Fans couldn’t believe their earbuds when reporter Sam Sanders announced in December that he would be leaving the “NPR Politics Podcast” — Sanders, 32, was a big reason the show was able to have fun while making sense of the 2016 election. In June, he debuted his new project, “It’s Been a Minute With Sam Sanders.” The podcast explores politics and pop culture as a conversation among friends — with plenty of “Real Housewives” jokes along the way. Sanders, who’s lived in D.C. off and on for eight years, shared how he and some pals or his brother, Ruben, (“he deserves a vacation”) would spend a perfect day in this town.
My day starts early with a run. I’ll start at my place in NoMa down south until we get to Navy Yard and chill on the Anacostia Riverwalk Trail. I’m usually either listening to incredibly profane rap music or extremely high-tempo EDM.
The one thing I love about D.C. is the one thing I also hate about D.C.: There’s a lot of good restaurants but the good ones always have a line. I love to be the first person at Le Diplomate. They open up at 9:30 a.m. on Saturdays and Sundays, so we’d be at the door at 9:29. My go-to is the duck sarladaises — it’s like a duck hash with potatoes and egg.
After that, I’d get some mid-morning coffee at Sidamo. They have wonderful Ethiopian coffee. It’s family-owned and the coffee is perfect.
Then we’d head to the liquor store I always go to, Schneider’s of Capitol Hill, and get some stuff to make mid-afternoon cocktails. Then we would get to Crispus Attucks Park. It’s like hidden behind houses and buildings. So we would head there with our cocktails. I’ve been on a martini kick recently, but we could do a vodka-lemon-cucumber summery drink too.
Then after that we would hightail it over to Bantam King. We’d get ramen, but we’d also be sure to get the side dish that’s just white rice with chicken fat and butter.
One of my favorite things to do while recovering after a meal is people-watching. So we’d people-watch in Chinatown on the steps right outside of the American Art Museum. My favorite people-watching game is you pick a random person and you create their life story. Whoever has the best life story for this person wins.
At this point, we need to hit the clerb. The best music on U Street is Lounge of Three. It’s this undiscovered jewel — it’s like solid, classic hip-hop and R&B. It’s a hot sweaty mess, but it’s perfect.
By then we would be hungry again. The best option would be going to Oohh’s & Aahh’s, for some of the best soul food in the city. Here’s the secret though: Don’t get takeout! Order the shrimp and grits, no cheese, and then sit upstairs and eat it.