26 June 2013

Sei & Maine Avenue Fish Market - Washington DC

Yes, this happened an entire month ago, but I never got around to posting about it. This was  the second Memorial Day Weekend we've spent in D.C. (see the first time in 2010 here and here - I'd like to think that I've grown up more since then?).

In a nutshell, food-related events included:
  1. US Botanic Garden!
  2. Teaism - my first bento box!
  3. Hirshhorn Museum - giant butter!
  4. Sei - fancy sushi!
  5. Maine Avenue fish market!
  6. Hot dog from a "70s hot dog" food cart that was bad.
  7. National Museum of American History Food Exhibition
Now, in extreme detail!

US Botanic Garden
I love botanical gardens. I love them more than zoos. More than museums. I revel in looking at oddly-shaped leaves and brightly coloured flowers. I saw an avocado tree in real life! A pineapple plant right in front of me! This was fantastic! Sure, plants aren't cute or cuddly but it's so exciting for me to see the species that end up feeding me. Look! Marshmallow plant, even though modern marshmallows don't contain it.

SP and I went to Teasim for lunch. I've never had a bento box before so this was exciting! The restaurant is beautifully decorated. In the basement, a constant, relaxing flow of water supplied the granite(?) pool in which carp swam around. So, this probably isn't authentic Japanese cuisine but it was still a neat, well, "fusion".
SP got the make-your-own-handrolls box. Unfortunately, the salmon was smoked. The nori was really crispy though, and I taught SP how to make the cone-shaped maki. The cabbage was pretty good, and I loved the mayonnaise.

I got the cooked salmon bento box. The cucumber was good but not as sour or spicy as usual pickled cucumber (though I typically eat Chinese pickled cucumber). The spinach was kind of astringent. I liked the salmon but I wish it were raw :(

Hirshhorn Museum of Art
Giant butter! I would love to have this as a bench or bed. My entire house in the future will have food-shaped furniture.

Sei Restaurant
For dinner, my family (minus my dad) and I walked around for a good hour before deciding on sushi at this nondescript sushi place halfway between Chinatown and Independence Mall. However, we then decided that we wanted to go to Chinatown to eat. While we were walking around Chinatown looking at menus, debating the authenticity of whatever the restaurants offered, my sister complained about having to walk so much. At some point, she exclaimed that we should just go for sushi. A guy walking past us stopped and advised "You know, if you really want good sushi, you should go to Sei."

Welp. After some walking and much confusion ("The map says it's right there!" "I don't see it. I just see the Spanish place." "It should be right there near the corner..." "..." "Oh! It's hidden!"), there we were, shuffling down some steps into the reception area of Sei, where they have posh business cards. From the outside, all you see is a small patch of white translucent glass with the word "SEI" written in thin letters.

We were seated at a white square table in the middle of the frustratingly dimly lit dining area. We sat on plush white chairs with no armrests ("modern", I guess). There was a candle at the table. I felt like I was in a lounge/club/bar type place. Young professionals were hanging around at the other tables, though I think there was one table with little kids. This place was possibly too classy for me.

They had interesting types of rolls. We ended up trying the fish and chips roll, a salmon roll with strawberry, a typical eel and avocado roll, and another one that escapes my mind (but possibly had scallops?). My sister only eats salmon nigiri or sashimi, so that's what she got. However, she was distraught with the fact that they had already put wasabi on the rice, under the salmon.

I enjoyed the salmon roll with strawberry. It was unexpected. As this occurred over a month ago, I've shamefully forgotten most of the details. The fish and chips roll wasn't greasy at all, so it wasn't exactly what I had in mind. Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed the food and experience!

Maine Avenue Fish Market!

The next day, SP and I were walking towards the paddle boat area, when he remembered that there is a fish market in DC. As I love visiting different regions' markets/grocery stores, we decided to check it out. Apparently, in the past, the fishmongers would sell the fish at the port. However, there was some rule that made it illegal to sell fish on the port. So instead, the seafood is now sold directly from the boats that are anchored to the port. Technically, they aren't "on" on the port. I lamented the fact that I was unable to buy fish to bring home (because it'd have to sit in my bag or the back of the car for 2 entire days). However, we did have some delicious oysters (2nd time in my life?) and shrimp. They have both ready-made and fresh seafood.
The oysters were dislodged ("shucked" is the word, I suppose) right after we ordered them. They were very tasty.

We took the shrimp to the park/pathway near the paddle boats to eat. It was a really sunny day although it was a bit breezy, which gave a mild chill. Also, I like cocktail sauce.

National American History Musem - Food Exhibit
We got a pretty bad hot dog at a food cart on Independence Mall. It was supposed to be a "Mexican hot dog", with cheese and guacamole. We were given a hot dog with Cheez Whiz and diced unripe avocado (or maybe it wasn't even avocado. No avocado flavour). That was a letdown.
However, the Food Exhibit was alright. I wish they had more original documents rather than printouts of posters, though.
 I think this would be funny to sell nowadays.

I really liked this one, even though I haven't had a Frito in about 4 years.

 A pringle container!

I have never seen this for sale before, so that was cool.

Who knew there were so many shapes?

I forgot why the pins say this.

 Taco maker.

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