Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Cherry Blossom Mania in Washington, DC


Reading our last post about cherry blossom festivals around the US inspired guest blogger Jennifer Sherwin to offer her personal observations about the "mother" of all cherry blossom festivals, DC. Travel and Food Notes welcomes Jennifer Sherwin.


After spending a fabulous semester in Washington, D.C. during my undergraduate studies, I naturally became obsessed with the cherry tree and its perfect pink blossoms. When one of my best friends came to visit me, we spent an entire weekend prancing around the city in some sort of sakura frenzy. Wisconsin Avenue. Check. Festival by the National Mall. Check. Japanese Street Festival. Check. Dumbarton Oaks. Check. When the weekend was complete, I was unsure if either of us thought we could ever look at anything pink again.

Things we learned during our Tour de Pink:

-During the Japanese Street Festival, portions are huge but no street food compares to the Bulgogi Cart at 14th Street and L Street. Make the trek. You won’t regret it.

-Be a tourist and walk up Washington Avenue to see the incredible National Cathedral. There are tons of perfect photo stops with the cherry trees along the way.

-With plenty of cherry blossoms everywhere and tons of free events, you will be at no shortage of cherry lovin’, but there are two stops that are definitely worth the admission:

a) Words can do no justice for the famous private gardens at Dumbarton Oaks in Georgetown. Friends, if you’re ever looking for a place to propose, this is the place. The Rose Garden is divided up by color (pinks, reds, whites, oranges, yellows) and is pure perfection. Stroll over to Cherry Hill and be taken away to a world of beauty where the blossoms literally fly around like snowflakes.

b) Remind yourself that there are other gorgeous flowers aside from the cherry blossoms and venture over to the National Botanical Garden. It’s a nice breather from hanami, and the orchids are to die for.

During the National Cherry Blossom Festival, the whole city gives in to the infatuation, and many foodie hotspots use the sakura as inspiration for new menu items and specialty cocktails. Here’s a few of my favorites:

-Adour (923 16h St. NW) Pink cherry flavored macaroons with cherry marmalade filling

-Co Co. Sala (929 F St. NW) Chocolate Cherry Cordial-dark chocolate and cherry financier with morello cherry gelato and cherry blossom yogurt bon bon $12

-Georgetown Cupcake (3301 M St. NW) Cherry Blossom cupcake $2.75

-Georgia Brown’s (950 15th St. NW) Cherry Blossom Sangria $10

-Jaleo (480 7th St. NW) Cherry-Sherry Martini $12 and Gazpacho de cerezas $6.50

-Mie N Yu (3125 M St. NW) Cherry Blossom cocktail $9

-Palette at Loews Madison Hotel (1177 15th St. NW) Bing Cherry-Cured Wild Alaskan Salmon Sashimi with Cherry Blossom Essence Jasmin Rice $12 Appetizer/$23 Entrée

-Urbana (2121 P Street) Roasted lamb with celery root puree and cherry lamb jus $28

-Vidalia (1990 M St. NW) Cherry Pie $11.50

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