your buck. I got the Isfahan sandwich with spinach, mushroom, walnuts, barberry and tzatziki and gobbled it all up in one go. Although I will admit I was a teeny bit disappointed that India was represented on the around-the-world list 🙁 We have so much to offer.

Have you been to DC before? What did you think?