Our trip to the Mandu Korean restaurant was doomed from the start
It might have been our second or third trip to Washington D. C. since we started Operation Survive Delmar. At the time we were planning to move away from town after our youngest finished college, but we recognized I wouldn’t make it that long if I had to stay here on the peninsula. Operation Survive Delmar was our bi-monthly getaway, a reminder that there was a much better world out there and that we had access to it.
I’d recently started writing This Is War, so we had some disposable income. Our plan was to stay in an OK hotel and treat ourselves to meals that just weren’t available here, non-Mexican ethnic food, for example. We also were losing weight through a combination of fanatical calorie-counting and exercise.
Our hotel was on DuPont Circle, where we thought there would be no problem finding a restaurant we could walk to, and when we saw that Mandu Korean restaurant was just 10 blocks away we decided that’s where we would go to dinner.
We sauntered through the light sleet, happy for our coats and the adventure of it all. It looked closed from a block away and didn’t look any less closed as we neared. It’s an interesting foible of the 21st century that I kept checking my phone to confirm it was open even as I stood before the darkened, boarded-up building.
By then it was approaching 8 p.m. which, even in D.C. is getting a little late to find a good restaurant, so we abandoned that and settled for an open one. Even though we already had been betrayed by Google Maps when it assured us that the Mandu Korean restaurant was still in business there wasn’t any other choice but to ask it for restaurants nearby.
We cultivated a jovial, adventurous mood, but I was getting hungry and nursing my disappointment over missing out on the place I wanted. The nearest restaurant was another three or four blocks away, but it was back in the direction of the hotel and that was enough for me by that point.
Kelly was waiting anxiously to see whether my hunger went critical, which can be off-putting. As we walked I assured her that as long as we could sit and eat soon, I would embrace the next place we say enthusiastically.
It wasn’t a lie when I said it.
I can’t recall the name, but it was a tourist-trapy Spanish place, made more disappointing by the menu, which was Mexican food and also steak or something.
I know it’s a popular place, several of our friends told us as much, but I don’t like restaurants that can seat more than 200 people at a time. We ate in the loft, where they sit lone couples and soccer teams. Kelly was eye-rolly and a little annoyed at first, but eventually we came to terms with the fact that poor decisions sometimes have consequences.
I drank one of the worst beers I’ve ever had as an added reminder to plan better and make reservations, even if the restaurant’s website says it’s open.
Feb. 17, 2018