Friday, June 7, 2019

National Gallery of Art - East Building: The Life of Animals in Japanese Art

Date of Visit: June 7, 2019

As it started to approach summer, we had decided to forget about trying to check out any new exhibits until it cools off again in the fall. However, Mik is very into Japanese anything, so when I found out about "The Life of Animals in Japanese Art" at the National Gallery of Art, he very much wanted to check it out. Since the exhibit is only open until August 18, we decided it was better to go this week while there was still some not too hot and humid weather days (oh, how we miss when you couldn't say it was hot if it wasn't at least 100).

I originally meant to take the huge elevator down to the Concourse level to see the exhibit, but the way the security area was set up it looks it didn't appear to be accessible from the ground level. Thus, we ended up using the Tower 2 elevator from which you exit right into the middle of the exhibit. Turns out that have been the right elevator choice as the regular entrance from the concourse level has steps, so you have to use one of the two Tower 2 elevators to get into exhibit. We like the odd shape of the one form the lobby, but it is somewhat small and if you want more typical elevator, there is one to be found by going into the exhibit to the left.

When we got off the elevator, we choose to go right. It was pretty clear that we were doing the exhibit backwards, but I thought it was just because we entered in the middle and it would have been somewhat backwards one way or the other. However, when we got back around, we discovered that if you left from the elevator and go into "World of Leisure," you are soon at the beginning of the exhibit and could do it more in order. It really didn't make much of a difference, but it was kind of amusing to go through an area almost entirely before figuring out what the area's theme was and sometimes that wasn't until we were exiting into the next area.

Overall we both enjoyed this exhibit. The different helmets were our favorite part. Mik also really liked what he called the big bowls (i.e. chargers) and the mini octopus.

Destination Info:
National Gallery of Art - East Building
4th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Walt Disney World: Magic Kingdom - Main Street Trolley Tracks Trick

Date of Visit: 2018/2019

Back in November 2018, we noticed for the first time that there are parts of the trolley track that have rubber in them to make them easier to cross over. They mostly line up with the cutouts on the sidewalks of Main Street. Not sure if they've always been there or not, but they sure make it easier to ensure the casters don't get stuck, so we now will go out of our way to use them.

On our May 2019 trip, we didn't find them at first. We later figured out that the rubbers are removed for the trolley show and they aren't necessarily put back between shows. It seemed the shows were mostly in the morning and then the rubbers were in the tracks in the afternoon.

Destination Info:
Magic Kingdom - Main Street Trolley
Lake Buena Vista, FL

Sunday, May 12, 2019

2019 Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival: Fourth & Final Visit

Date of Visit: May 6, 2019

On our last visit to Epcot together this trip (I went on my own on the 7th to do rides Mik doesn't typically do), we finally got over to where the penguin sculpture near Living with the Land.

We started at Taste Track with the Violet Blueberry Vanilla Croissant Doughnut, which was tasty, but makes us miss the savory croissant doughnuts we've had at the Epcot International Art Festival.

Next we enjoyed the Sugar Cane Shrimp Shewer from La Isla Fresca.

One of our favorites was the Crab and Cheese Wontons from the Lotus House in China.

In China, we also enjoyed walking around to the Zodiac Garden to see all topiaries representing the 12 zodiac signs.

Mik finished with the Toasted Pretzel Bread at the Bauernmarkt in Germany, which was another of his favorites.

Destination Info:
2019 Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival
Lake Buena Vista, FL

2019 Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival: Third Visit

Date of Visit: May 5, 2019

As we got to Epcot before the food booths opened at 11am this day, we started by going through the gardens in the United Kingdom while the World Showcase was still pretty much entirely empty. The English Tea Garden is interesting in that it has the different plants that are used in different Twinnings teas growing in teacup shaped pots.

What we found most interesting, though, was the Shakespeare Garden. This area had signs with lines from different Shakespeare plays along with the plants mentioned in the lines.

For food on this visit, we started at the Northern Bloom in Canada. Mik had the Seared Scallops, which he thought were okay. He liked my Maple Popcorn Shake more.

Next at the Flavor Full Kitchen, Mik enjoyed the Cookie Butter Worms and Dirt, which ended up being his favorite beverage this year, while I had the Citrus-poached salmon.

We tried the Smoked Salmon Stack at Arbor next, which neither of us liked much mainly because it seemed too salty.

Mik enjoyed the Grilled Sweet Corn on the Cob from Trowel & Trellis as our final stop this visit. We ended up with two cobs because the guy serving them said they were small.

Destination Info:
2019 Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival
Lake Buena Vista, FL

Saturday, May 4, 2019

2019 Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival: Second Visit

Date of Visit: May 4, 2019

For our second visit to the 2019 Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival, we focused on the areas at the beginning of the World Showcase. Our first stop was the Citrus Bloom, where we tried the lobster tail, which we liked the taste of, but found hard to get off the shell as tends to be the norm for lobster...

Next we stopped at the Honey Bee-stro. Mik enjoyed the honey-peach cobbler freeze and the chicken flatbread.

Nearby we checked out the Goodness Garden Butterfly House. There's lots of butterflies to see, but not that interesting to us because it just seemed like they were mostly flying by the netting trying to get out.

Next we stopped by the Gardeners Terrace where Minnie's Garden Party is going this weekend only. Here we picked up the button they were giving out and also tried the fried green tomatoes at Arbor, which Mik didn't like, but I got them mainly for me and I liked them except the paprika oil does make them spicy.

Our last stop was dessert from Pineapple Promenade. Mik had the pineapple soft-serve ice cream and I had the desert violet lemonade (sadly my flower blew away as I was carrying the items back to Mik).

On the way out of Epcot to park hop over to Magic Kingdom, we stopped for a photo because Mik wanted one with his Darth Vader socks for Star Wars Day. We were going to do a photo in Hollywood Studios earlier in the day, but we were just done with the park after discovering that we couldn't use our Toy Story Mania fastpass because the wheelchair accessible vehicle was down.

Destination Info:
2019 Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival
Lake Buena Vista, FL

Thursday, May 2, 2019

2019 Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival

Date of Visit: May 2, 2019

Every year we talk about wanting to go to the Flower & Garden Festival again. We'll go next year turned into five years since the last time we went mainly because we started doing an annual extended family trip every January (once it was February) and then it just seemed too soon to go again for the Flower & Garden (or we were doing Destination D for our just us WDW trip for the year).

As we started our day in Hollywood Studios with Toy Story Mania fastpasses, we entered Epcot between the UK and France pavilions. After hanging out in the gift shop by the entrance for the rain to let up, we decided to start in France where Mik had one of his favorites from before - the duck confit. We also enjoyed the chilled cucumber soup.

Next we enjoyed a key lime tart and a watermelon cucumber slush (my favorite thing we had today) at Florida Fresh between France and Morocco.

Next Mik had the shredded beef brisket with smoked potato from The Smokehouse in American Adventure. He didn't particularly enjoy it, but we did like the sunflower topiaries with Mickey and Minnie.

After the brisket, Mik was full so we just strolled through the rest of World Showcase making note of what we might want to try later this week. Of course, we also strolled through Mik's favorite part of Epcot - the Romantic Road in Germany.

We also enjoyed checking out the various topiaries with my favorite being Huey, Dewey, and Louie.

Destination Info:
2019 Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival
Lake Buena Vista, FL

Disney's Hollywood Studios 30th Anniversary

Date of Visit: May 1, 2019

I did want to visit Disney's Hollywood Studios on the 30th anniversary, but I originally thought it would be October 1 like Magic Kingdom and Epcot and was going to do a birthday trip with Mom and Mik. By the time I realized it was actually May 1, we had already booked our 2019 just Mik and I trip to do the Epcot Flower & Garden Festival and arrived on May 1 and it was too late to make changes to arrive April 30. In the end, though, arriving at the park around noon still worked out great and I even had time to bring Mik back to the room and go back for my 5pm fastpass for the Aliens that he let me book instead of Toy Story Mania for once because he sometimes doesn't want to go to the parks our first day as he's tired from the flight and sitting on the plane.

We were happy to get the 30th anniversary button when we went in the park (I also ended up with an extra when I came back later, but they seemed to be done with them when I was leaving the park around 6). They also handed out posters when you left the park, which are nice, but not sure if they will survive the trip home, although our Mary Poppins ones from Destination D did okay by rolling them around a Pringles can and as usual we did bring one of those as a snack so they might.

Mik's number one priority for the 30th anniversary was the special food. In particular, we both wanted to get the lightsaber churros.

We also had fun going to a couple of the special photo ops with props for the 30th. Mik was kind of done for the day by then and also still needed to get some new sunglasses, so not the best photos, but he did at least try for me and they didn't all end up horrible.

Destination Info:
Hollywood Studios
Lake Buena Vista, FL

Thursday, April 18, 2019

U.S. Botanic Garden: The National Garden

Date of Visit: April 18, 2019

We didn't plan to visit the U.S. Botanic Garden today, but when we were out for a walk to play Pokemon Go (trying to catch Shiny Buneary), we ended up here and decided to explore the outside part of the U.S. Botanic Garden, which is called The National Garden. Mik thinks we may have done it before, but I don't think we have and in the end he thinks we maybe were going to explore it once with his old wheelchair and we quickly turned back around because of the gravel paths.

The gravel paths aren't the best, but they aren't the worst either. After doing it today, it does sound familiar that we tried to do it before and gave up because the casters on his last chair were horrible and it would've been a pain to go through here. Basically, it's somewhat thick in parts, but it does have an interesting set up with metal circles that appears to maybe at least help keep it evenly thick, which I guess kind of helps versus the mostly thinly graveled paths with random thick spots and potholes we came across in the National Gallery of Art's Sculpture Garden on a walk last week.

There are steps to get up to a seating area in the southwest corner of the garden. To the left there is a path, which is actually the best path in the garden.

Only problem with it is that it a little of a bump to get up on it, but otherwise it is a smooth path as the gravel is like cemented together in this area.

Mik also enjoyed the wide bridge near the amphitheatre area.

The small one in the middle of the garden he was not so much a fan of. It was possibly wide enough to roll across, but definitely not an adventure he wanted to attempt. Going on the stone path up to it was worthwhile, though, as we enjoyed watching the birds in the water there.

Overall we found The National Garden a nice area to go through. Not quite as much as we like the sculpture gardens (Hirshhorn and National Gallery of Art), but only because those have smoother paths, although at least the gravel isn't as thick as it can get in spots on the middle paths of the National Mall.

Destination Info:
United States Botanic Garden
100 Maryland Avenue SW
Washington, DC 20001

Thursday, April 4, 2019

Belmont-Paul Women's Equality National Monument

Date of Visit: April 4, 2019

The entrance to the Belmont-Paul Women's Equality National Monument is at the back of the house from Second Street. There is a clear sign pointing up the stairs for entrance and the lift would be not be too hard to notice down a path to the left of the stairs except that the next door office building's accessible entrance sign happens to be very visible right past the stairs. Thus, we were initially confused on how to get up to the entrance.

The lift has a sign with a phone number you can call for access. We didn't even try it and just had Dad go upstairs and ask for the ranger to operate it. The ranger was really friendly and helpful. The only issue currently is that once you get up you have to go around to a side entrance, which is where they are currently doing some restoration work. The workers were really good about moving the ladder and getting out of the way, so we could get in (and later out), though. This entrance also even has an automatic button for opening.

We started our visit by watching the short introductory film about the National Women's Party, who used this house as their headquarters. We then proceeded to the main exhibit space on the first floor, which is accessed via another lift.

The first floor has three rooms of exhibits on the women's right to vote and equality movements. There is also a small gift shop. None of us went up to the second level, so not sure what we missed, but even just visiting the first floor was a worthwhile visit and the knowledgeable park rangers help interpret the site's significance very well.

One of favorite things was actually the stained glass in the entry.

Destination Info:
Belmont-Paul Women's Equality National Monument
144 Constitution Ave NE
Washington, DC 20002

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Jaleo by Jose Andres

Date of Visit: March 14, 2019

As we knew there were a lot of restaurants around the Capital One Arena/Chinatown area, we decided to walk home from the National Building Street via 7th St. We ended up at Jaleo, which is a tapas restaurant (we were kind of aiming for tapas as Dad knew there was a Mexican tapas in this area that we were sort of heading to).

Mik really enjoyed the height of the table. It was just right for him and as long as he wasn't at the end spot there was no barrier to roll under the table to get close to the table.

We each did the lunch menu that allows you to pick one from each section of a select menu for just $20 person. Mik started with a potato dish that he really enjoyed.

Mik also enjoyed the pineapple sage soda.

His second selection was the chicken fritters. His third selection was the shrimp, which I apparently forgot to take a photo of. He also enjoyed them, but didn't finish as he was getting full and wanted to save room for desert.

For desert he chose sorbet, but he also ate most of the flan Dad had chosen (and again I forgot to take a photo).

Overall we really enjoyed eating at Jaleo. Also, at only $20 per person it was a good price for a meal in DC.

Destination Info:
Jaleo by Jose Andres
480 7th St NW
Washington DC 20074

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