In D.C. Dream Day, we ask our favorite people in the area to tell us how they would spend a perfect day in the District. See previous dream days from Mayor Muriel Bowser, BYT’s Svetlana Legetic, Story District’s Amy Saidman and more.
Steve Birnbaum will always be a Southern California kid at heart. After D.C. United drafted the defender in 2014, the nation’s capital presented no shortage of culture shock. “Everything was just so fast-paced,” says Birnbaum, 27. “I would ride my skateboard to the Metro and I’d be wearing shorts and a hat or whatever. Everyone would be in suits … staring at me like, ‘Does this guy have a job?’ ” Well, yes: Over five professional seasons, Birnbaum has earned MLS All-Star honors, made 11 appearances for the U.S. national team and regularly worn the captain’s armband for a United club that will christen its new stadium, Audi Field, on Saturday. He also can now call himself a true Washingtonian, having relocated from Arlington to Logan Circle two years ago with his fiancee, Jeanne Shewmaker, the director of merchandising at Georgetown boutique Tuckernuck. While there’s no soccer on Birnbaum’s D.C. dream day, the sports world still looms large.
I’d love to start by playing golf. I have a buddy who manages 1757 Golf Club out in Virginia and I’d drive out there, get an early tee time — a 7:30 a.m. tee time is ideal for me. So I’d wake up at 5 and play until 11 or noon.
I’d then get home in Logan Circle and ride my bike from Logan to Peacock Cafe in Georgetown, which is my favorite restaurant in the city — especially for lunch and brunch. I usually get the Sophia Loren, a turkey sandwich. Shahab [Farivar], the [co-]owner, is great, and he always recommends it. It’s a day off, so maybe I’ll have a beer. They also have these cookie ice cream almost sandwiches, so I’d get that. And I’d then stop by my fiancee’s work in Georgetown.
Our favorite coffee spot is The Coffee Bar [in Shaw], so I’d stop by there to grab a latte. On Sundays they have a little dog party in the afternoon, so my fiancee and I would bring Ham, our French bulldog, and sit at the coffee bar for an hour or so to let him play with other dogs.
I like seeing movies, and that’s a midday thing for me — after practice I’ll often go to the Regal Gallery Place movie theater. They have recliners and I have a MoviePass now — got it in January and it’s the best thing. I’m a really easy laugh, so a good comedy would get me going.
For dinner, my fiancee and I would definitely hit our favorite restaurant, which we go to literally once every two weeks: Le Diplomate on 14th Street. They treat us awesome there, and we can walk from our house because it’s two blocks away. We’d split a bottle of red wine, and I usually get the steak frites or the burger — the burger is great there — and my fiancee would get the shrimp salad.
I’m a big baseball guy, so I’d like to go to a Nats game. I grew up playing baseball and that’s a big deal for me. I want to be behind home plate, where you can see the pitch actually come, and you have to have peanuts and a hot dog at a baseball game.
We’d then go out and just meet up with friends and grab a drink on 14th Street. For dessert, it’s Jeni’s Ice Creams on 14th. They give you all of these tastings, so by the time you get your ice cream, you’re full. It’s awesome.