Monday, August 26, 2013

Mongolian Grill

My in-laws took us out to lunch before we leave town. We came to Genghis Grill.

Your waiter brings two bowls to your table then you go to what looks like a buffet and add things in the above order.

I loaded up on meat (knowing I wouldn't be adding any vegetables).

There were also several "recipes" that you could follow if you wanted.

This is my bowl.

Don't confuse it with Amy's, ;-).

All of the meals are cooked on a large grill.

You include a paper card with your bowls that has your name and table number.

After a few minutes tasty hot food is delivered.

I even used chopsticks.

The signs around the place are also quite humorous.


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(c) 2013 iWolff Ltd.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Washington DC - Part IV

Eastern Market, National Museum of Natural History, Pentagon City

After leaving the Air and Space Museum we headed back to the Metro as people were getting hungry.  We thought we'd head to the Eastern Market and see what we could find there.  It sounded like a pretty neat place, and Amy and I had certainly enjoyed exploring Cincinnati's Findlay Market in the past, so we thought it was definitely worth checking out.
Welcome to Eastern Market, Washington DC's original and premier food & arts market. Located in the heart of the historic Capitol Hill neighborhood, Eastern Market is DC's destination for fresh food, community events, and on weekends, local farm-fresh produce and handmade arts and crafts.... For over 136 years, Eastern Market has served as a community hub, connecting neighbors, families and visitors. Eastern Market is located at 225 7th Street SE, Washington, DC 20003.--Eastern Market website
We took the Metro over to the Eastern Market stop and got our bearings.  It didn't take us too long to find the right direction and we started walking to the market.  I saw this neat stain/pattern on the sidewalk at one point.

The market is certainly an impressive structure that dates back to the late 1800s, though the market itself is older (it was originally located elsewhere).
We passed by this interesting outdoor store as we walked closer.
Apparently the covered area out front is only occupied on weekends.  We did wonder at the many empty parking spaces though.
Then we saw the door.  The market is closed only one day a week--and of course that day is the one day we visited: Monday.  I guess we'll just have to come back another time (not on a Monday) so that we can experience everything that the market has to offer.
The trip wasn't a waste however, we decided to stop for dessert before heading back to the Mall and found a small gelato shop.
We shared a bowl of crema gelato and pomegranate sorbet.
Poor Abigail had to content herself with sucking on her fist (this is one of her favorite pastimes when she isn't sleeping or eating).

Once back at the Mall we headed up the escalator.  Most of the elevators were down the entire time we travelled the Metro.  I was used to carrying up Abigail--Joanna or Amy usually grabbed the stroller.
We headed into the Museum of Natural History for a few minutes.  The front of the building is quite iconic--with the columns and the banners.
 I would have taken more pictures of the facade, but there was netting (anti-bird I presume) getting in the way of clear photographs.
It isn't a dinosaur skeleton, but the elephant makes for quite a dramatic impression when you first enter the museum.
Joanna had never seen the Hope Diamond, so we headed for the gem gallery first.
The setting was different from the last one we saw two years ago.

We looked into the oceanic hall from above but didn't walk through
We did go through the Insect Zoo, I really liked the artwork at the start.
We saw plenty of live insects as well as these catalogued specimens.
What's not to like about quoting Lewis Carroll in a Smithsonian exhibit?
As we left the museum we saw this Olmec head on the lawn (I believe it is a reconstruction).
Instead of heading back to our car at the end of the line we got off at Pentagon City and headed into the nearby mall.  There was a very large food court.
We ended up going to Johnny Rocket's to eat--though Abigail didn't get anything off the menu--she got her usual fare.
Our french fries arrived first, served with ketchup smiles.
The hamburgers were hot and delicious!

It was a long day (especially when we encountered construction traffic on the way home), but it was a great day as well.


Thursday, August 22, 2013

Washington DC - Part III

National Air and Space Museum

I last visited the Air and Space Museum in 1995 when I visited Washington DC with my parents.
...the Smithsonian's aeronautical collection began well before 1976, when the National Air and Space Museum was constructed on the Mall in Washington, DC. One hundred years before, in 1876, a group of 20 beautiful kites was acquired from the Chinese Imperial Commission, seeding what would later become the largest collection of aviation and space artifacts in the world.
The collections of the Museum were first housed in the Arts and Industries (A&I) Building, then after World War I, expanded to a Quonset hut erected by the War Department behind the Smithsonian Castle. Affectionately known as the "Tin Shed," the new building opened to the public in 1920, and would remain in use for the next 55 years.--History, National Air and Space Museum website
I carried Abigail through security and we entered into the first gallery which is full of planes and spacecraft (such as the Spirit of St. Louis visible above).  Amy took our picture in front of an Apollo landing module.
I found it sad when I reflected that the last Space Shuttle mission happened before Abigail was born.  I remember hearing space shuttles land at Edwards Air Force base when I was growing up in Southern California--and sometimes watching launches on TV in school.  Hopefully she'll be able to see Americans go into space in something besides a Soyuz craft.
The missile pit is quite interesting--it is amazing to see just how tall some of the missiles and rockets are.
This was pretty much the only exhibit that we went through.  Amy was feeding Abigail, so I headed into the exhibit on my own at first to look around.
Throughout history we have sought to better understand our world by viewing it from above.  We first climbed trees and hills and fortress towers to observe the lay of the land.  Today, aircraft and spacecraft look down on Earth to predict the weather, survey the terrain, monitor crops and forests, plan cities, locate resources, and gather intelligence.
From balloons, to aircraft, to spacecraft, we have pushed ourselves higher and higher toward different goals and challenges.  Yet, to many who have participated in these thrilling voyages, the best part of all was looking back toward home.--exhibit signage, Looking at Earth
This is a de Havilland DH-4 that "played many roles in both military and civilian capacities.  In addition to its bombing activities in World War I, the DH-4 was an observation and photo-reconnaissance aircraft."
 This is a U-2 spy plane.  I didn't live through the Cold War, but I've heard the story of Gary Powers being shot down as well as many successful U-2 missions.
Here you can see where a portion of the ceiling was cut away for the plane's tail.
This is the U-2's camera.  I found the little sticker the most interesting as it gives similar advice to what I've been given regarding telescope cleaning: "DO NOT TOUCH or attempt to clean MIRROR"
The U-2 B camera has a 36-inch focal length and can resolve features as small as .75 meters (2.5 feet) from an altitude of 19.5 kilometers (65,000 feet).--exhibit signage
The stereo photography exhibit was pretty neat.  My parents have a stereoscope and I grew up looking at old images.
This portable darkroom was very neat.  I'd never thought about having such an urgent need for pictures that you would develop the pictures before the plane landed.
This display shows the joint Apollo-Soyuz test project.
 I find the Soviet materials interesting--especially since I know CCCP is the Cyrillic version of USSR.
 Near the entrance was a slice of moon rock in a case for people to touch.  It took me a while to get Abigail to spread her fingers out, but I managed to get her to touch the rock.  I know she won't remember the experience, but I look forward to telling her about things like this when she is older.
I was glad to see this small Star Trek display in the giftshop!
We actually only went around part of the first floor and never went any higher in the building.  We knew that there were a couple other places we wanted to see--so we headed to the Metro station shortly after I bought some postcards.