Vegas’ food trucks have been plentiful and celebrated for the last couple of years, so I’m not new to the food truck phenomenon. However, I was intrigued by the lines of food trucks on the National Mall in D.C. In Vegas, they’re usually only gathered in one spot for special events.
FroYo. Popcorn. Pretty standard fare. American food? Burgers and onion rings apparently qualify. Lebanese food out of a truck? Interesting!
The one I liked the best, though, was Curbside Cupcakes. First, it was a pink truck. Love it! Then, the clever alliteration. Too cute! It was also a relief that only three flavors were offered: Red Velvet, Chocolate Delight, and Vanilla Bean. Too many options equal too much time spent deciding on the side of the road.
After the heat of the jalapenos in my lunch at Elephant & Castle, I thought Vanilla Bean would be a refreshing choice, and I was right. The vanilla flavor was spot on, and the dark flecks in the frosting made me feel fancy. The ratio of frosting to cake was ideal.
It was gone by the time we finished our walk back to the parking garage.
The headquarters of Elephant & Castle Pub and Restaurants is in Boston, but there are locations scattered around the U.S. and in Canada. One of the D.C. locations is on Pennsylvania Avenue, close to the Old Post Office Pavilion where our bicycle tour began and ended. Proximity wasn’t what drew me to the place, though. I collect elephants so this was a chance to add to my collection without taking up space in the RV.
Elephant & Castle is a British-style pub and eatery filled with dark woods and reproduction fabric-covered books with gilt edges. Stained glass panels separate sections of seating and provide some privacy between parties.
Tucked into a cozy booth, we started with fried pickles. The tangy, crunchy planks were served with a chipotle dipping sauce. My mac-n-cheese had a kick from chopped jalapenos. The panko crust on top was a nice contrast to the creamy cheese sauce and al dente elbows. We were surprised when Mike’s meatloaf came in slices. He liked it, especially because the gravy didn’t have mushrooms. I ended up bringing his asparagus home along with the remaining half of my pasta.
Elephant & Castle has good, reasonably priced food in a comfortable atmosphere. A pleasant place for a nosh if you’re down on the Mall in D.C.
A bicycle is a great way to explore a city, particularly when there’s a guide pedaling with you, sharing history and pointing out interesting facts. Bike and Roll offers bicycle and Segway tours in five major metropolitan areas. In Washington D.C., there are several tours available out of three different locations. Mike and I took the Capital Sites tour, which departs from the Old Post Office Pavilion near the National Mall.
We were there just before the government shutdown, so everything was open. (There was, however, a lot of activity on Capitol Hill. I guess it wasn’t very productive, though.) Riding Trek comfort hybrid bikes, we went from one end of the National Mall to the other, stopping along on the way as our guide filled us in on what we were seeing. We rode by the Capitol Building, the Supreme Court and a variety of Smithsonian Museums as well as visiting the World War II Memorial, the Washington Monument, and more.
Our favorite memorial was the Korean War Memorial. Nineteen life-size soldiers, scattered over a triangle of grass, are reflected in a large wall. The nineteen and their reflections create 38 people, signifying the 38th Parallel, the latitudinal line that forms the boundary between North Korea and South Korea. While most of the other memorials are very grand and almost overwhelming in their scope, this memorial is very intimate. The soldiers stare haggardly in all different directions. You can almost see them coming out of the bush, looking like deformed giants because of the ponchos covering the gear they’re carrying. The wall itself is laser etched with faces taken from real footage. It’s a powerful remembrance.
For $40, which included a bottle of water and a granola bar, we covered over 7.5 miles of territory on our Bike and Roll tour and learned a lot about our nation’s history. It was a wonderful and emotional experience.