Cherry Blossom Festival in D.C.

April 9, 2009

It’s that time of year in D.C. when the cherry blossoms are in full bloom and the weather hints at the arrival of spring. The tourists come from all over to view the cotton candy like blooms, to take thousands of pictures, triple the size of our city and to generally annoy D.C. residents like myself. It’s also the time of the annual Cherry Blossom Festival hosted by the Japan America Society. It’s a large event blocking off sections of the prestigious Pennsylvania Ave. set up with food and craft vendors for several blocks. It’s quite a scene and you must experience it, if only once. This year was my first to enjoy the brouhaha of the festival, and I can predict that it will be several more years before I return. While the festival was generally interesting and a refreshing break from my typcially boring Saturday afternoon plans (though not as boring as Jessica’s! ha!), one Saturday a year is quite enough for me.
To be perfectly honest I was disappointed with the food. There were not nearly enough food vendors and the line at each vendor seemed to be miles long. There was ONLY ONE vendor selling truly Japanese food, the rest were all selling fried rice and lo mein. That’s not even Japanese food! And let’s not forget that one McDonald’s booth selling McGriddles or some crap like that. Whatever.
So, we waited in line for what seemed like FOREVER to get some taiyaki, okonomiyaki, and takoyaki.

taiyaki-fish shaped cakes

taiyaki-fish shaped cakes

okonomiyaki with japanese mayo

okonomiyaki with japanese mayo

The fish cakes were really good which was probably due to my insatiable hunger. They could have been served warmer, but they were filling, sweet and had a good texture- though very one dimensional in flavor, mostly just sweet. The Japanese pancake/pizza was also really good topped with fish flakes (for added salt flavor) and japanese mayo. They were more egg-like with less cabbage than the ones I’ve made. But, I must say that the takoyaki (octopus stuffed cornbread) were really gross. They were cold and the octopus meat inside was like glue. I do not recommend-at least not at the festival. All were typical Japanese festival foods, similar to American festival foods-comforting, but not worth the hassle. Save your time and money next year.

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Jennifer April 10, 2009 at 10:09 am

Aimee- you should definitely come see the trees at least once in your lifetime. They are far superior than the festival (which sadly isn’t located anywhere near the gorgeous trees).

Aimee April 10, 2009 at 10:04 am

I have always wanted to see DC during the cherry blossoms festival, even if it annoys the locals :) My best friend lives in DC and is annoyed each year.

Melissa April 10, 2009 at 9:35 am

The taiyaki-fish shaped cakes are so neat. I’ve never seen anything like them!! Well, at least you’ve experienced it once in your life. Now you’ll know what you are(or aren’t) missing!! :)

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