Monday, June 5, 2017

Open City at the National Cathedral - Washington, D.C.

It is tough to do Mother's Day when you are out of town. We were in the Washington, D.C. area, but staying in a hotel in Alexandria, VA (cheaper hotel prices and free parking for our rental car, as well as close to Mt. Vernon). The night before we attended a play at the Lincoln Theatre and did not get back to the hotel until about 11:30 p.m. or midnight. We intended to sleep in and then attend a church service at the National Cathedral. Flowers were out (we hardly spent any time at the hotel) and reservations for breakfast were impossible, even calling four or five restaurants several days in advance. 

So we visited the National Cathedral and spent some time after the service visiting the various chapels and the grounds. 
Washington National Cathedral. Open City is around it to the right side. 
Judy noticed a nice little restaurant on the cathedral grounds, less than a stone throw from the cathedral, that was open and not requiring reservations. It was the perfect solution for our situation. The setting was nice and the food was quite good. 

I got a Cubano sandwich which had ham, slow roasted pork, mustard, swiss cheese and dill pickle, all on a ciabatta bun. It was delicious. The bread was great for it, the mustard had a kick, the cheese was melted with the meats and created a nice mass of juicy, contrasting flavors and textures. It was so good that it caused me regrets later. I ordered several more Cuban sandwiches on the trip, one in New York City and another at the airport that were of much poorer quality and taste. This was a great combination. 

I ordered a cheese arepa to share with Judy. An arepa is made of ground maize dough (or of flour) and is prominent in the cuisine of Colombia, Venezuela and Panama. Ours was made of two patties of nicely fried maize, still soft and moist, with melted cheese between them, and a nice spicy avocado salsa and a boring cilantro slaw. It seemed very Puerto Rican, and is indeed found in Puerto Rico as well. We both enjoyed it. 
Cheese arepa
I also ordered a fruit cup to share with some fresh blueberries, black berries, strawberries, raspberries, cantaloupe, honey dew melon, mango and some orange slices. Most of the fruit was ripe and seemed fresh. 
Judy got a couple of salads. One was a chilled lentil salad with curried beluga lentils, watermelon radish, puffed rice, mixed greens and yogurt tahini dressing. The watermelon radish was a nice touch and I think Judy liked it okay. Her other salad was a raw slaw with Brussels sprouts, Napa cabbage, carrots, quinoa, raisins, picked beets, sunflower seeds, mixed greens and lemon tahini dressing. There again, I think it was okay for her. 

I loved the setting, particularly on a day when it was tough to get reservations and in a city that is tough to find parking. The surroundings were beautiful and the atmosphere serene. I think my food choices tasted better than Judy's, but she was also trying to eat more healthily than I was. 


  1. You definitely had the better dishes, but mine weren't bad. Open Cafe was a fun and convenient place to eat. For anyone visiting the cathedral, I think this little cafe is an excellent choice for lunch.

  2. Watermelon radish? That's a new one for me!

  3. Watermelon radish? That's new one for me!