I’m not sure I could ever write the detailed food memoirs that our best food writers entertain us with, but I do recall some personal favorite meals. As with most food memoirs, the food itself is important, but the people and the circumstances are what make the meal especially memorable.
In 1987, my wife, my son and I took a driving vacation whose first stop was Washington, D.C. We arrived at our hotel in Arlington on a Friday night and left early Saturday for a big day of touring.
We nabbed a parking spot near the Ellipse, grabbed tickets for White House tour, then trekked several blocks for breakfast. After hoofing it back to the White House and enjoying the tour, we walked to Ford Theater (then closed for renovations). We strolled down Pennsylvania Avenue to the Capitol, grabbing a hotdog apiece from a street vendor.
Following an extensive tour, which included visits to both legislative chambers, we walked down the Mall to the Washington Monument and later, finally, back to our car. After a quick shower and change at our hotel, we went to Georgetown and Morton’s of Chicago steakhouse. To say we were famished and starving would be an understatement.
In ’87, we were living in Jacksonville, a city I love but one that didn’t have many fine dining restaurants. We had planned to feast on good food and enjoy the good service at Morton’s. (We had heard about Morton’s when we lived in Philly a few years earlier, but considered it too pricey.) On this particular evening 26 years ago, Morton’s lived up to all our expectations.
This was the first time I had dined at a place where cuts of uncooked meat were displayed by the server. My wife and I picked beautiful beef cuts. One dinner offering was not displayed, because it was still alive in a tank.
My son, then 15, asked if he could order the lobster. The server quoted a price of $11/pound and said he had one that weighed in at three-and-a-half pounds. A 15-year-old boy (and many girls of that age) can consume vast quantities of food, so I had no doubt he could polish it off. He did, easily.
My wife and I savored our filets. Following dessert, I paid one of the biggest dinner checks I had encountered to date. But it was worth every cent—truly a memorable finish to a great day of exploring Washington with the family.