Washington is no doubt one of the most beautiful cities in the world. The last time I was there, I went on one of my epic walks –six Hours!!! The city was so gorgeous I just found myself walking down streets, through parks, pastsed monuments. When I finally came to, I had walked all the way out to Chevy Chase. So this time around, as I headed out, I made a mental note that I had to control myself. I also brought my phone and some money, which is something I don\’t normally do, but realize too late that I might want to jump in a cab or maybe phone the hotel to ask them where I have waondered to. I rarely bring maps as welleither. I think I am just reacting off ofto having all my time being so overscheduled that I just for a brief period want the feeling of having no strings. But maps, phones and money all come in handy when you have no idea where you are.
The hotel we are staying at, the Helix, is great since it\’s close to iconic D.C. and yet in a real neighborhood. To my utter delight, we are around the corner from a Whole Foods. I have toyed with the idea of putting it in my contract that my hotel must be only .5 miles from a Whole Foods since, whenever I have access to one, it makes my week. I can make my own salad, pick up some homemade soup and a great bottle of wine, -bring it back to my hotel and watch \”Sex and the City\” re-runs. BLISS!!! My favorite experiences while in D.C. are a toss-up between Ben\’s Chili Bbowl and Etete, the Ethiopian restaurant. I loved Etete. Bbecause of supreme luck, I got to sit right next to some men from Ethiopia visiting their family. We all hit it off immediately, and all the men acted like the camera\’s and big lights shining arewere not even there. So instead of another scene of me eating alone, I joined their group, learning how to eat Ethiopian food from the pros.
The food was soooooo good, too. I was a bit disappointed that I ate so much on camera though, since we as a crew were eating there for dinner, as well. I always try to eat a little on camera so that I can really enjoy it off – -after all these years, I am never that relaxed when eating while the camera\’s rolling. I am always scared that I am going to dribble something down the front of me or choke (which I have done many times, they just edit that out). But the kind men kept feeding me, and I wasn\’t about to turn down that type of hospitality.
Ben\’s Chili Bbowl, shot the same day right before Etete (thank goodness no bikini scenes are in the near future) was amazing, since being a family business, we were made to feel a part of the family immediately. Shooting an institution is always tricky in the travel- show biz, since we want to show the daily ins and outs of an institution but obviously the big camera, a audio man putting mic\’s on everybody and holding a boom, and then me can really change people\’s behavior. No such problem at Ben\’s. Even though they serve the famous half- smoked hot dogs, they are all hams. And wonderfully so.