Went to many many hotels, venues and restaurants over the course of the week. Was in DC, Mon-Wed, drove to Baltimore, then Philadelphia Wed-Fri and ended up driving all the way to NYC to avoid the blizzard that was doomed to hit the DC and Philly areas. Never driven in that neck of the wood before, was great - bring your toll money! And I LOVED driving in Manhattan. Hooked up with our newest Maven, Laura Rogers who is local to Washington DC- welcome to the team Laura!!
Me in front of one of the hotels we checked out.
Laura and I had dinner with the larger site visit team at Founding Farmers - 1924 Pennsylvania Ave NW, (between N 19th St & N 20th St) Washington, DC 20006, (202) 822-8783, www.wearefoundingfarmers.com
Food was great - organic, tasty, fresh. We had: La Quercia Prosciutto, Fig & Mascarpone Flatbread, House-Made Roasted Butternut Squash and Mascarpone Raviolis. I would have highly recommended this place but the service was bad (and I usually give a ton of leeway on that) but they were really slow and unorganized, it was like it was their first night with a large crowd. However, Red Velvet cake just about made up for it. Personally I'd go back for the food, event planner-wize I'd definitely chat with the manager before bringing in a group, especially an executive one.
I had the chance to go on two nighttime monument tours. Our group seemed to be the only folks out and about. It was great bonding time and fun - us Seattlites and Californians loved seeing the snow. I've been to DC two other times but never in the Winter. All of the monuments were gorgeous and the first night it snowed and was magical.
Baltimore was a quick trip, I popped into the Baltimore Waterfront Marriott 700 Aliceanna Street - http://www.marriott.com/hotels/travel/bwiwf-baltimore-marriott-waterfront/ to do a quick check out of the meeting space. Really nice hotel and I can't believe how much Baltimore has changed. Fells Point has been transformed. I'm looking forward to going back to check that area out.
Philadelphia was great. I saw 6 venues and 6 restaurants in one day all before about 1pm so I could miss the snow. Whew! Stephen Starr http://starr-restaurant.com/ has a corner on the market in Philly and rightly so - his restaurants and venues are all top-notch for both food and ambience. I LOVE them. I ended up having dinner at my favorite place in town a Starr Restaurant - Alma de Cuba, 1623 Walnut Street (Rittenhouse Square) http://www.almadecubarestaurant.com/. My first trip to Philly, my client and I went back twice in once week to this place. The food is incredible and its got a sexy Caribbean feel. My waiter Michael was fantastic and made two great suggestions. I knew I was going to have the Vaca Frita, but he suggested a crab salad and this insanely good Banana Chocolate dessert extravaganza, he hit the mark on both.
They also have ceviche sampler that is fantastic. I highly recommend Alma. Great food, ambience and service.
My impromptu trip NYC was lovely. Took a nice walk in the city and a quick visit with friends before catching my flight to SFO. New Yorkers already know that the NoHo Star & Temple Bar are great, but I did not and a dear friend works there. I had a nice relaxing evening sitting at the bar and this small plate was to die for: tuna, seaweed salad with a wasabi aioli - a total tablesmacker.
All in all a great trip.