Playlist 4 -- Doing D.C.

This week's Playlist is all about our nation's capital -- Washington, DC. (and, of course, the surrounding area). I've made more than a dozen trips to DC in the last few years for business, but never stopped to enjoy all the great town has to offer. After a couple snow-filled days of work, the wife came up and we had a great weekend.

I'm sure some of you out there have been to DC and have your own favorites. Let me know. And, as usual, feel free to chip in what what you're reading, watching, listening to, etc. this week.

As you'll see, we were just in awe after spending most of the day around the National Mall and the great monuments. But we're going to forever remember this trip for two things:

"It's like anarchy, but with Santas."
duck butts.

For more information, some excellent pictures and a story about which Supreme Court justice with whom we shared our flight back, skip on over to my wife's Web site Wild About Words.

In the meantime, here's this week's Playlist -- some highlights of our stay in DC.

Clyde's in Georgetown. We each had the same dish -- a rarity. The Butternut Squash Agnolotti -- dried cranberries, walnuts, Parmesan cheese, carmelized onion and a cream sauce. Delicious. And great atmosphere. And the waiters carried up to six plates along their arms.

Historical sites. We spent a lot of time walking Saturday, seeing the White House, a couple of The Smithsonian museums, where we saw the Hope Diamond and a great exhibit on Wildlife photography, and the Washington Monument. But I was just wowed by the World War II and Vietnam memorials. Very touching. And I was overwhelmed by the The Lincoln Memorial. I had no idea it would be so huge and inspiring.

Iota Club and Cafe. I really wanted to see some live music while we were there. I was hyped when I saw that the great political-punk group Ted Leo and Pharmacists were playing at the 9:30 Club. I've wanted to see the club and Leo for a while. But it was much more convenient for us to get to Iota in the Clarendon area (just two stops up on the Metro) and, boy was I glad. The Iota is a cool, intimate little club. After veggie wraps and the best french fries I've had in a long time, we moved from Iota's small cafe to the club next door. That's where we saw the incredibly fun and talented Gandalf Murphy and the Slambovian Circus of Dreams. The lead singer sounds like a cross between Neil Diamond and Tom Petty and looks like a combination of Frank Zappa and Salvador Dali. The band's set of psychadelic folk-rock was too short (because they were the early show, they were time-limited), but what they did play knocked us out, including covers of Syd Barret and Bob Dylan, and the rousing finale "Alice in Space" that Murphy said his mother called very "Mummers-like." Yep, he's originally a Philly guy.

Orpheus Records. This record store is mostly vinyl with a great selection of rock, jazz and much more.

Cosi. This is a great breakfast/lunch/coffee hangout. It's warm. The piped-in music is good. Great flat-bread bagels.

There is still so much that I'd like to see, but didn't get to, particularly Ford's Theatre and the American History museum, which were closed for renovations. And we did not get to the Holocaust Museum. It's a reason to go back.