Friday, 11 November 2011

Claire's big America trip: day ten

What I learned:

Californians are wimpy!

Let me explain. Right when I started planning my trip, I logged onto the site to see what political activities I could take part in while I'm here. I found the perfect one in Pasadena: voter registration on the farmer's market. I can do that, I thought. It's not as scary as phoning people, and there's always the chance Bradley Whitford might walk past and congratulate us on our hard work. Heck, he might even join in. It's the kind of thing he does, which is one of the reasons I love him. Anyway, I digress.

Today, I got an email. The event is cancelled, because it's going to rain. Oh, I thought, it's probably a tornado or something. Nope. Reading further in the email it turns out that drizzle is what's expected. Drizzle! Imagine if the rest of the world stopped doing things because it was drizzling!

Where I ate:

Breakfast was back at the Breadline, where I had so enjoyed my bacon and egg sandwich earlier in the week. I knew it almost certainly wouldn't be as good this time round, and it wasn't, but I was famished by the time I made it there, plus they were doing me a special favour - breakfast, they claimed, normally ends at 11, and it was well after that time - so I didn't mind too much.

Lunch was at the Newseum, and purely functional - I dived into the food court minutes before it closed (well, technically after it had already closed) so there wasn't much left. I had a small pepperoni pizza which was nothing to write home about but a little on the pricey side. Still, again, I didn't mind, or at least not too much, because it meant I only had to stop for about 15 minutes, and there was so very much to see.

Still, this left me with a quandary for dinner, because I had thought that in the absence of any blinding flashes of inspiration I might go back to We, The Pizza - partly because it's on that little stretch of Pennsylvania Avenue very close to the Capitol where I've found myself a few times this week - where the Hawk and Dove used to be and close to the Starbucks where I needed to be for the write in later on.

But leaving the Newseum and looking for a metro stop on the right line, then being distracted by some white tents on 8th Street, I came by a place called America Eats, which seemed like a fitting place for my last meal in DC. It had lots of traditional American food - including things like Clinton's gazpacho and some other president's stew. After much deliberation, I chose to have Southern Chicken alongside a waldorf salad. Now, if you think you've had Southern chicken because you've been to KFC, then let me assure you, you have not. It was delicious (though the third piece I had was a little dodgy and could perhaps have done with a minute or two more of cooking), and served alongside ketchup which is not like any ketchup I've ever tasted: blackberry rather than tomato based, with hints of Christmassy spices like nutmeg and cloves. Yum. The salad was excellent too, and I can't believe I almost didn't have the dessert: a delicious pecan pie served wtih ice cream and something called bourbon air. The combination of flavours was something else.

Where I wrote:

After my final latte at Peregrine, I walked along Pennsylvania Avenue, past We, The Pizza to the Starbucks on the corner of 3rd street (where I had popped in for a "scone" and a latte the morning I went canvassing). The upstairs was not remotely Starbucks like - it has enormous pipes on the ceiling, and a roaring fire (fake, but still) in the fireplace, and it was so very quiet as people sat and read or wrote. They kicked us out of that room at 8.30, which broke my flow a little (they are open till 9, and I moved downstairs, but it was very much not the same) and meant I had to finish off my six-page quota back in my hotel room. I may or may not have broken through the 10,000 word mark - I wish someone would invent an app where you can feed in handwritten pages and get a word count. Or maybe they have and I just don't know about it yet? Anyone?

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